Comics2Film

Wed, June 5th, 2002 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

JOHNNY DYNAMITE

[Johnny Dynamite]Arsenal Entertainment has set their sights on a number of comic book movie projects recently. In the past few months Comics2Film has reported that Arsenal is developing Matt Wagner's "Grendel" and Larry Young's "Astronauts In Trouble".

Now C2F has learned that the producers there have set their sites on a big-screen version of the hard-boiled, devil-defying detective book "Johnny Dynamite."

Our sources tell us that Filmmaker John Ridley is attached to write and direct the movie. Ridley wrote and directed the 1997 feature "Cold Around The Heart".

However, he may be best known for creating the online web-toon "Undercover Brother" which reached the big screen a few weeks ago as a live-action movie starring Eddie Griffin. Ridley also wrote the screenplay for that one and served as executive producer as well.

The "Johnny Dynamite" movie is based on the 1994 mini-series by Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty. That series had the one-eyed detective traveling to Las Vegas and running afoul of a Faustian foe and his army of zombie henchmen.

The series was published by Dark Horse Comics.

Johnny Dynamite was originally created by Pete Morisi in 1953. Collins and Beatty first revived the character for a back-up feature in their "Ms. Tree" comic.

RISING STARS

Top Cow President of Production Spike Seldin told Comics2Film that new screenwriters have signed on to the adaptation of J. Michael Straczynski's comic Rising Stars.

Anthony and Joe Russo are officially on board to do a rewrite of Straczynski's script.

The sibling team just who wrote and directed Welcome to Collinwood which is currently a featured selection of the "Directors Fortnight" track at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. The film features a cast of great character actors like Sam Rockwell, Luis Guzmn and William H. Macy.

DAREDEVIL

[Elktra]It's the pic we've all been waiting for: Jennifer Garner as Elektra! Fox has released the latest photo from the Daredevil movie. Check out the Alias star in her black, leather assassin duds!

[Daredevil - Matt and Foggy]Another pic comes from CIAK, an Italian magazine. It's an image of Ben Affleck and Jon Favreau as their Daredevil characters, Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson, respectively. Although little different from a Murdock & Nelson image previously seen, it does offer a slightly different view, including a couple of crew members and the much-seen Daredevil movie logo.

Thanks to "white jedi" for the scoop!

In other DD news, Rapper-turned-actor Coolio talked about his involvement in "Daredevil" to the Comics Continuum.

The rapper/actor indicated he was done shooting his scenes for the film. "I was on trial for murder, and [Matt Murdock] knew I didn't do it, and he defends me," Coolio said, describing his character. "I finished about a month ago downtown in Los Angeles. I had a lot of fun doing it, Ben Affleck is cool."

And it turns out Johnson wasn't the only Marvel Zombie on the set. Coolio described himself as a "big fan" of Marvel, and of Daredevil specifically. To prove his fanboy cred, he spouted off the Daredevil basics, covering his "super senses" and that he "was blinded by nuclear waste." One of Coolio's first movies was 1997's "Batman and Robin".

GHOST RIDER, BLADE III

Filmmaker David Goyer told Comics2Film that he's working out the story for Blade III. In previous interviews, Goyer and company said they hoped to set the sequel in a near-future world where the vampires had gained the upper hand and now rule the world.

"It's been modified somewhat from the 'Planet of The Vampires' approach," Goyer told C2F. "I'm pretty excited about it, though."

The screenwriter also said he has no involvement with the revived Ghost Rider project. He was previously and executive producer on it, as well as screenwriter. However, the project recently moved to Sony and Shane Salerno (Shaft) is coming to do a rewrite.

"I'm told that they are using my script for as the starting point," Goyer said.

BLADE II

[Blade 2]New Line Home Entertainment has announced that Blade II is now slated to splatter video store shelves on September 3rd, 2002. The hit comic book movie will be available as a double-disc "Platinum Series" DVD and priced-to-own on VHS.

