Below is the description of a Persian messenger in a casting call for a Warner Brothers movie:
[PERSIAN MESSENGER] MALE. Age: 30's - 40's. ETHNICITY REQUIRED; PERSIANS are scripted as being: Assyrians, Arabians, Bactrians, Cappadocians, Medes, Karians, Babylonians, Armenians, and other Asiatic tribes...'a hundred nations'. Could be middle-Eastern, Asian, African... They can (and probably should) have an 'old world' somewhat Arabic-sounding accent. MUST BE SCARY, TOUGH & POWERFUL LOOKING; A scarred face and sharpened teeth (all prosthetics) through which he delivers his message to Leonidas: kneel in servitude to the God King Xerxes or perish. It is the same message he has delivered to many other Kings and he carries pieces of their skulls as a grim warning to those who would oppose Xerxes's rule. He has no fear. He serves Xerxes - the most powerful man in the world - and what's more, he is a messenger and so believes that he is untouchable. But his arrogance is his undoing. Leonidas holds everyone accountable for their words. Even messengers. And his insults directed at Sparta and her Queen earn this messenger a one-way trip down a very deep well...HORSE-BACK RIDING EXPERIENCE A PLUS. APPROXIMATELY 4 SHOOTING DAYS.Yes, ... Middle-Eastern, Asian, African, ... doesn't matter. As long as he doesn't look European. His face should show that he is inferior to us. His scary "scarred-face" and "sharpened-teeth" face should reveal what kind of a savage he is, and how dangerous he can be to "our freedom."
By the way, did the Greeks really look like the blue-eyed blonds as Hollywood movies portray them? As far as I know Greeks do not look like this at all. Even the Romans did not imagine Greeks to be blonds (look at this mosaic of Alexander in Pompeii.) As a matter of fact the Greeks, and later on the Romans, considered their northern blond neighbors, the Germans and Gauls, to be nations of savages, far more barbarous than the sophisticated empires to their south and east.
I don't want to sound "nationalist" here, nor do I want to rant about the "great Iranian empire" and the other crap many Iranians talk about these days. But to me it is important to see what Hollywood-style Greeks stand for in today's pop culture. Greeks in these movies and novels are blond and European-looking. They clearly represent the "West." They are depicted as the only open-minded, rational, and intelligent people of antiquity, thus implying that Western culture (meaning European and Northern American Culture) IS the only open-minded and rational culture of the world. Europeans are the only real civilization in the anciant world, and the rest of the world are depicted as a bunch of Barbarians. There cannot be any dialog, any cultural exchange, or anything else between the barbarians and the Greeks. Greeks are freedom-loving creatures by birth, and the Eastern barbarians are incapable of understanding it. There is no way to make peace with the barbarians except by conquering their countries and ruling their lands, as Alexander finally did. The Greeks here are not a part of history, but rather a character in a mythology that creates a certain worldview and justifies a certain political agenda.
In this mythology it does not matter how far this story is from reality, or that Greece never was a part of "European" culture, or even how false the whole argument is. What matters is that Bush should look like Alexander entering Babylon, and Persian/Middle-Easterners should look like a bunch of scary animals that should be killed in a preemptive war.