Helen Mirren criticizes cancel culture in the arts after ‘Golda’ backlash: ‘Alarming and ridiculous’

Helen Mirren criticizes cancel culture in the arts after 'Golda' backlash: 'Alarming and ridiculous'

Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren responded to backlash over her casting as former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in the biopic “Golda” as critics call out the decision to allow a non-Jewish actor portray a Jewish figure. “I think, in a way, that it’s more frightening for a writer to be told they are not allowed to write about subjects with which they don’t have an immediate DNA connection,” the actress told Radio Times magazine, addressing remarks made by the film’s writer Nicolas Martin, who blasted “creeping authoritarianism” in entertainment.  “I imagine it must be very alarming. And ridiculous,” she added. Mirren, 78, has come under fire for allegedly donning “Jewface” by using facial prosthetics to complete her transformation in the film, a criticism similar to what befell actor Bradley Cooper when he wore a prosthetic nose while portraying American conductor Leonard Bernstein in the film “Maestro.” ADL DEFENDS BRADLEY COOPER AFTER ACCUSATIONS HE WAS DEPICTING COMPOSER LEONARD BERNSTEIN WITH ‘JEWFACE’ Some actors and writers – including Maureen Lippman and David Baddiel – joined the attacks. “It’s about Jews being assumed, antisemitically, to be successful and privileged and powerful, and therefore not in need of the protections that identity politics affords other minorities,” Baddiel said, writing for The Guardian.  “In the case of casting, that falls down as: ‘Well, Jews are everywhere in showbiz, so Jewish actors don’t need that leg-up.’” BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg asked Mirren if she can see why people are upset about her casting. “I think I can see, but sometimes I can’t see because I can’t see who in this room is Jewish,” Mirren said. “We are all such an amazing mix and, certainly, I don’t have an issue with Kirk Douglas playing a Viking – Kirk Douglas was Jewish…” SARAH SILVERMAN SAYS HOLLYWOOD HAS A ‘JEWFACE’ PROBLEM: OUR REPRESENTATION ‘CONSTANTLY GETS BREACHED’ “I think the whole question of assuming a certain physiognomy because you’re playing a particular race, there is something offensive about that. On the other hand, if you’re playing Leonard Bernstein and this was really what Leonard Bernstein looked like, maybe it’s a good idea. It’s a very delicate balance.” Mirren clarified in her Radio Times interview that she informed director Guy Nattiv that she wasn’t Jewish in case he thought she was and would possibly want her to step down. Golda Meir’s grandson Gideon also expressed hope that Mirren be cast as the late politician, according to The Guardian. Nicolas Martin, writer of “Golda,” also weighed in on backlash regarding the decision to cast Mirren. MAKEUP ARTIST BEHIND BRADLEY COOPER’S CONTROVERSIAL PROSTHETIC NOSE ADDRESSES BACKLASH: ‘WASN’T EXPECTING IT’ “I don’t feel like all this discussion about gentiles playing Jews is helpful,” he told Radio Times. “Helen’s job was to portray Golda authentically, which Golda’s family would say she has. A leading Israeli historian said that Helen is ‘more Golda than Golda’. He also added he finds the “creeping authoritarianism” telling people what can and cannot be done in entertainment “very worrying.”  “Am I just supposed to write about middle-aged men living in south London?” he asked. For more Culture, Media, Education, Opinion and channel coverage, visit

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Publish date : 2023-10-03 17:00:24

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