Batman, Hellboy, Catwoman, Punisher: February 23rd Comic Reel Wrap

Mon, February 23rd, 2004 at 12:00am PST

TV/Film
Hannibal Tabu, Columnist

BATMAN: INTIMIDATION

Even the big boys can make a mistake -- Daily Variety yesterday reported that former Jedi Liam Neeson would play Ra's Al Ghul. Today they corrected themselves, saying that Neeson would play Henri Ducard, a mentor to Bruce Wayne. The big rumor around the web (noted by All The Rage and Batman-on-Film) is that Oscar nominee and "The Last Samurai" star Ken Watanabe is joining the cast (which joins up with earlier casting information from the production looking for a "huge" Asian actor) as Ra's Al Ghul. BBC News has more details about the filming at Cardington hangar. Superhero Hype has a spy report from a reader who transcribed an article on crew assignments for the Chris Nolan Bat flick.

HELLBOY

Tons of news today on the Hellboy front, starting right here at CBR. Dark Horse Comics wants to share "Hellboy" with some very lucky comics fans, according to a press release they shared with us today. Comic shop retailers can enter the contest noted therein by March 12th and win a private screening for a select group of their customers, just for creating the best Hellboy display in their store. Rules and instructions are found at that link.

Meanwhile, Comic Monsters has took an early look at Mike Mignola's movie diary in this Wednesday's issue of Wizard. "After more than five years of talking about it, I will finally get to see Ron [Perlman] as Hellboy," writes Mignola. "Ron is perfect as Hellboy, as del Toro and I always knew he would be. He seems so natural, the way he talks, the way he moves and the way he smokes a cigar. It's very easy to forget he's in four hours worth of makeup. His big stone hand and tail work so well you forget they're operated by radio control."

In other Hellish news, director Guillermo del Toro will be signing copies of "Hellboy: The Art of the Movie" at Burbank's Dark Delicacies on April 10th at 2PM. To get an autograph, you must purchase a copy of the $24.95 book at the store.

CATWOMAN

The Vancouver Province reports on one of the scenes from the upcoming Halle Berry thriller, which involves some special vehicles. "A recent job involved rounding up 20 customized low-rider cars for a nightclub scene in Halle Berry's Catwoman. Lavigne's company, Reel Cars, keeps a catalogue of some 6,000 cars of all types and ages. 'They can phone me for a '70s pickup truck or a beater Volkswagen, a Rolls Royce and everything in between. Anything they can't rent at Budget.' The car owners get anywhere from $150 to $1,000 a day for letting their cars shine under the movie lights." Hollywood North Report noted that "'Catwoman' officially wrapped production in Vancouver on Friday February 20th 2004 after nearly 5 months. Pitof has now left town and is on to Post-Production in LA."

PUNISHER

Wrestler Kevin Nash was happy to play the role of the Russian in the new Marvel action flick, and Comics Continuum interviewed the man-mountain about his experience, and he's convinced. "There''s a couple parts of the fight, where people will go, 'Well, that has to be a stunt double.' But there's one part, where it appears that I'm throwing him through a wall because he fires through a wall. And that's him. He hit that brick wall, and that's a real wall he hit into. He actually took a chunk out of the wall. He works so hard. The last thing I saw him in was a romantic comedy. So when they told me he was The Punisher and the first day I went into makeup and went on set and I watched him, and he has kind of that Clint Eastwood-ish feel. Thank God this movie came along because all The Punisher fans will finally be able to put the Dolph Lundrgen version to death. Because he really does The Punisher justice. He hits a home run ... The first scene that I saw him was where he was with this cop and basically tells the cop to kill him. He's sitting there smoking a cigarette and joking around one moment and then he went on the set. And the scene started with his back turned, and he does a slow turn and it was the same thing. What a transformation! Yeah, he's Frank Castle." They also have screen captures from Access Hollywood, which showed the trailer last week. Also, Yahoo! Movies has posted the trailer in QuickTime, Windows Media and Real formats.

Ain't It Cool News' Moriarity has seen the film, and posted his review, saying the movie "has more in common with the work of Don Seigel and John Frankenheimer than it does with the work of Michael Bay or Simon West. To Hensleigh's credit, what he's done here is make a character-driven revenge drama that resolutely refuses to fit into the easy current definition of the "comic-book" movie. This isn't like any of the other recent Marvel movies, so before you start screaming at me about BLADE 2 or DAREDEVIL or HULK , save yourself the hassle. This is nothing like those films, whatever you think of them ... Is it like the source material? Honestly, I can't answer that question. Does it work as a movie? Yeah. It sure does." Finally, the MPAA reportedly gave the film an "R" rating for "pervasive brutal violence, language and brief nudity."

STATIC SHOCK/TEEN TITANS

The same page at the Continuum has a variety of information about Kids WB cartoons that find their origins in sequential art.

