Jewish celebrities shine at Comic-Con

Chris Hardwick, moderator, take a selfie with, from left, Ben Affleck, Ezra Miller, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, and Jason Mamoa.

​Story and photos by Shor M. Masori

Shor M. Masori

Gal Gadot

SAN DIEGO — Once again Comic-Con has come and gone and with it came oodles of new information and stars galore. While it’s a stereotype about the prominence of Jews in Hollywood, the fact of the matter is that a larger than normal percentage of people on the panel were Jewish or of Jewish descent. Some of them were Steven Spielberg, Gal Gadot, Seth Rogen, and  Jeph Loeb. At the Con, they as well  as others shared not only their famous personas, but their observations about the entertainment business as well.

Jeph Loeb

Loeb, Executive Vice President of Marvel Television, praised the gender neutrality of the people who asked questions to panel members discussing the Legion television series. Loeb said, “I’ve been part of this a long time and to be at a panel where as many women got up to ask questions about a comic book show speaks not only to the volume of this film …  a lot of people think [comic books] is a boys world, it is a human world.”

Seth Rogen

Rogen facetiously discussed how the television landscape has changed since the Preacher comic book series came out in 1995. “TV was totally different … no shows that would let you do this kind of stuff [Preacher is known for its gratuitous gore]. Luckily people’s sensibilities have declined over the years and things that were once appalling to even consider to be acceptable on TV are on mainstream television. So it’s really nice for us that we’re living in such an age of decline and that we’re able to contribute to that decline I think in many ways.”

Turning more serious, he said, “I look at it and I’m so grateful that we got to do it. I’d be so mad if someone else did it. I can’t believe that I’m watching it — that the characters are on the screen and that it’s like a childhood dream come true.”

The topic of how limits are being pushed came up in numerous panels. On the back of their name cards was a message to panelists:  “Please be aware that there are children younger than 18 in this room.” Some scoffed that the children had to have heard worse.

Rogen quipped that if were to replace the lead of the show, Dominic Cooper (Jesse Custer), the show might be called Rabbi instead of Preacher, because of Rogen’s Jewish background.

The lovely Gal Gadot, who stars in the movie Wonder Woman, was a joy to be around for fans. She and fellow Jewish actor, Ezra Miller (Flash),  along with Ben Affleck (Batman).  and Ray Fisher (Cyborg)  walked through the crowd of people in Hall H to meet Chris Hardwick (Panel Moderator) and Jason Mamoa (Aquaman) on stage.

While out in the crowd she could be seen shaking hands and high fiving as many people as she could. It reminded me of the time a bar or bat mitzvah walks around the crowd of people with Torah in arms and everyone wants to touch the Torah.

Once on stage she was congratulated for the success of Wonder Woman and was asked why it had become so world loved. She replied, “I think that this character is so incredible. She stands for everything that is good:for love and for compassion and for truth and justice and peace and there’s nothing not to love about her and yeah and honestly I’m grateful that you guys made her who she is and made this movie so so so successful. I can only celebrate this character and be grateful for this opportunity.”

Steven Spielberg

Spielberg is such a pillar of the film industry that when he asked many different companies for permission to use some of their characters from the 80’s for his new film Ready Player One almost all of them said yes. Some of the included cameos and references include; The Iron Giant (The Iron Giant), Freddie Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street), and the A-Team’s car (The A-Team.)

When asked about what was the hardest thing to get away with in doing in film his response surprised me. “Would they let me get away with putting some of my own movies in this movie and will I be vilified for some kind of grand act of larceny or vanity or something like that. Because so many of the iconic moments that were chosen [to be used in the film] by Ernie [ Ernest Cline author of Ready Player One] happened in the 80’s that I’m very much involved in, so you know I had to leave a lot of myself out or I would’ve had to go for a different director.”

While he didn’t include too much of himself, there are some glimpses of his work. For instance the Delorean from Back to the Future was used in a chase scene.

Mad magazine exhibit at Comic-Con 2017

Mad Magazine brought another Jewish star to the Comic-Con convention, on its cover, that is.  Ivanka Trump was pictured in a “Take Your Kid to Work Everyday” parody with her father the President and ‘What Me Worry” Alfred E. Neuman.

As an aside, one of the missions of Comic-Con seems to be tricking nerds into exercising.  I figure going back and forth between the panels and the exhibition hall, I walked a total of 29.7 miles and 48 flights of stairs, which is more than I’ve done for the majority of summer.

Masori is a staff photographer for San Diego Jewish World.  He may be contacted via [email protected]


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