It was announced Tuesday that Mimi Polk Gitlin, through her Mandolin Entertainment, has optioned the comic book series Shi from creator Billy Tucci.
Shi, which has been published by Tucci’s Crusade Fine Arts, has been published in 6 languages, sold over 4 million comics and has had gross revenues in excess of 25 million.
Tucci’s highly-successful independent comic has been a top selling action-thriller. Shi centers on a strong, independent woman of twenty-first century America who has come to New York City bound by ancient beliefs to avenge and bring honor to the deaths of her father and brother. Although working by day as a liaison at the Japanese Embassy, at night her warrior personality kicks in, entangling her in a series of investigations led by a New York City detective who falls in love with her while helping her come to terms with the profound revelation of her alter ego.
“We see Shi as a major motion picture franchise that incorporates original action sequences with elements á la Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon into a contemporary New York detective thriller,” says Gitlin.
Kevin Bernhardt (Tears >From Heaven) is attached to write the script in collaboration with Tucci. Bernhardt has just completed a rewrite on Dan Halsted’s Black Friday as well as the book adaptation Way of the Peaceful Warrior with Michael Rymer (Queen of the Damned) attached to direct.
Tucci, known for his perfectionism, has combined his absorbing writing and fantastic artwork to form one of the most outstanding series in the past decade. Not content to rest on his laurels as a successful indie comic creator and publisher, Tucci has more recently branched out into filmmaking, recently completing his short Some Trouble of a SeRRious Nature. The film has already met with critical praise and even collected the prestigious Long Island Film/TV Foundation Finishing Fund Grant.
While developing the script, Gitlin is simultaneously looking to develop Shi as an interactive game.
Gitlin has recently completed the Mandolin Production Trapped with her partner Luis Mandoki directing, starring Kevin Bacon, Charlize Theron, Stuart Townsend and Courtney Love to be released by Sony in September. Gitlin is executive producing Need starring Halle Berry which Mandoki is attached to direct for Escape Artists.
The good news is that filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, The Faculty) has renewed his option on the comic concept. Rodriguez first picked up the option in 1999 as a project that he would write, produce and direct. Subsequently he began work directing Spy Kids with the intention of doing Madman after that. That movie proved such a success, that the studio went immediately forward with Spy Kids 2, thereby delaying the comic flick.
That brings us to the bad news: Rodriguez now plans to make Spy Kids 3 before beginning work on Madman. However, Allred remains optimistic and says Rodriguez has been upfront about his various obligations.
“Confidence is high. It is odd that he will have done four films in the interim,” the comic creator said, referring the director’s Once Upon a Time in Mexico, the third picture in his El Mariachi saga.
Allred also reminds us that Rodriguez is the producer of Madman and has been renewing the option on the project out of his own pocket, in spite of of offers from studios to back the film. “He obviously thinks enough of it to keep optioning it.”
Spy Kids 2 is due in theaters this summer.
WITCHBLADE SEASON 2
What’s in store for Sara Pezzini in the new season of Witchblade? Marc Silvestri knows. As creator of the character, CEO of Top Cow, and Executive Producer of the hit TNT series, he ought to. Silvestri answered questions about the future of Witchblade at WizardWorld in Chicago.
At the forefront of fan concerns about the show is the health and well-being of Yancy Butler, who plays Detective Sara Pezzini on the show. “Yancy’s been fine,” Silvestri said. “She’s working hard and I just talked to the set last week, before I came out here. And she’s doing great. Her spirits are great, and she’s working hard. She’s put in fourteen, fifteen hours a day, sometimes six, seven days a week.”
“She’s happy to be back,” Silvestri smiled. “We’re happy to have her back.”
As for what’s coming up in the new season, the creator said that the show will be focusing on more episodes which can stand alone, “making this season a little less contingent on having everyone watch every episode to see what’s going on.” He said he hoped this would broaden the appeal of the show, allowing viewers to tune in mid-season and not be put off by extremely long story arcs.
And, since Pezzini turned back time at the end of the first season, undoing all that had happened in the course of that season, the second season should have double the appeal. First time viewers will be able to watch the season as if it is happening for the first time, and fans of the first season will get to watch Pezzini “continually face up to what she did last season,” Silvestri said. “It seemed like a good idea at the time in her mind to make things better by making things go backwards, but she finds out this year that it wasn’t such a great idea. We’re going to have a lot of fun with those themes.”
Silvestri grinned, saying the show this season will focus on, “what happens when you screw around with time, and the kind of price you pay for that.”
