Comics2Film

Wed, September 25th, 2002 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

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HELLBOY

[Guillermo del Toro]
Guillermo del Toro
As the Hellboy movie continues to wend its way through preproduction, director Guillermo del Toro told Comics2Film that he plans to keep the fans involved with the movie every step of the way.

"It's not one of these movies where you're going to argue about the web spinners being organic or mechanical," Del Toro joked. "I think 99% of people like Hellboy for the same reason. Everyone just really responds to the characters and the mood that Mike [Mignola] creates."

The filmmaker has previously invited fans to e-mail him with their questions. Just yesterday the official movie website opened up the "Pipeline To Production" which will regularly update fans on the movie's progress, and give them a conduit for talking to the production team.

Del Toro also hopes to launch a "10 Questions" fan roundtable, similar to what Peter Jackson did for Lord of the Rings. Most likely fans will be able to submit questions at Hellboy.com and the director will answer ten that are selected by that site's webmaster.

In the mean time del Toro updated C2F on the movie's current progress.

Casting is underway and they are close to signing an actor for the physical portrayal of the amphibious Abe Sapien character. It's possible that the actor's voice may be used for the final film. Alternately, big name actors like Kevin Spacey and Steve Buscemi have be talked about as providing the voice after principal photography is completed.

Sapien's look will be created by Jos Fernandez, who did work on the X-Men costumes and is also doing design work on The Amazing Spider-Man. " He's a very, very sought-after designer," del Toro enthused.

The director also told us about several other crew members working on the movie.

Mark Setrakian (Men In Black) is working as mechanic on the film. "He'll design, for example, the mechanical elements on Hellboy's glove, Hellboy's tail, any tentacle on a monster. All the mechanical and servo-operated mechanisms on the creatures," del Toro explained.

Norman Cabrera whose done makeup and special effects work on many movies including Spy Kids and The Cell is in charge of "The Corpse," the title character from the Hellboy graphic novel The Corpse and the Iron Shoes.

Rick Baker's Cinovation Studio is, of course, in charge of the look for Hellboy himself. Del Toro told C2F that Matt Rose is the head sculptor for the character.

Star Ron Perlman will be undergoing his first makeup tests any day now. "We'll be closing the tests by end of October, to lock the look," the director said.

Fans won't have to wait until the movie's release to get a look at the actor in full gear. Del Toro estimates that pictures of the movie Hellboy will be on the web some time in March, around the same time that cameras start rolling on the film.

[Hellboy Web site]As mentioned above, the official Hellboy movie website has been updated and is starting to take shape as a support site for fans of the comic who are eagerly anticipating the film.

The new-look site features two exciting new sections for fans.

First up is "Pipeline to Production" which provides an inside look at the production of the movie.

The other new section is "Hellboy Chronicles"; a Flash animated recap of Hellboy's story as it will appear in the movie.

Previously available multimedia clips for the San Diego Comic-Con are now located in the Hell Media section of the site. There is also a place holder for message boards, which are coming soon.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (SPIDER-MAN II)

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon has been tapped for a rewrite on Spider-Man 2, now referred to as The Amazing Spider-Man, according to Variety. Chabon is well-known as the author of the comic-themed, Pulitzer-Prize winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

Chabon is said to ban mid-six against mid-seven figures for the work. Previous authors on the screenplay include Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville) and the first film's scribe David Koepp.

The Amazing Spider-Man is slated for production early next year for a May 7, 2004 release.

THE PUNISHER

Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige told Comics2Film that Jonathan Hensleigh has turned in a draft of The Punisher script. Feige said the new script is "spectacular" and there should be some exciting announcements on the project soon.

Hensleigh, who wrote scripts for Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Jumanji and Armageddon, came on board the Punisher project earlier this year as both writer and director.

Gale Anne Hurd (Hulk) and Avi Arad (Hulk) are producing. Feige serves as executive producer.

