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Jewish Celebrities

Johansson, Gadot, Portman land ‘super’ roles

Natalie Portman

Director Taika Waititi hands Natalie Portman the Thor hammer, as the current "Thor" star Chris Hemsworth looks on at the San Diego Comic-Con International festival, July 20, 2019. Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

On Netflix and super Jewish women notes

“Otherhood,” an original Netflix movie that begins streaming on Aug. 2, features three long-time friends (Angela Bassett, PATRICIA ARQUETTE, 51, and Felicity Huffman), who drive to New York City to re-connect with their adult sons. Along the way, they realize that their sons are not the only ones whose lives need to change. They start to think hard about how to redefine all their important relationships. The film was written and directed by CINDY CHUPACK, 54, the former co-head writer of “Sex and the City” (and, in 2014, a speaker at the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival).

 Next May, SCARLETT JOHANSSON, 34, will star as Black Widow in a ‘prequel’ movie (her character was killed off in “Avenger’s Endgame”). A few weeks later, GAL GADOT, 34, will return as the title character in “Wonder Woman 2.” In 2021, NATALIE PORTMAN, 38, will star as a female version of Thor in “Love and Thunder.” 

Super Dr. Mike

Dr. MIKHAIL VARSHAVSKI, 29, who is better known as Dr. Mike, is a celebrity thanks to “new media.” He rose to fame when he Instagram-ed his medical school studies and People magazine noticed, naming him the “sexiest physician alive” in 2015. YouTube fame followed (he gives medical tips). Well, Dr. Mike became super Dr. Mike, when he saved a fellow passenger on a recent flight to Israel. When MATT FARACO, 26, who was traveling on a Birthright trip, went into allergic shock, Dr. Mike located epinephrine in the plane’s emergency kit and injected Faraco. He quickly recovered. 

Home for the holidays with Captain Kirk

I recently came across WILLIAM SHATNER’s newest memoir, “Live Long and What I Learned Along the Way” (2018). Shatner, now 88, relates that after “Star Trek” ended in 1969 he did a lot of summer theater to pay the bills. For several years, he drove from one theater to another in his pick-up truck.  He’d park his truck behind the theater and sleep in it with his dog (he had a “shell” over the bed of the truck that turned it into a sort-of-camper). He did this simply to save money. He had three young kids to support and a big mortgage to pay.

At the end of one season, he looked forward to leaving his last gig in Boston, and driving home to L.A. to celebrate the High Holidays with his three daughters. Then a call came. Rose Kennedy really wanted him to come to a party at the Kennedy family compound. He agnozied about what to do, thinking that maybe there would be a big-time producer at the party and he’d get a part that would change his life. But he stuck to his guns and his final answer was, “I have to get home to my kids.”

By the way, Shatner is hosting a new History Channel series, which started July 19, called “The Unexplained.” It is pseudo-science mishegas (nonsense) that the History Channel, once a respected outlet, now streams out. World War II and Abraham Lincoln are out at the History Channel. Bigfoot and “Ancient Aliens” are in.

Mossad’s dramatic rescue of Ethiopian Jews

“The Red Sea Diving Project,” an original Netflix film, begins streaming on July 31. This dramatic film recounts the true efforts of the Israeli secret service, the Mossad, to rescue thousands of Ethiopian Jews in 1981. Many of them were hid in a Sudan resort (near the Red Sea) before being transported to Israel. The film was directed and written by Israeli GIDEON RAFF, 46, who shared an Emmy for best writing, dramatic TV show (“Homeland”). Most of the film’s characters are depicted as Jewish, but only two major cast members are actually Jewish (Israeli actress ALONA TAL, 35, and Israeli actor MARK AVNIR, 52, who was born in the Ukraine and came to Israel when he was 4 years old. Avnir plays the head of the Mossad). Chris Evans, Ben Kingsley and Alessandro Nivola have co-starring roles. Nivola’s paternal grandmother was Jewish.