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Helen Mirren says she tried to ‘turn a blind eye’ to casting criticism after Jewish role backlash

Helen Mirren discussed her role as former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in a new interview.

when the movie Yellow produced last year, there was some criticism of Mirren’s casting, as she is not Jewish.

Jewish actor Maureen Lipman said of Mirren’s casting: “Helen would be great. Good actor, sexy and smart. Seems to be a part. [But] my opinion, and it’s a mere opinion, is that if a character’s race, creed, or gender motivates or defines the role it’s right – for wanting an umbrella [term] – Ethnicity should take precedence.”

Speaking in a new interview with Duration ahead of the film’s release this August, Mirren said: “I’ve played many Jewish roles before, but Golda is too, too archetypal. So I can understand people saying, ‘Did this really happen?’ But you know, let’s go. It’s a legitimate discussion, I think.

“I think it just happened to Golda, because she’s such a strong, archetypal character.”

When asked if the criticism of the actor affected her while she was filming, Mirren said, “But we can also turn a blind eye to that, which is what I do. Just don’t go there really, just don’t go there.

At the Berlin Film Festival in February, the film’s director Guy Nattiv defended his decision to cast Mirren. “I can tell you that from my point of view as an Israeli-Jewish director, when I met Helen, I felt like I was meeting a family member, an aunt. .. a Jew, because, to me, she has Jewish characteristics. to play Golda.

He added: “She absolutely got everything, every nook and cranny in this character. For me, the fact that I admire Helen and I think she’s one of the best actresses in the world, I just find her very authentic.”

Helen Mirren on the red carpet and her character from ‘Golda’

(Bleecker Street)

Last year, Mirren said of the controversy: “It was definitely a question I asked before taking on the role.

“[Meir] was a very important person in the history of Israel. I said, ‘Look Guy, I’m not a Jew, and if you want to think about it, and decide to go in a different direction, there’s no hard feelings. I would totally understand.’ But he really wanted me to play the part, and we went.

“I believe it’s a must-have discussion – it’s perfectly legal. [But] You know, if a non-Jew can’t play the Jewish game, can a Jew play a non-Jew?”

There has been much discussion in recent years about the issue of “Jewface” (non-Jewish actors playing Jews) from Felicity Jones’ portrayal of Ruth Bader Ginsberg in Based on Gender ARRIVE Miraculous Madame Maisel’Rachel Brosnahan.

“At a time when the importance of representativeness is seen as so essential and so important, why are our rights constantly being violated even today in its dense scope?” Jewish actor Sarah Silverman asked in 2021, criticizing “a long tradition” in a podcast interview.


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