Comics2Film

Wed, October 2nd, 2002 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

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HELLBOY

When Hollywood needs someone to design alien insects, space ships or sci-fi weapons, more and more the big gun in town is TyRuben Ellingson. And big guns may be a specialty; Ellingson designed the rail guns that stole the show in Eraser and the knife/pistol hybrid wielded by Ron Perlman in Blade 2. Now he's designed the biggest gun of all, the custom weapon to be held by Perlman in Hellboy.

Comics2Film spoke with Ellingson about his career in special effects design and his work as a concept designer on Hellboy.

Growing up in Minnesota, Ellingson was a huge fan of genre movies like Star Wars, but never realistically thought he'd be involved with making such films. As a young adult he'd successfully established a career in fine arts, working on architectural design. However, at age 30 he was able to put his portfolio into the right hands at George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic and made the surprising transition from his previous career into that of a Hollywood effects designer. Before long he'd come full circle, working on the Special Edition of Star Wars.

"To this day it freaks me out because I see it on TV occasionally," Ellingson told C2F. The credit scroll reads like a who's who of F/X heavyweights, "and then there's my name."

While working at ILM he became friends with filmmaker Matthew Robbins who wrote and directed Dragonslayer. In the mid 1990's Robbins got Ellingson involved with a project he was writing.

"He came up to me one day and said, 'I met this Mexican director and you're gonna work with him,'" Ellingson recalled. That director was, of course, Guillermo del Toro who screened his movie Cronos at the ILM facilities. Six months later, Ellingson left ILM to design the creatures for del Toro's next movie Mimic. Ellingson's background with both organic creatures and mechanical devices lent itself well to the project.

"Guillermo thinks of insects of being very much mechanical organisms. That was when I thought, 'I like to draw creatures, I'd done the Star Wars stuff. I'd done Jurassic Park but I also like mechanical stuff. So, I've been slowly kind of eking out this niche for myself which is really science-fiction/horror/hardware/creatures," Ellingson said.

This led to work on del Toro's Blade II. In addition to the knife/gun mentioned earlier (which was actually intended to be used by Blade, not Reinhardt) Ellingson also designed the UV bombs, the stake-firing shotgun and the injector-gauntlet that Blade uses on Nomak early on.

The vampire superhero pic also introduced Ellingson to Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. The pair shared an office on the film and hung out together outside of the production. "We became quite good friends."

TyRuben Ellingson
TyRuben Ellingson
Ellingson told C2F that he didn't have much access to comics growing up, so it was his time on Blade II that introduced him to Mignola's creation, which he knew was a pet project of del Toro's.

"When I looked at Mike's stuff it was so shockingly different than I expected," Ellingson said. "In a strange way, it spoke to me of the stuff I had been interested in in art school. It's so elegantly produced and so moody and sophisticated (even though Mike says it's not sophisticated, I think it is)."

Much of the design team for Blade II came together again for Hellboy. Wayne Barlowe also worked on both movies. "Wayne comes from this world of a super-refined understanding of biology. My background is like robots and spaceships, so I'm kind of a mechanical guy. Mike is sort of this story-telling mood-miser," Ellingson said of the trio.

Continuing in his role from that movie Ellingson worked up the technology for Hellboy. He designed the equipment used by the Nazis in the film's opening summoning sequence, as well as the high-tech environs of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.).

"Obviously Guillermo has to take this whole world that Mike's created and bring it into a three dimensional real world. So he's making very different kinds of decisions in certain areas about how to keep it mysterious and mystical while other things are more technological based," Ellingson revealed. "The B.P.R.D. is probably more complex than what I think is presented in the graphic novel.

"Guillermo's mission is to create the world where Hellboy can exist and be believable," Ellingson continued. "There's a sense that, when you meet this character, you're also meeting a larger world that the B.P.R.D. knows about and that members of the B.P.R.D. are involved with. How that world is shown, and the elements that comprise it, are part of the bigger story, which is really Hellboy."

The designer also created technological devices that the title character will use. "He has little accoutrements that fit here and there into the story line," Ellingson said. And, of course, he has a big gun. "That's the one thing that everybody is going crazy over!"

