Virginia Sherwood/NBC(NEW YORK) -- Fans will soon get to witness John Legend portraying Jesus Christ in NBC's upcoming Jesus Christ Superstar Superstar Live in Concert, airing April 1, Easter Sunday. John was the perfect choice for the role, given the Grammy, Tony and Oscar-winner's remarkable talent, and his church upbringing.
Growing up in Ohio, John's mother was a choir director, his grandmother was a church organist and his grandfather was a pastor. Legend tells People, "The message I took from growing up in church was the idea of loving your neighbor, giving to others and treating people as you would want to be treated. You can learn those things in any religion or without religion, but that's where I did."
"I was in choir rehearsals every week as a kid, and I took over the choir when I was older," the "Ordinary People" star adds. "That was the foundation of my career; I wouldn't be where I am without playing gospel music in church."
As for his thoughts on Jesus, John believes that in real life, the biblical figure was "a bit of a revolutionary."
Says John, "He was somebody who was disrupting the status quo and provided an example for how we could all love each other, how we think about people who have been looked down upon and what it means to sacrifice oneself for something that you believe in."
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert airs Easter Sunday, April 1 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
Freeform/Aaron Poole(NEW YORK) -- The first official teaser has been released for Sony's Superfly remake, starring Trevor Jackson and Jason Mitchell.
Mitchell shared the visual on his Instagram, featuring Jackson's character of Youngblood Priest narrating his rise to becoming a top drug dealer.
"Got my first job when I was eleven," Youngblood says. "Worked everyday since. Did one thing then another... Saved. Studied. I gave people jobs when there were no jobs. I moved the operation from my living room to the church basement. From there to an old garage. Now I got operations all over the city."
The film, directed by Director X, will follow the original 1972 film, which centered on a drug dealer looking for one more big score before he retired.
In addition to Jackson and Mitchell, who plays Youngblood's business partner Eddie, the cast includes Michael K. William, who will play Scatter.
Future, who's on board to produce the film's soundtrack, also alerted fans to the new teaser via his Twitter.
ABC/Mitch Haaseth(LOS ANGELES) -- Things are about the heat up in Shondaland. The new Grey’s Anatomy firefighter spin-off, Station 19, debuts tonight on ABC.
It follows Grey’s character Ben Warren, Miranda Bailey’s husband, who decides to leave his surgical career to fight fires. It also centers on Andrea “Andy” Herrera, the captain’s daughter and herself an ambitious firefighter.
Jaina Lee Ortiz, who plays Andy, says she felt a “big responsibility” to take up the tradition of career-driven lead females on a Shonda Rhimes show. “You have these women at the front and center and sort of owning their power,” she tells ABC Radio.
Ortiz even got some solid advice from Grey’sAnatomy star Ellen Pompeo, who told her to get nine hours of sleep so she could bring her A-game to set. Pompeo, as well as Chandra Wilson, who plays Bailey, make cameo appearances in Station 19’s premiere episode, and may pop up in future episodes as well.
Jason George, who plays Ben, says he’s looking forward to his kids seeing the show for its female empowerment messages -- though they’ll probably skip the steamier scenes. “I love how strong and sexy [Andy is],” he says. “They're not diametrically opposed. Ya know? Soot is sexy.”
But perhaps the most important question is, what’s it really like to slide down that fire pole?
“It’s fun,” George says. “If you do it right, you get a little twist going on…You gotta get that fluid pole work.”
“It's like I'm back at the club,” he jokes. “What? Can I say that out loud?”
David Giesbrecht/Netflix(Los Angeles) -- Krysten Ritter, plays tormented superhero-turned private eye Jessica Jones in the Netflix series of the same name, and in a new Harper's Bazaar feature, she discusses how the #MeToo movement made her reevaluate her career.
“It does make you do an emotional inventory of your career, and your life, and all of a sudden you're f****** enraged," she says. "You look back and kind of hate yourself for giggling through it, or for not knowing what to say -- I went back and remembered things that I'd totally forgotten about, just shoved under the rug.”
The 36-year-old actress says Jessica Jones' ramped-up anger in Season 2 is even more impactful in the wake of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements.
“Jessica was always a handful, and pretty pissy, but her anger is resonating more now than it did in Season 1, because of what’s going on in the real world. She’s become a real mouthpiece for this moment,” explains Ritter.
