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Skimm Now, Thank Us Later.

  1. Have you ever felt lost in a conversation? 
  2. Are you frequently the last person to hear about just about everything? 
  3. Do you ever get excluded for wearing sweatpants on Monday?

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If you answered yes to questions 1 and/or 2, like I did, then pay attention, because I have a solution for us. If you answered yes to 3, I can’t really help you.  Get new pants.

TheskimmLogoI introduce you to theSkimm.  TheSkimm is a daily news email that arrives in your inbox before 7AM, Monday-Friday.  It gives you a breakdown of the news with fresh and witty editorial content.

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Skimm Founders: Carly Zakin (left) & Danielle Weisberg (right)

They Skimm the news, you read it!

TheSkimm was started by Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, who realized their friends and fellow millennials were too busy to stay in touch with what’s what in the world.  In July 2012, theSkimm was introduced and with it, a quick, sharp voice was born, one that speaks across party lines, gender lines, and subject lines to educate the digital masses.  I discovered it in that same summer and it’s become a crucial part of my work day routine.  I Skimm each morning on the train while commuting in to Philly.  My favorite part about theSkimm is watching it transform every single day.  I can honestly say, theSkimm just keeps getting better and better.

In today’s technology-driven world, we are flushed with constant streams of information on social media, on the interweb, and on television.  The endless debacle for humans has become deciphering between the essential and nonessential.  Now I can’t help you figure out which update on Facebook is really worth reading, or what pants you need to wear to keep your friends, but I can help you stay updated with current events.  The answer is TheSkimm.  It is the key to starting smart conversations and staying informed about the topics that really matter.  Yes, we all know that George Clooney’s wedding was a groundbreaking moment in history.  But it is equally, if not more important for us to know and understand what is happening with ISIS, with our government, and with the Ebola outbreak.  TheSkimm provides us with the essentials while simultaneously incorporating fun and fresh knowledge.

One of my favorite aspects about theSkimm, besides it’s ability to make me snicker every morning, is it’s dedication to covering both sides of the fence.  They try to speak to both sides – ya know, the Left AND the Right – while still offering the bigger picture for those stuck in the middle.   Today, for example, theSkimm recapped the history of the civil war in Syria by attacking the story from three angles: “What the ‘Told You So’ Side Said,” “What the ‘We Did What Made Sense’ Side Said,” and “What theSKIMM Says.”  They aren’t interested in who is right or wrong; they simply want us to know what the heck is going on.

I also love their endless efforts to add some fun to the morning.  Some of their new segments include:

  • Things to Know (like #X is the universal sign for ‘driving now, I’ll text later’);
  • Fantasy Football Thursday Tips (Ladies and gents, you do want to have Marshawn Lynch starting in your line up);
  • Skimm Reads (This week, you should be reading “Brain on Fire” by Susannah Ca);
  • Skimm the Vote (Yes, it’s almost time for Midterms); and
  • Guest Skimm’ers like Karlie Kloss (Fashion Week), Paul Pierce (NBA), and Zac Posen (CFDA Awards).

So stop what you are doing and Sign up now for theSkimm.  You can thank me later.  Happy Skimm’ing!

skimmonthego

 

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New Trailers for ‘This is Where I Leave You’ and ‘The Grand Seduction’

Happy Trailer Wednesday! I actually don’t know if that’s a thing but let’s pretend. Moving on.

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This Is Where I Leave You

The feelings. The laughing out loud. The cast. The Kings of Leon. Whew.

I recently read this 2009 best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper (who also wrote the screenplay) and I laughed/ugly cried the whole way through. ‘This is Where I Leave You’ follows four adult children who return to their mother’s (Jane Fonda) house for a week when their father dies.  With each sibling comes their problems. Judd (Jason Bateman, and our narrator) recently caught his wife Jen (Abigail Spencer) in bed with his boss (Dax Shepard). Wendy (Tina Fey) is a responsible mother in a loveless marriage with Barry (Aaron Lazar). Wendy used to date Horry (Timothy Olyphant) who still lives across the street with his mother due to a brain injury he suffered while dating Wendy. The eldest brother Paul (Corey Stoll) was supposed to be the family treasure. A talented baseball player in high school, he lost his scholarship after being brutally attacked by a dog while defending Judd. Paul now works for the family sporting goods store and is married to Alice (Kathryn Hahn), Judd’s ex-girlfriend. The two are desperately trying to start a family. That leaves Phillip (Adam Driver), the baby and apple of his mother’s eye. Everyone is still waiting for Phillip to grow up and be a responsible adult so when he brings his MUCH older girlfriend home (Connie Britton, y’all) everyone is a little shocked and dismayed.

