Hafedh Dakhlaoui is impossible to describe in just one word. French with Tunisian roots, the Sydney resident is a man of many talents. Tough yet tender, his international appeal suits him well, as he blends seamlessly into the leading roles he is known for. Having lived and worked all over the world, the polyglot has taken a skill from each of the cultures he’s been immersed in. From capoeira to skydiving, swimming and even day trading, he spends his free time acquiring new talents and perfecting them.
“I love martial arts like capoeira, when I am in L.A. I practice with Mestre Amen Santo and Marc Dacascos at the Brazilian cultural center,” shares Hafedh. “I have many passions, especially anything having to do with sports. But at my core, what I am most passionate about is acting.”
It’s one thing to have a passion, it’s another thing to pursue it. A notoriously difficult career to break into, Hafedh has worked tirelessly to make his mark.
“I think I was born an actor,” shares Hafedh.
“Since I got my first computer with a webcam I’ve been hooked,” he laughs. “Back then I used to film myself and my friends while we imitated our favorite actors.”
“I started doing theatre at a young age and worked in lots of movies as an extra,” Hafedh continues. “I remember always feeling happy while on set.”
Wanting to experience as many sets as possible, Hafedh took all the work he could – acting as an extra in order to gain experience and absorb the expertise of industry professionals. He never turned down an opportunity to learn.
His first big break was on the set of “Nadia et Sarra,” a French/Tunisian feature film directed by Mouifda Tlatli – a renowned Middle Eastern director and producer. Seeing his potential, she offered the then-extra a speaking role in the film. After that, he knew acting was his true love.
Starting out in the international film industry is no easy task. It takes endless auditions, nonstop training, and extreme self-discipline to maintain the dedication that acting requires. As he added more films and shows to his reel, he learned some important values that he still carries with him to this day.
“Be humble, humility is everything,” he wisens. “Be open, listen, observe, and learn there is always someone somewhere that can change your life by showing you a path or a way of doing things that you’ve never thought about.”
Over the years he has played principal roles, where his background and unique talents were critical to the success of the film. Impressed with his range, he has been cast in a lead role for four feature films in the United States, slated for 2020 through 2022 openings: The Mechanic (2020), Turrence Booker (2020), Off the Grid (2021), Triple OG (2022). He has also just signed on to the Australian film The Spy Who Never Dies, playing lead character Dog Walker – a Russian Spy.
Though he has an active filming schedule, he still takes the time to perfect his skills, studying Shakespeare with Patsy Rosenberg in New York, with his acting coach Howard Fine in Los Angeles, and at Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). He recently completed an intensive on the Meisner technique in Sydney.
“I aim for the stars so that I can land on the moon or the tree or somewhere but the earth,” Hafedh shares. “I know what I want, and as long as I can make a living out of acting – out of my passion – that is the ultimate success to me.”
A huge fan of Mykel Shannon Jenkins, Hafedh reached a personal milestone when he was asked to be a part of the producer and director’s latest film Octopus Pot. Named for the Japanese Takotsubo syndrome, where one dies of a broken heart, Hafedh plays the role of an enigmatic international businessman. Perfectly suited for the role, Jenkins’ leaned on Hafedh’s linguistic skills, asking the star to deliver lines in French, English, Spanish, Russian and Tunisian.
“I was given a lot of creative freedom during the shooting and I think it’s going to be a great film to watch,” discloses the star.
Shot in several countries, and starring Hafedh, Jenkins, and Shawn Kathryn Kane, Octopus Pot is in post-production and expected to release later this year.
Today, Hafedh is working on various films and series projects in Australia, most notably on the film They Called Me Keith.
“I’m currently working on They Called Me Keith, a film about a Frenchman who thinks he’s been inhabited by a dead British war poet,” says Hafedh, a lead in the film. Along the way, you get to meet a pair of the UK’s most infamous serial killers and like the best short films, it has a high impact ending. We’re shooting in Sydney and hope to have it wrapped up by September.”
Every actor has a dream role, and Hafedh is no different. “My dream role would be to play an inspiring character in an inspiring story,” confides the artist. “I like the idea of changing people’s hearts for the better because I have experienced that in my life.”
His favorite role so far? “Octopus Pot. Octopus Pot. Octopus Pot,” repeats Hafedh. “As mentioned before, I loved the freedom given to me with my role. I also loved shooting Wild League in Russia and Showdown in the Philippines as I had the privilege to be alongside famous Hollywood stars such as Mark Dacascos, Danny Trejo, Casper Van Dien, etc…Working on big-budget movies alongside renowned talent was definitely a privilege and a rich experience.”
An animal lover, Hafedh is on a strict plant-based diet which has helped him maintain his trademark muscles.
“With each role I have, I go through physical, mental, and instructional preparation. Depending on the movie, sometimes more of one than the other,” he divulges. “For the movie Wild League, I had to drop my body fat to 6% and undertake serious boxing training with Jean-Marc Toesca, one of the greatest champion-makers in Monaco. But while preparing for Black Rose, I had to get as big as possible. Each role is different. Mentally, I try to live in the skin of my character.”
What many don’t realize is the exhaustive work that actors never stop doing to perfect their skill. For stars like Hafedh, there is no time off from training.
“I think as an actor the training never stops,” he shares. “It is like going to the gym. As soon as you quit, progress reverses, so I train my acting weekly through classes and also stage training.”
Additionally, the actor must practice to maintain fluency in Russian, Spanish, French, English, and Arabic/Tunisian. As an international artist, he must be able to speak the language of many countries. Working with an accent coach, he has trained to ensure that his accent reflects his dialect.
Hard work pays off, as his transformations into each of his leading roles has made him a memorable face in film today. From one end of the Earth to the other, Hafedh’s talent knows no bounds.