Al Pacino defends Jewish Nazi hunter role

Al Pacino

Al Pacino has defended his casting as a Jewish person in his new Amazon Prime Video series Hunters.

The Godfather star, who is of American-Sicilian descent, plays Meyer Offerman, who heads a group hunting Nazis in New York in the 1970s in the series, but is unconcerned over criticism of playing a character from a different background to his own.

Pacino tells British newspaper The Times that if actors are "limited to your ethnicity" he would only be able to play New York Italians.

He went on to say that he believes that he has "no problem" with such roles - as long as he fulfils the writers' vision.

"Maybe more in films because it's more literal or more naturalistic, but if you play the oboe, you play the oboe," he adds. "It doesn't matter what you are, you're in the orchestra, you're doing the thing, you're playing the music. (Here) you're playing the playwright."

His co-star Logan Lerman, who is Jewish, objected to the idea Pacino should have been passed over for a Jewish actor, adding: "That's bulls**t. As a Jewish person I can say that. Come on, anybody can play the role."

The 79-year-old has played a famous Jewish character on screen before, taking on the role of William Shakespeare's infamous moneylender Shylock in a 2004 movie adaptation of The Merchant of Venice.

Now, he has another of the playwright's characters in his sights - ageing monarch King Lear.

"My hope is that I'll get through this next phase of my life with all the stuff that's going on and look at Lear again - seriously thinking about making a film of it," he reveals. I wouldn't do it on stage. It's not what I want to go on stage with, Lear, but in a film..."

Hunters debuts on 21 February.


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