Mike Fleming

Salma Hayek and her Ventanarosa Productions have joined Clark Peterson and Ron Senkowski to produce an animated feature based on the Kahlil Gibran book The Prophet. Hayek’s producing partner Jose Tamez will executive produce with co-financier Steve Hanson. The intention is for different directors to helm each chapter, with an interconnecting theme and a musical through-line. Filmmakers expected to participate so far include Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville), John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda), Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), Chris Landreth (Oscar-winning short Ryan), Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells), Nina Paley (Sita Sings the Blues), Bill Plympton (Guard Dog and Your Face) and Kunio Kato (Oscar winning short Tsumiki no ie). Other filmmakers are expected to sign on, and the producers are in discussions with private-equity financiers to complete the funding for the picture.

The Prophet is one of the best-selling books of all time, having sold over 100 million copies since its original publication in 1923. Gibran, a Lebanese-American, is the third-most-read poet in history after Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu, and has been translated into more than 40 languages. The book is about a prophet, Al-Mustafa, who awaits passage home on a ship after being away 12 years. He shares his theories on the important things in life. Hayek has been interested in the book since childhood. The rights were obtained by a group led by Hanson in an agreement with the Gibran National Commmittee in B’Sharre,  Lebanon, the representative of Gibran’s estate.