“You know, we’d love it if you guys e-mailed or sent us letters at Top Cow, letting know what you think, any ideas that you guys might have,” he said, noting fan reaction to the death of Kenneth Irons (played by Anthony Cistaro.) The Kenneth Irons character has a huge fan base, and the Silvestri urged fans not to discount their voice in the decisions that shape the TV series.
“At one point, Anthony Cistaro, the actor, was unhappy, too, but now he’s not so unhappy,” said Silvestri. “Like in comics, in our television show, people never really die, do they?”
People may not, but costumes do. When asked if Butler will ever don the skimpy comic book armor of the Witchblade, Silvestri was emphatically negative. He stated that, in pitching the show to TNT, Top Cow stressed the character as opposed to the comic book image. “It’s a show about Sara,” Silvestri said. “It’s a show about her character. It’s a show about who she is as an individual.”
Apparently, television fans like it that way. Silvestri said the ratings were holding strong, and that “the network and studio are very happy with the show.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t guarantee a third season of Witchblade. “It’s too early for that,” Silvestri said. “They usually wait for the last minute before they make that decision.”
Witchblade Website: Fans of the show know that Sara Pezzini frequently consults with the character Gabriel Bowman for information about ancient artifacts. Bowman is an antiquities dealer who runs a shop called Talismaniac. Like any good shopkeeper, he has a website at Talismaniac.com.
A Comics2Film reader known as “Jon Movie Man” writes in to tell us that he typed the address into his web browser and discovered that the site is real. However there is currently nothing on the site except a title card and a link to the Witchblade site at TNT.
We took a look at the registrar for Talismaniac.com and discovered it is not owned by the fictitious Bowman. Rather, the domain is registered to Witchblade showrunner Ralph Hemecker. No word on what plans Hemecker may have, but with faux sites complementing shows like Smallville and Mutant X, it’s no surprise that Witchblade would follow suit.
OVER THE HEDGE
Comedic superstars Jim Carrey and Garry Shandling have signed on as the lead voice talents in DreamWorks’ CGI animated adaptation f the Michael Fry and T Lewis’ comic strip Over The Hedge. The news was reported in Wednesday’s Variety.
The movie, slated for a 2005 release, features a mischievous raccoon named R.J. (Carrey) and a sensitive turtle named Verne (Shandling). The two mis-matched “boyz ‘n the wood” have to work together to figure out how to deal with humans who are encroaching on their habitat.
The move represents the first animation work for Carrey. Shandling has previously done voice work in Dr. Dolittle.
Over the Hedge will be directed by Tim Johnson (Antz, Sinbad) from a screenplay by Len Blum (Stripes). Bonnie Arnold (Toy Story) will produce.
A SNEAK PEEK AT BATCAVE’S BATMOBILE
Want another look at the Return to the Batcave movie? A super-secret scooper name “Hollywood Guy” managed to sneak on the set and make off with some photos of The Batmobile.
Hollywood Guy offered no information about the car, so we’re not sure if it’s the original from the show or a newly made prop. However, he did sneak around the Batcave set and provided this account:
“I did sneak on the set, which is a replica of the 60’s show Bat cave. There was a giant size stick of dynamite but I did not see a giant penny (sadly). There was a nuclear reactor core type structure. There was a box with question marks stenciled on it, but not yet painted…clearly meant to be Riddler related.”
Return to the Batcave is a made-for-TV movie giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the goings on of the famous Batman TV show of the 1960’s. The movie will air on CBS next season.
The first bit of Teaser artwork will be unveiled at the convention. The poster will feature Hellboy creator Mike Mignola’s rendering of leading man Ron Perlman. 2004 copies of the poster will be available Thursday at the Dark Horse booth at the convention.
Also available will be the promo poster that was distributed at WizardWorld Chicago. This one features splash art from the Hellboy Lunchbox #2 along with the blurb “Soon to be a Major Motion Picture”. Check out Hellboy.com for a look at that one.
A panel discussion about the movie will be held on Thursday, August 1 from 3:00-4:00pm in Room 6A. Mignola, director Guillermo del Toro, Perlman, Scott Allie will be on hand for Q & A.
You can look for Mignola, Del Toro and Perlman the same day at the Dark Horse booth from 4:30-6:00pm. Reportedly this will be Mignola’s only day at the Con.
Finally, Mignola will have a piece of original art for sale benefiting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
Variety.com reports that F/X houses Cinesite and Rhythm & Hues have landed the lion’s share of special effects work for X-Men 2.
Cinesite is on board to create about 300 shots, up from the 200 or so they created for the original. Look for the company to focus on 3-D character animation. Past work in this area includes the robot seen in the movie Red Planet.
