Over the years, Hollywood hasn't portrayed Muslims in the best light, often painting them solely as soldiers and terrorists.
But two filmmakers want to change all that with the story of a Muslim literary legend.
Unfortunately, they want Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Downey Jr. to play the leads. Seriously.
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Gladiator writer David Franzoni, along with producer Stephen Joel brown, are making a movie about the 13th-century poet Jalaluddin al-Rumi and have said they want to challenge the stereotypical depiction of Muslims in western films by showing the life of the great Sufi poet.
The film will follow the life of Rumi as he encounters a mystic by the name of Shams of Tabriz who had an indelible affect on the artist. After Shams' mysterious disappearance, Jalaluddin went on to write a lot of the love poems for which he's so widely recognized today.
While this sounds like a great story, the BIG problem is that Franzoni has said that they want Leo to play Rumi and RDJ to play Shams! Though they admitted it was too early to start casting, David revealed:
"This is the level of casting that we're talking about."
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The producer also said:
"It's a very exciting project – and obviously challenging. There are a lot of reasons we're making a product like this right now. I think it's a world that needs to be spoken to; Rumi is hugely popular in the United States. I think it gives him a face and a story."
The filmmaker went on to gush about Rumi's work and why his poerty is so relatable, saying:
"I think it's obvious why people love his poetry. There's a line about Lawrence of Arabia when they ask him why he likes the desert, and he says ‘because it's clean'. There's something profoundly ‘gettable' about Rumi. You get it. And not only do you get it but it involves you."
We're not opposed to the idea of the movie at all, but didn't David and Stephen get the memo after the whole #OscarsSoWhite controversy?!
Let's hope Leo and RDJ at least see the problem with playing those parts…
What do you think about the filmmakers' dream casting choices?
[Image via Kento Nara/Future Image/WENN.]
Tags: controversy, david franzoni, film flickers, jalaluddin al-rumi, leonardo dicaprio, robert downey jr., shams of tabriz, shephen joel brown