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The Queen of Naboo, or Princess of Terror?

March 30, 2006 By:
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The "V" is more than "Vendetta": It stands for victory at the box office.

And that's familiar turf for its star, whose "Star Wars" history and Oscar nod for "Closer" has her closing in on Hollywood superstardom.

Natalie Portman, whose professional career was aced in her early starring role in "The Professional," professes an affinity for her role in the terrorist-topical storyline of "V for Vendetta," now at area theaters.

If Hitler left the bunker alive, then he'd probably be bunking with Adam Sutler, the freedom fighter (only in the sense that he fights against freedom wherever he may find it ) who's the not-so-cheerio head of a post-apocalyptic England. It is up to V, the menacing rebel in mufti, to dislodge the dictator from his position of power, abetted by Portman's everywoman Evey.

The film's focus on the quandaries involved in such questions as "Is terrorism justifiable in battling a worse evil?" or is it just pretext for nihilism, nibbled at Portman's own perspective.

As the sabra and now Hollywood insider told the Scotsman of her choice of role, being an Israeli is what sent her antenna up about this outsider role and the film itself: "I feel [the film] brings up questions I never get answers to. Like what is the difference between state-sanctioned violence and individual violence? What's the difference between someone who's going to commit suicide with their act of violence and someone who's willing to die for their country?"

Power to the people? It's "about the power of people to play an active role in their government. When the government is not looking after people, then the people have the right to take responsibility."

And who takes responsibility for her shaved head on the set? A no-no for the Queen of Naboo?

No - it all works in this comic book-inspired hair-raising adventure that strips serious questions into its bam-wham of a script.

• • •

Talk about your "Rocky" road to reel stardom; it's the Art Museum via the Ukraine, you see, as Hollywood salivates over the amazing story of Dmitry Salita.

Known as the "Star of David" - not to be confused with another column in this paper - the 23-year-old boxing Bard of Brooklyn (and Odessa émigré) is migrating to the silver screen.

As earlier reported in "On the Scene," Hollywood high master of the box-office blockbuster Jerry Bruckheimer is intent on turning this story of "From Russia With Gloves" into a Disney raging bull.

Now comes a published report that the leading contender for the starring role of this World Boxing Association contender is … Eminem?

Can the singer/actor lose himself in the winning story of a Jewish fighter, a Chasid outsider dancing circles around others in the boxing ring? Can the white rapper walk eight miles in the shoes of this battler, who marches to the music of Matisyahu?

Hard on the outside, gooey in the center - is Eminem the right choice for this sentimental journey?

Well, "Movie Mania" thinks he may be perfect for the role of the outsider. After all, a skinny white kid creating a rage in the black milieu of rapping? Eminem knows from fighting his way in.

• • •

So, where does a "Desperate Housewife" go when the hysteria of Wisteria Lane proves too quiet? Why, to the seder table, of course!

That's where Lesley Ann Warren has wandered to. Ditsy Susan's discombobulated mama is now starring in "When Do We Eat?" a Passover-themed film in which everyone gets to ask a zillion - not just four - questions over the seder table.

And if Warren - co-starring with Philadelphia legend Jack Klugman - loves the role because it reportedly reminds her of the good ole days at Great-Grandma's house where everyone haggled over the Haggadah - "Movie Mania" has only one question to ask.

Does this all mean that Susan is Jewish?

• • •

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to Haifa we go …

According to Israel's Yediot Achronot, Richard Cook, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, has his company's floppy ears pointing in the direction of Israel after meeting with Ehud Danoch, Israel consul general in Los Angeles, and Mark Zoradi, prexy of Buena Vista International, which is under the Mouse's umbrella.

There is mutual interest, according to the report, of a Mouseketeer mitzvah: Disney dancing the hora by bringing original film works to be shot and produced in Israel.

Disney does the Dead Sea? "Old Yeller" remade as the "Aging Screaming Cantor"? Snow White as So What? Goofy on the Golan? (Let's not go there.)

Israel, of course, is no stranger to its sand dunes subbing for the Hollywood Hills and providing a scenic backdrop for it's "let's do hummus" jargon. Many films have been shot there, including ironically/prophetically "Jesus Christ Superstar" in 1973 C.E.

Just how good will Mickey look with a tallis? Will Donald Duck finally be forced to cover up and wear pants when entering near the Kotel?

Imagine, after all these years, changing the slogan to "The Land of Milk and Honey … and Cheese."

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