4 boy actors in "The Kite Runner" flee Afghanistan

2007-12-07 00:53:25 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Dec. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- Four boy actors in the movie "The Kite Runner" have fled Afghanistan, fearful they could be ostracized or subjected to violence because of a rape scene in the movie, a film executive said.

"The Kite Runner," which had its world premiere on Tuesday in Hollywood, is based on the 2003 best-selling novel by Afghan-American writer Khaled Hosseini. In the story, the main character witnesses the rape of his friend but does nothing to stop it.

Although not scheduled for release in Afghanistan, there are concerns that pirated DVDs could reach Kabul and some residents might react violently to the rape scene.

The four boys, each accompanied by a relative, left Afghanistan and arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Friday, said Megan Colligan, executive vice president of marketing for Paramount Vantage, which is releasing the film.

Studio executives felt they should get the boys out of the country before "The Kite Runner" opens Dec. 14 in the United States, Colligan said.

In September, the father of one of the boys told The Associated Press he had asked that the rape scene be cut from the film. Ahmad Jaan Mahmidzada said he had been assured it would not be included.

But the film's producers, Bennett Walsh and Rebecca Yeldham, said they were surprised by the Mahmidzada's comments at the time, adding that they had already spoken with the families of the actors and addressed their concerns about the scene.

Shaun Toub, another actor, said the boys were very excited about "The Kite Runner" during the filming, but violence and instability have since escalated in the country.