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                                                Excerpts from an Interview with Khalid Abdalla
                                                Star of “The Kite Runner”
                                                Dallas , Texas , November 5, 2007
KA:  The film was shot entirely in China , because Afghanistan , 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.
KA:  As one who was born in Scotland to Egyptian parents, and raised in London , 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 Kabul 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?
Outlook:  Speaking of biblical, did you consider the similarities to Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac?
KA:  (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.  Afghanistan 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 Afghanistan .
Outlook:  It was a beautiful film, and a great representation of the book.
KA:  Thanks very much.
Outlook:  I think the whole effort is an ambassadorship, from one culture to another.
KA:  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 was beautiful.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas