Meet Shuri, one of the stand-out female characters of "Black Panther"

Marvel Studios(NEW YORK) -- Black Panther is being praised for its cast of very strong female characters -- including Shuri, played by Letitia Wright.  The character is the little sister to Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa, the king of Wakanda who also wears the mantle of its fearsome protector, the Black Panther.

Wakanda is an African nation so technologically advanced it has literally hidden itself from the rest of the world.  As the head engineer of the Wakanda Design Group, Shuri's in charge of all that tech.  She's also one of the smartest characters in the Marvel Universe, who can intellectually go toe to toe with the likes of Tony "Iron Man" Stark.

Wright tells ABC Radio she's grateful that her character will inspire a whole new generation of girls to take on careers in STEM -- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Incidentally, in the current run of the Black Panther comics, Shuri herself takes over as Black Panther. "If that happens in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that's cool," Wright tells ABC Radio, "but where Shuri is right now, you can take her anywhere. You can mix her up with Spider-Man, you can throw her in with, you know, Thor -- whatever you want to do with her, she can be there. So the sky's the limit, really, with Shuri." 

Black Panther is now in theaters from Marvel Studios, which is owned by Disney, parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Mike Colter talks Luke Cage and why he doesn't consider him a "black" superhero

Netflix(NEW YORK) -- One of the ways that Mike Colter is saying thank you -- in the spirit of Black History Month -- is by honoring those who've "paved the way before [him]."

In Good Morning America's "On Their Shoulders" series, which honors Black History Month, the Luke Cage star honors several "African-Americans who fought for fairness, equality and representation," such as legendary actors Hattie McDaniel, Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte,

Colter also honored showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker "the mastermind" behind his Netflix superhero series, the first Marvel TV show "centered on a black superhero."  Even so, Colter tries not to describe his character as such.

"I never think about him as a black superhero. I just think of him as a superhero. I don't even think of him as a superhero, actually," he told GMA. "I kind of just think about him as a guy who's been given these abilities that really don't make his life that much easier -- and he happens to be black."

Colter believes it's not enough that there's diverse representation on screens big and small.  The actor said Hollywood must shift to a place where it's offering a variety of roles for black men.

"We respond to the images that we're seeing every day. And so to the degree that we're always seeing negative images of black men onscreen -- whether it be in a police line-up or being in some criminal activity or being imprisoned -- there's always some reminder that we're somehow inferior," he said.

Colter continued, "And so any time that there are people of value, that there are people who are educated, that there are people who will do the right thing, that there are people who are productive members of society, it just sort of helps to balance out the images that we're always getting."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Chadwick Boseman and Letitia Wright dissect the cultural impact of "Black Panther"

Marvel Studios(NEW YORK) -- Chadwick Boseman and Letitia Wright play Wakandan royal siblings in Marvel's superhero action film Black Panther. Boseman, who plays King T'Challa as well as the titular character Black Panther, says when it comes to the movie's impact on black culture, he hopes this film will set the new normal in Hollywood.

"Hopefully it becomes commonplace," Boseman tells ABC Radio. "Hopefully this is something that is not the first time it's ever happened for a young kid. After people see it, there will be a group of kids who will say, 'Oh that's that's normal.'"

Boseman also adds that the film will help to spark a much needed conversation on culture.

"After seeing this, I think it's a conversation that happens between people in the diaspora whether you are on the side of the continent [or] you are still on the continent of Africa... and you've been disconnected from the continent in some way," he explains. "It's a conversation... that has not happened on this stage and in this particular way through art. [It] will allow people to connect in their own way to their specific past and future."

Wright, who plays Black Panther's sister Shuri concurs, and speaks to the film "monumental" impact.

"My prayer is that... it can inspire people, it can inspire the young generation, the older generation, and everybody can just feel empowered and united," she says. "And for the future they can flick back and see this film and know that this film is like a landmark film. The first Marvel... pretty much predominantly all black cast, African superhero film, that's doing really well. So that can also inspire generations to come."

Black Panther hits theaters today from Marvel Studios and Disney, parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


#FemaleFilmmakerFriday: Get to know "The Boy Downstairs" director Sophie Brooks 

Jon Pack(NEW YORK) -- In honor of #FemaleFilmmakerFriday, meet Sophie Brooks.

The writer/director’s first feature film, The Boy Downstairs, opens in New York today and hits select theaters next week. The romantic comedy stars Zosia [ZASHA] Mamet [MAMM-ett] as an aspiring writer who inadvertently moves into the apartment above her ex-boyfriend. Complicatations ensue.

In a time when women in film are coming to forefront – like Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig and Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins – Brooks is looking to make her own mark. Here’s what you should know about this rising filmmaker:

1. The idea for The Boy Downstairs came to her while she was recovering from a car accident and the same time.

2. Like Zosia’s character in the film, Brooks is a writer, who moved to London and worked in a bridal store. However, she's never lived in the same building as an ex.

3. She’s fan of the #FemaleFilmmakerFriday hashtag, which began popping up all over social media last month. “I think [that] until there’s a time when it isn’t necessary to say ‘female’ before ‘filmmaker,’ it’s good to embrace it and to show younger girls, ‘Look, this is a viable option for you. This is a viable job,’” she tells ABC Radio.

4. She’s working on two new scripts: one in the same genre as The Boy Downstairs, another a zombie-comedy with two girl best friends as the leads.

5. Her advice to aspiring female filmmakers? “Don’t limit yourself, and try things. And believe in yourself.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


First round of Oscar presenters announced

ABC(LOS ANGELES) -- The first group of presenters for the 90th Annual Academy Awards has been announced, and it's a diverse group of talent.

