Comics2Film

Wed, November 1st, 2000 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

TORSO

[Torso]Comics2Film touched base with Terry Fitzgerald, president of Todd McFarlane Entertainment, about progress on the big-screen version of Torso. The movie, based on the comic by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko, was set up at Dimension Films late last year. The movie tells the true story of Elliot Ness and his pursuit of America's first known serial killer.

Bendis and Andreyko have written the screenplay for the film. Fitzgerald, a producer on the movie, now tells us that the project is seeking a director. "[The script] has been given to a director, who is contemplating jumping onboard." Fitzgerald said. Although he would not give us any names Fitzgerald did tell us, "he is a wickedly talented director from outside this country and both Todd and I would love to work with him."

We also asked Fitzgerald about recent rumors that Dylan McDermott (The Practice) had been cast or was being considered for the lead role of Elliot Ness. "I like Dylan as an actor and he would make a great Ness, but alas the rumor is not true."

The collected Torso graphic novel is due in comic stores next week as both a trade paperback and a signed hardcover.

ELTINGVILLE CLUB

[Dork]Evan Dorkin gave Comics2Film a progress report on the Eltingville Club animated show, which he's been developing for The Cartoon Network since last December. Based on Dorkin's comments, it looks as if work on the pilot is proceeding at a good pace and production should start soon.

"Stephen DeStefano's storyboard was finished this past weekend and we should hear back from The Cartoon Network within a week or two regarding approval of the board," Dorkin told us. "We assume they'll want to make some changes owing to notes from Standards and Practices, but who knows. The actual script got through the approval stage with only a few minor nicks, so I have my fingers crossed that they'll leave the board largely unchanged, as I think Stephen's work on it is pretty impressive."

After the boards are approved and finalized, the pilot will go into production. Dorkin told C2F, "I assume that means we start working on the finished character designs, model sheets and turnaround poses, which I hope to work with Stephen on as well."

Dorkin also told us that voice casting for the show is underway.

G-MEN FROM HELL

Producer Rick Albert told Comics2Film that he's located a German distributor for Mike Allred's G-Men From Hell. The film is slated for an early December release in Germany from Advanced Film-Verleih. Albert is currently in negotiations with a U.S. distributor.

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS

[Josie and the Pussycats]Comics2Film heard from a scooper named Tiffany today who worked as an extra on the Josie and the Pussycats production. Tiffany wrote in to share various bits of info about the movie.

For starters Tiffany is uncertain as to whether star Rachael Leigh Cook performed the vocals for the band. "I could've sworn it was her voice, but a friend who was also an extra says that during an autograph signing scene at a local mall here in Vancouver, a stand-in singer sounded exactly like what was on the track we had to listen to during the concert scene." Previous rumors had suggested that Letters to Cleo front-woman Kay Hanley would provide the singing voice for Josie.

Tiffany is also enthusiastic about the music she heard on the set. "The last song (the song that no one knows if they like it, during the closing scene) is called Spin Around and is a cool punk-rock song. I wish I had taped the song cuz it's GREAT!"

Tiffany offers these tidbits about the shooting: "They wrapped on Thursday, Oct. 26 in downtown Vancouver. Tara Reid, as great as she is, couldn't get the drum part right the day before the big concert scene (which actually took 2 days to shoot, not one). On Friday though, she kicked ass! Paulo Costanzo (who plays Alexander Cabot) is in a yellow tank-top and flesh-colored undies in the closing scene. Why? That's waaay beyond me (and I was too frightened to ask)! A scene filmed at the Vancouver Airport with Du Jour [the rival boy band featuring Seth Green]. Apparently, a guy extra kept saying (in a 'gay' voice) 'Travis [Seth Green's character], I LOOOOOVE you!' over and over again, and Seth Green went over and gave him a hug. I guess you had to be there."

Based on her experience, Tiffany predicts big things for the movie. " I CANNOT WAIT until Josie comes out. It's gonna kick ass, I promise you that!!"

Thanks Tiffany!

Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly provides another look at Josie and the Pussycats stars Rachael Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson and Tara Reid in costume. Those costumes are not the leopard-print model from the cartoon, but instead spice-girl-esque threads. That doesn't sit too well with Dawson, who plays Val in the movie.

"I'm a little upset," Dawson told EW. "I'm actually having the leotards made so my friends and I can wear them on Halloween."

The article also reports that the Cats' rival boy-band featuring Seth Green, Breckin Meyer, Donald Faison and Alexander Martin will be called Du Jour. Their hit single is "Back Door Lover." Cook is quick to explain the song, "It's just about someone who comes to visit the person they love at night."

Thanks to Leslie for the lead.

