Another real-life, A-list filled movie is coming out too. In this one, history gets put on trial. In “Denial,” Rachel Weisz plays a woman who has to legally prove that the Holocaust happened. It sounds stranger than fiction, but that was the case for Deborah Lipstadt and Chris Van Vliet flew to Toronto to chat with her and the cast.
Rachel Weisz (as Deborah Lipstadt): “You can have opinions about the Holocaust, but I will not meet with anyone who says it didn’t happen.”
“Denial” is the true story of college professor and author Deborah Lipstadt, played here by Rachel Weisz, who has to prove in court that the Holocaust was real after David Irving, a Holocaust denier, sues her for libel.
Nikki Amuka-Bird (as Libby Holbrook): “What did you say about him?”
Rachel Weisz (as Deborah Lipstadt): “I think I called him a liar and a falsifier of history.”
Nikki Amuka-Bird (as Libby Holbrook): “You better get yourself lawyered up.”
Ultimately she won the case, but it was an uphill battle. Tom Wilkinson who plays Deborah’s lawyer tells us he was caught off guard by that.
Tom Wilkinson: “Superficially, you think you don’t need six weeks in a court of law to deal with that. You can do it in 20 minutes. Apparently no, it’s not as easy as that.”
Timothy Spall (as David Irving): “I’ve got $1,000 to give anyone that can show me a document that proves the Holocaust. I will not debate you not here, not now, not ever because you can’t.”
Timothy Spall plays the Holocaust denier and says he had to be objective with his portrayal.
Timothy Spall: “It was never my job to bring my opinions about the person. There is a massive difference between empathy and sympathy. Whatever part you’re playing, you have to empathize with that character.”
As the court case played out, it wasn’t just Deborah Lipstadt who was on trial. It was history that was on trial.
Deborah Lipstadt: “The outcome was so magnificent and the fact that this film portrays that so well is very gratifying.”
And Deborah tells me, Rachel Weisz’s portrayal taught her a little something about her about herself.
Chris Van Vliet: “So when you’re watching her on the screen, watching yourself on the screen, what little mannerisms about yourself did you learn?”
Deborah Lipstadt: “Oh, my voice. Everyone says she got my voice. She nailed it. It’s hard for me to hear it. She is a master storyteller and she wanted to get as much information as she could get.”
Rachel Weisz (as Deborah Lipstadt): “I’m not attacking freedom of speech, I’ve been standing up against someone who wants to pervert the truth.”
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