Comics2Film Wrap for April 4th, 2003

Fri, April 4th, 2003 at 12:00am PST

TV Film
Rob Worley, Columnist


Driving cars off of bridges and parasailing on weapons of mass destruction

just aren't exciting enough for Vin Diesel. The actor revealed to The

National Post that he'd also like to surf in space.

While fans have been puzzling over which superhero the muscled thespian would

be perfect for, it seems Diesel aspires to none other than Marvel's "Silver


The actor said that he sees his own multi-ethnic reflection in the Surfer's

shiny skin. "The Surfer is an intergalactic superhero," Diesel told

The Post. He also views the character as being "one step further than all

these regional superheroes."

At this point, however, such talk is just the actor's musings. "Silver

Surfer" has long been in development with Twentieth Century Fox, who picked

it up as part of a package deal with "The Fantastic Four." At one

point Andrew Kevin Walker ("Seven") had written a script for it.

However, the most recent status is that they appear to be starting over. In a

February interview, Marvel chief Avi Arad said the project was in the early

stages and had no writer. Marvel did list it in recent earnings report as being

in development.

Playing big screen heroes is just part of the game plan for Vin Diesel, who

has exploded into stardom in the past few years. The actor will reprise his role

as the Riddick in a "Pitch Black" sequel. Aside from the Surfer, he

also hopes to play Hannibal, the Carthaginian general in a period film, star in

a remake of "Guys & Dolls" and do a romantic comedy as well.

Thanks to Cinescape

for the lead.


The Internet press tipped it early, but yesterday Artisan Pictures and Marvel

Studios officially announced that Thomas Jane ("Dreamcatcher") will

star as Frank Castle in "The Punisher."

Although no other parts have been cast, cameras are set to roll on the movie

in July. Plans are to release the movie in summer of 2004. The filmmakers aim to

throw together a teaser trailer that will run with "The Hulk" this


Marvel's Avi Arad ("Spider-Man") and producer Gale Anne Hurd

("The Hulk") are producing "The Punisher." Jonathan

Hensleigh is directing from his own screenplay. The announcement does make

mention of Michael Tolkin ("The Player") who recently did a polish on

the script.

Arad commented on the casting of Jane, "Although Frank Castle is a

tough-as-nails vigilante, he is, at his very core, an extremely tortured soul, a

victim of survivor's guilt. Thomas Jane, being a character actor, is going to

have all the dimension necessary to bring to life the depth of a character who

is both the hero and the victim with the physicality of a Super Hero. By signing

Thomas, we follow the Marvel tradition of bringing art-house actors in to tackle

our complex characters. We are very excited to have him as part of our


Fans who are wondering how the character's storyline will be tweaked for the

big screen should note this description of the movie:

"'The Punisher' tells the story of FBI undercover agent, Frank Castle,

who until now has beat considerable odds. A former Special Forces operative, he

is finally moving out of the field and into a desk job – and a normal life

with his wife and son. Then Castle's world is shaken to its core by a

nightmare he has longed feared: his family is executed as a repercussion from

his final undercover assignment. With unparalleled intensity, ferocious

intelligence and fearless actions, Castle seeks to punish the murderers – and

finds the one thing he least expected: redemption."

Hurd agrees, adding, "Thomas is one of our finest actors and comes from

the indie world, as have other actors who've assumed Super Hero roles so

successfully such as Tobey Maguire ('Spider-Man') and Eric Bana ('The Hulk'). We

are thrilled that an actor of this caliber will be our Punisher."

Artisan Entertainment Executive Vice President, Patrick Gunn, who oversees

all Marvel projects at Artisan, and Artisan Pictures Director of Development,

Rachel Murray are shepherding The Punisher at the studio. Marvel Studios'

Executive Vice President, Kevin Feige will oversee "The Punisher" on

behalf of the Company, Vice President of Production, Ari Arad will co-produce.

Story continues below

The announcement also mentions that "Iron Fist" is in active

development with Marvel and Artisan.


Edward Furlong ("Terminator 2") is pumping iron and bird watching

in preparation for the role of play James O'Barr's tortured avenger in "The

Crow: Wicked Prayer" according to SCI

FI Wire.

"I'm on this special diet, I'm working out and I'm looking at crows all

the time," Furlong told SCI FI.

When some actors take on superhero roles, they start talking about Greek

tragedies or hidden-depths, but Furlong will have none of that. "I really

want to be dressed up in leather and go kick the hell out of people with rock

music in the background," he said. "I think it would be cool."

Amen, Eddie. Amen.


Producer Jason Netter dropped C2F/CBR News a line to let us in on a few more

details about the "Painkiller Jane" TV pilot, which was recently

announced for SCI FI Channel.

Netter tells us that the character's creators Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti

are both acting as associate producers on the show. The pair created the

character under their Event Comics publishing imprint. Fans well know that from

there they moved into the position of editing Marvel's "Marvel

Knights" imprint, which helped rejuvenate the publisher's flagging

creativity. Now Quesada is editor-in-chief of the entire Marvel line.

Ken Levin is also a co-producer on "Painkiller Jane". Netter is

acting as co-executive producer on the project.

Netter also points out in that in our "Battle Chasers" write-up, we

neglected to mention that Gil Netter ("Phone Booth") is a producer on

the project.


Fans are reminded to head over to Dr. Boynton's lab on Sunday, April 6th and

witness the miracle of Tetsuwan Atom coming to life. Cake and ice cream will be

served later.

Tetsuwan Atom is better- known to fans in the west as Astroboy. In the

"Astroboy" storyline, April 6th, 2003 is the date that the artificial

boy is created by the hear-broken scientist.

Fans in Japan will enjoy new cartoons in conjunction with the special date

and a CGI animated movie is in development for U.S. audiences.

CBR News