Hollywood seeks Lebanon’s latest sensation Haifa Wahbi
Lebanese film producer Elie Samaha, who is the Chairman/CEO of Franchise Pictures, which has fast become one of the most prolific production and co-financing companies in the entertainment industry, was currently on a visit to his roots in Lebanon with Oscar winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr.. The purpose of the visit was mainly studying the idea of a new movie, in which Beirut's latest sensation Haifa Wahbi is nominated to take part in leading her towards international stardom, An Nahar's weekly reported.
"She is very cute," Samaha said of Haifa with whom he has lately been nightclubbing in Beirut along with Gooding Jr. and Lebanese singer Wael Kfouri, who hails from Samaha's hometown of Zahleh. Samaha confirmed that he is planning to introduce Kfouri in the new film "Ali Baba" in which Antonio Banderas stars. "But Kfouri is not going to be the only lucky one… Haifa may well steal the limelight." The film falls under the action genre and is scheduled to be filmed in the United States of America, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Samaha has recently worked as a producer on Get Carter and Driven with Sylvester Stallone; The Pledge, starring Jack Nicholson and directed by Sean Penn; The Caveman’s Valentine starring Samuel L. Jackson; Angel Eyes with Jennifer Lopez and Heist, starring Gene Hackman and written and directed by David Mamet.
On a similar note, scenarist Faisal Nada has nominated Haifa for the leading role in the upcoming comedy television series “Hub Sakhin Jidan” (Real Hot Romance) alongside prominent Syrian actors Duraid Laham and Rafiq Al Suba’ei. Faisal had decided that Haifa would best fit for the role in the film and had made his decision during his trip to Syria.
The series is to be aired on Syrian television during the holy month Ramadan (Muslim fasting month) and is scheduled to begin shooting of the scenes in May. The series tackles the issue of human beings basic rights in the era of globalization. Numerous prominent Egyptian actors and actresses are also scheduled to take part in the series in different episodes as guests of honor.
Wahbi has been the phenomenon of the year 2003; she had her own style in singing and offered something new that none of her competitors did before. She did not claim to be a singer, and instead she insists to referred to as a performer, which is what she likes to call herself. She was able to take her popularity internationally and became the center of talks and lights, which ended by being personally interviewed on the international television network CNN.
Haifa disclosed that CNN had reflected a bright point of view about Lebanon and the people and expressed her happiness to be one of Lebanon's friendly faces. She added that she felt very proud as the cameras were following her and showing the amount of appreciation people hold towards her and her art.
Haifa added that she is working on her second album which is due to be released next March by the Rotana Music Production Company. In her album she revealed that she cooperated with some people who helped her in her first album and also new people will be participating in the second album among who are Omar Mustafa, Mohammed Rifa'i, and Mohammed Raheem.
After getting intensive vocal training, Haifa is going to sing new songs in a different style than what she did before. Haifa noted that she gained lots of experience, which she appreciates especially after being trained by prominent Lebanese poet Elias Nasser, and said that she wont change her looks or her style in singing. –Albawaba.com
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)