Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter


Need a Hasid for Your Film? Call Rabbi Elli – He’ll Hook You Up

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

If you’re setting a film or television program in New York City, and are casting background actors, you’re probably going to need a few good men…specifically, Hasidic Jews. These ultra-Orthodox Jews are part of the NY landscape, and–from television shows like “Law & Order” to movies like “Ghostbusters” and “Men In Black,” just to name a few– there are always a few who pop up for either comic or authenticity’s sake. But those who know Hasidic Jews know that the depictions aren’t always accurate in terms of dress or behavior. A beard’s not enough–and how a coat is buttoned, if a belt is tied a certain way or a hat is a certain style, it indicates a certain subsegment of Hasidic culture that central casting isn’t necessarily aware of.
But Rabbi Elli Meyer, an actor who has Chabad Hasidic ordination as a rabbi, is aware of the subtleties of casting authentic Hasidic background actors:

[H]e made sure the guys he brought with him showed up on time, brought their customary garb, and stayed as long as necessary, but in return, he began demanding help back from producers: kosher food on sets, early wraps on Friday evenings, days off for holidays. “I have two goals,” he said. “I want to make sure actors who are frum are able to work and are afforded the same rights on set. And second, accuracy–I want to make sure Hasidim are portrayed accurately, not as buffoons or fanatics

.”
In this article in the new online magazine called Tablet (it’s a reboot of Nextbook), Meyer speaks extensively about the challenges of acting and suggesting other actors to casting agents through a Hasidic lens.

If you’ve watched an episode of Law & Order lately–and, let’s face it, who hasn’t?–you’ve probably seen [Elli] Meyer, a portly, twinkly-eyed 53-year-old better known to his colleagues as Rabbi Elli, hovering in the background. He appears, often decked out in white shirtsleeves, black vest, and capacious skullcap, his gray beard loosened from its customary knot under his chin, in dozens of TV episodes and films, including a few fleeting frames in the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, which opens today.
But Meyer’s most successful role to date has been as a backstage fixer who can be relied upon to find Hasidic actors–or actors who look credible in Hasidic costume–to work on sets around New York. “He’s very reliable,” said Billy Dowd, the casting director who handled background actors for Pelham. Through a Facebook group called Shomer Shabbos Actors of America and community e-mail lists, Meyer manages a pool of about 40 regular extras, and in special circumstances helps recruit people who would normally be impossible for secular casting directors to reach: children, women, the elderly, and, most controversially, a Satmar Hasid who appeared alongside Natalie Portman in the still-unreleased film New York, I Love You. (Satmar leaders excoriated him for agreeing to appear in the film, causing him to tell the New York Daily News that he disavowed his work.) [Beliefnet wrote about this controversy here.]

Read the complete article.
Law & Order at LocateTV.com



  • http://thesurveyguide.com this guide

    The Other reader’s comment states that an example of the pertinent
    factors to the trendy state of academics was the interrogation of
    the scientific advancement that happened as part of the
    general movement on authority in the last hundred years.

Previous Posts

‘Hoovey’ is a Story of Triumph
EchoLight Cinema releases its first world-premier film, “Hoovey” based on the true story of Eric “Hoovey” Elliot from Illinois, a promising high school basketball player, who develops a near-fatal brain tumor.  The family struggles to keep it all together through faith, and the power of the

posted 10:54:51am Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Producers of the ‘The Imitation Game’ Discuss Their Labor of Love
“The Imitation Game” is growing to become the highest grossing independent film overseas and domestically. Nominated for eight Academy Awards, the film has garnered critical claim starring Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays British computer scientist, Alan Turing. The mathematician was instrumental

posted 2:49:27pm Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Powerful Biblical Story Comes to Life in Confessions of a Prodigal Son
[youtube]http://youtu.be/GXpevoqpY2w[/youtube] The choices we make are the stories we tell. Can broken stories have happy endings? Confessions of a Prodigal Son, a new inspirational drama starring Kevin Sorbo (God's Not Dead, Storm Rider, Hercules) and Nathan Clarkson (The Veil, Mayflower 2), is a

posted 9:09:03am Jan. 14, 2015 | read full post »

New Adventure Will Center on Faith
The first Christ-centered romantic adventure film “Beyond the Mask,” will be coming to theaters on April 6th 2015 from Burns Family Studio, and director Chad Burns starting in the year of 1775. The film is about Will Reynolds, a mercenary for the British East India Company on the run. While on t

posted 12:22:51pm Jan. 09, 2015 | read full post »

Jamie Foxx Surprises Movie Audience With a Special Message for His Annie Costar
[youtube]http://youtu.be/dsfFM4OTGS0[/youtube] Jamie Foxx recently stopped by a showing of Annie with his adorable daughter Annalise, to deliver a very important message in honor of his young costar, Quvenzhané Wallis. "Quvenzhané, it's Jamie,” Foxx said with Annalise in his arms. “We want

posted 10:49:57am Jan. 06, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.