THE WEEK IN WOMEN news roundup: Jodie Whittaker becomes first female lead on ‘Doctor Who,’ Ava DuVernay wows with first ‘Wrinkle in Time’ trailer, Taraji. P. Henson joins ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ sequel

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The BBC announced Sunday that Jodie Whittaker, who previously starred on the British TV crime drama “Broadchurch,” will be the 13th time lord on the long-running series “Doctor Who.” BBC photo

The BBC announced Sunday that Jodie Whittaker, who previously starred on the British TV crime drama “Broadchurch,” will be the 13th time lord on the long-running series “Doctor Who.” BBC photo

The 13th doctor is in, and the iconic science fiction series finally has a female lead.

The BBC announced Sunday that Jodie Whittaker, who previously starred on the British TV crime drama “Broadchurch,” will be the 13th time lord on the long-running series “Doctor Who.” The news was revealed after the Wimbledon men’s tennis finals on BBC One, as well as on the show’s official Twitter feed, according to Variety.

“I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey, with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet,” Whittaker said. “It’s more than an honor to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”

Whittaker succeeds Peter Capaldi, who became the 12th doctor in 2013 but was ready to move on from the legendary role.

“Anyone who has seen Jodie Whittaker’s work will know that she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm,” he said. “She has above all the huge heart to play this most special part. She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.”

Steven Moffat — who teamed with another “Doctor Who” writer, Mark Gatiss, on another beloved Brit show in “Sherlock” — is leaving the show with Capaldi. Variety reports that he has a new project and a “Dracula” series in the making with Gatiss.

The final episode of the Moffat and Capaldi era is a special scheduled for Christmas Day.

Chris Chibnall, also of “Broadchurch,” has been named the new “Doctor Who” showrunner. His first season next year will be the 11th of the new generation of the show.

“I always knew I wanted the 13th Doctor to be a woman, and we’re thrilled to have secured our No. 1 choice,” Chibnall said. “Her audition for the Doctor simply blew us all away. Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role.”

“Doctor Who” debuted in 1963, but its current incarnation dates back to the 2005 reboot with Christopher Eccleston as the doctor. David Tennant, who went on to do “Broadchurch,” among his other projects, and Matt Smith, now appearing on the Netflix series “The Crown,” played the part between Eccleston and Capaldi’s runs.

“Doctor Who” airs on BBC One in the U.K. and on BBC America in the U.S., as well as globally.

Ava DuVernay reveals first ‘Wrinkle in Time’ trailer

Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay (“13th,” “Selma”) revealed the first trailer for her eagerly awaited adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time” at D23, the Disney fan expo in Anaheim, California, and I have goose bumps.

Storm Reid stars the brilliant but awkward teenager Meg, who with her friend Calvin (Levi Miller) and genius younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCade), is tasked with traveling across dimensions to rescue her scientist father (Chris Pine).

Reese Witherspoon plays Mrs. Whatsit, Mindy Kaling appears as Mrs. Who, and Oprah Winfrey co-stars as Mrs. Which, the trio of supernatural guides on Meg’s journey.

Zach Galifianakis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Michael Pena also star in the adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1960s Newberry Medal-winning book of the same name, which has been one of my all-time favorite books since childhood. “Frozen” writer and co-director Jennifer Lee penned the screenplay.

According to the Los Angeles Times, DuVernay told the crowd at D23 she was drawn to L’Engle’s beloved novel for a variety of reasons.

“The thing that attracted me to the project is that I saw myself in it, and I saw so many different kinds of people in it,” she said. “It’s a family story wrapped in an epic adventure, where you see worlds you’ve never seen before.”

Winfrey, who also was in attendance at the event, said she hadn’t read the book when DuVernay first approached her about the role.

“When Ava mentioned it to me and told me it was a character who is one of the wisest women in the universe,” she said, “and is an angelic, celestial being who is going to get to wear amazing costumes and get to work with Reese [Witherspoon] and Mindy [Kaling] as part of the Mrs. team — who wouldn’t say yes to that?”

As the L.A. Times previously reported, DuVernay  becomes the first woman of color to direct a live-action film with a production budget of more than $100 million with “A Wrinkle in Time.”

The epic adventure is due in theaters March 9, 2018.

Watch the trailer here, and let the countdown begin.

After playing a mathematical genius in "Hidden Figures," Taraji P. Henson, center, will give voice to an algorithm in the "Wreck-It Ralph" sequel. 20th Century Fox photo

After playing a mathematical genius in “Hidden Figures,” Taraji P. Henson, center, will give voice to an algorithm in the “Wreck-It Ralph” sequel. 20th Century Fox photo

Taraji P. Henson joins ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ sequel

After playing a mathematical genius in the Oscar-nominated crowd-pleaser “Hidden Figures,” Taraji P. Henson has been cast to give voice to an algorithm named Yesss in the videogame romp “Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck -It Ralph 2,” the sequel to the 2012 Disney animated hit. The news also was just unveiled during a presentation at D23, reports Deadline Hollywood.

In the sequel, adventuresome videogame princess and racecar driver Vanellope (voice of Sarah Silverman) and her videogame villain pal Ralph (John C. Reilly) escape their games’ arcade and enter the Internet.

Just for D23 attendees, Disney showed a clip from the new movie in which Vanellope meets all the other Disney animated princesses. According to Deadline, the clip dovetailed into a panel featuring actresses who have given voice to the past princesses, including Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell (“Frozen”), Mandy Moore (“Tangled”), Auli’i Cravalho (“Moana”), Anika Noni Rose (“The Princess And The Frog”),  Kelly MacDonald (“Brave”), Ming Na Wen (“Mulan”), Jodi Benson (“The Little Mermaid”), Paige O’Hara (“Beauty And The Beast”) and Linda Larkin (“Aladdin”) all on the same stage.

The “Wreck-It Ralph” sequel will jump into theaters Nov. 21, 2018. The original grossed $471.2 million at the global box office and was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars and the Golden Globes.

Lily James tapped for ‘Mamma Mia’ follow-up

Lily James (“Baby Driver,” 2015’s live action “Cinderella”) has signed on to star in Universal’s sequel to the smash movie-musical “Mamma Mia,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Ol Parker, who wrote “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and its sequel, penned and will direct “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!” The new cinematic song-and-dance will groove into theaters July 20, 2018.

Several stars from the original movie — including Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski and Colin Firth — will return for the follow-up.

“Mamma Mia!” was adapted from the popular stage musical of the same name showcasing the music of 1970s pop hit-makers ABBA. The sequel will include ABBA songs not featured in the first film, along with returning favorites.

James, who showed off a pretty voice with “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” in “Cinderella,” will play the younger version of Streep’s lead character, Donna. The sequel will move back and forth in time to show how relationships forged in the past resonate in the present, according to the trade publication.

As previously reported, the $609.8 million racked up by 2008’s “Mamma Mia!,” which was directed by Phyllida Lloyd, made it the highest-grossing live-action film to be directed by a woman, a record the movie-musical held until earlier this summer, when it was surpassed by Patty Jenkins’ superheroic “Wonder Woman.”

Since she waltzed into moviegoers hearts as the live-action incarnation of the kindly Cinderella, James has been keeping busy, with her other upcoming projects including the Winston Churchill drama “Darkest Hour” with Gary Oldman, the romantic drama “Guernsey” and the modern Western “Little Woods” with Tessa Thompson.


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