Oscar winners Viola Davis, Mahershala Ali, Emma Stone and Oscar nominees Laura Dern, Lady Birddirector Greta Gerwig, Big Sick star Kumail Nanjiani and actress Margot Robbie are all on the list, as are Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Garner, Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish, Spider-Man: Homecoming star Tom Holland, and Chilean actress Daniela Vega.

The Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air live Sunday, March 4 on ABC starting at 8 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


First look: The original enemies of "The Karate Kid" face off in "Cobra Kai" series

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Ralph Macchio and Willam Zabka, who tangled 34 years ago as Danny Russo and Johnny Lawrence, respectively, in The Karate Kid, are at it again in the first glimpse of their YouTube Red Original Series.

Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues proves that whatever beef these more-than-middle-aged men had as adolescents simmers still, as they train a new generation of students.

The snippet shows them facing off in a new Cobra Kai dojo, where Johnny presumably passes on the "no mercy" method of martial arts he learned from his fallen sensei, who suffered the disgrace of a nose-honk at the hands of Mr. Miyagi so many years ago.

We can't believe it's not a spoof, either.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Jimmy Kimmel delivers passionate monologue about gun control

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- On Thursday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, host Jimmy Kimmel addressed the Parkland, Florida school shooting on Wednesday that claimed 17 lives and left a dozen hospitalized.

Jimmy showed clips of President Trump addressing the shooting in a televised speech and agreed with his sentiment that no child or teacher should ever be in danger, but called out Trump and what he characterized as pervasive hypocrisy in Washington about mass shootings.

Jimmy implored Trump to “…tell your buddies in Congress" that  "what we need are laws, real laws that do everything possible to keep assault rifles out of the hands of people who are going to shoot our kids.”

Kimmel took aim at the National Rifle Association, saying, “Tell these congressmen and lobbyists who infest that swamp you said you were going to drain, force these allegedly Christian men and women who stuff their pockets with money from the NRA year after year after year to do something."

He added, "And don't you dare let anyone say it's too soon to be talking about it, because you said it after Vegas, you said it after Sandy Hook, you say that after every one of these -- eight now -- fatal school shootings we had in this country this year. Children are being murdered…”

Jimmy stopped as he choked up and a member of the audience yelled, “Do something now!” drawing cheers and applause.

Jimmy then urged viewers to write and call their representatives. And if they don't listen, Jimmy said, “vote them out of office.”

He closed saying, saying, “I for one am very, very, very, very tired of this…” and showed a series of clips of politicians dodging the gun control issue with the popular “Now is not the time,” mantra.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on ABC.


Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Marvel's "Black Panther" leads this week's new releases

Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) -- Opening in wide release on Friday:

* Black Panther -- After returning to his native Wakanda and taking his rightful place as king following the death of his father, T'Challa/Black Panther -- played by Chadwick Boseman -- is drawn into a conflict that tests his resolve and puts the fate of Wakanda and the rest of the world at risk. Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker also star. Rated PG-13.

* Early Man -- The latest stop-motion animation feature from the creators of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run is set in the stone age, and tells the story of Dug -- voiced by Eddie Redmayne -- who, along with sidekick Hognob -- voiced by Nick Park -- rallies his tribe against a mighty enemy Lord Nooth -- voiced by Thor: Ragnarok's Tom Hiddleston -- and his Bronze Age City to save their home. Other voices include Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams. Rated PG.

* Samson -- Taylor James stars in this film based on the biblical tale about a young Hebrew man with supernatural strength who is chosen by God to defend his people, while avenging the love he lost to a cruel Philistine prince. Also starring Billy Zane, Rutger Hauer and Lindsay Wagner. Rated PG-13.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux separating: "We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple"

JB Lacroix/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux are separating after two and a half years of marriage but they remain "best friends," the pair confirmed to ABC News in a statement Thursday night.

"In an effort to reduce any further speculation, we have decided to announce our separation," the couple said in a joint statement to ABC News. "This decision was mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year. We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship."

In a nod to the salacious tabloid frenzy that will undoubtedly ensue, the statement continued, "Normally we would do this privately, but given that the gossip industry cannot resist an opportunity to speculate and invent, we wanted to convey the truth directly. Whatever else is printed about us that is not directly from us, is someone else’s fictional narrative. Above all, we are determined to maintain the deep respect and love that we have for one another."

Aniston turned 49 on Sunday, and celebrated without Theroux, People reported. Instead, she celebrated with a group of girlfriends, including Courteney Cox.

The pair first met on the set of the 2008 film Tropic Thunder, while shooting in Hawaii, but they didn't start dating until 2011.

They married in a hush-hush ceremony on August 5, 2015.

Aniston was previously married to Brad Pitt from 2000 to 2005. She later dated Vince Vaughn and John Mayer, following her split from Pitt.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


“Yup,” Amy Schumer is married

ABC/Heidi Gutman(LOS ANGELES) -- It’s no joke: Amy Schumer has tied the knot with chef Chris Fischer.

The comedian confirmed the news in an Instagram post, including a series of photos from the big day and the simple caption, “Yup.”

The photos reveal they had a sunset, waterfront ceremony. Schumer’s wedding dress featured a delicate lace bodice and flowing skirt, while bridesmaids, including her sister Kim, wore pink dresses and flower crowns.

In another photo, Schumer’s pal Jennifer Lawrence is seen planting a kiss on her forehead.

She later posted more pictures, showing off a star-studded guest list that included Chelsea Handler, Larry David, Aidy Bryant, Vanessa Bayer and Bridget Everett.

Schumer and Fischer only made their relationship public Sunday, when Schumer posted a photo of them kissing at Ellen DeGeneres’ 60th birthday bash. The two were first spotted together in November of last year.

Schumer split from boyfriend Ben Hanisch in May of last year.

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