Actors who look Middle Eastern and don’t mind playing villains can work steadily, according to Nick Timiraos in the WSJ. Allegedly this is a problem for those who don’t want to be stereotyped or seen as “perpetuating a negative image of Middle Easterners”.
FBLA recalls the old joke–wanna hear an actor complain? Give him a job.
The Arab-American community also weighs in on the writing of such roles, such as in 24, where two years ago, the the “Arab next door” was a terrorist and in this season’s premiere, when a Middle Eastern terror leader detonated a nuclear bomb in a Los Angeles suburb. For academics, this is a growth industry.
What’s a struggling actor to do?
Acting, it’s called acting. Italian actors smeared on war paint and played Indians for decades. Omar Sharif played characters named Nicky Arnstein, Yuri Zhivago, Tsai Mang Hua, and the Marquis Hippolite.