The over $80 million box-office hit Blade II stars Wesley Snipes in the role of the vampire hunter Blade, the half-vampire "day-walker" superhero who lives to kill the undead. The first Blade film, based on the Marvel Comics superhero, was a blockbuster hit grossing more than $70 million during its theatrical release in August 1998, and the VHS and "Platinum Series" DVD of Blade have gone on to sell more than 3.5 million units since release.

Both discs of the DVD set are packed with extras. Here's a rundown:

Bonus Features on Disc 1:

  • Commentary track with director Guillermo Del Toro and writer David Goyer

  • Commentary track with producer Peter Frankfurt and Wesley Snipes

  • Isolated score

  • 16X9 Widescreen (1.85:1)

  • Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound - English

  • DTS surround sound - English

  • Stereo surround sound - English

  • English subtitles and closed captions

  • Animated menus

Bonus Features on Disc 2: (Approximately three hours of video material!)

  • Production Workshop:

    • Director's Notebook: Interactive reproduction of director's notes with an intro by Del Toro

    • A Pact in Blood: Interactive collection of original documentaries -- various docs on production, story and other subjects

    • Art gallery

  • Original theatrical press kit

  • Deleted/alternate scenes

  • Blade II video game survival guide

  • Music video: Cypress Hill and Roni Size "Child of the Wild West"

  • Theatrical trailers

DVD-ROM Content

  • Script-to-Screen

  • Original Website

The Blade II VHS edition will also feature the bonus Cypress Hill/Roni Size "Child of the Wild West" music video from Immortal Records.

The VHS edition is priced at $22.94. The DVD set is priced at $29.95.

X-MEN 2

Kelly Hu is the latest actor to join the cast of "X-Men 2". According to Tuesday's Hollywood Reporter Hu will play a villainous character named "Anne" who is a henchman of the film's primary heavy "Stryker".

Although last week the trades reported that Ethan Embry was set to play Nightcrawler in the movie, a subsequent announcement from Variety revealed that it was Alan Cumming who had actually landed the part. Cummings was seen in last year's comic flick "Josie and the Pussycats".

In the same article, Variety also confirmed the signing of Aaron Stanford to play Pyro.

"X-Men 2" is set to start shooting June 17.

MEN IN BLACK 2

Men in Black 2 Director Barry Sonnenfeld confided in Cinescape's Eric Moro that he is a little worried about MIB 2. He said, "What's interesting is oftentimes, and BACK TO THE FUTURE may be the exception, one of the things that makes a sequel successful is if the first movie wasn't very good. For example, I thought that AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME was a better movie than the first one. What I'm worried about is that the first [MEN IN BLACK film] at the end of the day ended up being a decent movie, and I'm a little worried that we are going to be compared to the first one. So how much do you make it different so people don't see the jokes coming? How do you make a sequel without making the same movie over again, and screwing up what was working?"

Sonnefeld told Moro that there was one thing that he felt worked much better in filming the sequel to Men in Black. He said, "On the first movie, I think Tommy didn't understand my version of comedy. But having finally seen the first movie when it came out, Tommy realized that I wasn't trying to make him not funny, I was trying to make him really funny. Tommy loves what he did on that movie and now has so embraced it that I remember doing a take at the very beginning of [MEN IN BLACK 2] and I cut and said, 'Hey, Tommy. I want to do one more and here's what I want you to do.' And Tommy said, 'You want me to do absolutely nothing. I get it.' But he said it with a joyful, thrilled, delightful face."

Do you want to get an advance look at what adventures await MIB agents J and K in their next cinematic adventure? Then visit Phantastik . It's a German web site that has a plethora of pictures from Men in Black II.

Thanks to Dark Horizons for the lead.

BIRDS OF PREY

The Birds of Prey television show that debuts this Fall bring an opportunity for guest appearances by many DC characters. Apparently the WB is already thinking ahead to which characters might appear on the television show. Comics2Film has learned that Warner Brothers has claimed the domain name of www.bumblebeeb.com . Fans of the Birds of Prey comic book will recognize the significance of this address. It was the address of Oracle's e-mail pen pal, who turned out to be Ted Kord, a.k.a. The Blue Beetle, a super hero and inventor.