When all the elements of the production come together, Ellingson is confident that Hellboy will provide a unique movie-going experience with broad appeal. "I swear Guillermo is creating a new niche. He's creating this action/horror niche and I don't think that there's anything like it. I think it's going to be a stand-alone original," the designer said.

Ellingson has already seen some significant high points in his relatively short career. He's added polish to his childhood favorite by working on the Special Edition of Star Wars. He worked on the groundbreaking special effects of Jurassic Park and worked with Stanley Kubrick on A.I. The designer ranks Hellboy among those experiences.

"It's spoiled me," Ellingson said of the project. "I was complaining to [del Toro] on the last night. I said, 'You wrecked me. I'm not gonna be able to work for the next year because it's not going to be as much fun.'"

For more information about TyRuben Ellingson check out his official website: Alieninsect.com. Look for more Hellboy coverage right here in Comics2Film.

Want to talk more Hellboy? Stop by the official Hellboy forum hosted right here at CBR!

X-MEN 2

Aint-It-Cool-News has done it again. Last night the venerable movie gossip website posted the first ever image of Alan Cumming in full Nightcrawler gear from the upcoming X-Men 2 movie.

Comics2Film has verified with an unimpeachable source that the picture is authentic. Reader Tosham74 sent C2F an altered version of the image, which dropped the original's obnoxious lime-green background in favor of a dark, smoky backdrop. Thanks to Zac P, Kev, InsanityGP and Chris for the assist!

Cumming made an appearance on E! News Daily on Friday. The Comics Continuum reports Cumming was on the show to promote his book, Tommy's Tale, but did take a few minutes to discuss the movie.

"He becomes an X-Men, but the film starts out with him doing a bad thing, but then kind of get better," Cumming said. "I don't know. You're so sworn to secrecy."

Cumming also said that at recent book signings, he is often given comics to sign as well, by fans.

Cumming also talked about the look of Nightcrawler in the movie compared to the comic book character.

"He's blue. He's got pointy ears. He's got yellow eyes. He's got hooves. And a tail," Cumming said. "The only thing that is different is that he doesn't have the same pecs or he doesn't the washboard stomach like he has the comic. He has my stomach."

In the world of X-Critters: Sworn to protect a world that pets and adores him, Licorice the mutant dog has been trained by Professor X to use his special gifts to help underprivileged New York City youngsters!

Does this photo from the set of X-Men 2 depict a new, happy-meal friendly addition to the team? Not a chance.

Licorice belongs to X2 star Famke Janssen. He's seen in this photo, on the set of the film, sporting a shiny cape custom made for the dog by the movie's costume designer. The photo, taken by Janssen herself, appears as part of the "Candid Hollywood" feature in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly.

This section of the magazine has Hollywood celebs and filmmakers snapping candid photos. For the second year in a row, these images are now being auction ed off for charity. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the 52nd Street Project. Founded in 1981, the charity brings children (ages 9-18) from New York City's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood together with theater professionals to create original, free productions at Off Broadway theaters.

The high bidder on the picture of Lic orice in X2 wardrobe gets a framed, 8"x10" print of the image as well as an autographed X-Men movie poster.

Licorice is a fine-looking pooch, but you'll also find pics of photogenic celebs like Jennifer Aniston, Pink, Elijah Wood, Jake Gyllenhaal and more. Click here to see the entire auction listing.

MUTANT EARTH

[Mutant Earth]At this summer's Wizard World in Chicago, Stan Winston told Comics2Film that he is actively pursuing a movie version of his Mutant Earth comic book. "It will be a movie nobody's ever seen. And, yes. It's going to be a big movie, an event movie," Winston promised.

Now, Stan Winston Digital has unveiled a short trailer featuring Trakk, the top dog in the Mutant Earth world. The all CGI-piece gives users a brief intro to Trakk and the harsh realm he inhabits.

Sources at Stan Winston Studios told C2F that the trailer is primarily to serve as a promo for the Trakk action figure and the Mutant Earth comics. However, it also serves as a marketing vehicle for the planned feature film.

The film is still in development. The movie may be done as live-action or as an all-CGI animated film.

Visit Stan Winston Creatures to download the new Trakk trailer.

OMEGA MAN, ORIGINAL WOMAN

Comic creator and activist Alonzo Washington tells Comics2Film that his recent crusade to help missing children may have also attracted interest in adapting his comic creations for film or television.

