ET Obsessions: ‘Thor: Ragnarok,’ ‘The Last Match’ Off-Broadway and More!
By Stacy Lambe
STXfilms / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Joan Marcus / Disney Lucasfilm Press
Here at ET, we’re obsessed with a lot of things -- and here’s what we’re most excited about this week:
Why We’re Obsessed With ‘The Last Match’
Tennis is having a good year off the court with the Oscar-worthy Battle of the Sexes, starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, and Shia LaBeouf earning rave reviews for his portrayal of John McEnroe in Borg/McEnroe, which opened the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. Continuing the winning streak is Anna Ziegler’s The Last Match, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch. Starring Wilson Bethel as Tim and Alex Mickiewicz as Sergei, rivals facing off in the semifinals at the U.S. Open, the play gets into the psyche of two players who stand to gain as much as they could potentially lose. But it’s not just for tennis fans -- Ziegler’s riveting story brings the drama and action of Arthur Ashe Stadium to the stage in this surprisingly intimate performance.
The Last Match’s limited Off-Broadway engagement is now playing until Dec. 23 at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre.
Why We’re Obsessed With ‘Thor: Ragnarok’
The god of thunder (Chris Hemsworth) is finally back with a long-awaited new installment in the ongoing Thor series. But what sets Ragnarok apart is the introduction of a “brand new” Thor. “We've kept all the best parts of the old character, but he's a new guy,” director Taika Waititi told ET during a visit to the Australian set. “He's spent two years on Earth with the Avengers...It's a lot of reboot, but it's [also] a reinvigoration.” Thor’s transformation comes complete with a new attitude, a new look and a new love interest, Valkyrie (played by Westworld’s Tessa Thompson), albeit one with a very different dynamic. “Valkyrie is certainly an equal, as far as [she is] physically imposing or threatening and her fighting skill set. And Thor is in awe of the Valkyrie ever since he was a young boy, so he's meeting his idol,” Hemsworth said of the character. Adding to the intrigue is that, according to Thompson, Valkyrie is bisexual, making her the first LGBTQ character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also joining the cast this season is Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster and Cate Blanchett in another MCU first as the franchise’s first female villain, Hela, the goddess of death. Ultimately, Thor is "just having so much fun with what it is, relishing in being a big, breezy, laugh out loud space romp."
Following the box office success of Bad Moms, Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell are back again as a trio of moms looking to let loose and have a little fun. This time, it’s the holidays, and these women not only have to live up the expectations of having the perfect Christmas, but also are stuck hosting their own mothers -- played by Cheryl Hines, Christine Baranski and Susan Sarandon -- when things hit a tipping point. When it came to landing Sarandon as Hahn’s mother, the Transparent actress revealed to ET that she wrote her a letter asking her to be in the movie. “I was like, we all wanted her so badly, because I was like, ‘Only one woman in the world could make [my character] Carla feel small, and that's her mother, and if that person could be you, it would be so amazing,’” Hahn said. Also joining the fun is This Is Us star Justin Hartley as a sexy, shirtless Santa, who described Hahn as a comedic genius.
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FLASHBACK: On the 1997 Set of 'Cinderella' with Whitney Houston and Brandy
Why We’re Obsessed With ‘Cinderella’ Starring Brandy and Whitney Houston
Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical Cinderella has been adapted for screen several times throughout the years, notably with Julie Andrews and Lesley Ann Warren in the title role. But in 1997, singing legend Whitney Houston made her lifelong dream of adapting Rogers and Hammerstein's original 1957 musical and gifted the world with a soulful and memorable retelling of the classic fairy tale. This version of Cinderella featured an all-star, multi-racial cast including Brandy as the film’s heroine, Whoopi Goldberg, Jason Alexander and Bernadette Peters. 20 years later we still can’t get this version out of our heads and thankfully for us, Fuse is celebrating the 20th anniversary with a commemorative broadcast of the groundbreaking TV movie.
A Night of Magic: 20th Anniversary of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella airs Nov. 2, at 5 p.m. ET/PT on Fuse.
Why We’re Obsessed With ‘Leia, Princess of Alderaan’
With just over 40 days left until the theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, we’ve turned to the book series, Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, to tide us over -- and Leia, Princess of Alderaan is a great example of how fulfilling the literary side of the Star Wars expanded universe has proved to be. We meet Leia as she eagerly inherits the responsibilities that come with being royalty, which happens to coincide with the initial formation of the Rebel Alliance. Claudia Gray’s novel surrounds itself with familiar people and events, and much like Chuck Wendig’s terrific Aftermath trilogy, the story also stands on its own for any level of Star Wars fan. That being said, Leia also provides some potentially significant details about the planet Crait seen in TLJ trailers, but the book’s true reward is simply spending time with the beloved character (portrayed onscreen by Carrie Fisher) before her upcoming final appearance in the Skywalker saga.