Q&A: Salma Hayek on Her Passion for Animated ‘Prophet’

Three months after Salma Hayek’s production “The Prophet” screened in Cannes as a work in progress — and a few days after her 48th birthday — the completed film will unspool at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival. Hayek, who also produced “Frida” and sitcom “Ugly Betty,” has distilled the 26 poems in Kahlil Gibran’s 1923 classic into a collection of eight animated films from eight directors.

Why is “The Prophet” such a passion for you?

The image on the book reminded me of my grandfather. I was only six when he died but he was the first person I knew in my life who had died. I try to do things that aren’t possible because I am passionate.

Why animation? 

It was hard to figure out how to make it into a movie because there’s just too much information, with all the poems. The question was always how to get kids interested. It’s organic and not pretentious. Our goal was always to make it not preachy.

Why did you pick Quvenzhane Wallis to voice the girl?

Once I saw “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” there was no one else. She is so soulful.

Did it turn out the way you envisioned?

Yes. The most satisfying part has been showing the movie to friends of my 6-year-old daughter. Afterwards, they wanted to have a conversation about it

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