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2 Nigerians join Whoopi Goldberg on cast of Neil Gaiman’s series ‘Anansi Boys’

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Veteran actress Whoopi Goldberg is set to play Bird Woman in the upcoming Amazon series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Anansi Boys’. Also joining her are two Nigerian actors – or actors of Nigerian descent – namely Hakeem Kae-Kazim, who has been cast as Tiger, still angry with Anansi for stealing the stories, for making fun of him, and for coming out on top; Emmanuel Ighodaro will play Lion, described as proud and noble, and someone who has no time for Anansi.

The series follows Charlie Nancy (Malachi Kirby)—sometimes known as Fat Charlie —a young man who is used to being embarrassed by his estranged father (Delroy Lindo). But when his father dies, Charlie discovers that he was Anansi: Trickster God of stories. And he learns that he has a brother. Now that brother, Spider (also played by Kirby), is entering Charlie’s life, determined to make it more interesting—but making it a lot more dangerous instead.

“I have been a fan of this book for a very long time and when Neil Gaiman told me it was being brought to the screen, I did everything I could to be part of it to help make people aware of Anansi and all his magic,” Goldberg said.

Bird Woman is the God of Birds and a key antagonist in the series. She’s the embodiment of birds. Not just beautiful stately birds in flight. Anyone who’s had a close encounter with a seagull knows that some birds are more dangerous than others, and Bird Woman is the most dangerous of them all. Long ago Anansi did her wrong. Now may be her chance to turn the tables.

In addition, the following actors have been cast as other animal gods from the World Before Time: Cecilia Noble has been cast as Elephant. She’s old and wise, and hates Anansi; Ayanna Witter-Johnson will play Snake. She’s beautiful and deadly and hates Anansi; Don Gilet will play Monkey. He’s terrified of Anansi, keen on food—particularly fruit—and has the attention span of, well, a monkey.

“When I first conceived ‘Anansi Boys,’ decades ago, I imagined Whoopi Goldberg as Bird Woman,” Gaiman said. “I wasn’t able to meet her until 2018 when she interviewed me with some of the ‘Good Omens’ team at New York Comic-Con. At which point she mentioned that she had just finished listening to Sir Lenny Henry’s reading of ‘Anansi Boys,’ and that it was one of her favorite books. Sometimes things feel planned and inevitable, and we are incredibly lucky. She’s going to be scary.”

‘Anansi Boys’ has a six-episode order at Amazon. Gaiman serves as writer, executive producer, and co-showrunner on the series. Henry is also a writer on the show along with Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith, and Racheal Ofori.

– By Justina Terhember

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Marvel’s She-Hulk first trailer confirms new title, premiere date, Abomination’s return

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to get sensational, because the first trailer for She-Hulk has officially arrived, and you can view it below, via the embedded tweet. Marvel Studios surprised fans today with the reveal of the first full trailer from the upcoming series, which is expected to debut on Disney+ later this year. The footage provides fans with the best look yet at Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk (Tatiana Maslany) and her wild, fourth-wall-breaking world. The trailer also confirmed the previously-rumoured Disney+ premiere date for the series — Wednesday, August 17th.

The series stars Maslany as Jennifer Walters, a New York City lawyer whose life is changed after she gets into an accident, leading to her receiving a blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner. As a result, Jennifer develops her own iteration of Hulk powers, which affect both her life as a lawyer and her newfound life as a superhero. The cast will also include Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk, Jameela Jamil as Titania, Tim Roth as The Abomination, and Ginger Gonzaga, Josh Segura, and Renee Elise Goldsberry.

The series’ new title is officially ‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’.

As Marvel fans recall, Roth lent his voice to The Abomination’s big screen return in last year’s ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’, which teased his current status in the MCU and also his surprise friendship with none other than Sorcerer Supreme Wong. Today’s blast of She-Hulk news also confirmed that Wong will return in the series as well, meaning that a revelation about how the pair know each other seems like a guarantee for the new show.

