Nate Bloom blogs on this week’s Jews in the News
Bond News: Now and Then
The new James Bond movie, “Skyfall,” starring Daniel Craig, opens on Friday, Nov. 9. This one is directed by Brit SAM MENDES, 47, who was raised by his Jewish mother. I expect that Mendes and Craig showed “Bondian sophistication” about the fact that Mendes long dated RACHEL WEISZ, 42. After Mendes/Weisz broke-up, he married Kate Winslet, from who he is now divorced. Weisz, meanwhile, ended an eight-year relationship with director DARREN ARNOFSKY, 43, in late 2010 and wed Craig in 2011.
By the way, it’s been fifty years since the first Bond film, “Dr. No”, opened. It featured the “very Jewish” actor JOSEPH WISEMAN (1918-2009) in the title role. The movie was made for about a million dollars, a smallish sum even then, but it didn’t look cheap due to the incredible talent of set designer KEN ADAM, now 91. He did the futuristic sets for seven Bond films. Born Klaus Adam in Germany, he fled the Nazis (1934) and settled in England, with his family, when he was 13. Adam and his brother were the only German-born fighter pilots in the RAF during WWII. He was a crack fighter pilot.
It may surprise a lot of people that a number of Jewish actresses have played “the Bond Girl” in the Bond movies: JILL ST. JOHN, 72 (born Jill Oppenheim), in “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971); JANE SEYMOUR, 61, (born Jane Frankenberg) in “Live and Let Die” (1973); BARBARA BACH, 65, in “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977); TANYA ROBERTS, 57, in “A View from the Kill” (1986), and EVA GREEN, 32 , in “Casino Royale” (2006). (St.John had two Jewish parents; Seymour and Bach—a Jewish father; Roberts and Green—a Jewish mother).
Bar Mitzvah Hype Men
The ABC series, “Happy Endings,” about six youngish best friends, premiered in 2011 as a mid-season replacement. It became a much better show in its second season. The third season began on Oct. 23. In this season’s premiere episode, Brad (Damon Wayans, Jr.), one of the six friends, was laid-off his job. The episode airing on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 9PM is entitled, “Boys II Menorah.” The plot: Brad’s buddy, Max Blum (ADAM PALLY, 30), who is supposed be Jewish and gay, has been working the Bar Mitzvah circuit as a professional “hype guy”. In other words, he emcees and he works hard to get the guests excited– so they get up and dance. Brad reluctantly agrees to partner up with Max. Things get a little testy between them when Brad turns out to be a quite good “hype man” and Max gets a little jealous.
Pally is a regular contributor to the humor website Funny or Die, where he is best known for his series “Riding Shotgun with Adam Pally.” (He interviews celebrities in his car.) Raised a Conservative Jew in Livingstone, NJ, he’s been married since 2008 to DANIELLA LIEBEN, 30, a “hometown girl” whose parents belong to the same synagogue as Pally’s parents. In Dec. 2011, their first child, a son, was born.
Hiking in the Other Georgia
”The Loneliest Planet,” a film directed and written by JULIA LOTEV, 43, co-stars Gael Garcia Bernal and HANI FURSTENBERG, 30, as Alex and Nica, a loving couple who like to travel off the beaten path. They hire a local guide and hike through the Caucasus Mountains. In an instant, their relationship changes when Alex reacts to a threat to Nica in a way that is either cowardly or cautious. Nica then re-evaluates her perception of Alex and their future together.
Furstenberg was born in Israel. When she was an infant, her Israeli parents moved to New York, but returned to Israel, with her, when she was 16. In the last decade, she has become a star of the Israeli theater and has co-starred in the hit Israeli films, “Yossi and Jagger” and “Campfire”. Lotev was born in Leningrad, the child of two computer scientist parents. The family moved to Colorado in 1977. (Look for this limited distribution IFC film via cable/satellite on-demand services or when it comes out in the near future on DVD).
No, Not a Lap Band
MARISA JARET WINOKUR, 39 , who won a Tony playing the very heavy-set Tracey Turnblad in the Broadway musical version of “Hairspray,” and now co-stars on the TVLand series, “Retired at 35,” recently appeared at movie premiere wearing a size “zero” jacket. She says her dramatic weight loss is due to “working out like a mad woman and eating healthy.”
Nate Bloom writes a weekly column on Jewish celebrities, broadly defined, that appears in the Atlanta Jewish Times, the Cleveland Jewish News, the American Israelite of Cincinnati, the Detroit Jewish News, and the New Jersey Jewish Standard. It also appears bi-weekly in j., the Jewish news weekly of northern California. Most of the items in Bloom’s weekly newspaper column differ from the items in his bi-weekly column on interfaith celebrities for InterfaithFamily.com. If you wish to contact Nate Bloom, e-mail him at email@example.com . The author welcomes questions and celebrity “tips,” especially about people you personally know.