Jews in the News: Steven Spielberg, Sam Mendes and Lior Britton

Peanuts, Brooklyn, and Bond (Opening Nov. 6)

“The Peanuts Movie” is the fifth theatrical film based on the beloved comic strip characters, but the first to be released since 1980. (We all know the TV specials. They began airing in 1965). The new film seems to be mostly a re-boot or re-telling of stories that we’ve seen before in “Peanuts” movies/specials. Snoopy will once again “joust” with the Red Baron, while Charlie Brown tries to win the affection of the Little Red-Haired Girl.

The voice of “Charlie Brown” is provided by NOAH SCHNAPP, 11. This handsome young fellow made his big screen debut in a small role playing Tom Hanks’ son in the STEVEN SPIELBERG film, “Bridge of Spies.” Noah told AOL On-line: "Working with Mr. Spielberg  was just such an amazing experience…He was always jumping in helping me." Job offers are now pouring in and Schnapp will appear in an upcoming Netflix series. When AOL asked him, who is his favorite Peanuts character, Noah replied: “Charlie Brown…Because he's the character I play and he's so unique because he never gives up. Most people in life, when they're frustrated, they just give up."

Schnapp’s parents are both Montreal natives and the family, including his twin sister, now live in Scarsdale, NY. Noah’s father, MITCHELL SCHNAPP, a 40ish hedge fund manager, was jointly interviewed with Noah and he told AOL: “My biggest concern -- and my son is laughing right now -- is his schoolwork, and I'm on top of him day and night making sure we're not falling behind and maintaining good grades." Noah’s mother, KARINE PEREZ SCHNAPP, 40ish, is of Moroccan Jewish background.   Currently, she’s Senior Marketing V.P. at Hugo Boss, the fashion company.

Another handsome thespian, EMORY COHEN, 25, the son of two New York City public school teachers, co-stars in the 1950s immigrant drama, “Brooklyn.” This film got universal raves at the Toronto Film Festival and “Variety” headlined its review this way: “Saoirse Ronan shines, but relative newcomer Emory Cohen is the true breakout in this tale of a young woman torn between two men on opposite sides of the Atlantic.” Ronan’s character, Eilis, is a mousy and poor Irish girl who moves to Brooklyn to earn money and study accounting. In America, she’s swept-away by an Italian-American plumber (Cohen), with a zest for life. A death requires a return trip to Ireland, where Eilis realizes how much she missed home and that she can get a good Irish job with her accounting certificate. Then a local guy courts her. What will she do?

“Brooklyn” is opening in limited release on the 6th, but the stellar reviews almost guarantee it will open near you. When a top media outlet like “Variety” compares Cohen’s character and performance to Marlon Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire”—well, to quote the late ARTHUR MILLER, “Attention must be paid.” To be clear, “Variety” noted that “Brooklyn” is not as well-written as “Streetcar” and Cohen’s character is a lot nicer than Brando’s. Still, the review is an amazing tribute to Cohen, whose best known role to date was playing DEBRA MESSING’s son in the short-lived “Smash” TV series. He may well be the first actor named “Cohen” to become a film star.

Director SAM MENDES, 50, got the directing job on the Bond movie “Skyfall” after a chance party conversation with Bond star and fellow Brit Daniel Craig (who is now married to RACHEL WEISZ, 45, who once dated Mendes). “Skyfall” was a critical hit and a huge box office smash, so Mendes was asked to make the next Bond movie, which he finally agreed to do. The new film, “Spectre,” involves Bond fighting the nefarious “Spectre” organization. The main villain is played by Austrian Christoph Waltz, the two-time Oscar winner who plays villains “great.” Waltz’s ex-wife is an American Jew and their three children were raised Jewish. He’s said he “almost” became Jewish, too.

Briefly Noted

Yes, according to reliable sources, aged porn star Jenna Jameson will be the subject of an Israeli TV reality show that features her conversion to Judaism in advance of her marriage to Los Angeles-based Israeli jeweler LIOR BRITTON, 41. Britton was convicted (2010) of serious insurance fraud, so one wonders if this whole relationship is mostly about free publicity for both. I have no doubt that conversion process will take place in Los Angeles. The Israeli government website about conversion-to-Judaism-in-Israel says that 400-500 hours of “theoretical classwork” are required and I can’t imagine Jameson doing that. Only a serious documentary maker would follow a potential convert for the three years it takes most Israeli conversions—and that’s an odyssey I’d like to see on film.


Add Comment