The Grand Seduction

When I originally saw this title under Taylor Kitsch’s IMDB page I thought it was going to be a lot sexier. Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing quite like seeing a guy in a white button-up with the sleeves rolled up (my goodness) but I expected more sexy time. I mean, seduction is in the title.  Still, this movie looks adorable. The film is a remake of the 2003 French-Canadian film, Seducing Doctor Lewis. Kitsch plays a doctor who’s lured into spending a month in a tiny Newfoundland harbor village. The town needs to convince Kitsch’s Dr. Lewis to stay permanently so that a factory will be built nearby creating jobs for the town. Kitsch is knocking them dead lately (he needed to after the tragic year that was 2012). He broke hearts in Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor and recently starred in HBO’s The Normal HeartIt finally seems like Kitsch is playing his cards right.

 

I just realized that between Connie Britton and Taylor Kitsch, this is another “oh my god I love everything Friday Night Lights” post. Sorry I’m not sorry. Clear eyes full hearts can’t lose.


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A Non-Book Readers Guide to Game of Thrones, Season 4 Premiere

Tonight is the night.  After nine extremely long months, we are finally mere hours away from the Game of Thrones, Season 4 premiere on HBO.  So while you wait impatiently to get your watchin’ on, check out our Non-Book Readers Guide to the GOT Season 4 premiere.  Our guide is a short list of fun facts for those of us who don’t read the books (or haven’t gotten through them yet) to add to your viewing enjoyment.  

1. Introducing a New House

In Season 4, we see the introduction of yet another new player in King’s Landing.  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome House Martell.  Prince Oberyn Martell (portrayed by  Pedro Pascal), second in line to the seat of Dorne, sails to King’s Landing for the Royal Wedding. Oberyn arrives with a huge chip on his shoulder.  His late sister, Elia Martell, was married to Rhaegar Targaryen (Dany’s late brother) and is said to have been slaughtered, along with her children, by the Lannisters during Robert’s Rebellion.  Look for Oberyn aka The Red Viper of Dorne to ride into King’s Landing seeking revenge.

Oh, and remember when Tyrion had Cersei’s daughter, Princess Myrcella, shipped away in Season 1 and Cersei was furious?  That’s because Myrcella was shipped off to Dorne, home of the Martells, and is most likely being treated like a prisoner.

Pedro-Pascal-as-Oberyn-Martell-Indira-Varma-as-Ellaria-Sand_photo-Helen-Sloan_HBO“Tell your father I’m here – and tell him the Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts.”~ Prince Oberyn Martell to Tyrion Lannister

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House Martell: A Breakdown

Since Maester Luwin is dead and the Stark children are no longer receiving history lessons, we thought we would give you one on the new House of Season 4.

Sigil – Red sun pierced by a gold spear
Words – “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”
Region – Dorne (located south of King’s Landing)
Allegiance – House Baratheon

2. Game of Thrones recast the role of Daario Naharis

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Michiel Huisman (ABC’s Nashville) replaces Ed Skrein as Daario Naharis, the young and dangerous lieutenant who pledged his heart and service to Dany in Season 3.  Look for this new (smoking hot) actor to bring Daario to life in a whole new way.

3. Barristan Selmy’s Secret

Barristan Selmy has a bomb to drop on Dany and I can’t wait for the big reveal.  Let’s backtrack to Season 1 – Barristan was a King’s Guard up until Cersei and Joffrey dismissed him after Robert’s death.  That means Barristan knows that Jorah Mormont, Dany’s trusted advisor, was initially working for Robert and even took part in the attempted assassination of Dany in Season 1.  Since Barristan didn’t make his big reveal when he first joined Dany, he must be waiting for the opportune moment.  Will it come in Season 4?  If it does, how will Dany react?

