Director’s Mom Kvells Over Casting Coup

By Laurie Heifetz

Published August 07, 2008, issue of August 15, 2008.

Helena Bonham-Carter saved the day for Paul Weiland, who is the director of “Sixty Six,” a film inspired by Weiland’s own 1966 bar mitzvah in England.

At a recent preview screening at the JCC in Manhattan, the 55-year-old Brit revealed his mother’s reservations about the comedy: “I only really got away with making this movie because it’s [only] slightly negative towards her…. But the minute I said that Helena Bonham-Carter was playing her, she said: ‘Oh, marvelous, fine! Make the movie!’”

The audience roared as Weiland continued: “When [my family] saw the film, they were highly delighted with it, and suddenly my mom became kind of a starlet overnight, and all her friends were…. Well, not all her friends — she’s still not talking to some of the friends that didn’t tell her how marvelous the film was, of course, which I think is the next movie. ‘Yeah, what, you didn’t like my son’s movie?’”

Weiland, who also directed the 2008 comedy “Made of Honor,” considers himself a cultural Jew. His Orthodox bar mitzvah coincided with the one and only time that England won the World Cup in soccer.

“Sixty Six” was released in 2006 in England, where, Weiland said, “it started to get a cult status with Jewish audiences.” The film is currently being shown in New York, Los Angeles and Florida. It opens on August 15 in Portland, Ore., and August 22 in Chicago and Boston.



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