If true, a rather remarkable political act by two very mainstream actors (and one Jew):
Hollywood actors Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman backed out of attending this year’s annual Jerusalem Film Festival, which is set to kick off this coming Thursday, following the international outcry over Israel’s attack on a Turkish-led flotilla that attempted to break the Gaza blockade on May 31, The Jerusalem Post learned Monday.
According to Cinematheque associate director Yigal Molad Hayo, while neither gave the political climate as a direct reason for canceling their participation in the festival, “it became quite clear that this was the reason,” he said.
“Meg Ryan was supposed to come here, it had all been closed with her people,” said Molad Hayo, adding “a day after the flotilla incident we got an email saying she was not going to attend, and although they claimed it was because she was too busy, it was clear to me that it probably had something to do with what had happened.”
In addition to Ryan, who has starred in such movies as Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally and, more recently, Kate and Leopold, Molad Hayo said that the Cinematheque had also reached “advanced negotiations” with Jewish actor Dustin Hoffman.
“We were very close to reaching an agreement with him, then the flotilla happened and correspondence was ended,” said Molad Hayo.
Ryan and Hoffman are not the only high-profile names to decline participation in this year’s festival.
Prince Albert of Monaco, son of legendary actress Grace Kelly, was also slated to attend.
“I’d already made arrangements for a tribute to Grace Kelly to appear in the festival program,” said Molad Hayo, adding that he believed Prince Albert’s cancellation could have come from pressure in his own country not to make an official visit to Israel at this time.
“I think they believed it could have been very negative for him and even dangerous,” he said.