4. RIP — Characters That Didn’t Survive Season 3

Not that we need reminding of the Red Wedding, but lots of people met their end in Season 3 and it’s important to keep track.  These are the folks that will no longer be gracing our televisions screen every Sunday night, unless Thoros of Myr and the Red God get their hands on them…

Robb Stark, King in the North

Catelyn Stark

Talisa Stark

Grey Wind

The Entire Stark Army

Pieces of Theon Greyjoy

Ros

Hoster Tully

Craster

Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch

Orell (But his spirit lives on)

Rickard Karstark

Kraznys

Two of the Second Sons

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Here’s one more trailer to get you ready for the Game of Thrones premiere, Sunday, April 6th at 9pm on HBO.

 


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‘The Fault in Our Stars’ Releases Official Trailer

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The Fault in Our Stars” follows the story of Hazel Lancaster, a teenage girl living with thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs.  Because of this, Hazel lives her life knowing her time is limited, “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”  In a support group for cancer kids in Indianapolis, Hazel meets and eventually falls in love with August Waters, a former basketball player who lost his leg to osteosarcoma. “The Fault in Our Stars” tells their “One sick love story.” The movie debuts in theaters June 6th, check out the trailer below.

Click here for Rock Paper Watch’s review of the novel.


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RPW Can’t Miss This List 2014 – Books

Ready for 2014 Rock Paper Watchers? To celebrate the new year, we are releasing our “Can’t Miss This List” so you know our picks for upcoming shows, movies, albums, and books.  Check back tomorrow for our top 2014 music picks! And click here for our movie and television picks.

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

May 13, 2014

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Named one of the 14 Rising Stars of 2014 by Entertainment Weekly, Bittersweet is Beverly-Whittemore’s third novel. The novel tells the story of a young co-ed named Mabel who is invited to Bittersweet, a cottage in Vermont owned by her roommate’s blue-blooded family. As she falls in love with the atmosphere and the lifestyle, Mabel discovers the family’s dark secrets and must choose whether to expose them or stay quiet. With promises of twists and turns, this is a perfect read for those who loved Gone Girl and prefer soapy TV like Revenge or Scandal.

The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker

May 27, 2014

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This literary thriller has already sold almost a million copies in France, as well as topped bestseller lists in Italy and Spain, will finally be published in the US in May. This literary thriller is a book within a book. It tells the story of a 15-year-old New Hampshire girl who disappears and then picks up 30 years later when a young American writer, Marcus Goldman, turns to her disappearance for inspiration when her body shows up in the backyard of his mentor’s home.

Memoir of Neil Patrick Harris (Not yet titled)

Spring 2014

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After completing a creative history course on memoirs at Penn last semester, the genre has slowly grown on me. I even found myself reaching for a memoir and not fiction when I finally had the chance to read for fun again last month. But I’m not just going to read any old memoir. I want one with captivating and emotional stories, great characters, and mini-life lessons, both big and small. I believe NPH is going to deliver in those categories. It helps that he references one of my favorite memoirs, Tina Fey’s Bossypants, in his news release. You have to admit, the man knows how to catch the attention of his target audience.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

October 2014

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Confession Time – I am a sucker for all things Jodi Picoult. I have yet to read a novel written by her that I didn’t absolutely love. I’m a fan of her character development, her use of characters across stories, her gut-wrenching plot lines, and her epic twists. No one can punch you in the literary gut quite like my girl, Jodi. Don’t believe me? Just read My Sister’s Keeper or Nineteen Minutes. But I digress.

I was thrilled to learn that Picoult is releasing a new novel in October 2014. The book is entitled “Leaving Time” and it tells the story of a girl named Jenna whose mother went missing when she was 3 years old and the family was living and working on an elephant sanctuary. The book follows Jenna’s search for her mother as Jenna believes her mother would never have left her intentionally. The best part = Picoult promises that the story features a “fabulous twist” that rivals My Sister’s Keeper.


