Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton married Jewish banker Marc Mezvinsky in an interfaith ceremony in July 2010, and now the couple is expecting their first child. The New Yorkers celebrated Passover last month with his parents, Arthur and Marjorie, and went to church with her parents, Hilary and Bill Clinton, but they haven’t disclosed the sex of the baby yet or whether they’ll raise the baby Jewish, Christian or both.
Based on the story of the titular breast cancer survivor (Samantha Morton) and the geneticist (Helen Hunt) who discovered the BRCA1 gene mutation, Decoding Annie Parker, out May 2, also stars several actors with interfaith connections. Rashida Jones (Parks & Recreation), the daughter of producer Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton (The Mod Squad) was raised in her mother’s Jewish faith. Richard Schiff (The West Wing), who is Jewish, has been in an interfaith marriage to actress Sheila Kelley (L.A. Law, Sisters) since 1996, and Corey Stoll (House of Cards), also Jewish, is in the interfaith cast of the upcoming film This is Where I Leave You, about a non-observant Jewish family forced to sit shiva together when the patriarch dies (September). He’ll also play the head of a virology team investigating a mysterious outbreak in FX’s series Strain, beginning in July.
Taking place May 1-8, the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival will present a wide variety of features and shorts, including at least one with an important interfaith theme. The fest’s closing night selection is The Jewish Cardinal, the true story of Jean-Marie Lustiger, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants, who maintained his cultural identity as a Jew even after converting to Catholicism and joining the priesthood, eventually becoming Archbishop of Paris. Visit lajfilmfest.org for screening details and other information.
Seven decades after World War II, little-known, real-life tales of Jewish heroism are still surfacing. One such story is the basis of the riveting drama Walking with the Enemy about a young Hungarian Jew (Jonas Armstrong) who repeatedly impersonates a Nazi officer to find and rescue his family and other Jews and thwart the Germans, at considerable risk to his life. In the film, now in theaters, Ben Kingsley plays Hungarian leader Regent Horthy, who stands up to the Nazis as best he can, though he’s decidedly outmatched.
Kingsley’s parents were Indian and English, but his mother was born out of wedlock and there is a bit of mystery about her ancestry. Kingsley, who is not Jewish, has disclosed that although “there might be some Russian-Jewish heritage way back on my mother’s side, the thread is so fine there’s no real evidence.” He has played Jewish characters ranging from rabbis to Oliver Twist’s Fagin, Bugsy’s Meyer Lansky and Itzhak Stern in Schindler’s List, and he’ll add a few more in the year ahead. Among his upcoming roles are King Herod in the Biblical bio Mary and movie mogul Jack Warner in Life, about a Life magazine photographer.