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Al Pacino Quits Copenhagen's Aveny-T Production of Knut Hamsun's 'Hunger' Because of Nazis...and Holograms

By K. Young k.young@classicalite.com on Jun 04, 2015 09:43 PM EDT

Even at 75, Al Pacino is still making news. This time, the Oscar-winning actor is being praised for dropping out of a stage adaptation of a novel written by Norwegian writer and Nazi sympathiser, Knut Hamsun.

According to the New York Daily News, Pacino pulled out of a commitment to film a reading as the narrator of a stage adaptation of the novel, Hunger, after learning of the Norwegian Knut Hamsun's Nazi ties and personal relationship with Adolf Hitler. The producers for Copenhagen's Aveny-T Theatre were planning to use the movie star's performance in a hologram that would be projected during performances of the stage production. But the Telegraph reports that theater manager Jon Stephensen said, "Pacino jumped at the last minute because he couldn't come to terms with Knut Hamsun's support for the German occupation and Nazism."

A Nobel Prize-winner in literature, Hamsun (1859-1952) vocally supported the Nazi occupation of his home country, and even went so far as to give his Nobel Prize to Nazi propaganda mastermind/Hitler's right hand, Joseph Goebbels in 1920. Even after Hitler's death, he praised the vile, depraved despot as "a preacher of the gospel of justice for all nations."

Hamsun was a pioneer of psychological literature, whose experiments in interior monologue and stream-of-consciousness techniques influenced writers as diverse as Franz Kafka and Ernest Hemingway. However, in his later years, he started to support the aforementioned Nazi cause. While Al Pacino does not, understandably, want his named attached to such history, not everyone shares this sentiment. Hege Faust, the chairperson of Norway's Hansum Society, said that it was "strange" that people today could not separate the "literary brilliance" of Hamsun's early years with the politics of his old age.

Never forget, though, that ol' Al played the Jewish moneylender Shylock--the more prominent character, indeed--in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.

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TagsAl Pacino, Knut Hamsen, Hunger, Hitler

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