Comics2Film

Tue, July 11th, 2000 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

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This is the week some comic fans have anticipated for over a decade. This Friday the X-Men movie opens in theaters. Ya can practically smell the excitement bub. Lets not forget the other comic-to-film event making its debut on Friday: Heavy Metal 2000 airs at midnight ET on the Starz! cable channel. That move will encore throughout July on the same cable station. We have lots of interesting reports for San Diego-bound readers so, read on...

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS

[Josie and the Pussycats]An inside source has told Comics2Film that Paulo Costanzo, who recently appeared in the movie Road Trip, has joined the cast of the Josie and the Pussycats movie. Costanzo will play Alexander Cabot, one of the Pussycats' sibling managers (brother the Parker Posey's character).

Our source also told us that the movie is set to go in front of the cameras on August 21st of this year.

The band will be played by Rachel Leigh Cook as Josie, Rosario Dawson as Val and Tara Reid as Melody.

The movie is written and directed by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan (Can't Hardly Wait).

Producers are Marc Platt of Marc Platt Productions and Chuck Grimes and Tony DeRosa-Grund of Riverdale Productions. Tracey Edwards will serve as Executive producer on the movie while husband Kenneth "Babyface" Edwards acts as musical producer.

ELTINGVILLE CLUB

[Dork]Comics2Film recently received an e-mail from Evan Dorkin giving us a progress report on the Eltingville Club pilot show. Dorkin reports that Stephen DeStefano is currently in the process of storyboarding the show. "I spent some time breaking down the character designs for the entire pilot script for Stephen to work from, bringing them closer to what can be animated properly considering TV's more limited movement etc -- and also worked up some key scene sketches and settings and designs," Dorkin told us.

"The first act's rough board is done and Stephen and I went over it for revisions and punching up the material here and there," Dorkin went on to say. "Stephen's now working on act 2, and once all the rough boards are worked over for revisions he'll clean them all up and lock them down and then we present the whole thing to the network to mull over."

The aforementioned network would be The Cartoon Network, for whom Dorkin has worked in the past. "The Network is leaving the boards in our hands, as with the script they're really allowing me to do pretty much what I want without any interference, which has been really great. It's been a good experience working with the Cartoon Network so far, with both Eltingville and Space Ghost before it. They've basically given us leeway and support in what we're doing, they really seem to let the creators do what they were hired to do, which is to create."

Voice casting is still off in the future, although Dorkin told us and Sarah Dyer have been listening to tapes and CD's provided by casting agencies. However, Dorkin tells us, "all we've gotten out of that so far are a few cheap laughs." While DeStefano focuses on the storyboarding, Dorkin reports that he is free to work on comics, like Dork #8 which is due out later this year.

THE SPECIALS

[The Specials]They're "not as good as other superheroes, but definitely better than you." They're The Specials, America's seventh best superhero team, and they'll be in San Diego for the upcoming Comic-Con International.

A sneak preview of the superhero spoof will be held at 10pm on Thursday, July 20th at the Horton Plaza UA 14 Cinemas at Horton Plaza, (4 blocks east of the convention center).

Cast and crew members will be in attendance at the Comic-Con of Friday at 2:30pm as well. The cast includes Jamie Kennedy (Scream...all of them), Thomas Haden Church (George of the Jungle), Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina), Jordan Ladd (Best Actress) and many more. James Gunn, who wrote the screenplay and also appears in the movie as Minute Man is also slated to be there.

The movie will enjoy a theatrical release in September of this year.

G-MEN FROM HELL

[G-Men From Hell]Producer Rick Albert told Comics2Film that the preview screening of G-Men From Hell at the San Diego Comic-Con has been expanded. Fan response to news the screening prompted the producer to book a 500 seat theater, allowing almost double the capacity of the previously booked theater.

The screening will take place at 9:30am on Saturday, July 22nd at the nearby Pacific Theater. Fans can still write to Albert at Gmenfromhell@aol.com to try to reserve tickets.

At this point it appears that tickets will be distributed by Dark Horse at their Comic-Con booth. It's still uncertain which members of the cast and crew of the movie will attend, but Albert, director Christopher Coppola and creator Mike Allred are confirmed.

