Mahershala Ali once refused to do love scene over religious beliefs

Mahershala Ali reveals he accepted a role in David Fincher‘s 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but only on the condition that he wouldn’t have to film a love scene with co-star Taraji P. Henson.

The 46-year-old actor, who converted to Islam while studying for a master’s degree at NYU, explained on Common‘s Mind Power Mixtape podcast that filming the scene would go against his religion, according to the New York Post.

“So my old agent called me and said, ‘Mahershala, you got the part,’” he recalls.  “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.’”

Fortunately, Fincher relented and agreed to toning down the scene.

“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,” says Ali.  “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.”

The Oscar-winning actor stars in the upcoming Apple TV+ film Swan Song, opposite Glenn CloseAwkwafina and Naomi Harris.

By George Costantino
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