Facts of Zain Al Rafeea
|Birth Date||October 10,2004|
|Birth Name||Zain Al Rafeea|
|Birth City||Daraa, Syria|
A boy born in a land of terror flew to a different country, met an angel coincidently, and achieved greatness with talent and a little bit of luck.
No, it is not a story of a movie but the life of Syrian-born Norwegian actor Zain Al Rafeea.
He was born in Syrian but fled from the country because of the war and moved to Lebanon, where they were forced to find shelter in the slums of Beirut.
Al Rafeea's life changed forever when he was discovered by casting director Jennifer Haddad while walking on the street, who would later cast him in the acclaimed Lebanese drama film Capernaum.
He and his family have since been resettled in Norway.
Zain also made his MCU debut in 2021, appearing in Marvel's Eternals.
So, what is his age and height? We have all the details of his personal and professional life here, including his movies, tv shows, and religion.
Zain Al Rafeea: Age And Height
Zain Al Rafeea was born on 10 October 2004 in Daraa, Syria. As of August 2022, he is 17 years old. His exact stature is not revealed; however, he looks 5 feet and a few inches tall.
He and his Syrian parents and siblings fled the country because of the ongoing war and moved to Lebanon in 2012.
Al Rafeea grew up as a Syrian refugee and was forced to live in the slums of Beirut.
He was raised in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Beirut, with the scare of basic needs such as food and education.
The young lad was often exposed to d*uge and violence, and the future seemed quite dark for him at that time.
Al-Rafeea, in an interview with Arab News, said:
"Unfortunately, refugees face harsh conditions in Lebanon because the country has so many of them."
"I never thought I would be an actor or a famous person. I just dreamt of being safe with my family and that nothing bad would happen to them. I was focusing on making money to support my parents."
As per the sources, "During the peak of the Syrian refugee crisis, between 2011 and 2015, Lebanon was taking 10,000 refugees from the neighbouring country per week".
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Discovered On The Streets
“Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had.”― Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones.
In late 2017, then 14-year-old Al-Rafeea was walking down the street living his normal regular day, and suddenly he met an angel who changed his life forever.
He met casting director Jennifer Haddad, looking for actors to cast in her upcoming movie. She is also a collaborator of acclaimed Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki.
While remembering his miracle day, Al-Rafeea said:
“I was in the street with a group of friends. I saw Jennifer, and she asked me if I would like to act. My first reaction was like ‘OK, I have no problem with that.’ She took a video of me, sent it to Nadine and things went on from there.”
He was not trained as an actor or interested in being one. The teenager only agreed to do the role for his future betterment and his family.
Zain did not even know how to write his name when he signed one of the biggest Lebanese films, Capernaum.
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Role In Capernaum
Capernaum is director Nadine Labaki's 2018 drama film based on the life of Zain El Hajj, a 12-year-old living in the slums of Beirut.
Zain Al Rafeea played the lead Zain El Hajj, whose story was similar to his real-life struggles.
The movie was filmed in a flashback format, focusing on Zain's life which included his encounter with an Ethiopian immigrant Rahil (Yordanos Shiferaw) and his attempt to sue his parents (Kawthar Al Haddad as Souad, Zain's mother, and Fadi Kamel Youssef as Selim, Zain's father) for child neglect.
Screenwriter and director Labaki described the film as:
"At the end of the day, ... children are really paying a very high price for our conflicts, and our wars, and our systems, and our stupid decisions, and governments. I felt the need to talk about the problem, and I was thinking, if those children could talk, or could express themselves, what would they say? What would they tell us, this society that ignores them?
The film was made on a budget of $4 million, which movie producer Khaled Mouzanar collected after taking out a mortgage on his house.
Fortunately, Capernaum became a huge success grossing over $68 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing Arabic film and the highest-grossing Middle-Eastern film of all time.
It also gathered critical acclaim-The New York Times ranked it as the ninth greatest film of 2018.
The movie was selected as Lebanon's Best Foreign Language Film entry at the 2019 Academy Awards and received the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Al-Rafeea did not expect the success and the love he received from the movie.
"I did not imagine in my wildest dreams that I have such an international success. "I just thought of it as an acting experience, but things went in a much better direction."
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Awards And Nominations
For his heart-wrenching performance, Al-Rafeea received many acclaimed awards and nominations.
He won Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival for Best Actor, New Mexico Film Critics for Best Young Actor/Actress In 2018.
He also received a nomination for Asia Pacific Screen Awards for Best Performance by an Actor.
Similarly, in 2019 he was nominated for The Lebanese Movie Awards for Best Ensemble Cast.
The same year, Al-Rafeea won FEST International Film Festival for Best Debut and the 40th Annual Young Artist Awards for Breakout Performance Award.
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Zain Al Rafeaa's New Beginning In Norway
Soon after his massive international success, Zain Al Rafeaa received life-changing news.
In 2018, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, informed him that he was now going to settle in Norway, a process that started in 2016.
They moved to the Nordic country in August 2018. The next daym Al Rafeea began attending school in Hammerfest.
Capernaum director Labaki talked about Zian's new life in a new country:
"To be resettled in a third country, and having this kind of life – it truly is a new beginning. If he stayed in the conditions he was in, I think there was a big chance that Zain was going to be facing some kind trouble in life".
Upon moving to a new country, his parents gave an interview giving credit to their son's success for their new and improved life.
"It is a perfect country, the people are so calm, and there are no fights or even traffic. Having water and electricity all the time is a great thing."
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Entry Into Marvel Cinematic Universe Via Eternals
To be a "Marvel actor" is a big thing, and Al Rafeaa became a part of the universe following his role in Eternals.
The movie tells the story of a race of immortal aliens who lived secretly on Earth.
He got an opportunity to work with A-listers such as Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Salma Hayek, and the list goes on.
It was again Nadine who gave him this opportunity. She introduced him to Hollywood directors and producers; the rest is history.
Zain plays the role of an alien hero as a human who can speak a mysterious 7,000-year-old language in the movie.
He, in an interview, gushed about his Eternals co-star Salma Hayek.
"When we finished the first day's shooting, Salma Hayek came up and hugged me. That night she gave me an iPad and iPhone, and we chatted and listened to music together."
What's Next For Zain Al Rafeea?
The future seems brighter for the up-and-coming actor Zain Al Rafeea.
With two successful projects under his bag, he is on the way to becoming the acting world's future face.
Al Rafeea is active on Instagram and TikTok and often shares his day-to-day journey.
He is currently busy with his education and new life in Norway.