Wed Feb 22 21:15:43 EST 2017
Say hello (in your best Wookieespeak) to Joonas Suotamo, the new Chewbacca!
Suotamo, 30, will take over the fur suit and signature roar for the new Han Solo movie, officially replacing veteran Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew, who portrayed Harrison Ford’s shaggy sidekick in the first three films and has been sidelined due to knee problems.
Chewbacca made it into the first official cast photo, released on Tuesday, but not all fans realized it was a newcomer under that mask.
After the big reveal, Suotamo posted a message on social media, writing, “I am profoundly grateful for this amazing opportunity to become a part of the Star Wars franchise that I have loved since my childhood.”
Here are five things you need to know about the next generation Wookiee warrior:
1. He’s tall and can ball
The Finnish actor stands tall at 6 ft. 10 in. (just a couple inches shorter than 7 ft. 2in. Mayhew) and is a former Penn State basketball player, who even played professionally in Europe from 2011-2015.
Suotamo graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film with aspirations to someday make it as an actor.
2. If you live in Finland, you might’ve bought insurance from him
Before acting, Suotamo lived in his native country and sold insurance to pay the bills.
“I actually sold the insurance over the phone, so my size wasn’t a factor when approaching people with my pitch,” he told Business Insider in January 2016.
While he strived to make it as an actor, his size affected his confidence. “I just didn’t believe my chances to get any acting part were possible because of my size, so I studied more behind the camera,” he explained.
3. He’s already filled Mayhew’s (furry) shoes
Suotamo calls Mayhew his Wookiee mentor, appearing alongside him in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, where he performed the more physical action scenes that proved too difficult for the 71-year-old.
“Peter’s guidance and kindness have been invaluable gifts which warmed my spirit and prepared me for this journey,” the incoming actor shared Tuesday. “I aspire to make Peter proud and bring Star Wars fans the Chewie they know and love.”
4. He was right behind Harrison Ford when the actor broke his leg on the Millennium Falcon
Suotamo was one of the people trying to help J.J. Abrams lift the Falcon door off of Ford’s broken leg during an on-set accident while filming Star Wars: Episode VII in June 2014.
5. He was destined to play Chewbacca
Abrams, who directed The Force Awakens, believed that Suotamo was the right guy to replace Mayhew.
“We had a wonderful guy, this Finnish actor who is twice as tall as I am, playing Chewbacca in many of the action scenes. They were both fantastic,” Abrams told Yahoo U.K. in December 2015. “There’s something about growing up 7 feet tall or more, 7’2” I think – that he had this love and respect and connection for this character of Chewie all his life. The fact that he got to play Chewie in so many scenes was a powerful thing for him.”
The next generation of Star Wars actors also includes Alden Ehrenreich, whom Ford passed the lightsaber to for the titular role.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres December 15, 2017.
Wed Feb 22 21:07:40 EST 2017
Looks like Guilherme “Bomba” Vasconcelos doesn’t want to let go of his superstar girlfriend, Demi Lovato.
Vasconcelos, an MMA Bellator fighter, posted a touching black and white photo with his girlfriend on Wednesday, holding her tight and smiling at the camera.
The caption read, “Baby,” along with a red heart emoji.
Lovato, 24, and the Brazilian welterweight, 30, were first linked back in July when an insider told PEOPLE they “had a quick fling” that ended shortly after. But the couple recently rekindled their romance, even ringing in the New Year together.
A source told PEOPLE in early January that the two were dating, following Lovato’s split from UFC fighter Luke Rockhold in December.
The pop star recently showed off her combat skills against her boyfriend in an Instagram video.
“When you kick bae’s a–,” Lovato captioned the clip of the pair playfully wrestling around at the Unbreakable Performance Gym in West Hollywood.
Wed Feb 22 21:00:59 EST 2017
Terra Jolé knows all to well the hardship and pain that can come from competing on Dancing with the Stars just weeks after giving birth.
“It was painful both emotionally and physically,” the Little Women: L.A. star and mother of two tells PEOPLE of starting on the ABC reality competition last fall just three weeks after having a cesarean section. “I worried about missing time with my kids, but I also ended up with three hernias and I had to have surgery after the season was over.”
Now with pro dancer Peta Murgatroyd officially returning to the show just over a month after welcoming son Shai with fiancé Maksim Chmerkovskiy on Jan. 4, Jolé has some advice for the first-time mom.
“Peta is a superstar and looked better pregnant than I do without a baby in my belly, so I’m sure she’s bounced back fast,” prefaces Jolé. “But your stamina is not what it was before your pregnancy. Your body is not the same after carrying a child for nine months and it’s still adjusting to not having that baby in there anymore.”
“One of the hardest parts for me was wanting to keep going in rehearsal but having to stop to pump,” continues Jolé, who is mom to daughter Penny, 1, and son Grayson Vincent, 7 months, with husband Joe Gnoffo. “ and I would want to keep going, but I would set a timer for every two hours and when it went off, I had to go pump. I’d try and push it but that wouldn’t go well. So I’d remind Peta to make sure to pump!”
While other contestants would spend hours at home rehearsing their routines in addition to the allotted time they got with their partners, Jolé says her motherhood duties meant getting creative when it came to preparing for the competition.
RELATED VIDEO: Terra Jolé Says Her Kids Inspired Her to Compete on DWTS
“I’d be breast feeding and watching a video of our dance over and over so I could figure it out and put it in my head until it became second nature,” she says.
Jolé, whose final weeks on DWTS will play out on the new season of Little Women: L.A. (premiering Tuesday), says the only way she was able to juggle her work commitments and motherhood duties was with her “incredibly supportive” husband and network of family and friends.
“Even with a team, it was a lot to juggle. I don’t know how Peta and Maks are going to do it while both of them are on the show,” says Jolé. “But if anyone can do it, they can. They’re such incredible people and dancers. I can only imagine they’re also great parents, as well.”
Season 24 of Dancing with the Stars is slated to premiere March 20 on ABC, and season 6 of Little Women: L.A. premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime.