WING­ING IT AT CANNES

On act­ing and el­bow-rub­bing with the stars

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - chris.fraser@7days.ae

T he Cannes film fes­ti­val is known as be­ing a manic, hec­tic af­fair. Raya Abirached is busier than most at the glam­orous, in­vite-only event on the French riviera. An in­ter­view with the Scoop With Raya host is a date in the diary for many big names in the in­dus­try, from Martin Scors­ese to Steven Spielberg and many more.

This year, there’s even more on the agenda. Raya is a now a film celeb in her own right. The co-host of Arab’s Got Tal­ent played a star­ring role in the Ara­bic ver­sion of An­gry Birds, the an­i­mated movie cur­rently go­ing down a storm in cin­e­mas world­wide. Rayaplays the char­ac­ter Matilda. “Ba­si­cally, the fes­ti­val started with me pre­sent­ing An­gry Birds on Tues­day, we did a whole show­case pre­sen­ta­tion with all the in­ter­na­tional voice cast. So it started off on the other side of the fence but now I’m back to my usual self,” she laughs over the phone from on lo­ca­tion in Cannes.

That means pow wows with some of the big­gest A-lis­ters on the planet. She ex­plains: “I in­ter­viewed Justin Tim­ber­lake for the new an­i­ma­tion called Trolls. He wrote the sound­track and ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced it, and he was here with Anna Ken­drick, who is also su­per tal­ented.

“To­mor­row it is Ge­orge Clooney and Ju­lia Roberts, then Ryan Gosling and Rus­sell Crowe, and then Robert DeNiro and Sean Penn, Mel Gib­son and Ni­co­las Cage. Ev­ery­one is com­ing this year and I’m go­ing to in­ter­view them all.”

Af­ter her ex­pe­ri­ence on An­gry Birds, is Raya con­sid­er­ing more act­ing work - per­haps along­side some of those big names?

“Well it’s the first thing I have ever done be­sides a school play when I was a child, and all I can say sin­cerely is that it’s not the same as be­ing a TV pre­sen­ter,” she says.

“In fact, it’s the op­po­site. For one, you have to be your­self to suc­ceed and for the other you need to know how to be some­one else, so at core they are very dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sions. I did love it, though, but that was be­cause there was no pres­sure - it was not like my ca­reer de­pended on it.”

“I hope the film is suc­cess­ful so that there is a se­quel we can record, that would be nice. But am I go­ing to be­come an Os­car­win­ing ac­tress? I hope so,” she laughs.

“Who am I to say no if Steven Spielberg of­fers me a role. Ac­tu­ally I’m in­ter­view­ing him in two days’ time so who knows!”

While Raya’s sched­ule has been more than a lit­tle hec­tic, you can for­give her for feel­ing a lit­tle weary this year. She’s eight months preg­nant, but still work­ing flat out for those big in­ter­views.

She wasn’t al­lowed to travel to Dubai for the Ara­bic pre­miere of An­gry Birds on doc­tor’s or­ders, but a short-haul trip to Cannes got the green light.

“At Cannes you are run­ning around like a head­less chicken, and I must ad­mit I do get out of breath now but that re­minds me I’m preg­nant,” she says. “I have been very for­tu­nate I can still do every­thing I usu­ally do. And you know, this baby has been to the BAFTAs, the Os­cars and the Golden Globes and now the Cannes film fes­ti­val!”

HOST WITH THE MOST: Pre­sen­ter Raya Abirached lends her voice to the Ara­bic ver­sion of the an­i­mated film An­gry Birds

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