Last week Comics2Film dropped in on director Guillermo del Toro at the production offices for the Hellboy movie. Del Toro showed us around the office, where we were privy to all kinds of design art, story boards, animatics and other materials that are part of the pre-production effort on the big-screen version of Mike Mignola's red, iron-fisted, paranormal monster-smasher.
With any movie adaptation fans can expect certain changes to the look of the characters or the storyline. With Hellboy, it would be fair to say that the characters have been enhanced more that altered. Not surprising, considering Mignola is an executive producer on the project and has been involved in the design process every step of the way.
Del Toro showed us pictures of Ron Perlman in Hellboy face make up. The resemblance to the comic character is simply uncanny. Perlman is Hellboy.
The design has been tweaked here and there. We noticed Hellboy's trademark horn-stumps had a rough texture in the photos we saw. Del Toro tells us that the stumps will change in texture to solidify the idea that they are ever-growing stumps (and not goggles as new fans sometimes mistake them for). Freshly trimmed stumps have a smooth texture. The surface becomes rough as the horns begin to grow out.
The character's hair has been changed a bit, giving him a more an appearance that's more samurai and less L.A. lawyer. The scarification seen in the early Wayne Barlow painting a few years back form mysterious, ritualistic markings that interconnect with those on the character's famous gauntlet.
Publicity photos of the actor in makeup should be available early next year.
Fans may be surprised that they've actually seen a fairly accurate rendering of Perlman in makeup. The Mike Mignola drawing that was distributed as a poster at last summer's Comic-Con international is a dead-on depiction of what Perlman looks like with "the red stuff" on.
Del Toro revealed that fans will get a chance at another poster with next summer's convention. The 2003 poster (teasing the 2004 release) will feature the same layout and design, except it will be a photograph of the lead actor's head with a fiery, hellish back-drop.
Cameras roll on Hellboy in March of 2003. The movie is slated for a summer 2004 release. Look for more from our Hellboy field trip this week on C2F.
"With a suspenseful ghost story like The Devil's Backbone, less is more," director Guillermo del Toro told us during the visit. "With a monster movie like Hellboy more is more."
The visit to the production office was followed by a tour of the Spectral Motion special effects shop, where many of the film's animatronic props are being created. Based on what we saw, when it comes to the Hellboy movie, fans are definitely going to get more. More monsters, more mayhem and more of the fantastic creations from the mind of Mike Mignola.
While not exactly the same as his comic book counterpart the designs for Abe Sapien are nothing short of beautiful. C2F saw a full body maquette of the character as well as full-scale latex renderings in the shop, revealing a sleek and definitely aquatic design. Although subtle changes have been made, the character will still be instantly recognizable to fans of the comic. The details added to the film version of Abe have transformed him into a creature we can't wait to see.
C2F also got a look at Hellboy's nemesis in the film, the demon Sammael. With this guy we not only saw the design illustrations, but at the Spectral Motion shop we also got a good look at a cast of the creature's head, as well as the full-scale mold from his body. On top of that, del Toro shared a look a some animatic sequences in which Sammael does his thing in a crowded, urban milieu.
Although we can't tell you specifically what we saw we will say that the guy will likely be the baddest, bad-ass seen on the big screen in the Summer of 2004. Even he simplistically rendered computer animatic, which showed off a few of the tricks in the beast's repertoire, induced chills. C2F would love to describe Sammael in detail, but to do so would spoil the on-screen revelation of the creature.
More is definitely more and one thing that caught us off guard is the awesome scale of this movie. Although Hellboy has a mid-size budget by today's standards, del Toro and company are not backing down from Mignola's sometimes gargantuan vision. As big and bad as Hellboy and Sammael are, they'll be dwarfed in comparison to other elements in the movie. Set design illustrations revealed fantastic sets of a mammoth scale. Of course they gotta be huge to accommodate some of the creatures we saw. Hellboy promises to be a demon slug-fest of monstrous proportions.
