Hailee Steinfeld has returned to her title role of Emily Dickinson in the second season of the Apple TV+ series Dickinson, and plays the 19th Century poet with a 21st Century sensibility. “Season one ends with Emily telling her father she is a poet, and she will write thousands of the greatest poems ever written right there in that bedroom,” Steinfeld told Elle.com.
“She closes the door and she sort of exhales, and I really do feel like that moment sends us off into the wildness and craziness that is season two. Emily finding her place, her confidence as a writer, as a woman—it’s all taken to the next level. Of course, it wouldn’t be Dickinson if it wasn’t wild and messy and heartbreaking and funny. It’s got it all times 10.”
Steinfeld, whose mother is Christian and father is Jewish, will next portray the title character in the Marvel Avengers universe series Hawkeye, which will premiere on Disney+ later this year.
Simon Cowell, whose late father was Jewish, is heading to Israel to join the judging panel on the country’s version of The X Factor. The show, which he created, first aired in the U.K. in 2004 and was brought to the U.S. in 2011. The last Israeli version took place three years ago, with Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli as host.
Now recovered from back surgery following an electric bike accident that forced him to miss most of the recent season of America’s Got Talent, Cowell is eager to return to judging. “Over the years The X Factor format discovered amazing talents from all over the world. I can’t wait to see what Israel has to offer,” he said according to Yahoo. He’s also developing new seasons of Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor for the U.K. and working on a new competition series called 50 States to Stardom for CBS.
This is Us star Mandy Moore is pregnant with her first child, a boy, with her Jewish husband, Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith. Although she was raised Catholic, she has Russian-Jewish ancestry on her mother’s side from her grandfather. Moore and Goldsmith got engaged in September 2017 and married in November the following year.
While exploring his Jewish roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr. in the January 26 episode of the PBS series Finding Your Roots, TV host Andy Cohen got a big surprise. As he suspected, he’s 100% Ashkenazi Jewish, but he didn’t know that one of his pals is also a distant cousin. DNA tests reveal that Cohen and actor Scarlett Johansson are related on her Jewish mother’s side.
Johansson was on FYR in 2017 and learned about both her father’s Danish-Christian heritage and Polish-Jewish ancestry. Her maternal great-grandfather immigrated to the U.S. in 1910. Those who remained in Europe died in the Holocaust. Johansson is in an interfaith marriage with Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost, who she married in October. She’ll be seen in the title role in Marvel’s Black Widow, expected to be released in May.
Tony and Grammy-winning Hamilton star Daveed Diggs returns to his role as Layton in season two of the post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer. The show explores the class war on a train perpetually traveling a ruined earth. In the new episodes premiering January 25 on TNT, tail section leader Layton assumes a greater leadership role. “It’s about a bunch of people living within a system and at a certain point they start to question why, and if the system can’t answer for it, the system has to change. That’s what revolution is all about,” Diggs says.
Diggs—whose mother is Jewish and father is Christian—celebrated Shabbat, Hanukkah and other Jewish holidays in his youth in in Oakland, CA. “My mom was pretty good about making sure we got a sampling of all the holidays so we could choose later whether we wanted to continue. We had Christmas too,” he says. He didn’t have a bar mitzvah, but he “went to Hebrew school. I do identify as Jewish.”
He wrote, produced and performed the rap video “A Puppy for Hanukkah” with his band Clipping, which has over a million views on YouTube. The video features a trio of adorable boys lip-synching to Diggs’ vocals and a klezmer clarinet melody.
Diggs also plays abolitionist Frederick Douglass in Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird and recently appeared in the animated movie Soul on Disney+. He will voice Sebastian the Crab in the animated/live action remake of The Little Mermaid, also for Disney+, and appear in the drama The Starling with Melissa McCarthy.
Top photo via Apple TV+