Daisy Ridley calls "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" world premiere "overwhelming"

Disney(NEW YORK) -- The Force was strong at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium Saturday night for the world premiere of the highly anticipated eighth installment of the Star Wars franchise, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

"This feels just as overwhelming," Daisy Ridley, who returns as Rey, told reporters of being back on the carpet for her second Star Wars film. "This feels just as overwhelming," she admitted before joking, "I need to sit down and ... be alone for a while."

The evening was dedicated to Carrie Fisher, who played Leia and who died last December. 

"I want to dedicate tonight to Carrie, who is up there right now flipping me the bird, saying, 'Damn it Rian, don't you dare make this night a solemn tribute,'" the film's writer and director, Rian Johnson, said on stage ahead of the screening. 

"I'm very proud of the movie, so I'm very confident of that. Obviously, I'm really nervous. I hope they like it,"  Johnson told ABC News before taking the stage. "That's the whole reason that we do this, is to get people like a good Star Wars movie they can enjoy, so ... I'm feeling good, overall. I know I'm really proud of it."

Star Domhnall Gleeson, who plays Gen. Armitage Hux in the film, waited until Saturday to see the final product with fans.

"I want to sit in with them and hear my first experience of this movie -- to hear all the gasps, to hear the laughs, to see everybody lifting their seat for the exciting moments. I want that to be my first experience of it, so I'm really happy I waited," he said.

And as for who exactly is the titular Last Jedi?  Ridley tells ABC News, "Rian has said a number of times that the last Jedi is Luke, but no one believes him. Believe the director!" 

ABC News and Lucasfilm are both part of parent company Disney.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


"Coco" threepeats with $18.6 million weekend

Image from "Coco"; Disney/Pixar(NEW YORK) -- Disney/Pixar's Coco topped the box office for the third week in row, with an estimated $18.6 million haul, bringing its total earnings stateside to $135.5 million. Overseas, the animated feature earned another $15.4 million, bringing its worldwide take to an estimated $390 million.

Justice League took second place, delivering an estimated $9.5 million. Internationally, it raked in an estimated $15.4 million, bringing its global earnings to upwards of $600 million.

Third place belonged to Wonder, posting an estimated $8.45 million weekend.

The Disaster Artist -- starring James and Dave Franco -- impressed in its first week of wide release, raking in an estimated $6.4 million for a fourth place finish.

Thor: Ragnarok rounded out the top five, earning an estimated $6.29 million, making it the 10th Marvel film to cross the $300 million plateau. It tacked on a little over $3 million overseas, bringing its worldwide total to more than $833 million -- ahead of Wonder Woman and seventh behind Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Just Getting Started got off to a dismal start at the box office. The comedy, starring Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones, earned an estimated $3.18 million, for a 10th place finish.

ABC, like Marvel, is owned by Disney.

Here are the top 10 movies from Friday through Sunday, with estimated weekend gross ticket sales:

1. Coco, $18.6 million
2. Justice League, $9.5 million
3. Wonder, $8.45 million
4. The Disaster Artist, $6.4 million
5. Thor: Ragnarok, $6.29 million
6. Daddy’s Home 2, $6 million
7. Murder on the Orient Express, $5.1 million
8. The Star, $3.67 million
9. Lady Bird, $3.5 million
10. Just Getting Started, $3.18 million


Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Ahead of season 8's "Walking Dead" mid-season finale, creator talks "good dude" Jeffrey Dean Morgan, aka Negan

AMC/Gene Page(NEW YORK) -- While The Walking Dead is based on a successful comic series, creator Robert Kirkman keeps the show deliberately different than the books, to preserve the suspense.  But with the comics' "All Out War" storyline currently unfolding on the small screen, fans are wondering what will become of Negan.

The mid-season finale airs on Sunday and Jeffrey Dean Morgan's bat-wielding baddie Negan has vowed to get even with Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes, whose militia rose up against Negan and his Saviors.

Morgan's Negan has been a highlight for fans since he emerged during the cliffhanger ending of season 6 and started season 7 with a bang -- literally -- when it was revealed he killed Glenn and Abraham. 

"He's great on set, and he's just a genuinely good dude...You would expect him to be an aloof maniac, but he's really not," Kirkman jokes of Morgan. "His portrayal of Negan is just absolutely amazing -- it's better than I ever could have imagined." 

For Morgan, Negan's dialogue is double-edged sword: as fun as it is to deliver, he often has to learn two versions of many of his scenes: one fit for air, and the other for the uncensored Blu-rays.

"Especially if it's a scene ripped straight from the comic book, and most of Negan's stuff is...we take out all the F-bombs," he explains. "I know I can says seven "sh**s," you know...but you can't say the F-bomb...And then we do a [Blu-ray]'s all there!" 

After the extended finale, which starts at 9 p.m., fans will be able to decompress with an episode of Talking Dead. "It's a good therapy session," jokes Kirkman, who also produces the after-show.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Stars of "The Crown" bicker over whether Selena Gomez should portray Meghan Markle

Charles Sykes/Bravo(NEW YORK) -- Season two of the Netflix series The Crown -- about the life of Queen Elizabeth II -- debuts today.  But if the series goes on for years and years, eventually, they'll have to get around to casting the parts of Prince Harry and is fiancee Meghan Markle.  And one of the show's stars says one of today's biggest music artists is the perfect person to embody the future princess.

Appearing on Bravo's Watch What Happens LiveThe Crown stars Claire Foy, who plays Elizabeth, and Matt Smith, who plays her husband Prince Phillip, were asked by a viewer who they'd like to see play Harry and Meghan on the show.

"Who's that singer?" Smith replied. "Ed Sheeran?" replied host Andy Cohen, assuming that Smith meant that Ed should play Harry.

"No, the one who goes out with Justin, not Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber...young."

"Oh, Selena Gomez!" said Cohen.

"Yes, Selena Gomez!" said Smith. "You love Selena Gomez," teased Foy.  "She's playing Meghan Markle," laughed Smith.

"No, she's not!" chided Foy.  "O.K., no," Smith said sadly. "No. She's not," Foy replied firmly.

Of course, having Selena play Meghan doesn't make much sense, considering Meghan is an actress who's capable of playing herself.  Also, casting a Latina to play a biracial woman would probably raise a few eyebrows.


Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Sebastian Stan "excited" about the response to "I, Tonya"; his mustache in it, not so much

NEON(NEW YORK) -- Opening in limited release this weekend is I, Tonya, a dark comedy that tracks the rise and fall of disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding.

Margot Robbie is earning raves for her performance as the champion athlete, whose promising career was famously cut short when her ex-husband, Jeff Gilloolly, and her bodyguard hatched a plot to try to eliminate her rival, Nancy Kerrigan, with a blow to her knee with a metal pipe.

The attacks took place weeks before the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, in Harding and Kerrigan both competed. Kerrigan took the silver while Harding placed eighth, tearfully blaming an untied shoelace for her poor showing.

Harding was implicated in but never convicted for the attack. However, she was fined and banned from pro skating for life after pleading guilty to hindering prosecution in the case.

The story "took the media by storm," says Sebastian Stan, who plays Gillooly in I, Tonya. "And then right after that, you had O.J.!. From 1990 to 1995, you had, I think Waco, L.A., the riots in 1992, then you had the Menendez brothers -- it was just hit after hit after hit of crazy stuff!"

Of I, Tonya, Stan raves, "Margot's phenomenal," adding Alison Janney, who plays Tonya's cold, chain-smoking mom, "was inspiring every day she was on she set."

Stan had one gripe: living with Gilloolly's 90's-era look: "[The] mustache was a tough one. Mustache and no sideburns. Don't forget that, like, high, high like, side cut above the Supercuts line," he laughs. "Try ordering a coffee with that -- you'll get a good response!"

Kidding aside, Stan is proud of the early reaction to the I, Tonya. "We're just excited that people...want to see it. That's what we want."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Marvel to launch animated series focused on young, diverse heroes

Marvel(NEW YORK) --  Marvel announced Thursday that it plans to launch a new animated series next year, focused on the young, diverse talent it has in its universe like Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl and others.

The comic giant posted a video announcement on Marvel HQ's YouTube channel. "There is a character for every kind of Marvel fan out there," said Sana Amanat, director of content & character development at the company.

This series, titled "Marvel Rising," will be rolled out in six, four-minute digital shorts, and a film, Marvel Rising: Secret Warrior is set for a release later in 2018.

Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan -- co-created by Amanat and other scribes including G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona -- is a teenage Pakistani-American raised in New Jersey and part of the modern stable of diverse talent for the next generation. In the series, she will be portrayed by actress Kathreen Khavari.

The video also showed the likes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star Chloe Bennet putting in some voice-over work for the series as Quake, the same character she plays on the ABC show, along with Kamil McFadden from Grown Ups 2 as Patriot, and Tyler Posey as Inferno.

Other stars include Cierra Ramirez as America Chavez; Booboo Stewart as Exile; Dee Bradley Baker as Lockjaw and Tippy Toe, another S.H.I.E.L.D. vet, Ming-Na Wen as Hala; Milana Vayntrub as Squirrel Girl; and Dove Cameron as Spider-Gwen. Cameron's character will be referred to as Ghost-Spider in the series.

