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‘Rumi wasn’t white’: Twitter reacts to DiCaprio’s new role as Persian poet

Twitter critics also lashed at what they called Hollywood’s double standards

Published: Updated:

Fans inundated their social media accounts with celebratory messages after Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his first Oscar earlier this year.

But not all of the 41-year-old actor’s fanbase received the news of him possibly starring as the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi with the same enthusiasm.

Posting under the #RumiWasntWhite hashtag - a nod towards the blond-haired, blue-eyed Titanic star’s perceived lack of resemblance to Rumi – Twitter users protested the unusual casting suggestion by a prominent Hollywood writer.

Dave Franzoni, Oscar-winning writer of the Gladiator, had earlier told the Guardian that DiCaprio would be a good choice to play the great Sufi scholar in the upcoming biographical film he was writing.

Franzoni hopes to defy the stereotypical portrayal of Muslim characters in western cinema by recounting the life of Rumi, whose poems and prose remain popular today.

In writing the character, the production team has been “trying to invent and resurrect a character at the same time,” Franzoni said.

Twitter critics also lashed at what they called Hollywood’s double standards. Earlier this year, Idris Elba, a black British actor, was touted as the new James Bond, although was not seen as “English enough” to play James Bond.