Albert also expects that Dark Horse will present some kind of preview of the G-Men From Hell story arc that will appear in the upcoming issues of Allred's Madman Comics.

THE CROW: SALVATION

Fans who missed the U.S. Premiere of The Crow: Salvation at the recent Dragon*Con will have another opportunity at next week's San Diego Convention. Rob Allstetter of the Comics Continuum reports that the movie will be screened there. Eric Mabius, who stars in this latest outing, will also appear at the con, as will producer Jeff Most.

EARTH X

[Black Bolt] [Peter Parker]
Black Bolt
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Peter Parker
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[Daredevil] [Iron Avengers]
Daredevil
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Iron Avengers
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Marvel Comics and Graphitti Designs are set to release a deluxe, hardcover version of Earth X. The Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and John Paul Leon mini-series that depicted a near future Marvel universe in which everyone has superpowers. The collector's set is to include a 2 CD soundtrack with music by composer Scott Vladimir Licinia (Night of the Living Dead 30th Anniversary Soundtrack), a 3-D hardcover depicting the updated X-51 (Machine Man) and a short video made up of live-action sequences directed by Ross and CGI sequences as well.

A source for Screem Jams Productions has informed us that images from the video can now be seen a Licinia's The Dark Theater. 11 images are currently on display at that website. It appears that eventually the video itself may be downloaded from the site as well. Our source said that the video is "definitely the coolest animation to date for Marvel characters," and based on the images, he may be right.

Our source also informs us that the sound track and music video will enjoy a huge premier party at the upcoming WizardWorld convention. The party is scheduled for the night of August 5 in the Grand Ballroom at the Hyatt. Ross, Licina, Krueger and inker Bill Reinhold are set to attend the bash. Our source tells us that animation hungry fans attending the party will enjoy "food, beverage, props from the video, art and tons of fun."

Check out The Dark Theater for more information on Earth X and Licinia.

SPIDER-MAN

Laura Ziskin (As Good As It Gets, To Die For) has joined Marvel's Avi Arad and Ian Bryce as a producer on Spider-Man according to a recent article in Variety. Ziskin's Laura Ziskin Prods. has a three-year, non-exclusive deal with Columbia.

The article also mentions that Columbia still likes Wes Bentley (American Beauty) for the lead role in the movie but director Sam Raimi is leaning towards Tobey Maguire (The Cider House Rules). Casting is said to be completed within six weeks.

In surprisingly related news, The Berkeley Labs Currents scientific journal has additional information to shed on the Spider-Man movie. A recent article found in the online edition discusses some recent research done at the labs by "people in the art department at Sony Pictures."

John H. Turner of the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM) reported to currents that the creative types were gathering information for designs for the Spider-Man movie. Quoting the article directly: "The plot presumably involves Spider-Man jumping on a large electron microscope to retrieve some spider DNA being manipulated by researchers at Cornell University., Turner says. And the design of their prop may be based on the Berkeley ARM microscope at NCEM."

Thanks to the white-coats at Corona Coming Attractions for the lead on the Berkeley story.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man Hype has had a number of recent reports on the movie. According to the Hypesters, Digital Domain will not be doing effects work for the movie. SMH heard directly from the effects house on the subject. According to the write-up, Sony Pictures Imageworks will be running Spidey up walls instead.

Stan Lee on the other hand, knows little about the movie, at least not at present anyway. Stan The Man, who created the character way back in the early 1960's recently spoke with the Hero Realm website. When asked if the rumors about the organic web-shooters were true, Lee replied, "Oh, I have no idea. I'm not part of that. I know as little about it as…in fact, you probably know more about it than I do because you have more time to search the web and get the rumors."

Lee does expect to get more involved with the movie as work progresses. "I know [director Sam Raimi]," Lee told Hero Realm, "In fact, he and I tried to do a Thor movie about, oh God, it must have been ten or fifteen years ago. So, he's a great guy and I assume I'll be hearing from him sooner or later but right now I think they're just starting to put things together."

HULK

More movie news comes out of Berkeley Labs this week. Berkeley, located in California, was involved in recent research for the big-screen version of The Hulk. A recent article appearing in The Berkeley Labs Currents reports that screenwriter Michael Tolkin came by as research for his writing of the part of Dr. Banner. According to the article, Tolkin is hoping to make Banner's scientific background as plausible as possible.

