Jews in the News: Zoe Buckman, Daveed Diggs and David Schwimmer

The Peacock Spreads Its Wings, Woes of Child Actors, More

The new Peacock network premieres “for everybody” on July 15. Certain cable company customers are already getting Peacock with their subscription. “Everybody” can see some of the shows (with ads) if they have an internet connection. If you pay $5 per month, you can see everything on Peacock.  Peacock is connected to NBC and many old NBC series will be on the channel.

Peacock original series starting on July 15 include “The Capture,” “Brave New World,” and “Intelligence.”  “Capture” is a six-episode British series that aired in the U.K. last fall and got great reviews. It focuses on a British veteran of the Afghan War who is the suspect in a horrible domestic crime. RON PERLMAN, 70, has a supporting role.

 “Brave New World” stars ALDEN EHRENREICH, 30. It’s based on the famous 1932 dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley. Ehrenreich was discovered by STEVEN SPIELBERG, who chanced to see him in a funny bat mitzvah video. Ehrenreich is talented, but he’s had the misfortune to star in three big-budget films that flopped (“Beautiful Creatures”, “Rules Don’t Apply”, and “Han Solo: A Stars Wars Story”).You can see him at his best, I think, in “Hail, Caesar,” a COEN brothers’ film that was a critical and box-office hit.

 Finally, there’s “Intelligence,” a six-episode British sit-com set in the U.K. DAVID SCHWIMMER, 53, co-stars as Jerry Bernstein, an American National Security Agency employee who acts as a liaison to a British cyber crimes unit. The first season aired in Britain last February and a second season has been odered. Schwimmer’s ex-wife, ZOE BUCKMAN, 35, is a Brit and they have a 9-year-old daughter.

 Over on HBO, the documentary “Showbiz Kids” premieres on Tuesday, July 14. HBO publicity says: “[It] peels back Hollywood’s velvet curtain, shining a spotlight on the glamour and allure of working in the entertainment industry, while also affording a sobering window on the tolls that early success can take on young professionals.” Interviewees include MARA WILSON, 32, and EVAN RACHEL WOOD, 32. Both are the children of Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers. Both were raised Jewish. Wilson first big role was in “Mrs. Doubtfire (she was six). She also starred in “Matilda”. Wood’s breakthrough role was in the film “Thirteen”. She was 15 when it opened.

 The documentary director is ALEX WINTER, 54. He began as a child actor and is best remembered as “Bill” in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventures (1990) and its 1991 film sequel. Born in the U.K., he was raised in the States by his American Jewish mother. As an adult, he’s had more success as a documentary maker than as an actor. However, he’ll hit the big screen again this August when a third ill and Ted” film adventure is released. Original co-star Keanu Reeves reprises his “Ted” role. 

 By now, you’ve had a chance to see DAVEED DIGGS, 35, co-star in the film version of “Hamilton.” (Disney Plus channel). In light of recent events, I urge you to view “Blindspotting”, a much more contemporary film co-starring Diggs. It depicts, with some humor, and a lot of realism, the struggles of Collin (Diggs), a decent black guy---with a police record not really deserved-- to be just a regular citizen/working guy in Oakland, California. Diggs, an Oakland native, co-wrote the film.

 The film, which was critically acclaimed, isn’t that “dark” and, to get you to watch it—here’s a spoiler: it does have an upbeat ending. It is not a “gangsta” film. It is a sensitive portrayal of a person that anyone can relate to—even if most of us don’t face the exact same problems (like police brutality and rapid gentrification). It’s now available on HBO and video-on-demand.

The 8-episode HBO series “Perry Mason” premiered on June 21. New episodes stream on Sunday. The setting is Los Angeles during the nadir of the Great Depression (1932). Mason (Matthew Rhys) is not yet an attorney. He’s a private investigator scrambling to make a living. Reviews have ranged from very good to mixed (I like it). I didn’t write about the series because I knew of only one Jewish actor in the series: JUSTIN KIRK, 51 (His mother is Jewish. He played Jewish character Andy Botwin in the Showtime series “Weeds”.)  However, for whatever reason, advance credits didn’t mention his “Mason” character. I now know that Kirk shows up mid-way in the series as lawyer Hamilton Burger, whom “Mason” fans know as Mason’s courtroom opponent. However, in the HBO series, Burger aids Mason.


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