Posted by Danielle Berrin
During a week in which the so-called Jewish domination of the media was being bandied about thanks to Oliver Stone, I’m reminded of the following quip my editor Rob Eshman made three summers ago, the year “Mad Men” made its television debut:
“When they say Jews control Hollywood, I always think to myself: Thank God.”
He wrote that in a 2007 profile of “Mad Men” creator Matt Weiner, in which he touted the show as a shining example of why Jews should dominate Hollywood. It made sense, after all, he wrote, “it is Jews whose style and whose themes have dominated the entertainment media for much of the past century.”
But what was it about “Mad Men” that felt more Jewish than “Seinfeld” when everything on the show’s surface screamed WASP world of Manhattan—including its blatant anti-Semitism?
And yet, the first thing Eshman asked Weiner was, “Is Don Draper a Jew?”
“Everybody asks me that,” Weiner said. “I had to go back and check—did I put anything in the show that said Don’s not Jewish? Don’s a Jew in the sense that he is a white person who is an outsider…”
And of course, Weiner himself is a Jew. But instead of falling into the category of Jewish writers Eshman called “frustratingly inarticulate and unperceptive” about their Jewishness, Weiner seemed to be an exception. And in Don Draper, he’s created a character who is mired in the same kinds of identity issues Jews have always struggled with: a complicated past, an uncomfortable ascension to wealth and power, and an inability to let his guard down, even for a moment.
There is something about Don’s station in life, no matter how high he climbs, that feels unbearably tenuous. It’s the same feeling that, earlier this week, prompted the entire Jewish establishment to pounce on Oliver Stone after he made some controversial statements about Jewish power. What would have happened if Jews didn’t react? If they had assumed their power without calling it into action, what then? There’s a chance Stone’s comments would have been quickly forgotten. On the other hand, one need only read the beginning of Elie Wiesel’s “Night” to infer the alternative, and Jews by and large, do not want to take that chance.
The great thing about Hollywood is that it’s a place where these opposing tensions can play out, where it’s hard to distinguish between the Jewish writer and his non-Jewish character. Which is not so much Jewish domination as it is Jewishly inspired. For example, during a recent interview with New York Magazine, the writer Mary Kaye Schilling asked Weiner about how “scandalized” viewers become when story lines don’t go their way.
“Our concept of sin is in the Ten Commandments, and was always there,” Weiner told the magazine. “But the thing that’s strange to me is that when people turn on the television, they want to judge the bad guys and love the good guys. When you fall in love with characters, when they do crappy things, or are cruel to each other, you feel a sense of betrayal.”
In other words, Judaism’s moral precedent is there, even in a show that isn’t ostensibly Jewish. And Weiner is surprised by viewers’ low threshold for disappointment when examples of human failing and frailty are as old as the Hebrew bible.
Read another way, Weiner’s comment is also about the impulse to escape reality with Hollywood fantasy. Why bring grim realism into a world where idealism can be the norm? Maybe that’s why it cuts so deep when people like Mel Gibson or Oliver Stone decide to denigrate the Jews. Because by being a part of Hollywood, they become part of some extended Jewish family, and they should know better than to claim exaggerated truths when the reality is so much more complicated. After all, they work in a business where in some form or another, the Jewish story gets told over and over and over again.
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July 29, 2010 | 7:02 pm
Posted by Naomi Pfefferman
“’Schmuck’ is a funny word,” said Michael Handelman, co-screenwriter of “Dinner for Schmucks.”
“It’s one of those very satisfying words to say,” added co-screenwriter David Guion.
The New York-based scribes, both 39, were in Los Angeles recently to discuss “Schmucks,” which opens July 30 and is inspired by Francis Veber’s French-language film, “Le Diner de Cons” (“Dinner for Bloody Idiots”). Directed by Jay Roach, the new film revolves around an ambitious financial analyst, Tim (Paul Rudd) whose promotion hinges on his participating a cruel game: his boss’s “dinner for idiots.” Each guest must invite the stupidest person he can find for an evening of subtle ridicule.
At first Tim’s conscience kicks in – “That’s messed up,” he says – until he chances to meet an amateur taxidermist, Barry (Steve Carell) who seems the perfect dunce. Barry’s hobby is transforming road-kill mice into charming 19th century-style dioramas, which seems to qualify him as an unabashed geek. But as the taxidermist reveals an underlying sweet nature, Rudd’s character is thrown into a moral crisis about whether to go through with the nefarious dinner.