The article also states that the movie is set in Berkeley. Currents reports, "At the 88-Inch Cyclotron, Tolkin discussed the Gammasphere experiment with Paul Fallon and Rod Clark of the Nuclear Science Division. And at the Advanced Light Source he spoke with Carolyn Larabell of the Life Sciences Division about cell imaging with optical and x-ray techniques, and with Kristen Balder-Froid and Gerry McDermott of the Physical Biosciences Division about protein crystallography."

The article does give Tolkin credit for trying to get a handle on the scientific aspects of big-screen fiction. According to the write-up, Tolkin's work on Deep Impact garnered a favorable review in Science magazine.

Thanks to the propeller-heads at Corona Coming Attractions for the lead on the Berkeley story.

Corona Coming Attractions recently heard from a fan who got a peek at the February draft of Michael France's script for the Hulk movie. In general, the scooper was happy with what he read. It's apparently a serious treatment of the character with "no campy Batman and Robin moments."

The scooper also provides a rundown of various plot details. Of note:

  • Banner is the inventor of the Gammasphere, a device which converts Gamma radiation into a usable energy source. An accident with the Gammasphere causes the scientist's condition.

  • The Hulk is shown in full comic book rampage glory.

  • Villains include Sterns (who is the Leader, although that name is not used in the screenplay) and The Absorbing Man.

If the scooper's remarks are on the money, it sounds like a big improvement over previously rumored treatments. However, it should be noted that Michael Tolkin (Deep Impact) has since taken over the scripting chores for this movie.

X-MEN

With the final countdown to the X-Men movie underway, online and and offline events are springing up everywhere.

Corona Coming Attractions reports that James Marsden (Cyclops) will chat on Yahoo! on Wednesday, 7/12 at Noon PST, 8pm EST.

Corona isn't just giving readers information, but they are giving away X-Men STUFF too! For a chance to win a pair of Oakley Cyclops Juliets and other prizes create your own mutant and send it in to the boys at Corona. Details can be found on CA's contest page.

Our friends over at the X-Fan site will be participating in a live webcast of the movie's premier. Click here for details on that event.

X-Fan also tipped us off to Fox's Auction of X-Men props now underway. Most of the items are street-clothes wardrobe from various characters. However, the current big-ticket items are Magneto's Cape, Sabretooth's animal skin (both exceeding $1000 at the time of this writing) and Wolverine's black battle suit which is heading for a $10,000 price tag.

[TV Guide: Wolverine]
[TV Guide: Rogue]
With so many mutants to choose from, many fans are bummed that their favorite didn't make the cut for the big screen. Now MovieHeadlines is reporting on a sequel that includes Angel, Colossus and Psylocke. The sequel is actually the X-Men Movie Special comic book that was packaged with the new Wizards of the Coast collectible card game which was released last week. The comic presents a sequel to the movie storyline. Both the comic and the card set feature movie-made-over versions of other X-Men characters. The comic also supports design illustrations that show how other characters were given the black leather treatment.

The X-Men will grace the cover of this week's TV Guide in anticipation of Friday's big event. The July 15 edition of the magazine will ship with six variant covers featuring the good guys: Patrick Stewart as Professor X, James Marsden as Cyclops, Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, Halle Berry as Storm, Anna Paquin as Rogue and Hugh Jackman Wolverine. All six images can be seen at the TV Guide website.

Thanks to Coming Soon! for the lead.

Fans might also check out the audio interview with X-Men screenwriter David Hayter at the Entertainment Tomorrow.

Likewise, fans can read the thoughts of Tyler Mane (a.k.a. Sabretooth) by checking out his recent interview at the X-Fan site.

SENATOR KELLY

Comics2Film was alarmed to find the following message in our mailboxes late last week:

a MEssAGE fRoM MuTaNtS wHO cArE

First, let's clear up a thing or two.

One -- Not all mutants are dangerous criminals. Two -- America is supposed to be the land of freedom and tolerance. Three -- Senator Kelly is a hate-mongering fascist.

