Hollywood Now: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Elizabeth Banks, Ginnifer Goodwin & Jordan Peele are Back

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Julia Louis Dreyfus in Veep
Julia Louis Dreyfus. Credit: HBO

The Comedies

Veep ended its sixth season in June 2017 and went into a holding pattern when Julia Louis-Dreyfus was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent successful chemotherapy, and the HBO series will return for its seven-episode seventh and final season on March 31. What’s ahead for her character Selina Meyer? “I’m not going to say that Selina evolves except to say that she’s truer to herself, as true to herself as she can possibly be by the time this season ends,” Dreyfus says. “I think that where our show ends up ultimately is a place I’m very happy about and I think I’ll surprise viewers, too.”

Dreyfus, who is of French-Jewish ancestry on her father’s side, has been working in Austria on the movie Downhill, about a family’s vacation that’s impacted by an avalanche. Co-starring Will Ferrell, it’s due in 2020.

Multi-hyphenate Elizabeth Banks wears her producer hat as executive producer of the Hulu series Shrill, which debuts March 15 and stars Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant as a plus-size woman who wants to change her life but not her body. Banks related to the subject of the six-episode series, based on a memoir by Lindy West.

“I’m not always super-comfortable in my own skin either,” she says. “I remember when I first came to Hollywood and went to a meeting with an agent who told me that I should get a boob job. I left the meeting. I did not get a boob job. And I decided that I was gonna be happy and comfortable with who I was. And that’s what this character decides for herself. So, I think it’s something that everyone can relate to.”

Banks, who was raised Catholic, has been living Jewishly since marrying her Jewish husband, Max Handelman, now her producing partner. They’ve worked together on the Pitch Perfect movies, now Shrill, and the forthcoming (November 1) Charlie’s Angels remake, which Banks directed and plays the role of Bosley.

“We work very well together,” Banks says. “We have a good yin and yang. I’m a passionate artist and he’s an even-keeled politician. It’s a very good balance. We have a lot of mutual respect.” On May 24, the busy mom of two boys will also appear in the sci-fi thriller Brightburn, about a child alien who crash-lands on Earth.

Pamela Adlon in Better Things
Pamela Adlon. Credit: Pamela Littky/FX Networks

Pamela Adlon returns to FX on February 28 with the third season of Better Things, the semi-autobiographical comedy in which she plays a divorced actress juggling her career and three daughters. Adlon wrote most and directed all the episodes, which comically tackle the indignities of aging including menopause, weight gain, colonoscopies and losing one’s looks and femininity.

Like her character Sam, Adlon is Jewish (her mother, originally Anglican, converted when she married Adlon’s father), and is the mother of three girls, all actresses. Her daughter Odessa stars in the CBS sitcom Fam and Gideon is in The Mustang, in theaters March 15.

The Dramas

Noah Wyle (ER, The Librarians) stars in the CBS limited series The Red Line, an emotional, racially charged drama about the impact of a shooting on three families. Named for the train line that runs through Chicago, the story casts Wyle as the anguished husband of the victim, a black doctor. “I knew from the second I read this script that this was going to be an important show, and that I wanted to be involved in it,” says the actor, who is from an interfaith family. The series premieres on April 28.

Ginnifer Goodwin & Angela Fairley
Ginnifer Goodwin & Angela Fairley. Credit: Lifetime

Ginnifer Goodwin, who’ll star in the “Point of Origin” episode of The Twilight Zone on May 2, will play a teacher who tries to rescue a troubled abandoned girl (Angela Fairley) from the foster care system in Lifetime’s I Am Somebody’s Child: The Regina Louise Story, premiering April 20.

Goodwin will also star as a 1960s housewife in Why Women Kill, a CBS All Access series about the lives of three women living in three different decades. Her character’s husband is having an affair, and once she gets over the shock, she sets out to uncover the sordid details. Goodwin, who was raised in her mother’s Jewish faith, is in an interfaith marriage with actor Josh Dallas (Manifest), the father of her two boys.

The Thriller

Jordan Peele & Chelsea Peretti
Jordan Peele & Chelsea Peretti. Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC

Jordan Peele’s follow-up to his hit horror thriller Get Out is Us, a thriller in the same vein about a family terrorized by their own doppelgängers on a beach vacation. Lupita Nyong’o, Yara Shahidi and Elisabeth Moss star in the movie, opening March 22.

Peele will voice the character Bunny alongside Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and his Key & Peele buddy Keegan-Michael Key in Toy Story 4, due out June 21. And he’ll produce The Hunt, a 1970s-set series about Nazi hunters for Amazon Prime.

Married to actress Chelsea Peretti, who is from an interfaith family, Pele is also the producer and host of a new version of The Twilight Zone, premiering April 1 on CBS All Access.

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About Gerri Miller

Gerri Miller writes and reports from Los Angeles about celebrities, entertainment and lifestyle for The Jewish Journal, FromtheGrapevine.com, Brain World, HeathCentral.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.