DAREDEVIL

[Daredevil]Fans can look forward to a new Daredevil trailer in just a few weeks. Fox publicity tells Comics2Film that the new footage will be attached to Luc Besson's upcoming, high-octane, action film The Transporter.

That movie opens nation-wide October 11. Visit TransporterMovie.com to view for more information as well as a trailer for what looks to be a slick flick.

VENUS KINCAID

Jeremy Love of Gettosake Entertainment tells Comics2Film that a writer has been hired to pen a script for the big-screen version of their online Venus Kincaid comic.

Twentieth Century Fox has hired Lori Lakin to write the scrip. Lakin recently served as series writer on the short-lived TV show The American Embassy.

Venus Kincaid tells the story of a super secret agent, bomb squad expert, diver, pilot and superhuman athlete who is transformed from a 30 year-old woman to a 12 year-old girl by a mad scientist. She's still got all her spy-skills, but is mentally and physically 12 years old.

Fox 2000 purchased the film rights for the property in March. Plans are to develop it as a live-action feature.

FATE OF THE BLADE

Variety reports that Dreamwave Productions Fate of the Blade is on tap for the big screen treatment. Disney has paid low-six against high-six figures for the option on the comic book property.

Analisa Labianco (Sex Talk) is set to write the screenplay based on Pat Lee and Chris Sarracini's comic book.

Fate of the Blade is described as a female action-comedy in the vein of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon meets Clueless. The story centers on an adopted teenage Asian American girl who grows up in a white middle-class San Fernando Valley family, is the sole surviving descendant of a Samurai clan of Japan and discovers an ancient demon is stalking her.

The project is being co-produced by Circle of Confusion and Eagle Cove Deluxe. David Alpert of Circle of Confusion will produce with Peter Riche and Alan Riche, and Jay Sanders of Eagle Cove. Lawrence Mattis and Tony Ludwig will exec produce.

Labianco, Lee and Sarracini are repped by Genesis.

FOOT SOLDIERS

[Foot Soldiers]Comic creator Jim Krueger (Earth X) told Comics2Film that Hollywood is still showing interest in his Foot Soldiers comic.

Previously producer Michael Uslan (Batman and various CrossGen projects) had been working to get the comic set up as a movie. Krueger tells us that Uslan's option on the property ran out. "I remain good friends with Mike."

Krueger couldn't give us any additional information on a Foot Soldiers other than to say there are things happening with it. Krueger had written a script for the comic when it was in development with Uslan.

Krueger also said there is "real interest" in his Alphabet Supes comic. That one was a whimsical concept involving a legion of letter-themed heroes who could act in various combinations to spell out unique super-powers.

A new volume of trade paperback collecting previous Foot Soldiers comics is due out from AiT/Planet Lar next month.

JEREMIAH

Comics2Film chatted with Jeremiah star Malcolm-Jamal Warner last week about his experiences working on the hit cable show. During the conversation Warner let slip that Showtime has just renewed the comic based sci-fi program for a second season.

Word is an official announcement on Jeremiah's renewal will be made shortly.

Look for the complete interview with Warner soon on C2F!

JON SABLE, FREELANCE

Comics2Film spoke with a source at Pacifica Film Development, Inc. about that company's plans for a movie version of Mike Grell's comic Jon Sable, Freelance. The movie has long been in development as a co-production with The Gene Simmons Co.

According to the representative for Pacifica, the movie is no longer in development.

SUPERMAN

Director Brett Ratner is making the rounds promoting his upcoming Red Dragon movie. While on tour he can't resist talking about his next gig, Superman. The helmer talked about the man of steel with The Chicago Sun-Times this week.

"To be honest, I want a total unknown in the tights," Ratner said when asked about casting. "I'm going to do a massive hunt for my Superman first. I also have no idea who would be good for Lois Lane."

Ratner is confident his movie will improve on the classic Superman of the 1970's. "It was good, but the studio didn't have the technology that we have now. Can you imagine a really good Superman in 2003 with all the new special effects? I think that could be something amazing," the director said.