Currently this site takes you to a Warner Brothers movie site. But perhaps it will serve as a small Birds of Prey web site once the show appears this fall.

Thanks to Daniel DeFabio for the tip.

HULK

New pics from the production of The Hulk film have hit the web this week. Bruno Tapia over at HulkMovie.com scored a quartet of shots. They appear to be of two separate scenes.

The first two pics are of a set-up in a residential area, covering about two blocks. A full complement of military vehicles and soldiers can clearly be seen. In the wide shot, you can also see snipers on the roof on the left side of the street. There are also large white boards on stands. Though in previous Hulk pics, we've seen large "green screen" plates on the sets that represent where CGI effects will go, but these large white boards are most likely for reflective lighting.

The second two pics are wide shots of a city shoot, right on the bay. One of these photos is a closer shot, and has an arrow pointing to key players like Ang Lee and F/X guy Dennis Muren. Also pointed out is a cable car; previous shots of The Hulk film included trolley cars smashed by the green goliath. And if Dennis Muren is present, there's a good chance that photography involving F/X were involved in this shoot.

Though photographer Canuto's pics were most interesting, there was also a curious rumor posted on HulkMovie.com. A tip was sent to the site with a source that's an editor at Universal, and claims that editing is already underway on the film - before principle photography has wrapped! Apparently, Lee's team is assembling rough cuts of the footage to aid in the design of the F/X. The scooper also said that Lee was able to get a 6-7 month shooting schedule, dwarfing Spider-Man's four months, and the three it took to film Star Wars.

SPIDER-MAN

Columbia Pictures has sold off the TV rights to Spider-Man in a whopper of a deal, The Hollywood Reporter announced today. Fox Broadcasting Co. has partnered with Turner Broadcasting to share the rights to Spidey for a deal worth $60-65 million. The actual cost will depend on the final box office tally, and it give the networks 10 years to air Spider-Man.

Fox, which paid the lion's share of the cost (reportedly $40 million) will get first dibs on the webslinger in November 2004, after the film completes its first run on pay cable. After that, the film will eventually make it's way to TNT and TBS. Fox will get a second crack at Spider-Man during the second half of the contract. For the final leg of the pact, the Turner networks will also let their corporate sister WB Network share in the fun.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES FILM

John Woo, producer/director of the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, talked to SCI FI Wire about the project.

"We're still planning," Woo said. "I [will] work on this project as a producer with my partner, Terence Chang, as co-producer. The other companies [Digital Rim Entertainment and Mirage Studios] wanted to start with television first and then make a movie. Now we're starting with a story."

Woo also commented specifically on his use of CGI "Turtles" as opposed to the animatronic/bodysuited stars of the former TMNT movies. "CGI can create more interesting techniques," he said. "It's also good for designing some of the crazy action. On the other hand, we want to be closer to the original [comic book], try to make it more moody and darker. CGI can create that kind of mood."

FANTASTIC FOUR, SPIDER-MAN 2

SFX Magazine's Nick Setchfield recently interviewed Spider-Man director Sam Raimi. Setchfield asked Raimi, who has already signed to direct Spider-Man 2, what direction he would like to see the sequel go in. Raimi replied, "I'd like to delve deeper into the character of Peter Parker. The same thing that has always interested me about Spider-Man. I think about why I want to make the sequel, and I realize I'm very curious about what's going to happen to Peter and Mary Jane. So I want to follow what I have a natural curiosity about, and try to make the movie about that."

Setchfield also discovered that he and Raimi share a passion for some of Marvel's other famous characters. When Setchfield jokingly made a personal appeal for Raimi to direct the in development Fantastic Four adaptation, Rami replied, "Are they going to make one? Wow! Cool! Wow... I'd love to see that!" Raimi appeared to be very enthusiastic about the idea of a Fantastic Four film, coming back to the subject moments later, saying, "Oh that would be so cool! Are they really making an FF movie?"

