Gerri Miller writes and reports from Los Angeles about celebrities, entertainment and lifestyle for MNN.com, The Jewish Journal, Brain World, Lupus Now, Scholastic.com and others. A New York native, she spent a summer working at Kibbutz Giv'at Brenner in Israel and attends High Holy Day services at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood every year.
Hollywood Now: Jobs' Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad, The Butler's Lenny Kravitz
August 15, 2013
The late Apple Computer visionary Steve Jobs wasn’t Jewish, but Ashton Kutcher, who convincingly plays the complicated genius in the new film bio Jobs, has significant connections to Judaism. Raised Roman Catholic in Iowa, Kutcher became interested in Kabbalah years ago, visited Israel several times and was married to ex-wife Demi Moore by a rabbi at the Kabbalah Center in Los Angeles in 2005. Once he and Jewish actress Mila Kunis, his former That ’70s Show co-star, became a couple in early 2012, he stepped up his Jewish studies, but as of now, the star of TV’s Two and a Half Men (returning with new episodes September 26) has no plans to formally convert.
For Josh Gad, who plays Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in Jobs (now playing), it’s the opposite situation: He’s Jewish, and his wife, actress Ida Darvish, was raised Catholic. Gad, who grew up in a non-religious household in Hollywood, Florida, is making his mark in the other Hollywood with the recent series 1600 Penn and upcoming roles as a doctor in Thanks For Sharing (September 20), the voice of a snowman in Frozen (November 27), and Zach Braff's brother in Wish I Was Here. He has also been tapped to star in a film bio of the late comedian Sam Kinison.
|Josh Gad (left) and Ashton Kutcher in Jobs|
Lee Daniels’ The Butler (now playing), starring Forest Whitaker as man who served seven presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan as a White House butler, serves as a fascinating window to history, the civil rights movement in particular. Besides the excellent Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, making a welcome return to the screen as his wife, the film boasts a star-studded supporting cast, many of whom shine in memorable cameos, including Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan, John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon Johnson, and James Marsden as John Kennedy.
Getting slightly more screen time as Whitaker’s fellow butler and friend is Lenny Kravitz, the Grammy-winning musician who has carved out a notable acting career of late, appearing in Precious and The Hunger Games. A native New Yorker, Kravitz is the son of late Jeffersons star Roxie Roker and Sy Kravitz, a Russian Jew, who later divorced.
|Lenny Kravitz in Lee Daniels’ The Butler|
In 1987, Kravitz married actress Lisa Bonet, who is also interfaith: Her mother is Jewish. Now divorced, they have a daughter, Zoe, 24 (Bonet is remarried, to actor Jason Momoa of Game of Thrones). Kravitz, who will reprise his role as Cinna in Hunger Games: Catching Fire on November 22, also runs a design company with hotels, condominiums and recording studios on its client list. The most high-profile example of Kravitz Design’s handiwork is the set of Queen Latifah’s new talk show, which premieres September 13.