'Mandrake' makeover. 'Spidey 2' F/X. 'X2' on HBO: Comics2Film wrap for April 23rd, 2003

Wed, April 23rd, 2003 at 12:00am PDT

TV/Film
Rob Worley, Columnist

MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN

Screenwriters Josh Oppenheimer and Tom Donnelly ("A Sound of

Thunder") have turned in a draft of the script for the big-screen update of

Lee Falk's "Mandrake The Magician." Comics2Film/CBR News followed up

with the producers at Crusader Entertainment to see how the project was shaping

up.

A spokesperson for Crusader told us they are thrilled with the first draft.

"It is an incredibly unique action film."

Created

in 1934, Falk's Mandrake strip featured a stage magician who used his powers of

hypnotism and illusion to fight crime. Crusader tells us that the movie

will update the character for the 21st century.

"The Mandrake in the film will not be the 'classic' Mandrake, clad in

top hat and tux," our source said. "He will be a contemporary magician

in the high concept, David Blaine mold. His skills range from simple illusions

to elaborate escapes."

Plans are for Oppenheimer and Donnelly to do a polish on the script before

going out to actors and directors. Crusader tells us they've had interest from

several parties on the talent front, but so far nobody is attached. However our

source tells us the ideal lead for the movie would be, "someone like Colin

Farrell, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp or Leonardo DiCaprio."

Crusader Entertainment and Hyde Park Entertainment announced that they'd

picked up the film rights to the classic comic strip last fall. Around the same

timeframe, they also purchased the feature rights to Falk's classic costumed

hero "The Phantom."

SPIDER-MAN 2

Warning: This "Spider-Man" update contains potential, but minor

spoilers about the new movie.

A New Zealand news outlet called Stuff

details the work of Kiwi F/X man Mark Sagar on the upcoming

"Spider-Man" sequel. Sagar will be working as part of the Sony

Imageworks team on the digital effects for the animating character and his foe

Doctor Octopus.

The new movie will provide some unique challenges over the first one, which

will require Sagar to model not just the web-slinger, but star Tobey Maguire as

well.

"During the first movie, virtually all the action shots involved

Spider-Man with his mask on," Sagar told Stuff. "But this time there

will be extended computer-generated sequences in which Spider-Man has his mask

ripped off."

Since the limits of motion capture would make it impractical to try to

capture all potential expressions made by Maguire, Sagar, who holds a doctorate

engineering, has developed a new method for generating realistic facial

movements based on "geometrical expression changes."

"The techniques I'm using are the most realistic yet, but require data

acquisition from the subject," Sagar said. "However, there are quite

complicated ways to modify this data to make it look like someone else."

Sagar has already used his Lightstage software, which he co-created, to

create animated models of President George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden. Those

were just for fun.

Thanks to Mark for the lead.

X2: X-MEN UNITED

What lurks on channel X? Only Rob Zombie knows, but if you want to know what lurks in the new X-Men movie tune in to "The Making of

X2" on HBO starting this week.

For behind-the-scenes revelations about those dashing mutants, tune in to the

cable premium channel on Thursday at 10:45 p.m. If you miss it, don't worry.

Many encores are planned through May.

Here are the schedule airdates:

Channel

Date/Day

Time

HBO

24-Apr THURS.

10:45 PM

HBO

27-Apr SUN.

6:00 PM

HBO

29-Apr TUES.

4:30 PM

HBO

2-May FRI.

2:15 PM

HBO

2-May FRI.

9:45 PM

HBO

7-May WED.

7:00 AM

HBO

7-May WED.

11:15 PM

HBO

10-May SAT.

3:30 PM

HBO2

1-May THURS.

5:35 AM

HBO2

3-May SAT.

10:15 AM

HBO2

12-May MON.

11:00 PM

HBO2

22-May THURS.

5:45 AM

HBO FAMILY

6-May TUES.

8:45 PM

HBO FAMILY

14-May WED.

4:00 AM

HBO FAMILY

15-May THURS.

8:45 PM

HBO FAMILY

16-May FRI.

5:45 AM

HBO FAMILY

24-May SAT.

8:45 PM

HBO ZONE

18-May SUN.

10:45 PM

HBO ZONE

29-May THURS.

10:45 PM

 
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