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Zoe Saldana on her hero, 'strong female characters,' and playing real women (and aliens)

Zoe Saldana knows how to play ass-kicking, universe-saving, unusually colorful heroes like Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy, Neytiri in Avatar, and Uhura in Star Trek. But for her new AOL web series, Saldana turned the camera on everyday people who play the role of the hero.

In My Hero, which debuted yesterday, Saldana and some of her fellow celebrities—including Julianne Hough, Nick Cannon and Maria Menounos—pay tribute to the people they cherish via short, touching vignettes. “People are generally very grateful to the people around them that keep them together, that supported them, that encouraged them to become what they are as artists,” the actress says. “So we thought, what a great opportunity to do a show about this and send a very positive message out there. Because I find it hard to believe that anybody makes it on their own. There’s always somebody that helped you in some way.”

In the interview below, Saldana tells EW about how her hero (spoiler: it’s her mom) inspired her to make a habit of playing rather… ethereal characters. The actress also talks about balancing the upcoming sequels to her three big franchises with motherhood (she’s pregnant with twins!), why movies need more real women—not strong ones—and why we should stop saying the word “ethnic.” READ FULL STORY

The problem with collecting comics

Like most things made by people, the comics industry is rife with frustrating institutional problems that will probably never be solved in our lifetimes. If you ask five different people about the worst thing to happen to comics, you’d probably get five different answers (or one cheating answer: the 90s). But, as someone who writes about comics, here’s the one that I find the most destructive, the one that gets in the way of a lot of people reading and enjoying great work: the idea that comics are supposed to be collected.

Note how I worded that. There is nothing inherently wrong with collecting comics, but the idea that it’s what you’re supposed to do is what’s destructive, because of what it implies. First and foremost, comics are meant to be read and enjoyed. Collecting comics just sort of happens as a natural extension of that—they pile up, and since they’re serial narratives, you want to hold on to them while seeking out gaps—after all, who wants to have just part of a story?

No, this is about the other kind of collecting.

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This Week on Stage: 'Disgraced' is anything but, Keira Knightley preps her Broadway debut

We were all hoping that the London production of Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour would mark Keira Knightley’s Broadway debut (she got great reviews in 2011 starring opposite Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss), but we’ll take her however we can get her. Next fall, she will make her Broadway debut in Roundabout Theatre Company’s adaptation of the tragic novel Thérèse Raquin, continuing with Knightley’s affinity for period dramas. In other news, Big Brother standout Frankie J. Grande (the bro of another famous Grande, Ariana) will take on a supporting role in Rock of Ages for two months beginning Nov. 10 (not his first rodeo, though-he was famously in Mamma Mia! some years back) and the Shubert Organization, the titans who own most of the Broadway houses in NYC, announced a deal with super-producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan to produce new content for the stage. Which, given their involvement with lofty projects like (ahem) The Oscars means more big stars to keep those attendances on the Great White Way sky high. It was also a very busy week for the folks at EW, with six new Broadway and Off Broadway openings:  Josh Radnor and Gretchen Mol return to the stage after the wrap of their long-running TV shows, How I Met Your Mother and Boardwalk Empire (whose finale airs this weekend). A valued member of the Redgrave dynasty takes on a classic solo. And speaking of Mad Men, Vincent Kartheiser goes all accent-y to capture the spirit of the late, great Billy Wilder (click on the links below for full reviews).

Disgraced  The 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winner for Drama by Ayad Akhtar finally receives a Broadway berth courtesy of Lincoln Center (which first produced it in their black-box Off Broadway space), with new actors Josh Radnor and Gretchen Mol joining actors Hari Dhillon and Karen Pittman from previous productions. Senior editor Thom Geier feels the work hasn’t lost any of his luster, stating that “we get an engaging snapshot of the challenge for upwardly mobile Muslim Americans in the post-9/11 age…Akhtar packs a lot into his scenes, in terms of both coincidence-heavy personal drama and talky disquisitions on religion and politics, but he usually manages to pull back from the edge of too-muchness.” EW grade: B+

The Belle of Amherst  Nip/Tuck star Joely Richardson takes on one of the late Julie Harris’ most acclaimed roles, essaying Emily Dickinson, but did senior editor Adam Markovitz find her the Belle of the ball? “It’s easy to see why Richardson would be drawn to a revival…there’s nowhere to hide if it doesn’t work, no one to lean on if the energy flags. For Richardson, the gamble doesn’t quite pay off. During a recent performance, trudging through a few fumbled lines and what sounded like an ill-timed cold, the actress often gave the impression that she was marking out the play’s beats—laugh here, fall down crying there—without fully acting them.” EW grade: C READ FULL STORY

