Winona Ryder lost a movie role because a producer thought she looked “too Jewish”

The Stranger Things actress opens-up about experiencing anti-Semitism.

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!’

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“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

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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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