In Amazon’s ‘Hunters’, Al Pacino Finds His Yiddishkeit

“This is not murder,” croons a be-whiskered, be-Yiddish-accented Al Pacino, glaring ominously at a cork-board tacked with photographs of men in totalitarian-chic uniforms. “This is mitzvah.”

It’s official: in Amazon Prime’s upcoming drama “Hunters”, Pacino will play the Nazi-killing Jewish grandfather you never knew you needed.

Slated for release in 2020, “Hunters” seems like a jazzed-up recreation of actual efforts to find and prosecute Nazis in the decades after World War II. But real-life Simon Wiesenthals would recognize almost nothing in the show’s invented premise: In 1977 New York, young Jonah Heidelbaum discovers that hundreds of Nazis have infiltrated the city after they brutally murder his Holocaust survivor grandmother. To halt the rise of a “Fourth Reich,” he joins a group of knife-wielding Nazi hunters led by Pacino - or, as the Schmooze shall know him forever more, Meyer Offerman.

An enviable lineup of Jewish and gentile luminaries have signed onto the project. It-man Jordan Peele is producing the series through his company Monkeypaw Productions, while Logan Lerman (veteran of the “Percy Jackson” fantasy franchise and secret crush of anyone who was a teenage dork in the mid-2000s) will play Jonah. Carol Kane of “Princess Bride” fame and Saul Rubinek, actor and son of Holocaust survivors, have signed on for smaller roles. Pacino himself is no stranger to portraying members of the tribe, having portrayed Shylock in the 2004 film adaptation of “The Merchant of Venice” and movie macher Marvin Schwarz in last year’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”.

“Hunters” promises a bit of post-Holocaust magical thinking. Yes, the Nazis really are coming for your grandmother — but not to worry! No Reich is a match for the walking incarnation of gangster cool. The show makes fighting bigotry look a lot more straightforward than it will ever be, but is the Schmooze too good to watch it? You’d better believe we’re doing ourselves a mitzvah and renewing our Amazon Prime.

“Hunters” will premiere in 2020. You can watch the trailer here:

Irene Katz Connelly is an intern at the Forward. You can contact her at connelly@forward.com.

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In Amazon’s ‘Hunters’, Al Pacino Finds His Yiddishkeit

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