Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who is often known for playing memorable characters in his films, will not be playing the iconic Persian poet Rumi.
This comes in the wake of several headlines which stated that The Revenant actor would play the lead role in Rumi, while Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr would essay the second lead, Iranian mystic Shams of Tabriz.
A source close to the actor was quoted by The Hollywood Reporter as saying, “He hasn’t been asked, but regardless he will not be pursuing the project.”
However, hordes of agitators have signed a petition against the makers, not to cast DiCaprio as the protagonist in the biopic of Rumi.
Claiming it as yet another incident of ‘Hollywood whitewashing’, the petitioners accused the makers of racism for not giving Muslim actors positive roles.
“Casting Leonardo DiCaprio as Rumi rewrites history, takes possession of Muslim accomplishments and gives the credit to a white man,” said Valerie Janovic, a person who began the petition.
The controversy began when screenwriter David Franzoni and producer Stephen Joel Brown revealed their casting plans, in an interview with The Guardian, which ultimately turned out to be their ‘dream casting’.
DiCaprio’s next is yet unconfirmed. But he’s producing Ben Affleck’s next directorial venture Live By Night and a horror-thriller Delirium.