THEY MIGHT BE DRAGONS
Jim Krueger gave Marvel comics fans an unsettling look at the futures of their favorite heroes with his modern-classic mini-series Earth X. He's followed that up with Universe X and the currently-in-progress Paradise X. Before that he was well know for such acclaimed creator-owned work as Foot Soldiers and Alphabet Supes.
Comics2Film recently spoke with Krueger about the latest turn his career is taking, a turn which has him on the road to filmmaking.
"I've had so much interest from Hollywood on Foot Soldiers and Alphabet Supes and some of these other creator owned titles I've come up with, I felt like this was a natural progression and one that I should at least look at," Krueger said.
Last year he completed a six-week course in film at NYU where he begun work on a script for a short film called They Might Be Dragons. In August of 2001 he started rolling cameras on the project in New York City.
"It's the story of a recently laid-off accountant who is convinced that his ex-boss is not a human being at all but indeed is actually a dragon," Krueger described the concept. "His basis for this comes out of how similar the behaviors of dragons of myth are to the cut-throat mentalities of the average CEO."
The movie was shot in 16 mm film over three days of principal photography at three locations. In the months that followed Krueger has gone though secondary photography, editing and the various phases required to finish the film. Dragons is now making the rounds at film festivals.
"It's gotten great reviews at a film festival on NYU's campus of young filmmakers," Krueger told us. Producer Michael Uslan (of Batman and CrossGen movie fame) also had praise for the film.
Fellow comic scribe Mark Waid told Krueger, "you suck." This echoed Waid's previous comments which appeared in the forward he wrote for Krueger's Alphabet Supes book in which Waid remarked, "Damn you, Jim Krueger."
"I have this list of very complimentary put downs from Mark that I'm collecting," Krueger joked.
The movie is populated with actors and other talent from Broadway. The CEO in the film is played by George Merritt who may be familiar to theater-goers for his recent run in "Jekyll & Hyde" on Broadway.
The script for The Might Be Dragons is based on a comic that Krueger was working on during his film course. "That actually didn't seem as easy to film as the screenplay I was working on, so there are two slightly different versions of the story," Krueger said. Although he plans to release the comic, he couldn't give any specifics about when or how that would occur.
Krueger said he enjoyed the filmmaking experience. "I haven't had that much fun in years. It really is kind of an ego-maniac's dream. At the same time it's very humbling, because if it doesn't work it's your fault," the comic creator said. "To a certain degree, this gives me a chance to be writer/artist as opposed to just writer."
The movie is the first step towards Krueger's goal of feature filmmaking. He plans to film another short this fall called Looking Out for No. One and has a third lined up as well. He's also working on a feature script which he hopes to direct.
Fans were able to see They Might Be Dragons at Comic-Con International in San Diego last month. They may also be able to find it at various film festivals. Krueger said he'll likely screen it at convention next summer as well.
In the mean time, fans can still find his writing in comic books. The comic scribe told us he has a variety of titles on the way from several different publishers.
A spokesperson with Eagle Cove Deluxe Entertainment told Comics2Film that they are at work developing DC Comics' Human Target as a feature. The spokesperson for the company revealed that they are "down the road with a couple of writers." However, no additional details were available.
Human Target has previously been adapted as a so-so TV series starring Rick Springfield. More recently it was in heavy development with the now-defunt Canton Company as a feature film. And, early last year, screenwriter Frank Cappello (Constantine) revealed that he was working on script, although it remains unclear if he was working with the new development effort at Eagle Cove, or the prior effort at Canton.
Eagle Cove is also developing Green Lantern although current efforts have been limited to internal conversations. The producers at Eagle Cove have long been percolating on this one.
LA MARQUE JAUNE
Allocine.com reports that Li Gong is the latest addition to the cast of La Marque Jaune (The Yellow Mark) based on the French Blake & Mortimer comic books.
She joins Rufus Sewell (Dark City), who plays Captain Francis Percy Blake and Hugh Bonneville (Notting Hill) who plays Professor Phillip Edgar Agus Mortimer.