THOR

Recent rumors regarding the alleged "Thor" movie are untrue and most likely the result of a hoax.

On Thursday of last week Comics2Film received an e-mail "tip" alleging details about a movie version of Marvel's God of Thunder. The writer claimed that veteran comic artist (and one-time Thor scribe) Walter Simonson had been tapped to provide concept designs for a proposed movie. The hoax report went on to say that Simonson let slip that filmmakers were eyeing Kurt Russell to star in the film.

C2F quickly followed up with Simonson who dismissed the report. "I don't know anything about a 'Thor' movie--haven't heard about it before this. And certainly haven't floated any rumors about Kurt Russell," Simonson told us. He added with a grin, "I am laughing about the story in general. My own experience is that comics companies as a rule try to keep the folks who actually did the comics as far away from the movie business as possible."

Since the rumor is now making the rounds on the internet we're setting the record straight. While Marvel and Artisan may have plans for a "Thor" movie, the plans don't include Simonson or Russell.

THIS WEEK ON JEREMIAH

[Jeremiah]
[Jeremiah]
[Jeremiah]
[Jeremiah]
This week Jeremiah and Kurdy have their strangest adventure yet, as they're forced into a boxing match where they have to fight for a woman's freedom, and find themselves looking for an elephant. "Ring of Truth" is a fun episode of "Jeremiah" written by Executive Producer Sam Egan.

An encounter with a lost elephant and a fist fight for a woman's freedom involve Jeremiah and Kurdy in a circus and in helping the woman re-connect with her estranged daughter. The episode is written by Sam Egan and directed by Ken Girotti.

"Ring of Truth" airs Friday, June 7th at 10:45 P.M. on Showtime. There will also be an encore on Sunday, June 9th on Showtime Beyond East at 10:45 PM (ET & PT).

Preview clips of the show are available online at Showtime's Jeremiah site. Click "Episode Preview" from the site's nav.

THIS WEEK ON SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH

What a tangled web Sabrina weaves when she sets out deceive on the encore presentation of "Hex, Lies and No Videotape," this week's episode of "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch".

Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) is thrilled when Josh (David Lascher) uses his pull at the newspaper to convince Mike (guest star George Wendt, "Cheers") to give Sabrina a writing internship, but her insistence that they keep their relationship a secret causes a sticky situation when Sabrina's boss (guest star Dorie Barton) gets a crush on Josh. Melissa Joan Hart directed the episode written by Suzanne Gangursky.

"Hex, Lies and No Videotape" airs Friday, June 7th 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 WITCHBLADE

Fans who missed out on the ending to last season's Witchblade on TNT will get a chance to catch up this week on The WB. If you plan on watching season 2 then you'd better tune in for this encore presentation of "Witchblade: Transcendence."

The first season of TNT's action series Witchblade comes to a thrilling close as fierce and sexy NYPD detective Sara Pezzini (Yancy Butler) finds herself the target of crooked cops, but a startling discovery leads to a suspenseful showdown between the rising warrior and the band of enemies. David Chokachi, Anthony Cistaro, Eric Etebari and Will Yun also star.

"Witchblade: Transcendence" airs Sunday, June 9th at 7:00 p.m. on The WB Network.

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

NEXT WEEK ON SMALLVILLE

He's resisted Lex Luthor's advances but it looks as if Jonathan Kent is ready to sell out the family farm to a pesticide baron on an the encore presentation of "Hug", this week's episode of Smallville.

"Clark (Tom Welling) is stunned when a pesticide magnate who has kryptonite-enhanced powers of persuasion somehow convinces Jonathan (John Schneider) to sell the family farm to make way for a new plant. Clark teams up with the local hermit whose mysterious past holds the key to the town's future."

Doris Egan wrote the episode. Chris Long (Dark Angel) directed.

"Hug" airs Tuesday, June 11th at 9:00pm on The WB.

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

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