Look for more from our Hellboy field trip next week on C2F.
During our visit to the Hellboy production office director Guillermo del Toro confirmed recent casting announcements made on Ain't It Cool News.
Del Toro once again confirmed that Selma Blaire will play the pyrokinetic Liz Sherman in the movie. John Hurt (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) is now on board to play Professor Bruttenholm. Blade II alum Karel Roden is set to play Grigori Rasputin. Larry Miller (Best in Show, 10 Things I Hate About) will play Dr. Manning. Performer Doug Jones has signed to provide the physical performance for the amphibious Abe Sapien.
Fans can expect the undead Nazi Kroenen to be played by 3 different actors providing the various physical aspects of the character.
Meanwhile Variety reports that Partnership Film will handle production services for Hellboy. According to the trade publication the movie is set to lens from March to August of next year. Blade II producer Patrick Palmer is pulling together the team from that film, including Prague-based independent producer Michelle Weller.
Flatiron Films' Development executive John Kapral told Comics2Film this week that development on a feature film version of Shannon Denton's Astro Aces is moving forward.
"I'm very excited to be going out with Astro Aces and Flatiron," Denton told C2F. "There was so much interest in this property at ComicCon that we know the time is right for something like this."
Screenwriter Daniel Bernstein has developed a pitch for the property, which centers on a young boy from Earth who sets his sights on superhero glory when he joins the Cosmo's Junior Space Commandos at the Intergalactic Astro-Academy. There he hopes to become one of the future protectors of our galaxy!
"I can't wait to continue on with the creative process after we set this project up. Daniel's take is perfect for film and should make the transition from fun comic to fun movie an easy one," Denton said.
Bernstein and Flatiron are set to begin pitching the property to studios next week.
Life can be pretty tough for creatures of supernatural evil. The entire casts of Buffy, Angel, Charmed and various other shows are arranged against you. Now, Newsarama reports that coming Fall 2004 vampires and demons might need to start looking over their shoulders for two new opponents, Adam and Julia Kadmons, the stars of the Vertigo comic Midnight Mass created by John Rozum.
DC announced at a retailers presentation in Los Angeles that Midnight Mass has a live action television development deal with Warner Bros. and Joel Silver. According to Newsarama, Rozum was not shopping the property around. Silver sought Rozum out based on how much he liked the comic book, and then optioned the property.
Midnight Mass tells the story of Adam and Julia Kadmons, a married couple of "trouble shooters." The Kadmons exit in a world where monsters and magic are very real. When local authorities realize they are in over their heads they call in the Kadmons, who are world-renowned experts on the occult.
BIRDS OF PREY
While it is not official yet, both Hollywood trades reported Tuesday morning that the outlook for Birds of Prey is not so good. The WB Network has not made an official statement but Variety and The Hollywood Reporter both have confirmation from insiders that the frog net will not extend its order beyond the initial 13 episodes.
Apparently only 9 of those episodes have lensed and it is unclear if Warner Bros. TV and Tollin/Robbins will go forward with the filming of the final four. Presently the network has new episodes scheduled through the end of November with reruns starting the first week of December.
On Monday The WB issued a press release announcing a Smallville soundtrack CD. The disc is available for preorder now, and will be shipping to stores on February 25, 2002.
Artists and songs include Von Ray ("Inside Out"), Five for Fighting ("Superman"), Eva Cassidy (performing Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time"), Lifehouse ("Everything"), Weezer ("Island in the Sun"), Ryan Adams ("Nuclear"), Remy Zero ("Save Me," Smallville's theme song), The Hives, Flaming Lips, Sixpence None The Richer and AM Radio.
OLD SCHOOL SPIDER-MAN
The Comics Continuum reports the original Spider-Man cartoon will be digitally re-mastered to preserve the film and improve the quality. Buena Vista International Television announced it will restore the 1960's cartoon series. All fifty two half hour episodes of the show will be re-mastered in a high definition format and the sound track will be renovated, with new music and effects.