THiS iS nOt a jOkE

We of the Mutant Underground have declared this fourth of July Mutant Independence Day, and as an act of rebellion, we have sent our friend Senator Kelly a little wake-up call. Kind of like our own Boston Tea Party. We invite everyone to take a peak at our work at http://www.mutantwatch.com/wakeup Who knows, maybe if look hard enough, you'll even find the that we've thoughtfully left behind for you.

So on this great day of American independence, think about the beliefs that this great country was founded on and ask yourself....do I really hate mutants?

mEmBers of tHe mUtAnt UnDerGrOunD.

The mutants, clearly fed up with Kelly's attack on their people have managed to deface the MutantWatch website. The word "Sucks" has been spray-painted over the site's logo, while references to the politician who runs the site have been altered to read "Senator Smelly".

But the alterations were not limited to simple defacement. Clicking on some of the altered images took us to the secret website of the Mutant Underground. At that site we were able to register to win a Wolverine jacket, which is a pretty progressive recruiting incentive for a terrorist organization!

Thanks to BloodFang for the tip.

This all apparently has something to do with the so-called X-Men movie that is due out in a few weeks.

Speaking of Senator Kelly, has anyone tried calling the phone number at the end of the MutantWatch TV ad? Noel Curtin did. Curtin was surprised to learn that dialing 1-310-369-4443 connects the caller to a live voice mail system. The caller is greeted with an audio message spouting more of Kelly's anti-mutant rhetoric. Presumably, one could leave a message for Kelly if one knew his PBX extension. For those readers who do not want to make a long-distance call, Comics2Film has recorded the greeting for you. Thanks to Noel for sharing the discovery. You da man Noel!

BLADE 2

SFX Online recently talked with comicartist Timothy Bradstreet about his involvement with the in-development Blade 2. Bradstreet told SFX, "I received a call from [Guillermo del Toro (Mimic)] back in late March. He told me that he had just signed on to direct Blade 2 and he wanted me to be one of four conceptualists to work on the new film with him, the others being Richard Corben, Wayne Barlowe and Mike Mignola. He was leaving to go to Spain to direct a horror film in the next few days and told me that New Line would be contacting me shortly. I asked if this was a for sure thing, to which he replied a definite yes."

[Hellboy]Last year Barlowe created a concept painting for the movie version of Mignola's Hellboy, to which del Toro is attached as as writer and director, if the movie ever gets going again.

Bradstreet expects that he'll be designing the look of the vampires in the movie.

Thanks to Cinescape for the lead.

EVANGELINE

It's been over two years since we've had anything to report on the Evangeline movie based on Chuck Dixon's comic book. Now Greg Dean Schmitz of the excellent Upcomingmovies.com writes in to give us an update. Unfortunately, it's not good news:

"I just wanted to drop you a note with a bit of information about the Evangeline adaptation. It was eventually retitled Guns of Mars (which is a more easily digestible and marketable title). Universal has since put it in turnaround however, possibly because of the glut of other Mars-related projects in the works out there already (Mission to Mars, Red Planet, John Carpenter's Ghost of Mars, and James Cameron's IMAX project, Journey to Mars)."

So, there you have it. The project sits in turnaround awaiting a new studio to rescue it.

GHOST RIDER

Fans looking for insights into the upcoming Ghost Rider movie need look no further than the recent write-up on The Stax Report at IGN FilmForce. Our old buddy Stax takes a look at the early draft of David Goyer's screenplay for the movie. Be warned that, while this script may be the basis for the new movie, it will certainly be rewritten or reworked considerably. Stax sums up his review as "MIXED, SOME SPOILERS."

THE ADVENTURES OF SANDEE THE SUPERMODEL

Fans who have been disappointed by the lack of news surrounding the big screen adaptation of clothing designer Isaac Mizrahi's comic book The Adventures of Sandee the Supermodel can rejoice. A recent write-up in the New York Times indicates that the movie project is still alive.

The article reports that Nina Santisi, a former VP of advertising and public relations for Mizrahi is production the movie. It's set to be a live-action feature for DreamWorks. Mizrahi wrote the comic, which was illustrated by William Frawley.

Thanks to Michael Rhode of the Comics Research Bibliography.

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