Comics2Film

Wed, March 6th, 2002 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

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BLADE II

[Luke Goss]
Luke Goss
When fans sit down in movie theaters to watch Blade 2 this month, they'll meet Nomak, a frightening mutant vampire bent on destroying his blood-sucking brethren. Comics2Film got a chance to chat with Luke Goss, the affable English actor under the Nomak makeup, now poised to take Hollywood by bloodstorm.

One may be surprised to learn that Goss has already enjoyed a music career that many would envy. As a teenager he was a member of the boy band "Bros", a chart-topping success that played venues like Wembley Arena, Madison Square Garden and The Forum in L.A. But at the pinnacle of success Goss bowed out of the music in pursuit of something better.

"After 5 years of it I'd had enough for 10 lifetimes," Goss told C2F. "You've done the jets and you've done the helicopters, the body guards, the valets, the assistants and it's all kind of exactly as you imagined and probably crazier. I found myself at 23 years of age I was thinking, 'the only thing I can do now is sustain it.'"

Goss quit the band and penned the best-selling autobiography, "I Owe You Nothing". Shortly thereafter he took a role in a stage production of the Ed Wood cult classic Plan 9 From Outer Space. It was there that he got the acting bug.

"The very first show, I was standing on stage, and I fell in love the very first day," Goss told us. "The camaraderie we had on that play was more solid than I'd acquired in my five years in music."

After steady work in the U.K. theater he went on to appear in a handful of English films. From there it was on to Hollywood where he landed a part in Zigzag, which happens to be the directorial debut of Blade 2 writer and executive producer David Goyer.

After working with Goss, Goyer told director Guillermo del Toro that he thought he had found their Nomak. "So I had a meeting with Guillermo. I gave them my take on Nomak and it was much deeper than what was on the page. At that moment it could have been played by a stunt guy."

Goss hoped to take the role of the nemesis beyond a simple good vs. bad paradigm. "[The role] focused, quite understandably, the energy towards your adversary Blade. But my point was, that was already kind of a given. There's a line in the film where I say, 'is the enemy of my enemy my friend or my enemy,' which sums up my confusion with Blade," Goss said. "There's a plot there that was very clear to me. It was: if we can stand on common ground then why should we fight?"

Aside from the commonality with Blade, Goss found another interesting facet of the Nomak character. The villain is a tormented soul, driven by the hatred inflicted on him. "The bigger issue is my father Damaskinos who basically hunted me like an animal and I'm his son, or technically his creation."

Apparently Del Toro like the actor's insights. After a nerve-jangling waiting period Goss learned he had gotten the part. "It was a great night. I was jumping up and down like kid because I loved the first movie, so to get to play the nemesis in this one, I knew it would be fun."

Shooting the big-budget Hollywood movie in Prague was unlike any films that Goss had worked on in the past. "It wasn't even like starting in the shallow end and swimming to the deep end. This was diving straight into the deep end of Hollywood, high-budget films. It was insane," Goss remarked.

"The sewer sets were literally the size of a football pitch with signs like you get in a theme park saying, 'You Are Here' because you just wouldn't know where your were on the set."

The sheer size of the production wasn't the only thing the actor had to cope with. "I found the makeup very tough. At times I was in a four-hour turnaround. I'd be in there at 5 a.m. and I'd go home at midnight."

And then there was the fight training. Like the first movie, Blade 2 features lots of high-octane martial arts fighting. However, Goss wanted to make sure Nomak's style was in keeping with the character.

"The main thing about Nomak is, he's not been around a long time before he escaped. I basically said, 'his kind of fighting comes from watching and learning,'" Goss told us. After working on proper martial arts technique, Goss changed gears. "I wanted to make it much more thug-like and make it a lot more street, and then incorporate the martial aspects. So you had to undo what you just learned and make it a lot more vicious."

The showdown between Nomak and Blade will not be like the sophisticated swordplay seen at the end of the original. "Of all the other fights in the film, which are incredible, there's a fight where Nomak and Blade have a very specific type of encounter which is a lot more vicious and a lot more brutal and much more bloody and gruesome."