The Journal caught up with Handelman and Guion at the Beverly Hilton Hotel recently, where the longtime writing partners practically completed each others’ sentences. That wasn’t surprising, considering the way they work: They don’t divvy up scenes on a project, but rather write together in one room, on one computer, in their office in New York’s Chinatown.
At the Beverly Hilton, the conversation veered from their respective Midwestern childhoods (Guion hails from Chicago; Handelman from Milwaukee); to meeting each other in a Yale University improvisational troupe; to performing improv together in Manhattan (after Handelman earned a masters in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh); to penning major Hollywood comedies. The writers also riffed on the nature of Jewish comedy and of course, “Dinner for Schmucks.”
Story continues after the jump.
Naomi Pfefferman: “Dinner for Schmucks” must be the first major studio film ever to have the word, “schmuck” in the title—which of course traditionally is a naughty word in Yiddish. How did that come about?
Michael Handelman: Nobody seems to know exactly where the title came from— it was already attached before we came on board. But one thing we’ve talked about is the fact that “schmuck,” at least the way it’s used today, can mean both “idiot” and “jerk.” The double meaning is quite appropriate because in our film, it’s jerks inviting idiots to dinner. So obvious question is, ‘Who are the schmucks?’”
David Guion: I don’t know if it’s ever decided who the real schmucks are. But the film is about questioning these labels that we put on people. We want audiences to be able to see the humanity in these so-called schmucks who are invited to dinner, and particularly in [Steve Carell’s] Barry.
NP: Each of the dinner invitees is considered odd because he or she has a bizarre hobby. Can you cite some of the litany of schmucks you invented for the story?
MH: We did a lot of looking online for people with weird hobbies and actually there really is an international beard champion. So there’s the beard champion.
DG: And the ventriloquist who seems to believe he’s married to his very busty dummy. And the vulture-lover.
MH: And the blind swordsman, played by Chris O’Dowd, who believes he has a shot at the Olympic gold medal. With him the essential thing was that the comedy not come from the fact that he is blind, but from the fact that he is proud.
DG: A guy who is so proud he’s actually blind to his own blindness.
MH: There’s also Madame Nora, the psychic who can speak with dead pets, who then winds up speaking with the lobsters on the dinner table [they’re screaming with pain upon being cooked] and hearing from the vulture’s mother.
NP: Do either of you have hobbies that would qualify you for admittance to such a dinner?
MH: When I was a teenager, a friend of mine and I decided to work at the Renaissance Faire [in the Midwest] for the summer. We were singing gravediggers; we wore tattered pants and blousy shirts and carried around a skull and a coffin.
DG: Mike and I didn’t know each other at the time, but I actually attended that same Renaissance Faire, which probably qualifies me for the idiot’s dinner as well.
NP: How did you decide to collaborate on your first screenplay?
MH: Doing improv, we could tell that our sensibilities really jibed; we very much liked being onstage together and when we started writing comedy sketches we found we had a similar voice. We’re compatible in terms of personalities but I’d say we’re actually pretty different.
DG: (joking) Mike is very irresponsible, has tried to hurt me on a number of occasions, and is a dangerous person. I’m very calm, very rational, a very nice person, yes.
MH: That’s actually accurate, except it’s the opposite.
DG: We found out that we had similar interests growing up. For any kid who’s a little bit of nerd, comedy becomes important; you discover Woody Allen’s movies pretty early on and suddenly feel like you have a fellowship with people outside of your immediate circle.
NP: Are either of you members of the Tribe?
MH: My father is Jewish – he was a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee—but we didn’t really practice, growing up. Yet I feel like Jewish humor definitely shaped my [comic] sensibility.
DG: Mine as well – even though my family isn’t Jewish. We were Huguenots [French Protestants who were persecuted by the Catholic majority]. The Guions were kicked out of France a long time ago. They have a centuries-old memory of being persecuted.
MH: I certainly wasn’t raised practicing any religion, but I think the Midwest is a relentlessly polite place, and I was definitely aware that my dad grew up in New York and was Jewish. He had a much more cutting and wry sense of humor than tended to be around, growing up in Milwaukee, and I was always very struck by that and influenced by it: The guy who will speak the truth, whatever the social cost. That’s something Woody Allen does, too, and I tend to think of it coming out of a certain Jewish tradition.
