Timur Bekmambetov's Profile is one of the must-sees of 2021, thanks in large part to its inventive storytelling and unflinching true story of the encounter between a journalist who forms a relationship with an ISIS recruiter in an effort to undercover why European women have fled to join the terrorist organization. It's all very heavy stuff, and Profile star Shazad Latif recently explained why the project chose to be as realistic as possible.
Profile is a story that Shazad Latif, who plays ISIS recruiter Bilel in the movie, readily took on, though with slight apprehension at first. I spoke to Latif about whether he had any misgivings about playing a terrorist in Profile, and the actor admitted while there was a struggle at first, he was ultimately sold on the movie, its premise and how it played out on-screen.
Shazad Latif's Bilel plays out a very complicated relationship with Valene Kane's Amy, who, like in the true story, is a journalist posing as a newly converted Muslim seeking to join ISIS. The conversations are based on actual Skype conversations and messages exchanged between a terrorist recruiter and real-life journalist, Anna Errelle, who remains under police protection to this day.
Errelle's story is evidence that there is danger in speaking out against ISIS, which isn't skirted in Profile. I spoke to Shazad Latif about any fear he had in terms of retaliation from ISIS, but he noted that sometimes there's risk involved in telling an accurate story.
Profile is told entirely from a computer screen, similar to Timur Bekmambetov's previous film Unfriended. The experience meant Shazad Latif (who audiences may also know from Star Trek: Discovery) was his own cameraman and worked to get appropriate shots as he carried out the acting on screen via Facetime or webcam. It's certainly an experience that audiences should be curious about and that should chill them to the bone as the movie plays out.
Profile is out now in theaters. For a list of other movies airing this summer, be sure to reference our handy guide and maybe even plan that trip back to theaters.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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