For Nour Jude Assaf’s first regular character on screen, he has joined the new cast of Series 3 of Ghostwriter, starring as Samir Yousef in Apple TV+’s reimagined revival of the 90s series of the same name. Nour previously played Will in the short film Extra Ordinary, voiced Sameer in TV series The Casagrandes, and his other projects include Super Wings, Whole Hearted and commercials, such as the NFL commercial for ESPN. Recently answering our questions, Nour told us about joining the Apple TV+ series Ghostwriter, starring as Samir Yousef for his first regular on-screen character and voicing the role of Sameer in The Casagrandes.
You have recently begun your starring role of Samir Yousef in the Apple TV+ series Ghostwriter, how has it been joining the show with a new cast in Series 3?
It’s been such an extraordinary journey. We couldn’t have completed this show without every single person who worked on the project. Every person played such a vital role in the completion of this season, and I’m so thankful. If you haven’t tuned into Ghostwriter, the last two seasons are with a completely different cast, who did a fantastic job by the way, but Season 3 is with a whole new cast! If you aren’t familiar, Ghostwriter is actually a reimagining of the hit 90s series and is now back for a third season! This season includes the same ghost from last season who haunts a neighbourhood bookstore and starts releasing fictional characters from popular books and novels into the real world for a new gang of friends to solve mysteries throughout their city.
How are you finding the experience of having Samir as your first regular character on screen and how did you prepare for filming?
It’s so awesome! Playing Samir on Ghostwriter was my first lead role and my first series regular, and I’m so grateful I got to be part of such an amazing project with the best production, cast, and crew. Playing Samir was such a fun role. If you haven’t already watched Season 3, Samir has an accent, and if you’ve seen me anywhere other than Ghostwriter, you’ll know I do not have an accent! Fun fact, when I first got the audition for Samir, they didn’t ask me to put on an accent but my mom suggested I try it out since they were looking for an actor to play a Syrian refugee. I’ve never done a Syrian accent in my life! I’m originally Lebanese which is near Syria and both share similar traditions and languages. So my mom and dad both have an accent, I did my best to imitate them, and production and the directors actually liked the accent better, and told me to use it throughout the season!
With Ghostwriter being a reimagined revival of the 90s series of the same name, what did you know about the show before booking your role and how has it been seeing the viewers’ response to the new series?
Before being cast in the show, I wasn’t familiar with the 90s series, but once I got the callback for my audition for Samir, I did some digging myself and found out about the older version. I remember once I discovered that I was cast, I called my older brother and told him about it and he freaked out! Turns out he watched the show when he was younger. Also, if you did watch the 90s version, what’s up with that slimy purple book monster?!
What is it like on the set of Ghostwriter and did you have a favourite episode to work on?
The set never failed to be entertaining and awesome, especially with our brilliant crew who put together the best work I’ve ever seen. Their dedication and effort through rain and shine was truly inspiring. I’m always thankful for each and every one of them.
Regarding my favourite episode to work on, I really can not pick one specific episode just because they’re all so amazing and diverse. But one arch? I’d have to say The Mouse and The Motorcycle episodes. I picked that arch just because of all the location changes we went through and the different places we went to, it was just so much fun. Underground tunnels, different colleges throughout Toronto, Canada. The journey was unreal.
Why would you recommend watching Ghostwriter on Apple TV+ and who do you think it will appeal to?
100%!!! Go watch Ghostwriter Season 3 NOW! In my opinion, I truly think all ages can watch Ghostwriter, however, it will probably appeal more to the younger audience. Something I loved about Ghostwriter that is super different than many other series, is not just all the magic and mystery, but the real-world issues including racism, the struggling journey of refugees, and so much more. It truly changed my perspective and inspired me, and I’m hoping we can do the same for all the little girls and boys out there that may be going through the same thing.
How was it playing Will in the short film Extra Ordinary?
Filming Extra Ordinary might just be one of the most fun couple-day projects I’ve worked on. We actually filmed out in the desert and the plot is just so cool and truly extraordinary. The cast I worked with on that project are so amazing and I’m still close friends with them even after several years!
You voiced the role of Sameer in the Nickelodeon animated series The Casagrandes, what was the character like to voice and how was it seeing your episodes for the first time?
I find it funny how the name of Sameer on The Casagrandes is the same as Samir on Ghostwriter, but it was incredible! I loved working with the actors on that show. I voiced most of the episodes during the COVID era so it was a bit challenging for everyone, but we all got through it together and it was so worth it! When I first heard my voice on the screen, I was honestly surprised my voice sounded like that, I sounded so much younger!
Can you tell us about some of the other projects you’ve been involved with over the years, which has included Super Wings, Whole Hearted and commercials?
Yeah, I’d love to! In fact, I recently worked on an NFL commercial for ESPN, so if you’re ever watching football on your TV, look out for my face during the commercials!
Aside from that, Super Wings was super fun and I loved voicing for Bucky and many other guest stars in the episodes. Super Wings is a preschool cartoon series revolving around a plane named Jett, who delivers packages to kids around the world. Along his journey, he faces a challenge, but resolves it with the Super Wings crew including Bucky, who I voice!
Whole Hearted was super fun too actually! It was an awesome five episodes filmed over a couple of weeks span, to inform people about diabetes and other diseases. I met some fantastic people along the journey and am still in touch with them to this day. Thank you to one of the best directors and filmmakers, Jason Satturlund for making the journey amazing and always giving me the best advice! Awesome working with you, man!
How did you get into acting and is it something you always wanted to do?
I think I’ve always thought of getting into acting, and I really do think acting is my thing, but when I was younger, I was always encouraged and always told that I’d be a good actor, adding to my love of entertaining people and making them laugh, I just don’t think my eyes were open to it. So one day, while watching Jessie on Disney Channel, my little eight-year-old self asked my mom to sign me up for some acting classes, just to get the feel of acting, and after that day, I knew I truly loved acting.
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch?
Stranger Things is for sure on the top of my list, and I always enjoy watching documentaries, movies, or even series on anything basketball-related. Netflix is soon releasing Season 2 of Last Chance U, so I’m super excited to binge-watch that.
How do you like to spend your time away from acting?
If you didn’t already know, I am pretty much a basketball addict. Anything basketball-related or that has anything to do with basketball news, I’ll probably be on top of it! So, if you don’t see me in front of a camera or on your TV, I’m probably ballin’ on the courts.
What are you hoping the upcoming year brings for you?
As always, I’m constantly being grateful and appreciative of any opportunities that come my way, especially being an actor, rejection and tough hurdles may get through your way, but that’s normal, and I’m glad these things happen because I truly feel they help me become stronger and grow and learn from my experiences. But for the most part, I’m currently focusing on the release of Ghostwriter Season 3 and basketball.
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