Sydney has a vibrant identity. In ex-Home and Away heartthrob Lincoln Younes, John Ibrahim has finally found his on-screen ‘king.’
After a nearly two-year search, Younes – who is half Australian and half Lebanese – is said to have beaten out a number of other actors for the role of Ibrahim in the book-turned-miniseries Last King Of The Cross.
Ibrahim, who was very particular’ about who would play him, was impressed with Younes’ acting ability, as well as his similarly dark complexion and light eyes, according to sources close to the production.
The multi-part series is set to begin filming in Sydney next week.
Ibrahim was born in Tripoli, Lebanon, and moved to Australia in the early 1970s before making a name for himself in Sydney’s nightlife scene – a rise that will be chronicled in the upcoming series.
Younes, on the other hand, was born and raised by his single mother in Australia, but his biological father is from Lebanon.
Younes has appeared in a number of popular Australian shows, including Home and Away, Tangle, Doctor Doctor, and Love Child, despite the fact that he is only 30 years old.
He recently filmed a small role in the ABC surf drama Barons and a supporting role in the Channel Nine series After The Verdict (which has yet to air).
Ibrahim’s casting in the Paramount + drama Last King of the Cross comes after a long search for a leading man, according to a source close to the production, who claims Ibrahim had his sights set on Oscar Isaac of the United States.
The spotlight then shifted to Zac Efron, but both men are said to have died.
Firass Dirani, who played Ibrahim in the 2010 Underbelly Series The Golden Mile, was rumored to be returning to reprise his breakout role earlier this year.
Dirani, on the other hand, put an end to the rumors, telling The Daily Mail Australia in February that ‘that chapter is closed.’
Meanwhile, Younes isn’t the first actor to return to his Lebanese roots for a screen role.
In the 2015 Sydney Film Festival dark comedy Down Under, he played Hassim, a young Lebanese man.
Younes told The Daily Mail Australia at the time that he was proud to explore his ethnic background while filming the movie about the aftermath of the Cronulla Riots.
‘It was something I wanted to investigate,’ he explained, ‘because it meant I could research that side of myself.’
‘I’ve been fortunate, I haven’t really been affected by racism, but I have a lot of friends who have,’ Lincoln continued, before stating that the film is aimed squarely at cultural stereotypes.
‘If you go to Lebanon, there are a lot of Lebanese (people) who look like me… so it’s actually about approaching stereotypes and realizing they’re stereotypes,’ he said.
Last King Of The Cross is a three-part television series that follows John and his brother Sam as they rise to power in Sydney’s nightclub scene during the 1990s and beyond.
The series is based on the autobiography of the same name, which was published in 2017 and went on to become a bestseller for Pan Macmillan. It is produced by former Endemol Shine CEO Mark Fennessy.
Kieran Darcy-Smith, the acclaimed screenwriter best known for his work on Animal Kingdom and Wolf Creek, has written the series. Ibrahim will be a producer himself.
Filming is set to begin next week in and around Sydney, with a custom-built set – a complete recreation of Kings Cross’ infamous ‘Golden Mile’ – said to have been painstakingly pieced together for the project.
The shoot is expected to last several weeks, and many of the production crew members were part of the massive team that worked on Thor: Love and Thunder recently.
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