In the October 14/21 issue of Entertainment Weekly, the special “reunion” issue, there is a special report on Middle Eastern actors in film. Sid is quoted, along with many others, about being an actor of Arab descent in Hollywood.
The implicit onscreen hostility to Arabs post-9/11 shocked Alexander Siddig, a Sudanese-born British actor whose charismatic medic Julian Bashir on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-99) had been a breakthrough Arab character in pop culture. “Suddenly, there was a deluge of roles that came to me in which I’d have a metaphorical sword in my teeth, climbing over a ship ready to rape and pillage everybody,” says Siddig, 45. “My agent told me I’d work much less if I only waited for positive characters.” After seven years of regular employment, Siddig had the luxury to choose roles carefully. He played a lieutenant to noble Islamic warrior Saladin in Ridley Scott’s evenhanded 2005 crusader epic Kingdom of Heaven. And he recalls an audience in Beirut erupting into cheers when Saladin restores a cross that had been dislodged from a church altar – a moment symbolizing reconciliation between Christians and Muslims.
Scans of the full article are attached, courtesy of Nick, and worth reading.