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Helen Mirren transforms into influential Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in first trailer for ‘Golda’

<i>From Bleecker Street</i><br/>Helen Mirren appears as Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in the 'Golda' trailer.
From Bleecker Street
Helen Mirren appears as Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in the 'Golda' trailer.

By Alli Rosenbloom, CNN

(CNN) — Dame Helen Mirren’s impressive transformation into Israel’s first female prime minister Golda Meir is showcased in Tuesday’s new trailer for the upcoming film “Golda.”

“In 1973, the leader of the most contested region in the world is Golda Meir,” reads text that is splashed across the screen in the trailer’s opening, before Mirren is seen embodying the powerful political figure as she prepares to address the state of Israel.

The film, based on a true story, is billed as a “ticking-clock thriller” that centers on Meir amid a “tense 19 days” around the Yom Kippur War in 1973, according to an official synopsis.

In the trailer, Mirren is seen sparring intensely with various contemporaries, including Liev Schreiber, who also makes a startling transformation as Henry Kissinger, looking unrecognizable in his presentation of the former US politician.

Meir served as Israel’s prime minister between 1969 and 1974. She stood as a powerful global figure but is said to have held onto the guilt of those lost in the Yom Kippur War until her last days.

“Do you know how many people died?” Schreiber is heard asking Mirren in the trailer.

“All those boys, I will carry that pain to my grave,” she solemnly says in reply.

“Golda” isn’t the first film in which Mirren portrayed a notable Jewish figure. She starred as Jewish refugee Maria Altmann in the 2015 drama “Woman in Gold” alongside Ryan Reynolds, a performance that earned her a SAG Award nomination in the leading female actor category.

Mirren, who won an Oscar for playing a different head of state – Queen Elizabeth in 2006’s “The Queen” – nonetheless still faced backlash when her casting as Meir was announced last year, with some critics saying a Jewish person should have been cast in the role instead of Mirren, who is not Jewish.

While the actress acknowledged that she had had a “discussion” with “Golda” director Guy Nattiv about his desire to cast her despite her not being Jewish, she also made the observation, “if someone who’s not Jewish can’t play Jewish, does someone who’s Jewish play someone who’s not Jewish?” to the Daily Mail in 2022 when she addressed the backlash.

She added, “there’s a lot of terrible unfairness in my profession.”

“House of Gucci” star Camille Cottin co-stars in “Golda” alongside Schreiber and Mirren as Lou Kaddar, Meir’s personal assistant.

“Golda” is set to premiere on August 25.

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