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Winona Ryder lost role because producer thought she looked "too Jewish"

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Winona Ryder has said she was once overlooked for a movie role because the producer said she looked “too Jewish”.

The Stranger Things actress spoke about her experience being Jewish in the film industry, admitting she has experienced anti-Semitism.

“I have… in interesting ways,” she told The Sunday Times. “There are times when people have said, ‘Wait, you’re Jewish? But you’re so pretty!’

“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,” she added.

Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder. Credit: Getty/Noam Galai

Ryder also opened-up about one incident with Mel Gibson, alleging: “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?’”

She added that Gibson “tried” to apologise at a later date.

Ryder spoke further of her Jewish heritage and her link to the Holocaust, explaining: “Not religious, but I do identify. 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.”

Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson

Elsewhere in the interview, Ryder praised BBC Three show Normal People, admitting she was “saved” by watching the hit series.

“I’ll be weeping all day [because of the Black Lives Matter protests] and then I’ll be weeping all night because I’m watching Normal People,” she said.

The actress added: “I watched it for the third time last night. And I’m planning on watching it more.”

NME has reached out to Gibson’s representatives in light of Ryder’s allegation.

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