Taika Waititi accepts the Best Adapted Screenplay award for "Jojo Rabbit" onstage during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards. (Photo/JTA-Kevin Winter-Getty Images)
Taika Waititi accepts the Best Adapted Screenplay award for "Jojo Rabbit" onstage during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards. (Photo/JTA-Kevin Winter-Getty Images)

Waititi to direct a Star Wars movie; Seth Rogen in a ‘Pickle’; Beanie Feldstein’s big role; etc.


An American pickle of a story

A man falls into a barrel of pickles and is brined. Is it a horror story? No, it’s “An American Pickle,” the new comedy film by Seth Rogen set to stream this summer on HBO Max. Rogen plays Herschel Greenbaum, brined by accident in 1920 and awakened in Brooklyn 100 years later, where he meets his great-grandson, also played by Rogen. It’s adapted from a New Yorker fiction series by Simon Rich: “When the lid is finally opened, everybody is dressed strange, in colorful, shiny clothes. I do not recognize them. They tell me they are ‘conceptual artists’ and are ‘reclaiming the abandoned pickle factory for a performance space.’ I realize something bad has happened in Brooklyn.”

The New Yorker is also a serious magazine

Author Ben Taub and illustrator Barry Blitt, both of the New Yorker, have won Pulitzer Prizes. Taub was awarded for his profile of a former prisoner at Guantánamo Bay, while Blitt won for his biting political covers and cartoons. The New York Times investigative reporter Brian Rosenthal also received a Pulitzer for his reporting on the taxi medallion industry.

People on the internet have strong feelings

Popular director Taika Waititi, who came to prominence with “Thor: Ragnarok” and won a best adapted screenplay Oscar for “Jojo Rabbit,” will write and direct the next “Star Wars” movie. He won’t have an easy job pleasing the world of “Star Wars” lovers, but he has a head start in that he’s widely admired by critics and fans alike for his previous films. Waititi also had a recurring role in and directed two episodes of the first season of the “Star Wars” TV series “The Mandalorian,” which premiered last year on Disney Plus.

But be prepared for a different kind of fan reaction if a Jewish actor isn’t cast as the lead in Marvel’s planned live-action show “Moon Knight.” The superhero story follows the son of a rabbi who develops powers after being saved from death by an Egyptian god. An interfaith story for the new decade? Leaks have suggested actors such as Shia LeBouf, Rami Malek, Garrett Hedlund, Justin Theroux and Michael Ealy are being considered.

In the limelight

Beanie Feldstein is finally moving from sidekick to lead in her new movie “How to Build a Girl,” based on the autobiographical novel by Caitlin Moran. In a profile in Variety, Feldstein — sister of Jonah Hill — said that her first love was always stage, but there were simply more opportunities to audition for screen roles. “I don’t take it lightly, because I know how many talented people are out there,” she said.

Football player flexes for a good cause

New England Patriots star Julian Edelman, who is from Redwood City, was working out for a good cause: raising money for Holocaust survivors during the pandemic. Edelman was one of several sports celebs who taught an online class to help raise funds for the UJA Federation of New York, which is using the money to deliver meals to survivors in the area. According to nonprofit 333 Charity, there are currently 36,000 Holocaust survivors living in the New York area, and 40 percent live in poverty.

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.