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News > Culture

#RumiWasntWhite: Outrage at Latest Hollywood Whitewashing

  • The potential casting of DiCaprio as Rumi has caused quite an uproar.

    The potential casting of DiCaprio as Rumi has caused quite an uproar. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Published 8 June 2016

The crew behind a new biopic of legendary Persian poet Hazrat Melvana Jalaluddin Rumi want the role to go to Leonardo DiCaprio.

Hollywood screenwriter Dave Franzoni has signed on to write the biopic of Rumi, the 13th-century Persian Muslim poet and is hoping Leonardo DiCaprio will play Rumi, The Guardian reported Monday.

Hollywood Stars Say Oscars and All US Rife with Racism

In only the latest incident of whitewashing in Hollywood, producer Stephen Joel Brown too hopes that the lead role of a Persian and Muslim figure will go to DiCaprio.

Despite them saying that Rumi’s life is "a world that needs to be spoken to” and that they hope to break stereotypes with the film, the irony appears to be lost on movie execs.

With recent examples of Hollywood casting white actors to play people of color, as seen when white actors played ancient Egyptians in the movie Gods of Egypt, or Scarlett Johansson playing an Asian character in the film adaptation of famed comic series Ghost in the Shell, this is the latest blow.

Of course, social media was in an uproar at the news, calling out the blatant whitewashing. Twitter users took to the hashtag #RumiWasntWhite on Tuesday to express their disapproval.

This year, racism in the movie industry came into the spotlight when Black actors boycotted the Academy Awards due to the absence of nominations for Black stars.

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