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Friday, June 16, 2006 | return to: celebrities


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Celebrity Jews

by nate bloom

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Buff Jew plays buff Jew

"The Peaceful Warrior," a film that opened on June 2, didn't get very good reviews, and you'll probably have to wait for the DVD if you don't see it soon. But the flick does have a couple of things to recommend it. "Warrior" marks the first starring role for hunky Jewish actor Scott Mechlowicz, 25. Scott modestly told a reporter that he's "an unathletic Jewish kid" and he had to train hard to play a gymnast in "Warrior." The truth is that Scott was buff before getting this role, and he has the looks to be a movie leading man. "Warrior" may be the start of a big career.

The movie is based on a quasiautobiography by Dan Millman, a Jewish guy who was a top U.C. Berkeley gymnast in the '60s and is now a "New Age-y" human-potential guru. Mechlowicz plays Millman — and "Warrior" has novelty value as the first major motion picture (ever) in which a Jewish actor stars as a real-life Jewish athlete.




Mazel tov


As this column went to press, Jack Black and his Jewish wife, musician Tanya Haden, were expecting the imminent arrival of a baby boy. Meanwhile, Black's film "Nacho Libre," about a half-Mexican monk who wrestles professionally to earn money for orphans, opens Friday, June 16. ... Oscar winner Rachel Weisz and her fiancé, director Darren Aronofsky, welcomed the arrival of their first child, a boy, on May 31.




A Jewish heroine

Marta Kauffman
, famous as the co-creator of "Friends," is co-producing "Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh." This feature documentary is about the famous Jewish poet and diarist who left pre-state Israel and parachuted into Hungary during World War II to try and rescue Jews, including her mother, from the Holocaust. Senesh, who is a national heroine in Israel, was captured, tortured and executed. Joining Kauffman as producers of "Blessed" are director Roberta Grossman and the Katahdin Foundation, which is based in Berkeley.

"I strongly believe that Holocaust stories must continue to be told, especially now, when survivors are in their 80s and 90s and still able to provide first-hand accounts," says Kauffman, who is a volunteer for many Jewish causes. "The story of Hannah Senesh captivated me not only because of Hannah's courage, but also because, at its core, it is an intense and moving mother-daughter story."

The filmmakers have been granted unprecedented access to the Senesh family archives and they will film in Israel and Hungary this fall. They plan to release the documentary to theaters in 2007 and have it broadcast on public television in early 2008.




Summer fun


The CBS reality show "Rock Star: INXS," a 2005 summer hit, featured singers vying to be the new lead singer for the rock band INXS. CBS, of course, wouldn't let such a ratings winner die — so they're bringing it back this summer as "Rock Star: Supernova."

Returning to host the show, which premieres Tuesday, July 5 at 9 p.m., are rocker Dave Navarro and the often-bare babe-i-lonian Brooke Burke. Burke has a Jewish mother and identifies as Jewish. (We also know that bagels are Brooke's favorite food. But we don't have her telephone number.)

Supernova is the name of a just-formed band that includes Tommy Lee, former Motley Crue drummer and Pam Anderson's ex-husband. Supernova, like INXS, is looking for a lead singer.




Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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