'Constantine' star Matt Ryan is a super binge watcher

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The premiere of Constantine (Oct. 24 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC) will introduce many viewers to Welsh-born actor Matt Ryan, who stars as the titular demon hunter and master of the occult made famous in DC Comics’ Hellblazer series. But when Ryan stopped by EW, we got a head start. We learned he uses classical music to get into character (Schoenberg is great for getting into those dark places, he says). He had been reading the Hellblazer comic books before he went to bed, but he found himself having strange dreams, so now he unwinds by putting on nature programs instead . He is competitive when he’s playing the FIFA video game but less so when it comes to Call of Duty. “The thing is with Call of Duty, I don’t have enough time to become so good at it, so if I go and play online, I’m just getting my ass kicked by 12-year-old kids,” he says. And despite the fact that he films Constantine in Atlanta, the same city where his best mate Joseph Morgan shoots The Originals, they rarely get to see one another. (The two met in college and bonded over a shared love of genre films. They’ve costarred in 2013’s Armistice, which falls into that category, and  in 500 Miles North, which should be released next year and centers on two estranged brothers on a road trip to scatter their father’s ashes and recreate childhood memories to secure their inheritance.)

As for Ryan’s fascination with the dark side, he traces it back to childhood camping trips and the requisite scary stories that accompanied them. None of them quite prepared him for Constantine. “I feel sometimes that the writers sit in the office in LA going, ‘What can we do to Matt Ryan?’ I’ve been naked covered in blood, flung around the place doing exorcisms,” he says. At least that means our Pop Culture Personality Test was a piece of cake. Watch the video and read the transcript below.  READ FULL STORY

Entertainment Geekly: How 'The Walking Dead' is 'Lord of the Rings'

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Robert Kirkman likes to describe The Walking Dead as a zombie movie that never ends. But to my eyes, the most interesting thing about the show is how it’s spent five seasons fluttering between different storytelling modes. The show lacks a single setting and makes a point of killing off at least a couple key cast members every season. This can make The Walking Dead feel unwieldy or unfocused, but it also means that there’s an exciting state of constant flux underpinning the show’s basic head-crushing thrills. I’ve always said that original showrunner Frank Darabont most clearly viewed his version of The Walking Dead as a kind of neo-western, with Sheriff Rick as a clean-cut cowboy wanderer set morally adrift in a new frontier apocalypse. READ FULL STORY

Watch Benedict Cumberbatch try to walk like Beyonce

This is the stuff memes are made of: Benedict Cumberbatch attempting to do Beyoncé’s walk.  READ FULL STORY

Ewan McGregor has some unkind words for 'Star Wars' 'fans'

Ewan McGregor had no small task in taking over for Alec Guinness when he was cast as a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menance. Regardless of his work in the film, the return of the franchise was met by rather tough criticism that continues long after the movie premiered.

Well, McGregor has a response to those “fans”though he calls them by another name.

READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: Which classic (or 'classic') film have you never seen?

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The Terminator was released 30 years ago this weekend—but our Hillary Busis hadn’t seen it until this past week. (Of course, she’s not alone; everyone has at least one shameful gap in their pop cultural knowledge. So we opened up the question to our staffers: What’s a classic (or “classic”) film that you’ve missed? Read through our choices—and feel free to chime in with your own.

Kyle Ryan, EW.com editor: It won Best Picture in 1962 and is No. 7 on the AFI’s “100 best films” list, but not only have I never seen Lawrence of Arabia, I can barely tell you what it’s about. Peter O’Toole’s in it, there’s a lot of sand and loose clothing… uh, I think it’s a glimpse into Middle Eastern colonialism in the 20th century? That’s a hoity-toity B.S. description that sounds knowledgeable—if only I could work in “hegemony”—but more or less says, “I haven’t seen this movie.” And I have virtually no desire to. Something about the sweeping epics of yesteryear turns me off, even though I vowed to watch Lawrence of Arabia after O’Toole died last year. I have, however, seen Mr. Mom roughly 1,000 times. READ FULL STORY

Aaron Paul takes on Toys 'R' Us after 'Breaking Bad' toys are pulled

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Looks like Toys “R” Us won’t be on Aaron Paul’s holiday shopping destinations. READ FULL STORY

The 5 most interesting facts about 'Super Smash Bros. for Wii U'

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Nintendo revealed over 50 facts about the latest version of its fighting franchise, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. While many of these bits of information are rather small, a few reveal just what will make the game worthy of a purchase after the recently released Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.

Here are the five most exciting revelations:

READ FULL STORY

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