Denzel Washington's Hannibal Casting Ruffles the Feathers of Tunisians
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Nearly a month after the 'Equalizer' actor was officially announced to star in Antoine Fuqua's upcoming film, it sparks criticism about his casting as the ancient Carthaginian general.

AceShowbiz - Denzel Washington's casting in Antoine Fuqua's upcoming movie has stirred a controversy. After it was announced that the actor has been tapped to portray ancient Carthaginian general Hannibal in the Netflix movie, criticism arose about depicting the lead military commander as a black African.

Member of Parliament Yassine Mami has pointed out that Hannibal, who was born in 247 BC in Carthage, now known as Tunis, the Tunisian capital, was of West Asian Semitic origin. "There is a risk of falsifying history: we need to take position on this subject," the Tunisian politician reportedly stated.

French-language Tunisian newspaper La Presse has also published an editorial in which it similarly argues that depicting Hannibal as a black African is "according to Tunisians and many observers, a historical error."

On the other hand, Tunisian culture minister Hayet Ketat-Guermazi doesn't seem to see any problem with the casting. "It's fiction. It is their [Netflix's] right to do what they want," she responded to the controversy, according to French newspaper Le Monde (via Variety).

The Tunisian official went on stating, "Hannibal is a historical figure and we are all proud that he was Tunisian. But what can we do?" Instead of taking issue with it, she revealed that she is trying to negotiate with Netflix to shoot at least a portion of the film in Tunisia.

"I hope they decide to shoot at least a sequence of the film here and that that this is publicized. We want Tunisia to go back to being a location where foreign films are shot," Ketat-Guermazi stated, per the French news outlet.

Netflix, Washington and Fuqua have not responded to the complaints regarding his casting.

The still-untitled film will center on the legendary Hannibal, who invaded Italy famously riding a Northern African war elephant. According to the official logline, the movie is "based on real-life warrior Hannibal, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest military commanders in history. The film covers the pivotal battles he led against the Roman Republic during the Second Punic War."

Three-time Academy Award winner John Logan, who wrote Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" and Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator", is penning the script. Fuqua, Washington, Erik Olsen and Adam Goldworm will produce, with Jeremy Lott and Frank Rodriguez Moll serving as executive producers.

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