On her character's aversion to wearing high heels, Ritter notes, “There's so much pressure on women to look beautiful, have everything put together, get your beauty sleep, it's all about a physical appearance. And this is a character who is not about a physical appearance at all.
Adds Ritter, "Jessica uses sex the way she uses alcohol, to escape her mental space. It’s nothing super sexy, she’s not sentimental, it’s not emotional.”
Jessica Jones Season 2 is currently streaming on Netflix.
20th Century Fox(NEW YORK) -- 20th Century Fox dropped an action-and-f-bomb-packed trailer to Deadpool 2 Thursday morning, and the full-length peek of the project shows Ryan Reynolds and company firing on all cylinders once again.
The trailer gives more of the sequel's plot. Apparently, a young, fire-throwing mutant is being targeted by Josh Brolin's fearsome, time traveling cyborg Cable, leaving Reynolds' Wade Wilson/Deadpool to defend him with a team of mutants -- including Zazie Beetz's Domino, Brianna Hildebrand's returning Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and newcomer Terry Crews, likely playing a hero called Hammer.
"I need 'em tough, morally flexible, and young enough to carry their own franchise for 10-12 years," Deadpool says, breaking the fourth wall, as always. "We'll be known as X-Force."
"Isn't that a little bit derivative?" Domino asks. "Absolutely," Pool admits.
The trailer is stocked with as many potty-mouthed jokes as it has action sequences, as fans have come to expect from the R-rated Marvel character.
"It lives up to the hype, plus-plus," Wade tells his pal Weasel, played by T.J. Miller, clearly referring to the sequel in which they appear. "They probably won't even make a three," Weasel agrees. "Stop at 2, you killed it," Wade agrees.
Deadpool 2 -- which the trailer cheekily notes comes "From the studio that brought you 27 Dresses and The Devil Wears Prada" -- opens May 18.
Netflix(LOS ANGELES) -- Netflix is addressing concerns over its controversial drama 13 Reasons Why -- which graphically details subjects like teen suicide and bullying -- with a new warning video.
The clip features series stars Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Justin Prentice, and Alisha Boe warning people struggling with these issues that the show may "not be right for you," and to consider watching it with a "trusted adult."
The actors also urge viewers to, "reach out to a parent, a friend, a school counselor or an adult you trust" or, "Call a local helpline or go to 13reasonswhy.info," explaining, "the minute that you start talking about it, it gets easier."
The drama, co-produced by Selena Gomez, had come under fire last season by some critics who claimed it glorified teen suicide, and could be detrimental to those vulnerable people whose mental health was suffering.
Disney(NEW YORK) -- As Star Wars star John Boyega gears up for the release of his new sci-fi film, Pacific Rim Uprising, the British actor is also weighing in on the importance of inclusion riders and the changes he would like to see Hollywood make over the next few years.
"I think they've got to fixate on who we're hiring," Boyega tells ABC Radio. "And I think it's an illusion when you just try to make people in front of the camera mostly a minority, and you're not doing it behind the scenes."
Just last week, Boyega, who gets his first production credit on Pacific Rim Uprising, revealed he's adopting the "inclusion rider" concept, which ensures diversity in hiring both behind and in front of the camera. He believes it's time for Hollywood to become accountable and "studios" to get on board.
"We need that same knowledge, those same experiences, behind the scenes, as writers, directors, producers, and executives -- those opportunities also," he says.
For Boyega, one of the most startling things about Hollywood is the lack of women behind the camera.
"These are the things that we need and specifically now more than ever for women," Boyega explains. "I always feel a little bit bad because it's just mad -- even in terms of female directors. There's not much out there...And that's crazy!"
He continues, "A woman's perspective on a film could be so intricate, and detailed and fantastic, and we're not benefiting ourselves not doing that."
Pacific Rim Uprising hits theaters Friday, March 23.
Jim Spellman/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Sad news to report: Queen Latifah's mother, Rita Owens, passed away Wednesday after a long battle with a heart condition. The musician/actress revealed the news about her mom in an exclusive statement to People magazine on Wednesday night.
"It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my mother, Rita Owens passed away [Wednesday]," said Latifah. "Anyone that has ever met her knows what a bright light she was on this earth. She was gentle, but strong, sweet, but sassy, worldy but pragmatic, a woman of great faith and certainly the love of my life."