NP: Do you associate filmmakers such as Woody Allen and Mel Brooks with Jewish humor?
MH: I was probably a little bit more aware that they were Jewish. Although my family was sort of militantly anti-religious, I definitely thought of myself as a Jew growing up—maybe just because it seemed cooler than being a Catholic. So I was aware of those [filmmakers using] Jewish humor and that was maybe part of what attracted me to them.
NP: Tell me about your first screenplay, “Mondo Beyondo.”
DG: We wanted to write a movie about two idiots who survive the Apocalypse and have to fight robots. So we wrote it fairly quickly but then we didn’t know anything about the movie industry at all.
MH: But we had a friend of a friend, Kassie Evashevski, who at the time was a manager at Brillstein-Grey, who sent it out and we started getting back these comments saying ‘It’s really funny but it’s too weird.’ And one by one the studios passed. But then the last two entities didn’t pass: the production company Good Machine, which was doing all these very highbrow indie films, and Film Four, which at the time was doing all the Merchant Ivory films. We said, ‘We don’t think these guys are going to make a film about fighting robots after the Apocalypse.’
DG: But the head of Film Four happened to want to make a movie about robots. They gave the script to [director] Terry Gilliam, who got excited about it. So Mike and I got to fly over to London and hang out with Terry for a week and a half. He was tremendously encouraging [even though the film was not ultimately produced] and that gave us the motivation to continue writing.
NP: Filmmaker magazine has noted that you like to focus on “downtrodden characters.”
MH: And the outcasts and losers of the world. It’s a cliché that the heart of comedy is pain, but it is true.
DG: We always have sympathy for these people and want to tell stories about them.
NP: Francis Veber has said he is drawn to such characters because he is half-Armenian and half-Jewish, and enjoys having the downtrodden characters triumph over the snooty ones.
DG: That was one of the things that drew us to “Le Diner de Cons.” Really at some level it’s about a somewhat cold person, or a person who is on the brink of becoming a cold person, learning to see the downtrodden character’s humanity.
NP: I understand there had been various attempts to adapt Veber’s film before you came aboard.
MH: There was an existing script but we basically decided to start from scratch, from the original film.
DG: We watched the film a couple of times and were taken with the basic idea that here was somebody the rest of the world looked at as a loser and a weirdo who was actually the most beautiful, poetic, wise person in the room.
DG: And this guy is destroying the other guy’s life accidentally. He’s just trying to help out, but every single time he does he destroys something.
NP: Your movie has a sweetness to it that is lacking in the French film. The counterpart to Rudd’s character in Veber’s movie isn’t conflicted at all – he is jerk from the start. How did you adapt the French film for American audiences?
DG: There are differences in national, or cultural tastes that we’re certainly playing to, in each case. The original movie played much better in France than it did in America and I would assume that our movie more reflects American tastes—in the sense that American comedies tend to have those moments where you’re maybe playing a character’s sweetness or goodness a tad stronger than you might in a European film.
MH: At moments like that sometimes the movie requires a bit of schmaltz—another great Yiddish word.
NP: Do you know what schmaltz is?
DG: It’s chicken fat, isn’t it? I’m a cultured man. So we would deliver that schmaltz but do it in a way that somehow tweaks into weird territory.
NP: What was most difficult in coming up with the right comic tone for the film?
MH: A lot of times it was asking, ‘Do we buy Barry doing this?’
DG: Yeah – ‘Is this too stupid for Barry?’ That was always an involving discussion.
To see Naomi Pfefferman’s article on “Dinner for Schmucks” director, Jay Roach, visit http://www.jewishjournal.com/film/article/schmucks_director_redefines_the_term_20100720/
July 29, 2010 | 1:24 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
More than a year after his death, the late comedy writer Mickey Ross has proven himself a mega Jewish philanthropist.
Earlier this week, it was announced that the Emmy-winning writer/producer of hit sitcoms “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons” and “Three’s Company” bequeathed $10 million to The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, a sizable gift, but one in a series of gifts Ross earmarked for the Jewish community.
In addition to the lump sum, Ross committed 50 percent of his residual rights to several TV shows to the foundation, which will establish the Michael and Irene Ross Endowment Fund. According to The Jewish Community Foundation, the fund will have a twofold purpose, providing Southern California’s most vulnerable populations with basic needs as well as funding programs devoted to Yiddish language and culture, one of Ross’s passions.
