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Black Widow: Seven talking points from the new trailer

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Image taken from the new Black Widow trailerImage copyright
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Scarlett Johansson stars in the latest Marvel movie

The first trailer for the new Black Widow movie has dropped, ahead of the film’s release in 2020.

The character first appeared in 2010’s Iron Man 2, and has since then been a significant figure in the Marvel cinematic universe.

The new film, starring Scarlett Johansson, isn’t an origin story, but it does come before the events of the last two Avengers movies, Infinity War and Endgame.

  • Avengers overtakes Avatar at all-time box office

It may not be out until May, but while we wait here’s seven talking points from Tuesday’s new trailer.

1) Just like Budapest!

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Marvel Entertainment

The opening shot of the Hungarian capital Budapest teases that we’ll finally uncover more about an event briefly mentioned in the first Avengers movie back in 2012.

In that film, during the intensity of the battle of New York, Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow – firing off gun shots – casually says to Hawkeye: “Just like Budapest, all over again.”

Hawkeye responds: “You and I remember Budapest very differently!”

It’s a reference that has intrigued and excited fans ever since. But there is a complicating factor. This movie is set after, not before The Avengers. It actually follows the events of Captain America: Civil War. So is Budapest here a flashback, or is Black Widow revisiting it after traumatic events in the past?

2) Black Widow’s recruitment?

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Marvel Entertainment

A male voice says to Black Widow: “Heard you had to leave in a hurry… so what are you going to do?”

It’s highly likely that this belongs to a younger version of Thaddeus Ross – the figure who ended up in charge of the programme that led to Bruce Banner accidentally becoming the Hulk. And who later is Secretary of State during the events of Captain America: Civil War.

In Black Widow, it seems likely we’re seeing him at an earlier point in his career, possibly recruiting one time KGB killer Black Widow to special law enforcement agency, SHIELD.

3) Good to see you too, Sis

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Marvel Entertainment

A confrontation, as Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff enters an apartment, introduces us to Yelena Belova, played by British star Florence Pugh.

In the comic-books, Yelena, like Natasha, is a product of the Black Widow programme which trains young women to become spies and assassins.

Natasha refers to Yelena as ‘sis’. They might be blood relatives, but perhaps more likely is that they feel like family because they’ve both come through the home of the Black Widow programme – the Red Room.

4) Inside the Red Room

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Marvel Entertainment

Speaking of the Red Room…

We get a brief glimpse of part of the training facility, as more than a dozen gun-wielding women in Black Widow style outfits practice carefully choreographed and deadly-looking moves.

5) Who is The Taskmaster?

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Marvel Universe

A car chase through a city is the introduction for who at this stage appears to be the film’s main villain – Taskmaster.

In the comic books, one of Taskmaster’s powerful abilities is the character’s photographic reflexes, which makes them able to replicate the skills of anyone they observe (imagine that for a second).

Like Hawkeye, the character uses a bow and arrow as one of their weapons, so Taskmaster may have encountered him at some point.

Fans have been speculating on who might be behind Taskmaster’s mask. One theory is that in such a female-centred movie, it would be appropriate for the villain to be a woman.

6) Meet Melina

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Marvel Entertainment

Rachel Weisz’s Melina, widely assumed to be Melina Vostokoff, is another graduate of the Black Widow programme – who in the Marvel comics goes on to become the deadly super villain, Iron Maiden.

Here, she may be an early mentor figure for Black Widow.

7) Red Guardian returns?

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Marvel Entertainment

A dinner table scene also helps to introduce the trailer’s last major character, Alexei Shostakov – aka Red Guardian – played by Stranger Things star David Harbour.

He dons a costume, stating with satisfaction that it “still fits” despite having put on weight over the years. The strong implication is that Shostakov has returned to become the Red Guardian – Russia’s answer to Captain America – after some considerable time.

At the table he proclaims: “Family, back together again!” In the Marvel comics, Shostakov is at one point married to Natasha before she becomes Black Widow, although this storyline looks unlikely to be reflected in this movie.

Black widow hits UK cinemas on 1 May.