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12 Things We Loved About ‘The Hunger Games – Catching Fire’

‘The Hunger Games – Catching Fire’ hit theaters Friday and shattered November records making $161.1 million it’s debut weekend. As avid fans of the series, the writers of Rock Paper Watch are counting down the 12 things they loved about the second installment on the big screen.  This goes without saying but, SPOILERS ahead!  Let us know what you think.  Did this movie make up for the lackluster first? What did you think of JLaw? Team Peeta or Team Gale? Did the sight of Finnick make you swoon?

1.  Holy sh*t, she actually loves him

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The first movie missed the mark in showing the complexity of the Katniss/Peeta relationship. Catching Fire was spot-on. It made it clear that Katniss, even though she has feelings for Gale, also has feelings for Peeta. I would have appreciated more flirtation during training but the film made up for it in the arena. When Peeta “dies” after walking into a forcefield and is revived by Finnick, Jennifer Lawrence’s reaction was so intense it took your breath away.  And in case that wasn’t enough, the look on Finnick’s face after read, “holy sh*t, she actually does love him,” followed by Snow’s granddaughter saying, “I want to love someone that much.” And then there was that kiss on the beach, hot damn!

2.  The way Finnick drinks water

finnick hot You drink that water Finnick.

Guys, how perfect was Finnick? He was charming, seductive, and sly in the Capitol. In the arena he was a bit more sincere. My heart broke during the Mags and Annie scenes.  Still, everything he did had a hint of sexuality to it.  Well done, Sam Claflin, well done.

3.  Peeta mans up

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In the first movie and the books, Peeta is kind of wimpy.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m Team Peeta all the way but he kind of rides Katniss’ coattails. In the first movie, there was that awful, goofy camouflage scene. This time Peeta carries his own weight (literally, since Finnick never carries him away from the fog but rather they all lean on each other like a team).  He surprisingly kills a tribute during the chaos at the cornucopia and fights off monkeys and saves Katniss with a machete. And how adorable was that smirk after he drops the baby bomb. Get it done Peeta!

4.  Oh, the costumes

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I couldn’t have been more disappointed with the costumes from the first movie but boy, does Catching Fire make up for it.  Katniss’ wedding dress-turned-mockingjay was absolutely perfect, Finnick’s District 4 get-up was mouth-watering (ladies, did you see his neck?!) and Effie’s costumes were wildly fantastic.  It doesn’t hurt that the budget for the film expanded by more than $50 million.  Still, hats off to Cinna for working his magic with the Girl on Fire.  We couldn’t get enough of Jennifer Lawrence’s many, many wardrobe changes.

5.  Effie’s apology

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Throughout the film you see Haymitch, Peeta, Katniss, and Effie acting more like a team rather than a group thrown together by odds. When Effie decides they each need gold mockingjay tokens, your heart swells. The night before the games she delivers Peeta and Haymitch their tokens, a gold medallion and cuff respectively. She then sums up her disgrace in the games with a teary, heartfelt apology and farewell.  She says that they both deserve better than to be thrust into the arena again, and as a citizen of the Capitol, Effie’s apology speaks volumes.

6.  The announcement of the Quarter Quell

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In the book, when it’s announced that the tributes will be selected from each district’s existing pool of victors, readers only experience Katniss’ reaction. In the film, we see all three react in ways that are very genuine for each character. Katniss, knowing she’s automatically in since she’s the only female, runs to and collapses in the snowy woods.  Peeta gapes at the television in disbelief and sadness. Haymitch angrily throws is liquor at the television.  All in all, perfect.

7.  Johanna ‘Eff-ing’ Mason… Literally

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Could Jena Malone be anymore perfect? She’s come a long way since Stepmom. We meet Johanna after the chariot rides as she barges onto the elevator with Peeta, Haymitch, and Katniss.  Right after she enters she quickly begins stripping off her costume and noticeably flirting with Peeta right in front of Katniss and it is AMAZING. Her arrogance, her cheekiness, her wink towards Haymitch, all perfect. After that, it only gets better. During her interview, Caesar points out that she seems angry, not tearful she responds saying, “Well, yes. I’m angry. You know, I’m totally getting screwed over here. The deal was that if I win the Hunger Games, I get to live the rest of my life in peace. But now you want to kill me again. Well you know what? F*** THAT! AND F*** ANYONE THAT HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT!!” And that’s Johanna Mason, everybody. Brilliantly, the F-bombs were bleeped out since that’s what the Capitol would likely do during a broadcast.  Also, Malone’s chemistry with JLaw only makes me more excited for Mockingjay.

