Jews in the News: Paul Rudd, Paul Weitz and Phil Spector

The plot: Straitlaced Princeton Univ. admissions officer Portia Nathan (Tina Fey) makes a recruiting visit to an alternative high school run by John Pressman, a former college classmate (PAUL RUDD, 43).  Pressman has guessed that Jeremiah, a gifted student of his, might be the son that Nathan secretly gave up for adoption while she was in college.


Nathan finds herself putting her career at risk to help Jeremiah get into Princeton. Meanwhile, she finds herself falling for Pressman.  WALLACE SHAWN, 69, who can be quite funny, has a supporting role as Nathan’s stiff colleague. Lily Tomlin reportedly almost steals the film with her slightly over-the-top performance as Portia Nathan’s fierce feminist mother.


NAT WOLFF, 18, the former co-star of the hit Nickelodeon kids’ show, “The Naked Brothers Band,” plays Jeremiah. The film is directed by PAUL WEITZ, 47 (“About a Boy”).


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In the early-to-mid 1960s, there was no hotter rock music writer and producer than PHIL SPECTOR, now 73. He had an incredible sting of hits with such groups as the Ronettes and The Righteous Brothers. But by the late ‘60s, he went from being often annoying and neurotic to downright spooky weird. Spector virtually stopped working after 1980, but he had tons of royalties still coming-in. Then, in 2003, he was accused of murdering actress Lana Clarkson at his mansion. His first trial, in 2007, ended in a mistrial. He was convicted in 2009 and isn’t eligible for parole until he’s 88.


The original HBO film, “The Bottom Line,” premieres on Sunday Mar., 24, at 9PM. Directed and written by DAVID MAMET, 65, it got an advance rave in the usually reliable Hollywood Reporter. The Reporter’s only caveat is that Mamet has an agenda: to plant a reasonable doubt in the mind of viewers as to Spector’s guilt or innocence. Al Pacino plays Spector, with Helen Mirren co-starring as Spector’s defense attorney.


As I’ve noted before, ZOSIA MAMET, David’s daughter, is one three Jewish actresses playing three of the four leads on HBO’s “Girls.”  As I write this, the 2nd season finale (Mar. 17) hasn’t yet aired—but the Mar. 10 episode was more “tribe-heavy” than a Brooklyn bris. Guest stars included SHIRI APPLEBY, 34, as the new girlfriend of Hannah’s ex-boyfriend; CAROL KANE, 60, as Appleby’s mother; BOB BALABAN, 67, as a therapist treating Hannah (star LENA DUNHAM, 26); and AMY SCHUMER, 31, as a guest at a party.


Schumer, a rising comedian, is the niece of Sen. CHUCK SCHUMER, 62, of New York. Early this month, Amy was the headliner of a Showtime special, “Woman Who Kill,” featuring four female stand-ups. It is in “heavy” re-run play until the end of March. Meanwhile, many of Chuck’s former constituents are featured in “Kings Point,” an Oscar-nominated documentary about (mostly) Jewish seniors in a Del Ray Beach, FL, retirement community that airs all this month on HBO.


One Last Walz (Update)


Last week, the Jerusalem Post reported that Austrian actor Christoph Walz, 55, who just won his second best supporting actor Oscar, was in Israel to attend the wedding of his daughter, MIRIAM, 30. The Post also reported that "Walz’s son is a rabbi in Israel.” Back in 2009, director Quentin Tarantino surprised everyone when he mentioned that Walz’s son “was a rabbi in Israel.” Not long after, actor/director ELI ROTH said that the son was “studying to be a rabbi in Israel.” I just came across a recent Austrian news report that clarified matters. Walz’s ex-wife, JACKIE, is an American Jewish psychotherapist. They had three kids: Miriam, RACHEL, now 25, and LEON, 27. The Austrian paper spoke to the chief rabbi of Vienna, who knows Leon very well (Leon is often in Austria to visit his paternal grandmother). The rabbi said that Leon did finish a several-year course of study at a Jerusalem yeshiva. But his studies didn’t have to end in rabbinic ordination and Leon chose not to be ordained. Leon, an Orthodox Jew, now works as a scientist in London. He is also working on writing Jewish historical studies. The rabbi added that Leon and his father are close, but Leon couldn’t bear to watch his father act in an SS uniform in Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds.”


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