ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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About it all again

New miniseries to showcase Leonard Cohen’s romance with Marianne

Alex Wolff to portray Jewish music icon during his relationship with his Norwegian muse, the eponymous subject of one of his hit songs

Leonard Cohen in concert at London’s O2 Arena, September 15, 2013. (Brian Rasic/Getty Images/JTA)
Leonard Cohen in concert at London’s O2 Arena, September 15, 2013. (Brian Rasic/Getty Images/JTA)

JTA — The actor and musician Alex Wolff assumes the role of one of the century’s most beloved Jewish musicians during a crucial early period in his artistic development in an upcoming miniseries.

“So Long, Marianne” will follow a young Leonard Cohen during his years-long relationship with Norwegian muse Marianne Ihlen, which spanned from the early 1960s through the ’70s. Named after the hit Cohen song, the series follows the pair during their extended sojourn on the Greek isle of Hydra, with segments also set in Norway, New York and Cohen’s hometown of Montreal.

Variety reports that the show has already filmed and is selling international rights in territories including the United Kingdom, Greece and Cyprus, but there is no word yet on a US release. The show is co-produced by Norwegian, Canadian and German production companies, and bestselling Norwegian novelist Jo Nesbø is credited as a co-writer.

Wolff, the son of Jewish jazz musician Michael Wolff and Christian actress and producer Polly Draper, is known for his roles in the “Jumanji” franchise and the horror film “Hereditary.” He also sang and acted with his family in the Nickelodeon series “The Naked Brothers Band.”

The role of Ihlen is being played by Norwegian actress Thea Sofie Loch Næss. Other characters will include portrayals of real-life artists and creatives Charmain Clift, George Johnston, and Irving Layton, who traveled in Cohen and Ihlen’s circles, and depictions of Cohen’s mother and other family members.

Cohen died in 2016, but interest in his life remains high: “So Long, Marianne” joins another Cohen screen adaptation in development. Israeli-Canadian journalist Matti Friedman’s nonfiction book “Who By Fire: Leonard Cohen in the Sinai” is also being adapted into a miniseries by Israeli production house Keshet International and “Shtisel” writer Yehonatan Indursky. The book covers Cohen’s 1973 concerts for Israeli soldiers on the frontlines of the Yom Kippur War, which the musician had embarked on directly from Hydra as his relationship to Ihlen was unraveling.

Alex Wolff arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of “Pig” on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, at the Nuart Theatre. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Cohen and Ihlen’s relationship was also previously covered in a 2019 documentary, “Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love,” directed by their onetime Hydra companion Nick Broomfield. Another Cohen documentary, covering the life and afterlife of his frequently covered song “Hallelujah,” was released last year.

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