After decades of portraying Iranians as terrorists and villains, Hollywood has taken the first step toward giving my community its due by creating a blockbuster fantasy/action epic film based on the immensely popular video game with the same title, against an accurate backdrop for sixth century ancient Persia. As a proud Iranian American, I couldn’t be more pleased.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which opens this weekend and stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton, is a film with no political angle and no reference to modern day Iran. In fact it is a complete fantasy set in Ancient Iran or Persia. This is a good thing. By portraying Iran’s ancient world in romantic and mythological ways – similar to how Hollywood has historically treated Rome and Greece – it becomes one of the most important mainstream films yet for Iranian Americans.