Latifah added, "She had struggled with a heart condition for many years and her battle is now over. I am heartbroken but know she is at peace. Thank you for your kindness, support and respect for our privacy at this time. Much Love, Dana Owens (aka Queen Latifah), forever Rita Owens' daughter."
In a 2015 feature with People magazine, Latifah and Rita talked about how the elder Owens lived with her ailment. Rita, a teacher, was diagnosed with a heart condition after fainting in her classroom. Doctors determined she had sleep apnea and heart failure. She was fitted with a defibrillator in her chest and was ordered to change her diet.
In a PSA that she filmed at the time, Latifah stated, "My mom is stronger than anyone I've ever known. Growing up when life got hard, her strength helped pull us through. Even after her heart failure diagnosis she remains stronger than ever."
ABC/Lisa Rose(LOS ANGELES) -- Former Wonder Years star Fred Savage is on the defensive, denying claims from a former cast member on the now-defunct Fox show The Grinder who accused him of harassing and attacking her.
Y.J. Hwang said at a press conference Wednesday that Savage insulted her and yelled profanities at her while she was working in the show's costume department back in 2015. She also claimed he struck her.
"During a taping of an episode, I was attempting to brush off dandruff off Mr. Savage's jacket. Mr. Savage snapped. He yelled at me, told me not to touch him and he hit my arm violently three times," claimed Hwang. "I could not stop crying. I was in pain, I was humiliated and I was scared."
Hwang claimed the actor had a "reputation" for similar behavior.
"I immediately reported this incident to my superiors and rather than taking any action against Mr. Savage, they encouraged me to not report Mr. Savage's conduct because a lot of people would lose their jobs," Hwang said, saying she was told "that I would never work in this industry again."
For the record, reps for The Grinder's studio, 20th Century Fox, says it conducted a thorough investigation into the allegations and found no evidence of wrongdoing.
In a statement to ABC News, Savage said, in part, "These accusations are completely without merit and absolutely untrue...None of her claims could be substantiated because they did not happen."
He added, "I have been working in the entertainment industry my whole life and have always endeavored to treat everyone on any set I work on respectfully and professionally. While none of the accusations being leveled at me are true, I wholeheartedly support all people who feel they are being mistreated [to] come forward."
ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- A behind-the-scenes look at the kids who play football forSnoop Dogg's Snoop Youth Football League is the concept of the rapper's Netflix series, Coach Snoop. He tells ABC Radio that fans should tune in to the show because there have been "so many great stories."
"I felt like now was the time to highlight the work that I've been doing in the community and the kids that I work with," he tells ABC Radio about his decision to turn his football league into a series.
As for how that came about, Snoop explains, "I have a great director,Rory Karpf, who shot a series with me and my son on ESPN called Snoop and Son. And from there, he watched me coach football and he fell in love with what I was doing and started shooting a season with me and the kids and took it to Netflix."
Snoop also reveals that he's also working on a film called The Making of the Snoop Youth Football League, about the history of the non-profit organization.
"After you enjoy Coach Snoop on Netflix, be on the lookout for the movie coming soon," he says, confirming a 2019 release for the project.
The Snoop Youth Football League was founded in 2005 to give inner-city children between the ages of five and 13 the opportunity to play football, while learning values such as teamwork, discipline and good sportsmanship. And the superstar's efforts have produced many successful alumni.
Says Snoop proudly, "[There's] been a lot of great kids that came through my league and ended up becoming productive citizens and NFL stars and just great men and women in the community that they live in."
Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Having been accused of sexual assault by two different women at a press conference earlier this week, Steven Seagal is now dismissing the women's claims as "completely fictitious."
On Monday, Regina Simons and Faviola Dadis made the allegations during a press conference alongside their attorney, Lisa Bloom. The women have also filed a report with the Los Angeles Police Department, according to Bloom.
At the press conference, Simons, who appeared in Seagal's 1994 movie On Deadly Ground, said Seagal lured her to his house by claiming there was a wrap party. When she arrived, she claimed he began kissing her and removing her clothes. Eventually, she said, they had non-consensual sex.
"I was in shock and I was completely caught off guard. Seagal was more than twice my size and twice my age...I froze," she said. "I couldn’t move. And I felt as if I was watching my body from above."
