Jews in the News: Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Kravitz and Ezra Miller

Movie Theater or Streaming: Your Choice

“A Marriage Story,” a Netflix film, opens in limited theater release on Nov. 6 and begins streaming on Netflix on Dec. 6.  It has received 100% good advance reviews from leading critics. Capsule plot: a stage director (Adam Driver) and an actress (SCARLETT JOHANSSON, 34) struggle through a grueling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes. WALLACE SHAWN, 75, has a supporting role. The film was directed and written by NOAH BAUMBACH, 50.

Baumbach, who identifies as Jewish, is the secular son of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother. He burst on the scene in 2005 with the critically acclaimed film “The Squid and the Whale,” which he wrote and directed. It’s a semi-autobiographical story about his childhood as the son of two writers. Notable later works include “Margot at the Wedding” (2007), “While We Were Young” (2015), and “The Meyerowitz Stories” (2017). The last was a Netflix original film that provided co-stars ADAM SANDLER and DUSTIN HOFFMAN with their best roles in years.

Baumbach was formerly married to actress JENNIFER JASON LEIGH, now 57 (she co-starred in “Margot”) and they had a son together. He is now the partner of actress Greta Gerwig and they, too, have a son.

Super Hero and Other Cast Notes

The number of Jews playing superheroes based on comic book characters continues to rise. It was recently announced that ZOE KRAVITZ, 30, will play Catwoman in “The Batman,” a big feature that will open in 2021 (Robert Pattinson plays Batman). Other tribe members playing superheroes include GAL GADOT, 34, as Wonder Woman; NATALIE PORTMAN, 38, as Jane Foster (who often can wield Thor’s powers); Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow; and EZRA MILLER, 27, as the Flash.

Next February, you can catch Kravitz in “High Fidelity,” a 10-episode series on Hulu. It’s based on the hit 2000 movie of the same name about people working in hip little record store.  Also, last week it was announced that Gadot will produce and star in “Irena Sendler.” This bio-pic is about the Polish Jewish heroine who saved thousands of Jewish children during the Holocaust.

The four-episode bio series “Catherine the Great” concludes on HBO on Nov. 11. The always-great Helen Mirren plays the title role. Avid “Game of Thrones” fans might have spotted British Jewish actor PAUL KAYE, 54, in episode 2 and 3. He played Pugachev, a Cossack who led a failed revolt against Catherine. Kaye played Thyros of Myr, the Red Priest, in “Thrones.”

 About Colonel Vindman

The night before Lt. Col. ALEXANDER VINDMAN, 44, was set to testify before a House committee (Oct. 29), I checked to see whether he was Jewish. I found out he is Jewish from the website of photographer CAROL KITMAN, who is based in Leonia. Around 1981, she saw Alexander and his identical twin brother, YEVGENY, on a Brooklyn street dressed in cute identical clothes. She became a friend of the family and has taken photos of the family for decades. The photos are on her website. Well, overnight, the NY Times found the same website and interviewed Kitman.

The Vindman twins, and their older brother LEONID, came to the States in 1979. They were accompanied by their father and maternal grandmother (the boys’ mother died just before the family left Ukraine). Their father, who came to America with almost no money, is now an engineer. The twins both chose an army career. Yevgeny is an attorney and an Army lieutenant colonel who works in the White House, giving advice on ethics to the National Security Council.

Alexander, who won a Purple Heart fighting in Iraq, is a Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. In a statement he released before testifying, he said that he “did not think it was proper” for the President to push Ukraine’s leader to dig up dirt on his political rivals during a July phone call (which he heard as it was happening). He added that he felt duty-bound to report the conversation to a White House lawyer, fearing that it jeopardized the country’s national security. He also said he had clashed with GORDON SONDLAND, 62, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who took the same position as the President.


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