Celebrity Jews

Slacker Jews

Judd Apatow is best known as the writer/director of the surprise blockbuster comedy hit, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” In “Virgin,” Apatow managed the very difficult trick of combining outrageous “frat boy humor” with well-written adult lead characters whose romantic lives were genuinely touching.

Apatow’s new film, “Knocked-Up,” which walks the same thematic tightrope as “Virgin,” opens Friday, June 1.

Seth Rogen, 23, stars as a Los Angeles slacker who is an “illegal Canadian Jewish immigrant.” Not great looking, he meets a very pretty woman (Katherine Heigl) at a bar and they have a one-night stand that results in her getting “knocked up.” The film then covers the ups and downs of this improbable couple’s relationship.

Paul Rudd plays Heigl’s brother-in-law, while Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel and Jason Segal play Rogen’s Jewish slacker buddies. Apatow says, “Seth is a Jewish guy and all his friends are Jewish, at least the ones I cast, so I thought it’d be funny that they talk about [being Jewish in the movie] because it’s truthful to their [real] experience.”

Cannes doings

Jerry Seinfeld made a stir at the recent Cannes Film Festival when he got into a bee costume and propelled himself down a wire strung from the top of a hotel to a pier near the beach. Jerry’s wife, Jessica Sklar, left their three kids home in New York and jetted to France for the day to see her husband “fly.” She joked after the stunt, “If you lived in my house, it’s just part of our normal life.”

Seinfeld was in Cannes to create an early “buzz” for his animated comedy flick, “Bee Movie,” which will be released in November. The whole project came about by accident. Jerry asked Steven Spielberg to direct a commercial. Spielberg declined, but invited Jerry to dinner — which, Jerry says, “is like a second bar mitzvah for a Jewish kid from Long Island.” During dinner, Jerry made a joke about making a “B” movie about bees. Spielberg took Jerry seriously and the ball started rolling.

Resistance notes

Edward Zwick, an intelligent film director whose movies include “Blood Diamond” and “Glory,” has signed the new James Bond, Daniel Craig, to star in his upcoming film “Defiance,” based on a true story about four Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Poland who rescue other Jews and fight with Soviet partisans. Filming begins in September.

The acclaimed documentary “The Ritchie Boys,” will air on the Military Channel (found on most cable systems) on Thursday, June 7, at 8 p.m. During WWII, a group of young German refugees, mostly Jewish, underwent special training at an Army base at Camp Ritchie, Md. From D-Day to the end of the war, these men served on the front lines and behind the front as interrogators and psychological warfare experts. Many of the now elderly “Ritchie Boys” are interviewed.

Hairy and bald

As I write this, stylist Ben Mollin is still in the running on “Shear Genius,” Bravo cable’s hairstyling competition show. Mollin comes from a religious home and his father is a synagogue choral director. (Airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m.)

The blockbuster, “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” opened last week. I just came across an amusing interview with Lee Arenberg, who’s played Pintel, a comic relief character, in all three “Pirates” movies. Arenberg, who was born in Palo Alto, says the producers heavily favored English actors for the “Pirates” roles, but he got cast because “somehow they couldn’t find a short, bald guy in London.” Arenberg’s first acting gig came at age 8, when he played King David in a Hebrew school play.

Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at [email protected].

Nate Bloom

Nate Bloom writes the "Celebrity Jews" column for J.