Dear Jake Gyllenhaal,
You are not Iranian. You are not Persian either, which you may have mistaken for some different race or ethnicity, totally understandable! but it’s the same.
And I know you have really thick eyebrows and dark hair and a somewhat larger nose, but you remain white. I realize that Rodrigo Santoro played Xerxes in 300, and sure, he’s a person of color, but he’s not Iranian either. And that was wrong of him to do. It was wrong of him to be cast as Xerxes. I wonder if he found it annoying that his dark features landed him that role…? And sure, you could argue that you were just given this role to play, and there are larger powers here, like Disney, who need to be held accountable, but you do too. And let’s face it, Disney has a lot they need to fix, not just their racism.
Do you feel guilty or weird about playing an Iranian? I guess all the Iranian actors were busy playing terrorists in other movies.
Did Andy Samberg’s love song to Ahmadinejad confuse you into thinking you are Iranian?
So, did you learn Farsi, or are you taking the Oliver Stone Alexander speak jibberish route? Or did you just come up with an awesome Iranian accent? Remember, it is “up estairs” and “dats a good von!”
Since you are already in this and the movie is listed as being in post-production, I do have a word of advice for you: next time consult my dear friend Rob Schneider. His Filipino background, which I for one have never heard him speak openly about, has afforded him the right to play Middle Easterners, Latinos, Asians, and all kinds of races and ethnicities. (Interestingly enough, when Mel Gibson went all crazy and spewed hatred towards Jews, Schneider stated he would never work with Gibson. I guess Schneider can be prejudiced, but no one else can.) Schneider is really great at really milking stereotypes too. Next time you are met with the challenge of portraying a different race or ethnicity you should call him up. OR! Robert Downey Jr…he got an Oscar nomination for wearing black face.
I know it takes a lot of courage to do what you are doing. And I am sure that you will represent my people with great dignity. No Iranian could play the Prince of Persia as well as a white A-list Hollywood actor!
I hope a movie is soon made about Ahmadinejad and Mike Myers plays him. He is really awesome too.
Now that you are an honorary Iranian here are some tips:
-refer to yourself as Persian, it makes people less suspicious and does not conjure images of crazies with guns and hatred for the US
-move to LA if you do not already live there
-get a BMW or Merceds…BMW is cooler though
-wear Armani Exchange
-change your name to Ali or Mahdi or Farzad
-get stopped by airport security
-let that uni-brow grow in
-get yourself a pair of slippers for the bathroom, one for the kitchen, and another for the rest of the house
– drink a lot of tea, and perfect holding a sugar cube between your teeth while sipping it
-get some Persian rugs…and cats
-invite me to your house for NoRooz
-smoke ghalyun, or hookah
-visit your family back home
Well, those are just some few pointers I wanted to share. We are, afterall, family now.
p.s. I am really glad Alfred Molina worked with you on this movie. His performance in Not Without My Daughter was the best portrayal of an Iranian…until now, I am sure.