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Why ‘Golda’ director Guy Nattiv wasn’t worried about Helen Mirren casting backlash

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The new movie Golda is a portrait of a tough Prime Minister facing the pressure of war.

Helen Mirren plays former Israeli leader Golda Meir, and director Guy Nattiv tells ABC Audio Mirren was handpicked by Meir’s grandson

Gideon Meir, was the one who thought about her as his grandmother. Helen and her, he saw the DNA there.

Even with the co-sign from Meir’s grandson, the choice wasn’t without controversy due to Mirren not being. Jewish. Some in the Jewish community are upset because all too often Jewish actors aren’t allowed to portray Jewish characters on screen, whether it’s Bradley Cooper playing legendary composer Leonard Bernstein in the upcoming film Maestro, or Rachel Brosnahan playing the title role in the fictional The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

However, the blowback wasn’t something Nattiv considered “because I am Israeli and I am a second generation to a Holocaust survivor.”

“I am authentic enough to tell this story in a way that if I feel that Helen is the right person to tell the story, I guess that it works for me, you know? And it worked for Golda’s family,” he explains.

Nattiv also shared that while Mirren isn’t Jewish, she does has a deep connection with Israel, having spent time there in her 20s, volunteering on a Kibbutz.

“Picked tomatoes and fell in love with Israeli and toured the country and slept on the beach in Eilat and, you know, and did the entire Zionist tour. She was basically living in Israel for a while,” he recalls of the actress’ experience. “I had the notion that she understand Golda to the core.”

Golda hits theaters nationwide Friday, August 26.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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