8.  The Victors Village (Its just the way we imagined it)

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Throughout both movies, one of the things I couldn’t get over is how they nailed it with the way I envisioned the sets. Specifically, the Victors Village. Everything about the village says opulence, however, it had this dingy feeling of death about it, almost as if it served a reminder of how the victors had arrived. One of the scenes I was looking forward to the most was the confrontation between President Snow and Katniss in the library of the new victor’s home. I envisioned it to be very cold and stark with lots of dark wood, very “President Snow.” The room set up an ominous feeling for the very cold relationship that is to come between Katniss and President Snow.

9.  Plutarch as the new Gamemaker

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Does Philip Seymour Hoffman ever disappoint?  We loved his portrayal of Plutarch Heavensbee, the new Gamemaker brought in to replace the late Seneca Crane.  Hoffman was in a tough position since book-readers already know his role in the story.  Yet he still played a convincing double agent.  Posing as the top Games advisor, he carefully manipulated President Snow without giving even the slightest hint that he was in fact a conspirator for the rebellion.  Hell, I even questioned his intentions for District 12’s survival when he bellowed “Change it up.  Spin it!” and I read the book twice!  Props to Hoffman for his dynamic performance, and his decision to dress Plutarch in a more subdued manner.

10. The Arena and it’s little horrors

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This time around, you could say the ante was upped with the games and the chaos that came along with it. Poisonous fog, crazed monkeys, jabberjays, blood baths of rain, rotating cornucopias. I was a little nervous as to how they were going to go about some of these, specifically the poisonous fog, but the execution was perfect. I mean, who didn’t feel their skin bubble up when Katniss touched the fog and screamed in pain. I sure did.

11.  Nuts and Volts

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I’m currently watching Jeffrey Wright wreak havoc on Boardwalk Empire.  When I realized he was Beetee, I was a little nervous.  Would I be able to disassociate the heroine slinging Dr. Narcisse and believe he’s a tribute in the arena?  The answer was… Narcisse who?  Jeffrey Wright was sensational as the wiry and brilliant tribute from District 3.  It didn’t matter to us that Wright didn’t 100% fit the bill for Beetee; he was witty and his timing was perfect.  Volts was every bit the teacher and techie that Katniss describes in the books.   Wiress, aka Nuts, the female tribute from District 3, was also a pleasant surprise.  I was worried that her “tick-tock, tick-tock” warnings to the other tributes would be too campy when we met her in training and she seemed to be, well, with it.  But, thankfully, Nuts went nuts in the arena and the end result was perfect.

12.  That perfect ending, a look that says it all

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Sadness…check.  Anger…check.  Despair…check.  Determination…check.  Loneliness…check.  These are just some of the emotions that Jennifer Lawrence packed into her final close-up, when she learns the extent of the rebellion and her role as the Mockingjay.  In the last minutes of the film, Katniss Everdeen learns that while her family is safe with her in District 13, the rest aren’t so lucky.  As Gale so gently puts it, “There is no District 12.”  While the scene was fantastic because it was a true adaptation from the book, Jennifer Lawrence took it to a whole new level when she delivered so many intense emotions in one look.  We know that YA films are usually overlooked by the Academy, but they just might have to reconsider after seeing Lawrence’s passionate performance.


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Fifty Shades of Grey – Our hopes for the total Christian Grey ‘package’ deal

In the book, Christian is described as tall, slim yet muscular, and broad-shouldered.  He has dark copper-colored hair and “smoldering” gray eyes. Anastasia describes him saying, “He is not merely good looking – he is the epitome of male beauty, breathtaking.”  Although he is only 27-years-old, Christian is incredibly successful and intimidating.  The character seems wiser than his years through his sophisticated speech and demeanor.  In the film adaptation, Ana will be portrayed by Dakota Johnson.  Charlie Hunnam was originally cast as Grey but after much backlash from fans, Hunnam dropped out due to “scheduling conflicts.”  After hearing the news of Hunnam’s departure and a brief celebration, we began our list of possible replacements.  Who do you hope to see in the Red Room of Pain?