According to Jean-Marc Lofficier's CoolFrenchComics.com, Edgar Pierre Jacobs created Blake & Mortimer in 1946 as a feature for the Tintin weekly magazine.. The site calls the work "a true milestone of French-language comics." The installment, La Marque Jaune, which is the basis of the movie, was published in 1954.
Fans were recently thrilled to see early footage from the X-Men 2 movie, first screened at Comic-Con in San Diego, and later available for download on the web. The clips were impressive looking in that, after only a few weeks of filming, the crew was able to cut together a compelling trailer.
Now, composer/director/editor John Ottman comments on the footage at his own website. Ottman, a frequent collaborator of Bryan Singer, is handling the editing and scoring duties for the mutant sequel.
"We'd only been shooting a couple weeks when Bryan asked me to create a trailer for the film to present at a comic book convention called Comicon [sic]. Even though we didn't have much footage, I tried to design a trailer/teaser that could maximize what we had," the filmmaker writes on his site.
"Musically I didn't want the baggage of some other film to taint the trailer, so I edited together a version of Holst's THE PLANETS to be the mystery and then driving force behind it. My score for the film will never be written or recorded in time to be on any trailers, so this kind of keeps it more pure in a way. It was Bryan's suggestion to base the trailer on the mansion attack, since that was alot of what we shot, and then I took it from there and went wild. I also love trailers that don't depend on cheesy narration, so I just used lines from the film to infer story points. Most the classic and most famous trailers of the past don't rely on narration, but let the footage and editing drive the piece. By using just enough dialog lines from the film, it really does create even more of a tease and enticement."
Ottman keeps an online log of his movie projects, but says he's going to be tight-lipped about X2 for fear that movie news sites will be reporting his every word. As if.
In other news, Corona Coming Attractions has attached a face and name to the actor playing the film personification of one the most beloved mutants from the pages of Marvel Comics.
According to the website, Steve Bacic will be playing The Beast in X2. The 37 year old Bacic has appeared in numerous genre television shows, including (but not limited to) Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, The X-Files, and Highlander. He also appeared in the pilot episode of the DC Comics-inspired WB series Smallville.
CCA reports that the role of Beast will be only briefly seen as a cameo appearance, similar to the one Gambit is reported to make.
Speaking of Gambit, sources at Fox have informed Comics2Film that fans may be getting over-excited about reports that James Bamford is playing the ragin' cajun in the movie. The studio reminds us that Bamford's contribution is that of a stunt double. His face may not even be seen clearly in the final film and Bamford would not play the character in a sequel should the role be expanded on.
Elsewhere on the web, fans can find a nice pic of Sir Ian McKellen on the set of the currently-in-production X-Men 2 at the actor's official website. In his latest White Book journal entry, McKellen recounts his work on the Lord of the Rings movies.
In it he reveals that he need to record some additional lines for a LoTR trailer, and the X2 crew hooked him up with an unused studio in Vancouver. Apparently the studio is the home of the Cerebro, which is seen being dismantled in the picture.
There's been plenty of rumor swirling around the Superman movie with regards to who will be directing it and who will be starring in it. While covering the upcoming movie The Red Dragon, The Lation Review website scored a couple of huge scoops on the man of steel front.
They sat down with Red Dragon director Brett Ratner, whose name has been bandied about as a potential Superman helmer. They asked him what his next project is and the director replied, "Superman...Definitely."
Wanting to be clear LR mentioned that McG is still being talked about as director, but Ratner insisted that he's officially on board. Of the McG talk Ratner said, "I don't know unless I got fired between yesterday and today." Ratner estimates production would start in about nine months.
"I see a man in a red and blue suit, a man flying through the air. That's basically my vision," Ratner said when asked for details.
The director did get enthusiastic about the script. "J.J. Abrams [Alias] delivered a fucking amazing script and that's why I'm doing it. They [WB] talked to me about it when Tim Burton fell out of it the first time, and I think it was Kevin Smiths script? Right? [The script] wasn't there.
"This movie [script] has heart, it has soul, and its different enough you know? It's got emotion, its real, you care about the character. Kids today don't know those movies; they [movies] were done 20 years ago. 10-year-old kids know Superman, but they don't know the mythology."
