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Do we need another hero?

This is a little embarrassing. I'm an arts editor; I'm supposed to be on top of this sort of thing.

There is a major shortage in Hollywood right now, according to publications as knowledgeable as The New York Times.

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Apparently, bona fide action stars are about as scarce as snow leopards.

I had no idea.

And, after checking out the roster for the fall, the lack is still not immediately obvious. Did Tom Cruise announce his retirement?

Mel Gibson had a movie out just this month. Arnold Schwarzenegger will "be bahk" in yet another "Terminator" film. Keanu Reeves has not one but two "Matrix" sequels in the works. Both halves of the "Good Will" team are now hunting down the bad guys (although Ben Affleck needs to have a serious talk with his tailor about that red Daredevil suit).

Even sweet-seeming young men like Tobey Maguire are being jammed into latex. (Don't get me wrong – "Spider-Man" was a blast, although I hope they give Kirsten Dunst something to do in the sequel besides stand in the rain and fall from high places.)

Speaking of young women, it seems to me that the pool of applicants looking to save the world is now twice as large. Heck, Jennifer Garner can do her own stunts. So can Carrie-Anne Moss, Michelle Yeoh, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and a locker room's worth of others.

We have heroes in Spandex. Heroes with tattoos and gravelly voices. Heroes with magic wands. Heroes with swords. Hobbit heroes.

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In the immortal words of Ms. Tina Turner, "We don't need another hero." But we sure could use another Cary Grant.


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