Comics2Film

Wed, January 22nd, 2003 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

The latest on productions for 'Batman: Year One,' 'Superman,' and 'Starman,' plus some news on the upcoming 'Hulk' trailer to be screened during the Super Bowl, 'X-Men' plans, what Patrick Stewart and Warren Ellis have to say about 'Transmetropolitan' and much more.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE, SUPERMAN, STARMAN

[Batman: Year One]Longtime C2F reader The Xenos writes in with a report from the recent Arisia science fiction and fantasy convention in Boston.

According to The Xenos, DC Comics editor Bob Greenberger was on hand for a panel discussion and dished a little bit about the Batman movie franchise. Greenberger stated that the much-rumored new script, Batman: The Frightening is now the most viable candidate for the next Batman movie. As has been previously reported, the story involves the villain known as The Scarecrow.

Greenberger reportedly told the crowd that Aronofsky's Year One project is "gone." However, The Xenos tells us that Greenberger also admitted that Frank Miller may still be working on either Year One, The Frightening.

Finally, with regards to Batman, the editor cautioned that things are in the early stages and nothing is ever final.

At the same panel, Greenberger also commented on the state of affairs with the planned Starman TV show. He reportedly told the audience that there is a script and that he and others at DC think it's "darn faithful."

The script is now in the hands of the suits at ABC and there may be word on it around Arpil or May.

Finally, Greenberger also commented on the state of affairs with Superman. The editor explained that Abrams' much-panned script for the movie was basically generated by committee, in meetings where WB suits dictated the direction the writer should take. It was understood early on that the screenplay would not be the one used to shoot the film. Greenberger also states that Brett Ratner is still firmly on board as director.

Thanks to The Xenos for that report!

Speaking of Superman: he's a larger than life hero. He is intelligent capable, and will always fight to make the world a better place. So naturally you would want to cast an actor most associated with playing lovable dumb guy roles. Right?

According to various Internet sites. Ashton Kutcher, star of the recently released Just Married as well as Dude Where's My Car and That 70s Show is in contention for the part for the Superman film currently in development.

Comics2Film wanted to find out if there was any truth that Kutcher was a candidate for Superman's S Shield. Sources close to Kutcher told C2F that the actor is interested in the part, like almost every male actor in Hollywood. However any other talk besides that is just rumors. C2F's source said that the actor has not auditioned or had any meetings for the part at this point.

HULK

Comics2Film has received a couple of early reports on the Hulk Super Bowl spot. Apparently the footage has been showing up at different places in tinsel town, in preparation for next weekend's national broadcast. The reports we've received come from known sources who have access to such things.

Note: the following report contains spoilers for this trailer. If you want to experience the trailer spoiler-free on Super Bowl Sunday, read no further! Otherwise, swipe the invisible text below with your mouse to read more about the 30-second might of the incredible Hulk!

One scooper tells us that the Hulk he saw resembles the early Jack Kirby penciled creature from the comic book's initial, six-issue run. Both spies agree that the footage features shots of jade-jaws crashing up through floors and through San Francisco streets as he power jumps out of underground passages.

Get this. The new spot will feature a classic Hulk maneuver right out of the funny books: the incredible Hulk picking up an army tank and swinging it!

It won't be long until Super Bowl Sunday, but can fans stand the wait?

If you're not into sitting through a boring football game just to watch the commercials, click your web browser over to TheHulk.com. The new trailer will be up and running there, right after the game!

In related news Greg's Previews of Upcoming Movies says the first full trailer for the flick is due in theaters February 14th. Naturally the Hulk spot will be a Marvel team-up with Daredevil.

X-MEN 2

[RX-8 Wheels]Want another look at the X-Men 2 Mazda RX8? Then click on over to 4 Color Review. They posted six new images of the suped-up X-car, taken at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show.

Says 4CR, "It's pretty damn swank, with the killer suicide doors, X-themed details, etc."

Check out the photos now!

In other X2 reporting: there's a new look and a new wallpaper up and running at the official X-Men 2 website.

[Jean Grey]Following the tradition of spotlighting a new character from the movie every so often, the X2 site now has Famke Janssen's Jean Grey front-and-center. as with previous updates, there's a matching wallpaper for fans to download.

