Jurnee Smollett, seen here in "Lovecraft Country," recently spoke to Vogue about growing up with a white Jewish father and a black mother.
Jurnee Smollett, seen here in "Lovecraft Country," recently spoke to Vogue about growing up with a white Jewish father and a black mother.

Bar Refaeli sentenced for tax evasion; Daveed Diggs gets (another) TV series; etc.

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

Oaklander still on the rise

The Bay Area’s own Daveed Diggs, who rose to fame in “Hamilton,” will see his feature film “Blindspotting” turned into a TV show. The movie (which Diggs wrote, produced and starred in) has been picked up by Starz. Diggs, a Berkeley High graduate who was raised in the Oakland flatlands, won’t be in the show, though — he’s already got a job as the main character in the sci-fi dystopian “Snowpiercer.”

From kid actor to ‘Vogue’ subject

Jurnee Smollett has been acting since she was 8, but after starring in a superhero movie last year, the 33-year-old is now on everyone’s radar as the star of HBO’s horror-history show “Lovecraft Country.” She’s often talked about growing up with a white Jewish father and Black mother. “My mom helped me navigate this world as someone who lives at the intersection of multiple identities,” she said in a recent interview with Vogue.

Inspired by the book

Stepping behind the camera for a change, Maggie Gyllenhaal is making her first film as a director. The actress has adapted a novel by an Italian author who writes under the pen name Elena Ferrante, with a script Gyllenhaal wrote herself after being inspired by the book. “When I finished reading Elena Ferrante’s ‘The Lost Daughter,’ I felt that something secret and true had been said out loud,” she said. “I immediately thought how much more intense the experience would be in a movie theater.”

Model, sentenced

Israeli model Bar Refaeli has been sentenced to community service in her home country for tax evasion, while her mother and manager will have to serve 16 months in prison. The two were convicted for claiming top model Refaeli was an overseas resident while she was actually still living in Israel. They were also fined.

Biopic for UK hero

A new film will cover the life of Sir Nicholas Winton, the British banker who saved more than 600 children during the Holocaust. He traveled to both Prague and Amsterdam to help arrange (and forge) travel papers for Jewish children and worked in the U.K. to find homes for them. It’s a story that Winton kept a secret for much of his life, until his wife discovered an old notebook of his (he died in 2015). Anthony Hopkins will star in the film, scheduled to be released next year.

Committed to strange

Idiosyncratic filmmaker Charlie Kaufman is back with a new film, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” now streaming on Netflix. Kaufman is known as a screenwriter for his surreal classics “Being John Malkovich” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” This film, the story of a girlfriend visiting her boyfriend’s family, is being described by critics as “confusing, or even downright hostile to the audience,” but also “incredibly satisfying.” It scores an admirable 77 on Metacritic.

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

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