Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

By Jana Banin

6 Degrees (no Bacon): Jewish celebrity roundup


Howard Wechsler

Katie Couric, who hosted the American Friends of Magen David Adom annual benefit dinner in New York on Dec. 9. 2013, poses with an ambulance.

Katie Couric hosts for AFMDA

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (JTA)-American Friends of Magen David Adom apparently has some pretty big-name friends. In attendance at the organization's sold-out Manhattan fundraiser last week were New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and host Katie Couric.

 The event raised $1 million, all of which will go toward ambulances and lifesaving equipment used to respond to emergencies in Israel.

"MDA's willingness to help save all lives is something we should rally behind," said Couric, whose mother is Jewish. "I've built a career on the pursuit of a good story. And in a part of the world that's constantly producing ominous headlines, I've clearly found a positive one."

In addition to the array of tributes, honors and other typical fundraiser fare, Bloomberg declared Dec. 9 as Magen David Adom Day in New York. Mazel tov!

Animating Anne Frank

Israeli director Ari Folman has committed to writing and directing an animated feature based on the life of Anne Frank, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Folman's animated film "Waltz With Bashir," about the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, was nominated for an Oscar, and his Israeli TV series "En terapia" was the basis for HBO's "In Therapy." This will be his first foray into the family-friendly realm.

"Bringing the Anne Frank diary to all screens is a fantastic opportunity and challenge," Folman said. "There is a real need for new artistic material to keep the memory alive for younger generations."

To paint the picture of who Anne was, Folman will have more material than just the well-known contents of her diary. The Anne Frank Fonds Basel, set up by her father Otto Frank, has granted the filmmakers total access to its archives. This will apply as well to other branches worldwide.

Production is scheduled to begin in the winter of 2014.

Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace

In juicy Jewish casting news, Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg have been attached to "The End of the Tour," a film about David Foster Wallace, The Wrap reports.

The twist here is that Segel, star of such heavy fare as "The Muppets," "How I Met Your Mother" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," will portray "Infinite Jest" author Wallace, who committed suicide in 2008. A less surprising choice is Eisenberg ("The Social Network," "Now You See Me") as Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky.

The movie, adapted from Lipsky's book, follows the two writers as they travel across the country promoting "Infinite Jest." Per the Wrap: "Along the way, jealousy and competition bubbles up between the two writers as they discuss women, depression and the pros and cons of fame."

CBS orders Masada miniseries

Alice Hoffman's best-selling historical novel "The Dovekeepers" will be turned into a four-hour miniseries for CBS airing in 2015, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The story, set in ancient Israel, follows four women who fight to save 900 Jews under siege by Romans at Masada.

The producers behind the project are Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the married couple responsible for another religion-based epic, History's "The Bible."

King David's mobster makeover

With the rise in popularity of religion-based entertainment (think the upcoming TV miniseries "The Dovekeepers" and the film "Noah") it was only a matter of time before we were treated to a biblical-mafia mashup.

OK, so maybe not, but it looks like it's happening anyway.

"King David," a drama series its creator, eOne, is calling an "epic mafia show in biblical clothing," is in development, The Wrap reports.

Having trouble envisioning the Holy Land monarch as some kind of Tony Soprano figure? Absorb this: The show aims to bring to life the "full, contradictory character of the greatest warrior-king and patriarch of the Bible-a man who must make monstrous choices that betray his personal ideals and turn his family against him."

That helps a little.

Overpaying Adam Sandler

If you haven't rushed out to see the most recent films of Adam Sandler, you're not alone. The thing is, while Sandler vehicles like "Jack & Jill" and "That's My Boy" have fallen flat at the box office, the comic actor still commands mega-high paychecks-we're talking more than $15 million a pop.

The disparity has landed Sandler the No.1 spot on Forbes' 2013 list of Hollywood's most overpaid actors.

Sandler leads a pack of other talented, disproportionately compensated stars that includes Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell and Matt Damon.

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


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