At the Movies: Opening November 2
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is a bio-pic about the famous rock band Queen and its even-more famous frontman, the late Freddie Mercury. Advance reports say that Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”) turns in a stellar performance as Mercury and that he may save a project that once seemed doomed. In 2016, SACHA BARON COHEN, who looks a lot like Mercury, withdrew from the film’s star role. He told HOWARD STERN that the surviving members of Queen insisted that fully half of the film had to be about the band after the death of Mercury. To most people, including Cohen, Mercury was Queen and he couldn’t accept this condition. Then, in Dec. 2017, BRYAN SINGER, now 53, was replaced as director after 2/3 of the movie was filmed. Why he was replaced is disputed and he still is the listed film director. Very few films with a “late replacement” director succeed.
Hit or not, it’s “cool” that Malek, a member of a little known minority religion, is playing Mercury, a member of an even less known minority religion. Malek’s parents are Egyptian Coptic Christians who settled in Los Angeles. Mercury was born into a Parsi family and grew-up in England. Parsis are followers of the Zoroastrian religion who have long lived in India. Zoroastrianism is a monotheistic religion, born in Iran, which predates Christianity. Parsi history has many parallels with Jewish history. Famous Parsis include conductor ZUBIN MEHTA, 82, the “music director for life” of the Israel Philharmonic.
So, I see that a satirical film about African-American rappers, called “Bodied,” is opening Nov. 2 and the director is Joseph Kahn. I check and find out that Joseph Kahn’s original last name is “Ahn” and he’s a Korean-American who grew-up in Texas. Why he choose a “Jewish” stage name is unknown to me. But I do know he isn’t Jewish and I had to laugh when I saw a tweet he posted in Sept. 2017: “I'm not Jewish but I'll fast with Jews this [Yom Kippur] weekend because I'm fat. L'chaim.”
Selma Blair Goes Public
Actress SELMA BLAIR, 46, disclosed on October 13 that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (“MS”) last August. She shared the news via a video posting on Instagram. MS, which effects more women than men, usually is diagnosed between age 20 and 50. It disables the central nervous system by disrupting the flow of information between the brain and body. Progression and symptoms vary widely from person-to-person.
Blair described her symptoms: "I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken GPS. But we are doing it. And I laugh and I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best.” However, these symptoms have not stopped Blair from filming her new Netflix sci-fi series, “Another Life,” in which she co-stars as a reporter.
Blair thanked a number of friends for support, including actresses SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR, 41, and ELIZABETH BERKLEY, 47. Gellar co-starred with Blair in the hit film “Cruel Intentions” (1999). Blair went to the same suburban Detroit private school as Berkley (Blair attended a Hillel school before this private school). Blair also thanked Berkley for insisting she see her brother, Dr. JASON BERKLEY, 45, a neurologist affiliated with Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. After an MRI, he was able to diagnose her.
Briefly Noted Funnies
On Oct. 22, AMY SCHUMER, 37, disclosed to reporter JESSICA YELLIN, 47, that she is pregnant. The news was slipped into an e-mail to Yellin listing the Democrats Schumer was supporting in the mid-terms. Yellin posted the e-mail on Instagram. A few days later, Schumer told the “L.A. Times”: “Chris [her husband, Chris Fischer] and I are thrilled and almost positive he is the father. I look forward to competing with [Princess Megan] Markle every step of the way.”
A few weeks ago, MSNBC host ARI MELBER, 38, had as his guest DAVID CORN, 59, the chief Washington correspondent for “Mother Jones” magazine and they had a rare primetime “Jew Bro” exchange. Corn, knowing that Melber is a big rap music fan, said: “Come up with a rap lyric word for collusion.” Melber replied: “First of all, David, the D.J. doesn’t take requests here. I’m just kidding, I’m dying to be a bar mitzvah D.J. and if I do, I’ll take requests. It’s what a good D.J. does.” Corn replied: “I can only regret that you were not there for my bar mitzvah.”