Constantine, Spider-Man 2, Batman Begins: March 5th Comic Reel Wrap

Fri, March 5th, 2004 at 12:00am PST

TV/Film
Hannibal Tabu, Columnist

CONSTANTINE

The web is abuzz with the news that fan favorite Alan Moore has asked to have his name removed from the new Keanu Reeves film altogether, and asked that all royalties due him be split up between the co-creators of the character. Ain't It Cool News has the first word, and Moore himself said in a recent interview with Alan David Doane that "for my part, I'm currently very, very disenchanted with films, so I don't really want anymore films made of my stuff."

Long time Moore collaborator Rick Veitch clarified some of the issues involved over on the Comicon Message Boards, saying, "Alan had decided to wash his hands of Hollywood because of the LOEG lawsuit. CONSTANTINE just happened to be the first project to fall in his lap after that. I end up being the biggest beneficiery of his decision about passing his royalties to the co-creators. The history of the creator credits are a bit convoluted, but I'll try to explain it: John and Steve originally came up with the idea of adding a character to SWAMP THING who looked like Sting and pitched it to Alan. He took that and created the trench-coated, Silk Cut smoking Constantine for ST #37, which I ended up drawing as a fill in. All I really added to Alan's incredibly detailed description was the ear ring (although if I'd made JC look like Elvis Costello the world might have been a different place, eh?). When HELLBLAZER was launched, DC was just in the beginning stages of offering creator participation. At that time, Alan gave his percentage to Jaimie Delano and John Ridgeway and I stepped aside for Steve and John Totleben. Each of those guys got 5%. Somehow, in some later deal (which Alan tells me he doesn't even remember happening), DC gave Alan another ten percent. Alan has disbursed this 10% by passing 6% to me and 1% each to John T, Steve, Jaimie and John R. So we each end up with 6%. If there are creator credits I probably won't be on them (and from the look of the stills I've seen that's no great loss). And yes, Alan is an exrtaordinary individual!"

Literary giant Neil Gaiman chimed in with some clarification, saying, "it's true that Alan's rejected the money for CONSTANTINE and assigned it to his cocreators, but he's now done that for all films of his and things he's done that might one day be filmed. This was because he was deeply hurt and offended and irritated by being accused in the Larry Cohen lawsuit of having written League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as some kind of studio shill, and because Alan never does anything by halves. Up until the lawsuit his position was that he didn't care about the films people made from his work, but was happy to cash the cheques; after, he decided that he didn't even want to cash the cheques. His share of Constantine was redistributed among his co-creators, John Totleben, Steve Bissette and Rick Veitch and to Jamie Delano and John Ridgway. As far as I know, from having spoken to him, Alan's view on Constantine itself is the same as his view on From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which is that he'll probably rent the DVD one day, you never know, hell might freeze over, -- and that the important work is the comic -- the main difference being here that the film is, from what I understand, mostly based on the Garth Ennis and Jamie Delano issues of the Hellblazer comic. (And, for whatever remains of the record, Alan hasn't seen anything of Constantine -- no scripts, no nothing. Nor has he had any contact with DC on it except for asking Karen Berger to redistribute the money and the credit.)" CBR will continue to follow up on this story in coming days.

SPIDER-MAN 2

The official site has a reprint of the Wizard interview with Kirsten Dunst. "The story is better. The first movie was just the beginning. It was really exciting and you saw [Spider-Man] get his powers and use them for the first time. But with this movie, you're heavier into the drama. Because people have seen the first film, you can ride with things you'd have to explain in the first one. It's just cool and so many things connect in it. There are so many triangles--it's just exciting. The drama continues and it goes even deeper into the entire Spider-Man story. And our special effects have gotten so much better. Everything has evolved and it'll be even better than the first. Sam is so awesome. He makes the movies for his kids, too. It's pretty basic emotions of Spider-Man but it's also complicated relationships and things that everybody can relate to. I think that's why kids and adults enjoy it. It's real even though it's in this fantastical New York setting."

Superhero Hype also has a note about the return of a villain. Their report says, "I just saw Jon Stewart's talk show on Comedy Central and he had the old green gobby himself Willem Dafoe on. He complimented him on such a great job in 'Spider-Man' and asked if there would ever be any way of them bringing him back into the role. Dafoe didn't really say much other than he didn't want to say anything. Stewart then said, 'Well we all know what that means, it's gonna happen.' Dafoe laughed and as they closed the segment Stewart announced that we could see Dafoe in 'Spider-Man 3' probably around 2006. Who knows if this means a thing but it was good for a laugh."

