Deadman, Garfield, Smallville and Punisher: Comics2Film wrap for June 10, 2003

Tue, June 10th, 2003 at 12:00am PDT

TV Film
Rob Worley, Columnist


In our previous

update about the seemingly-dead "Deadman" TV movie Comics2Film/CBR

News reported on a feature spec script based on the DC Comics character that was

circulating in Hollywood. Although the script is not related to the development

of the TV show, we were hearing good things about it.

Since then we've been contacted by the author of that spec who turns out to

be one Chris Connolly, working out of the New York offices of independent film

producers Daniel Bigel and Michael Mailer. Connolly has provided us with an

excerpt from the script and some background information about himself.

Connolly has been working with Bigel/Mailer for four years. He started

working as an assistant on James Toback's movie about hip-hop culture,

"Black and White" and most-recently earned an Associate Producer

credit on the feature film "Empire," starring John Leguizamo.

"When it comes to screenwriting, I'm still a starving artist, I haven't

sold anything yet but I'm here to stay," Connolly told C2F/CBR News.

"I've always been drawn to it and, through my development work on Bigel/Mailer's

projects, working with writers like Jim Toback, I know I can write just as well

and avoid the pitfalls I see almost every day reading scripts."

Connolly said he's been captivated by the DC Comics character since

discovering the "Deadman" reprints in the mid-1980s.

"I guess I had some kind of weird fascination with death and the

afterlife or something. And it was so well rounded out by the '86 mini-series by

Andrew Helfer and Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, I remember thinking back then what a

great movie 'Deadman' would make," Connolly said.

"When I started writing a few years ago, I pulled out those books and

re-read the whole thing. It was just as amazing as I remembered, and it probably

influenced my religious thinking more than I knew," the writer told us. At

the same time DC was publishing a new round or reprints as well as launching an

intriguing new take on the character with quirky art by Kelly Jones.

Connolly said he still found the character intriguing ten years later.

"He's a terrific antihero and probably the loneliest character in the

comics universe, next to maybe the Swamp Thing. He's certainly the most

embittered. And his story is such a classic noir mystery that it practically

lends itself to that genre, which is why I set my story in the mid-to-late

40s," he said, citing "The Big Sleep" and "L.A.

Confidential" as influencing his adaptation.

Whenever a writer writes on spec (i.e. speculation that someone will want to

buy it) he's taking a gamble. When a writer creates a spec based on an existing

property, the gamble becomes much greater as there is only one potential buyer:

in this case Warner Bros.

"I called up a development person at Warner Brothers about 4 years ago

and asked them if they had 'Deadman' in development, and she told me there was

no activity on it," Connolly reports. He also secured a commitment that his

script would be read if he completed it. However, by the time the spec was

completed, producer Dan Halsted (of "Witchblade" TV fame) had come in

to develop the property as a TV show for TNT.

"My heart sunk -- I felt pretty foolish for wasting the time, wondered

if maybe I planted a seed in their head."

Connolly put the script aside and waited anxiously for the TV show to

materialize. And he waited. And waited.

Although the TV development has been slow to move, the producers of the show

are unable to consider Connolly's work for legal reasons. While the recent

"Deadman" comics haven't fared well, the screenwriter still has faith

in the character and his script.

"I still strongly believe that 'Deadman' would make a great surprise hit

in the same way 'Blade,' 'Darkman' and 'Spawn' were, especially now that

superhero movies are such a hot ticket."

Connolly has other scripts in development and would love to try his hand at a

"Green Lantern" script, although presumably he won't be doing that one

on spec.

In the mean time, fans and interested parties can read act

Story continues below

one of Connolly's "Deadman" script and judge for themselves

whether or not he's captured the spirit of doomed adventurer Boston Brand.


A recent article at

gives some insights into the movie version of Jim Davis' "Garfield".

The article details the path the project took from comic strip to production.

Kim Campbell, spokeswoman for Paws Inc., the creative and business end of the

Garfield machine talked about the movie. According to the report, Garfield's dog

pal/nemesis Odie will be CGI, just like the big orange cat.

Campbell is quoted as saying that the pair, "really look like real

animals more than like the cartoon character you're used to seeing in the strip.

With computer-generated imagery, these animals really look alive. These are

cartoony, but they're more realistic. The cat has fur."

The article also reveals that Davis had creative input on the movie's script

and also makes a cameo appearance as a drunken conventioneer.

Principal photography on the live-action elements of "Garfield" has

wrapped and the CGI animation work on the leading pets is now underway.

Bill Murray ("The Royal Tenenbaums") gives voice to the chubby cat.

Breckin Meyer plays Garfield's owner Jon, while Jennifer Love Hewitt plays the

veterinarian Liz. The movie is slated for a June 2004 release.

Thanks to

for the lead.


Craig Byrne at KryptonSite.comrecently

sent in this round up of "Smallville" related news.

First off, the short-lived "Timecop" TV series is returning to the

Sci-Fi Channel on July 11. Besides being based on a comic, it should be noted

that "Smallville" writers Mark Verheiden (co-creator of the concept), Alfred

Gough, and Miles Millar all worked on the show.

The 2003 KryptonSite Awards have now begun. The awards are a kind of the "Oscars of

Smallville." The nominations are in and Byrne will be releasing the nominee list shortly.

Fans can currently vote for "Best Actor" for the 2002-2003 season.

KryptonSite has also confirmed that writer Drew Greenberg has joined the writing staff of

"Smallville." Greenberg was a staple of the sixth and seventh seasons

of "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer."


Are you a Florida resident or business owner and a glutton for punishment?

recently posted information about how to get involved in the soon-to-lens

"The Punisher" from Artisan and Marvel.

Filming is set to begin in mid-July, and will feature many Tampa locations,

including downtown and the Columbia Restaurant. Ybor City, the Tampa Theatre,

the University of Tampa, and the Florida Aquarium may also be part of the movie.

Interested actors and business owners are asked visit the site periodically

for information about casting and vendor services.

Thanks to Brian from



Entertainment loves dishing out the punishment.

The publicity folks there told Comics2Film this week that we can now pass on

a total of ten copies of the super-cool teaser poster for "The

Punisher" to you, the readers.

We'll be taking names from now until June 22 (right around the time that the

official website official

website launches). Just fill out the simple entry form on

for your chance to win!

CBR News