LR also asked about rumors that Anthony Hopkins, who reprises his famous role of Hannibal Lecther in Red Dragon, would play Jor-El in the movie. "I want him to be if he'll do it," Ratner said.
Not content to stop there, LR then approached Hopkins for his take on the story.
"Yeah, I'm going to do it. I'll love to do it," Hopkins is quoted as saying, in response to the question of playing Jor-El.
The Superman project trumped the momentarily-hot Batman Vs. Superman early this summer. A New York Times article by Laura M. Holson indicated that the decision to make a new Superman film instead of the Batman Vs. Superman film ended a battle between two competing Warner Bros. executives.
Lorenza di Bonaventura, who recently quit Warner Brothers to become an independent producer, was in favor of making Batman Vs. Superman. Andrew Kevin Walker wrote the script and Akiva Goldsman polished it. According to the article, the films premise was that Batman blames Superman for his fianc’s death. The two battle throughout most of the film and ultimately Superman saves his soul. The script had a very dark tone.
Alan Horn, the president of Warner Bros favored the Superman film. As C2F has previously reported, Felicity and Alias creator J.J. Abrams wrote the script. It is the first in a planned trilogy. The film has lighter more hopeful tone than Batman Vs. Superman. Ex-hair dresser and Superman producer John Peters said, "...it was amazing. In a world a world of chaos, it’s about hope and light."
Di Bonaventura also liked Abrams script. He said, "It had more epic ambition than earlier Superman scripts."
However he planned to release the film after Batman Vs. Superman. Abrams disagreed with the idea. According to two studio executives, Abrams said that would be like releasing a film titled When Harry Divorced Sally before When Harry Met Sally.
Peters wanted to release his movie first. He had the support of many at Warner Bros. who worried about the dark tone of Batman Vs. Superman. It was believed that if audiences hated the film it would be the death of both franchises. There was also a feeling among some in Hollywood that putting the two characters against each other was a desperate attempt to turn a quick buck.
Alan Horn read Abrams script in mid-July and liked it. Horn then decided to give both film scripts to 10 different Warner executives from various departments. Whichever script the majority preferred was the one that would be given the green light.
The 10 executives reportedly met on August 10 and debated the benefits and drawbacks of each film. They decided to vote in favor of Superman.
Some speculate that decisions were not made by choosing the better film, instead it was a political debate in which executives decide to show support for the studio head. An unnamed source told Holson, "Lorenzo was overruled. What happened is, the whole company rallied behind Alan." Horn and di Bonaventura had been known to clash over which movies to back.
Horn called and informed Peters of the decision. Peters told Holson he was so elated he began weeping after he hung up the phone. Peters who is notorious for wanting the inclusion of a gay robot, and a polar bear battle in previous Superman scripts, had an interesting quote for Holson, "You are going to think I ’m crazy but I swear I heard the flapping of angel wings when Alan was talking."
Superman is scheduled to fly into theaters in 2004. The film does not have a cast or a budget. Allen Horn said the film’s budget would be big.
HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, A
Variety reports that New Line Cinema has acquired the feature film rights to John Wagner and Vince Locke's graphic novel A History of Violence.
The book was the published by DC Comics under their Paradox Press imprint, which also yielded the critically acclaimed Road To Perdition. The article describes the book as "a modern-day Unforgiven [which] follows an ordinary family's life after the father receives unwanted national attention for a seemingly vigilante self-defense killing at his diner, and his previously unknown past is dredged up."
JC Spink and Chris Bender, top dogs at management and production house Benderspink, are producing, along with attorney Roger Kass.
New Line senior VP of production Kent Alterman will oversee the movie's development along with creative executive Cale Boyter.
Variety reports that B-movie maestro Roger Corman is launching a feature film based on an original superhero concept called Captain Justice. The concept will also be published as a comic book as well.
The film is to be an $3 million action comedy centering a young boy and a criminal who poses as the lad's favorite comic book hero.
Victoria Lakeman is writing and directing the movie. Production is slated for next spring.