SPIDER-MAN

Dark Horizons has a scoop from a student in California who recently heard a lecture from Spider-Man director of photography, Don Burgess. According to the scooper, Burgess was there to screen What Lies Beneath but also commented on Spidey. He told students that the climactic battle for the movie takes place in Times Square and will be largely done in CGI. He also said that they still haven't decided on the colors of Spider-Man's costume.

In related news, Macho Man Randy Savage has been talking up his involvement with the Spider-Man movie. The wrester apparently made several on-record statements about it at a recent fundraiser for The Special Olympics.

Corona Coming Attractions reports that the wrestler spoke with reporter Chris Chancellor of the Houston Chronicle. According to that report, Savage said his role would be similar to that of Bane in Batman and Robin. The report also indicated his character might be called "Smasher".

IGN Filmforce also heard from a Special Olympics volunteer who attended the event. The volunteer asked Savage about the movie and he confirmed that he would be in it, playing a character named Bone Saw McGraw. Filmforce reports that, in the screenplay, Bone Saw is the wrestler that a newly-transformed Parker takes on for some quick cash and a test of his powers. In the comics, that character was named Crusher Hogan.

Comics2Film checked in with our own source at Marvel Entertainment. Our source told us that he didn't have any specific info about Savage appearing in the movie. However, if Savage is to be in the movie, there's only one part he could possibly play, and that would be the aforementioned Bone Saw McGraw.

Finally, Corona Coming Attractions reports that Spider-Man ADI special effects supervisor Tom Woodruff shot mask and makeup effects for the Green Goblin yesterday. This comes from "a longtime" scooper for the site.

THE FLY

A representative for Robert Zemeckis' production house ImageMovers told Comics2Film that a movie version of the Archie Comics character The Fly is in the early stages of development. A first draft of the movie has been completed by Chris and Paul Weitz (Antz, The Klumps).

According a listing on the 4Filmmakers, the story follows a man who discovers he is descended from a race of fly-like aliens and must save the Earth from spider-like aliens.

The character was created in the late 1950's by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for Archie Comics. The main character was an orphan boy who discovers a magic ring that transforms him into an adult superhero. However, Simon and Kirby departed the series after its fourth issue. After that, the orphan character had grown up and become a lawyer.

The characters was revived and revamped for Archie's Impact line of the early 1990's. Now, the character was Jason Troy, a high-school student. In the new version, Jason is given an amulet by a school teacher that allows him to transform into The Fly.

WENDY THE WITCH

The latest e-mail edition of Mark Arnold's The Harveyville Fun Times reveals that progress is being made on the animated TV version of Harvey's Wendy The Witch. Rick Mischel, president of The Harvey Entertainment Company, commented on the show for Arnold.

"Wendy is still in pre-production and we have already created the opening credit segment," Mischel said.

The show is in a co-production between Harvey and Studio B Productions in Vancouver. Earlier in the year, Harvey provided this description for the program:

"Wendy the Witch tells the story of a little girl with magical powers. Her three zany witch aunts, Franny, Gabby & Gert are always encouraging Wendy to cast the most mischievous sort of spells, but Wendy always seems to know when to listen to her witchy relatives and when to shelve her sorcery. Adventurous and independent, this audacious charmer is equipped with an enchanted wand and a smart-aleck broom to help her navigate her teenage years in the witch and mortal worlds."

BATMAN: YEAR ONE

The most recent issue of Entertainment Weekly features a three page article on director Darren Aronofsky. While the article largely focuses on his new movie Requiem for a Dream, the director does make a few comments about Batman: Year One.

About getting the nod from Warner Bros., Aronofsky said, "I was surprised, but I was more excited by what I could do with it."

And what does Aronofsky hope to bring to the Batman franchise? "The street. Reality. What does it take for a real man to stick on tights and fight crime?"

Aronofsky names Batman Returns as his favorite among the bat-films.

BATMAN BEYOND

[Batman Beyond]Bill Ramey of the Batman On Film website reports that plans may be afoot to tie the live-action Batman Beyond movie into the continuity of the four existing Batman films. Ramey reports:

"I got a recent rumor from a source close to WB who I checked up on and the source is legit--I don't know 100% about the rumor. But here it is. He says that the Batman Beyond movie, the live-action one, will be produced so that it can be interpreted as being in the same continuity as the last 4 films. But it can also be viewed as a stand alone Bat-film; whichever way the view wants to interpret it. His reason for this is that with two Bat-films coming out, the studio does not want to 'confuse' movie-goers. Most will assume that Batman Beyond is a sequel--a futuristic one--and that is fine with the studio."

We're not sure if this means that story elements will create the link, or if this will simply be a marketing strategy for the new movies.

BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER

[Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker]Fans wanting a sneak peek at the upcoming Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker can now view online trailers at various locations. Comics2Film reader Noel Curtin writes to tell us that the trailer can be viewed at Express.com. Curtin first discovered the trailer while visiting Salvor Hardin's Batman: Tomorrow and Beyond website.