Ross passed away in May 2009 at the age of 89 from complications related to a stroke and heart attack. His wife, Irene, died in 2000. The couple had no children.
In addition to his comedic legacy in Hollywood, Ross will be remembered through his numerous philanthropic commitments. In 2008, he donated $4 million to endow an academic chair in Yiddish language and culture at UCLA, his alma mater. And, last January, Ross surprised The National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass. with a $3 million donation from his estate.
July 28, 2010 | 6:34 am
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Media mogul Haim Saban is refusing to accept Oliver Stone’s apology.
The Israeli-American billionaire is reportedly campaigning among Hollywood’s higher-ups to have Stone—and his upcoming 10-part series, “A Secret History of America,” blacklisted. According to TheWrap.com, Saban called CBS chief Les Moonves to urge him to cancel the Showtime series, becoming the first industry figurehead to criticize the director’s controversial remarks from earlier this week.
“This guy should be helped in joining Mel Gibson into the land of retirement, where he can preach his anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism in the wilderness where he belongs,” Saban told TheWrap.
On Sunday, Stone said his “Secret History” series would portray Hitler “in context” and suggested the Holocaust wasn’t only a Jewish problem since Hitler killed many more Russians than Jews. Stone also blamed the power and influence of the Israel lobby AIPAC for a compromised U.S. foreign policy.
Saban, who is a huge supporter of Israel and a major donor to the Democratic party, told The Wrap.com by email that he had also called William Morris Endeavor chairman Ari Emanuel to help pressure CBS. Emanuel famously castigated Mel Gibson, calling for an industry-wide boycott of his work in the wake of Gibson’s 2006 anti-Semitic rant.
That Saban is launching a crusade against Stone isn’t surprising: In a New Yorker profile of Saban published last May, Saban said, “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.”
On the Huffington Post, Saban wrote a brief statement that generated hundreds of comments:
Oliver Stone should be given a helping hand—indeed, a vigorous shove—into the land of forced retirement. There, in the professional wilderness where he belongs, standing on a splintered soapbox right next to Mel Gibson’s, he can preach his anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism into the wind.
Anyone who works with this guy should be ashamed of himself/herself, and shouldn’t share this distasteful fact with their neighbors—and especially their kids.
Some readers were quick to defend Stone, claiming that as a U.S. veteran he has a right to criticize the country’s foreign policy. Others suggested Stone helm the Hollywood movie about the Gaza flotilla debacle, which spawned a series of comments criticizing Israel. A commenter named Debbie McPherson wrote, “So many of us are so tired of the whole jew/Israeli/holocaust rant.”
What she meant to say was, she’s only tired of hearing people defend the Jews and Israel; she’s got all the patience in the world for those who are either anti-Israel or anti-Semitic.
July 27, 2010 | 10:28 am
Posted by Danielle Berrin
When you’re Chelsea Clinton and your wedding is being touted the social event of the decade, no expense is spared.
According to The New York Daily News, Clinton’s 500-guest wedding could cost anywhere between $3 and $5 million, a figure that even shames Tom Cruise, whose wedding to Katie Holmes is said to have cost a mere $2 million. “If you’re crunching the numbers,” The Daily News writes, “at a budget of $3 million and with 500 of the former First Family’s nearest and dearests in attendance (that’s the anticipated count), it comes out to $6,000 a head.”
With that price tag, let’s hope the kosher meat is cooked to perfection. This is, after all, The Clinton Family, the closest thing to American royalty as we get, and we wouldn’t want them having any ordinary wedding. So we’ll allow them their $600,000 air-conditioned tents and $200,000 security detail. Because Astor Courts — the private, French-style mansion set on 50 acres overlooking the Hudson—is accessible by air, land or sea, which means the Clinton’s may have to pony up extra cash for air traffic control—and keeping air space clear. You know, so Air Force One can arrive safely, and Oprah can descend the red-carpet from her jet. Besides, no one wants paparazzi swirling overhead in a repeat of Madonna’s disastrous wedding to Sean Penn.
The Daily News dismissed the wedding extravagances with a simple “Bill and Hillary can afford it.” After all, between 2000 and 2007, they reportedly earned a combined $109 million (though I’m still getting emails about Hillary’s campaign debt).