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How Dan Aykroyd went from battling spirits to selling them

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Dan Aykroyd

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Dan Aykroyd has been a professional actor for more than 45 years

The BBC’s weekly The Boss series profiles different business leaders from around the world. This week we speak to Canadian actor and vodka entrepreneur Dan Aykroyd.

As a much-loved Hollywood star, it is fair to say that a great many movie fans would be relieved to know that Dan Aykroyd didn’t pursue his initial career plan to become a priest.

Instead of following that path of spirituality, he went into stand-up comedy and then acting, for which he is perhaps best-known for battling evil spirits in the 1984 box office smash Ghostbusters.

In more recent years Aykroyd has delved into the business of another kind of spirits – alcoholic drinks – selling both tequila and vodka.

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He has run his own vodka company since 2007

As warm and friendly in real life as his public persona suggests, he says that his now more than 45 years as a professional actor made him very well prepared to make the step across to also being an entrepreneur.

“The moment I entered the acting trade I was in ‘show business’,” says the 67-year-old. “I had to market and broker deals for myself.

“Every audition is a sale, then you have to follow it up with a contract, union obligations, tax planning, as well as – if you have a good job as an actor – investment.

“Then, when I was originating my projects, that is selling a piece of material, I had to set a value and broker a deal. So, I’ve been in show business all the way through. It’s not too hard to look at the numbers in another dimension.”

Born in Ottawa, the Canadian capital, in 1952, his dad was a policy advisor to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the father of the current incumbent Justin. Aykroyd’s mother was a secretary.

He attended Catholic school, hence the initial plan to become a priest, but changed his mind at the age of 17. He then studied criminology and sociology at Carleton University in Ottawa, only to drop out before completing his degree. Instead of studying he started out as a comedian, and helped to run a bar.

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The Blues Brothers movie helped Aykroyd become a household name

His big break came in 1975 when, aged 22, he was appointed to the writing team of a forthcoming new US comedy sketch show called Saturday Night Live. Aykroyd managed to also get himself a starring role, and he was a key feature of the first four series that ran from that year to 1979.

Film work then followed, and in 1980 he had a major hit starring in The Blues Brothers, for which he also co-wrote the screenplay. The movie remains a much-loved comedy classic, and Aykroyd still occasionally tours with the “The Blues Brothers Band”, singing as his character from the film – Elwood Blues.

Ghostbusters arrived four years later, which he again co-wrote, and he was shortlisted for a best supporting actor Oscar for 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy. Other film highlights include Trading Places, Spies Like Us, Antz, and Grosse Pointe Blank.

Aykroyd has also directed one movie – 1991’s Nothing But Trouble – which he says helped hone his management skills. “The first thing [as a director] is that you have to respect what others are doing for you, respect that they have skills and abilities that you may think you know something about, but you don’t, because you don’t do that particular function with an organisation,” he says. “Let them do their job.”

Unfortunately the film was a flop, costing $40m (£31m), but only making $8.5m at the box office. “The studio will kill you if you lose that kind of money,” he says. “Your career’s hit with a sniper’s bullet.”

Luckily, however, Aykroyd’s film career weathered that storm.

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The original Ghostbusters movie was a global box office success

His first business venture came in 1992 when he co-founded the House of Blues live music venue and restaurant chain. The business is now owned by entertainment giant Live Nation, but Aykroyd remains a paid consultant.

The move into the alcohol industry came in 2005, when Aykroyd set up a company to import Patron tequila into Canada. Two years later he launched his pride and joy – Crystal Head vodka.

More The Boss features:

Easy to spot thanks to its human skull-shaped glass bottle, Aykroyd says it is a premium product. It is made in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador from Canadian corn, and he remains the majority owner.

He adds that the bottle design was chosen as a nod to the legend that ancient tribes across the Americas used crystal skulls in religious ceremonies. The vodka has now sold more than 13 million bottles.

“I go around the world talking about the fluid and how proud I am that it’s from Canada, I get to talk up my country,” says Aykroyd.

