Celebrity jews

At the movies

Hailee Steinfeld

“Ender’s Game” is a big-budget sci-fi movie based on a best-selling novel of the same name. In the near future, a hostile alien race’s attack on Earth is barely fended off by the heroics of Fleet Commander Rackham (Ben Kingsley). Col. Graff (Harrison Ford, 71) prepares for the next attack by looking for the best young minds to be trained at Battle School. Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield, 16) quickly distinguishes himself, and Graff sends him on to be trained by Rackham. Wiggin ultimately leads Earth’s forces in the epic final battle. Hailee Steinfeld, 16, co-stars as Petra, a Battle School student who acts as an older sister to Wiggin and later becomes one of his best combat lieutenants. The film opens Friday, Nov. 1.

Steinfeld provides the voice of Anne Frank for the just-opened permanent exhibit on the legendary young author and Holocaust victim at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. The L.A. Jewish Journal writes: “Anne’s voice and Anne’s words, as spoken by [Steinfeld], animate and enliven throughout. Steinfeld’s voice is penetrating and bright even as it brings ominous news.”

Also opening Nov. 1 is “Last Vegas,” a comedy about four old friends who get together for a Las Vegas bachelor party. It stars Michael Douglas, 69, as the “last bachelor”; Kevin Kline, Morgan Freeman and Robert De Niro are the party throwers. Director is veteran Jon Turteltaub, 50 (“Cool Runnings,” “National Treasure”), with script by Dan Fogelman, 37 (“Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “Cars”).

Gad Elmaleh

Greek-born French filmmaker Costa-Gavras has made political thrillers since the 1960s and, more often than not, they are exciting and thought-provoking. Several worth viewing have focused on anti-Semitism, including “The Confession,” “Music Box” and “Amen.” His new film, “Capital,” takes place in the world of global finance. A ruthless young executive (Gad Elmaleh, 42) takes over as CEO of a big French bank. His accession is jeopardized by a hostile takeover attempt by an American hedge fund leader (Gabriel Byrne). It opens Friday, Nov. 1 in Berkeley and Nov. 22 in San Francisco.

Elmaleh, a Moroccan-born French Jew, is very well known in France as a standup comedian and comic actor. A few months ago, it was reported that he was engaged to marry Princess Charlotte of Monaco, 27, the daughter of Princess Caroline. On Sept. 27, Elmaleh told the Washington Post that he was not engaged. “Yes, the couple is expecting a baby at year’s end,” the paper reported, “but there’s no formal engagement, he says, despite what looks like a big diamond ring on Charlotte’s left hand. So either the press got it all wrong — or they’re faking us out in an attempt to pull off one of those surprise celebrity weddings.”


Bay Area connections

“Torn,” an indie film set in the Bay Area, is directed by Jeremy Birnbaum, 46, president of the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking. A bond forms between two women when their sons are killed in an apparent accidental explosion. When the police find evidence of a bomb, one of the sons, a Muslim American, becomes the prime suspect, and the friendship is threatened.

This year, for the first time, “The Colbert Report” beat out “The Daily Show” when it won an Emmy for best variety series. “Colbert” also won for outstanding writing, and a reader pointed out that the writing team includes Berkeley High grad Max Werner, 38.

“Twerk master” Miley Cyrus reportedly is dating Theo Wenner, 26, the middle son of Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner, 67, and his ex-wife, Jane Schindelheim, 66. In 1966, Wenner was working at the San Francisco–based radical magazine “Ramparts” when he was struck by the beauty of Jane, the new receptionist. They wed in a small Jewish ceremony about a year after meeting. Her father, Arthur, a New York dentist, put up about a third of the money needed to launch Rolling Stone in 1967.


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

Nate Bloom

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