Although the actor enjoyed Prague, getting into the character of the tormented villain took its toll. "For the first six weeks I didn't socialize. I stayed in the hotel. Kept myself to myself," Goss said. " I just wanted to get into a fairly intense place and isolate myself. It got quite lonely. I remember feeling one day that I thought the director was ignoring me. That's how insecure you get yourself. We laugh at it now, but it's a place I had to go."

Goss credits Del Toro with guiding him through his first big movie. "I have to say, the thing working with Guillermo, he sets you up for really loving a director and enjoying it.

Click to enlarge.
"He's very capable of giving you action and giving you a blockbuster movie," Goss said, "and he does it effortlessly when there's like eight cameras shooting at once and there'll be forty extras or, at one time, 500 extras. He just manipulates this action and he puts his cameras where he needs them. There's no guesswork with Guillermo. He knows exactly what he's doing."

Goss also found Del Toro to be a generous director. "He gives you compliments when you need them and he gives you direction when you need that also," Goss told us. But that's not all. "He'll still find time to come up and give you the biggest hugs you've ever had in your life. He's one of the biggest men I've ever met."

The actor also had plenty of praise for Blade 2's star. At first Goss had to get over the fact that it is WESLEY SNIPES. "People are kind of timid at first because he's Wesley Snipes and he does have a presence and when he's in the Blade outfit, it can be intimidating," Goss reported. "We always said there's nothing like sweating on someone to break the ice. Most of my scenes were with him and most of them are us knocking the hell out of each other it. It does break down the ice."

Goss is also appreciative of Snipes, the producer. "He knows what he's doing. He knows how to make the shot look good," Goss said. "It's like, you get on the set, the stunt coordinator and him would show me something a couple of times and before you know it we'd be running film trying to make it happen. It's really by the seat of your pants, it's 24/7 but he knows what he's doing."

Of course, this is the second Snipes movie that Goss has worked on. The pair both appear in David Goyer's Zigzag, although they didn't work together on that one. Goss plays Cadillac Tom, a strip-club owner, "bent" jewelry fence and loan shark.

"It was a fun role to play because he's such an asshole," Goss said. The film's lead characters, played by John Leguizamo (Spawn) and Sam Jones II (Smallville) try to enlist his aid in solving a financial problem. "They're very polite and incredibly un-streetwise and I'm less than gracious about helping them, to say the least."

Although the part was small, the work on Zigzag provided valuable experience for the actor, who had never worked in an American movie before. "It was great because I finished Zigzag and within a week or so I was in Prague. It just gave me a little bit of a speed ramp to get readily for Blade."

Working on a movie like Blade 2 has opened up opportunities to the actor. However, Goss is being careful about what his next roles will be.

"I always try to be aware as I can be about what I do," the actor said. "When you see actors you admire, they have a signature. It thing that's the trick is to try to have some kind of signature with what you do. So I have to be brave enough to hang in for the stuff I want to do."

And, like many fans, Goss is waiting to see Blade 2. Although he's been offered chances to see early cuts of the film, he has resisted, waiting instead to view a finished version some time this week. "I want to enjoy it like a punter. It doesn't feel like a treat to see it unfinished," Goss said. "I'm going to sit down with my popcorn and enjoy it like everyone else should."

Blade 2 opens March 22, 2002.

GHOST RIDER, BLACK PANTHER, DOCTOR STRANGE, THE FALL

Last week we talked to Blade 2 writer and Executive producer David Goyer about his vampire/super-hero sequel. The filmmaker also filled us in on other comic based projects he's been associated with, as well as other upcoming movies.

Of course, after Blade 2 the Goyer comic movie project that fans are most excited about is Ghost Rider. Although the project appeared to be racing forward last summer, it spun out near the end of last year.

"Ghost Rider's in play," Goyer said, indicating that new parties are looking to come on board and get it moving again. "It may end up at Sony but there are three or four different people interested in it."

Goyer told us that he, director Stephen Norrington and star Nicolas Cage still want to do the movie. However, there may be creative mandates that interfere with that. "I'm hearing now they want a kinder, gentler Ghost Rider," Goyer reports. "The film that Norrington and Cage and I would have made was a very tough film. It would have been fantastic but it was a dark movie. I'm hearing now that they want something with humor in it too. I don't know, man."

