WEB DESK: Leonardo DiCaprio is rolled up to play as Rumi in Rumi’s Biopic but the movie fans have refused him to play Sufi poet’s role.
Nearly 7,000 people have signed a petition demanding producers cast a Middle Eastern actor to play Persian poet Rumi in the film.
The fans have called the suggestion absurd and yet another example of Hollywood whitewashing, reported The Independent.
Screenwriters David Franzoni and Stephen Joel Brown said in a recent interview that they hope to “challenge the stereotypical portrayal of Muslim characters in Western cinema” before stating their intention to cast DiCaprio in the lead and fellow white US actor Robert Downey Jr as Shams of Tabriz.
People set trend on twitter #RumiWasntWhite. People expressed their views all over social media.
— Vivid Ricky (@VividRicky) June 29, 2016
People took the idea of casting Leo as a racist act.
Dream cast? David Franzoni needs to check his racism. #RumiWasntWhite
— Anis Mojgani (@mojgani) June 28, 2016
— Anna Meier (@anna_strophe) June 20, 2016
“Casting Leonardo DiCaprio as Rumi rewrites history, takes possession of Muslim accomplishments and gives the credit to a white man,” reads the petition, set up by Valerie Janovic. “Now, when people think of Rumi, they’ll picture him with pale skin, blond hair and blue eyes. Muslim actors are readily typecast as terrorists but when a movie portrays a Muslim in a positive light, they are shunted off to the side to make room for another white actor. The casting for the Rumi movie is not yet final and together we can change it.”
Despite the failure of casting an appropriate actor to play as Rumi, the producers of the film Franzoni and Brown have been doing research about the subject matter of the film.
They recently travelled to Turkey where they met Rumi experts in Istanbul and visited his mausoleum in Konya in a bid to build credible and identifiable profiles of the characters from Islamic history.
The film will be more focused primarily on Rumi’s teachings and meeting with Shams, who mysteriously disappeared (some believe he was killed by Rumi’s jealous son while others think he married Rumi’s outspoken daughter Kimya) and inspired much of a bereft Rumi’s most acclaimed poetry.
Rumi was the best-selling poet in the US in 2014. His epics, Masnavi and the Divan, are widely considered among the best poetry ever written.