From ‘GOT’ prequel to ‘League of their Own’ TV adaptation, Jewish celebrities are in the limelight


Abbi Jacobson stars in and is co-creator of the Amazon Prime series ‘A League of Their Own.’ Photo: Anne Marie Fox/Prime Video

NATE BLOOM, Special For The Jewish Light

The House of Dragon,” a 10-episode prequel to the mega-hit series “Game of Thrones” (“GOT”), began streaming (HBO) on Sunday, Aug. 21. It is set 200 years before the events in GOT. As the series opens, the Seven Kingdoms (on the continent of Westeros) are ruled by Viserys, a popular king. He is the fifth member of the Targaryen family to rule the Seven Kingdoms. The Targayren conquest of Westros, and their subsequent rule, was made possible by the Targaryens’ fire-breathing dragons. The dragons have a “mystical” tie to the family.


The pilot episode was directed by MIGUEL SAPOCHNIK, 48. He was born in the United Kingdom, the son of Argentine Jewish parents. Sapochnik was the “go-to” director for the most spectacular GOT battle episodes.

As with GOT, most of the cast is British. The recurring cast includes DAVID HOROVITCH, 76, as Grand Maester Mellos, a trusted advisor to Viserys. GOT fans know that a “Maester” is a scholar and/or scientist on the King’s payroll.

Horovitch is a busy British character actor. He’s the son of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother and was raised without religion. However, he has played several Jewish roles and through them, he says, he’s learned something about Judaism.

FABIEN FRANKEL, 28, another Brit, plays Ser Christin Cole, an important regular cast member. Ser Christin rose from a “commoner” background to knighthood and he’s a great swordsman. (In real life, Frankel is a trained fencer.)

Frankel has so few credits that Wikipedia has a “bio blank” near his name. But a little digging discloses an interesting background, with some very sad details. Fabien’s father was actor MARK FRANKEL. He was killed in a motorcycle/truck accident in 1996, at age 34.

Mark Frankel was on the cusp of a really big career—he was being cast in star roles in British TV series. He also was a world class tennis player who won the Monto Carlo Open. He had a Jewish funeral.

His father was an English Jew and his mother was an Indian Jew from Mumbai. Mark’s father was a Royal Air Force pilot. Mark and his brother, Joe, were also skilled pilots. Joe did stunt flying and was killed (in 1991) during an air show.

Fabien Frankel was 2 years old when his father died, and his only sibling, a brother, was born posthumously. Their mother is French ad exec Caroline Besson. I simply don’t know more about her.


“Mack & Rita,” which opened in theaters earlier this month, has a very weird plot: Mack Martin, a woman, is a 30-year-old buttoned-up homebody. She reluctantly goes to Palm Springs with her best friend. In Palm Springs, Mack is “magically” transformed into Aunt Rita (Diane Keaton), a 70-year-old version of herself. At 70, Rita feels free of conventional norms and says and does what she wants. Her candid talk turns her into a social media sensation.

SIMON REX, 47, has a large supporting role. This film marks the second step in Rex’s amazing career comeback. In 2000, he was a top model and the co-star of the TV series “Jack & Jill.” His career had faded away to nothing when the director/writer of the film “Red Rocket” contacted him in 2020 and asked him to play the lead in his film—about a washed-up porn star.

“Red Rocket” won a major award at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival and Rex got great reviews for his performance (see “Rocket” on pay-per-view services). He has big roles in two more “mainstream” films, which will open this year or next.


“A League of Their Own,” a 1992 film, got great reviews and was a huge hit. It is a comedy/drama about a (real) pro, all-female baseball league that was founded during World War II.  In 2017, ABBI JACOBSON, 38, began pitching the idea that a re-boot of the film as a TV series would work. In 2020, Amazon greenlighted an eight-episode first season. “League of Their Own,” the TV series, began streaming on Friday, Aug. 12. Jacobson stars in it and co-wrote the pilot episode. 

Jacobson was the co-creator and co-star of “Broad City,” the hit Comedy Central series. She has a leading role in the “League” series as Carson Shaw, a top pitcher.  The recurring cast includes MOLLY EPHRAIM, 36 (“Last Man Standing” on ABC), as Maybelle Fox, a player,

The TV series differs from the film in several respects. The movie centered on a male team coach. The series will focus on the players, not the coaches. Also, unlike the film, the series pays attention to the lives of lesbian and black female players.