Omar Sharif is going back to his roots. The actor will appear in a number of Arab projects in the coming months.

Sharif will star as Libyan revolutionary leader Omar Mukhtar in a $50 million pic scripted and financed by Libyan prexy Moammar Gaddafi.’Years of Torment,’ or ‘Dhulm’ in Arabic, will detail the three-decade Italian occupation of Libya from 1911-43 through firsthand accounts written by Libyans and international witnesses.

Sharif has also teamed up with Egypt’s biggest box office draw Adel Imam on ‘Hassan and Morcoss,’ a laffer that pokes fun at religious bigotry.The story revolves around a Christian priest (Imam) and Muslim preacher (Sharif) who, after surviving separate assassination attempts go on the run and assume different identities, with Imam’s character pretending to be a Muslim and Sharif a Christian.

Sharif is hoping the film, which Egyptian shingle the Good News Group is financing and releasing in Egypt, will help curb some of the religious tensions in the Middle East.“Muslims are killing Muslims, Christians are killing Christians. It’s unbearable for me and really absurd,” Sharif said. “I’m an old man now and I’m trying to make films which mean something. The film is really funny and at the same time gives you something to think about.”

EXTRAs: The actor, best known for playing Dr. Yuri Zhivago, is a world-class bridge player.