DUBAI: He stole the hearts of cinephiles around the world with his touching performance in Nadine Labaki’s Oscar-nominated film “Capernaum,” and now it appears that 15-year-old Zain Al-Rafeea has won over A-lister Salma Hayek.
The actress uploaded a picture of herself cozying up to the former Syrian refugee and “The Eternals” co-star Lia Mchugh on Instagram, suggesting that Al-Rafeea is set to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a role in the upcoming film.
“Hanging with the Eternals’ youth,” Hayek, who plays the leader of The Eternals, Ajak, captioned the Instagram post.
While the role that Al-Rafeea could play in the Chloe Zhao-directed movie is as of yet unknown, there have been plenty of photos and videos of the budding actor getting close to “The Eternals” cast, including a heart-warming video of him braiding Hayek’s hair, surfacing on social media.
If he is to feature in the film, he would be in good company, joining the likes of Angelina Jolie, Kit Harington, Richard Madden and Kumail Nanjiani, who are all part of the cast, starring as 35,000 -year-old aliens.
The rising star made his acting debut as the protagonist in “Capernaum”, a destitute boy that wants to sue his parents for the crime of bringing him into the world.
He first met Labaki while he was working as a delivery boy in Beirut.
Shortly after his phenomenal performance in Capernaum, which took home the Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and received a 10-minute standing ovation, Al-Rafeea re-settled in Norway with his family.
At the time, the Lebanese director and filmmaker posted a heartfelt statement on her Instagram account, alongside an image of the young actor. “A few weeks ago, I said goodbye to Zain,” began the lengthy text. “Zain and all his family have been resettled in Norway. Just a few minutes before heading to the airport, I watched him take a last look from this small terrace above his house (at) what has been his life for the past eight years. A life that has been hard on him mostly because he is a refugee.”
“We all miss you here but we are happy you will now be able to go to school and learn and be the best version of yourself,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, the upcoming superhero film tells the story of the Eternals, a group of superhumans that were created by alien experiments on ancient humans.
The film is set to debut in 2020.