5 Hollywood Movies with Arab Lead Actors

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Arab actors are starting to become more prominent in Hollywood as far more than just background extras or stereotypical terrorists. There are many that are starting to not only become notable names of the big screen, but also lead them as well. Here are five movies where Arab actors have taken the lead.

1 of 5

The Kite Runner (starring Khalid Abdalla)
Based on the novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner follows the young Amir who feels guilty about abandoning his friend, set against the Soviet military intervention of Afghanistan and the mass exodus that followed. Even though the film was mostly shot in China, the casting boasts plenty of Arab actors including Khalid Abdalla as the lead and Afghan born Zekeria Ebrahimi playing the younger version of Amir.

2 of 5

Buster’s Mal Heart (starring Rami Malek)
Rami Malek stars as the titular Buster, a husband and father crippled with a night job that messes with his mind. Set against the Y2K hysteria of 1999, Buster begins to lose his mind as time begins to escape him and the theory of incoming dimensional inversion seems more real to  him than silly. Malek is an Egyptian-American that is best known for playing the lead on TV’s Mr. Robot.

3 of 5

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Amr Waked acts alongside Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt in this romantic comedy. Waked plays Muhammed bin Zaidi bani Tihama, a sheikh who desperately wants to bring fly fishing to Yemen by enlisting the expertise of fishing expert Dr. Alfred Jones (McGregor). Waked is an Egyptian actor best known for appearing in Syriana and Lucy.

4 of 5

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
Though shot in southern California, Ana Lily Amirpour’s unconventional horror film boasts an Iranian setting with Arab actors. The film stars Sheila Vand, an American of Iranian descent, as the vampire girl that wanders her ghost town at night, feasting on the necks of the unlucky few that cross her path. Other Iranians fill out the cast as well, including Mozhan Marnò (Traitor), Marshall Manesh (How I Met Your Mother) and Dominic Rains.

5 of 5

The Big Sick (starring Kumail Nanjiani)
In this romantic comedy by producer Judd Apatow, The Big Sick follows Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) on the tough road of falling in love with the white girl Emily (Zoe Kazan), much to the chagrin of both their families. Their dealing with cultural differences becomes all the more troubling when Emily falls into a coma. In classic Apatow fashion, it’s as sweetly dramatic as it is hilariously funny, while making great use of Nanjiani and his heritage.

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