On Monday, we noted the sigh of relief issued by an anxious Paramount at the news that their young, possibly endangered The Kite Runner stars had been rolled up in some Afghan carpets and successfully smuggled out of Kabul, with the refugee-secreting rugs eventually unfurled inside a safe-suite at an undisclosed luxury-hotel location somewhere in the United Arab Emirates.
Despite this sounding like the happy ending that everyone involved had been hoping for, Slate's Kim Masters reports that it's unclear when the kids will be reunited with their now-estranged families, a situation that could be complicated if the children apply for asylum when in America on visas the studio is trying to arrange so that their peripatetic talent can reap some of the acclaim (read: promote the film by cheerily waving to some cameras to let everyone know they're OK) their brave performances have earned them:
Paramount marketing executive Megan] Colligan may feel better, but another source involved in the Paramount effort doesn't. "No matter how you look at it, their families are going to be split—maybe temporarily or long-term," he says. That's a fairy-tale ending? [...]
Of course, as our source on the studio's team points out, it's quite possible that once the children get their feet on American soil, they'll do what many in their position might do: seek asylum. If that's granted, this source says, "The studio doesn't pay anything and the American taxpayer has to cover everything." Family members at home would not be in a position to apply, so the split would seem to be indefinite.
When this idea was raised within the studio, our source says, it was met with a shrug. Asked about the issue, producer Rebecca Yeldham told us that the question of seeking asylum "has never come up in our dialogue with the families." And have the children shared any thoughts on being separated from their families for months, if not longer? Yeldham said she talked to the children last week and found that "all four boys were so happy—so enthusiastic and very excited to be where they are."
No doubt the Kite Runner boys aren't the only kids who might be excited and enthusiastic over a chance to be feted by a Hollywood studio, presumably with a little Disneyland thrown in.
Indeed, it's a dream that every child actor forced to leave their homeland by their participation in a culturally inflammatory rape scene shares, in which untold weeks of fretting about being separated from their parents are quickly forgotten as they placidly glide across shallow water in one of It's A Small World's boats, humming along to its trauma-erasing, endlessly looped theme.