She has played the Queen and a gangster’s moll but her latest casting has sparked controversy
Nobody is quite what they seem. And actors? Well, for actors that’s the job. Dame Helen Mirren, as well as being herself for 76 years, has by now notably been Lady Macbeth, a London gangster’s moll, a thief’s wife, an alcoholic cop, an action hero, Prospero and also a British monarch at least four times. Now she takes on Golda Meir, the late prime minister of Israel, in a new biopic, and the casting has caused controversy.
The choice of a non-Jewish actor to star as a woman with such a prominent place in the history of Israel has prompted irritation on both sides of the argument. Another illustrious dame, Maureen Lipman, was first to raise the issue – or “blast” Mirren, according to some reports last week – and then Dame Esther Rantzen defended the director’s choice. It is the latest instance of a ‘Jewface’ row, a backlash to the assignment of a major Jewish role to someone not from that minority background.