Excerpts from an Interview with Khalid Abdalla
Star of “The Kite Runner”
, November 5, 2007
The film was shot entirely in
, sadly, no longer has the infrastructure to support making a film,
not to mention that we would be targets.
People there have no running water; they have to get it from a
pump outside the house. Most
have electricity for only a few hours a day, and outside of the main
road it’s all dirt track. But
what I found beautiful is that as a cast and crew, we were 26
different countries with 46 different languages, come together to tell
a story about a place that was important to us all…Our Director was
a very calm, centered, person, and that helped tremendously, but more
importantly, all of us were very proud of being part of this story,
and we all wanted to cooperate to make it happen.
It’s an honor to represent that part of the world.
As one who was born in
to Egyptian parents, and raised in
, I know what it’s like to be misrepresented, so I worked very hard
to make this character authentic.
To audition, I learned the Farsi phonetically (which I could do
because I knew Arabic), and originally, the only place I could work on
the Afghan language was an Australian website about depression,
designed for refugees! But
I went to
and immersed myself in their country, in language school for four and
five hours a day, banished English, and that country’s parting gift
to me was their language, which I developed in traveling their
countryside. Their landscape was astounding, biblically pastoral, it
has that kind of traveled weariness to it, you know?
Speaking of biblical, did you consider the similarities to
Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac?
(pause) No, I really didn’t think of that, but I very much
see the connection. No
one’s ever mentioned that, but absolutely, yes. Also, I think that
Amir has two angels, who very much help him on his journey.
This film has a lot of themes: friendship, courage, childhood,
growing up, dealing with your childhood as an adult, the relationships
between fathers and sons, and ultimately the moment when you stand up
and want your father to be proud of you.
These make the story approachable no matter where you come
from, and this is more important than politics.
has so much negative association in the Western mind, but we need to
remember that it has six million refugees, the largest refugee
population in the world. And
the film works because it is such an amazing story, about people who
happen to be from
It was a beautiful film, and a great representation of the
Thanks very much.
I think the whole effort is an ambassadorship, from one culture
There was a moment in L.A (at a Q & A), when an Afghan
woman stood up and said, “Thank you, I feel represented,” which is
what you’re saying, and when she shared that with the audience, that
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor,
Grace Presbyterian Church,