Mahershala Ali, the Academy Award winner, once accepted a role in the 2008 movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, directed by David Fincher. Ali says he took the role on one condition and one condition only, and that was that he wouldn’t have to have a sex-scene with Taraji P. Henson.
Page Six picked up on a new episode of Common’s podcast, Mind Power Mixtape, in which Ali talked about how his agent had called him up one day. Mahershala says his agent told him about a scene where they had to kiss, and Ali said in response that if it was a “sex scene,” he wouldn’t be able to do it.
According to the outlet, Ali converted to Islam while he was getting a master’s degree in acting at New York University. Ali told his agent that he refused to do any scenes where premarital sex was being imitated or “simulated.”
However, there was one scene where he and Taraji kiss but then the camera slowly moves away from them. Ali joked that maybe Fincher was trying to make it seem like there was sexual intercourse, but he didn’t think so.
According to the actor, he was trying to set boundaries as a younger man because he wanted to hold a “space of respect for (his) religion.”
This wouldn’t be the first time an actor’s religion got in the way of an artform. Perhaps most famously, Isaac Hayes quit voicing the character, Chef, on Comedy Central’s South Park after decades of working with Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
Isaac quit after Trey and Matt did an episode in which they made fun of the Church of Scientology, which angered Mr. Hayes who then went on to quit. Parker and Stone addressed the controversy later, arguing how Isaac never took issue when they mocked any other religion but his.
Reportedly, Isaac left South Park and his income was cut dramatically, prompting him to go back on the road where he performed some of his old hits again. Issac Hayes died in 2008 after multiple strokes.