Why Tom Hardy Went to TV with Taboo

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Taboo’s origin story began with Oliver Twist.

Tom Hardy is more than just the lead actor in FX and BBC’s new drama Taboo; he’s baked into the DNA. Beyond just acting in the show, he produces it and co-created it, and it’s a bit of a passion project he’s been developed for close to a decade.

Hardy credits the conception for Taboo to a conversation he had with his father nine years ago, while he was making 2007’s BBC mini-series Oliver Twist. At the time, he went to his father, novelist and comedian Chips Hardy, with the pitch to take a villainous character like Oliver Twist’s Bill Sikes, mix him with the likes of Heart of Darkness’s Marlow and Jack the Ripper, put him inside a gentleman’s body and mix the two together.

The idea was to create a hero in a classic period drama that could transcend the class divides between the opulent upper class of 19th century London and the city’s dark underbelly. At the time, his father’s response was he didn’t have a story there, to which Hardy declared: “I just want to play this character.”

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Hardy recalls his father telling him, “Tom, will you just close the door on the way out? I need to finish my novel,” but a year later Chips Hardy completed a treatment that they then took to Steven Knight. “We begged Steve to write our story because we had a concept and a basic treatment of the character, and Steve was busy and he had an offer informally, which was, ‘If you do Locke and Peaky Blinders, I would love to do your pilot and rewrite your title.’ That’s where it all started, and the three of us set about trying to create a new piece of work,” said Hardy.

Knowing that the catch for creating Taboo with Knight was working together on 2013’s Locke and 2014’s Peaky Blinders gives a sense of just how long this has actively been a passion project for Hardy. At Taboo’s 2017 winter TV Critics Association press tour panel for Taboo, Knight recalls being immediately intrigued by Hardy’s pitch because “you know he’s going to play the lead.”

Through Hardy’s character James Delaney, Knight is exploring the rise of individualism in post-French Revolution, post-American Revolution 1814 Britain. They picked the year “1814” because it was a time Britain was at war with both America and France, and the crown was at war with the East India Company.

The first episode of Taboo gives a hint at where the eight-episode first season is heading; namely, that James Delaney is at the center of an international conflict. As the property he inherits, Noutka Sound, becomes a location of major interest for the American and British governments, the entire series becomes about “commerce and trade.”

Why Tom Hardy Went to TV with Taboo

Tom Hardy stars as James Delaney in Fargo

Hardy acknowledges that the first three episodes of Taboo are a “slow start,” an introduction to the characters and their relationships with a “gothic vibe.” But he promises they will “accrue new characters who you won’t expect” and go off on different tangents, which eventually builds up the things James Delaney doing affecting “the whole world.”

“[The characters] become an entity that go west that can be whatever they want to be,” said Hardy. “It’s a certain diversity and a collection of thinking that gathers, the central human force being James Delaney — and I’m not just saying that because it’s my own show, I’m saying that because the character, he starts to attract a specific type of mercurial, enigmatic person that it becomes a group, but they’re all individual thinkers that then take their crazy family. They’re an odd bunch, and then they’ll have to go around the world.”

Though Delaney is a Brit, Knight views Taboo as basically the story of America.

“This is, amongst other things, the story of America,” said Knight. “Their natural destination at this time is America. These are how Americans came about, and that’s another thing that this series will come to explore.”

Taboo airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.

Terri Schwartz is Entertainment Editor at IGN. Talk to her on Twitter at @Terri_Schwartz.

Acer GN246HL 144Hz Gaming Monitor Review

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High refresh rate, low price

The notion of a “gaming monitor” is a somewhat new phenomenon, since for what seems like an eternity every monitor just ran at 60Hz and that was your only option. Nowadays there are all kinds of gaming monitors available, and one of the signature features is typically a sky-high refresh rate in order to make everything on the screen appear more fluid. Acer has a pretty deep bench when it comes to these types of monitors, so I decided to test its $200 entry-level 114HZ refresh rate model, the GN246HL (currently $199.99 on Amazon). It’s available in other sizes and configurations, including versions with G-Sync, but this is the base model. Aside from its high refresh rate, it’s a pretty typical monitor in most respects as you can see in the spec chart.

