"A Muslim and a Jew walk into a restaurant" sounds like the setup for a hacky joke, but for Ahmos Hassan and David Stern, it simply indicates a decade-long friendship that has now spawned a business venture.
Hassan, a Muslim-American manager-producer, is launching Chariot Entertainment, a production company dedicated to making content featuring Muslim characters that go beyond Hollywood's go-to portrayals of terrorists and taxi drivers. It's an enterprise that Hassan, who also has consulted on projects like Homeland and Disney's upcoming live-action Aladdin, has been discussing for years with his friend Stern, a partner at law firm Jeffer Mangels.
"I've always wanted to develop my own material, but it wasn't commercially viable. [Muslim representation] just didn't matter," Hassan tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Now it does, not just to the industry, but to the American audience."