Leonardo DiCaprio as a white Rumi? Twitter isn't having it

Leonardo DiCaprio as a white Rumi? Twitter isn't having it

Leo's being considered to play the Sufi mystic in an upcoming biopic
07 Jun, 2016

A biopic on Sufi mystic Jalaluddin Rumi is in the works, and Hollywood is behind it.

Gladiator writer David Franzoni and producer Stephen Joel Brown (Se7en, The Fujitive, A Perfect Murder) have signed on to the project. Both insist that the film will challenge Muslim stereotypes in western cinema, reports The Guardian.

Not everyone is convinced that the film will live up to its lofty goals. Why?

For starters, Franzoni and producer Stephen Joel Brown have actors like Leonardo Di Caprio and Robert Downing Jr in mind for the roles of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz.

Twitter is having none of this whitewashing.

Some people are just plain outraged:

Others are pointing out the obvious: #RumiWasntWhite:

Some others believe that the biopic will do more damage than good vis-à-vis the goal of 'challenging Muslim stereotypes':

A few just think that that Hollywood is overstepping:

Here's hoping the producer doesn't make it any worse:


ahmad Jun 07, 2016 11:53am
the drama "Mein Abdul Qader Hoon" was shot in Istanbul pretending to be showing night clubs in england, they look quite similar, no big deal.
SIAK Jun 07, 2016 12:59pm
Both are great actors. They mush sign up to do this film.
Khalid Farooq Jun 07, 2016 01:08pm
Leo can easily pass off as an Afghan, many of them are blonde with blue eyes
samunderkerang Jun 07, 2016 01:34pm
He should play Nelson Mandela.
Satt Jun 07, 2016 01:37pm
Rumi is not what he looks..rumi is words and sound which has beauty and fragrance.Rumi is Farsi.Even if you make leo looks like Rumi would he bring beauty of the language and words.Can he pronounce words of Farsi in he can't.
Ali Asif Khan Jun 07, 2016 01:39pm
Expecting/demanding that all Muslim characters be played by 'brown' actors is actually also stereotyping! If Rumi was a Persio-Afghan then I don't see an issue. Not all Muslims, Middle-Easterners or South Asians are 'Brown'! Most of Afghans & some Persians are caucasian-looking with blond hair and blue/green eyes! I just hope it's a good film!
Kashif Jun 07, 2016 02:15pm
Doesn't seems a bad option provided they do pay close attention to personalities likes Shams Tabraizi.
Ahmer Jun 07, 2016 02:46pm
It would be better than a desi actor talking in English in a desi accent. Mind you Rumi did not speak English at all. Unless the movie will be in Persian, there is no need for desi accent. Or better yet get a gora desi who has no accent at all.
Aamer Jun 07, 2016 03:03pm
Please dont forget the persian people have fair complexion not dark. So both of the Hollywood actors will be perfect for the parts.
Sauron Jun 07, 2016 03:18pm
Well. I thought Rumi was Persian. And they are white. Why the big deal? Pakistanis would have been just as mad of an Indian actor had been cast.
Shabedeh Jun 07, 2016 03:42pm
what's the big deal ... Rumi was Afghan and Afghans are blue and blond, majority of them. as far as the actor playing Rumi is concerned, I think Leo will make a great Rumi in the film. since we don't know the script yet, so can't comment on how true the presented facts will be in the film.
Sheesha Jun 07, 2016 10:04pm
Pakistanis dont believe in Sufism
shereen Jun 08, 2016 03:46am
I found the comments funnier than the concept of one of the greatest actors of our times playing a complex great man from history. I am also surprised to learn that many/most afghan are blond. Light haired yes, but I have yet to see a blond afghan.
Masood Jun 08, 2016 09:46am
Well he has dark hair and dark beard, he even looks like a northern Persian, now the eyes are a problem which can be made darker with colored contacts, plus he is a damn good actor.
Anniyah Jun 08, 2016 12:09pm
WHy did they choose an Englishman to play "Lawrence of Arabia" ?
Anniyah Jun 08, 2016 12:13pm
@Khalid Farooq : very few Afghans are blue or green-eyed and blonde.
Trollslayer Jun 08, 2016 12:57pm
Rumi can be played by Afghan-American actor Donnie Keshawarz and Shams can be authored by Peyman Moaadi, who starred in Oscar winner, A Separation. Unfortunately, actors that actually speak Persian/Dari cannot draw an audience like DiCaprio and Downey Jr. Critics need to understand that Hollywood studio executives won't bankroll big budget movies with unknown actors and it is all about the color of money, not color of skin. I certainly wouldn't mind watching DiCaprio and Downey play Rumi and Shams respectively. They are great actors that can do justice to Rumi and Shams. @ Shereen You must live under a rock if you have never seen an Afghan with light hair and green eyes. The iconic Afghan girl on the cover of National Geographic magazine from the 80s represents a typical Afghan look. Look up Afghan cricketers Rokhan Barakzai, Samiullah Shenwari, Mirwais Ashraf, Noor Ali Zadran, Sharafuddin Ashraf and actor Donnie Keshawarz to sample the Afghan look.
Trollslayer Jun 08, 2016 01:45pm
@Anniyah Look up Afghan cricketers Rokhan Barakzai, Samiullah Shenwari, Mirwais Ashraf, Noor Ali Zadran, Sharafuddin Ashraf, actor Donnie Keshawarz and singer Farhad Darya for proof of Afghans with light eyes and a microcosm of the Afghan look.
Raja Farhat abbas Jun 10, 2016 11:15am
@Anniyah Because he was an Englishman Duh.
Amarnath Jun 10, 2016 12:41pm
if the movie is made for western audiences, it makes sense to have big western names like Leo and Downy. It does not make sense to have an unknown name in a movie that is based on a persian poet. The movie might only find audiences in Iran. good choice by the movie makers. twitter sometimes is nuisance.