Acer GN246HL 144Hz Gaming Monitor Review

Acer GN246HL 144Hz Gaming Monitor Review

Design, and Features

Right out of the box, the GN246HL makes a good impression with its thin profile and four-spoked stand with nifty copper highlights. Assembly is a snap, literally, as the base clicks into the stand, which then clicks into the monitor itself. Tightening two screws secures everything, and the screw on the back of the monitor can be torqued using a coin. I learned in testing that it’s important to torque all the screws down pretty hard, otherwise it wobbles around a bit.

Once it was set up I was impressed by how thin the upper portion of it is, as it’s just 1.7″ thick. Part of its space-saving profile is due in part to the fact that it uses an external power supply, so it’s a tradeoff really since you either have to clog up a little more space on your desk or put it on the floor and worry about running it over with your chair. Neither is ideal.

Acer GN246HL 144Hz Gaming Monitor Review

As far as outputs go the monitor offers HDMI, VGA, and DVI-D, but no DisplayPort. Though it might be obvious that the VGA connector won’t support a refresh rate beyond 60Hz, due to it being ancient technology, the same is true for its older HDMI 1.4 port as well, so to get the benefits of its 144Hz refresh rate you’ll need to use the dual-link DVI connection. Thankfully Acer includes the DVI cable in the box along with a VGA cable too.

Acer GN246HL 144Hz Gaming Monitor Review

Aside from the video outputs and the AC adapter port, the monitor includes an audio-out jack that lets you route an audio signal to a set of external speakers, or a set of headphones if you’re a sadist. There are no built-in speakers, but we don’t mind since ditching them helps keep the price down and lets the monitor retain its svelte profile. Besides, we usually game with a headset or actual decent speakers anyway.

Aesthetically, there really isn’t much to discuss with the GN246HL. Aside from the copper highlights on the stand, it looks like an ordinary, 24-inch monitor. The power button on the bottom right of the monitor glows blue when it’s on, but otherwise, it doesn’t have any panache or notable styling cues.

Acer GN246HL 144Hz Gaming Monitor Review

Acer GN264HL power switch.

Performance

In my testing, it was an interesting experience going from a 60Hz monitor to this 144Hz model. My initial impression in games was that on-screen movement seemed much more fluid than what I’ve previously experienced, which was expected, but I wasn’t positive I’d notice it in every game. Though I didn’t see much difference in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, DOOM seemed noticeably more fluid. Overall there was zero ghosting, contrast looked good, and it was surprisingly bright too. There aren’t any gaming-specific features to enable or tweak, which made it a true plug-and-play experience, and the monitor felt responsive and fast at all times.

Viewing angle performance was great as long as you don’t slouch much in your chair, although I wished I could tilt the GN246HL just a hair forward more. It only tilts forward 15 degrees, and the base doesn’t move up or down at all, so if you find yourself slouching viewing angle can become an issue. Dead-on, everything is fine, but serious deviations in any direction and you’ll definitely notice a slight color shift. Another unique but not exactly useful feature is that if you’re one of the few people who has an Nvidia 3D Vision-enabled graphics card and a pair of glasses, the GN246HL can use it.

Acer GN246HL 144Hz Gaming Monitor Review

As far as black levels are concerned, the GN246HL had no problem with the test patterns on the Lagom LCD monitor test pages. Every square was visible, which is the ideal result for black level testing. When levels are inaccurate, there can be a loss in overall detail. It also affects contrast, meaning there’s less difference between the whitest white and blackest black. Unfortunately, when I shifted in my chair or slouched a bit, the black levels suffered, with the top row of squares disappearing into the background.

