Hiam Abbass

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Hiam Abbass
هيام عباس
היאם עבאס
Born (1960-11-30) 30 November 1960 (age 63)
Nazareth, Israel[2]
  • Israel
  • France
  • Actress
  • film director
Years active1989–present

Hiam Abbass (Arabic: هيام عباس; Hebrew: היאם עבאס; born 30 November 1960), also spelled Hiyam Abbas, is a Palestinian actress and film director with Israeli and French citizenship.[2] She is known for her roles in films such as The Syrian Bride (2004), Paradise Now (2005), Free Zone (2005), Munich (2005), The Visitor (2007), Lemon Tree (2008), Insyriated (2017), and Blade Runner 2049 (2017). She gained prominence for her role as Marcia Roy in the HBO drama series Succession (2018–2023). She has also acted in the Channel 4 series The Promise (2011), the Lifetime miniseries The Red Tent (2014), the Hulu comedy series Ramy (2019–present), and the Hulu drama series The Old Man (2022).

Early and personal life

Abbass was born on 30 November 1960 to a family of Muslim Arabs in Nazareth, Israel,[3][4] and was raised in the nearby village of Deir Hanna. Since the late 1980s, she has lived in Paris, France, and holds French citizenship.[5]

During the filming of the Steven Spielberg film Munich (2005), Abbass lived in a hotel with Israeli and Palestinian actors for three months. During that time, they had many discussions that "helped both sides grow closer." In an interview in 2006, Abbass said, "I still remember how difficult it was for the Arab actors to manhandle the Israeli actors in the first scene where the Israeli national team is taken hostage."[2]

Film career

Abbass is known for her roles in Red Satin (2002), Haifa (1996), Paradise Now (2005), The Syrian Bride (2004), Free Zone (2005), Dawn of the World (2008), The Visitor (2008), Lemon Tree (2008), Every Day Is a Holiday (2009), and Amreeka (2009). She appeared in Spielberg's film Munich, depicting the response to the Munich massacre, and also served as a dialect and acting consultant.[2]

She directed two short films, Le Pain (2001), and La Danse éternelle (2004). She portrays humanitarian Hind al-Husseini in Julian Schnabel's film Miral (2010), based on the life of Husseini and her orphanage.

In 2002, she appeared in Satin Rouge by Raja Amari, a film about the self-discovery of a middle aged Tunisian widow.[citation needed] She also a similar role in The Syrian Bride, about a Druze woman eager to break down barriers.

Abbass appeared in the French films Le sac de farine and Le temps de la balle.

In 2008, she played the mother of an illegal Syrian immigrant in Tom McCarthy's movie The Visitor, and the mother of an Iraqi soldier in Abbas Fahdel's film Dawn of the World.

In the same year she could be seen in Pomegranates and Myrrh as Umm Habib, the owner of a beleaguered café.

Also in 2008, she played the principal role in Israeli director Eran Riklis's film Lemon Tree (Etz Limon in Hebrew). For this role, she won Best Performance by an Actress at the 2008 Asia Pacific Screen Awards. In Jim Jarmusch's 2009 film The Limits of Control, in the role of Driver, she recites in Classical Arabic one of the film's leitmotif-phrases, "He who thinks he is bigger than the rest must go to the cemetery. There he will see what life really is."

Abbass also appears in A Bottle in the Gaza Sea (2011), a French-Québecois-Israeli film produced by Thierry Binisti. It is based upon the young adult novel Une bouteille dans la mer de Gaza by Valérie Zenatti. She plays the role of Naïm's mother.

In 2012, she was named as a member of the Jury for the Main Competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.[6] She made her directorial feature film debut with The Inheritance in 2012.

In 2017 she played Freysa, the head of the replicant freedom movement, in Blade Runner 2049.

Abbass has also acted in TV shows such as The Promise (2011), The State (2017), Succession (2018–2023), and Ramy (2019–present).

In 2023, Abbass starred in the documentary film Bye Bye Tiberias which follows her decision to pursue her dream of becoming actress, directed by her daughter, Lina Soualem.[7] It premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival and screened at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival in September 2023.[8][9][10]