Apparently there's an initiative to retool Ghost Rider as a PG movie. "It's kind of an oxymoron to me. The guy's got a flaming skull. I guess you can do happy meals with that," Goyer remarked. "Norrington and I both said we didn't want to be involved with a PG Ghost Rider."

Goyer and Blade star Wesley Snipes have long talked about bringing another Marvel character to the big screen: The Black Panther. "We've toyed with it. It could happen at some point. Wesley and I love working together," Goyer told us. " It's been mooted from time to time but everyone felt there was no point until after Blade 2 came out and, probably in fact, until after Blade 3."

Goyer has said that he's through writing for other directors though, so if he does do The Black Panther is will be with him at the helm.

The filmmaker also tell us that his involvement with Dr. Strange looks unlikely at this point.

Another comic based project will be developed by Goyer with his partner Pascale Faubert (Someone is Waiting) under their newly-formed production company Phantom Four.

"It's an Ed Brubaker/Jason Lutes comic book called The Fall. It's a great little piece," Goyer reports. He said the story has a "modern-day noir setting, kind of that slacker scene in Seattle. More in the Stray Bullets vein, if you know that."

Phantom Four is eyeing the project as a feature film. Goyer tells us that Brubaker will be writing the script on that one. The comic was published by Drawn & Quarterly.

Other Phantom Four projects include Mucho Mojo, based on the novel by Joe R. Lansdale. Goyer aims to direct the movie this summer. Also on the slate is Neil Gaiman's Murder Mysteries, which Goyer has written a script for and will also direct. "We're in the pre-pre-pre-production stages on that one," Goyer told C2F.

Phantom Four is developing Jeff Long's novel The Descent which has been described as a Journey To The Center of the Earth where the center of the Earth turns out to be Hell. Goyer is also working with Francis Ford Coppola and Clive Barker on a pilot for HBO that's tentatively titled Shadow House.

Last year, Goyer got behind the camera for the first time with his feature film Zigzag. Fans of Goyer-the-comic-book-action-writer will find a different creative vision in this movie.

"It's based on a novel about a 15-year-old boy that comes from an abusive family. It's really a kind of a coming of age story," Goyer told us. "It's a real different pace for me. I'd say the closest film that I could liken it to is Fresh or something like that."

Why the change-of-pace? "I wanted to do something completely different from what I was known for," Goyer said. "Usually I paint on a very big canvas. I wanted to tell a very small story about one little boy with bad circumstances and whether or not the kid's going to get out of them"

Blade fans will find some crossover in the casting. "It's got a fantastic cast: Wesley Snipes plays the abusive father. John Leguizamo is in it. Oliver Platt, Natasha Leon, a bunch of great people ended up doing it for almost no money. It's an ensemble drama." Luke Goss, who plays the villain in Blade 2 also appears.

Fans of TV's Smallville will recognize Sam Jones III in the title role. "He's fantastic. He's nothing like he is in Smallville," Goyer enthused.

Although the movie does not have a release date yet, Goyer is currently showing it around. "We're going the festival circuit now. In fact we're premiering it at the SXSW film festival."

The festival runs March 8-17th. Both Zigzag and Blade 2 will be screened there.

Sadly, the busy schedule of David Goyer the filmmaker doesn't leave much time for David Goyer the comic book writer. However, he is currently writing the monthly adventures of JSA. "I'm going to try on this stint to hang out until 50. I've written up through 41 already."

In addition, Goyer is working with JSA collaborator Geoff Johns on a JLA/JSA hardcover. Carlos Pacheco is doing the art. "Our editor is screaming at us because we're both fitting it in between our film work"

Although Goyer is listed as a writer on the soon-to-be released Blade 2 comic book adaptation, he told us that his busy schedule only left time for him to write the introduction for the book. Steve Gerber (Howard the Duck) wrote the adaptation.

The Blade 2 adaptation is due out this month, along with an all-new Blade series under the adult Marvel Max banner. Both comics are due in stores March 13th.

JUDGE DREDD: DREDD RECKONING

Jason Kingsley, CEO of Rebellion told Comics2Film this week that Judge Dredd enjoyed brisk pre-sales at the recent American Film Market in California. Given that, the development effort is starting to take shape.

