Iran bars spy film actor from travelling abroad

An Iranian actor has been barred from leaving Iran after closely guarded details emerged of her starring role with Leonardo DiCaprio in a forthcoming Hollywood spy thriller about a hunt for an al-Qaida leader.

Golshifteh Farahani was told by officials that she was not allowed to travel when she tried to board a flight at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport. She is believed to have been bound for the US to discuss future film roles. Farahani, 25, recently finished filming her Hollywood debut film, Body of Lies, directed by Ridley Scott, which is due to be released by Warner Brothers on October 10.

Her role in the thriller had been widely rumoured among Iranian cinema aficionados, but only became common knowledge after the Internet Movie Database website posted the film’s cast and official trailer. The trailer includes a shot of Farahani, apparently without hijab, standing behind DiCaprio. Her appearance was reported by the newspaper Etemad.

It is unclear who ordered Farahani’s travel ban, but Iranian news websites attributed it to the culture and Islamic guidance ministry (Ershad), which oversees all cultural activities. According to some reports, the ministry has issued rules requiring actors to seek its permission before accepting roles abroad.

Ershad has a track record of trying to control Iranian film output and has banned the screening of several internationally acclaimed works by some of the country’s best-known directors.

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