Timothée Chalamet to portray Bob Dylan in upcoming biopic

When Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, he didn’t know that the greatest accolade of his life still lay ahead — the honor of being portrayed by an actor whose face is so precious people make money by superimposing it on Impressionist art.

In other words, Timothée Chalamet.

On January 6, Fox Searchlight announced to Entertainment Weekly that Chalamet is in talks to portray the folk rock hero in an upcoming biopic directed by ‘Ford v Ferrari’ alum James Mangold.

Titled ‘Going Electric,’ the film will focus on Dylan’s transition from folk to rock, embodied in his controversial decision to perform with an amp at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival (the audience roundly booed what they saw as a betrayal of traditional acoustics. Among the crowd, singer Pete Seeger declared, ““If I had an axe, I’d chop the microphone cable right now.”).

Chalamet, whose exceptionally expressive eyebrows and charming bone structure give him the aura of a brooding princeling on the cusp of adulthood, has had a busy year portraying brooding princelings on the cusp of adulthood: He’s conquered England as Henry V in Netflix’s ‘The King,’ and provided holiday feels as the charmingly dissipated (slash serious mansplainer, but that’s a story for another day) robber-baron Laurie in ‘Little Women.’ At promotional events for both projects — once at a photo shoot and another time during a red carpet premiere — he’s distributed treats from Tompkins Square Bagels, thus fulfilling the ancient Talmudic commandment that enjoins Jewish starlets to give back by aggressively promoting their preferred bagel purveyors.

Given that Chalamet and Dylan are two of the only people that most of the Twitterverse can agree to stan, as the youth say, the number of delighted memes and side-by-side pout comparisons that have emerged in the hours since the announcement shouldn’t be surprising.

But let’s not get too hopeful about the prospect of these two schmoozing on the red carpet — Dylan didn’t bother to schlep to Sweden to claim his literal Nobel Prize, so it doesn’t seem terribly likely he’ll show up for the, um, third biopic lavished upon him.

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

Karlie Kloss’s Kushner Connections Come Under Fire on Project Runway

On Thursday, our favorite new member of the tribe Karlie Kloss was called to answer for her political connections on the literal runway. The supermodel-turned-coder, who serves as a judge on the current season of Project Runway, was taken aback when a contestant sardonically asked if she would wear one of his creations to dinner with her in-laws, White House advisors Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

This week’s episode challenged contestants to create an ensemble that Kloss could wear to an upcoming event in Paris. Aspiring designer Tyler Neasloney was already in hot water for the skirt-and-blouse combo he presented: one of the judges had lambasted the outfit, saying that while it might be acceptable “in some place that is neither Paris nor Montauk nor Martha’s Vineyard” (in other words, some place where ordinary people might conceivably live) — it wasn’t fit for Kloss to wear on any occasion.

This sick burn might have leveled the Schmooze, but Neasloney was ready. “Not even to dinner with the Kushners?” he quipped.

Karlie dated Joshua Kushner, scion-in-waiting to the Kushner real estate clan, for six years before marrying him in an intimate ceremony in October 2018. Their relationship reportedly faced intense opposition from Joshua’s family, and Kloss converted to Judaism before her wedding.

While Karlie, Joshua, Jared, and Ivanka share the same well-serumed skin and propensity for private jet travel, the younger Kushners have emerged as a liberal contrast to their White House counterparts. Fans on social media greet their every fashionably progressive gesture — from an Instagram selfie Kloss posted of herself voting for Hillary to Joshua’s decision to attend the first Women’s March while Jared was celebrating his father-in-law’s inauguration — as a symbol of the #resistance, especially spicy because of their proximity to the people being resisted.

But neither member of this power couple likes to resist very openly. Kloss, who is famously private about her marriage and usually declines to comment on her in-laws, came closest to stating open opposition in an interview with British Vogue, when she affirmed her decision “to focus on the values that I share with my husband.”

In a now-viral video clip, Kloss spent a few seconds pursing her lips like a mom who’s disappointed but not angry with whatever you just did. Composure recovered, she returned drag for drag, calling Neasloney’s fabrics “cheap” and his pockets “ill-placed.” Ultimately, she concluded, he “missed the mark on all accounts.”

