'Quantico' actress Yasmine Al Massri to star in international co-production 'Permission to Narrate'

The multicultural thespian is a human rights activist as well and was featured in Nadine Labaki's groundbreaking film 'Caramel' before becoming a well-known face on American TV, playing twin roles on ABC's conspiracy thriller.
'Quantico' actress Yasmine Al Massri to star in international co-production 'Permission to Narrate'

Yasmine Al Massri's next role is one near and dear to her heart. The Beirut-born U.S. and French citizen is the child of a Palestinian father and an Egyptian mother. You may say that finding a way to cross cultures comes naturally to the stunning, statuesque brunette. So when we heard about her latest project, an international co-production titled Permission to Narrate, we were intrigued. She had us at "hello".

Al Massri has always kept her fans guessing with her choices of roles. From the moment she first appeared on Arab cinematic radars, with her role in Nadine Labaki's Caramel, she hasn't settled in the beautiful leading lady characters she could so easily inhabit. Instead, she has gone on to star in Julian Schnabel's 2010 film Miral, an under-appreciated classic, where she plays Miral's suicidal birth mother with touching vulnerability and inner violence.

She then started working in American TV, at first in the pirate action adventure series Crossbones, starring John Malkovich, and later as a series regular on Quantico, where she played twins Nimah & Raina Amin, opposite Indian actress Priyanka Chopra.

In Permission to Narrate, Al Massri plays an enigmatic character inspired by and based on an Arab icon. Writer-Director Samir Salem acquired the rights for the story and is producing via his shingle, Cinemonger. More about the central character played by Al Massri and the plot will be shared in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to for all the latest scoops. What we can already reveal is that Permission to Narrate will appeal to the socially-engaged audiences who are hungry for content that’s both educational , focusing on human rights, as well as entertaining -- in short, those who crave creative and cinematic risk-taking. 

When we ask Al Massri about the project, she generously writes back: "As I sit to write a quote for you, I find myself opening a Pandora's box that I have been avoiding since I left my last major TV role on Quantico. I feel fortunate to have been able to portray Arab characters of Muslim and Christian faiths with different sexual orientations on major TV network shows Like Quantico, Crossbones, Castlevania and Law and Order." The mother of one continues: "Giving little girls who look like me an empowered voice and face to look at, and destroying the cliches or representation in Hollywood has been my driving engine as an actor. BUT now, I feel the door has been kicked open by all the diversity warriors and change makers, who like me, needed to influence and inspire this change."

Al Massri goes on, further explaining: "Today, I feel it's time for me to stop making myself small to fit into the space that Hollywood can offer to an Arab actress." Hallelujah we say to that! "I have spent too much time doing diplomacy work and worrying about who is feeling uncomfortable in the room every time I say, "I am a Palestinian." I invested  a lot of energy auditioning for roles that are written for white women where diversity is invited to the room to compensate for guilt feelings and political correctness instead of being there for authentic creative reasons. I tried showing casting directors in Hollywood that an Arab female character can be portrayed with cultural sensibilities that combine femininity, badassness, style, grace, intellect, action and tenderness that does not necessarily work the same in the western sensibility. I feel that I have grown so much since I started acting and I feel that I am ready now, more than ever, to create the roles that I want to play next. I feel that I am also ready to take up all the space in the room as a storyteller without having to apologize and compromise my voice and my right to make mistakes while I find the right frame and the right words to say."

From left, Samir Salem, Yasmine Al Massri, Linda Mutawi & Samuel Gagnon

This newfound inner freedom within Al Massri has been the catalyst, the driving force to her involvement in Permission to Narrate. The project has gathered renowned international partners and artists, including London-born Jordanian-Palestinian producer Linda Mutawi, whose work has included Swedish award winning filmmaker Tarik Saleh's The Nile Hilton Incident, as well as his Oscar shortlisted Cairo Conspiracy and Canadian producer Samuel Gagnon whose credits include the 2022 film Montreal Girls, the cross-cultural Kamataki and the mystery thriller Winter Lily.

Al Massri is also producing through her film company Uncensored Narratives.

About her production company, Al Massri admits: "I launched my production company 'Uncensored Narratives' as a way to continue to carry on on this adventure that I know many viewers are hungry for. It's time for a specific kind of perspective on the world, the perspective of those who have been silenced, those who have been sidelined -- to tell their own stories. It's time to centralize these voices and bring them back from every culture and corner around the world. That is where this film project is coming from and I couldn't be luckier to be able to do this with people who are excellent at what they do and who I can call friends."

One such friend is Samir Salem, who is from the U.S. and of Palestinian and Colombian descent. He wrote and will direct and produce Permission to Narrate, his first feature.

About Salem, Al Massri has this to say: “Samir is representative of the diversity missing in Hollywood today -- fresh voices who can explore topics that challenge the system and tell stories that are powerful counter-narratives. Samir’s script speaks to the universal, human struggle for recognition of one’s humanity and the right to self-determination.’’

Al Massri will be seen next on the big screen starring alongside Omar Sy, Angeliki Papoulia, Saleh Bakri, Ziad Bakri, Yahya Mahayni, Sara El Debuch and a huge cast of international actors in the film The Strangers' Case, the first feature written and directed by well known Hollywood producer Brandt Andersen.

Al Massri is represented by Genevieve Penn at Entertainment 360 and Innovative Artists.

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