It's almost like the beginning of a joke: "A Hasidic Jew and Natalie Portman are walking down the street in New York ..." Only problem is it's far from a joke ... it's all kinda real and kinda not good. The other day we shared photos from the set of the upcoming anthology New York, I Love You, featuring Portman walking alongside a Hasidic Jew on the Brooklyn Bridge. Apparently, Portman is playing a Jewish bride in the film -- problem is, the real Jews aren't so happy about who's starring opposite her.
Turns out the Hasidic Jew filming the scene with Portman was, in fact, a real Hasidic Jew, and his community was not happy after the photos leaked online. Abe Karpen, a kitchen cabinet salesman from Brooklyn and married father of three, told the New York Daily News that he's backing out of the movie because of the pressure he's feeling. "They [the rabbis] didn't like the ideas of a Hasidic guy playing in Hollywood. I have my kids in religious schools and the rabbi called me over yesterday and said in order for me to keep my kids in the school I have to do what they tell me and back out."
Well that sucks. But the good news for you Jewish guys out there -- Portman speaks Hebrew! Oh yes, according to Karpen, "I was shocked that she's a big Hollywood big shot. We talked in Hebrew ... She wants to become more religious." (Keep in mind, some Hasidic Jews do not believe in
are not allowed to watching television or film, so that's probably why he doesn't know who she is.) No word yet on Karpen's replacement, though I imagine the filmmakers will tone down the authenticity with their next casting choice.