Jews in the News: Scarlett Johansson, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy

At the Movies: Opens March 31

“The Ghost in the Shell” is an action-adventure based on a Japanese comic book and film. It follows Major (SCARLETT JOHANSSON, 32), a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads an elite task force that is devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals.  The fact that the lead character is a woman seems to have helped persuade Johansson to take the role. She told “Marie Clare” magazine: "Having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity…Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that—the weight of such a big property on my shoulders."

Sadly, the actress’s divorce from French journalist Roman Duriac has turned nasty. The balance between a woman’s career and her family life is prominent in their dispute. Last week, Scarlett told a UK talk show: “I am so proud to be able to [have] my daughter come to the workplace [i.e., film sets] and show her I’m an independent woman…”.

This comment was seen as a response to a statement by Duriac’s lawyers. They said that Duriac had been blind-sided by the divorce and that he was “tired of having to run his life and his child’s life based on Ms Johansson’s shooting schedule.”

The Zookeeper’s Wife” tells the true story of Jan and Antonia Żabiński, who were Polish Catholics. Jan was the director of the Warsaw Zoo when WWII began in 1939. He and Antonia, his wife, risked their lives to hid Jews in the zoo until the Polish Resistance could hide them elsewhere. Jessica Chastain stars as Antonia, with Israel-British actor IDDO GOLDBERG, 41, in a supporting role as a Polish Jew. This film is based on a 2009 book of the same name by DIANE ACKERMAN, 69, that got stellar reviews. “Wife” is not only a great story, but in Ackerman’s hands—it was a beautifully written story.

Home Viewing Options

“Imaginary Mary” is an ABC sit-com which had a special “sneak” premiere last Wednesday (can be viewed on ABC app/on-line). Its second episode will air on Tuesday, April 4, at 9:30PM (its regular time). The show stars Jenna Elfman as Alice, a single public relations executive who falls in love with Ben (STEPHEN SCHNEIDER, 36), the single father of three kids. The twist is that Alice’s imaginary childhood friend, Mary, “returns” to her life to guide Alice in this relationship. RACHEL DRATCH, 51, voices Mary.

You’ll probably recognize Schneider from a lot of TV guest shots. The same can be said about his wife, actress JENN PROSKE, 29. She converted to Judaism before the couple wed in 2013. Their 2-year-old daughter attends a Jewish pre-school.

The series, “Prison Break,” which ran on Fox from 2005-2009, is coming back for nine more episodes starting on April 4, at 9PM. PAUL ADELSTEIN, 47, returns as Paul Kellerman, a mysterious government officer, and MARK FEUERSTEIN, 45, co-stars as a new “big” character.

Trekian Notes

Well, first I see “TMZ” cameras following WILLIAM SHATNER in a parking lot on his 84th birthday (Mar. 22). Sure, he’s a lot chunkier than when he played Capt. Kirk on “Trek,” but otherwise he looks, walks, and sounds great. Then, I catch-up with the news that British actor JASON ISAACS, 53 (Lucius Malfoy in “Harry Potter” flicks) will play the captain of the Star Ship Discovery in the upcoming CBS “All-Access” streaming series, “Star Trek: Discovery.”  

But, for me, the neatest thing I discover is that LAWRENCE MONTAIGNE, who died on Mar. 17, age 86, was Jewish. He was born in Brooklyn, but was raised in Rome’s Jewish quarter until his family fled back to the States in the 1930s. He was a Marine Corps veteran, a dancer, a theater professor, and a Negev desert security guard. He also had small roles in two “Trek” episodes. In the 1966 episode, “Balance of Terror,” we first get to see the “evil” Romulans. The late MARK LENARD, who later played Spock’s father, played the Romulan ship captain with Montaigne playing his second-in-command. Then, in 1967, Montaigne played Stonn, a Vulcan, in the episode “Amok Time.”

Spock (LEONARD NIMOY) has to return to Vulcan to wed T-Pring (the late ARLENE MARTEL), who he was engaged to as a child. T-Pring tells Spock she wants to marry Stonn. Weird wedding rules finds Spock forced to fight Kirk for T-Pring’s hand; Kirk fakes his death; and after the fight, Spock tells T-Pring that if she wants Stonn, that’s okay with him. It’s remarkable and funny that this Vulcan wedding was, in some sense, a virtually all-Jewish wedding—although the only ‘violence’ I’ve seen at a Jewish wedding is jostling at the appetizer table.


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