Som Samian, 14, listened as casting director Jeanne Boisineau described the bully scene, relating it to a scene in the movie “A Christmas Story,” in which the school-yard bully was picking a fight. “We want you to be like that,” Boisineau said.
Som remembered a time when he was in school and the teachers were around. “We fought right in front of them,” Som said, knowing that the part in the movie he was trying out for wasn’t going to be quite so real. His mother, Ahdieh Samian, felt he would be good for the part. “He’s been bullied enough,” she said.
Som was just one of many potential movie stars that paraded through the door at the David R. Pinn Community Center in Fairfax on Saturday, Dec. 17, to audition for Dreamworks production of “The Kite Runner,” an adolescent story about two friends in Afghanistan. Boisineau was looking for two boys, aged 13-15, that spoke the Afghan languages Dari and Farsi. Acting experience was helpful, but not required.
“We want kids that can be authentic,” Boisineau said.
Ahdieh Samian heard about the casting call from her loan officer, and brought her son over from their home in Oakton just for the experience.
“I just wanted him to try it out. As a child, he had no problem dancing in front of us,” she said. Som wasn’t nervous about trying out and remembered his drama experience in junior high school. “I wanted to, I’ve always liked acting.”
CENTREVILLE RESIDENT Mariam Abawi is currently reading the book “The Kite Runner,” and brought her sons Elias, 10, and Esau, 4, plus a cousin, Dawoud Karimi, 11, to try out. “We canceled all our plans to come to this,” said Abawi, who noted that all her friends that are reading the book are excited about the movie coming out. “It’s an extremely beautiful book,” she said.
The story is set in “pre-Burka,” Afghanistan, Boisineau said, and follows the lives of two boys. She described it as “a beautiful, beautiful story about love, friendship crossing boundaries.” The book, written by Kahled Hosseini, starts “in a time before there was a war in Afghanistan,” she said. Before the Taliban as well. “It’s a very timely piece in terms of what’s going on in Afghanistan,” said Boisineau.
Humiara Omar, an Fairfax County elementary school teacher from Crestwood Elementary in Springfield, acted as the interpreter in Dari and Farsi in case she was needed. She is also of Afghan descent, and has read the book. “You can see the devolution of the society,” in Afghanistan as the story goes on," Omar said. “The book goes a little bit more into what Afghanistan is."
The Fairfax location was carefully chosen “specifically because [of] the Afghan-American community here,” Boisineau said.
Dreamworks SKG, producer of past films “War of the Worlds,” “Madagascar” and “Shrek,” is also conducting casting calls for this film in Germany, Kabul, London, New York, San Francisco and Canada. Director Marc Forester, famous for “Finding Neverland” and “Monsters Ball,” is a “fabulous director,” Boisineau said. Filming is scheduled to start in April 2006, “on location somewhere else in the world,” she added. The search is so wide “we’re looking for three needles in three haystacks,” she said.
The casting call was advertised in local publications as well as local cable channels and Afghani newspapers, Boisineau said. “We contacted the largest mosque in the area.”
After filling out forms and having still photos taken of them, all the boys were told to be on hand for a script reading the following day.
“If I gave you part of the script, could you come back tomorrow and read with another person?” Boisineau asked. All the boys were excited at the opportunity.
“It will be great,” said Dawoud.