Salma Hayek Highlights 'Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet' Premiere in L.A.

Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Participant Media/AP Images
From left: Producer Clark Peterson, Alfred Molina, Salma Hayek, Quvenzhane Wallis and executive producer Jose Tamez at the premiere.

Alfred Molina, Quvenzhane Wallis and Dustin Hoffman also attended the event at LACMA on Wednesday.

Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina and Quvenzhane Wallis attended the L.A. premiere of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, an animated film adaptation of Kahlil Gibran’s classic book of poetry, on Wednesday night at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Bing Theater.

Other celebrities at the premiere included Dustin Hoffman, Will.i.am, Colin Farrell, America Ferrera and Frances Fisher.

The Prophet features eight of Gibran’s poems animated by artists Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells), Michal Socha (The Simpsons), Oscar winner Joan Gratz (Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase), Nina Paley (Sita Sings the Blues), Bill Plympton (Guard Dog), Joann Sfar (The Rabbit’s Cat), Mohammed Harib (Freej) and Paul and Gaetan Brizzi (The Emperor’s New Groove).

The artists worked independently on the poetry segments, which feature different styles of animation. “We wanted the film to be in the spirit of Kahlil Gibran, and one of the main themes of the film is freedom,” Hayek, who produced the film and voiced mother Kamila, explained during the screening’s Q&A. “So the individual animators had complete freedom to express their interpretation of whichever poem they had in their own voice.”

Director Roger Allers, who wrote the unifying storyline of the friendship between imprisoned poet Mustafa (Liam Neeson) and mischievous young girl Almitra (Wallis), told THR, “There’s not much story [in Gibran’s book] but a lot of philosophy, so I had to choose which pieces to use. And at the same time expand his story, but not let the story overpower the philosophy. It was a balancing act of trying to balance the poetics and the storytelling. I wanted to make it entertaining so that it appeals to a broad audience, but at the same time allow us to dive into the philosophy and get deep.”

Despite the film’s philosophical elements, Hayek told THR that The Prophet will appeal to both children and adults. “We have a story that is very amicable for children, and it’s interesting for adults, because it’s about freedom of speech. And it’s done in very simple animation. For the children, they understand the poem through the visuals, so it’s very easy for them.”

Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet opens in theaters Aug. 7.

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