Michelle Williams details plans to raise her children Jewish and study Judaism

‘I can’t teach it to them unless I learn it first’: Michelle Williams details plans to raise her children Jewish and study Judaism in rare interview – as star reflects on playing Steven Spielberg’s mom in The Fabelmans

Michelle Williams has revealed her plans to study Judaism and raise her youngest children in the Jewish faith in a rare candid interview.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the Oscar-nominated actress, 42, who shares son Hart, two and a newborn with Jewish husband Thomas Kail, revealed she has a synagogue picked out for her young family.

The star, who is also mother to daughter Matilda, 17, from her relationship with the late Heath Ledger, said: ‘I can’t teach it [Judaism] to them unless I learn it first’ – before detailing her memories of growing up in San Diego with Jewish neighbors. 

Family: Michelle Williams has revealed her plans to study Judaism and raise her youngest children in the Jewish faith in a rare candid interview (pictured last month with husband Thomas Kail, son Hart, two, and their newborn)

Family: Michelle Williams has revealed her plans to study Judaism and raise her youngest children in the Jewish faith in a rare candid interview (pictured last month with husband Thomas Kail, son Hart, two, and their newborn)

She said: ‘I adored being in their homes—a lot of it is those early memories of the discourse at the tables and the deep sense of belonging that tradition fosters. It has always been something that I’ve gravitated towards, something that felt immediately exciting and deep and very different from the tinsel and cheer. 

‘I say this as somebody who also sings Christmas songs to my kid before he goes to bed. I love both.’

Michelle plays a Jewish mother, inspired by Steven Spielberg’s mom in his new semi-autobiographical movie, The Fabelmans.

She prepared for the role by listening to the director’s memories of his mother Leah and recordings of her voice. 

Newest role: Michelle plays a Jewish mother, inspired by Steven Spielberg's mom in his new semi-autobiographical movie, The Fabelmans

Newest role: Michelle plays a Jewish mother, inspired by Steven Spielberg’s mom in his new semi-autobiographical movie, The Fabelmans

Couple: The star said: 'I can’t teach it [Judaism] to them unless I learn it first' - before detailing her memories of growing up in San Diego with Jewish neighbors (pictured with Thomas in 2020)

Couple: The star said: ‘I can’t teach it [Judaism] to them unless I learn it first’ – before detailing her memories of growing up in San Diego with Jewish neighbors (pictured with Thomas in 2020)

On-screen: She prepared for the role by listening to the director's memories of his mother Leah and recordings of her voice

 On-screen: She prepared for the role by listening to the director’s memories of his mother Leah and recordings of her voice

She said:  ‘I suppose I felt like, it’s his mother, and I trusted him – if he felt like I was the person who could play this part, I wanted to believe.

‘She was and still is a larger-than-life spirit.’

The star revealed she broke down in tears when filming wrapped, saying: ‘I cried so hard they thought something had happened in my personal life. I was grieving that I wouldn’t meet this woman again.’

Williams said she loves playing mothers onscreen and working with children, saying: ‘I almost don’t remember a time that I wasn’t a mother, and so I think it’s just woven into the fabric of my being at this point. I love being allowed access to this magical portal that is childhood.’

Spielberg added: ‘She felt more like my mom than anyone I could have imagined and that’s the only consideration in a story more personal to me than any story I’ve ever brought to the movies.           

Family: The director's mother Leah died in 2017 at the age of 97 while his father died in 2020 at the age of 103 (pictured 2009)

Family: The director’s mother Leah died in 2017 at the age of 97 while his father died in 2020 at the age of 103 (pictured 2009)

The film is based on Steven’s own parents and their eventual divorce.

After the screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, Steven said of the film according to The Hollywood Reporter: ‘This film is a way of bringing my mom and dad back.

‘And it also brought my sisters closer to me than I ever thought possible. That was worth making the film for.’ 

The director’s mother Leah died in 2017 at the age of 97 while his father died in 2020 at the age of 103.

The log line for the film reads: ‘Growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, a young man named Sammy Fabelman discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth.’

It is written by Steven and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner.

The film is produced by three-time Oscar nominee Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven and Tony.

While the flick stars Gabriel as 16-year-old aspiring filmmaker Sammy, four-time Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams as his artistic mother, Mitzi, Paul Dano as his successful, scientific father, Burt, Seth Rogen as Bennie Loewy, Burt’s best friend and honorary ‘uncle’ to the Fabelman children, and Academy Award nominee Judd Hirsch as Mitzi’s Uncle Boris.

The ensemble cast includes Oscar nominee Jeannie Berlin as Sammy’s paternal grandmother, Hadassah Fabelman, Julia Butters as Sammy’s sister Reggie; Robin Bartlett as Sammy’s maternal grandmother Tina Schildkraut and Keeley Karsten as Sammy’s sister Natalie.

The Fabelmans is in cinemas across UK and Ireland from 27 January 2023.

Film: The Fabelmans is in cinemas across UK and Ireland from 27 January 2023

Film: The Fabelmans is in cinemas across UK and Ireland from 27 January 2023

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