The Oscar-winning Mahershala Ali once starred in the 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, directed by David Fincher. Ali says he took on the role on one condition and one condition, and that was that he didn’t need to have a sex scene with Taraji P. Henson.
Page 6 recorded a new episode of Common’s podcast Mind Power Mixtape, in which Ali talked about how his agent had called him one day. Mahershala says his agent told him about a scene where they had to kiss, and Ali replied that if it was a “sex scene” he wouldn’t make it.
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According to the outlet, Ali converted to Islam while doing a Masters in Acting from New York University. Ali told his agent that he refused to make scenes in which premarital sex was mimicked or “simulated”.
However, there was a scene where he and Taraji kiss, but then the camera slowly moves away from them. Ali joked that Fincher might be trying to make it appear like intercourse, but he didn’t believe it.
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According to the actor, as a younger man he tried to set boundaries because he wanted a “space of respect for (his) religion”.
This wouldn’t be the first time an actor’s religion has stood in the way of an art form. Perhaps best known is that Isaac Hayes stopped voicing the character boss in Comedy Central’s South Park after decades of collaborating with Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
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Isaac quit after Trey and Matt did an episode in which they made fun of the Church of Scientology, which upset Mr. Hayes, who then quit. Parker and Stone later elaborated on the controversy, arguing that Isaac never had a problem making fun of any religion other than his.
Isaac reportedly left South Park and his income was cut dramatically, prompting him to get back on the streets where he re-performed some of his old hits. Issac Hayes died in 2008 after several strokes.