Corman is reportedly looking for ways to save money on the low budget feature and plans to utilize Canadian and Irish tax subsidies and a German tax shelter as well. He'll revive his defunct Cosmic Comics label to publish a Captain Justice comic book timed with the film's release.
Blade 2 sliced into the home video market this week and is already topping the charts. According to The Hollywood Reporter Nielsen VideoScan's First Alert VHS and DVD sales charts reveal that the feature-packed, two-disc DVD has sold more that 1.5 million units with reorders stacking up.
Blade fans apparently preferred to go to their local video store as online preorders for the movie were apparently low.
The movie is doing well as a rental too, generating an estimated $12.1 million.
WITCHBLADE SEASON 2, WITCHBLADE SEASON 3
Fans hoping to save the Witchblade have cranked their efforts up a notch. Witchblade Central Station launched an online petition earlier this year which now bears over 7000 signatures. Now, they've issued a press release encouraging fans to take the campaign to the next level.
WCS put together a "Wanted AD" to illustrate the purpose of the campaign which is to encourage Warner Bros. Television, owner of the Witchblade TV license, to find another network for the show. The ad ran in Monday's Variety.
"Most of us were saddened and upset by the news of TNT's decision to cancel Witchblade. Now is the time to channel the frustration and sadness into a fight to save our show," said Jessie Smith on behalf of the Witchblade Central Station Committee in a statement to fans.
Viewers are asked to write letters, send postcards, sign an online petition, and email representatives and executives at Warner Bros. Television on behalf of Witchblade. Details on the campaign, tips for writing letters, addresses of targeted individuals, and other pertinent information can be found at the Witchblade Central Station website.
Witchblade consistently earned a 2.0 or better cable rating during its two seasons on TNT, according to information published by several industry trade publications. Witchblade was produced by Top Cow Productions and Halsted Pictures in association with Warner Bros. Television.
In the comic book world there use to be a whole slew of adjectives describing Spider-Man, like amazing, spectacular, and sensational. Each adjective had it’s own book. It appears this might have inspired someone in Hollywood. Dark Horizons reported that Internet game site The Hollywood Stock Exchange is speculating on the title for Spider-Man 2. The HSX lists the film, as being title The Amazing Spider-Man.
At this point no official announcement has been made concerning the title.
SPIDER-MAN ANIMATED SHOW
The latest word on the Spider-Man animated show comes to us from Mayhem, the webmistress at See-Gee Mayhem, the website that's plugged into the world of CGI animation.
Mayhem tells us her sources say that Fox Kids in Australia has picked up the broadcast rights to the new Spider-Man animated. The show should air there early in the year.
Back when Spider-Man was in production fans will recall that four of the wall-crawlers costumes were stolen from the set of the movie last April, never to be seen again...until now. Variety reports that the super duds, valued at $50,000 a piece were recovered after an 18 month investigation that went from Los Angeles to New York to Japan.
Culver City police nabbed three of the Spidey suits as well as a $150,000 Batman suit in New York in L.A. The fourth Spider-Man costume was found in Japan.
Former studio security guard Jeffrey Glenn Gustafson, 35 of Burbank and alleged accomplice Robert Hughes, 34 or Los Angeles have been charged in the case.
Gustafson worked about both Warner Bros. and, more recently, Sony. He is charged with two counts of receiving stolen property and is being held in lieu of $350,000 bail. He faces seven years and eight months prison time.
Hughes is charged with one count with bail set at $50,000. He could serve five years if convicted.
Gary Martin, President of Columbia Pictures Production Administration told Variety that the studio took the case seriously and invested time and money in bringing the thieves to justices. "We have a zero tolerance policy for theft and will pursue all violators."
ROAD TO PERDITION
The nominees for the sixth annual Hollywood Film Fest's Hollywood Movie of the Year Awards have been announced. With 2002 being a great year for comic book movies, it's no surprise that one of them has landed on the best picture list.
Road To Perdition has garnered a nomination for Movie of the Year. It faces competition from The Bourne Identity, Minority Report, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Monsoon Wedding and Y Tu Mama Tambien.
The comic flick also grabbed noms in the Actor of the year category, with stars Tom Hanks and Paul Newman getting nods. They'll be up against Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity), Hugh Grant (About a Boy), Dennis Quaid (The Rookie) and Robin Williams (One Hour Photo).
