(Welcome to Role Call, where we examine two performances from an actor – their first defining role and their latest/last – to get a sense of who they are.)

Sean Connery should never have been James Bond. Author Ian Fleming’s vision for the character was a bit more debonair, a bit sleeker, a bit more refined. Not, as Fleming described Connery, an “overgrown stunt man.” But cinema has a funny way of reshaping authors’ visions, overriding them until we can’t help but see the actors’ faces when we’re reading.

So Connery is the eternal Bond. Maybe a bit gruffer than Fleming intended, but every Bond since has chased Connery’s portrayal not solely because he had the advantage of defining the role on the big screen by being first, but because he defined it successfully in the eyes of millions and millions of fans.

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Comics Like Let the Right One In

(Welcome to Comic Book Drive-In, a series where comic and movie fans Jazmine Joyner and Rosie Knight recommend brand new, ongoing, and completed comic book series that tie into classic films and new releases.)

For this week’s spooky Comic Book Drive-In, we’ve selected the beautifully dark Swedish horror offering Let the Right One In. The deceptively simple film about a young boy and his mysterious new neighbor who may or may not be a vampire is a complex and moving story about friendship, trust, love, and, of course, drinking blood. We’ve selected three fantastical comics that build on everything that makes Let the Right One In so special.

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anything you can imagine

It might sound hyperbolic, but Peter Jackson‘s Lord of the Rings trilogy is something of a minor miracle. Jackson and company were able to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy series into three massive, all-encompassing, emotionally-driven and wholly exciting movies. The original film trilogy would end in massive box office returns, Oscar glory, and an ever-lasting legacy.

Ian Nathan‘s wonderful new book Anything You Can Imagine: Peter Jackson and the Making of Middle-earth takes readers on a journey through the films – from inception, to creation, and beyond (even the less-than-fantastic Hobbit movies are covered). We take a look at the book below, and include an exclusive excerpt.

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The Mandalorian set photo

Disney doesn’t launch its streaming service until 2019, but the content that will populate it is beginning to go into production. Right now, Lucasfilm is putting together their first live-action Star Wars television show. Ever.

Such a historic occasion is, of course, shrouded in secrecy. Fans know the show will be entitled The Mandalorian, that it’s set the gap years between the fall of the Empire and the rise of the First Order, and that is has an amazing line-up of talent to direct. Disney also released a photograph of said nameless and gender-neutral Mandalorian, as seen at the top of this article.

But there’s something else in this image that we need to talk about: the title character’s distinctive-looking weapon.

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There’s been a growing trend of networks and studios developing science fiction and fantasy books for TV or film. The 2018-19 television season alone includes at least five new ones—Justin Cronin’s The Passage on Fox, George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers on SyFy, Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens on Amazon Prime, Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook on Starz, and Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 on AMC—and networks have several others they have optioned or have in development (just a few are Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death on HBO, N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season on TNT, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series on Amazon Prime, and Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom on AMC).

And that doesn’t even get into movies. For example, Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines will be coming out as a Peter Jackson-produced movie this December, and other books like Jeff Vandermeer’s Borne, V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic and Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank The Moon have been optioned for the big screen as well. Patrick Rothfuss has even scored a hat trick with The Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy, and has the series in development for film, television and video games.

Despite all this activity, there are a still an innumerable number of books that deserve to come to life on the screen. Here is my pick of some that should make the cut (note: I haven’t included any books that have had recent reports of being optioned), and what fans of existing films or shows they might appeal to.

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house of cards season 6 review

House of Cards is ending with a significant amount of baggage due to the firing of star Kevin Spacey. But in its final season, the Netflix drama, which now has Robin Wright in the lead, is the best it’s been in years. If House of Cards can get beyond the toxic aura created by Spacey, it might just end with one of its very best seasons.

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michael biehn's agent saved terminator

The Terminator is now a lucrative franchise with a sixth movie on the way. In 1984, it was a struggle just to get the studio to screen the original. film. Producer Gale Anne Hurd was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at Screamfest and spoke about her work before screenings of Aliens and The Terminator.

“Even though it’s commonplace today, the head of marketing there so hated the film, he didn’t want to screen it for critics,” Hurd said. “Back in 1984, that just wasn’t done. The head of marketing at Orion basically said, ‘We’re embarrassed to release this morning. It’s a down and dirty exploitation movie. Once word of mouth gets out, it’ll be out of theaters after the first weekend. You won’t even get a second weekend so we’re not even going to give you advertising support second weekend.’”

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Gale Anne Hurd Hippocratic Oath

Judgment Day was supposed to happen in 1997 according to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The cautionary tale began in 1984’s The Terminator, which wasn’t the first science fiction tale to warn about artificial intelligence. Terminator co-writer and producer Gale Anne Hurd said that science fiction and other genres have been ahead of the curve on these matters, and she hopes real science catches up soon.

“Let’s hear it for science fiction, fantasy and horror,” Hurd said at a Screamfest Q&A before she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. “Stephen Hawking only came up with the idea that we need to worry about A.I. and robots about two and a half years before he passed away. I remember saying to Jim, ‘If he’d only watched The Terminator.’”

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gale anne hurd sexism aliens

Gale Anne Hurd is one of most successful producers in Hollywood. She launched the Terminator franchise, gave Alien its first sequel, and currently oversees the Walking Dead universe on television. Like any woman in Hollywood, especially coming up in the ‘80s, Hurd has her own stories of sexism too. She shared some at a Screamfest Q&A before she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

It’s rare for major studio blockbusters to have downer endings. The Terminator films sort of require it. They are about a nuclear apocalypse in which machines overpower humanity. The best victory afforded humans in those films is that the leader of the human resistance, John Connor, lives to defeat Skynet. Only Terminator 2: Judgment Day ends with the hope of averting the war, and subsequent sequels assured that the war rages on.

Back in 1984, there was no franchise to support The Terminator. The first film ends with Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) surviving after Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) sacrificed himself fighting the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), but not before helping her conceive John Connor. Producer and co-writer Gale Anne Hurd recalled the development execs who wanted the original film to have a happier ending.

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