TIFF 2014: SALMA HAYEK SAYS SHE’S TAKING A BIG CHANCE ON “KAHLIL GIBRAN’S THE PROPHET” MOVIE


 Salma Hayek puts on her producers hat and talks about her new risky animated feature The Prophet, which was given the seal of approval from her daughter.

Kahlil Gibran’s wildly popular The Prophet has finally been adapted for the big screen more than ninety years after its first publication in 1923. Produced by, and starring Salma Hayek, the animated adaptation is a passion project for the Latina actress who is currently in Toronto promoting the film.

Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophettells the story of a man called Almustafa who, while on a boat that it to takes him back to his homeland, sits with other passengers and talks to them about everything from love, life, death, philosophy, religion, joy and sorrow. The movie is a collection of animated vignettes, which illustrate the different chapters of the book and features different directors at the helm of each vignettes. The cast of voice actors includes Liam Neeson, John Krasinksi, Alfred Molina, Frank Langella and Quvenzhané Wallis.

Although she pulled it off, Hayek admits that adapting this book was challenging. “I try to do things that aren’t possible because I am passionate,” she told Variety. “It was hard to figure out how to make it into a movie because there’s just too much information, with all the poems. The question was always how to get kids interested. It’s organic and not pretentious. Our goal was always to make it not preachy.”

The film has been well received in festivals such as Cannes, but it was a personal victory that confirmed its success for Hayek. “The most satisfying part has been showing the movie to friends of my 6-year-old daughter [Valentina]. Afterwards, they wanted to have a conversation about it.”

Attending TIFF this year as a producer rather than an actress was a choice the actress made because the movie is literally like a child for her. “I think I took a huge risk because it was my idea to make it one story, and introduce in this story a simple story that children can follow, but that is about many things. And [to] introduce the poems within it, and each poem is the point of view of a little girl that is listening to a poem. And each one of them is completely different — it’s done by a completely different artist; it’s never been done before and it was my idea,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “Because when you do something new it’s always scary. It was very scary for me — but I really believed in it. A lot of the things that gave us the most obstacles at the end are the things that are giving us the most satisfaction.”

 

Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet premieres on September 6 at the Toronto International Film Festival.

 

 

Photo: ©Jason Merritt Wireimage/Getty for TIFF

 

 

 

 

—Sarah Khan

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