Not many may remember the 1982 made-for-TV biopic A Woman Called Golda starring Ingrid Bergman as the Israeli political figure. The series earned Bergman an Emmy as well as a Golden Globe for her performance.
Now, nearly forty years later, Dame Helen Mirren is stepping into the often problematic shoes of a political figure quoted as saying "there is no such thing as a Palestinian people." At the helm of this project is Israeli filmmaker Guy Nattiv who won an Oscar in 2019 for his short film Skin. Camille Cottin, star of hit series Call My Agent, has also joined the cast and will play Lou Kaddar, Golda’s long-time personal assistant, who stood beside her throughout the 1973 Israeli-Arab war.
Written by Nicholas Martin (Florence Foster Jenkins), Golda is a ticking-clock thriller – sharing the intensely dramatic events, high-stake responsibilities, and controversial decisions that Meir – also known as the ‘Iron Lady of Israel’ – faced during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Her actions, in impossible circumstances, would ultimately decide the fate of millions of lives.
Mirren says “Golda Meir was a formidable, intransigent and powerful leader. It is a great challenge to portray her at the most difficult moment of her extraordinary life. I only hope I do her justice!"
“I have long been an admirer of the great Helen Mirren” said Nattiv. “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".
Also included in the cast are Rami Heuberger (Schlinder’s List) who will portray Meir’s Minster of Defence Moshe Dayan with Lior Ashkenazi playing Chief of Staff, David Elazar. One of Israel’s most prominent stage, television and film actors Ashkenazi won Best Actor at The Ophir Awards (Israel’s version of the Oscars), for his performance as Michael Feldmann in Samuel Maoz’s Foxtrot. Ashkenazi can also be seen portraying Yitzhak Rabin in the feature film 7 Days in Entebbe, alongside Rosamund Pike and Daniel Bruhl. Other credits include Norman, Big Bad Wolves and Footnote. Most recently, Ashkenazi directed the feature film Perfect Strangers, an Israeli adaptation of a 2016 Italian film of the same name.
Nattiv is supported by best-in-class Heads of Department including Director of Photography Jasper Wolf (Monos), Production Designer Arad Sawat (Beirut, Foxtrot), Costume Designer Sinéad Kidao (assistant on Wonder Woman 1984, Little Women, Mary Magdalene, Peterloo, Beauty and the Beast), Hair & Make Up Designer Karen Hartley (Persuasion, The Duke, The Personal History of David Copperfield), Editor Arik Lahav (Foxtrot) and Casting Director Alex Johnson (Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, Fisherman's Friends, Dad’s Army).
As previously announced, Bleecker Street and ShivHans acquired US rights to the film, in a deal negotiated by ICM Independent and CAA Media Finance. Embankment have also pre-sold Golda to multiple international territories, including ANZ (Transmission), Italy (Leone), Scandinavia (Scanbox), Benelux (The Searchers), Switzerland (Ascot Elite), Spain, Portugal & Latin America (Sun/Diamond), CIS & Baltics (Exponenta), Greece (Spentzos), South Africa (Film Finity), Israel (United King), Middle East (Front Row), Hong Kong (Golden Scene), India (Lionsgate) and Taiwan (Cai Chang).
Financing is provided by Piccadilly Pictures and Maven Pictures, and has been arranged by Embankment, ICM Independent and CAA Media Finance. Celine Rattray for Maven, and Ian Hutchinson, Robert Whitehouse and Christopher Figg for Piccadilly, are Executive Producers.
Golda is produced by Michael Kuhn (Florence Foster Jenkins, The Duchess) for Qwerty Films, Jane Hooks and Nicholas Martin. The film shoots for 6 weeks in London and on location in Israel.