"India and Canada seem to be firming up as places we'll do most of the production," Kingsley told us. "India for the Cursed Earth sequences, and Canada for Megacity One."

The film still has no casting attachments. However, Kingsley tells us that the film is attracting some significant names. C2F will have more as that develops.

Kingsley also tells us that New Line has renewed their option on another 2000 AD property, Outlaw.

Rebellion is also working on a non-comics related feature. Fearnort Films, Rebellion's movie production division, recently got the green light to produce a low-budget monster movie tentatively titled Parasite. The film is slated to go straight-to-DVD.

Expect to hear more announcements from Rebellion soon. "As a result of the publicity 2000 AD has been getting for its 25th Anniversary, which is all this year, we've got a ton of production companies, big and small, looking to option many of the titles," Kingsley said.

JEREMIAH

[Jeremiah]U.S. fans who enjoy Showtime's new show Jeremiah will soon get a chance to experience Hermann Huppen's graphic novels that serve as the basis.

Ervin Rustemagic, who is not only an executive producer on the series, but has published the comic abroad for decades, told Comics2Film that plans are afoot to publish the books stateside. Rustemagic plans to bring the books to the U.S. under Venture, the joint-venture publishing imprint he founded with Mike Richardson and Dark Horse Comics.

Although a firm release date hasn't been set, Rustemagic tells us that they'll be soliciting the book shortly.

Jeremiah comics have not been published in the U.S. in over ten years. Previously they've been available to readers here via Scott Rosenberg's Malibu Comics. Six issues of Jeremiah were published between April and October of 1991.

Rosenberg, of course, went on to found Platinum Studios and is also an executive producer on the show.

An encore showing of the Jeremiah premiere episode, "The Long Road" airs this Friday, March 8th at 10:45 p.m. on Showtime. It airs again on March 9th at 10:00 p.m.

G-MEN FROM HELL

[G-Men from Hell]After a long wait by fans in the U.S. it looks like Mike Allred's G-Men From Hell will enjoy a direct-to-video release this year.

In a recent posting on his message boards the comic creator told fans, "I was recently invited to join the commentary track for the G-Men From Hell DVD."

Comics2Film followed up with the film's producer and co-writer Rick Albert who confirmed the news. Albert spent recent days at the American Film Market where G-Men was screened and found its domestic distributor.

"We're tentatively set for DVD and Video release of G-Men From Hell in June," Albert told us.

The producer is ironing out a deal with a distributor called Dominion and has begun talking about commentary tracks and support material for the DVD package.

G-Men From Hell stars William Forsythe and Tate Donovan as Allred's redemption seeking characters who first appeared in the Grafik Muzik comics. The film features a great cast which includes Gary Busey, Kari Wuhrer, Robert Goulet, Bobcat Goldthwait, Vanessa Angel, Gregory Sporleder and Paul Rodriguez. Christopher Coppola directed from as script by Robert Cooper and Albert.

DAN DARE

Fans are still waiting for the CGI animated Dan Dare TV show to hit the airwaves. The Dan Dare Corporation, who developed the program has been mum about the show's current status.

However, the good folks at the Dan Dare e-mail Group have turned up a few snippets of the program to tide us over until something new happens.

Direct your browser to Chris Manabe's for a look at some clips from the show. Manabe is a 3D animator who performed a variety of tasks on the show for Foundation Imaging. According to his site he did the lip-sync, Mo-Cap direction, character animation, effects animation, and lighting for each shot assigned to him.

As a demo of the work, he's got four QuickTime clips up, including some nice shots of the Mekon zipping around on his hover disc.

3D graphic artist Larry Shultz has also posted a number of images and clips from the show on his SplineGod.com website.

Shultz tells his readers that he worked on the show as a modeler, character rigger, animator and technical director when it started at Netter Digital. After things ran aground there, the show moved to Foundation Imaging. Shultz moved with it as a character modeler and character rigger.

"This was a great show to work on. We had a great deal of creative input," Shultz tells his readers. "The show was colorful and fun to work on. The characters had...well...CHARACTER!"

