August 24, 2020
Former EastEnder Alex Ferns has become the latest former soap star to impress fans with his US success, after his role in the new Batman film was teased in a new trailer
From Soapland To Hollywood: 17 Soap Stars Who Found Success In The US
The Actor is set to play Gotham police Commissioner Pete Savage in the caped crusader’s upcoming big-screen outing – but he’s far from the first small screen star to go from soapland to Hollywood.
Over the years, the likes of EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Coronation Street have developed a proven track record when it comes to helping launch international careers. 
And it’s not just British soaps either, as Neighbours and Home & Away have seen more than a few of their young stars jet off to LA and impress movie business bigwigs.
Here’s just 17 former soap stars who made a name for themselves Stateside... Ben HardyIn one pretty impressive career move, former EastEnders star Ben (aka Peter Beale) swapped Walford for Wolverine by nabbing a role in X-Men: Apocalypse, playing Angel. 
He also won acclaim when he was cast as Roger Taylor in the hit Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, and has appeared in other films including Only The Brave and 6 Underground.Nathalie EmmanuelNathalie went from playing Hollyoaks’ Sasha Valentine to starring in one of the world’s biggest shows when she was cast as Missandei in Game of Thrones in 2013 – a role she played until the series’ conclusion in 2019. 
She currently voices Deet in Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, while her film credits include her role as Ramsey in Fast And Furious 7, 8 and the upcoming 9th instalment, as well as the Maze Runner film series.Roxanne McKeeRoxanne spent three years in Hollyoaks as Louise Summers, before taking a number of small parts in the UK and eventually relocating.
In the US, she reached a new fanbase when she played Doreah in Game Of Thrones from 2011 to 2012, before going on to appear in US TV series Dominion, as well as starring in films including Vendetta and The Legend of Hercules.Sam StrikeEastEnders’ original Johnny Carter actor Sam followed Ben Hardy’s lead out of from Albert Square, and nabbed himself a part in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel Leatherface. 
He has also appeared on US TV series Mindhunter, Nightflyers and FBI: Most Wanted.Ricky WhittleRicky set off for LA not long after leaving his role as Calvin Valentine in Hollyoaks in 2011.
After nabbing a number of small roles, he finally got his big US break in 2014, when he began playing Lincoln in the CW Network drama The 100. 
Since then, Ricky has appeared in the US adaptation of BBC drama Mistresses, as well as taking the lead role of Shadow moon in American Gods. In 2018, he also appeared in Netflix film Nappily Ever After.Rachel Shenton and Chris OvertonRachel – who played Mitzeee Minniver on Hollyoaks – won an Oscar in 2018 for her short film The Silent Child, which told the story of a four-year-old deaf girl, learning to communicate. 
She wrote, produced and starred in the film, while her real-life boyfriend Chris – who previously appeared as a cagefighter on Hollyoaks – directed it.Claire CooperClaire waved goodbye to Hollyoaks’ Jacqui McQueen in 2013, going on to star in the NBC drama A.D. The Bible Continues. 
She has since appeared in TV series Strike Back, Knightfall and 12 Monkeys, as well as In The Club back here in the UK.Michelle RyanBack in 2007, Michelle became one of EastEnders’ first big international successes when the former Zoe Slater star was cast in a US TV remake of The Bionic Woman.Anna FrielWhile you’re more likely to recognise Anna from movies, ITV’s Marcella, or perhaps the West End stage, she actually started out in Brookside back in 1993.
She headed out to the US in the late 90s, and appeared in a plethora of films and TV shows, but her breakthrough role came in 2007 when she was cast in the lead role of comedy drama Pushing Daises. The show earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress
Some of Anna’s film credits include Limitless, The Look of Love and I.T, while her role in British crime noir Marcella also won her an International Emmy Award in 2017.Chris HemsworthLong before Chris was making film fans swoon as Hollywood superhero Thor, he was tearing up the waves of Summer Bay as Home & Away’s Kim Hyde. 
As well as his Marvel Cinematic Universe role, Chris’ film credits include SNOW White and the Huntsman, Ghostbusters and Men in Black: International.Liam HemsworthChris’ little brother Liam had guest roles in Aussie’s two biggest soaps Neighbours and Home And Away before finding a new level of fame in The Hunger Games film series alongside Jennifer Lawrence in 2012. 
His other film credits include Independence Day: Resurgence, The Expendables 2 and Netflix’s Isn’t It Romantic?Rob KazinskyRob’s bad boy character Sean Slater caused plenty of trouble in Walford prior to his exit in 2009, and he went on to stir things up as a vampire in US fantasy horror series True Blood in 2013. 
Since then, Rob’s appeared in films including Pacific Rim, Hot Pursuit and Captain Marvel and starred in Fox series Second Chance.Zaraah AbrahamsZaraah left her role as Coronation Street’s Joanne Jackson back in 2007, and in 2015 she starred in the US medical drama The Knick, where she played Opal Edwards in the second series.Samara WeavingAfter waving goodbye to Summer Bay in 2013 when she left her role as Home & Away’s Indi Walker, Samara packed off to the US where she was cast in Ash vs Evil Dead in 2015.
In 2017, she appeared in Oscar-winning film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and is set to appear in Bill & Ted Face the music in 2020. Her other US TV credits include SMILF, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Netflix mini-series Hollywood. Barry SloaneBarry, who played Hollyoaks serial killer Niall Rafferty until 2008, and went on to have a regular role in hit US drama Revenge from 2012 to 2014.
He’s also appeared in The Whispers, Longmire, Saints & Strangers, Six, L.A.’s Finest and Bluff City Law.Margot RobbieMargot is arguably soapland’s biggest Hollywood export, having gone from Neighbours school girl Donna Friedman to Leonardo DiCaprio’s on-screen wife Naomi Lapaglia in The Wolf Of Wall Street. 
Since her international breakthrough role, Margot has starred in films including Focus, The Big Short, The Legend of Tarzan, Suicide Squad, Goodbye Christopher Robin, Mary Queen of Scots and Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood. 
Margot was also nominated for Oscars for her roles in I, Tonya and Bomshell.READ MORE: Did You Spot Trevor From EastEnders In The New Batman Trailer? OK, We Need To Talk About Colin Farrell's Unbelievable Transformation In The Batman Trailer The Batman Director Reveals Feature Of Robert Pattinson's Suit We Could Have Done Without Knowing
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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