Check out The Continuum for the whole story, and some neat comparison shots showing how the new re-mastered version will look.
Fans looking for that X-Men 2 footage from Comic-Con need look no farther than the Apple.com Trailers site. The footage disappeared from the web after a brief run, but is now back online for your mutant viewing enjoyment.
Meanwhile, Professor X actor Patrick Stewart tells USA Today that fans can expect a bigger, better X-Men this summer.
"X-Men was a very good adventure film," Stewart told the national daily. "But I think the first film will look like it's nothing more than a launchpad once the new one comes out."
Fans know well that that the new movie ups that stakes with new characters on both the hero and villain side. Alan Cumming is on board as Nightcrawler while Brian Cox is the new heavy playing William Stryker. Stryker's muscle is Lady Deathstrike, played by Kelly Hu.
"It's high adventure, but it's got a style to it that is absolutely captivating," Stewart said.
Thanks to Steve-O for the lead.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES - ANIMATED SHOW
NinjaTurtles.com continues to post design art for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated show. A few weeks back we saw designs for the heroic characters and last week the site unveiled a look at the villains.
The latest "Sneak Peek" posted on the official site of the heroes on the the half-shell include vehicle and location designs.
On the vehicle side, check out black and white illustrations of the Turtles' Battle Wagon, Sewer Sled and Shell Cycle.
According to the site, the show is coming together via 4Kids Entertainment and Dong Woo Animation and will debut on Fox in February of 2003.
You can see a small sampling by clicking the thumbnails above, but visit NinjaTurtles.com for many more vehicle and location designs.
SPIDER-MAN ANIMATED SHOW
Fans who enjoyed last week's sampling of still images from the Spider-Man animated trailer should direct their browsers to AnimationChronicles.com. The website has captured the 30 second spot (which originally appeared on the VHS release of the Spider-Man movie) for the upcoming MTV show and posted it online.
Links to the trailer at two different locations are easily found on the front page of the AnimationChronicles site. However, a notice posted there states that the site is having trouble with the bandwidth burden, so you may find the video is slow to load. Be sure to try both links in case of difficulty.
The Comics Continuum got some interesting insights from the producers of the upcoming MTV series.
Producer Audu Paden talked about the challenges of translating the character to TV. "The first incarnations, he was younger and geeker," Paden told The Continuum. "But we want to be able utilize the Spider-Man body as the Peter body. The difference is going to come from the performance and the acting and the keyframe acting performance."
In doing their motion capture for the show, the crew at MainFrame Entertainment arrived at an innovation that even impressed Spider-Man movie animator and F/X wiz, John Dykstra. By doing motion capture with an actor on a rope, they were able to create realistic movements of the web-swinger swinging.
Paden also told The Continuum that the show's target audience will not be children. The series will be aimed towards a more mature audience, just like most of MTV's programming.
Check out the Continuum for more information about the animated Spider-Man show!
There's a new sister site to the official Daredevil movie site. DaredevilMusic.com opened recently, giving fans an outlet for information on the song soundtrack for the upcoming superhero flick.
Currently the sparsely populated site contains links to the first song announced from the compilation: Evanescence's "Bring Me To Life". Also included are links to the official site and the trailer on Apple.com
The site was created by Wind-up Records, the label behind the CD release.
THIS WEEK ON JEREMIAH
This week's rebroadcast of Jeremiah is "Things Left Unsaid (Part One)", the first leg in the two-part season ender. Jeremiah and Kurdy learn more about the Big Death and Thunder Mountain...setting the stage for the stunning finale. Both parts are written by J. Michael Straczynski.
