Al Pacino Withdraws From Play Written by Hitler Supporter

The play is an adaptation of 'Hunger,' by Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun, who described Hitler as a 'preacher of the gospel of justice for all nations.'

Wikimedia Commons

American actor Al Pacino has withdrawn from a stage production he was scheduled to appear in due to the writer's enthusiastic support for Hitler, the Telegraph website reports.

Pacino had signed up to star as the narrator in a stage adaptation of "Hunger," a psychological novel by Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun, produced by the Aveny-T theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Hamsun was a pioneer of psychological literature whose experiments in interior monologue and stream of consciousness techniques influenced much of 20th century literature, including writers as diverse as Franz Kafka and Ernest Hemingway.

Hamsun supported the Nazi occupation of Norway during World War II and was a confidante of high-ranking Nazi officials, including propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.

After Hitler’s death he published an obituary describing the German leader as "a preacher of the gospel of justice for all nations."

Pacino, one of America's best-known actors for roles such as Michael Corleone in the Godfather films, had been scheduled to visit Copenhagen last week for filming of the narrator role. The theater intended to create a holographic projection of Pacino, which it would use in the play.

"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,” Jon Stephensen, Aveny-T’s manager, told Denmark’s BT newspaper. “We must respect that.”

Hege Faust, 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.

“Many people choose not to read Hamsun at all, or when it comes to famous people such as Al Pacino, to risk having their name connected to him,” she said.