Hollywood is clearly in the midst of a major cultural reset, with the future of the industry being more heavily influenced by diversity, representation and inclusion than ever before. While you might not expect mega budget blockbusters to be at the forefront of such widespread change, Black Adam star Sarah Shahi believes Dwayne Johnson’s DCEU debut will shatter any preconceived notions the movie business may have about the majority of the cast.
Johnson is very much a man of the people, not to mention one of the most popular and wholesome personalities out there, so it’s hardly a shock that he sought diversity and as many different backgrounds as possible when recruiting Black Adam‘s supporting cast. In addition to Johnson and Shahi, the ensemble also features Noah Centineo, Marwan Kenzari, Mohammed Amer, Uli Latufeko, non-binary performer Quintessa Swindell, Aldis Hodge and Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate.
In a new interview, Shahi heaped praised on Black Adam‘s producer and leading man for his humility and personality, as well as outlining her belief that Jaume Collet-Serra’s cosmic comic book adaptation is going to break open industry-wide stereotypes that have plagued performers such as herself for decades.
“Well, it’s a big deal for a lot of reasons. 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. When he speaks to you, it’s like you’re the only person in the room. 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.”
So not only is it cool for that, but I’m Middle Eastern; I’m Persian. 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. 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. So I’m hoping that, on some level, Black Adam will help break open that stereotype. And hopefully, Hollywood will become more colorblind in a way, and will open itself up to more Middle Eastern actors and storylines. And on top of that, this is the first thing I’ve been a part of that my kids can actually watch. So that’s nice.”
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Shahi will play Adrianna Tomaz, a university professor and freedom fighter leading a resistance in the fictional country of Kahndaq, but the character has also been known as Egyptian goddess Isis, and is regularly positioned as the female equivalent of Black Adam. Person of Interest fans will be fully aware that the actress is a bona fide badass having starred as Sameen Shaw in four of the show’s five seasons, so she’ll definitely be able to convince as a teacher-turned-rebel in next summer’s epic.