Mahershala Ali is joining the second season of Hulu hit Ramy, which will premiere May 29.
Entertainment Weekly released an exclusive look at Ali, who is of the Muslim faith, praying alongside the series' star and creator, Ramy Youssef.
MAHERSHALA ALI IN SEASON 2 OF RAMY.
I AM SCREAMINGGGGGGGGGG. pic.twitter.com/MsplTwCLVz
— layla, the bad bunny stan???? (@MindOfLayla) April 28, 2020
"I remember seeing an ad for the show on Instagram before it came out and it immediately caught my attention and I messaged it to my wife, just on some like, 'Oh, interesting Muslim content!'" Ali told Entertainment Weekly about how he became initially became interested in the show. "He gets into what is problematic about taking certain actions and how as people we're constantly having to wrestle with our choices and our desires, and at the end of the day really want to have peace and fulfillment and do strive to do what's right."
Youssef told the outlet he planned on introducing a Sheikh character into the series and had "this amazing hour-long phone call with [Ali]" about the role.
"He was so thoughtful about the show and the things that he really liked about it, and then it just kind of felt like he left the meeting like, 'Whatever you need me to do, I'm in.'" The role, now called Sheikh Ali, was created for Ali, and his character will mentor Youssef on his spiritual journey. Youssef said he "couldn't have done it with anyone who wasn't the composure of him." Youssef also said that Ali's willingness to be a part of the sophomore series after winning an Academy Award is "really rare."
"It speaks to just how amazing this dude is," he said.
Ramy returns this summer on Hulu.