The site features dozens of images as well as two animation downloads. It focuses on Sondar, Dan Dare's Treen companion and bodyguard, a Martian girl named Thea and the strange mascot Stripey.

Also of interest for the site is a Hobgoblin model Shultz did for the Spider-Man animated show. The work was likely done as a test model when Foundation was still working on landing the contract. At this point MainFrame Entertainment is the CGI house on the show, so Shultz's Hobgoblin will not be used.

Finally, a few more images from Dan Dare can be found on the Kaydara, Inc. website. The company's FiLMBOX software was used in the show. The site has a nice shot of the 3D character models.

WELCOME TO ELTINGVILLE

[Eltingville]Evan Dorkin's Welcome To Eltingville made its debut Sunday night with an 11 p.m. airing on the Cartoon Network, as well as being seen at the Aspen Comedy Festival. We're still waiting to hear some numbers from the net.

If you didn't get enough Evan Dorkin with Comics2Film's recent interview, check out the whopping 7000 word interview currently running at SlushFactory.com.

Meanwhile, Fans who enjoyed the show are encouraged to speak up and let the Cartoon Network know by writing letters asking for more.

Snail mail correspondence is preferred as it makes a much bigger impact with the network than e-mail or online petitions. The latter forms of vocal support are often viewed by network suits as easily manipulated and mass-produced. So, send your letters of support to:

CARTOON NETWORK


Turner Broadcasting System


1050 Techwood Drive NW


Atlanta, GA 30318

and

WILLIAMS STREET


Adult Swim


1065 Williams St NW


Atlanta, GA 30309

Now, if we all send 100 letters each...

WITCHBLADE SEASON 2

The Comics Continuum has been making the rounds with the talent on the Witchblade TV series. Last week the site ran comments from executive producer Ralph Hemecker about what fans can expect from Season 2.

"Last year was pretty serialized," Hemecker told The Continuum. "We're going to go a bit more standalone this year. There will be plot threads that carry through the 13 episodes, though."

The first episode of the new season will be called "Emergence."

This week The Continuum spoke with actor John Hensley, who plays Sara Pezzini's friend, antiquities dealer Gabriel Bowman.

Do to the nature of the conclusion of the first season, Pezzini and Bowman will have to get reacquainted. "It's really interesting. They do have to start the relationship all over again," Hensley told The Continuum. "Although I sort of feel as though that there's an unsaid and unknown familiarity between the two."

According tot he write-up, Hensley is a full-fledged cast member this season.

Filming on season 2 is currently underway in Toronto.

LADY DEATH: THE ANIMATION

The Comics Continuum spoke with Lady Death creator Brian Pulido about the currently-in-production animated movie based on his characters.

Pulido told the website that he's looking at the film as an opportunity to expand on the origins of Lady Death and flesh out other parts of the story. One character who will be expanded on is the Cremator.

"Instead of being a sidekick, he's given more Yoda-like qualities," Pulido told The Continuum. "He's the trainer. He knows how Hell runs, and he's going to teach her because he sees the spark of greatness in her."

The Lady Death feature is expected to be released next year.

MORE BLADE II

The good folks at New Line have unveiled some new fun for fans at the Blade 2 website.

First up, music lovers should tune their browsers to the site's "Soundtrack" area. The music section has a direct link to a sampling of the theme music from the film's score by Marco Beltrami and Danny Saber. Also, you can follow the links to Immortal Records' Blade 2 Soundtrack page and from there end up at Blade2PreviewJukebox.com. This site lets you preview all 12 tracks from the upcoming song soundtrack CD. Each track is a collaboration of hip-hop and electronica talent.

Next stop is the site's "Downloads" section. There's a new set of buddy icons for your instant messaging software. The new set features Blade's allies from the film. Also available for download are E-Cards. Send a bloody greeting to your friends and family members.

Under the sites "Events" heading is the announcement of a publicity even to be held on March 8 in Daytona Beach Florida. Motorcycle vendor Ducati North America will be unveiling a limited edition motorcycle inspired by the movie at the Corbin Motorcycles display lot on Main Street in downtown Daytona Beach.

Blade 2 star Wesley Snipes is scheduled to be on hand at 9:15 p.m.

