“Everyone Has An Edge” – Lincoln Younes Chats To B&T About Playing John Ibrahim

“Everyone Has An Edge” – Lincoln Younes Chats To B&T About Playing John Ibrahim

When it came to casting Kings Cross nightclub-owner John Ibrahim in the hotly-anticipated Last King Of The Cross, it seems Lincoln Younes’ name was written in the stars. 

Filming for the Paramount+ series was not the first time that Australian-Lebanese actor Younes had crossed paths with the Tripoli-born Ibrahim. 

“Once I’d started this project I actually remembered that I’d met John, about a decade ago”, the 31-year-old Younes told B&T

Back in 2011 (prior to the introduction of strict lockout rules), a then 19-year-old Younes moved to Sydney to take up the role of role of Casey Braxton in Home and Away. 

“I experienced the Cross before the lockout laws came in. So I got the last couple of years at its height, in terms of my generation. I experienced it viscerally, and met him in passing back then”. 

A World Without Rules

Last King of The Cross is a dramatization inspired by the best‑selling autobiography by infamous nightclub mogul John Ibrahim. 

Set in the 80s/90s, the Kings Cross we see in The Cross is a world away from the bakery-lined Kings Cross we see today. 

For Younes, it is the lawlessness of the long-lost Kings Cross that makes it so interesting for modern viewers.

“It’s a world that’s very different to something that people would understand nowadays,” he says.

“There was a lot of moral and ethical greyness back then, and there’s a lot of corruption, which you wouldn’t be able to get away with today. I was trying to get myself in a world that wouldn’t be possible in today’s rules”. 

Younes As Ibrahim

And it’s certainly true that we are a generation obsessed with lawless characters. 

Anti-heroes such as Joaquin Phoenix’s The Joker and Emma Stone’s Cruella have been popular in recent years. And, on a darker note, viewers have been equally intrigued by real-life killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy. 

Younes, who has played a series of ‘bad boys’ including Romeo in Tangle and Casey Braxton in Home And Away, says everyone has the potential for darkness. 

“Everyone has an edge, whether they show it or not. A lot of people choose not to wear that as their mask. But then some do. I think it’s always a battle between light and darkness as a human and which one you learn more into.”

“If you find the motivation and the understanding, the drive behind people doing what they do, then that’s when you start to understand people more.”

A distinctly Australian Immigrant Story 

For Younes, Ibrahim’s insatiable drive for success comes from his identity as a first-generation immigrant from a worn-torn Lebanon – something we see played out in The Cross

He wants to  be successful  “so that he isn’t treated like an immigrant,” Younes says.

“He becomes self-sufficient, he becomes independent, and therefore he becomes safe. And that’s kind of at the core of his security and his success”.

But it comes at a cost. 

“It was the loneliness of success that really interested me,” Younes adds. 

“No one ever talks about the negatives of doing well. No one ever explores the darkness, they always kind of tend to lean into the light and that’s why social media is the way it is”. 

“For me it was actually just about tapping in into what it takes to actually rule the kingdom per se. And what you lose during it.”

Marlon Brando In The Godfather

Unlike some of the world’s most  famous crime dramas which focus on Italian-Americans such as The Godfather and The Sopranos, the Last King Of The Cross is distinctly Australian. 

“I think the show’s really unique because in terms of embracing our local culture, we’ve struggled with it. And you can see that with the First Nations people, and you can see with a lot of other things

“I think we need to produce more local content because we don’t have a history of embracing our uniquely Australian cultural stories. We tend to look overseas.”

And for Younes, who is half-Lebanese and half-Australian (with some Irish mixed in!), The Cross is an important Aussie tale.

“This is one that is very much a Lebanese story, and it’s very much an Australian story. It marks a moment in our history that’s iconic.”

Last King Of The Cross is streaming exclusively on Paramount+ from Friday the 17th of February. 

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