It’s a big day for fans of "The Lord of the Rings." On this day in 1955, the third book, "The Return of the King," was published, bringing to a close the masterwork by J.R.R. Tolkien (whom you see here in a photograph by Billett Potter).
Today also happens to be the 50th birthday of Viggo Mortensen, who was a last-minute replacement for actor Stuart Townsend in the role of Aragon. The role has been a massive career boost for Mortensen but it almost didn’t happen: The New York state native has said he wouldn’t have taken the role if his son hadn’t been such a fan of the books.
Now, on with today’s handpicked fanboy headlines …
No deal could be hammered out: "Quantum of Solace" star Daniel Craig confirms that he was indeed offered the role of the Norse God of Thunder in Marvel’s upcoming "Thor" film adaptation, but that he decided it just wasn’t right for him. [IESB]
Remember when Seth Rogen was telling people that "The Green Hornet" wouldn’t be a comedy? Well, things change, especially when you have Stephen Chow as Kato. Rogen nows tells Devin Faraci: "We have one rule when writing, and that’s don’t get attached to anything. One day we want to make a serious film and then Stephen Chow comes in with a good idea and we’re like, ‘Well it’s funny.’ Should we not do it because we originally wanted to do a serious film? We come from, ‘Nah … we’ll just take the idea that seems good.’ So it’s definitely less serious than a serious film, that’s for sure." [CHUD]
Are John McCain and Barack Obama engaging in Gotham-style politics? David Sarno thinks so, playfully citing a scene from the old "Batman" series featuring the hero in a mayoral debate with the Penguin: "The clip, first uploaded in early 2007, has been picked up by several political commentators and compared to recent debates between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama. Besides being an amusing clip on its own — the great Burgess Meredith turns in a virtuoso performance as the Bilious Bird — viewers have noted some chuckle-worthy parallels…" [Web Scout]
David Kamp reviews "Explainers," which collects Jules Feiffer’s cartoons for the Village Voice from the 1956 through 1966. "The material may show some age, but from the get-go Feiffer’s visual style was assured and bracingly modern: his figures eloquently but sparely drawn (with a thin wooden dowel dipped in ink, not a pen), and no background illustration, just white space. While the strip continued to plumb topical themes as it progressed — Lyndon Johnson, Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley Jr. all make appearances in “Explainers” — Feiffer became a nimbler satirist, hitting upon several recurring setups and characters that would transcend their atomic-age origins." [New York times Sunday Book Review]
Is Brett Ratner directing a Conan film? That’s what Moriarity reports with considerable chagrin: "Oh, Brett … why do you want to hurt me? Why do you want to make this movie? Please, please, please tell me it’s because you have a genuine passion for the material and not just because it’s a start date and a financing package that’s ready to go. Please tell me that you really care about the character and its history, and not that it’s just ‘Hey, I recognize that name.’" [Ain't It Cool News] … and, in related news, Ratner met a gorilla in a tutu and, no, it wasn’t Kelsey Grammer in his costume from "X-Men: the Last Stand." [Dish Rag]
Priyanko Sarkar analyzes the graphic novel and its standing in India, where the work of Sarnath Banerjee, Orijit Sen and Amruta Patil has stirred interest but the scene has not found enough quality art to match its quality words. "Sadly, bad illustrators are breaking the spine of the genre in India. But that is just one of the challenges facing the Indian graphic market genre…. Other impediments: the packaging of graphic novels, finding people to work on the genre and getting retailers to accept it." [Times of India]
– Geoff Boucher