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November 17, 2021 1:57 pm
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First Photo of Helen Mirren as Golda Meir Revealed as Filming Begins for Biopic on Israel’s Only Female Prime Minister

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Helen Mirren as Golda Meir in “Golda.” Photo: Jasper Wolf

A biopic about former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir has begun shooting in London, with a first look from the film revealing Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren as the lead character, who was known as the “Iron Lady of Israel.”

“Golda,” directed by Oscar-winner Guy Nattiv, is a thriller set during the Yom Kippur War of 1973, when Egypt, Syria and Jordan launched a surprise attack on the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights. The film follows Meir’s high-stake responsibilities and decisions during the war, amid the infighting of her all-male cabinet.

“Golda Meir was a formidable, intransigent and powerful leader,” said Mirren, 76, in a press release by ShivHans Pictures, which owns US rights to the film. “It is a great challenge to portray her at the most difficult moment of her extraordinary life. I only hope I do her justice!”

Nattiv said, “I have long been an admirer of the great Helen Mirren. 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.”

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“Golda” will film for six weeks in London and then on location in Israel.

Nattiv told Israel’s N12 news that Mirren spends two and a half hours in makeup every day to transform into Israel’s former prime minister. The Israeli filmmaker also spoke about meeting the British actress for the first time a year and a half ago in Los Angeles, where they discussed her starring in the film.

“She came to my house and we started talking about the role,” he recalled. “She was very much into it, dedicating herself one million percent to the role. She was on the kibbutz in her 20s, after the Six Day War, touring the country throughout. … She loves Israel very much and wanted to play a strong female leader who made history in the 1970s in Israel.”

According to Nattiv, Mirren knew about Meir’s life story and “you could say she’s a fan of hers.”

“As the one who played the Queen, she loves to play influential figures in history,” he added, referring to Mirren’s past roles playing three British monarchs in various films and television series. “And Golda — to lead a country in the 70s when you are a woman among men, in one of Israel’s difficult and challenging times. This is what fascinated me as a filmmaker and Helen as an actress.”

“Golda” is written by Nicholas Martin (of “Florence Foster Jenkins”), who also co-produced the biopic alongside Michael Kuhn (“The Duchess”) and Jane Hooks. “House of Gucci” actress Camille Coutin joined the cast as Golda’s longtime personal assistant Lou Kedar, who stood beside her during the war.

A number of Israeli actors are part of the cast as well, including Rami Weiberger (“Schindler’s List”), who plays former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan; Lior Ashkenazi as Chief of Staff David Elazar; David Dado Elazar, Rotem Keinan, Dvir Bendek and Ohad Knoller.

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