Jews in the News: Scott Wolf, Daniel Radcliffe and James Caan

Family Movie; Radcliffe Kidnaps Bullock; A Godfather Guide-of-Sorts

"Rescued By Ruby" is an original Netflix film that was released on March 17. It's a "feel good" movie for the whole family. It’s based on a true story. The "real" Ruby was a wayward puppy. This Australian shepherd and border collie mix ended up in a Rhode Island animal shelter because of behavior problems. Five families adopted her and then returned her. Then Dan O'Neill, a state police corporal, came to the shelter looking for a (free) search-and-rescue dog. He was taken with Ruby's intelligence and energy. He adopted (2011) Ruby, then a 8-month-old pup, and trained her.

 Well, you can guess that Ruby did something special to merit a lot of press--- and a movie about her. I won't spoil your viewing by telling you what she did. Grant Gustin (TV's "Flash") plays Dan. SCOTT WOLF, 43, has a big role as Dan's commanding officer.

 Wolf, who was raised in a Reform Jewish home, became well-known playing star character Bailey Salinger on the hit series "Party of Five" (1994-2000). Wolf didn't become a big star after "Party of Five" ended. But he has worked steadily. He was a series regular on "The Night Shift", an NBC medical show (2014-17), and he is a series regular on "Nancy Drew", a CW series which is now airing its third season.

 "The Lost City", which opens in theaters on the 25th, stars Sandra Bullock as Loretta, a romance novelist who is kidnapped by Fairfax, an eccentric billionaire.  Fairfax thinks that Loretta really knows the location of a treasure-filled lost city mentioned in a novel she wrote.

Loretta’s novel has a photo of its (fictional) hero on the cover. Alan (Channing Tatum) is the handsome model whose photo was used. Alan decides to make fiction real and rescue Loretta. Brad Pitt plays a CIA agent who helps him.

DANIEL RADCLIFFE, 32, plays Fairfax. As everyone knows, Radcliffe became famous as the adolescent star of the "Harry Potter" movies. His adult film career hasn't been stellar---but he's worked steadily, and he is doing much better than many actors who become stars when they are children or teens and then fade away. Plus, Radcliffe is sitting on a "gelt pile". His huge "Potter" paydays left him with a personal fortune of about $100M.

As I have noted before, Radcliffe is the son of an English Jewish mother and an Irish Protestant father. He identifies as Jewish, although he was raised secular and remains so.

As you probably heard, 2022 is the 50th anniversary of the release of first of the three "Godfather" films. On March 22, a box set of the trilogy was released on Blu-Ray discs (Ultra-HD, 4K). If you have a 4k TV set, you might consider buying it. Also, late in April, a mini-series about the making of the first "Godfather" movie will stream on Paramount+.

Below is a list of Jewish actors in the first "Godfather" film. I'll cover "The Godfather: Part II" in another column. Readers of this column know that I kvetch about non-Jews playing "very Jewish" parts--so much so that Jewish actors say they rarely, if ever, get a Jewish part. That said, I think Italian (not Jewish) actors and Jewish actors have a special relationship. There is something about the look, culture, and "body language" of these groups that is so similar that members of one group can credibly play "the other." Plus, there seems to be a fair exchange---if you survey all major TV and movie roles--the number of Jews playing Italians is roughly equal to Italians playing Jews.

Here are the Jewish actors who played Italians in "The Godfather": JAMES CAAN, now 81, co-starred as Sonny Corleone. By the way, Caan ad-libbed the words "bada-bing" as he, as Sonny, talked about shooting someone. "Sopranos" fans know that Bada Bing was the name of a strip club run by the Soprano crime family; the late ABE VIGODA played Tessio, one of the Godfather's two main lieutenants; the late RUDY BOND played Cuneo, a crime family head; and the late LOUIS GUSS (who played Cher's Italian uncle in "Moonstruck"), played a Mafia leader who memorably proclaimed, at a Mafia big-wig meeting, that he would keep the drug trade in black neighborhoods.  Two others of note: the late Alex Rocco, an Italian, played Jewish gangster Moe Greene and the late JOHN MARLEY, who was Jewish, played the (possibly Jewish) movie executive who woke up with a horse's head in his bed.


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