Current Rumors

Jamie Dornan

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Pro:  He’s gorgeous.  He looks like how I always imagined Christian Grey to look:  smoldering, delicate, and a little scary. With his British background, he’ll be able to pull off the signature Christian dialogue.  And, judging by his modeling portfolio he’s not afraid of a little nudity, HELLO!

Con:  Does he have the acting chops to pull off Grey’s cold but vulnerable demeanor?  Other than his brief stint on Once Upon a Time, American audiences don’t really know Dornan.  With the Charlie Hunnam backlash in mind, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Billy Magnussen

Billy+Magnussen+Short+Hairstyles+Boy+Cut+TW3ItRYkv2Tx

Pro: He has the “large” resume under his belt. (Pun intended?) Broadway, TV and Movie experience, something the other contenders are sorely lacking.

Con: Magnussen has Abercrombie written all over him. He’s too clean cut, too blonde and too pale. Some would argue its nothing a dye job and tan couldn’t fix, but I don’t imagine this all american guy dirtying up his look for the role of Christian Grey.

Theo James

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Pro:  James is relatively unknown besides a few appearances on the small screen.  However, there is a lot of talk around his upcoming performance in the YA movie Divergent.

Con:  First of all, he’s too blonde.  Secondly, he’s too committed to Divergent.  The series is three books long and with the first installment set to release in the spring, there’s too many scheduling conflicts for James to agree to take the lead in another book to film adaption.

Alexander Skarsgard

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Pro: He’s Alexander Skarsgard, sex symbol extraordinaire. For the last six seasons, Skarsgard has played the hunky and brooding Eric Northman on True Blood. We have no doubts he could fill the shoe’s of Grey, plus, he’s not afraid of a little full frontal on the big screen.

Con: Blonde, Pale, Swedish. Also, he has a few too many years on him to fill the role. Not that we are complaining, he’s still beautiful in our eyes.

RPW Recommendations

Ben Barnes

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Pro:  The whole time I was reading Fifty I pictured Ben Barnes in the role.  I have no clue why and I think I’ve only seen Barnes in one movie, ever, but for some reason he’s got the look.  Also, Barnes has the acting resume to bring experience to the film, which might be valuable against Dakota Johnson.  He’s never broken out as a leading man, could Grey be his chance?

Con:  He’s gone relatively unnoticed by Fifty fans, so its unlikely that they will support his casting.  Also, his stance on nudity is unclear.

Alex Pettyfer

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Pro: I’m a firm believer in the jaw line, (Can I get an amen?) and he’s already been tested for the role. As confirmed in last summer’s Magic Mike, we know Pettyfer is willing to take it off for the big screen, so, no issues there.

Con: He didn’t get the role the first time around. Something says the forces of the universe are battling against this one.

Rupert Friend

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Pro:  Um, hello?  Did you see our current Monday Man Candy post?  I just want to lick his jawline and if I can’t, I’m okay with Dakota Johnson doing it for me.  Also, he’s a pro at the smoldering gaze, mmmmm.

Con:  The film seems a little “beneath” him.  He’s one of the better known actors on the list and it sounds like the creators are looking for an unknown to avoid any upset.

Reader’s Choice

Ian Somerhalder

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Pro: I mean really, just do me now. Of course, thats what any the legions of fans would say that tune in every Thursday night to watch Somerhalder play the brooding, cocky and always delicious Damon Salvatore.

Con: According to James, Somerhalder has never even been considered for the role. (Whomp, Whomp, Whoooommpp)

Matt Bomer

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Pro:  Fans want him.  There’s a petition with over 40,000 signatures proving it.

Con:  Bomer isn’t interested.  While flattered by all the fan attention, he has explicitly stated that he has no interest in the role.

This list was constructed by Rock Paper Watch authors Elizabeth Bond and Ashley Foster.  Feel free to reach out with comments or questions.  Thanks for reading!