Comics2Film: Issue #103

Wed, January 19th, 2000 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

TORSO

[Torso]

Comics 2 Film recently spoke to Brian Michael Bendis about the development of the movie version of his Torso comic. Bendis and Torso co-writer Marc Andreyko are currently busy scripting the tale of Elliot Ness' post-Capone investigation of America's first known serial killer. "We're really right smack dab in the middle of our first draft of the Torso script," Bendis told us. "We're well within schedule. We're actually doing pretty well."

Bendis reports that with most of the details worked out, he and Andreyko are enjoying the current leg of the work. "We worked out the story pretty tightly. We had a very very tight outline. Everyone knows what it's going to be. So right now it's a matter of craft," Bendis said. "It's kind of a cool way to work. The hard part's over and this is like the fun part, you know what I mean. Like: 'How clever are we?'"

The comic creator finds that he and Andreyko work well as a team. "I've never...co-written before and neither has Marc and we were friends for a good long time. There are things that each one of us are very very good at which, thank God, isn't the same stuff. "So, the teamwork's been working pretty well here. As far as [the Torso comic] went we worked on the story together for a good long time, did all the research. With [the screenplay], there are just certain scenes that he just adores and feels very personal about, and certain scenes that I do, and the rest we just divvy up. We're pretty diplomatic about it."

Todd McFarlane and Terry Fitzgerald are producing the movie for Dimension Films. "Todd's a really big fan of the project. That's why the whole thing happened," Bendis told C2F. "That's how I ended up working for him on Sam & Twitch too. He was just really digging the stuff."

Bendis reports that McFarlane is very involved with the development process and he appreciates McFarlane's input. "There's a lot to learn from the way he runs his business. He's cool. He knows when to jump in and when to let people just do their stuff."

Bendis' currently has Fortune and Glory on the stands, which recounts his adventures in Hollywood. The struggle to sell Torso as a movie is the subject of the third issue. "The third issue is me trying to sell Torso before Todd became involved with the project. You try to pitch something that's adult and dark and a period piece and it's during the highlight of the teen scream youth market boom. Like someone would actually go, 'Oh. Elliot Ness! Well can we skew him a bit younger?' I'm like 'Yeah. How much younger? Like 20? Yeah that should work. Can we go?'"

However, Bendis reports that the subject matter of the second issue of Fortune and Glory was the inspiration for the comic. "The second issue is after I wrote [the Goldfish screenplay]. Everyone's saying nice things. We're in development. Everything's fine and I went out to Hollywood to do the meet-and-greets which was the most insane bunch of nonsense you'd ever seen in your life! I won't even ruin it for you.

"The second issue is like why I did the comic book," Bendis continues. "I was just going to all these meetings and it was just going nowhere I didn't get anything from them you're just supposed to do them right?"I walked out of [Hollywood]. Everyone was just laughing their ass off at the stories I was telling and I thought 'You know what? I'm not letting this material go to waste.'"

The first issue of Fortune and Glory is currently available from Oni Press and fine comic stores everywhere.

FAUST

Director Brian Yuzna checked in with Comics 2 Film to give us a status report on his movie version of David Quinn and Tim Vigil's Faust. "Principal Photography on Faust: Love of the Damned wrapped December 23," Yuzna informed C2F. The production effort still requires special effects footage and many inserts.

Filmax, the company producing the movie is hoping Faust will be completed early this year. Yuzna told us, "Filmax would really like to present the film at the Cannes film market in May, but I am afraid that may be impossible given the complicated nature of the post production, especially the digital compositing and some monster stuff that is yet to be done."

The director is unsure whether or not the movie will see a theatrical release in the U.S. "Filmax is selling all rights internationally (Canal+ has it for France) and will give it a big theatrical push here in Spain. We hope that it will deserve a theatrical release in other territories, but given the budget level it is a difficult nut to crack, especially in N. America."

The film maker aimed to keep the movie, scripted by Quinn, true to the comic. "If you are familiar with the Faust comic book you know that it is pretty violent and pornographic. We have tried to keep that edge to the movie within an R rating. It is tricky because I don't know of another adult superhero movie, so it is quite a gamble. This movie certainly isn't for kids.

"Of course it will be of interest to any comic book fan because it is a caped super(anti)hero and the whole movie is comic book in spirit, a dark twisted comic book," Yuzna told us. "However, I hope that the movie works as more than a curiosity, and is actually a strong entertainment that will appeal to the horror and thriller audience as well."

We also asked Yuzna about Zen: Intergalactic Ninja, a comic-based movie that he was long attached to do, before Faust. "Zen is still a possibility, but for the time being I am committed to [his new production label,] The Fantastic Factory and Filmax and all my active projects are here. In April we shoot Arachnid with Jack Sholder (Wishmaster 2) directing, and in August we shoot Dagon with Stuart Gordon (Castle Freak) directing. Next fall I hope to get Beyond Re-Animator before the camera."

