content by

Emily Asher-Perrin

Five Actors Who Almost Played Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings

Oh, Viggo. Truly, you are the only Aragorn for us. Er, the only Strider. Only Elessar. Whatever.

Viggo Mortensen did a few things with his character that transcended typical actorly dedication; he only used his heavy steel sword on set, rather than the lighter aluminum ones built for stunts (and the stunt guys had the bruises to prove it). He was prone to dragging the sword around everywhere, and got stopped by the cops when he was spotted carrying it in public. He asked for more of his lines to be written in elvish. He once kicked a helmet so hard that he broke his toes, but still stayed in character for the take.

It’s pretty well-known that his casting in Lord of the Rings occurred late in the game, after they had already started shooting, but do you know the other names that were considered? Because they’re mostly big-deal picks, and imagining any one of them in the role leads to a strange alternate reality.

[So let’s imagine them…]

The Thirteenth Doctor Has a Lot in Common With a Certain Classic Doctor From the 1980s

We’ve seen enough of Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor to begin sussing out some of her unique characteristics. Thirteen has a marked love of engineering, she’s incredibly cool under pressure, she doesn’t suffer bullies, she’s bad at smalltalk—but she loves company and lots of it. She’s also incredibly empathetic, tuned into her companions perhaps more than any Doctor in the New Who run. That shouldn’t be surprising as empathy is core to the Doctor’s character, but it’s a bit more obvious with Thirteen. She pays attention to how others are feeling, she apologizes when she sees them being mistreated. She works hard to make sure people realize their own potential, and recognizes more readily when given situations might be more stressful than average for the humans and aliens around her.

But what motivated this change? Why does this Doctor seem to notice—and care—more about how her adventures affect those around her? Where does this wellspring of empathy come from? In truth, we only need to amble back through the show’s 55 year history to recognize that one particular previous Doctor might be to blame.

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Anna and the Apocalypse Could Have Been the Zombie Musical the World Needed

Funny zombie movies have revolutionized a corner of the horror industry, and musicals are a fine art when well-executed. Anna and the Apocalypse attempts to meld both of these genres together under the larger heading of “Christmas movie”, bringing viewers something well outside the realm of Dickens or Rudolph this year.

Anna and the Apocalypse is an expansion of Ryan McHenry’s short film Zombie Musical (McHenry was nominated for best director at the 2011 British Academy Scotland New Talent Awards, while Naysun Alae-Carew scored a win for producing). The short is a fifteen-minute glimpse at what happens when a girl heads to school and finds the world overrun by zombies, but that’s where the similarity between the films largely ends. Instead, Anna and the Apocalypse aims to be a coming of age story about a young woman (played by Ella Hunt) eager to see the world after she completes her basic education—but before she can complete her year, ace her exams, and board a plane to Australia, the zombie apocalypse happens.

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How Much Alcohol Does it Take to Get a Hobbit Drunk?

Hobbits live the good life: they eat all day, they generally work with their hands and enjoy nature (unless they are wealthy and don’t work at all), and they live in an idyllic farmscape full of lush trees, rivers, and green hills. They also consume their fair share of ale in taverns, an ode to the pub culture that J.R.R. Tolkien himself heralded from.

But how much can a hobbit actually drink?

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2018’s Robin Hood Wants You to “Forget What You Know” or You’ll Notice How Sloppy Their Interpretation Is

The world could use a funny, romping take on the tales of Robin Hood these days. While the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, it seems like a story that regains its relevance every moment. It was only a matter of time before we got another take on Sherwood’s outlaw for the big screen, and given Ridley Scott’s failed attempt in 2010, you’d think that filmmakers would have tried to add some lightheartedness to the proceedings.

They did not.

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The Crimes of The Crimes of Grindelwald

The second of five Fantastic Beasts films has hit theaters, filling in gaps and corners of J.K. Rowling’s rebranded Wizarding World. But while the first outing charmed a fair number of viewers with Eddie Redmayne’s endearing turn as magical zoologist Newt Scamander (a portrayal that remains endearing throughout the sequel), The Crimes of Grindelwald fails to reproduce the fun of the original—and fills Rowling’s Potterverse with a slew of gaping holes.

These are the crimes of The Crimes of Grindelwald.

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The Systems Aren’t the Problem: Doctor Who, “Kerblam!”

Doctor Who could have taken a rest after the stunning “Demons of the Punjab,” but that doesn’t seem to be the Thirteenth Doctor’s style. “Kerblam!” could have been the title of a game show on Nickelodeon in the 90s, but Doctor Who instead decided to use the name to explore themes of automation, obsolescence, and the value of human labor.

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Bram Stoker’s Classic Continues to Inspire

I’ve never had a reading list; if I created one I would have a list of 500 books before I’d even started in, and I don’t like having my reading patterns pared down to a queue. So I have a general idea in my head of what I’m going to tackle next with the understanding that I can change that ephemeral inventory any time and pick up something completely different if the mood strikes me.

With that in mind, I felt properly spontaneous when I decided that it was time to read Dracula a couple months back. I already had a copy available to me, so I cracked into it excitedly and prepared myself for what was to come. It’s Dracula, after all. Everyone knows Dracula. He’s the man, the one you brag about hanging out with to all your friends. Spike, Edward, and Lestat are those poor relations that people disown when they’re not around on holidays.

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