Also various sites have pointed readers to TV Guide Live who is also running the trailer. Cinescape and Dark Horizons pointed the way to this one.

The trailer displayed at both sites is one that was concocted prior to the reediting of the movie. This is evident in the final title card, which states that the movie is available October 24, instead of the new December release date.

MONKEYBONE

A Variety article running down Fox's 2001 release calendar reveals that the live-action and animated movie Monkeybone now has a release date. The movie, an adaptation of Kaja Blackley's Dark Town, is set to hit theaters on April 11, 2001.

The movie stars Brendan Fraser, Whoopi Goldberg and Bridget Fonda. Henry Selick (A Nightmare Before Christmas) directs from a script by Sam Hamm (Batman).

Meanwhile, John Shea of TNMC: Movies recently spoke with screenwriter Sam Hamm about why the movie has been delayed for so long. Hamm told Shea that Monkeybone had been a pet project of former Fox chief Bill Mechanic but the new management doesn't really know what to make of it. Hamm also said that, while test audiences are saying they enjoyed the movie, many audience members are also saying that it's too weird for them to recommend to friends.

DEATH

A scooper for Corona Coming Attractions provided a report on a recent appearance by Neil Gaiman in New York City. Gaiman was in town on October 15th as part of his Last Angel Tour benefiting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Gaiman apparently told attendees that the folks at Warner Bros. may be angry with him as they expected his screenwriting efforts on the Death movie to be further along. Gaiman had originally planned on starting it early this year, after finishing work on his novel American Gods. However, work on Gods continued up until September, and the author is now only on page 37 of the script, which is based on Death: The High Cost of Living.

STATIC SHOCK!

The first episode of Static Shock that was written by co-creator Dwayne McDuffie is set to air this Saturday. The episode, titled "They're Playing My Song," will also be the first episode to air in the show's new timeslot at 11:00am, right after the debut episode of X-Men: Evolution.

SPAWN 2

The TBS Superstation website recently posted the transcript to Wednesday's online chat with Spawn mastermind Todd McFarlane.

During the chat, McFarlane was asked when fans could expect to see the next Spawn movie. McFarlane responded,

"Right now, the rights revert back to me on November 6th, and I've got three studios waiting for me to come in the door and tell them that it's legally back in my possession. So, hopefully something will come out of one of those places. The script idea is an R-rated type of thriller, as opposed to the sort of action/fantasy version that was the first movie. I don't know... I'm not a big fan of sequels just duplicating what the first one did. So if I can make a sequel, I want it to be different, for better or for worse."

McFarlane also commented on how the events of the first movie would effect the sequel, "I think the first movie was always intended to be a PG-13 sort of introductory film. Sometimes those are the hardest movies to make interesting, because you have to get the origins out of the way in the first movie. When you look back, you'll see that the first Superman movie told you about the planet Krypton, and the first Batman movie showed you why he became Batman. So, you sort of have to accomplish that before you can move forward. Because of that, I find that the freedom to do what you want hopefully comes in the follow-up movies, because you've already set the table with the information from the first movie, and now you can get into the character itself."

And what other characters would McFarlane like to bring to the big screen?

"I have two detectives named Sam and Twitch... they'd hold up well. I've got another character called Cy-Gor, which is an augmented gorilla. I think since the advent of King Kong, people have been monkey fans, so I think he'd work."

McFarlane also commented on plans for the animated Spawn. "We put out three seasons of [the HBO series], and won two Emmy awards for it, but for various reasons, we didn't do any this year. But I'm hoping that by the beginning of next year, we will be beginning production on a 90-minute sort of movie length version that will then be sold either back to HBO or some other cable operation."

BALL AND CHAIN

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Fox Broadcasting Co. has ordered a pilot for Scott Lobdell's bickering husband and wife superhero concept, Ball and Chain. The pilot has been fast tracked for a January production. The show will be a co-production between 20th Century Fox Television and Regency Television.

The pilot is to be co-written and executive produced by Howard Gordon (The X-Files) and Molly Newman (Maximum Bob). Lobdell is also an executive producer on the show. Todd Holland (Emmy winning director of Malcolm in the Middle) is set to direct.

The concept is set in a San Francisco that is overrun with aliens. The main characters are a married couple who are on the brink of divorce. The couple are accidentally endowed with super-powers that only work when they're together.

Director Todd Holland told The Reporter that the show will be an action adventure showwith a romantic-comedy bent. Look for plenty of special effects as well. "I love a narrative that tries to be big and comic book-like in its imagination but, at its core, keeps the human storyalive through the experiences of this couple," Holland told The Reporter. "It's a hard thing to pull off, but I think Molly and Howard have the chops to do it."

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