Al Pacino has dropped out of a play in Denmark because its author, Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun, was an admirer of Hitler.
The Oscar winning actor best known for his portrayal of Michael Corleone in the Godfather movies was set to star as the narrator of a play based on Hamsum’s novel “Hunger.” But then Pacino found out that the author believes that Hitler and Nazi Germany were great. He actually thinks that Germany’s occupation of Norway during World War II was a good thing.
Pacino canceled a trip to Denmark last week where he was to be filmed in 3D by the play’s producers. Pacino would not have actually performed live. Instead a hologram of the film was to have been projected onto the stage.
Hamsum, who lived to be 93, was in his 80s when Germany invaded Norway in 1940. He supported the puppet government of Vidkun Quisling during the occupation and after Hitler committed suicide in 1945 he published an obituary describing himr as “a preacher of the gospel of justice for all nations.”
Jon Stephensen, manager of Aveny-T which is producing the play, told Denmark’s BT newspaper “It is correct. He jumped at the last minute because he couldn’t come to terms with Knut Hamsun’s support for the German occupation and Nazism. We must respect that.”
“It would have been really been great if it had succeeded, ” Stephensen said. “I have several times in the process thought that I was dreaming. It would have been massive if he had come to Copenhagen.”
The really sad part of all of this is that, in spite of Hamsum’s having won a Nobel Prize in the 1920s, everyone knows that he was an avowed Nazi who betrayed his own country. It is one thing to give recognition to his writings, but that does not mean that anyone needs to turn them into plays, especially in Denmark which also suffered under German occupation during the war.