Helen Mirren “can see” why people have taken issue with her portrayal of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in the new movie Golda.
During an appearance on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, the Oscar-winning actress admitted there is a “very delicate balance” when it comes to playing people with a different heritage and she “can see” why some people have criticised her for portraying a Jewish historical figure when she is not Jewish.
“But sometimes I can’t see because I can’t see who in this room is Jewish,” she added. “We are all such an amazing mix.”
Mirren also referred to the ‘Jewface’ controversy surrounding Bradley Cooper, a non-Jewish actor who donned a large prosthetic nose to portray Jewish composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein in the upcoming film Maestro.
“I think the whole question of assuming a certain physiognomy because you’re playing a particular race, there is something offensive about that,” the British actress continued. “On the other hand, if you’re playing Leonard Bernstein and this is really what Leonard Bernstein looked like, you know, maybe it’s a good idea… As I say, it’s a very delicate balance.”
After Cooper came under fire for seemingly perpetuating offensive Jewish stereotypes, Bernstein’s children came to his defence and insisted they had no issue with his appearance in the movie.
Last year, Mirren told the Daily Mail that she raised concerns about playing a Jewish person to director Guy Nattiv before accepting the part.
“But he very much wanted me to play the role, and off we went,” she said. “I do believe it is a discussion that has to be had – it’s utterly legitimate. (But) you know, if someone who’s not Jewish can’t play Jewish, does someone who’s Jewish play someone who’s not Jewish?”
Golda will be released in U.K. cinemas on Friday.
– Cover Media