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‘Fauda’ writer’s new show ‘Tehran’ gets picked up by Apple TV

By Lior Zaltzman

(JTA) – Apple TV+ has picked up “Tehran,” an Israeli thriller set in the Iranian capital co-created by Moshe Zonder, a writer for the hit Netflix show “Fauda.”

The reportedly multimillion-dollar sale was brokered by Cineflix Rights and Paper-plane Productions along with the show’s producers, Dana Eden and Shula Spiegel.

“Tehran” focuses on the story of Tamar Rabinayan, played by Israeli actress Niv Sultan, who is a gifted young hacker for Israel’s intelligence unit. She is drafted to join the Mossad and sent on a perilous mission to Iran, where she is ordered to hack into an Iranian nuclear reactor.

Niv Sultan appears in the trailer for “Tehran.” (Screenshot from YouTube)

When her ambitious mission fails, Rabinayan is stuck in the land of her childhood, where she discovers her local roots and befriends local pro-democracy activists.

“Tehran aims to shed new light on the Israeli-Iranian conflict, and take on universal struggles around immigration, identity and patriotism to examine whether it is possible to become free from these restraints,” Zonder told Deadline last year.

“Tehran” is set to premiere in Israel on June 22. No U.S. release date has been announced.

In other Israeli TV news, an American adaptation of the Israeli show “On The Spectrum,” about three young people on the autism spectrum who share an apartment, was picked up by Amazon. The show’s Jewish showrunner, “Parenthood” creator Jason Katims, said that as the father of a 23-year-old autistic son, “it is deeply personal for me to get to tell this unique story of what it’s like to come of age as someone with autism.”

Chelsea Handler deletes video of Louis Farrakhan, including her defense of his antisemitism

(JTA) – Chelsea Handler deleted a video clip of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan that the Jewish comedian posted on Instagram, including a defense of Farrakhan’s virulent antisemitism. Handler had come under criticism in the comments to her post of Sunday, which was deleted without explanation on Tuesday. She has nearly four million followers on the social media platform.

Farrakhan has called Jews “satanic” and compared them to “termites.” He has accused Jews of controlling the government and Hollywood, and has called Adolf Hitler a “great man.”

Chelsea Handler, Feb. 9, 2020. (Creit: Karwai Tang/Getty Images)

The clip was from a Farrakhan appearance on “The Phil Donahue Show,” once a popular talk show, on the topic of racial prejudice.

“I learned a lot from watching this powerful video,” she wrote. Actress Jessica  Chastain also shared the clip, later deleting it with no explanation. Celebrity likes included Jennifer Aniston, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jennifer Garner.

In defending Farrakhan, Handler wrote: “Another thing: perhaps Farrakhan’s antisemitic views took form during his own oppression. We know now that oppression of one race leads to an oppression of all races.”

She also responded to a comment about whether she would post a video of Hitler, writing “no, because Hitler was responsible for killing millions of lives. Farrakhan is just responsible for his own promotion of antisemitic beliefs. They are very different.”

Actor Joshua Malina had criticized the Handler post

Universal becomes first major music label to open a branch in Israel

(JTA) – Universal Music Group, one of the largest music corporations in the United States, has become the first major American music company to open a branch in Israel.

UMG Israel will be based in Tel Aviv and be led by Yoram Mokady, a lawyer with no experience in the music industry, Billboard reported Tuesday.

According to Billboard, major labels such as Universal, Sony Music and Warner have engaged in an international music “arms race,” branching out into several countries to develop and sign local talent.

The news comes days after it was announced that the 19-year-old pop star Noa Kirel signed a multimillion-dollar record deal with Atlantic Records – possibly the largest ever for an Israeli artist.

Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Lady Gaga are among the recording artists who have released music through labels owned by Universal.

Delayed again: Gal Gadot’s ‘Wonder Woman 1984’

(JTA) – The release date for superhero sequel “Wonder Woman 1984” starring Gal Gadot has been moved a third time. Gadot officially announced the news late on Friday in a post on Instagram. “The new release date for WW84 is October 2, 2020. Wow, it’s finally happening, and I couldn’t be more excited! To all the fans that stuck with us through this time, thank you so much! We couldn’t have done this without you. I’m so excited for you to get to see it #WW84 it will be worth the wait,” she wrote.

The film’s release date was first pushed from November 2019 to June 2020 because of production issues. The coronavirus pandemic caused it to be postponed to August: Movie theaters were closed, and the film’s stars could not travel to promote it. Now, movie theaters in many parts of the world are reopening with restrictions in place, even as the pandemic continues to unfold.

Gal Gadot at the “Wonder Woman” premiere in Hollywood, May 25, 2017. 
(Credit: Barry King/Getty Images)

The first “Wonder Woman” film was the highest-grossing movie in the summer of 2017 with $412.5 million in the U.S. and $821.8 million worldwide. The sequel, in which Gadot reprises her role as Diana Prince, the Amazonian Princess Diana of Themyscira, was expected to be one of the highest-grossing movies of the year.

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