But I’d like to offer another take: Bill and Hillary (and Chelsea) deserve it.
A $5 million wedding would give most Oscar parties a run for their money, but this one comes with a wonderful imbalance: The Clinton wedding expenses are really chump change compared with the Clinton family’s philanthropic giving. Bill, for one, has made rebuilding Haiti his raison d’etre, an attractive cause celebre, that has so far, according to The Clinton Foundation Website, provided 34,000 tents, 24 tons of medical supplies, 45,000 tons of water and almost 400,000 articles of clothing to the Haitian people.
A lavish wedding is a lavish wedding, but the Clinton wedding deserves to be seen in context. This is a family that has devoted itself to public service, in the U.S. and around the world, and in doing so has reaped substantial financial benefit. And instead of stopping there, they’ve used their material gain to do more philanthropic work, tackle even larger social problems and to continue to challenge the status quo.
When you look at it that way, Chelsea’s wedding looks less like an intermarriage and more like a symbol of the most Jewish thing about them.
For more on “Materialism”:
Please join me, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Rabbi Naomi Levy and L.A. City Council Prexy Eric Garcetti as we discuss The Forces of Materialism at Young Israel of Century City, tonight, July 27, 7:30 p.m., 9315 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
July 26, 2010 | 8:56 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Oliver Stone has issued a mea culpa after setting off a firestorm with insensitive remarks about Hitler.
“In trying to make a broader historical point about the range of atrocities the Germans committed against many people, I made a clumsy association about the Holocaust, for which I am sorry and I regret. Jews obviously do not control media or any other industry,” the L.A. Times reports Stone said.
“The fact that the Holocaust is still a very important, vivid and current matter today is, in fact, a great credit to the very hard work of a broad coalition of people committed to the remembrance of this atrocity — and it was an atrocity.”
Stone, whose father was Jewish, was being interviewed about his new leftist documentary “South of the Border” when he said that Jewish control of the media has prevented a more nuanced understanding of Hitler. According to the Times, his remarks may have been taken out of context: What he meant to say was “there were other forces that should be apportioned a lot more of the blame for World War II deaths.”
Throughout the day, Jewish groups from the Anti-Defamation League to the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance to American Jewish Committee condemned Stone’s remarks, accusing him of anti-Semitism. Eventually, Stone succumbed to the pressure and recanted.
But as the Times reports, this is not the first time Stone has stoked controversy regarding Hitler:
[Last] January, while promoting his Showtime program “Secret History of America,” he said that Hitler was an “easy scapegoat” — prompting many of his critics to say that the director’s theories about American international relations go deeper than his favored topic of leftist politics in the latter half of the 20th century.
As the high holidays approach, we are reminded that forgiveness is a quality of the Jewish character; forgetting, however, is not.
Read more on the Oliver Stone controversy here.
July 26, 2010 | 10:53 am
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Mel, who? Oliver Stone just became the new enemy of the Jewish establishment.
The controversial Oscar-winning film director told the UK’s Sunday Times he believes Jewish domination of the media has prevented honest discussion about the Holocaust. He also said he thinks Hitler is a misunderstood figure, and hopes his upcoming film about the German dictator will present a more nuanced view of the WWII villain “in context.”
Apparently, the director is peeved that six million Jews get all the attention when Hitler killed a lot more Russians. “Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30 [million killed],” he told the Sunday Times. Now that’s context.
Stone was equally generous in his praise of AIPAC (though he doesn’t mention the organization by name), complaining that the lobby has had too much influence over American foreign policy.
“There’s a major lobby in the United States,” Stone said, “they are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington.”
Although Jewish control of the media is an old refrain, it feels especially strange coming from Stone, who is half-Jewish and was almost named Oliver Silverstein. According to a 1997 profile of Stone in The Washington Post, “William Oliver Stone was born into a well-connected world of privilege and polish, in New York City.” His father, the Jewish stockbroker Louis Stone changed his name from Silverstein before matriculating at Yale, and married Stone’s mother, a French girl and a baker’s daughter named Jacqueline Goddet.
But Stone’s childhood was anything but refined. In his 1997 novel “A Child’s Night Dream,” Stone draws upon the psychic damage of his upbringing to reveal a family life that was lonely and bizarre, full of strange demons. Plenty of Jewish boys have mother issues, for instance, but Stone’s took on an unhealthy Oedipal degree: “The Oliver Stone of the novel,” writer Lloyd Grove wrote, “is suicidal, sadistic, wounded, fragile and sexually obsessed with his mother.”
