The daily gossip: Star Wars’ John Boyega skewers Disney, David Blaine goes for a flight, and more

John Boyega has opened up about the recently-concluded Star Wars sequel trilogy, and voiced disappointment with how his character, Finn, was handled. “What I would say to Disney is do not bring out a Black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are, and then have them pushed to the side,” Boyega said. He added that the creators “gave all the nuance to Adam Driver [and] Daisy Ridley.” Boyega did mount a bit of a defense of director J.J. Abrams, who stepped in to helm 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker after Colin Trevorrow left the project: “Everybody needs to leave my boy alone,” Boyega said. “He wasn’t even supposed to come back and try to save your sh-t.” [GQ, The Week]

David Blaine just pulled a Carl Fredricksen. In his latest stunt on Wednesday, the illusionist broadcast himself on YouTube floating thousands of feet up in the sky, attached to 52 balloons. Because why not? “The idea is I want to grab a bunch of balloons and go floating all the way up into the sky until I almost disappear,” Blaine declared. Ultimately, Blaine reached an altitude of 24,900 feet, at which point he detached himself from the balloons and parachuted down. Originally, the plan had been for Blaine to float over the Hudson River, but the stunt ended up being moved to Arizona. What Pixar movie-style stunt might be next for Blaine? A Finding Nemo-inspired deep sea dive, perhaps? [Polygon, The Week]

Carole Baskin will reportedly be joining all the cool cats and kittens on Dancing With the Stars for its 29th season this fall. But the big cat lover from Tiger King is going to have some stiff competition: she’s set to face off against One Day at a Time‘s Justina Machado, Catfish host Nev Schulman, Selling Sunset‘s Chrishell Stause, former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, rapper Nelly, and the Backstreet Boys’ AJ McLean — though inevitably the season will come down to Cheer coach Monica Aldama versus Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir. Dancing With the Stars is set to premiere on Sept. 14, with Tyra Banks as the new host; see all the season 29 competitors here. [Good Morning America, The Week]

NFL star Patrick Mahomes and fiancée Brittany Matthews are dripping in diamonds. After leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl win, MVP and quarterback Mahomes finally received his giant, diamond-covered ring Tuesday during a ceremony at Arrowhead Stadium. But his ring wasn’t the center of attention for long. That same day, Mahomes proposed to high-school sweetheart Matthews with an elaborate candle- and flower-filled scene in a VIP box at the stadium, followed by a romantic candle-lit al fresco dinner for two. Mahomes showed off the massive diamond engagement ring on his Instagram with a truly apt caption: “Ring SZN.” [People]

There are cat ladies, and then there is Liu Yifei. The Chinese-American actress — who stars as Mulan in Disney’s live-action remake, out Friday — once had 30 cats, Page Six reports. “She … often takes in strays,” the South China Morning Post explains. “Liu and her mother work with a non-profit organization [in Beijing] to find them new homes.” The actress frequently poses with felines too; one of her first social media posts was with a hairless sphynx cat. “The first time touching a bald cat. I feel happy hahaha,” she captioned the photo. Liu has only starred in a few Hollywood films so far, but is described as being “as famous as Emma Watson” in China, where she uses her high profile to promote animal rights. [Page Six, South China Morning Post]


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