The site also unveiled a link to Mazda's X-Men Themed RX-8 site. The mini-site bears a similar look and feel to the X-Men movie site.

TRANSMETROPOLITAN

A recent report on Cinescape quoted Star Trek and X-Men thespian Patrick Stewart about a comic-based work that he's long been attached to: "I'm sitting here looking at a collection of Transmetropolitan comic books as I speak to you." In Stewart's eyes it's a brilliant, an outstanding piece of work. "Transmetropolitan is mature and funny and savage and critical."

Not surprisingly, the quotes stirred quite a bit of fan interest. To counter the building rumors, the creator of the comic Warren Ellis sent out a statement of clarification. In accordance with Ellis' wishes we are running his statement in its entirety:

Okay, I got a bunch of emails about this today, so let's deal with it now:

Patrick Stewart has apparently said, in a dozen places, that he still wants to make a Transmet film.

This does not mean one is in production, nor that anyone's actively working to develop it right now.

I think Patrick is brilliant. I think he'd make an excellent Spider Jerusalem. Providing [Transmet co-creator Darick Robertson] was amenable, and I can't imagine he wouldn't be, we'd go and make a film with Patrick and Wendy Stewart in a second. But right now, nothing's happening.

Patrick and I haven't spoken in a while ­ he did the last [Star] Trek film and X-Men 2 back-to-back ­ and I haven't caught up with Wendy in a little while now. When we do talk, we talk Transmet. There were overtures made to Darick and I by a director about a year ago, and I kept Patrick and Wendy updated whenever anything happened ­ it came to nothing, as you can tell. Hollywood's built on talk. It's no big deal. Before that, we all tried to set up Transmet as a web animation with rich media around it, as a stepping stone to a movie, but the company involved tried to screw us all, and that was that.

What Patrick is saying is that he still wants to make the film. He knows I'm right there with him. We see things the same way. Patrick publicly attaching himself to the project doesn't hurt. But right now, nothing's happening. Okay?

So, there you have the current status of any Transmetropolitan movie or TV show straight from the comic's creator himself.

ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL

Variety reports that Daniel Clowes' Art School Confidential will be the first film released under a new first-look deal between United Artists and the Mr. Mudd Production shingle.

Mr. Mudd is headed up by Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich and Russell Smith. The production house is responsible for 2001's Ghost World, the most acclaimed comic base movie to date, also based on Clowes' graphic novel. As with that movie, Clowes will write the script with Terry Zwigoff, who will also direct.

According the write-up, Malkovich will star in the movie which "takes a satirical look at the cult of celebrity in the story of a cop who goes undercover as an art student and gains critical acclaim for his work. The cop-turned-artist earns further recognition by posing as the felon-at-large and, when he realizes that critical kudos hinge upon him posing as a killer, he considers taking the rap for the crime."

"With Ghost World and now with Art School Confidential, United Artists really demonstrates its interest in unique material and a willingness to trust our not-so-common sensibilities," said Malkovich told Variety.

FAUST II

Is there a Faust II in the works? Comics2Film has learned that the such a project is currently being considered by the makers of the first movie.

We recently touched base with Faust director Brian Yuzna who told us there have been conversations about following up 2000's direct-to-video, superhero splatter flick. The new movie would put a female protagonist into the claws and cape.

The fact that both Yuzna's Fantastic Factory and Filmax (the studio behind the first one) have busy production slates hasn't helped move the project forward. Both parties are interested but need to find time in the schedule to make it happen.

Faust is based on David Quinn and Tim Vigil's edgy comic book of the same name. The script for the first movie was penned by Quinn and released in the U.S. by Lion's Gate Films in 2000.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES - ANIMATED SHOW

NinjaTurtles.com has announced the cast of the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated. Filling out the list are veteran voice actors from animated fare like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon.

Here's the list presented by the official Turtles website:

Sam Riegel
(Yu-Gi-Oh!)
.....Donatello
Michael Sinterniklaas
(Demon Fighter Kocho)
.....Leonardo
Wayne Grayson
(Yu-Gi-Oh!)
.....Michelangelo
John Campbell
(Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy)
.....Raphael
Darren Dunstan
(Yu-Gi-Oh!)
.....Splinter
Veronica Taylor
(Pokémon)
.....April O'Neill
Marc Thompson
(Pokémon)
.....Casey Jones
Scottie Ray
(Pokémon)
.....Shredder
Greg Carey.....Hun
Scott Williams.....Baxter Stockman

The site also provides voice samples in the form of MP3 files.

