Roger Corman used to cast movies by going through lists of Screen Actors Guild members, looking for names he recognized but who hadn't worked in a while. This how he happened give work to aging stars like Boris Karloff and others. Seems like a good idea. Larry Cohen was asked how he got Broderick Crawford to star in The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, and he explained that there aren't that many leading roles for older actors. Write decent roles for older stars and you can get who you like.
There was a playwright in Hudson New York who tried something like this. Wrote a play for a couple of geezers. It might have worked if not for one thing...
The play was an imagined meeting between Elie Wiesel and Bernard Madoff, written by Deborah Margolin.
According to an article in The New York Times:
The Wiesel character in the earlier script was no passing contrivance. Ms. Margolin said she had seen the character as an ideal dramatic device, a name that would instantly connote moral authority. The central scene of the original play was an imagined conversation in which Wiesel pleaded with Madoff to invest his money. It also included a sexually tinged memory of Wiesel’s time in a concentration camp, as well as readings from the Talmud and meditations on repentance.
Wiesel spent much of the play cajoling and counseling Madoff, building up to a climactic moment in which the treacherous investor considered confessing his deceit to his wise and kindly companion.
Where did they get the idea that Wiesel was wise or kindly? He always seemed like a jerk to me.
Apparently Wiesel had been taking in contributions for something he modestly dubbed The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. Donors probably thought the money would be used for the good of all mankind (except Palestinians), but Wiesel put it all in the stock market. He handed it all to Madoff until Madoff was thrown in prison.
Over the years, the wise, kindly Elie Wiesel refused to take part in a conference on genocide because it included mention of the Armenian genocide; he attacked Simon Wiesenthal because Wiesenthal called for the recognition of non-Jewish holocaust victims such as Gypsies and homosexuals; when asked to comment, he expressed no sympathy for the 2,000 or so Palestinians slaughtered in Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps, said that he felt "sad for Israel, not against it," and said that no one should comment on it or criticize Israel for carrying out the massacre.
In the late '40s, Wiesel was a member of the Irgun, a Jewish terrorist group that helped carry out the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. He wants to criminalize Holocaust denial, but he denies the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, denies the Armenian Genocide, and wants the world to ignore the Nazi genocide against Gypsies, homosexuals and others.
Wiesel called for the U.S. invasion of Iraq and is now calling for war on Iran. He continues to defend and support any mass murder of Palestinians.
But Wiesel is as angry as a Transylvanian can be about Bernard Madoff. Wiesel thinks Madoff should be forced to spend 24 hours a day looking at pictures of the millionaires he defrauded. He thinks Madoff would be tortured with guilt.
And now we have this idiot playwright who thinks that sticking Wiesel in a play gave it instant moral authority.
The woman has no right to be so stupid. She teaches at Yale, for God's sake.
She sent a copy of the play to Wiesel. The wise, kindly Wiesel wrote back that the play was "obscene" and threatened to sue her.
Margolin quickly rewrote it. Wrote out Wiesel and replaced him with a fictional geezer poet.
It didn't seem to change her opinion of Wiesel. She told the guy at the New York Times, “I didn’t set out to be on the wrong side of anybody, let alone someone I admire."
If she wants to admire him, okay. She can if she wants. But don't be an idiot about it.