It was first published in 1923 and remains one of the best-selling books of all time, so it seems extraordinary that nobody has attempted a film adaptation of Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet before. That's about to change, in an ambitious project being shepherded by Salma Hayek and producers Clark Peterson and Ron Senkowski.
Gibran's book is a long-form poem (written in English, although Gibran generally wrote in Arabic), the narrative of which sees the prophet Al-Nabi about to embark on an ocean voyage, but waylaid on his way to the docks by a succession of people who prompt him into discussions of life, the universe and everything. It's a "spiritual classic", but adaptable to all faiths, whether deeply or casually held, since it doesn't adhere to any specific religion.
As a film, the plan is to make an animated anthology delivered by multiple directors. Among the contributors are Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), Tomm Moore (The Secret Of Kells), Nina Paley (Sita Sings The Blues), Joan Gratz (Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase), Mohammed Saeed Harib (Freej) and Bill Plympton (Guard Dog). Each will take a chapter, and the linking story will be courtesy of Roger Allers (The Lion King).
"The Prophet has been an incredible source of wisdom and inspiration for millions of people all over the world," says Hayek. "Being of Lebanese descent, I'm particularly proud to be part of a project that will present this masterpiece to new generations, in a way never seen before."
Harib says, "It's an immense honor to be able to translate the works of one of the Arab world's most cherished writers into the visual realm. I am thrilled to be amongst such esteemed animation directors assigned to bring The Prophet to the big screen and to the 21st century."
Pre-production begins later this month.