Salma Hayek hints that Syrian refugee star Zain Al-Rafeea could be in Marvel film

Syrian refugee star Zain Al-Rafeea could be in upcoming Marvel film. Photo: Instagram/@salmahayek
Updated 18 November 2019

Salma Hayek hints that Syrian refugee star Zain Al-Rafeea could be in Marvel film

  • Salma Hayek shared a photo of herself and the former Syrian refugee, hinting that he is set to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • If he is to feature in the film, he would join the likes of Angelina Jolie, Kit Harington and more

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. 


Yara Shahidi glows on NAACP Image Awards red carpet

The US actress was nominated for an NAACP award for her role in “Grown-ish.” (Getty)
Updated 23 February 2020

Yara Shahidi glows on NAACP Image Awards red carpet

DUBAI: On Saturday night, A-listers descended upon the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, for the 51st annual NAACP Image Awards. Among the stars in attendance was US actress and activist Yara Shahidi, who was nominated for the Best Actress in a Comedy Series award for her role in “Grown-ish.” While the 20-year-old didn’t take home the prize — the accolade went to her “Black-ish” co-star Tracee Ellis Ross — Shahidi was a major winner when it came to her scene-stealing red carpet look.

The US-Iranian actress stepped out wearing a mint green satin minidress covered in embellishments by Gucci and a pair of chunky metallic leather platform sandals, also from the Italian house.

As for her beauty look, Shahidi decided to embrace her natural curls on the red carpet. Glowy skin, brushed up brows, a feline flick of liquid eyeliner and a swipe of reflective gloss rendered her makeup look complete.  

The US-Iranian actress stepped out wearing a mint green satin minidress covered in embellishments by Gucci. (Getty)

Other stars who turned heads at the annual awards ceremony include “9-1-1” actress Angela Bassett who accepted the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series award wearing a mint-colored, structured evening gown by Lebanese couture duo Azzi & Osta. The dress featured a waist-cinching belt with an asymmetric neckline and was accessorized with a matching emerald-green clutch and drop earrings.

Other winners on the night included singer Lizzo, who was named the Entertainer of the Year, and “Just Mercy,” which won the Best Motion Picture award, while its lead actor Michael B. Fox nabbed the Best Actor trophy and its secondary star Jamie Foxx won the Best Supporting Actor prize at the awards ceremony that recognizes entertainers of color.

Angela Bassett accepted the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series award wearing a dress from Azzi & Osta. (AFP)

Jordan won for his role as a crusading defense attorney in the film, while Foxx won for his portrayal of the wrongly convicted man he fought for.

Elsewhere, Lupita Nyong’o won the Best Actress in a Film prize for her role in “Us,” and 15-year Marsai Martin won the Best Supporting Actress award for her role in “Little” over superstar names including Jennifer Lopez, Janelle Monáe and Octavia Spencer.

Meanwhile, singer-turned-beauty-mogul Rihanna received the NAACP President’s Award for Special Achievement and Distinguished Public Service. She called for racial, religious and cultural unity during her acceptance speech. “If there’s anything that I’ve learned, it’s that we can only fix this world together,” she stated, adding: “We can’t do it divided.”