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Baz Luhrmann’s Meyer Wolfsheim

In new ‘The Great Gatsby’ film, Jewish mobster played by Bollywood star

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From the forthcoming The Great Gatsby.(IMDB)

The talk of the day is the new trailer for The Great Gatsby (below), whose true title, it appears, should probably be something more like Baz Luhrmann Presents The Great Gatsby, a Baz Luhrmann Joint by Baz Luhrmann, what with the omnipresence of the unmistakable stylistic and thematic tics associated with the Aussie director (think Moulin Rouge). It stars Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, and Leonardo DiCaprio as the former James Gatz, and they all get ample screen time. But watch closely and you’ll see a far more swarthy actor in a dapper suit now and then. This is the Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, and he is playing none other than Meyer Wolfsheim, Fitzgerald’s fictionalized version of the real-life mobster Arnold Rothstein (both are Jews who fixed the World Series).

In the 1974 film starring Redford, Rothstein is portrayed by Howard Da Silva (remember the cardinal rule of cinema: Italians can play Jews, and James Caan can play Sonny Corleone), in what I seem to recall is a relatively by-the-book depiction. Fitzgerald’s Wolfsheim is a shockingly anti-Semitic caricature, even by 1925 standards, with a Yiddish accent, unsightly nose hairs, and, famously, cufflinks made of the “finest specimens of human molars.” What Lurhmann will do with him, I can scarcely imagine.

UPDATE: It’s been brought to my attention that Howard Da Silva was, in fact, born Howard Silverblatt.

Bollywood Star Jokes About Tiny Great Gatsby Role [NYDN]

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Royq says:

Wikipedia has Howard Da Silva born as Howard Silverblatt.  I had actually confused him with Henry Silva, who played a North Korean in The Manchurian Candidate.  He was Sicilian.  I can’t recall any North Koreans portraying Italians or Jews, although Kim Il Sung played Curly in the travelling company of Oklahoma.
Amitabh Bachchan actually translates as Andy Bachman.

Natan79 says:

Moreover, Da Silva is not an Italian name. Why don’t you stick to Bar Refaeli? That’s about as much wattage that you have, Marc Tracy.

fallflies says:

The Howard Da Silva thing perfectly illustrates everything that’s wrong with people like Marc Tracy. When he hears that Wolfsheim was played by an actor named Howard Da Silva – what is his first reaction? He repeats a boring and useless cliche (“Yes, Veronica, Jews can play Italians!” – no kidding, Marc. Most Jewish actors don’t play Jews or Italians). Instead he could have been intrigued by the name and googled the guy’s background, which would take no less than eight seconds Just helps prove that all these alleged “intellectuals” have little to no actual intellectual curiosity whatsoever for factual information.

Same thing as when Brittany Murphy died – Tracy wrote some culture war/social analysis nonsense about “outer borough ethnics” (a phrase that should not be spoken by anyone, ever, under any circumstance – unless they are quoting Marc Tracy) instead of researching to see whether Murphy’s mother is actually Jewish, which is what Marc Tracy reported as fact (her mother, in fact, is not Jewish – but Irish and Eastern Orthodox). Or when Marc Tracy “broke” the “news” (news only since July 1989) that Daniel Radcliffe’s mother was Jewish, and added in some country club culture war line about “50 years ago Hogwarts wouldn’t have let us in”. Maybe instead he should have checked to see that Tablet Magazine had already written about Radcliffe’s background two years before his bit of “breaking news”.

As someone over 60, I have to laugh. Howard Da Silva was SO Jewish…everyone of a certain age knows that.

Brendan Hall says:

The rule of cinema is: All Italians have big noses, like the Jewish actors playing them. So, when (non-Jewish) Americans go to Italy they are surprised to see the Italians don’t all have big noses. In point of fact, the Italians in Italy have normal-sized noses. (Sicily may be different.)

Another strange rule of cinema: All Red Indians have beautiful hair.


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Baz Luhrmann’s Meyer Wolfsheim

In new ‘The Great Gatsby’ film, Jewish mobster played by Bollywood star

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