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Helen Mirren Responds to Backlash Over Playing Jewish Icon in Upcoming Movie

Helen Mirren Responds to Backlash Over Playing Jewish Icon in Upcoming Movie

Helen Mirren is addressing the controversy surrounding her latest role.

In the upcoming biopic Golda, the 76-year-old actress is playing former Israeli Prim Minister Golda Meir, and has faced a lot of backlash for playing the Jewish icon even though she’s not Jewish herself.

In a new interview, Helen admitted that she did not step into the role without carefully considering the issue.

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“It was certainly a question that I had, before I accepted the role,” Helen shared with The Daily Mail, admitting she’d shared her doubts with Golda director Guy Nattiv.

“I said, ‘Look Guy, I’m not Jewish, and if you want to think about that, and decide to go in a different direction, no hard feelings. I will absolutely understand.’ But he very much wanted me to play the role, and off we went,” Helen continued.

Helen then went on to address the criticism Dame Maureen Lipman, who criticized Helen for taking the role, writing in a letter to The Guardian, “If the ethnicity or gender of the character drives the role, then that ethnicity should be prioritized.”

“I do believe it is a discussion that has to be had — it’s utterly legitimate,” Helen said in response to Maureen‘s criticism.

However, Helen also pointed out that the criticism has raised other questions.

“You know, if someone who’s not Jewish can’t play Jewish, does someone who’s Jewish play someone who’s not Jewish?” Helen questioned. “If there’s an actor who’s disabled, who’s brilliant but has had very few opportunities, and now a wonderful role comes along that’s for a disabled actor, everything being righteous, he or she should have that role.”

Helen Mirren will soon be receiving a very prestigious honor!

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Posted to: Helen Mirren

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