A FIRST FOR ISRAEL
For the first time, an Israeli Jew of Ethiopian descent will represent the country at Eurovision. Eden Alene won a competition to be the face of the country for Eurovision 2020, which will be held in Rotterdam in May. Alene, 19, is currently doing her national service in the Israel Defense Forces but got time off to compete for the nation’s top singing slot.
TV WORTH WATCHING?
HBO has released the trailer for its six-episode version of “The Plot Against America,” the 2004 book by Philip Roth that imagines an alternate history of the U.S. in which the country has embraced fascism under the leadership of President Charles Lindbergh. Critics are calling the show, by David Simon of “The Wire,” an “astounding” and subtle look at xenophobia and anti-Semitism. It premieres March 16.
Reviews are mixed, though, for Amazon’s new show “Hunters,” a gory revenge fantasy about catching Nazis in 1970s NYC, available now. Time magazine called the Jewish characters “disappointing,” saying that their “personalities are largely accumulations of benign stereotypes, religious factoids and firsthand or inherited trauma.” The show was created by David Weil, whose grandmother was a Holocaust survivor. In an interview with JTA, the Jewish actors on board expressed ambivalence about the idea of revenge, but said the show raises interesting moral questions.
New comedy is also on the way from brothers Benny and Josh Safdie. Fresh off their critically acclaimed film “Uncut Gems,” the sibs are making a pilot episode of a new show, “The Curse,” with comedian Nathan Fielder. He plays a husband who stars with his wife in a HGTV-style real estate show. Benny Safdie will play the show’s producer.
A FIRST FOR TARANTINO
Quentin Tarantino, who married Israeli singer Daniella Pick in 2018, now has a baby who is Jewish and Israeli. Pick, 36, gave birth to a boy on Feb. 22 in Tel Aviv. The 56-year-old director and first-time father has indicated he wants to step away from filmmaking and concentrate on family and other projects. Pick is the daughter of 1970s pop star Tzvika Pick.
DOUGLAS TO HAND PRIZE TO SHARANSKY
Michael Douglas and wife Catherine Zeta-Jones will host the 2020 Genesis Prize ceremony in Jerusalem this summer. Douglas was a 2015 recipient of the prize, which recognizes Jewish achievement and is sometimes called the “Jewish Nobel.” This year’s winner is Natan Sharansky, the Zionist activist jailed by the Soviets in the 1970s and ’80s who went on to become a political activist in Israel. Douglas said coming to the Jewish state to present the prize would be special this year because of the recent death of his father, actor Kirk Douglas: “He adored Israel, and had a special connection with Jerusalem,” Michael Douglas said.
BACK TO THE PAST
Israeli actress Gal Gadot, 34, is on the cover of Entertainment Weekly’s March issue, promoting her upcoming film “Wonder Woman 1984.” “I think that when I just started, I didn’t understand the magnitude and how much this character means to people,” Gadot said. The film puts Wonder Woman back in the era of big hair and mall hangouts; Gadot herself was born only in 1985.