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Pacino Studies for Upcoming Shylock Role in Borough Park

Al Pacino, who will be playing the role of Shylock in this summer's Public Theater production of The Merchant of Venice, conducted research for the part in Brooklyn this week, visiting a Hasidic synagogue and meeting with a community member at a Borough Park kosher restaurant. Apparently Pacino, who was accompanied by the Public’s Shakespeare Initiative director Barry Edelstein, took the immersion quite seriously:

"As worshipers swayed in prayer, known as shuckling, Edelstein said he saw Pacino slowly rock back and forth with them, observing their movements."


The actor, who was clad in a dark suit and hat, stood at the back of the synagogue during the services and went unrecognized; afterward, the two men shared a coffee and cheesecake with a member of the Hasidic community at a local diner. Edelstein said no one they encountered offered any objections to the fact that Pacino will be appearing in a play divisive in its perceived anti-Semitism: "[The observation] was done with complete respect and a true sense of empathy,” he said.

Preparing for a Role, Al Pacino Pays a Visit to Borough Park [Metropolis/WSJ]

Photo: Getty Images