Concerned that the mass media (while giving great coverage to the plight of missing children) was failing to get the word out on abducted African American, Washington sent his Omega Man creation to the rescue.

"I began to feature images of missing African American kids on Omega7 comic books, trading cards and the website (www.omega7.com)," Washington told C2F.

The comic creator appeared on numerous national news programs like CNN News Night with Aaron Brown, Donahue on MSNBC, CNN Live with Leon Harris, BET Nightly News and CNN Headline News. Additional coverage of Washington's efforts was found on ABC News.com on Monday.

Washington's media blitz did not go unnoticed. It caught the attention of TV producers Steven L. Sears of PondaLee Productions. Washington and Sears are currently exploring ways to bring Omega Man and/or Original Woman to film or TV.

Omega Man and Original Woman are superheroes from a utopian future. They've come to our time to battle the Kuhl, shape-morphing aliens whose goal is to rule Earth by perverting the past through time travel. Omega Man is an agent of Earth's future government, the Omega7. Original Woman is warrior princess from one of Earth's new colonies. She's guided by an all-knowing, mystical immortal known as Sage.

"If Omega Man or Original Woman make it to TV or film it will be unlike any other black super hero that has made it to film," Washington said.

Sears has a background in bringing comic book characters to the small screen, serving as writer and producer on Sheena and Xena: Warrior Princess as well as writing for shows like Swamp Thing and Superboy.

Washington also tells us that the ABC News coverage ignited interest in a movie based, not on his comics, but on the comic-creator himself.

TEEN TITANS ANIMATED SHOW

After months of rumor and speculation Warner Bros. has made an official announcement regarding the Teen Titans animated show and has also released a few bits of artwork from the show. Here's the press release:

Cartoon Network and Kids' WB! will follow a new young breed of superheroes as famed Boy Wonder Robin leads fellow young teens Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire and Raven in the all-new high-adventure series Teen Titans. Slated to debut on Cartoon Network in 2003, followed by broadcast on Kids' WB!, this half-hour animated action series is being produced by Warner Bros. Animation under the guidance of Emmy Award-winner Glen Murakami. Teen Titans is based on the popular DC Comics comic book characters.

Teen Titans, set in a future of intergalactic strife and interplanetary battles, features five teen superheroes each with special powers, led by the Boy Wonder Robin. This group unites to form a defensive force to protect the Earth from a new generation of villains. An eclectic group, their powers complement each other so that when they band together, they become a superb fighting force. Their personalities, on the other hand, often clash. Discovering how to control their powers, these Teen Titans must learn to work and grow as a team while dealing with the trials and tribulations of being teenagers.

"Cartoon Network has experienced great success with Justice League, so we know we have a loyal audience ready to embrace this exciting new show," said Jim Samples, General Manager and Executive Vice President, Cartoon Network. "These DC Comics characters have incredible powers, but struggle with how to use them. Teen Titans will mesh perfectly with our other action-adventure programming and thrill our viewers."

"Teaming up with Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network once again gives us an excellent opportunity to bring our core audience the newest high-adventure series, Teen Titans," said Donna Friedman, Executive Vice President, Kids' WB! "This series will be a perfect addition to our #1 line-up, as it features superhero action-packed adventures, comedy and kid-relatable characters and stories in this exciting new saga."

"The talented individuals producing this series are truly superheroes in the world of animation," said Sander Schwartz, President, Warner Bros. Animation. "Glen and his team will bring Teen Titans to life with all of the excitement and breathtaking quality that our audience has come to expect from Warner Bros. Animation."

"The New Teen Titans was a groundbreaking comic book as Marv Wolfman and George Perez delved into the extraordinary challenges of living as a superhero teenager," said Paul Levitz, DC Comics President and Publisher. "With the animated series being brought to life by Glen Murakami's great team, we look forward to new worlds of creative magic."

Teen Titans made their comic book debut in 1964 and soon grew into its own Teen Titans monthly comic book series that ran for seven years. The basis for the animated television series, however, is the wildly successful revamped version of the original junior superhero formula. The New Teen Titans debuted in 1980 and was DC's most popular comic book of the decade that followed. The adolescent angst and emotional depth of The New Teen Titans made the series an instant classic with a whole new generation of comic book readers.