The cast of Faust includes Mark Frost as Faust, Isabel Brook as Jade, Andrew Divoff as M, Jeffrey Combs as Captain Dan Margolies and Monica Van Campen as Claire.

WITCHBLADE

[Witchblade]

Comics 2 Film spoke with Perry Husman, the producer of the Witchblade TV Pilot movie from the film's production office in Ontario. Husman confirmed for us that the movie will definitely be shooting in Ontario, some time in mid-February.

Ralph Hemecker, who has directed episodes of Millennium and The X-

Files will be the director. The show currently has no cast although

casting would obviously have to come together quickly to make the mid-

February start date. The script for the movie is by J.D. Zeik who

penned the 1998 Robert DeNiro film Ronin.

While prowling the website for a special effects house called Look!

Effects, Inc., the Comics 2 Film reader known only as SpydaWeb

unearthed some early production artwork for the Witchblade TV series.

The artwork depicts what appears to be the title card for the show: a

three dimensional logo very similar to the comic's logo.

Also visible on the website are images of the Witchblade gauntlet.

However these images are quite small and are of fairly poor quality.

Accompanying the images is the story of the work Look! did in regards

to the show. The article was written in 1998, just after the show was

delayed. It speculates that Look! would be part of the future

development effort, which only recently revived. We currently have no

word as to whether or not Look! is currently involved with the show.

The article does state that the effects engineers were instructed by

the producers that it was "crucial that the growth and movement of the

Witchblade in the television show be of as high quality as any film

effect. But, beyond that, the creators seek to have the Witchblade

appear to be a living entity - organic, rather than just a malleable

prosthetic."

The work done by Look! in 1998 yielded the organic, growing claw, as

well as the animated, organically textured logo.

MASTER OF KUNG FU

Producer Chris Lee and music video director Joseph Kahn have formed a

new entertainment venture called Supermega. According to their

website, the company is poised to exploit "the new age of digital

technology by creating merchandised franchises aimed directly at the

MTV / Playstation generation." The company is set to produce movies,

TV shows, music videos, internet based entertainment and much more.

Of primary interest to readers here are their movie ventures.

We told you last October that Chris Lee was producing The Darkness and

that Hong Kong action director Andrew Lau is attached to direct. The

website confirms this, but also tells us that Chris Morgan is on board

as the writer. The movie is set up at Columbia Pictures.

Also of interest is Marvel's Master of Kung Fu. This New Line Cinema

production is based on Marvel's Shang-Chi comics. The Thai action

movie and music video director known as Kaos is attached as director.

Marvel's Avi Arad is named as a producer.

WONDER WOMAN

[Lynda Carter]
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman

Old rumors never die and talk that Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment) is set to play Wonder Woman in an upcoming Warner Bros. feature film has resurfaced. This rumor, which was bandied about almost a year ago, has been resuscitated on the internet thanks to a UK radio broadcast which named the beautiful actress as the next Diana.

However, we spoke to a source a Silver Pictures, the current producers of the Wonder Woman movie. Our source tells us that the movie is still in the early scripting stages and casting is the furthest thing from anyone's mind. Jon Cohen (Minority Report) is writing the script for the latest Wonder Woman project.

X-MEN

[Wolverine]

Once again, Corona Coming Attractions scored a big one for X-Men fans this week. On Tuesday, CCA posted a photograph of Hugh Jackman's stunt double wearing the Wolverine costume for the X-Men movie. The costume is almost completely black leather with some gold trim. X emblems adorn the belt and collar. At first glance, it bears little resemblance to any costume worn by the character in the comics. However, the gold highlights on the suit describe the same striping pattern that is found on Logan's original Yellow and blue suit. Thanks to our friends at Corona for allowing us to run this image!

LADY DEATH: THE ANIMATION

In one of our recent updates for Lady Death: The Animation we

incorrectly stated that the character Sťance had been created just for

the animated feature. Comics 2 Film reader and Chaos! fiend Jamie

Tarquini wrote in to correct us. "I just wanted to tell you the

Sťance has been around in the Chaos! universe since Chaos! Quarterly

#1, and played an integral part in the recent Armageddon storyline. He

is a demon / warlock / sorcerer who casts his allegiance to Lucifer.

He sometimes works on his own, but is usually is by Satan's side."

Thanks for setting us straight Jamie!

RAT BASTARD (AND McFARLANE GORILLA SHOW)

A recent article in Daily Variety discussed the UPN network's slate for the next fall season.

The Huja Brothers' Rat Bastard is named as one of several series due

out next year. The half-hour animated show is being developed by Ed

Neumeier (Robocop, Starship Troopers) at Imagine Television. The show

is described as a "film noir/detective style series, which will be

produced in the style of Japanese anime." The article also states

that the network has given the project a "premium script order with a

small penalty attached." Barry Jossen (Sex and the City) is named as

executive producer.