White levels were not as accurate as the monitor’s black levels and adjusting my viewing angle change didn’t help. In some of the test patterns it was impossible to tell a very light gray from a pure white, which leads to loss of detail in bright areas. The gradient test showed significant banding in the darker half of the test image. A higher quality panel will show smooth gradients with no noticeable transition from light to dark, and vice-versa, but that’s unfortunately not the case with the GN246HL.

The Lagom test for response time shows eight patterns with pixels flashing on and off at a frequency of 10 hertz. Response time is a measure of how quickly a monitor can turn a pixel from black to white, or from one shade of gray to another. The GN246HL showed noticeable flashing in all but one of the test patterns, meaning its response time is poor. For a 144Hz monitor running games at super-high frame rates, this could be a real deal breaker, as it can result in ghosting or visual artifacts.

Running the Blur Busters UFO test, which detects motion blurring and artifacts, the GN246HL showed noticeable inverse ghosting on all three rows. This happens when a pixel goes beyond its intended color value, and in correcting itself, produces the inverse ghosting effect, which looks like a negative color trail behind a moving object.

Overall, the GN246HL didn’t fare so well in these tests despite its decent black levels. Given its rock-bottom price of $200 its iffy showing isn’t terribly surprising, however.

Purchasing Guide

The Acer GN246HL 144Hz Gaming Monitor can often be grabbed for as long as $199.99, but like a lot of PC hardware prices vary depending on where you shop. Newegg has it for $275, for example, but it’s currently $199 on Amazon:

Note that if you click on one of these links to buy the product, IGN may get a share of the sale. For more, read our Terms of Use.

The Verdict

Despite its plastic-y design and noodle-necked base, the GN246HL is a decent choice for anyone looking to experience a high refresh rate monitor on a tight budget. While you may never use its 3D features you’ll certainly notice the high refresh rate in everyday use, as well as the extra money in your bank account.

The Batman: Ben Affleck Says He Needs a Better Batsuit If He’s Also Going to Direct DC Film

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“Chief among the challenges of doing Batman, will be finding a suit that’s more comfortable.”

Earlier this week actor-filmmaker Ben Affleck seemed to confirm on TV that he will indeed direct The Batman this year. Now he’s back to hedging, but this time explaining a very specific concern he needs dealt with before he steps on set.

“I know what’s it’s like to be in the suit,” Affleck told USA Today. “We’ll have to modify the suit to make it a little bit easier to put on and take off. When you are in it, you can be sweating, crazy and exhausted, do your part and walk away. But when you’re a director, you can’t walk away. You have to be there for everybody. Chief among the challenges of doing Batman, will be finding a suit that’s more comfortable.”

Affleck also said, “Superhero movies get the level of attention that is nothing like any film I’ve done. You cast the 14th lead in these movies and the Internet goes crazy. … I understand and embrace that. That’s part of the pressure that comes with doing it. That’s why I am not going to do it, unless I really feel confident about it.”

“But when that day comes, should that day come, I’m sure that’s going to be the most pressure, the most stress I have ever experienced in my professional life. … There’s no doubt.”

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The Batman was reportedly expected to begin filming this spring, although Batman-on-Film recently claimed the production was being delayed until later in the summer, which would mean a summer 2018 release date was no longer viable. We inquired with Warner Bros. about the rumor, but they still hadn’t responded by time of publish.

Update: Comparing the Price of Every Game Console, With Inflation

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From the Odyssey to the PlayStation 4 Pro.

Update: A new rumor suggests that the price of the Nintendo Switch could be approximately $250, thanks to a listing on the Canadian Toys R Us website. (The listing lines up with a report from Let’s Play Video Games.) While that price is not confirmed, we’ll suspect we’ll be finding out about the Nintendo Switch’s price in just a few hours when the big Nintendo Switch reveal live stream happens.

With that in mind, check out IGN’s look at the historical list of console prices at the year of their launch and what that would equate to at a 2016 price point due to inflation. Recent Nintendo numbers to note are the price of the Wii U, which launched at $299 and $349 price points, which would run about $313.66 and $366.11 today, while the Wii launched in 2006 at $249.99 and would now cost about $297.48.