BURNING BLUE, THE

[Burning Blue]Billy Tucci and Crusade Fine Arts are soliciting The Burning Blue Illustrated Screenplay for a May 2003 release. The book comes in advance of production of Billy Tucci's latest film project, The Burning Blue, which will mark Tucci's debut as a feature film director.

"As a film fan, books of illustrated or annotated screenplays have been a real source of both enjoyment and education for me," Tucci said. "I'm very happy to be able to do The Burning Blue in this fashion, and I think comic book and movie fans alike will be thoroughly entertained."

The 196-page Illustrated Screenplay is interwoven with storyboards, character studies and developmental art from the production. It gives readers an inside look into this modern-day retelling of Don Quixote as a former WW2 fighter pilot, ravaged by the early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, and a school teacher suffering a grueling divorce who both find salvation through the love of flight.

According to a recent press release, The Burning Blue is scheduled to film this summer.

Tucci has previously gotten behind the camera for his short movie, Some Trouble of a SeRRious Nature, winner in the "Best Short Film (Video)" category at last year's Long Island International Film Expo.

Tucci told Comics2Film that he is also looking to complete his second short movie, Turn this year. The script will be a suspenseful, character piece co-written by McCandless & Company author J.C. Vaughn.

The Burning Blue Illustrated Screenplay, 196 Pages, B&W, will retail for $19.99. It will be listed in the March 2003 Previews and goes on sale in May.

STRIPPERELLA

[Striperella]Look for some interesting guest stars on this year's Stan Lee and Pamela Anderson team-up Stripperella.

The actress, who provides voice and other acting work for the upcoming animated series, told Entertainment Weekly that her fiancé Kid Rock is already on board to make an appearance on the show.

Also slated to guest are the Farrelly brothers (There's Something About Mary, Shallow Hal). Anderson revealed that the sibling directors will play the part of evil henchmen.

EW says there are six episodes on the animated series in the can. The show debuts on cable's TNN this summer, along with a slate of three other animated shows aimed at adult audiences.

DAREDEVIL

Fans looking for a sneak peek at Daredevil can check out this first look clip from AOL Movies. The Real Media clip features some nice footage of Elektra in training followed by some combat between the femme fatale and the man devil himself.

Meanwhile, on the season premiere of Independent Film Channel's Dinner For Five host and Daredevil co-star Jon Favreau invited many of the film's principal cast members as well as director and Daredevil comic scribe Kevin Smith to dine and discuss their experiences in the film industry.

Dining at Santa Monica, CA's L.A. Farm, the group's conversation topics ranged from a misconstrued feud between Favreau and Smith, to guest Ben Affleck's ordeals around winning an Oscar, Jennifer Garner's mistaken identities, and Colin Farrell's experiences working with different directors.

Garner, who says she's been mistaken for both Affleck's Pearl Harbor love interest Kate Beckinsale and Felicity and Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers alum Amy Jo Johnson, was deemed the toughest actor on the sets by her male co-stars. Affleck remembered, "She is fucking tough! The girl beat me up again...she's so much better than me. Trying to deny that she really hurt Affleck, he responded, "You have a lot of force!"

Smith, who agreed to appear on the show after actor Michael Clark Duncan (who plays Daredevil's nemesis Kingpin) cancelled, discussed his supposed argument with Favreau over comments they made over each other's filmmaking styles. After some good natured ribbing, both actor/directors agreed that there was little substance to their disagreement.

Affleck, Garner, and Farrell reminisced over the grueling times they had working with famed fight choreographer Cheung-YanYuen and how he taught by discouragement. Garner explains how they would put down the actors until they got the moves right, "They mock you, 'Ah ah ah no!'"

In an interview on the IFC website Favreau explains the concept of the show, "There are no scripts, pre-interviews, studio audiences or pre-determined lists of topics. 'Dinner For Five' is just an open forum for people in the community to discuss whatever is on their mind...Plus, IFC lets you drink and curse, so we felt free to be ourselves."

