At the age of 28, Logan Lerman's career has already hit impressive s. He's worked alongside some of the most iconic actors in critically acclaimed hits like 3:10 to Yuma and crowd-pleasers like Fury and The Patriot. Further, his coming-of-age hits include Perks of a Wallflower and the Percy Jackson franchise, among other projects. Fast forward to 2020, and Logan's enjoying second billing behind the legendary Al Pacino in Amazon's Hunters series, which is executive produced by Jordan Peele. It's not a bad place to be.
Logan stars in Hunters as Jonah Heidelbaum, a young man who experiences a great tragedy that's not unlike the plight of Peter Parker. Soon enough, Jonah crosses paths with Al Pacino's financier character, who recruits Jonah into his ragtag band of Nazi hunters. The show largely takes place in '70s New York, and it's heavy on the Quentin Tarantino vibes as well as the comic book references. Logan was gracious enough to discuss his role, which involved both a transformation as well as weapon-wielding skills and dancing not at the same time. He described an intense production, but fortunately, Pacino made the experience more than worthwhile for his onscreen protégé.
The Hunters premise has made a lot of people think of Inglorious Basterds.
Of course, naturally, yeah.
For the curious, would you distinguish the two works?
Oh, they're very different tones and subject matter. I haven't thought about Inglourious Basterds enough to tell you what makes this different, but they take place in different time periods, and there's more truth in what's happening in Hunters. This is definitely a big, over-the-top show that's not grounded in reality, but it is grounded in truth in the sense that Nazis were given immunity after World War II and some were living in the U.S. And it plays into that situation, but the center of the series really revolves around a question about morality, about evil and how to combat it. Like, do you have to be evil in order to fight evil. Do you need to become a bad guy in order to fight the bad guys? That's what we're really exploring at the center of the series. That's not the question at the center of Inglourious Basterds, so that's the biggest difference.
And that morality struggle comes up in conversation between Jonah and his friends about Batman and going to the dark side.
Yeah, it's interesting because people are thinking about Inglourious Basterds, but this is much more like a comic book film. It's very much more along the lines of Spider-Man.
We don't want to spoil which side Jonah goes to, but if you personally could be a Batman or a Spider-Man type, who would you pick?
They're both pretty cool characters. I really don't know, to be honest. I haven't read the comic books,...
Although “The L Word: Generation Q” may have tried desperately to speak to a “new generation” of queer women and non-binary folks, fresher creative voices quickly rose to the top in its place. Though people still watched. Showtime’s “Work in Progress” was the best queer comedy of the year, Netflix’s “Feel Good” was an unexpected delight, and “Vida” is returning just in time for queer audiences to catch up on the best show about queer women of color on TV. Yet another contender released a promising first trailer today: “Betty” is a stylish and youthful portrait of Brooklyn teen skaters that already appears extremely queer.
The six-part half-hour arrives on HBO from filmmaker Crystal Moselle, who quickly made waves in 2015 with her her riveting documentary hybrid “The Wolfpack.” “Betty” is adapted from her second feature, the similarly hybridized “Skate Kitchen,” which followed a group of teenage girl skaters in New York City. The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews and was released by Magnolia Pictures that year.
In his B+ review of “Skate Kitchen” out of Sundance, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote: “The streetwise alternative to ‘Girls,’ the movie weaves together such a complete vision of its subjects that the rest of the world barely exists. Of course, there's a long-standing precedent to capturing this subculture — ‘Kids’ did it, with more adventurous storytelling twists, more than 20 years ago — but Moselle's subjects hold their own with the surprising ability to clarify their emotions through the cathartic process of hanging out.”
“Betty” features many of the film’s original stars, most of whom had not acted before, including Kabrina Adams, Dede Lovelace, Nina Moran, Rachelle Vinberg, and Ajani Russell. All accomplished skaters in their own right, the first trailer shows the charismatic crew navigating various crushes and friendship trials with compelling panache and humor.
“Betty” is directed, co-written, and executive produced by Moselle. Lesley Arfin and Patricia Breen are also co-writers. Arfin, who also EPs, is a comedy writer best known for co-creating the Netflix series “Love” with Judd Apatow and Paul Rust.
HBO will release “Betty” beginning May 1 at 11 pm ET. Check out the exciting first trailer below:
When Hunters was first announced, I remember feeling invigorated by its concept. I didn’t really look into it too much beyond series creator and co-showrunner David Weil, and felt at ease knowing there would be a Jewish person of my generation helming the project. The knowledge that Jordan Peele was on board as a producer meant it would likely be subversive and challenging. Then we got the first trailer and I was all-in.
However, nothing could prepare me for how this series would reflect my personal experience as a Jewish woman living in North America today. What Weil and his team have accomplished is remarkable; they’ve created a series that straddles the trauma of our most recent past alongside the threat of our imminent future, while lovingly and angrily embodying the very essence of the contemporary Jewish experience.
This article contains some spoilers for the first season of Hunters.
I’m shaking as I write this. You see, it’s impossible for me to talk about this show without getting personal, much like it’s impossible for most Jewish people to disconnect from our shared generational trauma as a culture. In a recent interview with Variety, the cast and crew discussed the show’s significance at a time when the visibility of latent antisemitism is on the rise. Near its conclusion, the show’s creator, David Weil, talks about growing up Jewish in America, surrounded by subtle forms of antisemitism. “Small acts,” he says, “a joke about Jews in ovens that I heard when I was in college or a swastika being spray-painted on the front lawn of my high school growing up.” I wince. I know exactly what he’s talking about because I’ve experienced nearly the exact same things.
When I was 16 years old working at the local movie theatre, a co-worker stopped me to tell me a joke. He led with “you’re Jewish, so I think you’ll like this.” I gave him the go-ahead, not sure where this was going. “What’s the difference between a Jew and a pizza?” I didn’t answer. I stared at him in stunned silence, which he took to mean I was waiting for the answer. He continued. “Pizzas don’t scream when you put them in the oven!” He laughed as if he’d told a real knee-slapper. I started shaking and, in my anger and hurt, I yelled at him. I told him that wasn’t funny, and he told me to lighten up. After all, it had been a long time since the holocaust, he said. I proceeded to tell him about my Abuelito, my mom’s father, and shame him for ever thinking that kind of joke was okay. He apologized, though defensively. I walked slowly to the staff washroom and proceeded to cry there, alone, shaking as I am now.
When I was in University, I got really used to being the only Jewish person for miles. Typically, if we’re not in a predominantly Jewish area, we’re usually the only ones in a...