We have to hand it to her, she has a point: Neasloney’s skirt-and-blouse ensemble was something that an ordinary person might conceivably wear, which means it was altogether too proletarian for Kloss’s Instagram feed.

Neasloney was promptly given the boot from Project Runway, but never fear — his memory will be a blessing in many a meme to come.

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

Zac Efron Hospitalized For Typhoid While Filming Reality Show ‘Killing Zac Efron’

Reality TV just got really…real.

While filming an shoot for ominously-titled reality TV show ‘Killing Zac Efron’ in Papua New Guinea, real-life star Zac Efron was hospitalized with a life-threatening case of typhoid.

After becoming ill, Efron, 32, was evacuated from Papua New Guinea to Brisbane, Australia, where he was treated for several days before doctors cleared him to fly home on Christmas Eve.

‘Killing Zac Efron’ is one of several new projects currently in development at Quibi, a short-form content platform headed by Yahoo tycoon Meg Whitman that is set to launch in April 2020. The show will inject some much-needed celebrity cachet into the tired genre of survivalist reality TV by dropping Zac Efron “off the grid” in Papua New Guinea for twenty-one days, with only a guide and a full camera crew to help him survive.

In a statement announcing the show, Efron said he was “excited to explore any uncharted territory and discover what unexpected adventure awaits!” We’re willing to bet a medical evacuation wasn’t exactly what he had in mind, but honestly — vanquishing one of history’s most muscular pathogens is more than most reality stars accomplish in a week.

As of December 28, Efron was officially back on the grid, tweeting a picture of himself surrounded by Papua New Guinean school children and assuring fans that despite his illness, he “bounced back quick and finished an amazing 3 weeks in PNG.”

While many Americans think of typhoid as a malady firmly consigned to the 19th century, it remains a serious threat in many parts of the world, affecting as many as 20 million people and killing between 128,000 and 161,000 each year, according to the World Health Organization. If anything good can come from Efron’s near miss, it will be a renewed awareness of the threat posed by vaccine-preventable diseases.

Or maybe, just maybe, it will inspire us to schlep over to CVS and get our flu shot, just like our mothers told us months ago.

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

Hallmark’s Hanukkah Movies Do More Damage Than Good, By Portraying Jews As Outsiders.

The Jewish television viewing public asked for meaningful Hanukkah content. They asked for made-for-TV holiday schmaltz that would allow them to pretend they have a perfect seasonal wardrobe and live in tastefully decorated suburban houses without also pretending that they celebrate Christmas.

Instead, they got two movies about an alternative universe where silly Jews know nothing about Christmas until benevolent Christian hotties teach them to really love it.

You should not watch Hallmark’s first two “Hanukkah movies,” Double Holiday or Holiday Date, if you want to see more than ten minutes total of Hanukkah celebrations, or if you want to see Jews doing Jewish things without reference to Christmas. You should not watch them if you want to see women killing it in the workplace or meaningful depictions of people of color or advertisements featuring same-sex couples.

However, there are a few delicious moments in these movies that we feel every Jew can enjoy. So that you can now experience the best of the worst without sitting through two hours of elevator music, here are the best in each movie.

Double Holiday:

The TLDR: Rebecca, an ambitious professional woman (in other words, uptight shrew) has to work with Chris, her personal-space-infringing coworker (in other words, an all-around good guy) to plan a holiday party (in other words, Christmas party) for their firm. This team-of-rivals situation is further complicated by the fact that these excellently-groomed yuppies are competing to please their boss (an unsmiling woman with a buzzcut who says she “can’t handle children”) and snag a promotion. But along the way, Chris meets Rebecca’s family and becomes fascinated with their wacky and outlandish Hanukkah traditions, like lighting candles and playing dreidel. Will Rebecca fall in love fast enough to turn down the promotion like a good woman should? Wait and see.

Our Favorite Moments

The Part Where Christians Are Just Way Better At Hanukkah:

Rebecca is a terrible cook (subtext: why is she so obsessed with her career?) so Chris ends up cooking latkes for her family. Later he destroys her in a dreidel tournament, showing that he’s more Jewish than she is and the best way to approach a new culture is to beat everyone at everything.