BEAUTIFUL KILLER

Jessica Alba is set to become a big screen super-hero with an adaptation of Black Bull's comic Beautiful Killer according to today's Variety. Universal Pictures and Strike Entertainment are developing the concept for the former Dark Angel star.

The Beautiful Killer comics, written by Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Phil Noto, focus on a young girl out to avenge the murders of her spy parents. The article indicates that the movie will not keep the comics title.

"This is very cool, dark material that at its core is about a girl who loses her family to mysterious killers, flees and ultimately chooses to exact revenge," Alba told Variety. "The chance to shape a character and story from inception is a luxury for an actress. I had the opportunity to collaborate that way with James Cameron and Chic Eglee from the very beginning (on Dark Angel), and it is an experience I hope to repeat."

Marc Abraham and Eric Newman are producing for Strike while Alba and Chris Henze will get executive producer creds.

No writer is signed yet, but they hope to have one on board in time to roll when Alba next becomes available.

JADE

Production Weekly had an interesting summary of the movie version of Chaos! Comics' Jade. Although we knew it is in development, the PW article indicates there are quite a few talent attachments as well.

According to the article, Kelly Hu is attached to star as title character, a 4000 year-old, vampire, sorceress crime lord bent on uniting the criminal Triads of China to form a force that can take over the country and restore its lost honor.

Ronnie Yu is attached to direct. Yu is currently helming the horror crossover Freddy Vs. Jason.

Josh Olsen is writing the script.

BAD GUY

Word from The Hollywood Reporter is that Paramount Pictures is in negotiations for the feature film rights to Jason Harris and Zack Morrissette's self-published comic Bad Guy. The film is to be produced by Barry Josephson and screenwriter David Hayter, both of whom have experience in bringing comics to film.

According to the Bad Guy website the comic "tells the story of an assassin named John. However, John is no ordinary gun-for-hire, as he deals exclusively with the CONTRACT KILLINGS OF SUPER POWERED BEINGS [emphasis theirs]. He's the guy sent in when the costumed SUPER-FREAKS step on the wrong toes. The story is told through excerpts of John's journal. He does this to keep himself from going insane. The job has gotten to him and he can't sleep, he can't focus and he desperately looks for something - ANYTHING - to get his mind in order."

Hayter told The Reporter, "In a nutshell, Bad Guy is like taking the world of Spider-Man or X-Men and putting Dirty Harry in it."

Hayter's name is well-known to readers of this site as the writer of X-Men and The Hulk. He's also worked on adaptations like X-Men 2 and Watchmen.

Josephson's name may also be familiar. He was a producer on the Men In Black films as well as the short-lived but much adored The Tick live-action TV show.

"We're extremely excited about all of this as we had only one issue out," Morrissette said to The Reporter. "Barry was involved with The Tick and Men in Black, which is a great resume from a comic book producer's standpoint. Barry is intent on keeping the voice of the comic the same, which we think is great."

Added Harris: "We're looking to quit our day jobs so we can put out a second issue. We're also excited to be working with David Hayter. For him to want to work with a couple of no-names like us is a validation for the self-esteem."

DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING

[Death: The High Cost of Living]The movie version of Neil Gaiman's Death: The High Cost of Living is in motion again. In a September 19th posting on NeilGaiman.com, the author tells his fans that he's recently submitted a new draft of the script for the film.

Gaiman completed a first draft eighteen months ago, but the project got sidelined by last year's national tragedy. "I'd planned to get back to it on about September the 15th 2001, but then the events of September 11th happened, and I couldn't muster the enthusiasm for a story about Death spending a day in New York," Gaiman writes.

"I tried several narrative strategies to try and get myself writing it, including setting it San Francisco and changing the gender of several characters around, but each time it petered out, and I put it aside."

However the author was able to pick up on the project again last August. "I spent a week in a hotel and did nothing but Death. It started working," Gaiman tells his readers. He continued to develop notes for it on a recent UK tour . "Two weeks ago I grabbed an afternoon and typed all my scribbles in, and sent the script off to the people who needed to see it.

"So far the response has been incredibly positive from everyone who's read it. People, including me, are very happy with it," the author wrote.

