Trailer Tuesdays: Bilal

It isn’t a surprise that Hollywood is obsessed with stories centered around white guys and the same old myths and stories, over and over again. We have three superheroes played by white guys named Chris, and we’re going to be getting three Spider-Man reboots in a span of fifteen years. Even beyond the geek realm, we have biopics about famous white men of history, like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers. Though we did recently have an excellent biopic about Martin Luther King Jr. (Selma), Hollywood all too often focuses on white guys as if they comprise the whole of the human experience. And stories from outside America don’t seem to enter Hollywood’s collective consciousness, so maybe it’s best if we go outside Hollywood for more diversity. Enter the upcoming movie, Bilal.

Bilal is an animated film about Bilal ibn Rabah, one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). As the trailer shows, we start the movie with Bilal as a child living happily with his mother and sister. Their peace doesn’t last long, however, as they’re attacked by a gang of slavers and Bilal and his sister are taken from their home. How will Bilal become the great man and great warrior that he’s always dreamed of being if he’s a slave? The trailer looks like the start of an amazing origin story.

bilal movieThe movie is headed by a diverse team as well—it’s being produced by Barajoun Entertainment, a Dubai studio, and stars British-Nigerian Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in the main role. Akinnuoye-Agbaje should be known to our audience from his turns in Lost and Game of Thrones, and, of course, as Lock-Nah in the delightfully campy The Mummy Returns. He seems pretty excited about this role, too, saying in an interview:

The movie tells the story of a real superhero, an African slave who was brought to Arabia 1,000 years ago and fought for his freedom. He became an inspiration to generations and we’re retelling his story 1,000 years later.

With Bilal, it looks like we’ll get a story from a new perspective, and because this is targeted towards an American audience, hopefully we’ll learn something about different cultures and a different religion as well. The animation looks both beautiful and amazingly realistic, and I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. Hopefully I will be able to see it—we don’t have a release date for the movie yet, and we don’t know if the movie will be playing across the U.S. or just in select theaters. But whatever happens with the release, more non-white, non-Eurocentric films can only help people realize there’s more to the world than what Hollywood wants to show us.

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5 thoughts on “Trailer Tuesdays: Bilal

  1. I’m looking forward to this one and another movie out of New Zealand called The Dead Lands, which looks sort of like Apocalypto. I hope this will be a good year for diversity in movies.

  2. Pingback: Trailer Tuesdays: The Prophet | Lady Geek Girl and Friends

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