Read on for a wider look at console prices throughout the last few decades and stay tuned to IGN for more on the Switch.

Original story follows:

But what exactly is the standard for traditional console pricing? Has that standard changed over time, and has inflation altered what we consider “expensive” for these pieces of hardware?Phil Spencer recently spoke out to temper concerns that the upcoming Project Scorpio, an evolution of Microsoft’s Xbox One, would have a price point high above the standard for home gaming consoles. Specifically, he noted that players shouldn’t be “worried that this thing is going to be unlike any console price you’ve ever seen.”

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IGN took a look at over 25 consoles, their launch years, prices, and what their current day price would be, adjusted for inflation. Take a look at the table below which compares console prices starting with the 1972 launch of the Magnavox Odyssey through the launch of the PlayStation 4 Pro.

Console Year Original Price 2016 Price
Magnavox Odyssey 1972 $99 $570.44
Atari 2600 1977 $199 $790.92
Intellivision 1980 $299 $873.97
ColecoVision 1982 $175 $436.78
Atari 5200 1982 $269 $671.39
NES 1985 $199 $445.44
Sega Master System 1986 $199 $437.32
TurboGrafx-16 1989 $199 $386.53
Sega Genesis 1989 $189 $367.11
Neo-Geo 1991 $649 $1,147.68
SNES 1991 $199 $351.91
3DO 1993 $699 $1,165.10
Atari Jaguar 1993 $249 $440.33
PlayStation 1995 $299 $472.54
Sega Saturn 1995 $399 $630.58
Nintendo 64 1996 $199 $305.48
Dreamcast 1999 $199 $287.69
PlayStation 2 2000 $299 $418.21
GameCube 2001 $199 $270.64
Xbox 2001 $299 $406.63
Xbox 360 2005 $299/$399 $368.74/$492.07
Wii 2006 $249 $297.48
PlayStation 3 2006 $499/$599 $596.16/$715.63
Wii U 2012 $299/$349 $313.66/$366.11
PlayStation 4 2013 $399 $412.52
Xbox One 2013 $499 $515.91
PlayStation 4 Pro 2016 $399 $399

The most common launch price point among the systems included in the above graph is $199, with eight consoles having debuted at that number. (Six consoles launched at $299). Adjusted for inflation, however, most of those systems, including the NES, Sega Master System, and Nintendo 64, would almost all retail today for between $300 and $500. (A notable exception is the Atari 2600 — released in the 70’s, the console would now command around a $790 price point when adjusted for inflation.)

Those numbers line up largely within the price range of the last few systems that have been released — The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One’s original price points would come to just over $400 and $500, respectively, today, while the Wii U would now cost over $300 when adjusted for inflation. (All three systems now retail at reduced prices.)

Considering Spencer’s recent statements, and the trend of consoles over the last several decades, it would not be shocking to see Scorpio fall at the higher end, if not slightly above, that standard $300 to $500 range.

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To stay competitive with the PS4 and the PS4 Pro, going far beyond that range would fall outside the norm of the console generations sampled in the chart. Noting groups of consoles released roughly within two to three years of each other, the price differences rarely have varied outside of $100 to $200. (Notable exceptions include systems like the 3DO and Neo-Geo, which, adjusted for inflation, would cost well over $1,000.

For more on the two upcoming pieces of hardware, check out IGN’s comparison chart between the PS4 Pro and the Scorpio.

Stay tuned to IGN for more on the PS4 Pro, Project Scorpio, and all the latest console releases.

Jonathon Dornbush is an Associate Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter @jmdornbush.

Game Scoop! 419: Do Exclusives Even Matter?

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When a big exclusive like Scalebound is cancelled, a console loses a bit of its soul.

Welcome back to Game Scoop!, IGN’s weekly video game talk show. This week we’re discussing Scalebound, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and more. Watch the video above or download the podcast below.

Download Game Scoop! Episode 419

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