Oscar-winner and Forever Fine Mahershala Ali revealed on Common’s Mind Power Mixtape Podcast he only accepted a role in the “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” on the condition that he wouldn’t have to film a sex scene with co-star Taraji P. Henson, as it would go against his religion.
Mahershala Ali is reflecting on his role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
The Oscar winner, 46, revealed on the latest episode of Common’s podcast Mind Power Mixtape that when he accepted the role as Tizzy Weathers in the 2008 David Fincher-directed film, he did so on the condition that he would not film a sex scene with costar Taraji P. Henson.
“So my old agent called me and said, ‘Mahershala, you got the part.’ ” Ali recalled, according to Page Six. “And I said, ‘There’s just one thing … There is that one sex scene where they kiss … If there’s a sex scene, I can’t do it.’? ”
Ali, an Ahmadi Muslim, reportedly said that he told his agent at the time, “I don’t do simulated sex.” But luckily for the Muslim actor, Fincher, 58, agreed to shoot an intimate scene between Ali and Henson, 50, that did not involve sex.
“Taraji and I begin to kiss, and we fall out of the frame … It wasn’t clear if [Fincher] was trying to have like some bumping and grinding … which I doubt he was,” Ali said. “But for me even … at that time, 15 years ago, I was still like, ‘OK, I can only go up to this point,’ just because of — just trying to hold a space of respect for my religion.”
After starring in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Ali garnered attention for his role in House of Cards, and was featured as Boggs in The Hunger Games film series. He also starred in the third season of HBO’s hit crime series True Detective.
In 2017, Ali became the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar for his role as mentor and drug dealer Juan in Moonlight. He went on to win his second Oscar at the 2019 awards show for his portrayal of Don Shirley in Green Book, becoming the first Black actor to win two Academy Awards in the same category.
While you have to respect this decision and religion, can’t help to feel like we are missing out.