Sunday, December 28, 2008

GFTJ/BFTJ: This has not been a great year for Jewish heroes -- aside from the Ha'aretz headline "Two Jews and a black man help Phelps fulfill Olympic dream," it's mostly been a year for the Spitzers and Madoffs of the world to take center stage in representing the Tribe.

So I was delighted to see the article in today's Times about Ed Zwick's upcoming film Defiance, the real-life story of "the triumph of the three Bielski brothers, Tuvia, Zus and Asael, who fought the Nazis in the deep forests of Belarus and saved 1,200 lives." And then I looked to the IMDb page to see who's playing the brothers, and I see that ALOTT5MA doppelgänger Mark Feuerstein is in the cast ...

... only he's not playing one of the three heroic Jewish brothers, who are instead being portrayed by Liev Schreiber (good), the new blonde James Bond and the boy from Billy Elliott, the latter two of whom don't strike me as being very Semitic. Feuerstein's playing "Malbin," and my immediate thought is, Oy. He's probably the town baker, with lines like Before you go off resisting the Nazis, can I pack you with some knishes to go? or Malbin the Tailor, offering to hem Daniel Craig's garments (some more pockets, perhaps?) before heading into the forest, or just Malbin, First-Reel Victim.

So I did some homework, and discovered that Lazar Malbin was the chief-of-staff of the operation (Jen: "Chief of staff?" Is that like a community organizer, only more bookish?) , a charisma-free man with military experience and "a sense of national responsibility [with a] determination to save Jews, any Jews," but also a "a stutterer [whose] speech would deteriorate greatly when he experienced any emotional stress." So maybe he does get to kill some Nazis after all (while stuttering), and that would be awesome.

Also in this film? Ladies and gentlemen, at long last as prophesied, we have an Iben Hjejle sighting. (Also, the girl who played the gymnast in In Treatment who everyone liked.)

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