A puppy and a Brit
Keep your eyes open for “A Dog’s Way Home,” which is scheduled for a Jan. 11 opening. It’s a heartwarming story about Bella, an adorable puppy who’s adopted by Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King, 23), a young medical student. The pair is inseparable until Bella gets lost one day and has to travel 400 miles through tough wilderness to get back to her beloved owner.
This is the first big film role for the handsome Hauer-King, who two years ago made his West End theater debut in London alongside Kenneth Branagh, playing the son of Branagh’s character in “The Entertainer.” He’s had a lot of British TV roles, including a major part, Laurie, in a recent production of “Little Women,” shown on these shores on PBS.
Though Hauer-King is a Brit, he also happens to have a Bay Area connection. His mother, Debra Hauer, 60, a former theater producer and now an existential therapist, grew up in Walnut Creek. And his grandfather, the late Dr. Samuel Hauer, was a founding member of Temple Isaiah in Lafayette and, according to his obituary, “the first chief of surgery at John Muir Hospital,” though it didn’t specify which John Muir location. Debra moved to England in 1978 and married Jeremy King in 1982 — in San Francisco. King, a famous U.K. restaurateur, is Jonah’s father, but I don’t know if he’s Jewish.
Hauer-King, a dual citizen, told Cambridge magazine, “My mum is American, my dad is English, and I grew up in a North London Jewish family. There seem to be a few of us in Cambridge!” He told a British entertainment site that he frequently visits family in San Francisco (shorthand for the Bay Area, I think). His older sister, Hannah, a theater director, told a British website, “I love being Jewish. I feel like we should all be spiritual. It doesn’t need to be through an organized religion; for me it just happens to be Judaism because that’s how I was brought up.” Interestingly, Jonah graduated from the University of Cambridge with a degree in theology and religious studies.
At the movies
Scheduled to open Monday, Dec. 24 is “On the Basis of Sex,” a biopic about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, and her late husband, attorney Martin Ginsburg (1932-2010). Bader Ginsburg often has said her husband was not a typical 1950s man, in that he saw no reason why women shouldn’t be treated equally and he fully supported his wife’s career. The film’s climax comes when the couple team up in 1972 to argue, and win, a landmark sex-discrimination case. Felicity Jones, 35, plays Ruth and Armie Hammer, 32, plays Martin.
“The Favourite” opened earlier this month and is still playing in Bay Area theaters. The setting is the early 18th century, and the reigning British monarch is a frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), whose best friend is Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz, 48), and Sarah’s cousin is Abigail (Emma Stone). On Dec. 6, Weisz and Stone each were nominated for Golden Globe awards for best supporting actress in a motion picture. I’ll have a lot more to say about other Golden Globe nominees (well, the Jewish ones, anyway) in my next column.
Kennedy Center honoree
The 41st annual Kennedy Center Honors ceremony for excellence in the arts took place on Dec. 2 and was taped for a two-hour CBS broadcast on Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 8 p.m. Honorees this year include avant-garde composer Philip Glass, 81. Pop singer Adam Lambert, 36, took the stage to honor Cher, 72, another 2018 honoree, and the 2009 “American Idol” runner-up reportedly gave a terrific performance.