The actor, who is a Maronite Christian, defended his casting as a Jewish professor in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” after the female comedian recently voiced concerns with non-Jewish celebrities taking on Jewish roles.
Speaking at the premiere of “Mass,” Shalhoub told Page Six he believes the entire point of being an actor is to play a character that isn’t himself.
“I always feel that we’re actors,” the star told the outlet. “We were trained to — at least I was — to not play myself, to play characters and so it’s troubling to me that they’re limiting actors.”
Tony Shalhoub, right, with his “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” costars Marin Hinkle, right, and Rachel Brosnahan, center. (Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
Without calling out Silverman by name, Shalhoub suggested that the idea of limiting castings depending on a person’s religious beliefs would create a slippery slope.
“I just don’t know,” he continued. “If we start to go down that road, I don’t know where it ends. Are people who are members of the Mafia, are they going to be upset that people who haven’t actually committed those types of crimes are playing those roles?”
“When you extrapolate it all the way out the way lies complete chaos,” he concluded.
Tony Shalhoub, who is Christian, defended playing a Jewish character in “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” after comedian Sarah Silverman recently spoke out against non-Jewish actors being cast in Jewish roles. (Getty)
Last week, Silverman voiced her distaste in Kathryn Hahn, who was raised Catholic, landing the role of the late Joan Rivers, who was Jewish, in an upcoming series.
Speaking on her podcast, Silverman said, “There’s this long tradition of non-Jews playing Jews, and not just playing people who happen to be Jewish but people whose Jewishness is their whole being. One could argue, for instance, that a Gentile [a non-Jew] playing Joan Rivers correctly would be doing what is actually called ‘Jewface.’
“It’s defined as when a non-Jew portrays a Jew with the Jewishness front and center, often with makeup or changing of features, big fake nose, all the New York-y or Yiddish-y inflection. And in a time when the importance of representation is seen as so essential and so front and center, why does ours constantly get breached even today in the thick of it?” she added.
Tony Shalhoub in character on the set of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: at Cherry Lane Theatre on May 27, 2021, in New York City. (James Devaney/GC Images)
Hahn’s casting for “The Comeback Girl” on Showtime was announced in September. Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, and Hahn did not return Fox News’ requests for comment.