According to The Hollywood Reporter, Samir and Fatima Al-Harazi — who are played by Alain Washnevsky (SEAL Team, Homeland) and Anne Bedian (Life in Pieces, Curb Your Enthusiasm), respectively — will remain as The Conner family's next-door neighbors for the spinoff series.
The Conners showrunner Bruce Helford previously indicated that he planned "to bring the Al-Harazis back," but this is the first official confirmation that it is happening. "We definitely want them to return," he added. "They're their neighbors. They live right next door, so we definitely want to see more of them."
Ironically, Roseanne Barr's character became close with the fictional couple on the series, but then the show was canceled after Barr tweeted a racist comment about former Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett that compared the Stanford alum to the "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes."
"I relate to Samir's story in many ways. I have experienced racism my whole life and I still do. Every day. Sometimes more obvious and sometimes not," Washnevsky wrote in an essay published by THR in June. "It's like being in the gutter — if you stand in it long enough, you get used to the smell. ... Racism is not an American problem."
"It's a human condition and humanitarian problem and must be explored on TV and in film," he continued. "Storytelling has the power to connect and build bridges, open dialogue, build understanding, create awareness and change perspective. It helps people heal and recover. We need that now more than ever."
Washnevsky also spoke about the first time he met Barr, saying that they came face-to-face for the first time at a table read for the show.
"After the read, I was still sitting in my chair taking notes when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and it was Roseanne Barr. With a big smile on her face and open arms, she said, 'Welcome aboard,' and she gave me a warm, genuine hug," he revealed. "She introduced me to some other cast- and crew members, offering, 'Please, if you need anything, feel free to ask.'"
Finally, the actor then went on to speak about when he found out about the tweet Barr sent and how it made him feel.
"When I read about her tweet, I couldn't believe it. I was so shocked, angry and hurt. Her words go against everything I believe in and everything that our episode represented, or so I thought," he wrote. "I was extremely disappointed not only by her words, but also by the cancellation of the show which shined a light into many dark spots of our society — corners of society we don't like to look at, see or talk about at parties."
The Conners premieres Tuesday Oct. 16, on ABC at 8 p.m. ET. Check your local listings.0comments