His father, whom Stone portrays as a cynical narcissist, was equally influential. “In the book, Lou Stone is an emotionally detached man who relies on scotch and call girls, and when it comes to women he instructs his son: ‘Find ‘em, [expletive] ‘em and forget ‘em,’” Grove wrote. Stone was a young 15 when his parents divorced, and the news – delivered secondhand from his boarding school headmaster, devastated him.
But his parents’ impact lingered long after their split. In 2008, Stone told AMC’s Movie Blog, “The main motivation to make Wall Street was my father.” In the interview, Stone describes a disapproving parent who ridiculed his choices and disparaged his lack of business acumen. “He thought I was a bum,” Stone said, explaining, “When I was working on ‘Wall Street’, I felt my dad was sort of around in a ghostlike form, watching over me and laughing, because here is the idiot son who doesn’t know anything about the stock market, who can barely add and subtract, doing a film with the grandiose title Wall Street.”
Even if he disappointed his father, Stone is still a veritable force in today’s Hollywood. And as a major filmmaker, he should know that the current media world is not controlled by individual moguls the way Hollywood once was, but by massive and competitive media empires. So savvy as many Jews are, the notion that one group could dominate the landscape is somewhat untenable.
Besides, most Americans would disagree with Stone. According to a 2008 poll released by the Anti-Defamation League, most Americans no longer believe Jews control Hollywood. On the contrary, the poll found that 43-percent of respondents said they believe there is an organized campaign by the national media to “weaken the influence of religious values.” Not exactly the best evidence for swelling Jewish political control.
Earlier today, ADL National Director Abe Foxman condemned Stone’s comments, saying the director has “shown his conspiratorial colors.”
“His words conjure up some of the most stereotypical and conspiratorial notions of undue Jewish power and influence,” Foxman said.
Two years ago, while I was interviewing film director Brett Ratner, the writer/director James Toback aired his belief in the decline of Jewish control of Hollywood:
“Jews used to run Hollywood,” Toback said. “But what we see now is the diminishing of Jews in power.”
Toback proceeded to rattle off the names of media moguls.
“Rupert Murdoch, not a Jew; Bob Iger, not a Jew ....”
(For the record: Iger, head of The Walt Disney Co., is a Jew.)
“Walt Disney hated Jews,” Ratner said.
“Sumner Redstone is a Jew, but he’d probably like not to be, since his real name is Sumner Rothstein, but he is a Jew, so that’s one, but then Kerkorian—well, Kerkorian is out of the business now. There are so few f—-ing places with Jews left. Oh and Sony,” Toback added.
I mentioned Amy Pascal, co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
“I’m talking about the corporate control,” Toback fired back. “Amy Pascal is an employee—the people who can fire Amy Pascal.”
“The Jews have lost ownership of the movie business,” Toback declared.
Let’s not jump to conclusions, though: As long as Oliver Stone keeps working, we’ve got at least one Jew right where we need him.
July 23, 2010 | 3:27 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Quick - name the most successful Jews in Hollywood.
Now, factor in a different demographic: Israelis.
If you don’t yet know who the most successful Israelis in Hollywood are, you will. A new list of the most successful Israelis in showbiz developed by the educational non-profit Israel21c includes established industry veterans like actress Ayelet Zurer, star of “Angels and Demons,” who topped the list, Madonna’s long-time manager Guy Oseary, who came in at #10, as well as up and coming talent like actor Aki Avni, whose career has taken shape alongside movie stars Natalie Portman and Meg Ryan.
If Israelis were once relegated to bit parts or ethnic roles, they’re now taking center stage, tackling diverse industry roles from actor to producer to talent manager.
Ali Suliman, the only Israeli-Arab to make the list, took the #9 spot and will next appear in Ridley Scott’s “Body of Lies.”
Producer Oren Peli clocked in at #7, earning due recognition for his sleeper hit “Paranormal Activity”, a $15,000 home-spun movie he parlayed into a $100 million sensation.
Also included are Meital Dohan (#2), star of the popular Showtime series “Weeds”, “In Treatment” producer Noa Tishby (#4) and cover girl Gal Gadot (#3), who appeared in “The Fast and the Furious” and “Entourage”.
To see the full list, click here.