Max Irons, a co-star of “Woman in Gold,” said he got his role in the Nazi drama starring Helen Mirren after studio head Harvey Weinstein summoned him to his office. “Can you speak German?” Weinstein asked the actor. Irons couldn’t. “I had to do an audition in 24 hours with a page of solid text,” Irons recalled. “I panicked, drank a lot of coffee, used Google and YouTube and cobbled together what I’m sure was terrible German. But I managed to somehow get the part.”
Irons told Variety this story on Monday night at the red carpet MoMA premiere of “Woman in Gold.” It was an uncharacteristically muted evening for the Weinstein Co. Earlier in the day, media reports surfaced that Weinstein had been questioned by the NYPD over the weekend for allegedly groping a 22-year-old Italian model at his Tribeca offices. No charges have been filed and an investigation is ongoing, but Weinstein skipped the premiere to spend the evening with his mother, according to a source.
Mirren, who stars in the film, was on hand though she skipped the press line. In the film, she plays Maria Altmann, a Jewish refugee that flees the Nazis during World War II. and later sues Austria to recover five valuable paintings that belonged to her family. Ryan Reynolds, who portrays her lawyer Randol Schoenberg, missed the premiere because he’s filming the Marvel tentpole “Deadpool.”
The screening started late because Katie Holmes (Schoenberg’s wife) had just flown in from L.A. on a delayed flight. She quickly scurried past reporters, answering an assortment of questions like if she was in a clique in high school. “I went to an all-girls school, so we were all friends,” said Holmes.
The film’s director Simon Curtis said that he first met Mirren as a teenager, when he was her stage assistant on a London production of “Measure for Measure.” “I would sit in her kitchen table and help her with her fan mail,” Curtis said. “I made her cups of tea, which is what I did on this film too.”
Curtis introduced the film, noting that Schoenberg was in the audience, as well as members of the Altmann family. (Maria Altmann died in 2011.) The after-party was held at the Neue Galerie, where the portrait referenced in the film’s title now hangs. Guests that included Joy Behar and Brooke Shields were escorted upstairs for a viewing. “It looks different than it did in the movie,” Shields said to a friend, before she joined Tony Bennett in a booth at the downstairs bar.