Sadly, no actresses on the list to represent comic book moviedom. Instead, fans will have to pick from Jennifer Aniston (The Good Girl), Ellen Burstyn (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood), Jodie Foster (Panic Room), Diane Lane (Unfaithful), and Bebe Newirth (Tadpole) and Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding).
And fans do get to pick. You can vote on your favorites in the above categories by directing your web browser to http://movies.yahoo.com/movieawa rds. The winners will be announced at the Film Festival's closing ceremony on October 7th at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
BATMAN: YEAR ONE, DAREDEVIL, BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN
While we hadn't heard it yet, there was apparently a rumor coming out of the UK tabloids that Daredevil star Ben Affleck is follically challenged and is sporting a Jersey hair toupee to cover up his cue ball head. Now his co-star, Colin Farrell, who plays Bullseye in the upcoming superhero flick, debunks two rumors with one quote to USA Today.
While promoting his new movie Phone Booth, Farrell commented on the Affleck wig story saying, "There's really a rumor going round that he wears a toupee? Guess what? I'm supposed to be Batman (in the long-in-development Batman vs. Superman). Don't believe anything."
So, not only does Affleck have hair, but Farrell isn't going to be Batman.
With Hollywood feature films now headed for the Imax Variety reports that Fox may be looking to send one of it's comic book adaptations to the mega-format screen.
First up the studio is preparing Star Wars: Episode 2 -- Attack of the Clones for a run in Imax theaters. The movie is set to screen in domestic giant-screen houses starting November 1. It'll be the second movie to use Imax's proprietary conversion process, the first being Apollo 13 which bows this month.
The article also speculates that Daredevil is seen as a likely candidate for Imax release next year.
THIS WEEK ON JEREMIAH
Jeremiah and Kurdy join a group of pilgrims heading west to the ocean, where they believe a miracle will occur, but Kurdy has trouble adhering to the sect's vow of non-violence when he discovers hidden danger. The episode is written by J. Michael Straczynski and directed by Martin Wood (The Invisible Man).
"Journeys End In Lovers Meeting" airs Friday, September 20th at 11:35 P.M. (note time) on Showtime. There will also be an encore on Sunday, September 22nd 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.
Check out Showtime's Behind the Scenes feature -- a virtual tour of Thunder Mountain -- go to sho.com/jeremiah and click "Behind the Scenes" (you'll need to have a Java and Flash-enabled browser to play the virtual tour).
THIS WEEK ON JUSTICE LEAGUE
Gone, gone, oh cartoon ban, behold the demon Etrigan in "A Night of Shadows - Part 1", this week's episode of Justice League.
Morgaine Le Fey is an ancient sorceress who is assisted by the demon Etrigan in her quest for the legendary Sorcerer's Stone. The Justice League must stop Morgaine Le Fey before she captures this object that would give her the power to rule the world.
"A Night of Shadows - Part 1" airs Friday September 20th at 7pm. Encores air Saturday, September 21 at 12:30pm and 9:30pm. Another Encore airs Sunday, September 22 at 7pm.
THIS WEEK ON SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH
It's the start of a new season for Sabrina, The Teenage Witch (who isn't actually a teenager but still likes to be referred to as one) this week on The WB. The season kicks off with none other than Guest Stars Carson Daly and the group Course of Nature in "Total Sabrina Live!"
Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) joins Morgan (Elisa Donovan) and Roxie (Soleil Moon Frye) on a trip to visit MTV to meet "Total Request Live" host Carson Daly (appearing as himself) and interview the rock band Course of Nature (appearing as themselves) after Morgan wins a writing contest with the ultra-hip Scorch music magazine. But after Morgan admits she submitted Sabrina's writing, Sabrina turns it around and captures a job at the magazine. Meanwhile, with her aunts moving back to the Other Realm, Sabrina begins a new chapter of her life when she, Roxie and Morgan move into the house. Ken Koch directed the episode written by David Babcock.
"Total Sabrina Live" airs Friday, September 20th at 8:30 pm on The WB.
Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.