Thursday, March 13, 2014 | return to: columns, celebrities


celebrity jews

by nate bloom

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‘DWTS’ and a kosher Batman

The new season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” premieres at 8 p.m. Monday, March 17. Brooke Burke-Charvet, 42, co-host of “DWTS” since 2010, has been replaced by Fox sportscaster Erin Andrews. Burke-Charvet was kept in the dark about her replacement until the last minute. “I’ve seen my fair share of shocking eliminations in the ballroom,” she said, “but this one takes the cake.” She bravely added that she could pursue other opportunities now that her obligation to “DWTS” had ended.

James Maslow
James Maslow

However, professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy, 34, is returning to the show after a two-season hiatus. His brother, Valentin, 27, who has appeared on “DWTS” since 2011, also will be back for the new season. The pros will be put on their toes by a new twist called the “switch-up.” A celeb will be switched to a different pro for one week during the season. Audience votes will determine the new pairing.

The only Jewish celebrity dancer this season is James Maslow, 23, a member of Big Time Rush, a popular boy band created for the Nickelodeon TV show of the same name (it ran from 2009 to 2013). Maslow grew up in San Diego and had a bar mitzvah.

David Mazouz, 13, will star as the young Bruce Wayne in the upcoming Fox series “Gotham,” about Bruce Wayne before he became Batman. The official description of the character says: “Not a playboy-by-day, vigilante-by-night, but a preteen who has been sentenced to a solitary life after his parents’ tragic murders.” Born and raised in Los Angeles, Mazouz co-starred in the short-lived Fox series “Touch.” His family is Sephardi, with roots in France and Greece. Mazouz is the first Jewish actor to play the Caped Crusader, who was created by the late Bob Kane.


Crisis, what crisis?

Rashida Jones
Rashida Jones

“Crisis” premieres at 10 p.m. Sunday, March 16 on NBC. The premise: A school van carrying teen students who attend an elite Washington, D.C., private school is stopped on a secluded road and the students and their chaperones are kidnapped by terrorists. They are the children of powerful people, including the president. Halston Sage, 20, plays Amber Fitch, one of the teens. Amber believes her mother is Meg Fitch (Gillian Anderson), a powerful CEO, but her real mother is Meg’s sister, Susie Fitch, an FBI agent assigned to Amber’s kidnapping. Other “kidnapees” in the cast: Max Schneider, 21, a former male model, musician and Nickeledeon series actor, and Joshua Erenberg, 13. Erenberg played a young Seth Rogen in “The Green Hornet,” a 2011 film.

Rashida Jones, 38, who recently left the cast of “Parks and Recreation,” will star in an as-yet-unnamed TV comedy, reports. She’ll play an employee of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Steve Carell is directing the pilot for TBS, and the talented Alfred Molina is set to play a recurring or featured character. While most pilots don’t become TV shows, this one almost certainly will. The neatest thing: Jones’ parents, Jewish actress Peggy Lipton, 67, and legendary African American musician Quincy Jones, 80, are playing her character’s parents. (Rashida was raised Jewish.)


A to Z: Anderson to Zweig

Wes Anderson’s new critically acclaimed film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” is set in a mythical Central European country during the 1930s. Anderson says the film’s script was inspired by the novellas of Austrian Jewish writer Stefan Zweig (1881-1942). In short: A very rich married woman (Tilda Swinton) mysteriously dies at the hotel, leaving a valuable painting to Gustave, her recent lover and the hotel’s concierge. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) is framed for her murder and jailed. His escape and the relentless hunt for him are the subject of the film’s second half. The big cast includes Adrien Brody, 40, Jeff Goldblum, 61, Mathieu Amalric, 48, and Harvey Keitel, 74. It opens Friday, March 14 in Berkeley and March 21 in Oakland.

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


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