As actor


Year Title Role Notes
1996 When the Cat's Away Woman in the courtyard
Haifa Oum Said
1998 Raddem Short
Vivre au paradis
Histoire naturelle Short
2000 Ali, Rabiaa et les autres Rabiaa
2001 Ligne 208 Khaled's Mother
Le pain Short
Le mariage en papier Aunt Rabiaa Short
Tar Angel (L'ange de goudron) Naïma Kasmi
2002 Fais-moi des vacances Lucien & José's Mother
Satin Rouge Lilia
A Loving Father Salma
2003 Noctambules Lonely Woman Short
2004 The Gate of Sun Um Youness
The Syrian Bride Amal
Nadia et Sarra Nadia
2005 Paradise Now Said's Mother
Sur les traces de Mélanie Madelaine Short
Free Zone Leila
Le démon de midi Rim
Munich Marie Claude Hamshari Also consultant and dialog coach
2006 Petites révélations
Azur & Asmar: The Princes' Quest Jénane's Voice
The Nativity Story Anna
2007 Conversations with My Gardener The gardener's wife
Disengagement Hiam
The Visitor Mouna
2008 La fabrique des sentiments Professor Sterne
Lemon Tree Salma Zidane
Un roman policier Fati
Dawn of the World Mastour's mother
Fatoush The woman Short
Kandisha Mona Bendrissi
Al-mor wa al rumman (Pomegranates and Myrrh) Umm Habib
Blanche The neighbour Short
2009 Amreeka Raghda Halaby
Espion(s) Wafa
Human Zoo Mina
The Limits of Control The Driver
Persécution Marie
Chaque jour est une fête Hala
2010 Suite parlée The Ants
Clichés Short
Miral Hind al-Husseini
Le temps de la balle Hana Short
Habibti Iman Short
2011 The Source Fatima
Do Not Forget Me Istanbul
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea Intessar
2012 Le sac de farine Yasmine
Inheritance Samira
2013 Les jeux des nuages et de la pluie Blanche
May in the Summer Nadine
Rock the Casbah Aicha
Samarkande The Death Short
Peace After Marriage Amani
2014 De guerre lasse Raïssa
Nothing Escapes My Eyes Women Short
Exodus: Gods and Kings Bithiah
2015 Dégradé Eftikhar
The Sense of Wonder Dr. Mélanie Ferenza
2017 Blade Runner 2049 Freysa
Insyriated Oum Yazan
2020 Gaza mon amour Siham
2022 Hellraiser Serena Menaker [11]
2023 Insidious: The Red Door Professor Armagan
Bye Bye Tiberias Herself Documentary


Year Title Role Notes
1989 La nuit miraculeuse Television movie
1993 Antoine Rives, juge du terrorisme Jacqueline Tabet Episode: "L'affaire JBN"
1994 3000 scénarios contre un virus A client Episode: "Poisson rouge"
1998 Venise est une femme Aïcha's Mother Television movie
2000 Mix-cité Television movie
2003 Pierre et Farid Farid's Mother Television movie
2008 Béthune sur Nil Farah Television movie
2010 Histoires de vies Zineb Episode: "Des intégrations ordinaires"
I Am Slave Laila Television movie
2011 The Promise Old Jawda 4 episodes
2014 The Red Tent Queen Re-Nefer Miniseries
2016 The OA Khatun Episodes: "Homecoming" and "Away"
2017 The State Umm Salamah 4 episodes
2018–2023 Succession Marcia Roy 23 episodes
2019–present Ramy Maysa Hassan 22 episodes
2022 Oussekine Aïcha Oussekine 4 episodes
The Old Man Abbey Chase 5 episodes

As director

Year Title Notes
2001 Le pain Short film
2004 La danse éternelle Short film; also writer
2012 Inheritance Also writer
2013 Le Donne della Vucciria Short film; also co-writer
2015 Jerusalem, I Love You

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Project Result
2004 Ophir Award Best Actress Syrian Bride Nominated
2005 Best Supporting Actress Free Zone Nominated
European Film Award People's Choice Award Syrian Bride Nominated
2008 Best Actress Lemon Tree Nominated
2008 Boston Society of Film Critics Best Ensemble The Visitor Nominated
Gotham Awards Best Ensemble Cast Nominated
2016 Lumières Award Best Actress Insyriated Nominated
2023 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Succession Pending

See also


  1. ^ "Arab-Israeli actress for Cannes jury". Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Interview with Hiam Abbas: Rapprochement through Debate - Qantara.de". 21 April 2006.
  3. ^ Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass: ‘In my artistic work, what I am doing must connect to who I am’
  4. ^ 16 Arabs from Israel making a difference on the world stage
  5. ^ "'People want imperfection': Hiam Abbass on Succession, Ramy and playing complex women". TheGuardian.com. 16 February 2021.
  6. ^ "The Jury of the 65th Festival de Cannes". festival-cannes.com. Cannes Film Festival. Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
  7. ^ Aftab, Kaleem (23 October 2020). "It's a Family Affair as Lina Soualem Presents Docs About Hiam Abbas and Zinedine Soualem at El Gouna". Variety. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  8. ^ Goodfellow, Melanie (27 July 2023). "Venice's Giornate Degli Autori Unveils 20th Edition Line-Up; Featuring Surprise Short From Céline Sciamma & Jean-Marc Vallée Tribute". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  9. ^ "Bye Bye Tiberias". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  10. ^ Morfoot, Addie (26 July 2023). "Docs About Louis C.K., Paul Simon and a Whole Foods Dishwasher Who Moonlights as a Mountain Climber Are Among Those Going to Toronto This Year". Variety. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  11. ^ Lang, Brent (October 7, 2021). "'Hellraiser' Reboot Unveils Full Cast, Including Jamie Clayton as Pinhead". Variety. Retrieved October 7, 2021.

External links