The author then recounted a humorous phone conversation with a studio receptionist. Gaiman is still attached to direct the movie, should it move forward. Visit NeilGaiman.com for the complete journal entry.

Thanks to Matthew Fabb for the scoop!

DAREDEVIL

20th Century Fox has released a pair of pics from the upcoming Daredevil movies. Without further ado, here they are...

   

Daredevil is due in theaters February 14, 2002. Fox tells us that the next trailer for the movie will not be seen with The Transporter as originally planned. Word is that it will likely run with Phone Booth (starring Colin "Bullseye" Farrell) or Solaris (starring George "Batman" Clooney).

BIRDS OF PREY

One of the most anticipated comic based TV shows in quite some time debuts next week. The Batman legacy lives on in the series premiere of Birds of Prey!

The Batman legend takes an unexpected turn when the Caped Crusader vanishes from the crime-ridden city of New Gotham and his legacy is taken over by a trio of beautiful and relentless heroines the Birds of Prey. Barbara Gordon (Dina Meyer) started out as Batman's protg, Batgirl, but an attack by The Joker left her confined to a wheelchair. Reinventing herself as Oracle, she takes under her wing Helena Kyle (Ashley Scott), the secret daughter of Batman and Catwoman, who quickly grows into the fierce and beautiful "Huntress," and Dinah (Rachel Skarsten), a teenage runaway who is drawn to the city by meta-human visions. With the help of the only honest cop in New Gotham, Detective Jesse Reese (Shemar Moore), the Birds of Prey fight their first battle against a mysterious madwoman (Mia Sara) who is bent on their destruction. Ian Abercrombie also stars. Brian Robbins directed the episode written by Laeta Kalogridis.

"Pilot" airs Wednesday, October 9 at 9:00pm on The WB.

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

If you read the latest write-up on TV Guide.com you may think that the Birds of Prey's first crisis will be a fashion emergency.

Ashley Scott, who kicks butt as the Huntress in her black leather corset complained, "I couldn't breathe [in that gear]! It's sexy, but good God, is it uncomfortable."

The actress continues, "and to fight in...Well, it's not very realistic."

Apparently that statement comes from experience. Many on The Huntress' combat kicks resulted in a split in the tight-fitting pants. Scott said the costume will be tweaked to make it more action friendly.

Scott isn't the only one griping about wardrobe. Rachel Skarsten feels her Dinah Lance character has been burdened with country bumpkin coverage.

"[The producers] had this crazy notion that people from small towns [like Dinah] are simply not cool," she told TV Guide. "So they put me in simple, little-girl clothes."

Like the Huntress, expect young Dinah to adopt a more fashionable look as the season goes on.

SUPERMAN, SUPERMAN 2, SUPERMAN 3

Warner Bros. made it officially official and announced last week that Brett Ratner (Red Dragon) will direct the new Superman movie. Jeff Robinov, President, Domestic Production, Warner Bros. Pictures issued the press release announcement yesterday.

Ratner will direct for a script by J.J. Abrams (Alias). Jon Peters, who shepherded the Batman franchise to the big screen, will produce.

"Superman is an American icon and a timeless hero who shares a rich history with Warner Bros.," said Alan Horn, President, Warner Bros. "We are very happy to be working with Brett, Jon and J.J. on this important new chapter in the Superman legacy."

Stated Jeff Robinov, "J.J. Abrams and Jon Peters were given the daunting task of re-imagining the Superman epic and J.J. met the challenge, delivering a terrific script with emotion, depth and scale that bring new dimension to this legendary character. We couldn't be more pleased to entrust the next chapter in the Superman mythology to Brett Ratner, a dynamic director whose skillful blend of action, comedy and drama has captured the imaginations of audiences worldwide."

A write-up in The Hollywood Reporter shed additional light on the announcement.

"I always wanted to do a superhero movie, and what better hero to do than Superman," Ratner is quoted as saying by The Reporter. "I have the first Superman comic book framed in my house, and I've had it for years."