He also enthused about J.J. Abrams' script. "It will be the origins story with a fantastic script that explains more than you've ever seen before," Ratner told the Sun-Times.

The movie is in the early stages and no locations have been scouted yet.

HULK

[Hulk]Ryan J. Downey of MTV Movie House sat down last week to chat with actor Josh Lucas. Lucas is currently on press tour for his new movie Sweet Home Alabama, but he also appears as Major Glenn Talbot in next year's comic movie smash-to-be The Hulk.

Of talbot Lucas said, "He's a really, really bad guy, but driven by a very genuine reasoning in his own mind. He's not evil for the sake of being evil," the actor told Downey. He's not superhero-ish in any way. He's definitely coming from a place where his beliefs are feeding what he's doing. Which I think is always the key to playing those characters."

Lucas said that Lee aims to bring a realistic approach to all the characters of the film. "It's the Ice Storm of comic books," Lucas is quoted as saying. "It really is. It's a really dark, psychological, very deep meditation on rage and repression."

The actor said that the big event movie also works on a very small scale. "There are only five actors in the movie," Lucas said. "So it's really just a very small, interpersonal psychodrama in a sense."

He also commented on other elements of the film, including the inclusion of Hulk dogs. "They're pretty dark," Lucas explained. "They're Nolte's. Nolte's [character] is definitely askew as well."

For more from Lucas visit MTV Movie House.

X-MEN 2

Playing Nightcrawler in the upcoming X-Men 2 is no walk in the park, actor Alan Cumming recently revealed to The News Tribune in Washington.

"It's an exhausting nightmare from hell," Cumming is quoted as saying. "Yesterday was a 19-hour day. I sat in the makeup chair for seven hours. It's a little hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Right now, I'm lying on the grass with my dog and my boyfriend looking at the sea. There's a God."

The actor reportedly has had to bulk up and wears contact lenses on top of the rest of the makeup. Regardless, the job does has its perks.

"Yesterday I killed someone by flicking them against the wall with my tail," Cumming revealed.

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox has been busy recruiting mutant partners for next summer's X2 revolution according to The Hollywood Reporter. The studio has reportedly struck deals with Mazda, Dr Pepper, Baskin-Robbins, Radio Shack and Kraft to act as promotional partners for the currently filming sequel.

Details about individual deals were not give but Fox executive vice president of publicity Jeffrey Godsick reports a sum total of $70 million for the current band of partners. The studio is talking to other potential partners as well.

"It's the strongest and largest campaign we've ever had at the studio," Godsick told The Reporter.

X-Men 2 is due in theaters next summer.

BATMAN: THE MYSTERY OF BATWOMAN

Both Toon Zone and Comics Continuum report that a new Batman animated film will star the voice of Kelly Ripa, co-host of Live with Regis and Kelly, as Batwoman, the lead character.

The movie is tentatively titled Batman: The Mystery of Batwoman and Ripa will be providing the voice of Batwoman, according to The Continuum's source.

A source deemed "reliable" by Toon Zone speculates the film will be straight-to-video, like Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

Batwoman is apparently going to be a modernized version of the yellow-and-red-clad Silver Age character who was spotlighted in Batman and World's Finest comics in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Ripa, who stars alongside Regis Philbin on their daytime talk show, has been a cast member of the ABC soap opera All My Children since 1991 as well.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

Cartoon Network has rescheduled the special Justice League TV movie presentation of "The Savage Time" for November. Here's the latest press release:

The fate of the world rests on the shoulders of the world's top superheroes in Justice League: The Savage Time, which debuts on Saturday, November 9, at 7 p.m. (ET, PT) during Cartoon Theatre, Cartoon Network's weekly showcase of contemporary animated movies.

In this special feature length presentation of Justice League: The Savage Time, the Justice League returns from a mission deep in space to find a world that has drastically changed - for the worse. A ruthless, repressive dictator named Vandal Savage has seized control. To restore life as they know it, the world 's greatest collection of superheroes must travel back in time and team up to with some heroes of the past to re-fight a world war in order to stop Savage from taking power.

