The moment she made her breakthrough in Hollywood by playing Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, everybody became aware of Salma Hayek’s Mexican roots. Her physical features all scream of her Mexican descent, but who would’ve thought that she has Lebanese roots, too?
Recently, Hayek revealed her Lebanese ancestry as she promoted her new animated film entitled The Prophet. According to her, the movie was a labor of love dedicated to her late Lebanese grandfather who adored the 1923 book by Kahlil Gibran, which the movie draws inspiration from.
— Beirut.com (@BeirutCityGuide) April 28, 2015
The Prophet deals with the themes of love and spirituality and was co-produced by Hayek herself. She also does the voiceover for one of the movie’s characters, Almitra’s mother, Kamila.
Speaking from Beirut where she was launching the film, the actress related the following.
“Through this book I got to know my grandfather, through this book I got to have my grandfather teaching me about life. For me this is a love letter to my heritage.”
For the production of the movie, Hayek and her father visited her grandfather’s village, Baabdat, to get a real feel of the life in Lebanon. She described their trip as an “emotional journey,” and commented further on her Lebanese ancestry.
“Between all the connections of our ancestors and the memories of the ones that are no longer with us, I hope they are proud of this film because I did it also for them.”
— D® Pђi£™ (@philabouzeid) April 26, 2015
Likewise, to pay tribute to the writer, Hayek also visited Gibran’s birthplace, Bcharre.
Another prominent Hollywood figure on board with Hayek on The Prophet is action star Liam Neeson, who voices one of the main characters in the film, named Mustafa. In the movie, his character is imprisoned for his poetry, which was deemed as rebellious.
According to Hayek, Neeson was easily drawn to her film despite it being a low-budget one. She also revealed that the actor loves the book written by Gibran and “knows the poems by heart.”
Working on the film, the Mexican actress shared that she was personally inspired by the writer’s mother, who shares the same name as the character that she is voicing, Kamila. Gibran’s mother moved to the United States after an unhappy marriage and struggled to make ends meet for her and her four children.
“Because of her courage, Kahlil Gibran was inspired to be the man that he became,” Hayek said of Kamila.
[Image via YouTube]