For Saudi actress Ida AlKusay, starring in Rise of the Witches, the country’s biggest show to date featuring a local cast and crew, was a dream come true.
“I got the part of my favorite character in my favorite novel that I used to read every day on the bus going to school,” AlKusay told Deadline’s Red Sea Studio. “That was insane. It was a great opportunity, getting to play the lead with all of these amazing people in the industry.”
Rise of the Witches is based on the best-selling Saudi mythology books by Osamah Almuslim. Set in ancient Arabia, it tells the story of an epic war between two rival witch covans. Growing up in a world dominated by male magicians who want to prevent women from having any access to magical powers, both witches secretly learn the arts and go on to form their own groups in order to protect themselves and gain power.
MBC Studios, the high-end production arm of Saudi media and entertainment giant MBC Group, is exec producing the series, which also stars Sumaya Rida as the other lead witch.
During the shoot, AlKusay admits that she developed a love for the physicality of the role and enjoyed performing her own stunts.
“I did not know that I would find my passion there, which is doing stunts,” she said. “It’s something I never thought I would do ever as a Saudi girl – doing stunts, fight men, swords, kicking, flying – but I got to do all these things on the show and after we finished it was not like game over for me. I went to LA and I went to Turkey to take courses on doing stunts.”
Check out the video above.