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Suicide Squad’s Will Smith: ‘Middle East needs to tell its own story’

Will smith said Middle East’s ‘beauty and culture’ not represented in world cinema

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Even though Middle Eastern cinema industry has grown in recent years it continues to struggle for the spotlight and much of its heritage and culture gets lost in translation.

Much of the world cinema has either portrayed the Middle East as a ‘terror-producing’ region or a land of camel riders. This stereotype was highlighted by none other than Hollywood star Will Smith during his visit to Dubai recently.

“The Middle East isn’t represented accurately in world cinema,” Will Smith said during a press conference in Dubai on Sunday, adding that the Middle East can’t allow Fox News to be the sole arbiter of images from the region.

“No one can expect someone else to tell their story. Everyone wants to tell their own story,” Smith said. “It’s not the responsibility of the establishment, but holders of the truth to learn how to deliver it artistically in a way that’s globally viable.”

The award winning actor – who visited Dubai to promote the latest DC Comics blockbuster, Suicide Squad, explained how cinema plays a big part in forming an image and “the soul of a place to a global audience.”

“A big part of America and the impression of America from the 1940s that was sent out to the world was Hollywood. Hollywood was the picture of America,” Smith said, explaining how the Middle East’s “beauty and culture” inspires him to play a part in bringing stories from the region to the big screen.

“I’d love to be a part of figuring out how to help local filmmakers tell their stories,” he said, and revealed that he had spoken with Dubai Film and TV Commission about getting filmmakers of the region into the global stream.

‘Islamophobia’

During the press conference Smith took time to discuss Donald Trump and the growing instances of anti-Muslim bias in the US.

Smith, who plays hitman Deadshot in the DC action movie, emphasized the importance of sharing his experience of the Middle East in the middle of the hate-filled rhetoric that has marked the 2016 Presidential election in the United States.

“In terms of Islamophobia in America, I feel it’s important that I show up here in Dubai,” he said, “so I can show people my picture and say, ‘Hey – it doesn’t look like they hate me, does it?’”

The 47-year-old star also had a few words to say about the Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, whose views on Muslim immigration to the US have been very controversial.

“As the election goes on, I do feel I’ll be specifically called on to speak out – but I’m confident that what we’re seeing in America right now is a kind of a cleansing process,” Smith said.

“And as painful and embarrassing as it is to hear Donald Trump speak, I think it’s good too – we get to know who people are and ultimately cleanse it out of our system.”