Playing Ibn Battuta
When Chems Eddine Zinoun won the role of Ibn Battuta in February 2008, he discovered that playing Ibn Battuta seemed to be his destiny for, after going on the internet to do some research, Chems discovered that before Ibn Battuta began his travels, he had the same name as his, Shams Al-Din."I'm half Berber and Ibn Battuta was a Berber. He's from my country and is a grand personage, I feel very proud," said Chems, who was playing his first lead role in a film. "It is a magnificent experience. I am very lucky," said the 27- year-old actor/dancer. "When I'm on the set, I forget present time. I discover how people lived and traveled the desert and crossed mountains, many dying en route to go to the Hajj." He added, with a mischievous smile, Ibn Battuta was a bit of a Casanova. He married in many of the cities he traveled through. He was a lover of life, that's what gave him the power to travel. We are all Ibn Battuta's. We all can go to China and discover the unknown." "I have never seen anyone in my 30 years of directing work harder in a role," recalls director Bruce Neibaur. "And with such patience, focus, wit and gentleness. He gave his all in his performance and was an absolute pleasure to work with. You don't often become friends with an actor, but Chems became a friend."