(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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Laurent Durieux Mondo art show

Four years ago, artist Laurent Durieux had his first solo exhibition at Mondo in Austin, Texas. Next month, fans are finally getting a sequel.

Keep reading to see three pieces from his upcoming show, “The Art of Laurent Durieux Part Two,” including his takes on Francis Ford Coppola‘s Apocalypse Now, Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining, and James Cameron‘s Titanic.

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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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Bullseye almost played Captain America

Hollywood is full of “what if” casting scenarios, stories of actors who came thisclose to landing life-changing leading roles that may have had huge ripple effects through the rest of the industry. You probably know many of them: Nicolas Cage as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings, Dougray Scott as Wolverine in X-Men, etc.

At this point, someone could write an entire book about all of the actors who were nearly cast in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and one of those chapters would have to be about Wilson Bethel, who eventually landed the MCU-adjacent role of Bullseye on Netflix’s Daredevil. If things were slightly different, Bethel could have suited up as Captain America. Meanwhile, outside of the MCU, Jonah Hill was close to playing Sean Parker in The Social Network. Read more about both of these what-if stories below.
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Rugrats - Reptar Bar

Last year, the pop culture fanatics at FYE made the dreams of Rugrats fans come true by releasing a real life Reptar chocolate bar filled with green frosting. It was a fun way to cash in on the nostalgia for the fan favorite Nicktoon of children of the ’90s, but it sounds like they may have heard the cries of some fans who were hoping for a more authentic recreation of the cartoon treat.

FYE is releasing a new and improved Reptar bar that is actually in the shape of the Godzilla rip-off that Tommy Pickles and his friends were so obsessed with on Rugrats. And the good news is that the candy concoction is still filled with frosting that turns your tongue green. Find out how and when to get it below. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

First Man Space Suits

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, get a much closer look at the space suits that were created for First Man. Plus, a real private eye fact checks Hollywood’s depiction of private investigators on the big screen, and find out some trivia you might not have known about the original Halloween from 1978. Read More »