Visualising the careers of musicians-turned-actors

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THE news of Harry Styles’s casting in “Dunkirk” (2017) was met with bemusement. It was hard to imagine the boyband heartthrob, with his Mick Jagger-esque locks and floral suits, under siege on the beaches of northern France (rather than under siege from hordes of teenage girls). Did a short comic turn as “Marcel the Marketing Guy” in a One Direction music video—seemingly the extent of his acting experience—qualify him to star in Christopher Nolan’s epic? Many assumed the decision was a ploy to bump box-office ratings; a tense, experimental second-world-war flick wouldn’t typically appeal to a younger demographic. Such was the extent of the backlash that Mr Nolan came to the pop star’s defence. “When I cast Heath Ledger as the Joker it raised a lot of eyebrows and caused a lot of comment,” he said of the villain in “The Dark Knight”, a role which earned Ledger a posthumous Academy award. “I have to trust my instincts, and Harry was perfect for this part. He pulled it off with incredible grace and reality.”

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The growth of Marvel’s universe through “Black Panther” is welcome

COSMOLOGISTS, Eastern and Western, ancient and modern, have on occasion mooted the possibility of an ekpyrotic universe, one which expands, then contracts into fire, then expands again. Like most big cosmic ideas, this one has almost certainly been purloined, ornamented and abused more than once in the vast works of …

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By abandoning the Olympics, the NHL has done Russia a favour

EVER since 1998, when North America’s National Hockey League (NHL) began putting its season on hold to allow its players to participate in the Olympics, men’s ice hockey has been a signature sport at the winter games. Elite squads from Canada, the home country of nearly half of the players …

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The Prada Foundation will transform Milan’s contemporary art offering

COMPARED with other major European cities, Milan’s contemporary art offering is slight. The Gallerie d’Arte Moderna, housed in a venerable palazzo, contains some important late-19th-century work, but little of note from the 20th century and nothing from the 21st. The Museo del Novecento, despite its name, is meant to consider …