'Deadman,' 'Ghost Rider' updates. Also: 'Smallville,' 'The Crow' and 'Battle Royale': Comics2Film Wrap for May 13, 2003

Tue, May 13th, 2003 at 12:00am PDT

TV Film
Rob Worley, Columnist


Although it may seem deader that Boston Brand, Comics2Film/CBR News has

learned that the proposed "Deadman" TV movie is still in development.

Sources close to the development effort tell us that Neal Marshall Stevens

("Thir13en Ghosts") is busy working on the script for the movie, which

could serve as a series pilot.

Turner Network Television (TNT) announced the movie way back in the summer of

2000. The most recent description of the concept states that "it deals with

a murdered man who comes back to oppose evil."

Jason Pomerance completed a script for the film in 2001. Neil Cohen

("Mann and Machine") came on board in December of that year to do a

polish on the script. Stevens boarded the project last summer.

Dan Halsted, who brought "Witchblade" to TV, is an executive

producer, along with Jorge Saralegui ("Queen of the Damned") and DC

Comics' Jeanette Kahn.

Our source cautions us that, while the project is still in active

development, it's a long way from production.

C2F also has word that a feature spec script for "Deadman" is

making the rounds in Hollywood. Although that spec is said to

"amazing" it has no relation to the TV movie.



FI Wire recently spoke with actor/producer Jon Voight about the upcoming

"Ghost Rider" movie. Voight, who is a producer on that one, revealed

he might also be cast as the villain in the movie. However, he declined to say

specifically who the villain of the piece is.

"Daredevil" director Mark Steven Johnson came on board "Ghost

Rider" back in April and has the movie fast-tracked as his next project.

Indications are that cameras could be rolling by the end of this year.

Nicolas Cage is attached to flame up in the lead role.

"Ghost Rider" is a co-production between Voight's Crystal Sky

Communications and Sony's Columbia Pictures.


Fans can look for Clark, Lana, Lex, Chloe and the gang on a new night next

season, according to today's Variety.

The WB Network is moving their hit drama "Smallville" to Wednesday

nights at 8 p.m. where it'll serve as a lead-in for the returning


Replacing the boy of steel on Tuesdays is the new Jerry Bruckheimer show

"Fearless," dealing with an FBI agent who is incapable of feeling


Fans who are late coming to "Smallville" will also have a chance to

catch up. Repeats of season one of the hit show are slated to fill the WB's 7

p.m. slot on Sunday nights. The show is followed by new episodes of

"Charmed" at 8 p.m. and then the new "Tarzan and Jane" at 9



Work on "The Crow: Wicked Prayer," the fourth film in the

comic-based franchise, is heating up. The movie has a cast that includes Edward

Furlong ("Terminator 2"), David Boreanaz ("Angel") and

Dennis Hopper ("Speed") and a targeted June start date.

Now, fans seeking new insights into the movie can click over to the "A

Boy and His Bird" site at CrowFans.com. ABaHB has posted a review

of the script by writer/director Lance Mungia ("Six-String Samurai")

and producer Jeff Most ("The Crow").

The review is said to be very positive and contains minor spoilers.


In the film-to-comics front, fans in the U.S. will want to seek out

"Battle Royale" in comic stores this week. Published by TOKYOPOP in

true manga format, the book adapts the controversial Japanese movie.

Caustic wit Keith Giffen ("Formerly Known as the Justice League",

"Lobo: Unbound") has taken on the task of writing the English adaptation

of Koushun Takami and Masayuki Taguchi's graphic novel.

Takami Koushun wrote the original novel, which the manga was based on.

The books then inspired the film, directed by Kinji Fukasaku.

The premise "Battle Royale" involves a near-future Japan, plagued

by economic and social decay, and an increasingly violent youth underclass. To

remedy the situation, the government enacts the Battle Royale Act, creating a

to-the-death tournament for under-achieving junior high school age children. The

students are isolated on an island, given guns and other weapons, and forced to

engage in the bloody, last-man-standing contest.

The ultra-violent movie, largely viewed as unsuitable for mainstream,

American, post-Columbine audiences, has never seen a legitimate release in the


TOKYOPOP presents all their manga titles in true manga format, reading

right-to-left in order to preserve all artwork and sound effects as intended in

the original publication.

"Battle Royale, Vol. 1" scored an A- grade in Entertainment

Weekly's comics section, making it the highest-rated book reviewed by the

entertainment mag this week. The book is in stores this week.


In case you missed our breaking, afternoon update yesterday click

here to see the first image of Ron Perlman in "Hellboy" makeup.

CBR News