Author Nick Hornby has revealed he considered changing the Jewish identity of a key character in his new film, An Education, for which he wrote the screenplay.
It is based on journalist Lynn Barber’s memoir about her relationship as a teenager with an older man, called in the film David Goldman (as played by actor Peter Sarsgaard, below). Goldman is a dodgy wheeler-dealer whose contacts include the 60s racketeer Peter Rackman.
In an interview with The Forward, Hornby admitted that he may have got the Jewish characterisation “wrong to a certain extent in that some people have taken offence”.
But he said that when developing the script originally with a Jewish director, they had discussed whether to keep Goldman Jewish or not. After “a great deal of anxiety,” they thought it probably “more offensive to excise his Judaism... Some of the things he does are not good, but it never occurred to me that it was stereotyping. I mean picking up girls at bus stops is not necessarily something that I associate with Judaism.”