Also of interest to comic fans is an as-yet-untitled concept from Todd

McFarlane. A press release for the show describes it as a "live-

action, sci-fi drama featuring monsters, gorillas and man." Although

the Variety article gives the show a tentative title of Gorilla World,

the press release makes no reference to this working name.

McFarlane created the program and will serve as the executive producer

and co-writer. Todd McFarlane Entertainment President Terry Fitzgerald

is the co-executive producer, and Steve Niles is the co-writer. "We've

created a drama with cutting-edge visuals where we intend to keep the

viewer on the edge of his seat," said McFarlane.

Fitzgerald said, "We are pleased to be working with the young and

hard-charging UPN network. TME develops projects for a certain

demographic/attitude and together we will make sure all other networks

sit up and take notice."

UPN Entertainment president Tom Nunan said his primary interest is to

get into business with Todd McFarlane. "He seems to understand the

mind of 14-year-old kids and what would get them excited and glued to

the set," Nunan said. "I think this is going to be one of the most

original shows produced for next season."

THE CROW: SALVATION

Irony Despair, webmaster of A Boy and His Bird (The Crow Website),

dropped us a line to keep us posted on developments with The Crow:

Salvation. Irony reports that the latest installment in the Crow

feature film franchise has a tentative release date of April 28, 2000.

Irony also informs us that the soundtrack for the movie will include

Rob Zombie's Living Dead Girl Remix, Stabbing Westward's Waking Up

Beside You, Static X's cover of Ministry's Burning Inside as well as

tracks from Monster Magnet, Danzig, Days of the New, The Fly. Other

possibilities for the soundtrack include Tricky, Hole, Pitchshifter,

Kid Rock and Sin. However, these are unconfirmed. Irony also reports

that the movie may be scored by Marco Beltrami.

SPIDER-MAN

Now that the rumor mill has settled on Sam Raimi as the Spider-Man

director (it's not official), it's time to turn our attention to

casting rumors. The internet was initially pelted with some

ridiculous rumors as to who might don the webs for the movie. We

won't mention those. However, in their latest round of gossip, the

Spider-Man Hype website offered up a trio of young actors who actually

seem like they would fit the part. The word comes from an anonymous

source, so clearly this is just rumor.

First up we have Nicholas Brendon, who plays a character on Buffy - The Vampire Slayer that has some fans envisioning him as Peter Parker. Brendon has long been rumored for the role and there's even been a grass-roots internet campaign aimed at thrusting the suggestion into the public consciousness.

Comics 2 Film readers are tickled silly to see Jason Schwartzman named

as a candidate. Schwartzman's name has been on the lips of fans since

(Rushmore) hit the screens early last year. However, this is the

first we've heard of him actually being considered.

Finally Wes Bentley, who turned in an acclaimed performance in American Beauty is also rumored to be a top contender.

FROM HELL

Jam! Movies reports that Brad Pitt (Fight Club) is hot to play Jack

the Ripper in the upcoming adaptation of Alan Moore and Eddie

Campbell's From Hell. Albert & Allen Hughes (Menace II Society) are

on board to direct the movie. Terry Hayes (Payback) has written a

screenplay. According to the article, the movie is set to film this

spring in the Czech Republic.

HARSH REALM

Although there's been buzz about it on the net work weeks, Fox officially announced this week that Harsh Realm will air on the FX channel. According to Daily Variety, the cable channel has purchased all nine episodes of the ill-fated adaptation and is prepping them for a March start. There is speculation that high-ratings for this run could lead to an extension of the series, but FX has not made an official comment on that prospect.

Harsh Realm created as a comic by James Hudnall and Andrew Paquette. The series was adapted for Fox television by Chris Carter, but only ran for three episodes before it was canceled. The series is currently the subject of a lawsuit by Hudnall and Paquette against Carter, Fox and Harris Publishing.

HULK

A recent column by Michael Fleming in Daily Variety discusses a recent snafu at Universal pictures over a special effects contract with Industrial Light & Magic. Apparently, Universal had contracted about $80 million worth of F/X from ILM for an all CGI version of Frankenstein.

New Universal management pulled the plug on the Frankenstein project, without realizing it was still on the hook for $80 million with ILM. What does this have to do with The Hulk. Only that Fleming mentions that a settlement between the two companies is likely and future work on The Hulk and sequels to The Mummy and Jurassic Park may be applied to the debt.

SUPERNATURAL LAW

Rob Allstetter of the Comics Continuum reports that a new writer has

been hired to take a pass at the screenplay for the movie version of

Batton Lash's Supernatural Law. Jackie Estrada, co-publisher/editor

of Exhibit A Press told Allstetter that Marti Noxon, a writer for the

Buffy The Vampier Slayer Was doing a character pass on the existing

script, written by S.S. Wilson and Steve Mazur. The new draft is

expected to be completed some time this month.

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