AT THE MOVIES/ON TV Opening on Friday, Feb. 23 is Annihilation, starring Natalie Portman, 36,…
Celebrity Jews: Solo, TV, And Michelle Wolf
THE SECOND JEWISH SOLO
Opens Friday, May 25: The latest Star Wars film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, is described as a “space Western.” The film covers Han Solo’s early days as a smuggler and his friendship with Chewbacca, a Wookie. We also find out how he met Lando Calrissian. Alden Ehrenreich, 28, plays Solo, with Donald Glover playing Clarissian.
Ehrenreich, who was discovered at a bar mitzvah reception by Steven Spielberg, told Collider.com that the young Solo “was more of an idealist” than the one in the original films. He also added that he consulted with the “original Solo,” Harrison Ford, now 75, about how to play the role. (Ford’s late mother was Jewish.)
The script is by Lawrence Kasdan, 68, and his son, Jonathan Kasdan, 38. The elder Kasdan previously co-wrote two of the best Star Wars films: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and The Return of the Jedi (1983). He’s a U-M grad and that’s where he met Meg Goldman, his wife since 1971. The younger Kasdan has a small role in Solo as Tag Greenly and Jon Favreau, 51, provides the voice of Rio Durant (described as a very cool and important alien character in film publicity).
REBOOT AND RE-RUN
Remember Paige Davis? This musical actress was the perky host and star of the TLC series Trading Spaces for most of its original run (2000-2009). Early in April, the show was “rebooted” on TLC (new episodes Saturday at 8 p.m.). Davis, 48, is again the host and the premise is the same: Couples swap homes and have a limited budget to re-do each other’s homes with the help of a designer.
Now streaming on Hulu is the first season of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, the classic ’60s animated series. The show functioned on two levels: It worked as a children’s show, but frequently made references and jokes that were directed at adults (often hip, well-read adults).
Two Jewish actors voiced a lot of the series’ iconic characters. Paul Frees (1920-1966), born Solomon Hersh Frees, was the voice of baddie Boris Badanov and Captain “Wrongway” Peachfuzz. June Foray (1917-2017), was the voice of Rocky, baddie Natasha Fatale and every other female character in the show (including distinct cartoons within the show, like “Dudley Do-Right”).
Foray (born Forer) was the daughter of a Lithuanian Jewish immigrant and a French-Canadian mother who converted to Judaism. I can’t provide, here, the amazing list of voice roles she created during a career that lasted 70 years (look her up!). Foray was the greatest female voice actor of all time. Her only competition for the greatest, male or female, is Mel Blanc (1908-1989). Look him up, too.
THE 10/4 ON WOLF
Now-famous comedian Michelle Wolf is not Jewish. The Times of Israel, while mentioning her tour of Israel a few years back, stated she is not Jewish. Also, Larisa Klebe, the deputy director of the Jewish Women’s Archive, a quite good website, says she asked Wolf if she was Jewish by messaging her via Instagram last year and Wolf replied that she isn’t Jewish. Do “Google” Larisa Klebe and Michelle Wolf and you’ll find two articles she wrote about Wolf. The most recent one is a smart exploration of how the criticism of Wolf often veers into anti-Semitic tropes.