The official U.S. movie premiere for THE KITE RUNNER was held at the Egyptian Theater, Hollywood, Tuesday, 4 December. The movie will begin a limited release in 30 selected theaters Friday, 14 December.
Both the author of the book and co-writer of the screenplay Khaled Hosseini, and the movie's director Marc Forster were present at the Hollywood premiere, but none of the Afghani child actors who appear in the movie attended. They are now safe somewhere in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Four boys, each accompanied by a relative, arrived in the UAE on Friday, 30 November, according to a spokesperson for Paramount Pictures. The studio is also paying a per diem to relatives left behind in Kabul, and has offered to keep the entire arrangement in place long enough for the boys to graduate from high school if they choose to stay. Paramount executives and others involved in the relocation effort still hope to bring the co-stars to the United States to be honored somehow and to grant their wish to visit as tourists.
THE KITE RUNNER, a DreamWorks production - Paramount Vantage release, like the 2003 best-selling novel upon which it is based, spans three decades of Afghan strife from before the Soviet invasion through the rise of the Taliban. The story centers on the friendship between Amir, a wealthy Pashtun boy (played by Zekiria Ebrahimi), who is now 11, and Hassan, the Hazara son of his father's servant.
(Hassan) In a pivotal scene Hassan, (Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada, now 13), is raped in an alley by a Pashtun bully. Amir witnesses the rape, but says nothing.
Later, Sohrab, a Hazara boy (Ali Danish Bakhty Ari, now also 13), is preyed upon by a corrupt Taliban official. It is the rape scene that has caused the problem for the young actors. The fourth boy is Sayed Jafar Masihullah Gharibzada, now 14, who played a smaller role but became friends with the others.
(Amir)Amir and his father flee Afghanistan. After his father dies, Amir, now an adult, returns. Khalid Abdalla, who played the pilot / hijacker in UNITED 93, (2006), portrays the adult Amir.
For my readers in Spain, Mexico and Latin America, the Spanish title of the book and film is COMETAS EN EL CIELO.
A SPECIAL AUCTION ON eBAY
Beginning yesterday (5 December), there is an celebrity auction on eBay where autographed authentic Afghan kites are being auctioned to raise funds for the Afghanistan Relief Organization (ARO) specifically for the training of teachers and the construction of rural libraries in Afghanistan.
Among those celebrities who have autographed the 25 kite tails are Madonna, Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig, Benicio del Toro, Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon, Cher, Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, Kate Winslet, Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, former President George H.W. Bush, Eva Mendes, Ryan Gosling, Steve Nash, Lauren Bosworth, Lauren Conrad, Hans Zimmer, The Kite Runner director Marc Forster and actor Khalid Abdalla. In addition to receiving a kite with the tail autographed by the celebrity, the winning bidder will receive a “thank you” card signed by the celebrity.
Other items to be listed on eBay include a trip to the set of the new James Bond movie as a personal guest of director Marc Forster, as well as a private lunch with Kite Runner author Khaled Hosseini. People will also have the opportunity to bid for the inclusion of their names in Hosseini’s next book. Auction site.
WHAT IS THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES?
The United Arab Emirates is a constitutional federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate. The federation was formally established 2 December 1971. When you see signs at sporting events that read, "Emirates" it means that space was paid for by the UAE.
The same for Emirates Airline, which is the airline owned by the federation. It was Dubai Ports that was not allowed to buy the contracts for port operations in the U.S., and it was the federations financial center in Abu Dhabi that recently bought about 20% of CitiCorp, the parent of CitiBank, effectively saving CitiBank's backside in the prime mortgage debacle.