Spielberg Gets in Front of the Camera
Director Steven Spielberg’s movies and the life experiences that shaped them are the subjects of the fascinating and very personal documentary Spielberg, which premieres on HBO October 7. Filmmaker Susan Lacy, known for her American Experience biographies for PBS, interviewed Spielberg at length and spoke to more than 80 actors, collaborators, fellow directors and family members (though not his wife or children) for enlightening comments and anecdotes. It also depicts Spielberg’s relationship to Judaism and how it has played out in his work.
Spielberg faced anti-Semitism while growing up in a neighborhood in suburban Phoenix that was not Jewish, and as a result he distanced himself from Judaism. That changed when he met and fell in love with actress Kate Capshaw on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Capshaw, raised Protestant, converted to Judaism before their October 12, 1991 wedding and encouraged Spielberg to reconnect with the faith. That reconnection led to the landmark Holocaust drama Schindler’s List, “and it brought him back completely into the fold, and proud of being Jewish,” says Lacy.
Spielberg’s next film is The Post, starring Tom Hanks as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep as publisher Kay Graham, due out January 18.
Andrew Garfield Beats the Odds in His New Movie
Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge, Spider-Man movies), who is Jewish on his father’s side (his family name was originally Garfinkel), takes on the role of a man who beats the odds to survive polio and paralysis in Breathe, based on a true story. Opening October 13, the British drama also stars Claire Foy (The Crown), Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Tom Hollander (The Night Manager) and Steven Mangan (Episodes).
Kate Stars in an Upcoming Biopic
Opening October 13, the biopic Marshall focuses on the early career of future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, played by Chadwick Boseman of 42, specifically a court case involving a socialite who accused her African-American butler (This Is Us Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown) of rape and attempted murder. Kate Hudson, who is Jewish on her mother Goldie Hawn’s side, plays the unsympathetic role of the racist accuser in the movie, which also stars Josh Gad, James Cromwell and Dan Stevens.
Mendelsohn’s Got a Secret to Hide
Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One, Emmy winner for Bloodline), whose paternal grandfather was Jewish, stars opposite Rooney Mara (Carol) in Una as a man whose past comes back to haunt him. In the drama, opening October 13, Mara’s title character confronts him about the sexual relationship they had when she was 13 and he was her father’s friend and neighbor. He went to prison and changed his name when he got out, but her sudden reappearance threatens the new life he has created.