Actors in Hollywood – Getting to Know Middle Eastern Actors


middle eastern actors in hollywood

The largest concentration of these types of actors is in shows like House and Entourage. Many of these characters are well known within their own communities as someone who is a positive role model. In reality however, most are just playing the part to attract an ethnicity, a nationality or a religion that is more prevalent in their home countries. They may be “real” actors but not “ollywood” ones.

This Is Not To Say That All Are Dishonest.

A zebra standing on top of a grass covered field

There are some very good and hardworking actors with whom Hollywood would not have been able to produce so many great shows if it were not for the many “greedy” characters they play. The number one rule is that good things must be true. If something is not true, it is very difficult to convince someone that it is true. In this case, it is absolutely true that Middle Easterners does not have perfect English. This is a fact in the real world and Hollywood studios have had to face this fact for years.

Of course there are exceptions but usually the characters in TV and movies which have Middle Easterners are the characters we see on television. So in order to get a role on television, most Middle Easterners has to go to an American or Canadian city to get filmed. The result is a “stereotyped” role. Most of these characters speak American or Canadian English.

Character Is Actually A Native Of Middle Eastern

Emma Blackery talking on a cell phone

The only exception to this is when the character is actually a native of Middle Eastern. For example, an immigrant from Morocco who goes by the name of Joby (for the character Job) on the popular Canadian TV show Burnham Through the Show. This is an extreme example but it illustrates the difficulty of getting a role here. In most cases it is very difficult.

The good news is that in some instances you can change your name. For example in the TV show Vinyl Cats, the main characters’ names are Michael Chiklis and Mark Linn-Baker. The character of Mr. X (expert in underground counter-culture) in Lorne Michaels’ Saturday Night Live is Yusef Islam. This is because he is from Morocco. Therefore if you want to change your name you can do so easily.

No Shortcuts

But having your name changed takes time, money and hard work. There are no short cuts here. In fact many actors in Hollywood feel frustrated about their lack of success because they haven’t gotten past the hurdles that prevent them from being cast as part of the ‘American accent’. (A common problem with people of the Middle East who move to the United States and try to break into the industry.)

Summing Up

But if you don’t want to change your name or have your citizenship changed then you may have to settle for smaller roles. Some call these types of roles as background characters. Some of these smaller roles might be parts in small movies or television shows set in New York or Los Angeles. For example, you could be an emergency room doctor in a hospital in New York City.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter