Jews in the News: Ansel Elgort, Scarlett Johansson and Darren Aronfosky

The new version is directed by KIMBERLY PEIRCE, 46, who is best known for directing and co-writing “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999).  Her mother is Jewish.


The 2012 Israeli film, “Zaytoun,” opens soon in theaters near me. But like a lot of indie or foreign films, it has or will play in a very limited number of theaters.  I checked and the film is already available on DVD and via just about every on-demand service.


Directed by ERAN RIKLIS, 58, “Zaytoun” stars STEPHEN DORFF, 40 (“Blade," “Something”) as Yoni, an Israeli pilot who is shot down in 1982 over Beirut and taken prisoner by Palestinians living in a Lebanese refugee camp. Among his captors is Fahed, a ten-year-old whose father is killed in the bombing raid that Yoni participated-in. Fahed's father’s greatest wish was to plant his prized olive tree in his home village in Israel. Fahed realizes he can use Yoni to get past the border and fulfill his father’s wish. Their journey is a large part of the film.


Dorff is the son of STEVE DORFF, 65, who has composed a lot of TV scores and, believe it or not, has co-written a slew of Country music hits.  The younger Dorff was recently asked by a New York TV station if his father being Jewish influenced him to take the role and what he did to research his role. Here’s part of what he said: “My dad is Jewish; my mother is Catholic, but I didn’t grow up religious. I’m sure my dad and grandparents are happy I made this Israeli film… I learned Hebrew… worked with the government and air force there. I was allowed access to El Al captains who were captured and tortured around the time of the story.”



What Makes Up “Sexy”??


As you probably heard by now, Esquire magazine named actress SCARLETT JOHANSSON, 28, its “Sexiest Woman Alive” for the second time (the first time was in 2006).  “Nobody” is disputing her win---but “on paper”---she should be beaten-out by a lot of other female film stars. Yes, she has a curvy figure—but she is pretty short (5’3”) and, at some angles, her face isn’t that classically pretty (her nose is certainly not a “button”).


But, like MILA KUNIS, 30, another Jewish actress who tops “sexy” lists despite being less than classically beautiful, Johansson glows with an appealing energy and intelligence that transmutes into that elusive thing, “sexiness.”


Johansson is on the cover of the October issue of “Interview” magazine and inside she is interviewed by director DARREN ARONFOSKY, 44, (“Black Swan”).They cover everything from her SAT scores; to politics; to her upcoming films (which includes an adaptation of a Truman Capote story that she is directing and has co-wrote. It films this summer.) In short, it’s a smart interview that would not be out of place on PBS and it’s at a level that so many other celebs would be incapable of maintaining.  No wonder that smart directors are bowled over by Johansson. Here's the link to the first page of the interview:


SKYPE-IN’ with the Rabbi


Last July, I reported that SNL star Seth Meyers, 39, whose paternal grandfather was Jewish, was engaged to marry lawyer ALEXI ASHE, 30. I noted that Ashe’s mother was the daughter of Holocaust survivors and that her father was a Jew-by-Choice—and I predicted that she would have a Jewish wedding. Well, the couple wed on Sept. 1 and Meyers appeared on the Letterman show last week and disclosed a lot of wedding details. He said that the rabbi who his wife “grew up with” presided at his wedding. He added that before the wedding that he and the rabbi conversed via a Skype hook-up. Meyers commented that talking to a rabbi via Skype seemed to him to “combine something very old and something very new.”



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