Captain Marvel also will make an appearance, played by Kim Raver. In the books, Marvel is an inspiration and role model for younger heroes like Ms. Marvel.

"It's all stuff you can connect with and feel like, these heroes are a lot like me," says Cort Lane, executive producer on the project.

Marvel is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


"Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" official trailer debuts

Universal Pictures(LOS ANGELES) -- The first official trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom debuted during NBC's Thursday Night Football, and this time, returning stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reunite to save the dinosaurs from Mother Nature.

The Jurassic World theme park has been abandoned after the catastrophe that unfolded in that blockbuster titular 2015 franchise reboot, and the dinos have been left behind on the fictional Central American island of Isla Nublar. However, a volcano threatens to wipe the dinosaurs from the planet -- again -- which leads the characters played by Pratt and Howard to mount a risky rescue effort.

Jeff Goldblum -- who reprises his role as math genius Ian Malcom from the original film -- also is back with an ominous warning: “These creatures were here before us, and if we’re not careful, they’re gonna be here after us.”

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom -- also starring Justice Smith, James Cromwell and Toby Jones -- is due out in June.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


"Just Getting Started" leads this week's new releases 

Broad Green Pictures/Lewis Jacobs(LOS ANGELES) -- Opening in wide release on Friday:

Just Getting Started -- An ex-F.B.I. agent and an ex-mob lawyer in the Witness Protection Program -- played by Tommy Lee Jones and Morgan Freeman, respectively -- must put aside their petty rivalry to avoid a mob hit. Renee Russo and Glenne Headly -- in her final movie roll -- also star. Rated PG-13.

The Disaster Artist -- This dramedy -- based on a true story and expanding to wide release -- features Dave Franco as an aspiring actor who signs on to star in a project written, directed and financed by his buddy -- played by brother James Franco. Initially a critical flop, the film becomes a cult classic. Also starring Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, and Zac Efron. Rated R.

Opening in limited release on Friday:

I, Tonya -- Margot Robbie stars as the titular character in this dark comedy based on the true story of disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding, whose promising career was cut short when her husband, played here by Marvel movie vet Sebastian Stan, tried to eliminate her rival. Also starring Allison Janney. Rated R.


Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


J.K. Rowling defends casting of Johnny Depp in "Fantastic Beasts" sequel 

ABC/Randy Holmes(LONDON) -- Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has issued a statement defending the casting of Johnny Depp in the upcoming film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, a sequel to the 2016 film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Depp will play the titular villain Gellert Grindelwald in the upcoming film -- he made a cameo as the character in the first Fantastic Beasts movie. His casting has been a source of controversy due to the allegations of domestic violence against the actor from his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard.

"When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he'd be wonderful in the role," Rowling's statement reads. "However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise."

As such, Rowling says she and director David Yates, "considered the possibility of recasting," but ultimately decided to keep Depp on the film.

"For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful," Rowling writes. "However, the agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected." 

"Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies," she continues.

While Rowling adds that she knows that some people "are not satisfied" with the casting, she concludes, "Conscience isn’t governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing."

The Crimes of Grindelwald hits theaters November 16, 2018.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Ayesha Curry and Anthony "Spice" Adams dish on ABC's "The Great American Baking Show"

ABC/Mark Bourdillion(NEW YORK) -- Ayesha Curry and Anthony "Spice" Adams have teamed up to host the third season of ABC's The Great American Baking Show, airing tonight. The two, who consider themselves food enthusiasts, are dishing on the flavorful season and why they were so excited to join the show, which is based on the popular Great British Bake-Off.

"I wanted to do this show so badly is because baking and cooking are totally two different worlds, " Curry tells ABC Radio. "And I have a cooking background -- not so much baking. So I wanted to I could learn a little bit about that world."

Curry, wife of NBA star Stephen Curry, is an accomplished cook who hosts her own show on the Food Network and wrote a cookbook called The Season Life.

Adams says he also has a strong connection with food.

"Well, you know I'm a big guy," Adams says laughing. "So I like to eat, first off. I'm not a baker, I'm more of a griller. So you know, Fourth of Julys and stuff like that...I can only bake like four or five different things that my mom taught me how to make. So being on a show, I learned so much about these different methods people use."

As far as what fans can expect to see this season, Curry says the show is "very family-friendly," and she and Adams add "a little bit of humor."

"It's Christmas-themed, so a lot of kids can watch it," Adams explains. "They can join in and get some of the recipes and stuff like that. And help the parents out -- because all the just kids want to do is eat up all your food all the time."

The Great American Baking Show airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ABC News Radio