Perhaps Walters will be working to get Blonsky out of jail, presumably where he has been since destroying Harlem in 2008’s ‘The Incredible Hulk’. The nine-episode ‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’ will premiere on August 17 on Disney+. Marvel’s official description for the series reads: “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law follows Jennifer Walters as she navigates the complicated life of a single, 30-something attorney who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered hulk.

The nine-episode series welcomes a host of MCU vets, including Mark Ruffalo as Smart Hulk, Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky/the Abomination, and Benedict Wong as Wong. The cast also includes Ginger Gonzaga, Josh Segarra, Jameela Jamil, Jon Bass and Renée Elise Goldsberry.”

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‘Sex Education’ star Ncuti Gatwa is first black ‘Doctor Who’ lead actor

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After a long wait, the BBC recently announced that it has found its next Doctor Who in ‘Sex Education’ star Ncuti Gatwa, who is of Rwandan descent. The news was shared on social media, just prior to the filming of the BAFTA awards. “The future is here! Ncuti Gatwa is the Doctor,” wrote the BBC.

Gatwa plays a starring role in Netflix’s comedy-drama ‘Sex Education’ as Eric Effiong, the best friend of Otis, played by Asa Butterfield. While Gatwa will not be the first Black Time Lord — an honor that went to actor Jo Martin in 2020 — he will be the first Black Doctor to appear as the lead in the show.

While Gatwa will not be the first Black Time Lord – an honor that went to actor Jo Martin in 2020 – he will be the first Black Doctor to appear as the lead in the show.

The Netflix star will be taking over from actor Jodie Whittaker, who will appear for the last time as the Thirteenth Doctor in an upcoming Doctor Who special. The release date has not yet been announced. Whittaker has played the titular character since 2017 and made headlines by playing the long-running franchise’s first female Doctor.

Whittaker and Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall are both set to depart from the show, following the third and final 2022 special. The pair announced their exit last year, with Chibnall explaining, “Jodie and I made a ‘three series and out’ pact with each other at the start of this once-in-a-lifetime blast.” He added, “So now our shift is done, and we’re handing back the TARDIS keys.” The BBC announced soon after former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies will return to the show after over a decade away.

It is believed several iterations of the Doctor may appear in the upcoming special, including the Tenth Doctor, played by actor David Tennant. However, the actor himself has neither confirmed nor denied the rumors, stating, “I’ve learned through bitter experience that there’s not any point in even answering [questions about whether I’ll play the Doctor again] because whatever I say is spun by whoever wants to hear it… So there’s no point in me denying it, there’s no point in me confirming it, there’s no point in me fudging it. Whatever I say will become whatever the internet wants it to be.”

The final Doctor Who special does not yet have an announced title or release date.

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Will Smith responds to Academy’s 10-year ban from attending Oscars

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Will Smith accepts his decade-long ban from the Academy Awards. The 53-year-old Best Actor winner responded Friday after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors decided to ban him from Oscars ceremonies and other Academy events for the next 10 years after he struck Chris Rock onstage during last month’s award show.

“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” Smith said in a statement.

The Academy determined that “for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards,” per a letter sent by Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson and obtained by PEOPLE.

“The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year; however, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage,” they wrote.

“During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry. This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers, and our Academy family around the world, and we fell short — unprepared for the unprecedented,” they added.

Rubin and Hudson went on to address Rock, 57, and Oscars hosts Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall. “We want to express our deep gratitude to Mr. Rock for maintaining his composure under extraordinary circumstances. We also want to thank our hosts, nominees, presenters and winners for their poise and grace during our telecast,” they said.

Smith has issued a public apology to Rock and he also formally resigned from the Academy a week ago.

“I have directly responded to the Academy’s disciplinary hearing notice, and I will fully accept any and all consequences for my conduct. My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable. The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home. I betrayed the trust of the Academy,” he said in a statement last Friday, April 1.

He added, “I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film.” Concluding, he announced his departure from the Academy: “So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate. Change takes time and I am committed to doing the work to ensure that I never again allow violence to overtake reason.”

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