The motorcycle is designed by the film's conceptual artist Tyruben Ellinston. Limited quantities will be available for delivery Spring of this year.

ASTERIX AND OBELIX: MISSION CLEOPATRA, ASTERIX AND OBELIX VS. CAESAR

Click to enlarge.

Fans hoping for a peek at this years big-budget French film Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra can direct their browsers to Phantastik.de. That site has 20 stills from the film available for download. Check it out for the complete set of images and larger versions of the sampling we have here.

U.S. fans can look for Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra in theaters some time this year. Miramax is releasing that movie, along with the original Asterix & Obelix vs. Caesar stateside.

Thanks to Dark Horizons for the lead.

SPAWN 2

Spawn.com recently published a brief Q & A with comic creator and screenwriter Steve Niles. Niles talked about things like his upcoming title Fused and his other comic works, but he also dropped a few hints about Spawn 2, which he's writing the screenplay for.

"The script is coming along great. I'm here at Todd's working on it right now, and it's coming together," Niles said. "So far no problems with putting in content. One of Todd's requests for Spawn 2 was that it would be R rated, so there hopefully wouldn't be any issues with content. There are a couple scenes (and I won't give them away) that will have even you covering your eyes. As for Spawn's involvement? The entire story revolves around him."

Thanks to Steve's official website SteveNiles.com for pointing the way.

SPIDER-MAN

The Comics Continuum reports that a behind-the-scenes special on the Spider-Man movie is being prepped for HBO. The cable net is tentatively set to debut the show starting April 19th at 10:45 p.m. Encore airings are scheduled for Thursday, April 25 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, April 28 at 4 p.m.

HBO Plus will also air the special. They've got it slated for Saturday, April 20 at 6:30 a.m.; Tuesday, April 23 at 11:15 p.m.; Monday, April 29 at 6:15 a.m.; and Tuesday, April 30 at 5:45 p.m.

In other Spidey news, Dark Horizons reports on a "special presentation" in Sydney, Australia where attendees got the scoop on two Sony movies, one of them being Spider-Man. The presentation focused on F/X for the film. Here's what attendees reported to the site:

  • Practically every car in the original film elements that were shot were removed and replaced with digital models

  • Every window in every building in the background contains its own environment shot using a clever but old fashioned fish eye camera technique

  • Despite some claims, there's almost no 100% CG shots in this, more like 95% shots as the filmmakers always wanted to include some real elements to give the film a more grounded and realistic feel.

  • The one thing that Sam Raimi spotted that he used to tell the difference between comparison footage of a real actor and a CG one climbing a wall during the initial tests? The CG guy didn't have a zipper in the back

  • September 11th wise, "Spider-Man" in FX terms was not affected much at all though they did feel the impact of the quick withdrawal of the initial marketing material.

  • About a week ago, "Spider-Man" FX shots came in at 440 with talk of new sequences being added, thus it'll probably end up with a little shy of 500.

You could attend the Hollywood premiere of the movie! Fans who want to go for the ultimate spin should direct their browsers to the Official Spider-Man Website. The site has launched a sweepstakes giving web-heads a chance to attend the U.S. premiere of Spider-Man. You and a friend could win a trip for two from Orbitz.com and passes to the hottest movie premiere of the year. You could also win a PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the new Spider-Man video game, a 6-month Everquest subscription and much more!

Check out the site for details.

FROM HELL

IGN DVD reports that details of the upcoming home video release of From Hell have been announced.

The movie, which debuted at #1 at the box office last year, is set to hit video store shelves on May 27th. The adaptation will be presented as a two-disc DVD set complete with a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 sound mixes. IGN DVD provides this list of special features:

    Disc One:
  • Commentary by directors Albert and Allen Hughes.

    Disc Two:

  • Four featurettes including the HBO Special "A View From Hell".

  • 23 Deleted Scenes.

  • Alternate ending.

  • Interactive documentary.

  • Jack the Ripper: 6 Degrees of Separation - a making of documentary.

  • Image gallery.

  • Storyboard comparisons.

  • Mini-documentary "tour of the White Chapel".

From Hell adapts Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's graphic novel of the same name. Johnny Depp, Heather Graham and Ian Holm star.

