Eric Roth, Hans Zimmer and Timothee Chalamet

Nate Bloom blogs on this week's Jews in the News.

Chalamet’s Moment, Sandler Soars Too, Much More

“Dune, Part 2”, opens in theaters on March 1.  “Part 1”, released in 2021, got very good reviews, and it snared 10 Oscar nominations, including best adapted screenplay (co-written by ERIC ROTH, 78) and best picture. HANS ZIMMER, 66, won an Oscar for his score.

Awards were just the “cherry-on-the-top”: “Dune”, a sci-fi action film, cost $165M and earned $405M in theaters, A sequel was always the wish of the film’s director. But Warner Bros. waited until the receipts piled-up before greenlighting a sequel in late 2021.

The success of “Dune, Part 1” was a huge career boost for the film’s star, TIMOTHEE CHALAMET, now 28. Before “Dune”, he was in three “relative” hits, but they weren’t blockbusters. Also, these prior hits were “talky” smart films, and certainly not action flicks. Chalamet only starred in one of these “smart” films (“Call Me by Your Name”) and he had a big supporting role in the other two (“Little Women” and “Lady Bird”)

Chalamet followed “Dune” with the title role in “Wonka”, a musical (2023). It cost $125M and made over $600M. I can envision Chalamet saying to himself, “I am the king of the world!”. Right now, he’s an ‘uber-popular’ sing-and-dance man and he’s a more-than-credible action star. That’s a very rare combo.

Here’s a capsule summary of the premises of the Dune films:  a monarch assigns the control of a desert planet to the noble Atreides family. The planet is the only source of an invaluable product. The Atreides family is almost destroyed by evil conspirators. Paul Atreides (Chalamet) survives and allies with the natives of this planet. In the sequel, Paul seeks revenge against the conspirators 

Chalamet is about to start filming “No Place Home”, a bio-pic about BOB DYLAN , now 82. The title references a line from Dylan’s hit “Like a Rolling Stone” (1965). Chalamet plays Dylan from age 19 (1960) to 1965. He’ll sing Dylan songs in his own voice.

This film is another challenge for Chalamet. Can he make a film about Dylan another hit?  Well, to that end, Chalamet is doing his research. On Jan. 19, he went to Hibbing. Minnesota, Dylan’s hometown, and talked to high school students (Hibbing is an iron ore mining town near Duluth).

ADAM SANDLER, 57, another box-office king, is starring in a sci-fi action/drama film, too!  (Rare when the Jewish stars align like this.)

Its entitled “Spaceman” and it’s based on a novel by a Czech writer. Sandler’s co-stars include Carey Mulligan, Isabella Rossellini, and Paul Dano.

Here's the plot, as reported by ‘Deadline: Hollywood’: “As an astronaut [Sandler] sent to the edge of the solar system to collect mysterious ancient dust finds his earthly life falling to pieces, he turns to the only voice who can help him try to put it back together. It just so happens to belong to a creature from the beginning of time lurking in the shadows of his ship.”

Sandler has proved he can do drama quite well. He was very good in “The Meyerowitz Stories” and “Uncut Gems”.

“Elsbeth”, a CBS drama, premieres on Feb. 29 (10PM). Carrie Preston plays Elsbeth Tascioni, a competent attorney who is on the autistic spectrum. Her condition allows her to make unique, valuable observations. Tascioni was a character in “The Good Wife” (a TV series) and in its spin-off, “The Good Fight”.  In “Elsbeth”, Ms. Tascioni joins forces with the NYPD to catch bad guys.

LINDA LAVIN, 84, will guest star in the 7th episode of the “Elsbeth” (March 17). Lavin is best known as the star of the TV series “Alice”.  More recently, she co-starred in “B Positive”, a CBS comedy series (2020-22). She can sing and she was a Tony-winning star of the Broadway musical stage.

“Elsbeth” was created by, and is written by Robert and MICHELLE (Stern) KING, 62. The Kings, a married couple, were the creators of “A Good Wife.”

The ABC series “Not Dead Yet” recently (Feb. 7; 8:30) began its second season. It stars Gina Rodriguez as Nell Serrano, a journalist who writes obits for a popular magazine. The ghosts of the persons whose obits she is working-on appear before her and help her write their obits—then disappear.

I hadn’t watched a “Not” episode before I stumbled on the 2nd  season premiere episode on Hulu (all episodes on Hulu the day after broadcast). I found it amusing and I thought BRAD GARRETT, 63 (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) was very good as Dusty Rhodes, the magazine’s nasty owner. The Rhodes character was introduced in this episode and will appear many times in the 2nd season.  


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