First, Milestone hero Static Shock has his own "All-Star Weekend" when the episode "Hoop Squad" airs on February 28th. The network describes the episode as follows: ""In the episode, a visit to Los Angeles for the All-Star Game brings African-American teenage superhero Static face-to-face with four of his basketball superstar heroes -- Karl Malone, Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Steve Nash. But the ultimate surprise ignites when Static learns that they also have superhero identities and superpowers. Now for the first time ever, the world will be exposed to their top-secret personas as The Hoop Squad, four superstars whose incredible athletic abilities have been augmented by high-tech bio-enhancer suits. Together, these four form the leading members of the secret organization known as the National Biotech Authority, dedicated to preserving world peace and stability. In this special episode they join forces with Static to help defeat the evil Doctor Odium who's created a frightening new device to dominate the world. Malone, of the Los Angeles Lakers, will be 'Pulverizer,' the clever leader of the team, who can now jump higher and move faster than on the basketball court. Thanks to a super-covert, government technology, his hands have been mechanically charged up to expand on command, which allows him to pulverize anything he grabs hold of, crushing it between his bio-enhanced fingers. 'Center Force' is the super-powered alter-ego of the Houston Rockets' Yao Ming. With mechanical hands and extendible limbs, he can leap over tall mountains with a single bound and run at super-human speeds. McGrady, of the Orlando Magic, is 'Spin Drive.' His ability to wheel around opponents on the basketball court has now been super charged. As a member of The Hoop Squad, he can spin like a cyclone at top speeds, swooping down on criminals, suctioning them up into the center of the vortex and whisking them off to jail. Nash, of the Dallas Mavericks, is 'Point Man,' who can launch miniature exploding rockets from the finger tips of his armored gloves. With the incredible aim that makes him such a hoop-shooting threat, he can find his target and score a direct hit at any precise moment -- as he is always ready to take the next 'shot.'" There's also feature two images (one, two) from the episode.

They also spotlight this Saturday's episode of "Tranformation," which the network describes as follows: "Starfire has never thought much about her looks, but when a red bump appears on her forehead, she starts to notice. Raven tells her it is probably just a zit, but when Starfire starts to grow tusks scales and claws, the teens begin to wonder if she is actually transforming into an ugly, hideous monster." There are likewise two images (one, two) from that episode.

ELEKTRA

With a number of spoilers included, Filmjerk reports that filming will begin May 3rd in Vancouver for the "Daredevil" spinoff" and includes a synopsis of the movie's plot. They note that numerous lead characters are being cast (Stone and Typhoid being most recognizable to fans, but also Kirigi, Tengu and Roshi of the Hand). Filmjerk also notes that scripter Zak Penn has rewritten the film's first draft, which was done by Raven Metzner and Stuart J. Zicherman.

CONSTANTINE

Superhero Hype has set pictures from the Vertigo adaptation. The site also has an interview with the director Francis Lawrence. Lawrence echoes some of the things said in Keanu Reeves' interview, regarding the noirish feel they sought for this film and the difficulty of finding a category for the film. "I don't really think that the studio understands this movie completely and it's one of these...and to be honest, I sort of feel like we're getting away with something because there's a lot of strange things in this. There are some issues in this that are not [in] your typical studio film. There's John and his lung cancer - not brain cancer which all the fans think. There's a bunch of suicides that we deal with. There's some sort of religious themes, religious philosophies on how the world works. There are a lot of layers to this movie that I don't really think the studio understands, which is actually fine by me. But what there is, is some comedy. There is horror, there are scares, there's some violence ..."

Dark Horizons also visited the set and goes into great, spoilerish detail about the inner workings of the film itself.

Co-star Djimon Hounsou spoke to Sci Fi Wire, talking about his role as Midnite. "Midnite ... definitely [has] much more of a business approach to Constantine, his longtime friend and longtime partner," Hounsou said. "He's completely distanced himself from that world and become completely neutral in society, where everything is really about business for him, and he takes no sides in the fight against evil. And he's just there to accommodate the good and the bad."

SPIDER-MAN 2

The official site has posted a new weblog from co-producer Grant Curtis, which includes a look at one of the Daily Bugle covers used in the sequel.

SMALLVILLE

Kryptonsite has new spoilers from the episode "Memoria." Across the road, Devoted to Smallville has screen captures from last week's episode "Obsession," and a remixed trailer for next week's episode "Resurrection."

IMMORTEL

Faithful reader Michael P. O'Sullivan wrote in to alert us to a new trailer for the Enki Bilal adaptation "Immortel Ad Vitam," posted at the official site. Warning: at press time, the site was having an intermittent Flash error, so be warned.

THE BATMAN

Legions of Gotham has a new image from the new animated series.

READY FOR YOUR CLOSE UP?

If you have the scoop on anything related to comic book movies, TV adaptations or just want to give us a truck full of cash, no questions asked, drop us a line and let's coordinate. You can choose an alias if you'd like, or be mentioned by name -- we honor requests for anonymity. Broadcasting live from Los Angeles, this is your humble scribe Hannibal Tabu saying thanks for your time and indulgence, and (insert pithy sign-off here, once it gets out of development hell).

 
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