Film producer Michael Kuhn said he was “stirring up” controversy over whether non-Jewish actors could play Jewish characters in his latest film.
The 73-year-old, who has been honored for his services to the film industry, says the controversy surrounding his latest photo, Golda, a biopic about Israel’s first female prime minister Golda Meir, was good for publicity .
The main role, the character of Meir, who was Jewish, is played by Dame Helen Mirren.
Mr Kuhn said he confessed to the Princess Royal as he collected his CBE during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.
The 73-year-old told the PA news agency: “I just talked about the movie I’m finishing now with Helen Mirren and she was obviously aware of all the controversy there had been with ‘a no -jew can he play a jew’ and I told her that I was tossing it around as much as I could for the publicity and she seemed quite amused by that.
Actress Dame Maureen Lipman criticized the casting, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
She said, “With that, I disagree, because the character’s Jewishness is so integral,” according to the newspaper.
“I’m sure she (Mirren) will be wonderful, but Ben Kingsley would never be allowed to play Nelson Mandela.
“You couldn’t even go there.”