Ghosts of Beirut is a four-part limited series based on one of the most extraordinary real-life espionage stories of our time: the manhunt for Imad Mughniyeh, the elusive terrorist mastermind who outwitted his adversaries for over two decades. Based on a true story, Mugniyeh took terrorism to deadly new levels, creating public martyrs out of anonymous suicide bombers.
As CIA and Mossad operatives were haunted by Imad’s actions, they unexpectedly join forces in a high-stakes international chase to finally find and take down the man known as “the ghost.”
We spoke to Lydia Mark about her role …
Please tell us who you are and what you do, and where you are from.
I’m Lydia Mark. East London girl, born and raised by two characterful but loving Nigerian parents. So, our house was always loud and fun. I’m an Actress, Model and Writer.
Describe your life right now in a word or one sentence.
Tell us about your latest project – Ghosts of Beirut …
Ghosts of Beirut is a really gripping series. There’s always an added layer of intrigue and fascination when a story is rooted in true events; it’s also set across two different timelines.
I remember reading the scripts and thinking how much this decades-long manhunt for Imad Mughniyeh had entirely consumed the minds of the CIA, Mossad, and everyone – and what it must have felt like to witness the destruction around you, be so close to it, but never quite near enough to make it stop. So, there’s a lot of tension in that.
Yet our spy drama is also very grounded, exploring human nature, and the lengths we’ll go to for something we believe in….
Your role …
I play a young CIA Targeter, named Susan. Along with Lena, played by the mesmerizing Dina Shihabi, Susan has a lot to prove. Like everyone else, she’s obsessed with Mughniyeh. Every detail is crucial. The closer they get, the further he seems to slip away. Much like in real life, it was a game of cat and mouse and that’s very exciting to play with on screen.
How did it come about?
I’ll tell you – it was the quickest audition process ever. I got the self-tape from my agent. I remember I was working at the time so didn’t have much time to do it. But espionage dramas are my favourite genre ever, so I kinda always saw myself, as a kid, running around chasing bad guys. I guess, I just channelled that child and my love for the genre. Sent off the tape, and a week later heard I got the part. 3 or 4 weeks later, I was running around this semi-abandoned building in Morocco; it was great!
Highs, lows, solutions…
I wish I had something juicer to say haha, but honestly, there weren’t many lows because we had such a great team, fantastic director, producers, and crew. In our game, there will always be challenges – locations, early mornings, long days – but with a dedicated team, you will make it through to the other side.
I’d say the biggest challenges are usually the ones we face within ourselves. Personally, I just tried to be my biggest cheerleader, rather than my harshest critic. I find that’s usually all I need to overcome any obstacle.
What is your current plan b?
Pack it all up and become an ESL teacher in Bali, or somewhere. I’m joking. For Plan A to succeed you can’t have Plan B – that’s what they say, right!
What’s made you Sad, Mad, Glad this week.
I hate having my time wasted, but I wouldn’t say it’s made me mad this week when it has happened. Maybe because I’ve been doing a lot of work on letting things go. So, I guess that means I’m making some progress!
Sad – I saw a dead Pigeon one morning, this week, and that made me sad.
Glad – the sunshine this week has been amazing. Anyone who knows London knows exactly what I’m
talking about. Makes a huge difference!
What are you watching right now?
I’ve been watching a lot of random stuff about parallel universes – I’m such a nerd for that stuff – totally lost in the rabbit hole.
What are you reading right now/listening to?
Not cheating at all – but I’m going to combine these two and say an audiobook – Letting Go, by David R. Hawkins. It’s like magic.
What’s the last thing you saw on stage?
I saw Medea at the Soho Place Theatre. Sophie Okonedo, Ben Daniels. Intense. Very dark. Woman scorned. And Sophie Okonedo – need I say more.
What’s on your bucket list?
Sky Diving. The ultimate roller coaster – at least that’s what I’ll tell myself!
Celebrate someone else (who do you rate right now)
I’ve got to rate the cast of Queen Charlotte – mostly up-and-coming actors. India Amarteifio is a gorgeous performer. Corey Mylchreest is magnetic – I’m really living for Charlotte and George right now! I’m also going to say my dad as well as all the amazing father figures out there.
Celebrate yourself …
These days, I’ve been striving to just be that 1% better, in everything I do. Nothing more than that. Reminding myself it’s a process and when you do stop and look back, you’ll see how far you’ve travelled up the mountain.
Whose footsteps are you following in?
There are so many creatives I admire. I feel that I’m following in the footsteps of all my inspirations. Taking little pieces of them all, and gathering it up, like a little bear in hibernation. I feed off the people that came before me and fuse that into something of my own that I can also share with the world.
I’ve very much been living in the mental space right now, working on my debut feature film script. It’s currently in development with a studio, who have brought me [us] so many favourite films and memories. It’s definitely a dream come true.
Where can we find you and Ghosts of Beirut?
Ghosts of Beirut is currently streaming on Paramount+ in the UK and Showtime in the US.