By Nate Bloom
“The Three Musketeers 3-D” opens in theaters on Friday, Oct. 21. Based on a famous 19th century French novel, the oft-filmed story takes place in 17th century France. Its hero, D’Artagnan (LOGAN LERMAN, 19) goes to Paris to join the famous guards of the King, the Musketeers. He joins forces with three of them to stop the evil Cardinal Richelieu (Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz).
Lerman’s “Hollywood stock” is now so high he didn’t even have to audition for the lead in this big-budget film. He has the tools to become the biggest Jewish film heartthrob since TONY CURTIS. He is very good-looking and he has shown he can act effectively, and with some real style, in smaller budget comedies and dramas (like the underappreciated, but quite good 2009 film, “My One and Only”). More important to the film biz, he appears to be able to help “put over the top” a mega-budget action picture with so/so reviews, like last year’s box-office hit “Percy Jackson and the Olympians.”
Lerman’s paternal great-grandfather, a German Jew, along with his family, fled the Nazis and settled in Shanghai, China just before the war. There he and his son, Logan’s grandfather, founded an orthotics and prosthetics manufacturing company. They moved to the States in 1948, and successfully re-founded the company in Los Angeles. It is still run by Logan’s grandfather and father. His paternal grandfather married another European Jewish refugee. Logan’s mother’s father is a post-war Polish Jewish immigrant. His maternal grandmother was born in California, the daughter of Canadian-born Jews. Logan, and two older siblings, grew-up in Beverly Hills in what he calls a “very stable family.” My sense is that the family is moderately religious.
Yom Kippur Notes
If I had to compare Lerman to a contemporary Jewish young (ish) actor, it would be JAKE GYLLENHAAL, 30. Both are good-looking, in a “regular guy” sort of way, and both started getting film and TV roles around age 10. Gyllenhaal, while not a superstar actor, is certainly now an “A” list actor by virtue of gradually, but steadily compiling a strong track record of good films. Gyllenhaal, who has really “buffed-up” in recent years, is now a bit more of a “macho-type” than Lerman. Lerman, of course, could also “buff-up,” but I suspect his strength may be that he has more facility for wise-guy comedic roles than Gyllenhaal.
Gyllenhaal, like his sister, actress MAGGIE GYLLENHALL, 33, are the children of a non-Jewish father (director Stephen Gyllenhaal) and a Jewish mother (screenwriter NAOMI FONER). A few years back, Foner said that her own Jewish background was more grounded in liberal, social justice politics than formal religious observance and that her children were raised the same way. She said Jake’s 13th birthday was observed with a few prayers at home and by him volunteering for the day at a soup kitchen. However, in the last year, Maggie has, flat-out, called herself “Jewish,” and Jake was just spotted attending Yom Kippur services this year at a Manhattan synagogue. Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised by this last bit of news.
Also spotted attending Yom Kippur services, at a Sydney, Australia synagogue, were comedic actor SACHA BARON COHEN, who turned 40 on Oct. 13, and his wife, ISLA FISHER, 33. (Fisher grew-up in Australia. The couple divide their time between Australia, Los Angeles and Cohen’s native Britain.)
My impression is that only a native of France or a really long term resident of that country really understands the power and influence, within France, of the multi-talented artist SERGE GAINSBOURG (1928-1991). I’ve been told to imagine the existence of a prominent American counter-cultural figure that combined certain personal and professional characteristics of BOB DYLAN, Jack Kerouac, poet Charles Bukowski and Warren Beatty. If America had such a figure, he would be comparable to Gainsbourg.
Opening Friday, Oct. 21, at the Esquire Theater in Cincinnati, is the dramatic film, “Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life.” It is directed and written by French comic book artist JOANN SFAR, 40, and it’s based on Sfar’s graphic novel about Gainsbourg. It follows Gainsbourg, who was born Lucien Ginzburg, the son of Russian Jewish immigrant parents, as he survives, as a child, the Nazi occupation. After the war, he went from being a painter, to a jazz musician, to a pop superstar. Professional actors and actresses play Gainsbourg and some of the many women in his life, including Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin (who is the mother of Serge’s famous daughter, actress CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG, 40).
Sfar, a quite famous cartoon artist, is the son of a Sephardi father and an Ashkenazi mother. His graphic novels are often infused with Jewish themes and some Jewish-style humor.