Raya Abirached voices Smurf Willow in the Arabic version of 'The Lost Village' movie
Raya on tour with the Smurfs. (Facebook)
By Arwad Khalifeh
We love Raya Abirached from her popular MBC show "Scoop," and adore her fun interviews with our fave Hollywood stars.
But now, Raya is assuming a new artistic role, which will see her behind the mic instead of the camera.
Raya will be the voice of "Smurf Willow" in the Arabic version of the upcoming animated movie adventure, "Smurfs: The Lost Village."
Hollywood actress Julia Roberts voices the same character in the original English version.
This isn't Raya's first time giving life to an animated character; she voiced Matilda in the Arabic version of last year’s Angry Birds.
Raya is an awesome presenter, but was delving into the dubbing world somthing that she's always wanted to do?
"I have always thought my talent was talking about Hollywood, not acting," she says. "I don’t really think I have much talent as an actress, but voice acting is quite similar to what I do on television.
"It wasn’t really a direction I planned to go in, but I really enjoyed myself when I voiced Matilda in Angry Birds, so I was happy to give it another go.
"And, who’s not a fan of the Smurfs?," Raya told The National.
She's right, we all loved the adorable blue creatures growing up, and Raya thinks audiences should have the choice to watch Al Sanafer in either Arabic or English.
"They were huge in the Arab world when I was young, as it was one of the few shows back then that was actually broadcast in Arabic, not with subtitles, so it’s almost like a natural progression that I should end up voicing it years later," she says.
"Dubbing works well with animated films, plus is nice for kids as they can engage with it more in a language they’re more familiar with," she says.
"But I don’t think it needs to be either or because the subtitles help us learn English, so it’s good to have a good proportion of both and to give movie goers the choice of whether they want to see it in Arabic or English."
Have you wondered why her character is called Smurf Willow, unlike the usual Smurf naming pattern of Hefty Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Vanity Smurf and so on?
Raya gave us a "Scoop" on the reason behind it.
"I don’t want to give too much away but she’s part of a new breed of Smurfs that we discover in The Lost Village," says Abirached.
"The Smurfs discover they’re not alone, and Smurf Willow comes along and really gives Papa Smurf a run for his money.
"That’s as much as I can divulge right now, but it’s quite exciting because we get to see the Smurfs in a different environment, there’s a refreshing twist and some exciting new characters that could be part of Smurf folklore for another 50 or 60 years."
Smurfs: The Lost Village is in UAE cinemas from Thursday, March 30.