BIRDS OF PREY

Gotham Clock Tower continues to dominate with their Birds of Prey reporting. Last week the site's head oracle Craig Byrne reviews the pilot script. Craig warns interested parties that the review does contain spoilers.

SHADOW MAN

Acclaim comics fans are still waiting for the movie version of Shadow Man to move forward. There was a bit of good news to that end last month when the trades announced that Dimension had renewed their movie option on that deal.

In the mean time Acclaim has announced the release of Shadow Man: 2econd Coming as a game for PlayStation 2. Acclaim shipped copies of the new game last week.

According to press materials the game features an all new game engine that was designed, developed and delivered exclusively for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system.

"Shadow Man: 2econd Coming brings an entirely new level of horror to the PlayStation 2 that will raise the hairs on gamers' necks," said Evan Stein, Vice President of Brand. "Amid chilling new environments, scores of horrific enemies and white-knuckle action at every twist and turn, Shadow Man: 2econd Coming will deliver an unparalleled gaming experience."

The game marks the return of Mike LeRoi, an undead demon-hunter on a twisted voodoo journey through the darkest recesses of the soul. In Shadow Man: 2econd Coming, players assume the role of both LeRoi and his "Deadside" alter ego, Shadow Man, as they battle the Grigori, a group of sadistic demons that have been masquerading as humans for the past 2000 years. Players must use all of their cunning and strength to defeat the Grigori, who are trying to rescue their leader Asmodeus, from the Pit. If successful, destruction of biblical proportions will befall humanity. However, the one man that is standing between life and eternal darkness is Shadow Man.

Shadow Man: 2econd Coming offers an array of exciting features, including:

  • 30+ hours of haunting gameplay;
  • Epic storyline filled with thrills, chills and twists, which are unveiled to the player though both scripted in-game events and dynamic cinematics;
  • Third-person horror adventure, featuring multiple routes and the combination of platform, combat, stealth and puzzle-based gameplay;
  • In-game transitions between day and night, each filled with unique actions and abilities;
  • Real-time weather effects, including torrential rain and icy snow;
  • Rule-based reactive artificial intelligence, allowing enemies to realistically respond to actual in-game events;
  • Six seamlessly connected game locations, each massive with numerous sub areas;
  • Ambidextrous gameplay - twice the gore with a fully-functional weapon in each hand;
  • Multiple game saving locations.

Shadow Man: 2econd Coming will enjoy full nationwide retail distribution on March 7 at a suggested retail price of $49.99.

PREACHER

The Premiere Marketing & Distribution Group LLC, announced it's inaugural release slate last week. The stable of properties includes on-screen talent such as Hugh Jackman, Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Jim Caviezel, Martha Coolidge, Debra Hill, Joaquin Phoenix, Mandy Moore, Isabella Rossellini, Kim Basinger and others, appearing in films that will start hitting the screens in June of 2002.

In addition to four movies initially named on the slate, Premiere also heralded the coming announcement of another 14 movies that complete the first year slate and also make up the second year schedule.

Of interest to comic book movie fans in that second wave of announcements is Preacher. This is the big-screen version of the popular cult comic book by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. The story focuses on a preacher who finds himself in the middle of an apocalyptic war between angels and the devil on the redneck back roads of Texas. Directed by Rachel Talalay (Tank Girl, Nightmare on Elm Street 6) and produced by Rupert Harvey (Bones, Plunkett & Macleane, Pump Up the Volume, Critters) from a screenplay by Ennis. H. Michael Heuser of Storm Entertainment and Tom Astor (Gorillaz, Tank Girl) will executive produce.

Storm Entertainment announced last year that the movie would go into production in November of 2001. However, the producers of the film are still working to secure a cast at this point. No new production start has been scheduled.

SPIDER-MAN, ASTROBOY, THE HULK

Two separate articles in last week's Variety discuss the growing presence of CGI in movie theaters. This includes animated fare like Monsters, Inc. as well as CG-heavy live-action movies like the upcoming Spider-Man.

According to one write-up, Sony Imageworks has already commenced the process of animating the all-CGI feature AstroBoy. The film is based on Osamu Tezuka classic Anime character. Eric Leighton (Dinosaur) is directing from a script by Todd Alcott (Antz) and Ken Kaufman (Space Cowboys).