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, THE

The Boston Herald reports that Elizabeth Banks (Catch Me If You Can) will return for the next Spider-Man movie. Banks had a tiny role as Betty Brant in the first one, which she'll reprise in the sequel.

Thanks to IGN FilmForce for the lead.

SMALLVILLE

The Warner Music Group label Elektra records is planning a marketing blitz around the upcoming release of the Smallville soundtrack CD according to Variety. The disc, due in stores February 25th, will be called "Smallville Soundtrack: The Talon Mix" and will feature music by artists whose songs have appeared in the show.

Elektra plans to lure buyers on several fronts. Most interesting, the release of the disc will even become a plot-point on an upcoming episode of the show. The musical group Steadman will be performing on February 18th episode, which features a fund-raising event where the CD is being sold.

Like today's DVDs, the Smallville soundtrack CD will be packed with extra features. A digital version of the first issue of DC's Smallville comic book Also on the disc is a 3-D interactive map of Clark Kent's home town and music videos from VonRay (whose Nov. 12th episode song will be the first single) and Remy Zero (who performs the theme song).

Variety also reports that a listening party hosted on America Online will promote the disc. Fans will hear segments from the album and have access to chapters from the upcoming Smallville novels.

The first single from the album was VonRay's track "Inside Out," which the band performed on the Nov. 12 seg. Elektra will release VonRay's debut album in the spring.

The disc also contains tracks from Sixpence None the Richer, the Flaming Lips, Weezer, Ryan Adams, Lifehouse, Five for Fighting, Phantom Planet, the late Eva Cassidy and AM Radio.

BLADE III

Countingdown.com reports that David Goyer, the writer behind and Blade and its sequel recently addressed students at the University of Southern California about the third installment in the Blade series.

Citing a probable August 2004 release date, Goyer told students that preproduction would begin in approximately two months and that he was still working on the script. He also added that there was a possibility that he himself would direct the film, but that at this point it would be too early to tell.

Goyer discussed one weapon he's considering arming Blade with for the sequel - atomized Silver Nitrate to destroy vampires in a whole new way.

Thanks to Countingdown.com for takings such good notes.

IRON MAN

Monday's Variety gives an analysis of the success of New Line Cinema, whose Lord of the Rings franchise has taken the studio to new heights of success.

In discussing the future slate of New Line, the article states that Iron Man is "on deck". No further details are given, except that the titled character is said to be "part superhero, part James Bond-style spy."

ALIEN LEGION

The National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) show gets underway this week in New Orleans. This is the place where producers unveil their new TV fare to prospective buyers at networks and syndicates.

Variety reports that Vancouver-based animation house Mainframe Entertainment is there, showing off two of its shows.

One is Alien Legion, based on Carl Potts' comic of the same name. The comic followed the adventures of the sci-fi equivalent of the French foreign legion.

Mainframe's other project on display is Maxine 5, "the story of a 12-year-old girl who enters the competitive world of futuristic racing."

CROW 4, THE

Producer Ed Pressman talked to Fangoria about his upcoming film projects. He confirmed previous reports that the fourth Crow film will be an adaptation of Norman Partridge's original Crow novel, The Crow: Wicked Prayer. Pressman said that Lance Mungia (Six String Samurai) will direct the film and that it will contain elements of Native American mysticism.

Thanks to Dark Horizons for the lead.

SPIDER-MAN, MEN IN BLACK II

BBC News reports that the nominees for the UK's Orange Film Of The Year have been announced.

Spider-Man and Men in Black II made the list of 10 finalists, culled from the top box-office performers of the year. The complete list includes:

  • Monsters Inc

  • Star Wars - Episode II: Attack of the Clones

  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  • Spider-Man

  • Ocean's 11

  • Austin Powers: Goldmember

  • Men in Black II

  • Scooby Doo

  • Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

  • James Bond: Die Another Day

The Orange Film of the Year trophy will be handed out at the British Academy Film Awards next month.

ROAD TO PERDITION

Variety reports that the Producers Guild of America has announced its nominations for 2002 film and TV awards.