The director was already slated to do Paycheck for Paramount Pictures when the Man of Steel tapped him on the shoulder. "When I got the call from Warner Bros., I called (Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Group chairman) Sherry (Lansing) and said, 'Look, things come into your life for a reason. ...' There are certain choices I make that I know will affect the rest of my life, and I feel that I was born to direct Superman," the director said. "I swear, I truly believe that, just like I believe J.J. was meant to write the script. There is so much heart and emotion and soul in his story. In this day and age where there is so much darkness, what better movie to make than one with so much light and positivity."

The director said that Abrams script is meant to be the first installment of a trilogy and Ratner hopes to be on board for all three.

He also reiterated that casting for the lead role is still way up in the air, but he'd love to have Red Dragon star Anthony Hopkins play Jor-El in the movie.

The announcement came amidst a storm of fan-controversy as Ain' t it Cool News posted a review of a draft of J. J. Abrams' Superman screenplay. The highly-negative review gives a detailed look at the script, which drastically changes the comic book icon's origin. The report has fans in an uproar and has allegedly shaken up the project at the studio.

The report does offer a number of potential SPOILERS if this script is actually one that may be produced. So, proceed to the review with caution.

Subsequently Harry Knowles, the head geek at AICN, got a phone call from Abrams who wanted his point of view known. Harry's complete account of that call can be found on his website, but here's a summary.

The script that was reviewed was indeed a first draft. However, Abrams is already deep into a second draft and some of the story elements that fans likely found offensive are already out. The third-act revelation about the true nature of Lex Luthor (according to Abrams) has been discarded. This was at the request or Warner Bros. chief Alan Horn and was made early on.

Jimmy Olsen is not portrayed as a gay character, although Abrams said he never intended that. The line of dialogue in the movie that suggested the character was gay was merely a joke intended to underscore how good-looking Olsen is.

The script also contained extensive changes to the mythos around the planet Krypton. When asked about that Abrams would not say whether or not those change would stand. "We'll see," was his response.

According to Knowles, Abrams is passionate about the character and has only the best intentions for Superman. Abrams is eager to craft a storyline that sets the new Superman franchise apart from the previous one. His second draft is said to be the first "true" draft that the production will be using.

In other Superman news, the Dynamic Forces website reports that Anthony Hopkins has accepted the part of Jor-El in the movie. Hopkins reportedly said as much on the Howard Stern Show where he was promoting Red Dragon.

The show also received a phone call from Aint-It-Cool-News' Moriarty who expressed optimism for the film. Moriarty posted an extremely revealing and negative review of J.J. Abrams' script last week, but the site has subsequently talked with the writer and clarified that it was just a first draft and revisions are underway.

Thanks to Superhero Hype for the lead.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, THE

Pulitzer Prize Winning novelist and Spider-Man sequel writer, Michael Chabon spoke briefly to Entertainment Weekly's Nicholas Fonesca about Spider-Man's second cinematic outing.

Chabon has adapted comic books for the big screen before. He wrote a proposal for the first X-Men film that was not used. Fonesca reports that Chabon's Spider-Man script will contain elements from previous writers David Koepp, and Alfred Gough and Miles Millar.

Chabon is a fan of comic books but he did not see Spider-Man till September. The trailer for the film frightened his five-year-old son Zeke. He felt like he would be betraying his son if he saw the film without him. Even though the violence of the first Spider-Man frightened his son, don't expect Chabon's Spider-Man script to be a boring kiddy flick. Chabon told Fonesca that he doesn't plan to tone down the violence in the film. He said, "I don't feel that's my job. That's not the audience [Columbia] wants to reach, and I don't blame them."

DAREDEVIL

Ellen Pompeo recently chatted with Superhero Hype about her work in the upcoming Daredevil movie. Pompeo, who appears as Karen Page in the movie, said she only worked a couple of days on the movie.

"All my scenes are with Jon Favreau and Ben Affleck. They were a lot of fun," Pompeo said.

The actress also said she has high hopes for the comic book film. "It looks like it's going to be a fantastic movie. I know that they're really trying to do it justice because I know there's millions of fans who want to see it done perfectly, so I think they're making every effort to make them happy."

Pompeo can be seen on-screen next in Moonlight Mile.

WITCHBLADE SEASON 2, WITCHBLADE SEASON 3

Witchblade Central Station continues its crusade to save the Witchblade show. The site had launched a petition for season 3 well before news came down that the TNT network was not going to be renewing the show. In light of that announcement the website took out an ad in Variety encouraging other networks to pick up the show and amped up their campaign to transition from e-efforts to traditional mail in.