The article also discusses Industrial Light and Magic's work on The Hulk. The blurb states that ILM is "creating the title character...as an all-CG being." This confirms what many have suspected and speculated on in regards to how actor Eric Bana will play the dual role in the movie. A combination of CGI and sophisticated motion capture seems likely.

In a separate article, Imageworks guru John Dykstra discusses his work on Spider-Man.

"As you get older, it becomes less about topping what you've done before and more about the business of telling a unique story," Dykstra told Variety. "You can see that the best received, most acclaimed films are the ones that offer great integration of visual effects and storytelling."

Dykstra's comments to the tabloid echoed what he told fans at WizardWorld last August. "Spider-Man's costume covers his face, so in order to evoke a human response from the audience, his body language has to be amplified," says Dykstra.

The F/X man also discussed the virtual New Your City that the CG Spidey will sometimes inhabit. "We had to get actual shots of the buildings, create texture maps, and light and position the cityscape correctly, and then integrate the shots with final composites of New York City," Dykstra said.

THE HULK

In a recent chat with SCI FI Wire actor Sam Elliott dropped a few nuggets about The Hulk. The actor said that his work on We Were Soldiers provided additional perspective for his part of General Thunderbolt Ross.

"I'm blessed in this film [We Were Soldiers], having an opportunity to hang around a lot of generals--real generals," Elliott told SCI FI. "That's the character I'm playing in The Hulk. He's a four-star general. Although I'm out doing service to this movie, I've still got that in the back of my head."

Interestingly, the thesp also said he favors the comics over the popular TV series. "I read the comics in college," Elliott said. "I didn't watch the TV show much. I wasn't much of a TV watcher in the '70s."

THIS WEEK ON SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH

Sabrina serves up a slice of "Humble Pie" on this week's episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.

Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) and her roommates band together to help Morgan (Elisa Donovan) after her family financially cuts her off, but when Morgan refuses to get a job to pay her friends back, Sabrina serves up a big helping of "humble pie." Brian Roberts directed the episode written by Laurie Gelman.

"Humble Pie" airs Friday, March 8 at 8:00 p.m. on The WB Network.

Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.

NEXT WEEK ON JUSTICE LEAGUE

Next Sunday night Cartoon Network debuts part one of the "The Brave and the Bold" storyline of Justice League.

"The Brave And The Bold," the first of four Justice League episodes scripted by comic writer Dwayne McDuffie for the first season of the show. "The episode features Flash and Green Lantern bickering incessantly as they join forces to battle Gorilla Grodd, who is a super-intelligent gorilla, bent on world domination," McDuffie said. "You can't make this stuff up."

"The Brave and the Bold Part 1" airs Sunday, March 10 at 7:00 p.m. on Cartoon Network. Encore showings are 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 16. The widescreen presentation airs the same day at 10:00 p.m.

NEXT WEEK ON WITCHBLADE

Next week on Witchblade, TNT's re-airing of season 1 continues with episode #7: "Periculum".

Sara (Yancy Butler) is put to the ultimate Witchblade trial. Meanwhile, Captain Dante recruits Jake (David Chokachi) into a secret brotherhood of vigilante officers who use their own methods to exact justice.

"Periculum" airs Monday, March 11th at 9pm ET on TNT. An encore airing is scheduled for Tuesday, March 12th at 11pm ET. The encore showing is presented in widescreen format.

NEXT WEEK ON SMALLVILLE

Secret pasts come back to haunt Clark and Lex and threaten their futures in "Zero", the March 12th episode of Smallville.

Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) faces the consequences of his shady dealings in Metropolis years ago when an old enemy comes to Smallville intent on destroying his life, ultimately putting Clark (Tom Welling) and Lana (Kristin Kreuk) in harm's way. Meanwhile, Clark has his hands full as he tries not only to protect Lex from the past, but also keep Chloe (Allison Mack) out of his after she discovers a mystery surrounding his adoption. Michael Katleman directed the episode; story written by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar, teleplay by Mark Verheiden.

"Zero" airs Tuesday, March 12 at 9:00 p.m. ET on The WB network.

Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.

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