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NYTimes: Filmmaker Named After Atomic Energy


Filed at 6:02 a.m. ET

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The dawn of the atomic age in Egypt resulted in filmmaker Atom Egoyan’s unusual first name.

Egoyan was born in 1960 in Cairo, around the time that nuclear power plants began opening in Egypt.

“My parents had the idea that here was this new source of energy, so it would be great to name their son after it. Sort of a vaguely hippie-ish idea,” Egoyan, 42, said in an interview with The Associated Press last week to promote his film “Ararat.”

“Atom” also was a close variant of “Adom,” a classical name among Egoyan’s Armenian ancestors. Since his first name was pronounced like “Adam,” it created a running joke when Egoyan’s parents named his sister Eve.

“Ararat” explores Armenian history through the eyes of modern descendants coping with Turkey’s denial that genocide was carried out against Armenians during World War I.

Egoyan’s family immigrated to Canada when he a boy, and he found his first name an obstacle to fitting in among Canadians.

“When I was a kid, all I wanted to be called was `Tom,”’ Egoyan said. “I just wished my parents had not given me the burden of this unusual name. That was the last thing I needed with my desire to assimilate.”

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