Hollywood Now: Jon Favreau Brings Back The Lion King & Max Greenfield Returns to (Veronica) Mars

Tom Holland and Jon Favreau
Tom Holland and Jon Favreau. Credit: Sony Pictures

Lions and Spiders, Oh My

Jon Favreau is having a busy summer with two high-profile projects in theaters in July. In the just-opened Spider-Man: Far From Home, he reprises the role of Happy Hogan, which he’s played in Marvel superhero movies for a decade. “I’m the Hagrid of the series, looking after the kids,” he says, making a Harry Potter comparison. In the movie, set on Spidey’s (Tom Holland) summer vacation trip to Europe, “I get some comedic scenes, some action scenes—it’s a dream come true.”

Favreau is also behind the camera as director and producer of the virtual reality CGI remake of The Lion King, in theaters July 19. “Visually, we have a lot of things that have never been done before,” he says of the movie, which was three years in the making and features a voice cast including Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, John Oliver, James Earl Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Amy Sedaris and Keegan-Michael Key. “They’re all beautiful singers,” Favreau says, “and to have this new generation come in and bring their own personalities to it, I can’t wait to share it with everybody.”

Favreau, the son of a Catholic father and Jewish mother, was raised Jewish in Queens, NY, where he attended Hebrew school and had a bar mitzvah. He’s the creator of the upcoming Star Wars series The Mandalorian, which follows a bounty hunter in the era between A New Hope and The Force Awakens. It will premiere on the Disney+ streaming service November 12.

Max Greenfield
Max Greenfield. Credit: Francis Specker/CBS

Veronica Mars—12 Years Later

Twelve years since it aired its finale, Veronica Mars returns for a fourth season on Hulu July 26, with much of its cast intact in a story that tasks Mars (Kristen Bell) with solving a series of spring break murders in Neptune. Max Greenfield (New Girl, The Neighborhood) reprises his role as Leo D’Amato, originally a Sheriff’s Deputy and later a San Diego PD detective who joins forces with Mars to solve crimes.

Greenfield, who is Jewish, has been in an interfaith marriage with Tess Sanchez, the mother of his two children, since 2008. The first three seasons of Veronica Mars are now streaming on Hulu.

Spector’s Spinoff

Morgan Spector (Homeland, Boardwalk Empire) returns to TV this summer in the Suits spinoff Pearson as Chicago mayor Bobby Novak, who is running for re-election. Spector, who is from an interfaith family, followed in his paternal grandmother’s footsteps in becoming an actor. Sylvia Schachner was an actress in the Yiddish theater in New York. Spector has been married to British actress Rebecca Hall, who is not Jewish, since September 2015.

Joshua Kushner and Karlie Kloss
Joshua Kushner and Karlie Kloss. Instagram @karliekloss

Karlie Kloss Does the Hora

Project Runway host Karlie Kloss, who converted to Judaism before marrying businessman Jared Kushner in a small Jewish ceremony in October, pulled out the stops for their belated reception. The newlyweds threw a star-studded weekend-long celebration on June 22 at a ranch in Bush Creek Wyoming, with many celebrities on the guest list. Orlando Bloom, Katy Perry, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Princess Beatrice and Diane Von Furstenberg were there to take part in such events as RTVing, line dancing and horseback riding at the “party on the prairie.”

But Kushner’s brother, White House senior aide Jared Kushner, and his wife Ivanka Trump did not attend. The party incorporated at least one Jewish tradition: Kloss and Kushner were hoisted in the air on chairs as guests danced the hora to “Hava Nagila.”

Gerri Miller

Gerri Miller wrote and reported from Los Angeles about celebrities, entertainment and lifestyle for The Jewish Journal, The Nosher, Hadassah and others. A New York native, she spent a summer working at Kibbutz Giv’at Brenner in Israel and attended High Holy Day services at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood every year.


Author: Gerri Miller