This scriptwriter wants to break down stereotypes about Muslims, but there are two quite big problems

This scriptwriter wants to break down stereotypes about Muslims, but there are two quite big problems

Welcome to 2016, where there is outrage over the lack of diversity at the Oscars and yet well-intentioned film makers are still making tone deaf suggestions.

The script writer of the 2000 blockbuster Gladiator, David Franzoni, has announced that he's begun work on a new project about the life and times of 13th century Sufi poet Jalaluddin al-Rumi.

Rumi led quite the life: he was a scholar who was forced to flee his home in present-day Afghanistan after the Mongol invasion. He lived in Baghdad, Mecca, Damascus and Konya in Turkey, experiences which infused his poetry, still loved across the world today.

Franzoni's idea - to create a counter to stereotypical depictions of Muslims in Hollywood - is a noble one. He told the Guardian:

[Rumi is] like a Shakespeare... He’s a character who has enormous talent and worth to his society and his people, and obviously resonates today.

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 United States. I think it gives him a face and a story.

But you know what they say about good intentions.

Turns out Franzoni and producer Stephen Joel Brown's top choice for the role of Rumi is... Leonardo di Caprio.

If you think we mean the Catholic white guy, you're right. We do mean that one.

On top of that, the filmmakers are crossing their fingers over bagging Robert Downey Jr to star as Shams i-Tabrizi, Rumi's mentor.

Yes, that other Catholic white guy.

Twitter, as you might imagine, was not happy about the continued Hollywood ignorance of white-washing.

Casting hasn't begun yet, though, so there's still hope. Filming on the biopic is set to start in Istanbul in 2017.

Until then, you can get your white washing fix by watching Scarlett Johansson play a Japanese character in the upcoming live action adaption of the Ghost in the Shell manga comics.

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