Does Helen Mirren address backlash for playing Israeli PM in ‘Golda’?

Helen Mirren, the 78-year-old Oscar-winner, has recently shared her thoughts on the controversy surrounding her portrayal of former Prime Minister of Israel, Golda Meir, in the upcoming film ‘Golda’. Some individuals have expressed opposition to Mirren, a non-Jewish actress, playing a Jewish character in the movie.

In an interview with the Radio Times, Mirren acknowledged that the issue of casting has become a topic of intense debate in recent times. Despite previously playing Jewish characters in films such as ‘Woman in Gold’ and ‘The Debt’, Mirren admitted that her role as Golda Meir represented a more prominently Jewish character. She made sure to inform director Guy Nattiv, who is Jewish himself, about her non-Jewish background.

To Mirren’s surprise, Nattiv did not express any concerns regarding her casting. He emphatically stated that he wanted her to portray Golda Meir in the film. Therefore, Mirren was willing to step away from the role if her non-Jewish identity posed an issue, but Nattiv reassured her that it was not a problem.

Nicholas Martin, the writer of ‘Golda’, also shared his thoughts on the controversy. He dismissed the discussions surrounding gentiles playing Jewish characters, emphasizing that Mirren’s job was to authentically portray Golda Meir, which the late Prime Minister’s family and even a leading Israeli historian have commended her for. Martin expressed concern over the rise of authoritarianism in the entertainment industry, suggesting that restricting certain casting choices could stifle creativity.

It is worth mentioning that Mirren initially addressed criticism regarding her portrayal of Golda Meir in 2022. She revealed that she took the role after careful consideration and was aware of the potential controversy it might generate.