Hollywood’s Celebrity Jews, movies and more…
Amazon TV seems to like “Jewish” original series. Red Oaks ended its three-year run last month and the first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel begins streaming Friday, Dec. 1. It was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls), 51. The series publicity release summarizes the series arc: “It’s 1958 Manhattan and Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan, House of Cards) has everything she’s ever wanted — the perfect husband, two kids and an elegant New York apartment perfect for hosting pre-Yom Kippur dinner. But her perfect life takes an unexpected turn and Midge discovers a previously unknown talent [stand-up comedy] — one that changes her life forever. She charts a course that takes her from her comfortable life on Riverside drive through the basket houses and nightclubs of Greenwich Village as she storms the world of stand-up … a course that will ultimately lead her to a spot on Johnny Carson’s couch.”
The Maisel character seems to be inspired by the story of Phyllis Diller (a housewife who became a comedian) and by the style of the late Joan Rivers. Michael Zegen, 38, plays Joel, Midge’s husband. Alex Borstein, 46, plays Suzie, a comedy club employee who becomes a close pal of Midge’s. The pilot episode, presented last year, got rave reviews.
The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special will air on CBS on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. No doubt, many of the clips will feature the late Harvey Korman, a series co-star. Celebrity guests on the special include Maya Rudolph, 45.
MORE JEWISH SUPERHEROES
Justice League opened last week to mixed reviews. There’s a scene in which the Flash’s alter-ego, Barry Allen, tries to explain away his resemblance to a young guy in a photo. His questioner (Bruce Wayne, AKA Batman) knows the photo shows the Flash without his costume. Allen replies that the guy in the photo looks like him (“Hippie, long hair, very attractive Jewish boy”), but isn’t him. Then Allen finally admits he’s the Flash. So, the Flash, who wasn’t identified as Jewish in the comics, is now the first clearly Jewish superhero on the big screen. The website Geeknation.com says that Ezra Miller, 25, who plays Flash, ad-libbed the Jewish part of Allen’s description of himself and the director opted to leave it in.
Captain Marvel is another blockbuster comic-based movie, set to open in 2019. Basic plot: A young boy named Billy Batson is transformed into superhero Capt. Marvel when he says: “Shazam!” Variety reports that Asher Angel, 15, has been cast as Batson. You might know him as co-starring character Jonah Beck on Andi Mack, a hit Disney Channel series.
Last March, Arizona Jewish Life profiled the young actor. They wrote: “In December 2015 … Asher became a bar mitzvah at his home in Paradise Valley [Ariz.]. He didn’t have time to attend Hebrew school, so his vocal coach, Michele Kahn, helped him prepare. Asher is glad he followed through and reflects on his religion. [He says]: ‘What Judaism means to me is being born to this family and it pulls them together and keeps them close.’” (Joshua Rush, 15, who plays Cyrus Goodman, another major Andi Mack character, is also Jewish).