Jews in the News: Dave Franco, Judd Hirsch and Jake Gyllenhaal

Brie and Franco: Not a Parisian Cheese

“People” reports that ALISON BRIE, 34 (“Community”) and DAVE FRANCO, 31, (“Neighbors”) got married in a secret ceremony around Mar 12. No details of the nuptials (whether it was a Jewish wedding or not) were released. Both actors have described themselves as Jewish and both are the children of Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers. The couple dated three years before getting engaged in 2015.

Dave’s brother, actor JAMES FRANCO, 38, had an intimate bar mitzvah in 2015 presided over by a rabbi. This was followed by a celebration at the Hollywood Palladium that 4,000 attended. Miley Cyrus sang. SETH ROGEN, 34, and many others did comic shtick-- and over $2 million dollars (from ticket sales) was raised for a foundation which funds care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Day-Old Donuts

Sadly, “Superior Donuts,” a CBS sit-com starring JUDD HIRSCH, is plunging in the ratings and a second season is doubtful. The cast is talented, but the humor is stale. Hirsch’s character was identified as Jewish in the first “Donuts” episode and I believe that Hirsch, 82, is the first actor to have a STARRING role as a Jewish character in three TV series (“Taxi,” “Num3brs,” and “Superior Donuts”.) There’s more bad news about another senior actor: ELLIOT GOULD, 78. His CBS series, “Doubt,” was cancelled (Feb. 22) after two episodes. (Oy!)

At the Movies: Opens March 24

“Saban’s Power Rangers” references the name of the producer (HAIM SABAN, 72) and, of course, the “Power Rangers” franchise, which began as a Japanese TV series, became an American TV series in the ‘90s, and a feature film in 1995 (“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”).  The capsule plot of “Saban”: Five teens become the newest generation in a line of warriors known as the Power Rangers. They battle Rita Repulsa (ELIZABETH BANKS, 43) a powerful witch and former Power Ranger. 

The director is DEAN ISRAELITE, 32, who was born and raised in South Africa. His (South African) cousin and mentor, director JONATHAN LIEBESMAN, 40, oft directs “franchise” series, too (2006 sequel to “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and the 2015 reboot of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series).

“CHIPS” is a buddy action/comedy based on the characters in the hit ‘70s TV series of the same name about the California Highway Patrol. Dax Shepard stars as Baker, a veteran officer, and Michael Pena plays “Ponch”, his rookie partner. The twist: Ponch is an undercover federal officer investigating possible corruption within the CHP. ADAM BRODY, 37, and MAYA RUDOLPH, 43, have big supporting roles playing, respectively, a CHP officer and a CHP sergeant.

“Wilson” is based on a graphic novel of the same name by DANIEL CLOWES, 55 (“Ghost World”). The title character (played by Woody Harrelson) is a lonely, neurotic and hilariously honest middle-aged misanthrope who re-connects with his ex-wife (Laura Dern). He gets a shot at happiness when he finds out he has a teenage daughter he’s never met.

“Life,” a big-budget sci-fi thriller, follows a crew aboard the International Space Station as they capture a space probe with a sample inside that may contain alien life. Well, as you may have guessed-- there is alien life inside and, without spoiling the surprises—this alien creature presents big difficulties for the crew.   JAKE GYLLENHAAL, 36, stars as Dr. David Jordan.

The “Life” screenwriters, PAUL WERNICK, 48, and Ms. Rhett Reese, met in high school in Phoenix. Wernick worked as a TV news producer until, in 2001, he formed a production company with Reese. They are on a hot streak—their first film, “Zombieland” (2009), which they co-wrote, was a very clever satire about a zombie apocalypse. This flick somehow managed to funny and exciting at the same time. (It starred JESSE EISENBERG, now 33, and a then-almost unknown Emma Stone). Their second film, “Deadpool” (2016) echoed “Zombieland”—in that it was both funny and exciting. “Pool” was a huge hit and sequels for both it and “Zombieland” are in the works. Nice to note: Wernick’s father recently celebrated his second bar mitzvah.

By the way, Jake Gyllenhaal is starring through April in a Broadway revival of the musical “Sunday in the Park with George” and he got stellar reviews. Tickets are available, so if you visit New York soon—go. A rehearsal tape of Jake singing a “Sunday” song has just been released and his singing voice, which is quite good, is very similar to the singing voice of MANDY PATINKIN, 64, who originated the role that Gyllenhaal is now playing.

Jake Sings
Click Here: Jake Sings Sondheim


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