When the Justice League lands back in Europe during the waning days of World War II, they find themselves split from each other and fighting side-by-side with the Resistance on the war's frontline. Superman, Hawkgirl and the Flash join with the Blackhawks, a squad of fighter pilots from occupied nations, and assist in their efforts to destroy a critical enemy weapon before it can be deployed. Green Lantern is trapped behind enemy lines with a tough-as-nails Army squadron without the use of his ring, the source of his powers. Meanwhile, Manhunter heads to Berlin to infiltrate the despot's headquarters and uncover the secret to his power while Wonder Woman teams up with an American spy to break Savage's secret code.

RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT BIOGRAPHICAL FEATURE

Ripley Entertainment, Inc. is dusting off plans for a feature film franchise based on the life of and adventures of Robert L. Ripley according to the Hollywood Reporter. Ripley, or course, is the creator of one of the world's longest-running comic franchises, which started with his strip Ripley's Believe it or Not.

Paramount Pictures recently sealed the deal for the films after nine months of negotiations. Alphaville is on board with Atchity Editorial/Entertainment International Inc.

The write-up indicates that Ripley was an artist, athlete and explorer. He launched his famous comic strip in 1918 when he was a 25-year-old sports cartoonist for the New York Globe. The initial run was an assortment of sports oddities, although the scope of the strip expanded after a positive response.

The author to embarked on world wide journeys seeking out bizarre subjects for the strip. Such adventures will be the subject of the film franchise.

Jim Jacks and Sean Daniel of Alphaville will produce along with Ken Atchity and Chi-Li Wong for AEI.

Signatures Networks has been shopping the project since 1998, when they launched a Ripley brand push which was spearheaded with the highly successful Ripley's Believe it or Not TV show for TBS Superstation.

WITCHBLADE SEASON 2, WITCHBLADE SEASON 3

TV Guide critic Matt Roush addressed the recent cancellation of Witchblade and subsequent fan response in his "Ask Matt" section of his online "Roush Room" area of the TV Guide website.

A reader asked Roush if he planned on giving any coverage to the recent campaign, spearheaded by Witchblade Central Station, to save the series. The campaign includes letter writing, online petitions and an ad in Daily Variety.

Roush responds, "The cancellation of Witchblade is another puzzlement in the land of cable. Even TNT admits the ratings were OK. But this is the network that produced and never aired an entire season of a new drama (Breaking News, now on Bravo) and also scrapped a completed second season of another drama (Bull). I can't figure out what that network's priorities are. [Witchblade Central Station] will give you more information about the Witchblade movement. And look for a piece soon in TV Guide by one of my colleagues that addresses the news surrounding the cancellation of both [referring to Farscape] popular fantasy series."

Another reader asked if fans can make a difference in bringing back shows like Witchblade and Farscape.

"Given the uproar over the premature deaths of Witchblade and Farscape in the last few weeks, I would be crazy to underestimate the impact of these protests," Roush responds. "They're fascinating to observe, and the media are paying attention."

Thanks to Kiara for the lead.

SPIDER-MAN

Congrats to Premiere Magazine which celebrates its 15th Anniversary this month. The movie magazine celebrated by naming putting together a best list and our favorite comic book movie, Spider-Man was honored twice.

In the interior feature titled "The Best 1987-2002" Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst are awarded honors for "Best Kiss" in Spider-Man.

Then, Spider-Man makes the list again in a pull-out featuring "The 100 Best Movies on DVD 1987-2002". Other comic films ranking are Batman and Men In Black.

COMMITTED

Last week Martin von Ruden, Executive Vice President and General
Manager of WE: Women's Entertainment announced the cable network's entry into the animation arena with the addition of Committed to its Sunday night lineup beginning October 6th.

