Winona Ryder once lost a film role because she looked “too Jewish”
(Credit: Karon Liu)

Winona Ryder once lost a film role because she looked “too Jewish”

Winona Ryder, the critically acclaimed actor who has solidified her presence as one of Hollywood’s leading creatives, has been discussing anti-semitism with the film industry.

Ryder, who has twice been nominated for an Academy Award, has worked with come of cinema’s leading directors including the likes of Jim Jarmusch, Tim Burton, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and many more.

However, despite her undoubted brilliant, Ryder has revealed that her Jewish heritage has often been a stumbling block when attempting to secure high profile roles.

“I have… in interesting ways,” she told The Sunday Times when asked if she has experienced anti-semitism within the industry. “There are times when people have said, ‘Wait, you’re Jewish? But you’re so pretty!’”

Explaining her lifestyle, the actor said she was “Not religious, but I do identify.”

She added: “It’s a hard thing for me to talk about because I had family who died in the camps, so I’ve always been fascinated with that time.”

Detailing one specific incident, Ryder explained: “There was a movie that I was up for a long time ago, it was a period piece, and the studio head, who was Jewish, said I looked ‘too Jewish’ to be in a blue-blooded family.”

While Ryder has encountered issued when trying to land roles, she also detailed a particularly traumatic incident involving actor Mel Gibson, claiming: “We were at a crowded party with one of my good friends, and Mel Gibson was smoking a cigar, and we’re all talking and he said to my friend, who’s gay, ‘Oh wait, am I gonna get AIDS?’ And then something came up about Jews, and he said, ‘You’re not an oven dodger, are you?’”

Ryder also explained that Gibson attempted to apologise for his comments at a later date.

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