The Part Where They Say The Prayers Way Too Many Times:

The directors must have needed to fill time, because Double Holiday compensates for the lack of actual Hanukkah content with at least three full-length lightings of the menorah. Chris writes the prayers down and promises to be “off-book” by the end of the holiday, which is hands-down the least realistic part of the movie: Everyone knows that in real interfaith families the dad mouthes along no matter how many Hanukkahs he has celebrated.

The Part With The Holiday Party That Isn’t:

Much like these movies, the holiday party that Chris and Rebecca plan is a Christmas party with Jewish accessories. Killjoy Rebecca tries to ruin everyone’s Christmas spirit with white decorations and slightly-less-denominational cookie cutters, but Chris eventually persuades her that the firm can only communicate its support for “family values” by covering every surface with fake ivy. Once she’s baked three hundred explicitly Christian cookies, he rewards her by lighting a token menorah. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is true interfaith love.

The Part Where The Women Unwrap Chinese Food While Gossiping About The Men In The Other Room:

Actually, this part is fine. Someone must have done some real field research for this.

Holiday Date

The TLDR: Brooke is an aspiring fashion designer chronically overlooked by her boss (incidentally, also an unmaternal woman with a buzzcut) and dumped by her boyfriend just before Christmas. Joel is an actor struggling to prepare for a movie about rural life, since he’s never left New York or seen a hammer (because he’s Jewish, get it?). In the spirit of field research, Joel agrees to masquerade as Brooke’s boyfriend for the holidays, and spends Christmas with her parents, Walter and Donna, who look like they genuinely think Jews are better with money and might say so in public. As Joel falls for Brooke and her constant, judgmental smile, he starts to feel bad for deceiving her parents. Hijinks and excruciating revelations of Joel’s shockingly non-Christian background ensue, but by the end of the movie Donna overcomes her disappointment when she realizes how many fun Hanukkah decorations you can buy.

Our Favorite Moments:

The Part With The Deceitful Jews:

Holiday Date’s plot revolves around a Jew pretending to be something he isn’t in order to bamboozle an innocent white-blonde family who simply want to decorate their five Christmas trees in peace. And he’s not even very good at it: Walter, who greets Joel’s every remark with a loud grunt to signal that he’s the dominant man, keeps complaining that Joel is an “odd duck” and that “something’s not right about him.” Besides positioning Jews as social infiltrators, the movie suggests that they’re so fundamentally “other” that they’ll never be able to succeed in this endeavor.

The Part Where Joel is Clueless About Christmas:

Joel is constantly screwing up Christmas. He buys Brooke’s family a Christmas tree that’s too tall for their McMansion (and no, this is not a comment on class and consumer excess), decorates said tree alone instead of waiting for the family, and guzzles the popcorn that was meant for making ornaments. Besides equating unfamiliarity with Christmas to general stupidity, by portraying Jews as knowing nothing about a holiday that pervades American society, the movie continues to suggest that they aren’t really part of that society.

The Part Where Joel Is Clueless About Everything:

Joel can barely blunder his way through everyday activities, and anything especially small-town or all-American is a mystery to him. Constantly proclaiming himself a “lifelong New Yorker,” fascinated by the spectacle of a hardware store, unable to perform manly tasks like putting up Christmas lights, and given to kissing people on both cheeks, Joel brings to mind words like “moneyed,” “coastal,” or “globalist.” He’s the kind of character you’d come up with if you researched Jews by reading anti-Semitic dog whistles on Twitter.

The Part Where Joel Freaks Out By Admitting Everyone’s Jewish:

After accidentally shouting “Mazel Tov!” at a small child and revealing his inability to sing “Deck the Halls”, Joel blurts out that he’s Jewish as if he’s confessing a drug addiction or a sexual attraction to the family pet. The family responds with the barely-suppressed horror of my dad learning about overnight oats for the first time. “He’s Jewish!” is repeated several times, in increasingly shrill tones.

One of the reasons I found the “Double Holiday” and “Holiday Date” films so hilariously appalling is that I’m not used to seeing Jews being so misrepresented on the big screen. We may not have a lot of quality Hanukkah content, but (at the risk of sounding like Walter) Jews are well-represented in Hollywood and many films do tell real and funny stories of Jewish American life.

