Movies That Could Have Benefited From Casting Muslims
Exodus - Gods and Kings
Riz Ahmed was recently in talks to play the villain of Venom in the next Spider-Man movie. It’s a bold move to cast a Pakistan actor in a role you wouldn’t normally assume, especially for a big comic book blockbuster. It begs the question: what other roles could benefit from having a Muslim cast in the role? Here is AboutHer’s list of Hollywood movies that could’ve benefited from casting Muslims in the lead roles.
London Has Fallen
The sequel to Olympus Has Fallen that featured Muslim terrorists setting fire to the streets of London was an offensive exploitation piece in typical action tropes, but what if Gerard Butler’s character was recast as Muslim? If the hero were of the same race as the multiple attacking terrorists, it would create a more frightening scenario where the action star finds himself being shot at by both sides. It’s a premise that holds the potential of being unique social commentary within an action picture, as opposed to being the usual explosive romp of rugged white guy guns down hordes of brown people.
The only Muslims you’ll see in The Mummy are either gun-toting terrorists or an undead monster that wants your soul. But what if Tom Cruise’s sidekick was replaced by a native of the area of Iraq with extensive knowledge of the region and its history as opposed to the bumbling and cowering Jake Johnson? It would certainly make his role more meaningful and interesting as a character that would offer better commentary than “this is intense.”
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Wouldn’t it make sense for the heroic prince of Persia to be, you know, Persian? Instead, the movie decided to cast all of its leads as white English actors, hardly even trying to mask their accents. If only just one solid Persian actor was cast as the prince instead of Jake Gyllenhaal, it could have made a big difference in the legitimacy of the character and may have turned a ho-hum blockbuster into a bigger success.
Exodus: Gods and Kings
Ridley Scott argued that he couldn’t make his Biblical epic with an unknown Muslim actor, but did he have to cast EVERYONE in the film as Caucasian? It’s also very off-putting that all the extras of slaves in the background are played by people of color, teasing of other actors that could have better filled out the lead roles. Of the many roles that could have benefited from a Muslim actor, Ramesses and Joshua could have used better actors than Joel Edgerton and Aaron Paul. I’m fairly certain there’s a Muslim actor out there that’s better than Aaron Paul for such a role.
Gods of Egypt
Even though Alex Proyas’ Gods of Egypt is mostly fantastical and plays loose with the mythology, it could still use a bit of color past the tanned appearances of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gerard Butler in the roles of Horus and Set. Ridley Scott’s argument of requiring bigger names as opposed to lesser Muslim actors doesn’t hold water here as the film didn’t make much money at the box office. If you’re going to spend all that money on an Egyptian blockbuster, why not take a chance on an unknown that could surprise the audience rather than a safe and white B-list actor? It would certainly make it easier for Proyas who tried to excuse that casting and later apologized for his statements.