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April 25, 2016 3:02 pm

British Comedy About Jewish Baker and Muslim Pot-Dealer Apprentice Debuts in US (VIDEO)


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The official poster for Dough, which comes out in theaters in the US on April 29. Photo: IMDb.

The official poster for Dough, which opens in US theaters on April 29. Photo: IMDb.

A British comedy recently released in the US tells the tale of a Jewish baker whose failing business is rescued by his Muslim pot-dealer apprentice, The Washington Times reported on Sunday.

In Dough, a baker named Nat employs his African cleaning lady’s son to work for him at his failing London bakery. Unbeknownst to Nat, the teenager, Ayyash, begins baking marijuana into the store’s fare, causing customers to flock to the shop.

Director John Goldschmidt said he was originally approached with the script by Jez Freedman, a Jewish graduate of Westminster University’s screenwriting course, who was trying to break into the film industry. Goldschmidt had told Freedman he was looking for a good script, and four months later, Freedman came up with the idea for Dough, according to The Washington Times.

Freedman and a friend from his synagogue, Jonathan Benson, wrote the script — about a baker who sees many of his Jewish customers move out of the neighborhood as the area becomes poorer and increasingly populated by immigrants. After cannabis “accidentally gets into the bread,” the bakery starts attracting a lot of business. Goldschmidt tweaked the script slightly, turning Ayyash into a refugee from Darfur — thinking that if the character were from the Middle East, the film would be too politically charged.

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Discussing his decision to cast veteran actor Jonathan Pryce and newcomer Jerome Holder as Nat and Ayyash respectively, Goldschmidt said, they “developed a kind of father-son relationship — the older, experienced actor and the first-time actor — and that mirrors exactly the kind of arc of” the characters they portray.

“The father [Nat] didn’t have the son he wanted, the boy doesn’t have a father, and they end up having the relationship that they both need. And that’s exactly what happened on the set” with the two actors, Goldschmidt said. “I like to think that as people get to know one another, they can be friends. This was a story about the most unlikely of friends — an old white guy and a young black boy, a Muslim and a Jew — but it was a buddy movie.”

Dough touches on the issues of immigration, Jewish-Muslim relations in modern Europe and narcotics — all hot topics, especially now, with terrorism on the rise throughout Europe and the Middle East, and a US election campaign rife with immigration-related rhetoric. Nat and Ayyash’s different religions and opposite lifestyles set the scene for some rather tense moments during the film, Goldschmidt said, but assured that the movie is meant purely to entertain.

“It seemed to me a kind of fairy tale for grownups that could have a comedic touch and yet deal with issues, but at the same time not be heavy-handed,” he said. “We are in the entertainment business. And the more people sense that we’re living in dark times, the more [imperative to sate people’s] desire to leave the cinema with a smile. That’s our job.”

Dough has already attracted audiences in Europe, and Goldschmidt said he hopes it will do the same in the US and the rest of the world.

“What tends to work in the US tends to work everywhere else,” he said. “So I’m pleased that the film is providing some contrast, some hope, some entertainment for people.”

Watch the trailer below:

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