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Opening today: Uzo Aduba, JK Simmons, Lil Rel Howery and more in National Champions


Emmy winner Uzo Aduba heads up an all-star cast in Friday’s new release National Champions.

Stephan James plays LeMarcus James, an NFL-bound college athlete who starts a player boycott on the eve of a key game in an effort to score more compensation for college athletes.

Uzo plays Katherine Poe, a fixer of an attorney for the NCAA, who tries to short circuit his efforts.

“She knows her job well, the ins and outs of it,” Uzo tells ABC Audio.

“She’s been called to come in…for the NCAA in their eyes to quarterback this mission. But I think she really ends up being the coach in a lot of ways.”

As the movie plays out, however, we learn there’s more under her apparently icy surface. “[S]he has found herself straddling the life she has created for herself….and the woman she once was, who happens to be perhaps the very person that LeMarcus is fighting for.”

Alexander Ludwig plays Emmett Sunday, LeMarcus’ best friend, who helps him hatch the boycott plan. With sports turning to activism of late, Ludwig tells ABC Audio it’s the best time for this movie. 

“I’ve never been a part of something that was shot so quickly and then turned around so quickly, and I think that part of the reason that happened was it’s so topical,” the actor explains. 

“It’s a conversation that’s being had right now on every level of sports. And I’m so proud to be a small part of it. It’s incredible, the group of people they got together for it, not to mention pretty much all of the NFL that …wanted to be part of it. So that…spoke a lot to how much people want there to be some form of change.”

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