Depending on who you ask, you'll get a different response on who Tony Shalhoub is. For some, he's the quirky Italian cab driver from Wings. For others, he's sci fi actor Fred Kwan from Galaxy Quest. And, for many, he's the obsessive compulsive detective, Monk -- a role that has helped him garner 3 Emmy Awards. He is one of the few actors out there who has transcended his race, and is recognized and referred to for his achievements, and not his Arab, Lebanese roots.

Considering his efforts as an Arab-American advocate (he helped create the Arab-American Filmmaker Award Competition), Shalhoub should, in time, not only be a successful Hollywood actor, but also a big name for Arab-American relations -- especially after the release of American East. Buzz links the film closely with 9/11, but it is more than just a story about Arabs in America when the Twin Towers fell. The plot revolves around a Jewish-Egyptian-American played by Shalhoub, who agrees to start a restaurant with an Islamic-Egyptian-American -- Skinny Legs and All, anyone? While there are no travelling dirty socks and conch shells in the film, or so I assume, there is a good cast ranging from The L Word's Sarah Shahi to Laura Palmer's creepy father, Ray Wise. The film is directed by Hesham Issawi, who also directed Shalhoub in T for Terrorist, and should be out some time this year.