Simons said Seagal then asked her if she needed any money; she said no and ran out of the house.
Dadis said she was invited to audition for Seagal in 2002 at a hotel, and was instructed to wear a bikini under her clothes. When she arrived, she claimed that Seagal asked her to walk around in the bikini, and then began groping her. When she attempted to leave, she said, the security guard blocked the door, and only moved when Seagal told him to.
"I left feeling horrified and totally violated," she said.
In a statement to ABC News, Seagal's attorney says the actor "denies all accusations and continues to stand his ground that he has not engaged in any such misconduct. The allegations that have been made against Mr. Seagal are false and have no substantive material support."
The statement continues, "The accounts of both women are completely fictitious and totally made up. The allegations are a disservice to women who are victimized because of real predators in the film industry."
Netflix(LOS ANGELES) -- After being stood up by friends at his Stranger Things-themed birthday party, one fan of the Netflix show is poised to have the best party yet next year.
Ayen Alambat tweeted pictures from her little brother Aaron's birthday party over the weekend with a sad message attached to some very festive pictures.
"My brother invited 8 of his classmates for his stranger things themed bday party & none of their punk selves showed up," the caption reads next to a picture of Aaron’s toughing out his birthday alone like a champ, eating a special cake and doing a classic pose from the show.
The tweet immediately went viral and now boasts well over 200,000 likes. It also caught the attention of the show's young stars, including Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven, and Gaten Matarazzo, Stranger Things' Dustin.
"What!!!! Oh Well You can let them all know that everyone on behalf on Stranger things would’ve come! I think your [sic] awesome and next year I would like an invite... Please?" Brown, 14, tweeted back at Alambat.
Matarazzo, 15, jumped in in, too, offering to bring his character's favorite snack for next year's big shindig: "Count me in too! I’ll bring the chocolate pudding," he added.
Alambat basically lost her mind after seeing the tweets, responding with stunned gibberish. For the record, it read: "OHDNFOSMFLDK OH MY GOSHSJDJSJJSNXNDNX."
Marvel - 2017(LOS ANGELES) -- #WakandaForever -- Marvel Studio's Black Panther has already busted box office records, but now it has fresh bragging rights: the superhero movie has become the most-tweeted-about movie ever.
The social media platform noted the movie has been tweeted about more than 35 million times, topping Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the previous record-holder.
The most popular hashtags, aside from #BlackPanther, were #Wakanda and #WakandaForever, both referring to the fictional African nation that Chadwick Boseman's titular hero calls home. Other characters, likeMichael B. Jordan's Killmonger and Letitia Wright's super-smart Shuri, also were popular tweet subjects.
For the record, the most-shared Panther posts included soundtrack curator Kendrick Lamar's Black Panther: The Album playlist reveal, which notched 240,000 shares, and former first lady Michelle Obama's plug of the film, which was shared nearly 140,000 times.
Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, parent company of ABC News.
ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, and D.L. Hughley are among the top five comedians on The Hollywood Reporter’s Top Comedians chart for a second consecutive week.
Hart ranks first, Tiffany second, and Hughley in fifth.
The list, dated March 21, looks at the most popular comedians on social media, which include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus. Using the global data provided by social media analytics company MVPindex, the chart takes social engagement and adds in the comedians' weekly additions of followers and subscribers.
Other comedians that made the list include Marlon Wayans at number seven, Amy Schumer at number eight, and Mike Epps in ninth place.
Marvel Studios(NEW YORK) -- Angela Bassett isn't afraid to tell it like it is. After losing the Academy Award in 1994 for her role as Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It, Basset is weighing in on her loss.
During a recent episode of Bravo's What What Happens Live, host Andy Cohen shared a comment from a fan who said they thought that the Black Panther actress should have won an Oscar for her role at Turner.
In the clip, Bassett laughs and agrees, "Yeah, me too."
Bassett lost that year to Holly Hunter for her role in The Piano.
As previously reported, a meme featuringAngela Bassett went viral earlier this month, questioning why the legendary actress has yet to receive acting's highest honor.
The meme, which is still circulating, reads, “So ya’ll mean to tell me Angela Bassett done played Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Tina Turner, Betty Shabazz, Biggie Mama, done got her Groove Back, Burned her cheatin husband clothes, and gave birth to the King of Wakanda and ya’ll STILL ain’t gave Auntie no Oscar??!”