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6 degrees (no Bacon): Jewish celebrity roundup

Portman’s film in Jerusalem

NEW YORK (6NoBacon.com)—Natalie Portman is working on a special homecoming.

The Jerusalem-born actress will be heading back to her hometown to shoot an adaptation of “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” the autobiographical novel by Israeli author Amos Oz.

Portman is expected to star in the film, as well as direct and write the screenplay. She first expressed interest in adapting the novel six years ago and discussed filming the movie in Hebrew. It’s unconfirmed if that’s still the plan.

The adaptation, according to the official synopsis, would take place in Jerusalem in the second half of the 1940s and focus on the author’s childhood in light of his mother’s mental illness and his father’s helplessness, all in the context of the historic events of the period. Portman would play Oz’s mother.

With filming set to begin this winter, the Holy Land better prepare for some serious paparazzi.

Jewish Emmy nominations

The Emmy nominations are in! Here’s a compact yet impressive group of Jewish hopefuls:

Mandy Patinkin was nominated for the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Award for his role as the Jewish CIA officer Saul Berenson in the hit show “Homeland.”

Lena Dunham will try to carry her success from the Golden Globes to the Emmys, as she was nominated again as Best Lead Actress in a Comedy for “Girls.” She’ll have competition from Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who was tapped for her part in the comedy “Veep.”

For Louis-Dreyfus, it was her 14th Emmy nomination. She has won twice: for Best Supporting Actress in “Seinfeld” and as the lead in “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”

Jewish supermom Mayim Bialik received her second straight nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy for her role as Amy Farrah Fowler in “Big Bang Theory.”

Veteran actor Michael Douglas was nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his part in “Behind The Candelabra.”

The Emmys will take place on Sept. 22 and be broadcast on CBS.

Groovy, baby’ to ‘Supermensch’

Sadly, there is no fourth “Austin Powers” film due out in the near future, although it has been labeled as “in development” on the film database website IMBD.

Powers, played by Mike Myers, hopefully will make a comeback, but for now we can look forward to the arrival of his directorial debut, wonderfully titled “Supermensch.”

The film will focus on the career of talent manager Shep Gordon, who caught the interest of Myers while he was on the set of the ‘90s classic “Wayne’s World.” After some begging and pleading to Shep, Myers acquired the rights to use Alice Cooper’s song “Feed my Frankenstein” in the film, as well as an appearance by Cooper himself. Since then, Myers and Shep have been friends.

Talking about Gordon, Myers told Deadline, “I thought he was a perfect combination of Brian Epstein, Marshall McLuhan and Mr. Magoo. I’ve been trying to get Shep to agree to let me make a movie about him for 10 years. Last year he finally said yes.

“I loved him like a brother before we started making this film and now, having sifted through his life and his legacy, I love him even more.”

Gordon spearheaded the careers of ’70s and ’80s legends such as Cooper, Teddy Pendergrass, Luther Vandross and Raquel Welch.

Baron Cohen quits Queen film

Plans for Sacha Baron Cohen to portray a character who is both mustachioed and flamboyant (a hybrid of Borat and Bruno, one might say) have fallen through.

The Jewish actor has canceled his plans to play Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biographical film, Deadline.com reports. Apparently he is not on the same page as the remaining members of Queen, who have creative control over the project. 

The band’s vision is a PG movie, while Cohen was pushing for a “gritty R-rated tell-all centered around the gifted gay singer,” according to Deadline.

They’re going to have a hard time finding someone who looks more like Mercury than Cohen.

Mandel’s Toronto UJA gig

A room full of UJA supporters will get a special, funny treat this summer when Toronto native Howie Mandel returns home—and back to his standup roots—for the launch of the United Jewish Appeal’s Campaign 2014.

The setting should be a real flashback for the comic and “America’s Got Talent” judge, who began his career performing in front of an audience of Canadian Jews. At his bar mitzvah, naturally.

“My first act was my haftarah, which I’m ashamed to say I didn’t write,” he said.

Seriously, Mandel is a great fit for the event. He’s proud of his Jewish heritage and speaks warmly of Israel, which he visited a few years ago.

“When I landed in Israel, I immediately felt like this is where I was supposed to be,” he said. “Israel stands for so much more than just Judaism. It is the epitome of everything that North America and much of the world strives to be in terms of democracy and freedom. Israel is this little pit bull surrounded by her enemies, and yet it is strong enough to not only hold its own but to flourish.”

For those interested in a night of laughing and giving, the event will take place Aug. 19 at the Westin Harbour Castle.

When Larry King met Snoop

Former CNN host Larry King in his bid to become a Jewish rapper enlisted the help of none other than the rhyming veteran Snoop Lion, formerly Snoop Dogg. 

King stopped by Snoop’s Tha Double Gangsta Hood News Network, where the joint-toting rapper quizzed the 79-year-old Brooklyn native on his interests. Then the two launched into a rap about peanut butter, baseball and dinner.

“Mazel tov, Mr. King, let your voice and legacy continue to ring,” Snoop said, closing out their duet.

Snoop did a nice job of coaching King, who said he wanted to be the first Jewish rapper. Snoop didn’t tell him that artists such as the Beastie Boys and Drake had beaten him to the Jewish rap thing.

For the latest Jewish celebrity news, visit JTA’s 6 Degrees (No Bacon) blog.


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