Based on Michael Fry's popular comic strip of the same name, Committed explores the intricacies of one of the most fascinating organisms on the planet...the modern American family. Corus Entertainment's Nelvana, the leading distributor of animated children's and family entertainment, produces the thirteen-episode series. For the length of the run, WE will air two half-hour episodes of the series back-to-back, from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM (ET). Catherine O'Hara (Best in Show) is the voice of the mom, Eugene Levy (American Pie) is the voice of the husband, plus Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and Dave Foley (Newsradio) also lend their voice talents to the series.

"We think our viewers will be able to relate to COMMITTED since many of the funny situations mirror the juggling act that many women perform in their daily lives," von Ruden said.

In Committed, Liz is the consummate working mother. She has a husband, three kids, a job and a sacred vow to somehow find the time to get out the "Butt Burner" she got last Christmas. With her loving (and sometimes exasperating) family beside her, behind her and under her Liz is just trying to keep her head above water. When you're "committed" to keeping a modern family afloat it's a full time job...plus overtime...unpaid.

THIS WEEK ON JUSTICE LEAGUE

Gone, gone, oh cartoon ban, behold the demon Etrigan in "A Night of Shadows - Part 2", 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 2" airs Friday September 27th at 7pm. Encores air Saturday, September 28 at 12:30pm and 9:30pm. Another Encore airs Sunday, September 29 at 7pm.

THIS WEEK ON SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH

Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough guest stars on "The Big Head," this week's all-new episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.

Sabrina's (Melissa Joan Hart) first assignment at Scorch is to write a profile about an overconfident rock star (guest star Howie Dorough, Backstreet Boys), but when her senior editor (Diana-Maria Riva) publishes the truth about the arrogant superstar, he threatens to sue the magazine unless Sabrina gives a public apology at his concert. Hart directed the episode written by Bill Rosenthal & Andrew Borakove.

"The Big Head" airs Friday, September 27th, 8:30pm ET on The WB.

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

THIS WEEK ON JEREMIAH

[Jeremiah]
[Jeremiah]
[Jeremiah]
[Jeremiah]
Jeremiah and Kurdy are reunited with the one person they never wanted to see again: Theo (from the pilot movie) in the rebroadcast of "Thieves' Honor," this week's episode of Jeremiah. It's a fun episode written by executive producer Sam Egan.

Jeremiah (Luke Perry) and Kurdy (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) are sent to Clairfield to find Elizabeth (Kandyse McClure) and a friend who were captured by Theo's jocks. Meanwhile, investigations are under way to find a potential traitor who's been leaking information from Thunder Mountain. The episode is written by Sam Egan and directed by Holly Dale.

"Thieves' Honor" airs Friday, September 27th at 10:45 P.M. on Showtime. There will also be an encore on Sunday, September 29th 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).

NEXT WEEK ON SMALLVILLE

In case you missed it last night, The WB is going to rebroadcast the Smallville season opener "Vortex", the gripping conclusion to a twister of a season finale.

After Clark (Tom Welling) rescues Lana (Kristin Kreuk) from the eye of the storm, he discovers the storm's wrath has unleashed the spaceship into the fields and buried his father (John Schneider) alive along with the unscrupulous reporter (guest star Tom O'Brien) who has discovered Clark's secret. Meanwhile, Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) is wracked with guilt over his father (John Glover). Greg Beeman directed the episode written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar with teleplay by Philip Levens.

"Vortex" re-airs Sunday, September 29 at 5:00pm ET on The WB.

Then, in the show's regular timeslot, Clark gains an unsettling new power and Lex gets married in "Heat"!

Clark (Tom Welling) goes into hiding after he discovers a startling new power that quickly gets out of control and accidentally harms Lana (Kristin Kreuk). However, after a hot new teacher (guest star Krista Allen) uses kryptonite-enhanced pheromones to convince Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) to marry her, then spellbinds Jonathan (John Schneider), Clark must get a grip on his new power in time to keep Jonathan from killing Lex. James Marshall directed the episode written by Mark Verheiden.

"Heat" airs Tuesday, October 1 at 9:00pm on The WB.

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

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