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Aykroyd and his wife Donna Dixon have been married for 37 years

Holly Wyatt, managing partner of Kinetic Brands, a Canadian company that helps promote spirits, says that Crystal Head has certainly benefited from the fact it is owned by a celebrity.

“When Aykroyd launched it, it was cool because it was him,” she says. “It is also a great package and a great liquid, so people would go back to it. But him being still being involved is very evidently a reason why some consumers buy the brand.”

While the vodka business takes up some of his time, he is still busy with acting work. Not that he needs the money – his net wealth is estimated at $135m.

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This summer’s Ghostbusters movie will see Aykroyd reunite with co-star and friend Billy Murray

This summer he stars in the latest Ghostbusters movie, the fourth in the series. He says he is pleased to be wrestling with the supernatural kind of spirits again.

In fact, Aykroyd has had a lifelong interest in the supernatural, something he picked up from his father, and a great grandfather who was a mystic.

“You know, my great grandfather Sam Aykroyd, the psychic researcher and dentist from Kingston, Ontario, would be very happy that Ghostbusters has stimulated such fun and laughter, as well as interest in the paranormal.”



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Mac Miller sounds ‘at peace’ on posthumous album

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Before Mac Miller died in 2018, he was working on an album called Circles.

The songs were being finished with the help of songwriter and producer Jon Brion, who went on to complete the album after Mac’s death.

The rapper’s family decided to release the album, which is out today, saying in an Instagram post that it’s a “complicated process that has no right answer”.

There can be concerns over whether putting out someone’s music after they’ve died is the right thing to do, with fans worrying about the impact it might have on artist’s legacy.

“I think sometimes the families try and capitalise on the music in a way that’s not what the artist would’ve wanted”, says 26-year-old Henry Dean.

He’s a photographer and Mac Miller fan, and he worked with the rapper a few years ago on a magazine shoot. He spoke to Radio 1 Newsbeat at a free event to celebrate the UK release of the new album.

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Henry is pictured here with some of his art of Mac

“Posthumous music is a murky area. I’m always sceptical of whether it’s being handled right. Obviously, I don’t know Mac’s inner circle so I can’t judge.

“Artists have banks of thousands of songs and not all of them are meant to come out, so I’m hoping everything on this album is stuff that he was actively planning on releasing.”

In their post on Instagram, Mac’s family said: “We simply know that it was important to Malcom for the world to hear it”

“The look on his face when everyone was listening said it all.”

After the launch event in east London, fans seemed pleased with the result.

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Paris, Lauren, Ray and Simone were excited to hear Mac Miller’s new album

“It sounded perfect, it was very Mac Miller,” says 23-year-old fan Paris.

“You could tell it was something he would’ve wanted to come out had he been here.”

Paris’ friend Lauren agrees.

“I was a bit worried it was going to be Mac’s voice on someone else’s songs, because it wasn’t finished by him. Having listened, it was a very Mac album all the way through.

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Mac Miller was 26 when he died from an accidental overdose

Roisin O’Connor is the music correspondent for the Independent. She was invited to listen to the album by the music producers who worked on it.

“Hearing them talk, it was made very clear that the family had given their blessing for the album to be released,” she says.

“It wasn’t just scraps of material, it was intended to be an album. He’d completed a lot of it before his death – it was final touches. To release it was almost like fulfilling his wishes.”

She says that while posthumous music releases can be treacherous territory, Circles feels like a complete body of work from Mac himself.

“It’s him at his creative peak. He sounds at peace, and philosophical about getting through each day.”

Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here.





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Belfast artist Jordan Adetunji on Ireland’s hip-hop music scene

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Hip hop music has seen a surge in popularity right across the island of Ireland over the last number of years.

Local artists are seeing their music make waves both at home and across the globe, headlining shows and playing venues, something Jordan Adetunji admits that only a couple of years ago “wouldn’t really be happening”.

The Belfast artist became the first ever hip-hop act to play at the NI Music Prize in 2019.

He spoke to BBC News NI about the “developing” scene that isn’t “just the typical”.

Video journalist: Jordan Kenny



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