The comic book adaptation Dreamworks' Road To Perdition made the list in the "Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year" award for film. The movie squares off against Adaptation (Sony), Chicago (Miramax), Gangs of New York (Miramax), My Big Fat Greek Wedding (IFC Films) and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (New Line).

No other comic-based fare made any of the PGA lists. According to Variety, the PGA awards are a closely watched indicator for Oscar nominations, due to the large crossover of voters in both organizations. So this could mean an Academy Award nominations is in the offing for Perdition.

SPIDER-MAN, GHOST RIDER, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, THE, POWERS

Spider-Man is just good for everyone. At least that's what three Columbia Pictures executives may think after the studio's banner year at the box office.

Variety reports that Columbia execs Peter Schlessel, Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach have all gotten promotions following the studio's record-setting year. Schlessel takes on the mantel of president while Belgrad and Tolmach are co-presidents of production.

The two co-presidents will be focus on supervising 12 to 15 productions each year. There are some interesting titles on both men's slates.

Of special interest to comic fans: Tolmach is said to be working on The Amazing Spider-Man, and Ghost Rider. Belgrad is overseeing the Bendis/Oeming adaptation Powers.

AMERICAN SPLENDOR

Variety posted a round up of films competing for attention at the Sundance Film Festival that already have strong sales buzz going for them. Among the listing is the biographical comic book adaptation based on Harvey Pekar's American Splendor.

Variety provides this description of the film: Biopic blend of animation and narrative about comic book creator Harvey Pekar by docu filmmakers Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's). Dramatic competition film stars Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis and James Urbaniak.

American Splendor comes courtesy of HBO Films.

THIS WEEK ON SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH

The truth will you free in "In Sabrina We Trust," this week's installment of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.

When Roxie (Soleil Moon Frye) accuses Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) of not trusting her, Sabrina' s truth spell backfires and she realizes that the only way to reverse it is to reveal to Roxy that she is a witch. Meanwhile, Salem uses the "Elixir of Trust" on Morgan (Elisa Donovan), so she will pamper him and grant his every wish. Nick Bakay also stars. Bill Layton directed the episode written by Torian Hughes.

"In Sabrina We Trust" airs Friday, January 24th at 8:30pm on The WB.

THIS WEEK ON JUSTICE LEAGUE

It's more Justice League reruns this month on Cartoon Network.

The Green Lantern finds himself facing accusations of planetary genocide as the Justice League races to discover the truth in a repeat airing of "In Blackest Night".

"In Blackest Night - Part 1" airs Saturday January 25th at 12pm. "Part 2" immediately follows at 12:30pm. Both episodes air again at 9:00pm the same night.

NEXT WEEK ON SMALLVILLE

In case you missed it Tuesday night, The WB is going to rebroadcast the Smallville episodes "Insurgence", in which Clark makes a leap of faith to save his mother from a hostage situation.

After Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) discovers that Lionel (John Glover) installed cameras in the mansion, he hires some thugs to bug Lionel's office, but things get out of control when Lionel and Martha (Annette O'Toole) surprise the thugs and are taken hostage. Clark (Tom Welling) must figure out a way to save his mother without exposing his powers and sees his chance on an adjacent tall building ­ if only he could make the leap in a single bound. Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, Sam Jones III, and John Schneider also star. James Marshall directed the episode written by Kenneth Biller & Jeph Loeb.

"Insurgence" re-airs Sunday, January 26th at 5:00pm ET on The WB.

Then, in the show's regular timeslot, it's an all-new episode called "Suspect" that ponders the question: "Who shot Lionel Luthor?"

When Lionel (John Glover) is shot, Jonathan (John Schneider) is arrested, but after Clark (Tom Welling) and Pete (Sam Jones III) perform their own crime scene investigation, they realize that more than one person had the opportunity to kill Lionel ­ including Lex (Michael Rosenbaum). Meanwhile, Lana (Kristin Kreuk) is suspicious after she asks her father (guest star Patrick Cassidy) to take on Jonathan's case and he declines for mysterious reasons. Allison Mack and Annette O'Toole also star. Greg Beeman directed the episode written by Brian Peterson & Kelly Souders.

"Suspect" airs Tuesday, January 28th at 8:00pm on The WB.

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