Dame Helen Mirren has said questions over the choice to have her play Israel’s first female prime minister, Golda Meir, are “utterly legitimate”. The casting for the upcoming biopic Golda, directed by Guy Nattiv, was criticised by fellow actor Dame Maureen Lipman last month because Mirren is not Jewish. Meir, who died in 1978, was Israel’s prime minister between 1969 and 1974. The new film is set during the Yom Kippur war in 1973 and started shooting in November 2021. Mirren told the Daily Mail, as reported by The Guardian the question of her appropriateness for the role had occurred to her too. “It was certainly a question that I had, before I accepted the role. [Meir] is a very important person in Israeli history,” she said. “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.’” Lipman previously said that the challenge of acting was to become the character you are playing regardless of background. But, speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, she added that actors who shared the background of their character should be looked at first. On the portrayal of Meir specifically, she highlighted that “the Jewishness of the character is so integral”. Responding to Lipman’s criticism, Mirren said: “I do believe it is a discussion that has to be had – it’s utterly legitimate.” “I very much respect Maureen. And I love her as an actress, absolutely. “I’d love to bump into her and sit and have a cup of tea and talk about it,” she added. “Dame to dame, I suggest.” She added: “‘My only real fear is if I’m really bad as Golda … in which case, I’ll be toast.”
Helen Mirren is former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in this first look for Guy Nattiv’s upcoming biopic “Golda”, as shared by The Hollywood Reporter, which has now started shooting in London. The film is written by Nicholas Martin and set during the Yom Kippur War of 1973, when Egypt, Syria and Jordan launched a surprise attack on Israel to reclaim territory lost during the Six-Day War in 1967. Described as a “ticking-clock thriller,” Golda charts the high-stakes responsibilities Meir faced and the controversial decision she took amid infighting from her hostile all-male cabinet. “Golda Meir was a formidable, intransigent and powerful leader,” said Mirren. “It is a great challenge to portray her at the most difficult moment of her extraordinary life. I only hope I do her justice!” “I have long been an admirer of the great Helen Mirren,” said Nattiv. “She has melted so brilliantly into Golda Meir’s character with incredible talent, intelligence, depth and emotion, doing justice to the richness and complexity of this incredible woman.” As previously announced, Bleecker Street and ShivHans acquired U.S. rights to the film, in a deal negotiated by ICM Independent and CAA Media Finance. “Golda” is produced by Michael Kuhn (Florence Foster Jenkins, The Duchess) for Qwerty Films and by Jane Hooks and Nicholas Martin. The film shoots for six weeks in London and on location in Israel.
I’m not sure how reliable this source is, but according to the Kemps Film TV Video website, filming begins in the UK today, 8 November, on “Golda”, the biopic of Israel’s only female prime minster, Golda Meir. The feature is described as a “ticking-clock thriller following the intensely dramatic events and controversial decisions Meir faced during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. “Golda” is directed by Guy Nattiv from a screenplay by Nicholas Martin (Florence Foster Jenkins). Jane Hooks and Michael Kuhn produce; shooting will run for six months. Mirren has recently completed filming her role of Hespera in Shazam! Fury of the Gods (part of the DC Extended Universe) and Grandmère in White Bird: A Wonder Story, an adaptation of RJ Palacio’s graphic novel, which filmed in the Czech Republic. It was announced only a couple of months ago that financing of the film has been secured, so that would mean a rather fast pre-production. Fingers crossed it’s indeed being filmed as we speak.
According to Deadline, Bleecker Street and ShivHans have secured U.S. rights to Golda by Oscar-winning director Guy Nattiv’s (Skin), about Israel’s legendary and only female Prime Minister, Golda Meir. Helen Mirren will star as “The Iron Lady of Israel.” The film shoots in October in Europe. Written by Nicholas Martin (Florence Foster Jenkins), Golda is a ticking-clock thriller following the intensely dramatic events and controversial decisions Meir faced during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Her blend of tough leadership, plain speech and compassion, in impossible circumstances, would ultimately decide the fate of millions of lives. Producer Michael Kuhn of Qwerty, says; “History recalls Meir gracefully accepted her role as political scapegoat for the Yom Kippur War – and, in revisiting her story, Golda intimately draws the cinema audience up-close and personal to a globally influential woman facing the pressure of saving her people and, in never shying away from her own failings, acting with the utmost humanity. Amidst all global controversy, she stands apart.”
Fantastic news, according to The Hollywood Reporter: Helen Mirren is set to portray Israel’s only female prime minister Golda Meir in an upcoming biopic set during the Yom Kippur War. Golda, from BAFTA-winning producer Michael Kuhn (Florence Foster Jenkins, The Duchess) and being directed by Oscar winner Guy Nattiv, will focus on the 1973 conflict, when Egypt, Syria, and Jordan launched a surprise attack on Israel to reclaim territory lost during the Six-Day War in 1967, and the decisions made by Meir amid infighting from her all-male cabinet. Nicholas Martin (Florence Foster Jenkins) wrote the screenplay and also produces. Embankment, which was behind current Oscar- and BAFTA-tipped hit The Father, will represent international sales with CAA Media Finance and ICM jointly handling the domestic rights. Production is expected to start as early as October. “As someone who was born during the Yom Kippur War, I am honored to tell this fascinating story about the first and only woman to ever lead Israel,” said Nattiv, who won the live-action short film Oscar in 2018 with Skin (which he also developed into the A24 feature starring Jamie Bell, Vera Farmiga and Danielle Macdonald). “Nicholas Martin’s brilliant script dives into Golda’s final chapter as the country faces a deadly surprise attack during the holiest day of the year, a core of delusional generals undermining Golda’s judgment, all the while undergoing secret treatments for her illness. I could not be more excited to work with the legendary Miss Mirren to bring this epic, emotional and complex story to life.”