Doctor Who, Mark Millar and ‘Coraline’ in Everyday Hero headlines


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The confetti has been cleared away, the egg nog has gone bad and I’m back at work. Hope you enjoyed the holidays as much as I did and welcome to the first 2009 edition of Everyday Hero, your handpicked headlines from the fanboy universe...

THE (NEW) DOCTOR IS IN: Big news from across the Atlantic, where the TARDIS has a new owner. I’m still mourning the departure of David Tennant, the best Doctor Who of them all, but I suppose it’s time to move on, especially now that his replacement has been named: ‘The BBC today announced that Matt Smith has been cast in the role of the Doctor in the iconic BBC series ‘Doctor Who.’ Smith will be the eleventh Time Lord and will take over from David Tennant who leaves the show at the end of 2009. He will be seen in the forthcoming fifth series that will be broadcast in 2010. ... Matt Smith said of his new role: ‘I’m just so excited about the journey that is in front of me. It’s a wonderful privilege and challenge that I hope I will thrive on. I feel proud and honoured to have been given this opportunity to join a team of people that has worked so tirelessly to make the show so thrilling. David Tennant has made the role his own, brilliantly with grace, talent and persistent dedication. I hope to learn from the standards set by him. The challenge for me is to do justice to the show’s illustrious past, my predecessors and most importantly to those who watch it. I really cannot wait.’ Lead writer and Executive Producer Steven Moffat said, ‘The Doctor is a very special part, and it takes a very special actor to play him. You need to be old and young at the same time, a boffin and an action hero, a cheeky schoolboy and the wise old man of the universe. As soon as Matt walked through the door and blew us away with a bold and brand new take on the Time Lord, we knew we had our man. 2010 is a long time away but rest assured the Eleventh Doctor is coming -- and the universe has never been so safe.’’ [BBC]


GOODNIGHT, SWEET PRINCE: Meanwhile, the old Doctor has returned to the London stage after a painful holiday season of scar tissue and bed rest. Nosheen Iqbal has the story: ‘Four weeks after a prolapsed disc forced him off the stage, David Tennant has returned to play Hamlet for the final week of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s sold-out production at the Novello theatre in London. The Doctor Who actor, who was confined to rest for most of December while recovering from back surgery, resumed his role on Saturday night. His performance won a standing ovation from a delighted audience, who had turned up expecting to see understudy Edward Bennett. Thousands of fans were left disappointed after Tennant’s sudden departure from the show last month. Despite complaints, the RSC refused to offer refunds. Tickets for the West End run of Hamlet, which transferred from Stratford-upon-Avon, sold out within hours of going on sale in September. A cautious statement from the RSC said the company will assess Tennant’s return on ‘a day-by-day’ basis. Theatregoers are advised to check the RSC website for updates throughout the week. The sold-out run at the Novello theatre is due to finish on 10 January.’ [The Guardian]

THE SICK SCOTSMAN: I had heard from several people that Mark Millar, one of the true shining stars on the comics scene today, had a nasty medical scare over the holidays, and now Scottish journalist Toby Mcdonald has details: ‘Mark Millar almost died after being pole-axed by his own medicine. The 39-year-old -- whose ‘Wanted’ series was turned into a blockbuster starring Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy -- lost more than a stone in weight in 10 days. Marvel comics writer Mark was raced to hospital after his temperature soared to 103 and he developed extreme flu-like symptoms. Mark, of Glasgow, said: ‘I went off sick the first week of December and thought I had a heavy cold or flu. My temperature was a consistent 103F and I was awake all night shivering. After a week, it wasn’t passing and my wife made me an appointment with the doc. He did tests and found my blood was wonky, my spleen was huge and my liver was acting weird -- all the symptoms of several very nasty things. I was sleeping 20 hours a day and have almost no memory of the whole episode.’ Doctors finally discovered Mark was suffering a severe reaction to his medication for Crohn’s, which causes agonising inflammation of the digestive tract. He said: ‘They rushed me into hospital, kept me there for five days and did a million tests, which I slept through. I can barely remember being in hospital.’ [The Sunday Mail]...NOTE: A stone, by the way, equals 14 pounds, according to my handy pocket guide to British weights and measures.