Now WCS is further shaping their efforts by asking fans to direct their letter-writing towards one specific network whom they feel would be a good host for the orphaned show. Visit Witchblade Central Station to learn how you can join the campaign to convince USA Networks to renew the show for a third season.

SPIDER-MAN

If the only thing your living room is missing is a life size Spider-Man, then it's your lucky day. Blockbuster video is having a Spider-Man sweepstakes, to celebrate the upcoming release of the movie on DVD and VHS on November first. The prizes? Life size statues of everybody's favorite wall-crawling superhero.

The statues are 5'8, weight about seventy pounds and feature the Spidey costume from the movie, complete with raised webbing. Made of rubber, fabric, steel and plaster, there will only be a limited number produced and each one will be numbered for collectability. At an estimated value of five hundred and ninety-nine dollars each, these statues would be the pinnacle of most Spider-Man collections.

The replicas will be on display at participating Blockbuster stores beginning in late October, and will be awarded to Blockbuster members in early December. Blockbuster is encouraging customers to pre-order or purchase the Spider-Man DVD or VHS or purchase a Blockbuster Spider-Man 10-week movie rental card for $29.99 plus tax. However, no purchase is necessary and you can also enter simply by presenting your Blockbuster card and requesting an entry form.

"The exclusive Blockbuster 'Spider-Man' replica sweepstakes and the free copy of Spider-Man with the purchase of a 10-week movie rental card adds unprecedented value and excitement to the Blockbuster experience," said Jim Notarnicola, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Blockbuster. "And, as the destination for one-of-a-kind movie experiences, we are giving our members unparalleled access to unique movie-themed collectibles."

Fill out your entry form today!

THIS WEEK ON JUSTICE LEAGUE

Metamorpho, the element man makes his Cartoon Network debut in "Metamorphosis - Part 1", this week's episode of Justice League.

The episode airs Friday October 4th at 7pm. Encores air Saturday, October 5 at 12:30pm and 9:30pm. Another Encore airs Sunday, October 6 at 7pm.

THIS WEEK ON SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH

Award winning R&B superstar Ashanti guest-stars in "Call Me Crazy", this week's episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.

Sabrina's (Melissa Joan Hart) desperate attempts to impress her colleagues and prove to them she's not a kid, backfire when she accidentally blurts out too much information about her magical antics, but a chance meeting with Ashanti (appearing as herself) lands Sabrina an interview and an opportunity for her co-workers to see her in a new light. Ken Koch directed the episode written by Trish Baker.

"Call Me Crazy" airs Friday, October 4 at 8:30pm on The WB.

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

THIS WEEK ON JEREMIAH

Jeremiah and Kurdy visit a town whose leaders are so afraid of the Big Death coming back that they forbid people to touch each other -- even parents and children. "The Touch" is this week's repeat episode of Jeremiah written by Executive Producer Sam Egan.

Kurdy (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) and Jeremiah (Luke Perry) enter a town where paranoia about the Big Death has led to a law against touching and sex, a restriction that is fomenting a violent rebellion. Meanwhile, Marcus's (Peter Stebbings) flu sparks a battle for power. The episode is directed by Michael Robison from a script by Sam Egan.

"The Touch" airs Friday, October 4th at 10:45 P.M. on Showtime. There will also be an encore on Sunday, October 6th on Showtime Beyond East at 10:45 PM (ET & PT).

Preview clips of the show are available online at Showtimes's Jeremiah site.

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 episode "Heat", in which Clark gains an unsettling new power and Lex gets married.

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" re-airs Sunday, October 6 at 5:00pm ET on The WB.

Then, in the show's regular timeslot, one of Clark's friends discovers the spaceship in the cornfield in "Duplicity".

After one of Clark's (Tom Welling) friends discover the spaceship in the cornfield, Clark goes against his parents' (John Schneider, Annette O'Toole) wishes and reveals his secret, but is shocked when the reaction he gets makes him question his friend's loyalty. Steve Miner directed the episode written by Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer

"Duplicity" airs Tuesday, October 8 at 9:00pm on The WB.

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

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