Jeremiah and Kurdy discover the traitor and search out the Brothers of the Apocalypse, who finally tell them the truth about the Big Death and the vital importance Thunder Mountain plays in the future of the world. Written by: J. Michael Straczynski Directed by: Mike Vejar
"Things Left Unsaid (Part One)" airs Friday, November 22nd at 10:50 P.M. on Showtime. There will also an encore on Sunday, November 24th on Showtime Beyond at 10:50 PM (ET & PT).
Preview clips of the show are available online at Showtime's Jeremiah site. Click "Episode Preview" from the site's nav.
You can also visit that site for a virtual tour of Thunder Mountains. Click "Behind The Scenes" from the site's nav. (Java and Flash required).
THIS WEEK ON JUSTICE LEAGUE
Heeeeee's back. In case you missed him in previous airings, Etrigan The Demon guest stars in a repeat airing of "A Knight of Shadows - Part 2", this week's episode of Justice League.
The episode airs Friday November 22nd at 7pm. Encores follow on Saturday, November 23rd at 9:30pm (widescreen) and Sunday, November 24th at 7pm.
Also, look for a repeat airing of "Paradise Lost" Parts 1 and 2 on Saturday, November 23rd starting at 12:00pm. Wonder Woman returns to Paradise Island to find it in ruins. What villain could have caused this catastrophe?
NEXT WEEK ON SMALLVILLE
In case you missed it last night, The WB is going to rebroadcast the Smallville episode "Dichotic", an episode guest-starring Home Improvements' Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
When Clark (Tom Welling) tries to warn Lana (Kristin Kreuk) and Chloe (Allison Mack) about Ian (guest star Thomas), an overachieving student who is surreptitiously dating both girls, they accuse Clark of jealousy but realize too late that he was right. Meanwhile, frustration with his father (John Glover) causes Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) to lose his temper and attack a parking attendant's car with a golf club, landing him in an anger management class where he meets an interesting new woman. Sam Jones III, Annette O'Toole and John Schneider also star. Craig Zisk directed the episode written by Mark Verheiden.
"Dichotic" re-airs Sunday, November 24 at 9:00pm ET on The WB.
Then, in the show's regular timeslot, Clark falls in love with a beautiful girl who holds the secrets to his past in a new episode called "Skinwalkers".
While moto-crossing with Pete (Sam Jones III), Clark (Tom Welling) falls into a cave and discovers two hidden treasures - ancient Indian writings that hold the key to his identity, and a beautiful girl whom he believes to be his soulmate. Desperate to preserve the writings, Clark pits father against son as he enlists Lex's (Michael Rosenbaum) help to stop Lionel's (John Glover) construction crew from demolishing the cave. Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, Annette O'Toole and John Schneider also star. Marita Grabiak directed the episode with story by Mark Warshaw and teleplay by Brian Peterson & Kelly Souders.
"Skinwalkers" airs Tuesday, November 26 at 9:00pm on The WB.
Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info
NEXT WEEK ON BIRDS OF PREY
Fans wanting to jump on the Birds of Prey bandwagon will get their chance next week, when The WB hosts a double-dose of the Gotham girls. First up is a rebroadcast of the pilot episode that first introduced TV viewers to the dynamic trio.
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, November 27th at 8:00pm on the WB.
Then, Barbara returns to her Batgirl roots in "Lady Shiva," an all new episode airing in the regular Birds of Prey timeslot.
Helena (Ashley Scott) is thrilled when her best friend from high school, Sandra (guest star, Sung Hi Lee) returns to New Gotham, but the Birds are troubled by a series of murders with the unmistakable mark of Batgirl's (Dina Meyer) nemesis, Lady Shiva. Determined to fight Lady Shiva as an equal, Barbara dusts off her Batgirl costume and experiments with technology that allows her to leave the wheelchair. Rachel Skarsten and Ian Abercrombie also star. John Kretchmer directed the episode with story by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz and teleplay by Adam Armus & Kay Foster.
"Lady Shiva" airs Wednesday, November 27th at 9:00pm on the WB.
Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.