April 11, 2007
Swords With Two Edges
Interesting piece in The Wall Street Journal about the double-edged sword 9/11 has been for actors of Middle-Eastern descent. Over the last few years, demand for such actors has exploded, and the parts have become more significant and substantive -- but they've all been for terrorists. Many of the actors would rather avoid being typecast in quite that way, and so the question of how to transition -- or whether Hollywood will let them -- looms large.
I've seen a bit of this following the career of the mega-talented Omid Abtahi, who was my neighbor and occasional babysitter growing up. As his IMDB page details, he's spent some of his earlier parts on the post-GWOT milieu, playing terrorists on 24 and Sleeper Cell and, somewhat differently, an Arab-American soldier in Over There. But the future projects section suggests he's been able to transition out almost entirely, and he'll be co-starring as Mohammed in the screen adaptation of Michael Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, playing a Sikh surgeon in Ocean of Pearls, and voicing Dr. Jagu in Space Chimps, which sounds pretty awesome.
April 11, 2007 | Permalink
I'd bet he'll probably be proudest of Space Chimps. But, on the other hand, he does get to work with Stiffler. Talk about being typecast, even in an animated film, he's still playing a goofball with the "wrong stuff".
Posted by: DaveInTheCorn | Apr 11, 2007 10:43:46 AM
British-Iranian comic Omid Djalili has a great line on this topic. Here's a piece he wrote a while back on it:
Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Apr 11, 2007 2:15:48 PM
No subscription to WSJ, so I can't read the article, but I thought I'd mention the case of Naveen Andrews. He was in "The English Patient," playing Kip the (Pakistani, I think?) bomb defuser who sparks a romance with Juliette Binoche. Juicy part, much-lauded movie, but I don't know if it launched him into success. Now he's playing Sayyid, the Iraqi Republican Guard torture expert (but not a terrorist!) with a heart of gold in "Lost," and enjoying incredible fame and presumably fortune. Oh, also, he's in "Grindhouse," playing an Afghani chemical weapon engineer who collects the testicles of those who displease him. Rock on, Naveen!
Posted by: Eric | Apr 11, 2007 5:42:32 PM
Oh, forgot to mention-- he's actually of Indian descent, not Middle Eastern, but was born in London. And he's dating Barbara Hershey!
Posted by: Eric | Apr 11, 2007 5:46:29 PM
Posted by: judy | Sep 28, 2007 5:20:31 AM
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