While these movies are more of a hiccup than a crisis in Jewish representation, they have an even worse problem, one that is widespread across the entertainment industry: The misrepresentation of people of color. Both Rebecca and Brooke have a sidekick of color whose sole aim in life is discussing their love lives. Meanwhile, Chris mentors Kirby, a young black boy with as much personality as the cucumber for which he is named, who only appears onstage when Chris’s good-guy bona fides need some propping up. A diligent search of Hallmark’s Christmas line-up yielded exactly one movie that actually stars people of color.

Next year, I hope Hallmark dredges up an actual Jew to write a better Hanukkah movie. But I also hope they take steps to make “Countdown to Christmas” more representative of the entire viewing public who is watching it.

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

The Definitive Ranking Of Coats in “Mrs. Maisel” Season Three

“Nobody really dressed like that,” says my father, a person who was sentient in the 1950s, about “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

“Is that supposed to be a bathrobe or something?” he says of Rose’s splendid housecoats.

“The word nerd didn’t exist back then. Who wrote this show?”

Jewish tradition teaches the importance of bearing witness to history. The voice of memory, transmitted through our elders, is so precious. But did I heed it? Obviously not — instead I spent the weekend fast-forwarding through Abe’s self-pitying monologues (is it just me, or do they multiply by the season?) to coo over Midge’s coats.

America’s favorite housewife has finally returned to Amazon Prime, setting off across the country as the opening act for singer Shy Baldwin. While she chooses to take the stage in a series of black dresses so surprisingly demure you could actually imagine a real person wearing them, her offstage outfits are as swoonworthy as ever, and you’d better bet her suitcases are stuffed with choice outerwear. In the spirit of indulgent-if-not-accurate TV, here’s a roundup of the best coats in season 3.

Episode 1: Sophie’s Evil-Stepmother cloak

Today, this is the kind of thing we’d wear to the Oscars, but for Sophie it’s just something to throw on before [heading down to ambush Susie in her own apartment]. It’s the perfect garment for when you have to venture below 14th Street, but you want everyone to know you’re slumming it.

Episode 2: Rose’s Tweedy Cape

If we were driving to Oklahoma to ask our brothers for a bigger share of the trust fund, we’d wear this too.

Episode 3 Midge’s Fit-For-Royalty Suit

The first two episodes elapsed without any noteworthy outerwear from Midge, but this ensemble more than makes up for it. She looks like a girlier version of Kate Middleton, ready to watch a bunch of soldiers parade around until one faints in the heat.

Episode 4: Rose’s Queenly Housecoat

I’ll know I’ve peaked in life if I ever look this composed less than two hours after waking up.

Episode 5: Midge’s Beach…Garment?

When Midge swings through Florida on tour, she replaces coats with this unclassifiable item, which from various angles looks like a romper, a cloak, and a special-occasion dress for a very large baby. Whatever it is, I wish it was still standard attire in Miami Beach.

Episode 6: Midge’s Boating Outfit

Yes, you astute reader, this is also not a coat. It’s a boating outfit that looks like it belongs to your aunt who only shops at Talbots, but it’s also kind of amazing. Midge must be commended for possessing so many outfits that can be used for one occasion and one occasion only. One can only imagine what she would think of the capsule wardrobe.

Episode 7: Midge’s Lime-Green Duster

In the season’s penultimate episode, Midge accidentally records an advertising spot for rising conservative star Phyllis Schlafly, replete with anti-Semitic dog-whistles. But at least she’s pulling off a statement color while she does it.

Episode 8: Midge’s Short-Sleeved Overcoat

It is a truth universally acknowledged that short-sleeved coats are among the least practical garments known to women. Also, if there’s anything I learned in middle school, it’s that you should never mix and match secondary colors. In the abstract, this outfit is a monstrosity, but Midge makes me want to order a walking ensemble of my own. And Imogene gets a runner-up for her gutsy jewel tones.

BONUS COAT: Midge’s Opera Attire

It’s the last episode, so you know the coats are coming fast and furious. This red and pink cloak is the kind of thing you always think you could find at the thrift store — but never, ever, do.