Q&A: Julian Schnabel On Politics Of ‘Miral’

Mike Fleming in Deadline:

Schnabel1 Miral, an adaptation of Rula Jebreal's coming of age story of an orphaned Palestinian girl growing up in the wake of the Arab-Israeli War, has become a hot button film for director Julian Schnabel. When the painter/filmmaker showed the film to the MPAA, he got an R for upsetting images (he was able to have the rating overturned to PG-13). Before showing it at the United Nations this week, he had to first respond to a public letter of protest from the American Jewish Committee. Here, Schnabel discusses his personal awakening to Israel's controversial settlement policy, one he feels has turned Palestinians into second class citizens in the name of security.

DEADLINE: Were any members of the American Jewish Committee at the screening?

SCHNABEL: I asked from the stage and no one responded. I invited them and thought it would be good for them to see it. It was such a beautiful evening, a 45-foot screen in the middle of the General Assembly. There were 1600 people. Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, Steve Buscemi and Josh Brolin showed up in solidarity, along with artists like Ross Bleckner, David Salle. And Vanessa Redgrave, who a long time ago got in a lot of trouble for saying something in support of Palestinian people at the Oscars. I remember being a kid when she said that, and everybody being so pissed off, saying just because you’re an actress getting an award doesn’t mean you should have a thought or a political point of view. I think Paddy Chayevsky said that. He was a brilliant, but it’s very easy to pick on somebody who speaks up.

More here.