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Hollywood Now: Stars of Wet Hot American Summer, Plus New Mom Deschanel & Dad-To-Be Zuckerberg

Zooey Deschanel: New Mom & Bride

Zooey Deschanel. Credit: Alberto Rodriguez

New Girl star Zooey Deschanel is both a mom and a bride. Deschanel, who was raised Catholic, announced the birth – but not the name – of her baby daughter this week, and disclosed that she secretly married her fiancé Jacob Pechenik, the producer of her upcoming movie Rock the Casbah. We hear, but can’t verify, that he’s Jewish, but we have no details on the wedding ceremony. (Very secretive, these two). Mazel tov in any case!


Mark Zuckerberg Announces Baby News on Facebook

Credit: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook

Jewish Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan, who isn’t Jewish, are expecting their first child, a girl, after three previous miscarriages, “Our good news is that our pregnancy is now far enough along that the risk of loss is very low and we are very hopeful,” said Zuckerberg in a post on Facebook.

The Stars Of Wet Hot American Summer

Wet Hot American Summer. Credit: Netflix

If you haven’t seen Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp yet, you’re missing a hilariously campy (pun intended) and fun experience, and one of the biggest casts of Jewish and interfaith actors of all time. In addition to the previously noted Paul Rudd and Josh Charles, the now-streaming series is a veritable Who’s Who of stars with Jewish connections.

Besides Jewish actors Michael Ian Black (McKinley), Samm Levine(Arty), Kevin Sussman (Steve), H. Jon Benjamin (Mitch), Michaela Watkins (Rhonda), Elizabeth Banks (Lindsay), who converted to Judaism, there’s David Wain (Yaron, the Israeli counselor) and his co-creator/writer Michael Showalter, who has a Jewish mother and Episcopalian father. Judah Friedlander (Ron) has a Jewish father, and so does Jason Schwartzman (Greg), whose mom is actress Talia Shire (née Coppola). Jewish actor Richard Schiff (Dean) is in an interfaith marriage with actress Sheila Kelley, and so is John Slattery (Claude), who is married to actress Talia Balsam, herself the product of an interfaith marriage: Her late father was Jewish actor Martin BalsamLake Bell (Donna), the product of a Jewish father and Protestant mother, is in an interfaith marriage with tattoo artist Scott Campbell who she wed in 2013.

Michael Showalter, Lake Bell, David Wain. Credit: Saeed Adyani

Most of the cast was in the Wet Hot American Summer movie, and jumped at the chance to reunite for the series 14 years later. “We’ve all been in touch for all this time. Many of us have worked together multiple times in between,” says Michael Showalter. “We’re friends, we’re in touch. We really wanted to get every single person that we could that was in that movie. We wanted to bring them back. So we sent a group e-mail: ‘We’re thinking about doing this. Would you want to do it?’ And it was like a unanimous yes.”

The door is open for more episodes, says Showalter. “Having gone to camp myself for many, many, many years, there’s unlimited adventures that happen. And I always thought of the characters from Wet Hot American Summer almost like comic book characters, like Archie and his gang or the Little Rascals. They’re archetypal, iconic‑feeling characters and there’s no shortage of stories that we would be able to tell about them, if everyone wants to do it,” he says. “I think the feeling is that we’re interested in creating an environment that is inclusive and making it easy for people to say yes to doing it. We certainly took that approach this time around, and I think we would continue with that.”

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