CORALINE, BUTTONED UP: What movie is my 11-year-old daughter, Addison, most excited about in 2009? Well, ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,’ without a doubt, but a fairly close second is ‘Coraline,’ which opens Feb. 6 and adapt Neil Gaiman’s sweet and eerie tale of little girl who finds a mysterious door that takes her away from her boring life and right into a web of dark supernatural danger. Here’s a video with some snippets from the film as well as some of the behind-the-scenes work going into the film by Henry Selick, who also directed the 1993 classic ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas.’ (Also, to read my three-part interview with Gaiman, click here.)

A GOTHAM GROOM AND THE MUTANT MOTHER: Film chameleon Gary Oldman has been a vampire, a wild-eyed wizard, a doomed punk icon and Batman’s best friend, but those were just movie roles. You know what he is in real life? An optimist. How do I know? The 50-year-old actor just got married...for the fourth time. His new bride is 31-year-old musician Alexandra Edenborough. The Telegraph in the U.K. reports: ‘Oldman divorced from his third wife the former model Donya Fiorentino in 2001, after his previous marriages to Hollywood star Uma Thurman and English actress Lesley Manville broke down...the actor married Edenborough at a small ceremony last week. Rumours of their engagement had circulated since they attended the premiere of Brad Pitt’s film ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ earlier in the month.’ In other life-event news, Rebecca Romijn, who looks deliriously good in blue skin in ‘The X-Men’ films, is now a mom. People Magazine reports: ‘Rebecca Romijn and husband Jerry O’Connell have welcomed healthy twin girls, People has confirmed. Dolly Rebecca Rose and Charlie Tamara Tulip were born Dec. 28. ‘Mother, father and both girls are all home and doing well,’ Romijn’s rep Lewis Kay told People. They are the first children for the ‘Ugly Betty’ actress, 36, and actor O’Connell, 34, who married at their Calabasas, Calif., ranch in 2007. The new mom, whose pregnancy cravings included lemonade and soy cream cheese, is planning a long maternity leave.’ Soy cream cheese and lemonade? She is a mutant.

ON THIS DATE: Actor George Reeves was born in Woolstock, Iowa, on this day 95 years ago. The actor (whose birth name was George Keefer Brewer) appeared in one of the great classics of cinema, ‘Gone with the Wind,’ but he is, of course, remembered most as the Man of Steel on ‘The Adventures of Superman’ television series. The one-time amatuer boxer took the role with reservations in summer 1951, but he became a pop culture icon -- as well as frustrated symbol of Hollywood typecasting. Reeves died in summer 1959 of a gunshot wound that was ruled a suicide, but it remains a murky matter in minds of many and became the plot of the 2006 film ‘Hollywoodland.’ To honor his birth, let’s all look up in the sky today and ponder the 21st century meanings of truth, justice and the American way. [If you’d like to see a bit of Reeves in caped action as well as the trailer for ‘Hollywoodland,’ you can find some video at the bottom of this post.]

An old promo for ‘The Adventures of Superman’:

And here’s a smashing-good highlight reel:

And the trailer for ‘Hollywoodland,’ a sad and stylish film:

-- Geoff Boucher

CREDITS: David Tennant as Hamlet, photo by Tristram Kenton\Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Mark Millar photo courtesy of Gary Oldman photo by Paul Buck\EPA. George Reeves photo from the archives of the Los Angeles Times.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this post had had a spelling error in the birth name of actor George Reeves. Thanks to Jim Beaver who caught the error and pointed it out. Also, I deleted an earlier reference to someone the Telegraph desribed as Gary Oldman’s agent because they may have gotten it wrong and it wasn’t especially pertinent anyway.