"Smallville" has lost a lot of its audience and urgency (the seventh season finished up in May with an average of 3.7 million viewers per episode, down considerably from the 6.3 million tuning in back in Season Two) but, man, Tom Welling, now 31, sure looks like Superman doesn’t he? That’s him above with Erica Durance, who plays Lois Lane on the show. This shot was taken on the set earlier this year during filming of the eighth season (now underway). The photo was taken by David Strick, who gets unrivaled access to movie and television sets and brings back candid moments for his Hollywood Backlot archive, which shows all the machinery at work in this dream factory called Tinseltown. The three latest photo collections, all posted this month, are "Sanctuary," Sci Fi’s promising new series shot entirely on virtual sets with green-screen backgrounds; "Supernatural," the CW show that has more than a whiff of brimstone to it; and "Smallville," which stars Erica Durance as Lois Lane and Tom Welling as the Man of Steel before he ever dons the most famous suit in history.
The Hollywood Backlot collections are great, well worth checking out if you haven’t already. Now, on with today’s handpicked headlines from the fanboy universe …
Casting a spell? I’m not sure how much credence to give an anonymous-sourced story from New Zealand, but here’s the latest Marvel movie rumor: Christian Bale as Dr. Strange. " A source said: "Christian is hot property right now, courtesy of Batman. Doctor Strange is a very different kind of hero to Batman and it’s felt Christian is the sort of actor who can make the part work on screen. It is understood a deal could be struck in the coming weeks.’" [New Zealand Herald]
Are the stars of "Twilight" old enough to even have an embarrassing fashion past? Apparently the answer is yes, at least according to our new photo gallery showing "past and present" snapshots of 10 "Twilight" stars including Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Kellan Lutz and, my favorite, Taylor "Shark Boy" Lautner. Also: There’s a somewhat, um, surreal photo floating around with Pattinson in the role of Salvador Dali, whom he plays in the upcoming film "Little Ashes." [Entertainment Weekly]
"Peanuts," reconsidered: Michael C. Lorah has a nice interview with Art Spiegelman and while most of it is naturally devoted to the "Maus" creator’s work, I liked a section where Spiegelman talked about his rekindled admiration for Charles Schulz and his signature strip: "When I was a little kid, I really liked ‘Peanuts,’ back in the Fifties when it was first coming out as books. It seemed very, dare I say it, avant garde. By the time I was in college, it was something else again, happiness is a warm puppy, MetLife ads, and I began to associate ‘Peanuts’ with Republican girls, which was nothing I wanted to get close to. It took a reassessment from my younger peers, who found ‘Peanuts’ very meaningful to them, that made me take another look at it. Chris Ware and Dan Clowes, who are among the best people working today anywhere in the world, found it as meaningful as I had when I was very young. It made me look at it again, and it was good to rethink it." [Newsarama]
The "Bond" market: There’s a fun Top 10 list of the most prized James Bond collectibles pegged to the upcoming release of "Quantum of Solace." What’s No. 1? That would be the spy’s Aston Martin DB5. "The most iconic of Bond Cars, this Q-adapted 1963 Aston Martin DB5 served as 007’s ride in Goldfinger (1964) and Thunderball (1965) and features retractable machine guns, tyre-shredders, an ejectable passenger seat and rear oil and smoke dispensers, among assorted extras. The vehicle used in filming was stolen from its owner in 1997 and remains missing. However, one of two cars customised for 1960s promotional tours sold for £1.17 million at auction in 2006." [The Times of London]
– Geoff Boucher
Dr. Strange art courtesy of Marvel Comics. Twilight photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment. Snoopy image courtesy of United Features Syndicate. Daniel Craig photo from "Quantum of Solace" courtesy of Columbia Pictures.