BATMAN BEGINS

IGN Filmforce has a script review of David Goyer's screenplay. "In short, Batman Begins is ... a Western! The story features a gruff loner with a thirst for revenge who comes to town to rid it of the outlaws and corrupt officials bedeviling it. This man of violence can only trust a few townsfolk for help (I guess that makes Jim Gordon the quintessential one good deputy) and he must rely on his incomparable physical skills to get the job done. If that isn't a traditional Western plot then I don't know what is. As a huge fan of that genre, I appreciated those parallels. Batman Begins, as you most likely already know, is an origin tale. The first 45 pages employ a non-linear structure that recounts what drove Bruce Wayne (Bale) to assume the mantle of Batman, how he developed his fighting skills (and who taught him some new tricks), and how he focused his rage into something beneficial rather than purely selfish and destructive."

RELEASE DATE NEWS

Is Marvel less than confident in their "Man-Thing?" A quick look at Hollywood Stock Exchange shows that the horror film has fallen off of Lions Gate's release schedule. In the past, this meant that the film was headed straight to video and DVD. Also, Fox has pushed "Alien vs. Predator" to August 13th, which puts it in direct competition with "Blade: Trinity."

HELLBOY

Comics Continuum has screen captures from the latest "Hellboy" television ad.

X-MEN

The same page at Comics Continuum has the story on Hugh Jackman's appearance on "Inside the Actors Studio." Jackman compared the character Wolverine to wolves, saying, "He's a guy that's looking up at you, but he's also smelling you and he's listening to everything that's going on behind you. So he's always aware." Jackman also discounted rumors that he'll be the new James Bond. "I've heard more rumors than official confirmation from my agent."

PUNISHER

Sci Fi Wire has some interesting new comments from Thomas Jane about the upcoming action film. "I wasn't interested in doing a play on super powers. I never got into that as a kid. So when I found out that Frank wasn't a superhero I got really intrigued. He's just this normal guy who's kind of cracked his crackers."

He also talks about picking the brains of one of the great contemporary interpreters of the character. "Garth (Ennis) was down there," Jane said, "We had a couple of great cups of coffee together. He's a fantastic, fantastic guy, and I made him give away all his secrets about what he's going to do with Frank. I also read as many comics as I could get my hands on. Now, I said I didn't like superheroes, but I love comic books. I've been collecting them since I was a kid. So I know all the stores and places to go. I collected horror comics and sci-fi comics, not the superhero stuff. In the end, I approached Frank like I approach any role. I just approached Frank Castle as if I were playing a real guy who was known to millions of people."

SMALLVILLE

Our dear friends at Kryptonsite have photo galleries from three of this seasons' episodes, "Asylum," "Delete" and "Velocity." They also have freshly translated prophecies from Ezra Small, cribbed from the show's official site, which provide spoilerish insights into the series.

SPIDER-MAN ANIMATED SERIES

According to ToonZone you'll be able to see your friendly neighborhood web slinger every Saturday morning, starting March 13th. From 10AM to 11AM, there'll be two episodes of "Spider-Man" to the ABC Family lineup. No word was given on which version of the cartoon it would be, but odds-on favorite is the most recent version, seen in the '90s.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ANIMATED

Animation Insider has news from the WB regarding the hit series' transition next season. "The heroes of the Justice League return in August with a new series, Justice League Unlimited , which incorporates a bold new look and a much larger scope. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern continue to lead the universe's most powerful superheroes in an effort to stop criminal plots and alien threats that endanger the universe. Now, in Justice League Unlimited , they are joined by an even greater collection of heroes some of whom are well-known, like Supergirl, Green Arrow and the Atom, as well as some that are less familiar, like Booster Gold, Hawk & Dove, Elongated Man, The Question, Mister Miracle, Big Barda and Zatanna. Each half-hour will tell a power-packed story, combining some of the original heroes with new ones as they band together to battle alien invasions, powerful sorcerers, vast shadowy conspiracies and even ancient gods."

SWORD OF DRACULA

Variety (subscription required) confirms what we learned earlier this week that "Chuck Gordon's Daybreak Productions and Adrian Askarieh's Prime Universe Productions have optioned the feature film and TV rights to 'Sword of Dracula,' based on the comicbook series created by Jason Henderson. The series, published by Image Comics, is a contemporary revamp of the Dracula story in which competing military forces find themselves racing to excavate the great vampire himself."

THAT'S A WRAP

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, feel free to check out my weekly comic reviews at UGO, and (insert pithy sign-off here, once it gets out of development hell).

 
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