Jurassic Park returns, new Rob Reiner projects and ‘E.T.’

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NATE BLOOM, Special For The Jewish Light

The sixth “Jurassic Park” movie, “Jurassic World Dominion,” opens in theaters on June 10. In this sequel, humans and dinosaurs now live near each other all over the world and the question is: Who will emerge as the “apex predator?”

The film was directed by COLIN TREVORROW, 41. He also directed the last two “Jurassic Park” films. Both grossed well over a billion dollars at the box office. Trevorrow’s mother is a Sephardic Jew and his father is not Jewish.

JEFF GOLDBLUM, 69, reprises his role as Dr. Ian Malcolm, an expert in chaos theory. Goldblum co-starred as Malcolm in the original “Jurassic Park” film (1993), which was directed by STEVEN SPIELBERG. Goldblum appeared in the first “Jurassic” sequel (1997), and he returned for the fifth film (2018).

Probably not by coincidence, Apple+ is now streaming “Prehistoric Planet” a fivepart documentary about the “last days” of the dinosaurs. The series features the latest CGI and other special effects (some pioneered by the “Jurassic Park” movies) to make the dinos “come alive.” The series incorporates the latest scientific research about dinosaurs.

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JON FAVREAU, 55, was the head producer of the series and two-time Oscarwinner HANS ZIMMER, 64, wrote the musical score. Sir David Attenborough, the 95-year-old legendary English biologist, narrates the series.

I always like to “plug” Sir David. His parents took in two German Jewish refugee sisters, IRENE and HELGA BEJACH, aged 13 and 12, respectively, weeks before World War II broke-out. David’s parents formally adopted the sisters after it was confirmed that their father died in Auschwitz (their mother died young of natural causes). David, and his famous actor/director brother, the late Sir Richard Attenborough, often said that Helga and Irene were always like sisters to them.

The sisters, who were practicing Jews, moved to New York in 1946 and stayed, for a time, with an uncle. Helga and Irene are now deceased, but not forgotten. In 2020, Sir David hosted a reunion for the sisters’ descendants. Helga’s daughter said: “We wouldn’t exist if not for their humanitarian kindness.”

Variety recently reported that ROB REINER, 75, is now shooting a documentary about his great friend, ALBERT BROOKS, 74. Brooks isn’t quite a household name, but he is something special. Brooks has co-starred in good films made by others and in really good films that he wrote, directed and acted in. The former includes “Broadcast News,” which earned Brooks a best supporting actor Oscar nomination.

Reiner has a big-name list of documentary interviewees. The Jewish ones include JONAH HILL, SARAH SILVERMAN, JUDD APATOW and BEN STILLER.

Variety also reports that Reiner is going full guns again with new projects. This includes producing a dramatic bio-pic about BERT BERNS (1927-69), a now-largely forgotten music producer and songwriter. Berns wrote many rock classics, including, “Twist and Shout,” “Hang on Sloopy,” “Piece of My Heart” and “Here Comes the Night.” Reiner says, “He only lived to 38 [due to a lifetime heart ailment]…[ But] the list of his hits is just insane and he had a really interesting life.”

The 40th anniversary of the American release of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (usually referred to simply as “E.T.”) is June 11. This truly beloved film was made for $10.5 million and grossed almost $800 million. No one expected that. The box office returns and the outpouring of plaudits from critics and audiences put its director Spielberg, now 75, into the rarefied universe of “tippy” top filmmakers.

Here are a couple of Spielberg “E.T.” factoids: while Spielberg didn’t write the film, he gave the screenwriter, Melissa Matthison, her “script start.” He told her he long thought about making a film about his childhood — a lonely childhood in which he had an imaginary friend. In some ways, Spielberg has said, E.T. is a combination of that imaginary friend and his beloved father.

Another story: some writers said E.T. was a Jesus-like figure. Spielberg replied that this came as a surprise to him, and to his mother, who he pointed out was the owner of a kosher restaurant.