Persian-Poet Movie Wants DiCaprio: Huh?

A biopic of 13th-century Persian poet Jalal al-Din Rumi and the upcoming “Spider-Man” reboot are both in the middle of a new whitewashing row. “Gladiator” screenwriter David Franzoni is working on a film that he hopes will challenge Muslim stereotypes in the US and hopes to cast Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role, with Robert Downey Jr alongside. “It’s a very exciting project – and obviously challenging,” Franzoni told the Guardian. “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 US. I think it gives him a face and a story.” But the casting suggestion has led to upset, with a petition starting and the use of #RumiWasntWhite on Twitter, with standup comic Aamer Rahman and Fresh Off the Boat actor Constance Wu expressing their dismay.

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