‘Golda’ director on decision to cast Helen Mirren: ‘She’s got the Jewish chops’

Helen Mirren as Golda Meir in HBO's 'Golda.' (Jasper Wolf)
Helen Mirren as Golda Meir in HBO's 'Golda.' (Jasper Wolf)

BERLIN — The director of “Golda” dismisses a controversy over casting Helen Mirren as Israel’s only woman prime minister Golda Meir, saying the British Oscar winner had “Jewish chops.”

Israel’s Guy Nattiv tells reporters at the Berlin film festival ahead of the movie’s world premiere that it took only one conversation with Mirren to convince him she was “authentic” enough to play the iconic political leader.

“When I met Helen, I felt like I’m meeting a family member,” he says, saying he had been “surprised” by the uproar.

“She’s got the Jewish chops to portray Golda. She totally got everything, every nook and cranny, everything in this character. Other than the fact that I adore Helen, I think she’s one of the best actresses in the world.”

Fellow British actor Maureen Lipman touched off the dispute when she told the Jewish Chronicle last year that she doubted the choice of Mirren, who is not Jewish, because she considered Meir’s religion to be “integral” to her character.

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