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Hollywood Now: New Movies with Jake Gyllenhaal, Noah Wyle and Adam Brody

Jake Gyllenhaal in Stronger
Jake Gyllenhaal with Patty O’Neil and Miranda Richardson. Credit: Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions

Gyllenhaal gets Stronger

While waiting at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon to see his girlfriend cross the line, Jeff Bauman lost his legs in the terrorist bombing that shocked Boston and the nation. His book about his life-shattering experience and its aftermath has been made into the terrific movie Stronger, opening September 22 and stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Bauman.

“I was struck by Jeff’s journey and the fact that this isn’t a story about the bombing. It is a story about one human being moving through tragedy to hope,” says Gyllenhaal, who spent time with Bauman before and during production. His portrayal of a man dealing with trauma, pain and frustration, sudden fame and relationships (including his alcoholic mother and guilt-ridden girlfriend) is emotional and gut wrenching. “No matter how hard I tried to understand what he went through, I sometimes felt I was hitting a wall. I literally don’t think I would have survived what he has gone through,” he admits.

Gyllenhaal, who is Swedish-Christian on his father’s side and Jewish on his mother’s, identifies as Jewish. He has several films in the works for 2018, including the Western The Sisters Brothers, also starring Joaquin Phoenix, Riz Ahmed and John C. Reilly.

Noah Wyle in Shot
Noah Wyle. Credit: Paladin Pictures

A Busy September for Noah

Noah Wyle stars in a pair of movies this month. In the first, Shot, opening September 22 in New York and Los Angeles, he plays a sound engineer who nearly dies of a gunshot wound, struggles with the lasting after effects and considers taking revenge. Wyle also appears in Mark Feit: The Man Who Brought Down the White House, opposite Liam Neeson in the title role as the man better known as Deep Throat in the Watergate scandal. In the movie, opening September 29, Wyle plays Federal Prosecutor Sam Pottinger, who learned of Feit’s secret identity but didn’t divulge it for years. Wyle is Russian-Jewish on his father’s side and Episcopalian on his mother’s.

Joey Kern, Tyler Labine, Adam Brody and Zachary Knighton
Joey Kern, Tyler Labine, Adam Brody, Zachary Knighton. Credit: Blue Fox Entertainment

A Bear of a Comedy

Adam Brody is visible on big and small screens this month, starting with the movie comedy Big Bear, about a guy (Joey Kern) who is dumped by his fiancée, goes ahead with his bachelor party anyway and discovers that his buddies have kidnapped his ex’s new boyfriend. On the small screen, season two of Brody’s Crackle series StartUp premieres September 28. The Jewish actor has been married to actress Leighton Meester, who is not Jewish, since 2014.


Lola Gets American Made

Lola Kirke (Mozart in the Jungle) is in the cast of American Made, which stars Tom Cruise as a pilot recruited by the CIA in the 1980s who becomes tempted by the allure of Colombian drug cartel cash. It hits theaters September 29. Born in England and raised in New York, Kirke is Sephardic-Jewish on her mother’s side. Her maternal grandmother is Israeli. Kirke will next appear in the drama Untogether opposite Jamie Dornan, Ben Mendelsohn, Billy Crystal, Jennifer Grey, and her sister Jemima Kirke (Girls).



Bobbi Jene Smith
Bobbi Jene. Credit: Oscilloscope

Dancing Through a Documentary Lens 

Bobbi Jene Smith has a dilemma: remain in Israel, where she has danced with the Batsheva Dance Company for ten years, or return to America and pursue her own dance expression, though it will mean leaving her Israeli boyfriend and fellow dancer, Or Schraiber, behind. Her journey—both professional and personal—is the subject of Elvira Lind’s documentary Bobbi Jene.


Shot over a three-year period, “It’s my life seen through Elvira’s lens. I was excited to collaborate with her on this,” says Smith, who now lives in New York. Although it’s not in the film, Schraiber joined her there in August, and is attending the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. He’s Jewish and Smith is not, a topic that “comes up sometimes, but it’s never an issue between us,” she says. “We’ve been very lucky that it hasn’t been, on either side.” As for starting a family, “We’re going step by step,” she says. “We’re happy to be together in the same place.”


Bobbi Jene opens in New York September 22, September 29 in Los Angeles and elsewhere to follow. 


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