Diversity is a much greater factor in Hollywood than ever, but actress Sarah Shahi – the actress rumored to play the alter-ego of the ancient goddess Isis in the upcoming Black Adam film – still thinks the film industry still has a long way to go.
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In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Shahi spoke not only about what it was like to work with the film’s star, Dwayne Johnson, but also on how the film is bustind down stereotypes.
Of Johnson, Shahi heaped praise on the way blockbuster movie star conducts himself as a businessman and as an on set professional.
“Well, [Black Adam is] a big deal for a lot of reasons,” Shahi said. “I’m getting the chance to work with Dwayne, who happens to be one of the kindest humans ever.”
“And it’s admirable to watch him be the businessman and the actor that he is. He treats everybody on set so well,” she continued. “When he speaks to you, it’s like you’re the only person in the room.”
Shahi added, “Everyone should take a lesson from his book because he’s quite remarkable to witness and to be on set with. He’s the real deal, through and through.”
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On the subject of Black Adam, the actress noted that the film’s production was a big deal because of the opportunity it presented, in her view, to change the way Middle Easterners like herself are seen and represented in movies.
“So not only is it cool for that, but I’m Middle Eastern; I’m Persian,” noted Shahi. “And there’s not a lot of Middle Eastern representation out there, so being in a movie like this really helps make a statement for my culture and where I come from.”
The actress also related her hope that the film would help break the stereotypes surrounding Middle Eastern actors and help them to be cast in a wider range of roles.
“There are other Middle Eastern actors that I know who are either getting cast in terrorist roles or they’re really being stereotyped by how they look,” Shahi explained. “So I’m hoping that, on some level, Black Adam will help break open that stereotype.”
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As asserted by the actress, her wish is that the film will help Hollywood “will become more colorblind in a way, and will open itself up to more Middle Eastern actors and storylines.”
As a bonus, Shahi shared her excitement at the fact that her children will be able to see Black Adam sans restrictions or much parental guidance. “And on top of that, this is the first thing I’ve been a part of that my kids can actually watch,” she said. “So that’s nice.”
As for the film itself, it seems as if nearly everything has been done to give Black Adam as much representation and diversity as possible, from casting Aldis Hodge, a person of color, as Hawkman to revealing the nonbinary Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone.
Middle Eastern actors Marwan Kenzari, known for Netflix’s The Old Guard and Disney’s live-action Aladdin, and Mohammed Amer, star of the Hulu sitcom Ramy, were also cast, but their roles have not yet been disclosed.
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Rumors indicate Kenzari might be playing Sabbac, a Russian mafioso and satanic equivalent of Shazam, who summoned in one incarnation even summoned the Devil.
Furthermore, though it has yet to be confirmed, the current rumor is that Shahi is playing Adrianna Tomaz, better known as the goddess Isis. According to recently updated casting details, Tomaz is described as a freedom-fighting university professor in Kahndaq.
Do you agree with Sarah Shahi’s commentary on Black Adam and diversity? Do you think the film will change some perceptions? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!