Ghost Rider, Amazing Screw-On Head, Smallville, Painkiller Jane: January 21st Comic Reel Wrap

Fri, January 21st, 2005 at 12:00am PST

TV/Film
Hannibal Tabu, Columnist

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GHOST RIDER

According to the Hollywood Reporter, "Wes Bentley has signed on to play the bad guy in Columbia Pictures' upcoming Nicolas Cage starrer ... Bentley will play Black Heart." Bentley starred as the camera-wielding teen Ricky Fitts in the critically-lauded "American Beauty."

In stranger news, American Flags Express allegedly "has been selected to supply over 450 United States and Texas flags for a new film by Vengeance Productions taken from Marvel Comics, 'Ghost Rider.'" No explanation is given as to why.

THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD

In an interview at Suicide Girls, "Wonderfalls" co-creator Bryan Fuller talked about his work on the Mike Mignola adaptation. "I first read it because of [Carrie producer] Mark Stern. We became really good friends during Carrie because we would hang out in the hotel room and gossip like hens. He became the executive VP of program development at Sci-Fi Channel so he sent over the comic book and told me to take a look. I read it and thought it was f**king brilliant. Mark asked me what I thought about adapting it and I said I would do dirty things to clean people to get a chance to do that. It's such a great universe to go play in but there wasn't a huge amount of support for it at Sci-Fi. In fact of the four executives and [President of Sci-Fi Channel] Bonnie Hammer, two said that they didn't get it and the other two were like, let's go for it. Bonnie Hammer was the tie breaker; she said that she didn't really get it but she trusted us as being more of the demographic for Sci-Fi Channel than she is. I did an outline, wrote a script and I got notes from Mike Mignola because I very much wanted to make him happy. The initial draft of the outline did all those things the network wanted in terms of relatability because it's a very weird universe. So I came up with some stuff and Mignola hated it because it wasn't the comic book. After my Dead Like Me experience I told him I respected that. Mignola is a fantastic artist but he's not a television writer so he's got to trust me in that area but I think that trust was very hard to come by with that first draft and outline. I had all this backstory with Lincoln fighting Screw-On Head and Mignola was like, don't do that. So I scaled that way back. There have to be some changes to make it television friendly because the story style and the structure of the comic book is so absurdist that people would watch and not understand. Now Emperor Zombie used to be Screw-On Head's manservant so there is this subtext of servitude. I also beefed up the triangle between Emperor Zombie, Screw-On Head and Mr. Groin. Also the vampire chick used to be Screw-On Head's girlfriend before Emperor Zombie turned her into a vampire and turned her against him. I wanted to show relationships so that when these people are in a room together it's not just weird people in a room but weird people who have relationships with each other."

SMALLVILLE

TV Guide Online has a spotlight on an upcoming canine-focused episode of the hit WB series, explaning about how Luthorcorp goes about making a dog of steel.

Meanwhile, Sci Fi Wire talked to actress Erica Durance about finding ways back on to the show and the possibility of romance with Clark Kent. "They find different kinds of interesting ways to weave me back in. Like in episode eight, where I came back for the birthday party, and then I kind of got involved in some stuff. And, you know, kind of other different things. Maybe some stuff with college happens, they kind of see me. And again, they're not giving me a whole lot of clues, but I believe that they're maybe bringing in more of my family ... to kind of flesh out my character a little bit more, so that's going to be really great. They pop all sorts of things on me. So I don't really know. I know that it's always a nice thing to kind of have that as an underlay. But as far as what they're actually going to let happen, it's always more interesting when there's a little bit of that banter always going on, and not the kind of actual 'OK, now we're together' or something. ... It's got to be more of a natural process."

PAINKILLER JANE

Sci Fi Wire also takes advantage of their relationship with the Sci Fi Channel, chatting up the Event Comics adaptation, running down behind-the-scenes names for the pilot.

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 briefcase 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, thanks to all the great people who wrote in to wish me a happy birthday yesterday, and "don't blame me, I'm drunk too!"

 
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