Aghdashloo quits "24"
April Fools: Iranian-American star leaves hit Fox TV show
April 1, 2005
In a stunning announcement Thursday at the Gala Night ceremonies,
oscar-nominated actor Shohreh Aghdashloo announced she is quitting "24",
the FOX counter-terrorism show.
Aghdashloo, who was nominated last year for the supporting actress
role in "The House of Sand and Fog," cited personal reasons
for her decision. She said after long hours of contemplation and
soul-searching, she could not continue with the show in good conscience.
Sources close to Aghdashloo paint a different picture for her sudden
decision. The show, which portrays a terrorist "sleeper cell" in
America with Aghdashloo as the chief matriarch, has been criticized
by Islamic groups as casting a shadow of suspicion over ordinary
Aghdashloo, herself a Muslim emigrant who came to the U.S. following
the Revolution in Iran, has been severely criticized by the large
and prosperous Iranian-American community for taking on the role
of a terrorist. A self-proclaimed activist for democracy and human
rights, her role is seen as advancing the stereotype of Middle
Easterners as terrorists and Islamic extremists.
To add fervor to the fire, her recent comments on a Los Angeles-based
TV show regarding Googoosh, the popular Iranian singer and actor,
stirred a flurry of resentment from long time Googoosh fans.
Googoosh, Iran's most popular pre-revolutionary pop star, returned
to the stage in 2000 after a long absence to cheering crowds in
a series of unprecedented sold-out concerts across the U.S. and
Canada, prompting the BBC to dub her the "Persian Diva."
Aghdashloo denied having been swayed by popular opinion against
her decision to play the role of a terrorist. She said she will
return to the stage and continue her activist role until more suitable
roles come her way.
Rumors abound among insiders that Hollywood producers are already
vying Googoosh for leading roles in such movies as "Mary,
Mother of God," "Anahita, Mother of Mithra," and "God,
Part II." Googoosh could not be reached for comment, but the
pastor said he will keep trying.
Producers of "24" on Friday said they will slowly write
out Aghdashloo's character. An inside source close to the writers
said she will likely exit "with a bang." He did not elaborate.