[The casting substantiated Siddig's belief that his character's
parents were different from Bashir. RANDY TOPPER]
But it was when the producers began looking for someone to play Bashir's mother that they ran into real problems. "We wanted Arab-Americans to play both parents," says Director David Livingston. But it proved impossible to find a female Arab-American actor. "That's because there are none," points out Siddig- "Arab actresses are an oxymoron. Most Arabs are Muslim, and Islam frowns upon acting. No one outside of the family may see a woman without a headdress on, or see her cry or laugh. In the Islam world, you won't see a woman acting, except in a place like Egypt, where the rules are more liberal, and even then there are very strict definitions of what a woman may or may not do. But the woman they found did an amazing job."
Credit Casting Director Ron Surma for finding Fadwa El Guindi, a social anthropology professor at
the University of Southern California. "Ron. had heard something about a woman who'd done some community theater in town," says Livingston. "She had a real genuine empathetic quality about her when we brought her in to read, and we decided to go for it."
"It was such a marvelous moment," smiles Ira Behr. "She was as nervous as can be, but she had tremendous class. We told her to just be herself, and she was great."
BACK TO AMSHA