Helen Mirren’s unbelievable transformation in new ‘Golda’ trailer raises eyebrows

Helen Mirren receives mixed responses for her portrayal of notable Jewish figure, Golda Meir. Source: Getty

We’re far more used to seeing Dame Helen Mirren defying her 78 years to dazzle us on the red carpet with her glamorous style and feminine features.

The Oscar-winning actress is famed for her English rose complexion and pale blue eyes – but the release of the trailer for her latest movie Golda where she stars as Israel’s “Iron Lady” Golda Meir, has everyone asking, “Can that really be Helen Mirren?”

Throughout her five-decade film career, Mirren has portrayed many notable political figures like the late Queen Elizabeth II, but this is her biggest and boldest transformation yet.

To play respected political leader Golda Meir, who became Israel’s first female Prime Minister in 1969, the actress donned a fatsuit and traded in her signature groomed blonde locks for straggly and wiry grey hair. The Prime Suspect star also wore contact lenses to change her eye colour.

Mirren’s transformation is so uncanny that one could argue the trailer feels like watching the real Meir herself as she led Israel through the tumultuous 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Egypt, Syria, and other Middle Eastern nations launched a surprise attack on the country.

The release of the trailer comes after Mirren’s portrayal of Meir sparked public criticism among the Jewish community, particularly from actress Maureen Lipman who argued that a non-Jewish actress should not have been chosen to portray such a significant Jewish historical figure.

“I’m sure she [Dame Mirren] will be marvellous, but it would never be allowed for Ben Kingsley to play Nelson Mandela. You just couldn’t even go there,” Lipman told The Jewish Chronicle.

However, Mirren has since addressed the backlash, telling The Daily Mail she did question whether she was the right person for the role and had discussed the issue with the film’s director, Guy Nattiv.

“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,’ ” Mirren told the publication.

“But he very much wanted me to play the role, and off we went.”

“I do believe it is a discussion that has to be had — it’s utterly legitimate,” she adds.

“You know, if someone who’s not Jewish can’t play Jewish, does someone who’s Jewish play someone who’s not Jewish? There’s a lot of terrible unfairness in my profession.”

Prior to Golda, Mirren had already taken on the role of another notable Jewish figure. In the 2015 drama Woman in Gold, she portrayed Jewish refugee Maria Altmann alongside Ryan Reynolds, earning her a SAG Award nomination in the leading female actor category.

The official theatre release date of Golda in Australia is still yet to be announced.

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