Visual effects supervisor Stephen Rosenbaum (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) and visual effects producer Ralph Horan, formerly of Sony Pictures Imageworks, will lead the charge for Cinesite.
Rhythm & Hues will create over 100 shots. Richard Hollander (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) will oversee for the company. R&H work can be seen in Men in Black II and the upcoming Daredevil.
Kleiser-Walczak, are also expected to provide visual effects for X-Men 2.
In other news, Senator Kelly isn’t done with Professor X and his X-Men, at least not in the movies. Bruce Davison, who played Kelly in the original X-Men movie, told SCI FI Wire that he is, “going up [to Vancouver] to do something in X-Men 2. Sen. Kelly, they’re going to rejuvenate him.”
Davison wouldn’t comment on how his character will make his film return, after his apparent demise in the first film, but did say of the role of Sen. Kelly, “it’s sort of the human voice of melted reason.”
Sen. Kelly’s anti-mutant sentiments won’t be resurfacing in the sequel, mainly because, Davison said, “He is one, isn’t he?”
Trailer update: Movie-List is now hosting a reliable link to the teaser trailer for X-Men 2.
The trailer was released on the Internet in late June, 2002, but most sites removed the links soon afterwards. The trailer can be accessed through the “Coming Soon” link or with the search tool. The trailer is currently only available in Apple’s Quicktime format.
BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN
Hot on the heals of last week’s announcement regarding Batman Vs. Superman Ryan J. Downey of MTV News sat down with Wolfgang Petersen to talk about the project. Petersen did give up a few more interesting tidbits.
According to the write-up the movie will feature villains, lots of action and no Robin. The titular characters with dueling ideologies are definitely adversaries for at least part of the film.
“The plot is structured in a way that these two very different sides basically of the same coin have to clash at some point because they handle situations totally differently,” Petersen told Downey. “For a large portion of the thing they are at each other’s throats. But then, of course, because they are both crime fighters, they join forces again and fight evil.”
The director/producer also reiterated his desire to seek leading men who are skilled actors, without being obsessive about their fighting chops. He cites Matt Damon’s turn in The Bourne Identity as a good example of a star who wasn’t viewed as an action hero, but pulled it off nicely.
Petersen said he’s a fan of the previous film incarnations of the characters, but BvS will be a new take on the characters. “First of all, the dynamics are different because if they are in one movie together it changes a lot of things and it gives you a new perspective on superheroes,” Petersen told MTV. “You have also the look and feel of Metropolis, the bright golden city, and the feel of Gotham, which is a shadowy, sinister city, in the same movie. This is Superman/Batman of the time after September 11th, also. It takes place in today or tomorrow’s world.”
The director also credits Spider-Man with lighting a fire under super-hero projects. He promises to deliver a movie that is just as exciting, but more dramatic. “Our thing, with Superman flying, will be an unbelievable, amazing new experience that you’ve never, ever seen before, because it’s a long time ago with the Superman films.”
Check out the complete article for more from Petersen on the Batman Vs. Superman.
Is your computer as boring as 100 pairs of purple pants? Snazz it up with new goodies found at TheHulk.com — the official Hulk movie website.
Now available for download are a wallpaper image, a screen saver and AIM buddy icons. These images are all derived from the familiar teaser artwork, but they make swell additions to your work station.
Of course, you can also view the trailer and sign up for e-mail updates.
Thanks to Titan6959 for the scoop!
The studio promises that the two disc set “features an exclusive web of innovative interactive elements loaded with special never-before-revealed Spider-Man factoids and a first look at comic book-to-film comparisons. Also releasing day and date will be a specially-packaged limited-edition Collector’s DVD Gift Set, loaded with extra features for the ultimate home viewing experience.
The regular DVD will be available in both wide-screen and full-screen editions. The widescreen special edition packaging, will feature Spider-Man scaling the side of a skyscraper; and the full screen special edition packaging, which will feature Spider-Man crouching over a skyline.
The specially-packaged limited-edition Collector’s DVD Gift Set features the widescreen special edition Spider-Man DVD and loaded with extras including a reprint of Marvel Comic’s “Amazing Fantasy” #15 in which Spider-Man was created; an exclusive collectible drawing by former Spider-Man artist John Romita, Sr. and current Spider-Man artist John Romita, Jr.; a collectible numbered film cel from the movie; and more.
Here’s what’s on the discs:
- Audio: English & French 5.1 (Dolby Digital)
- Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
- Subtitled Factoids “Weaving the Web”: Pop-On Production Notes & Historical Facts
- Commentary: Sam Raimi (director), Laura Ziskin (producer), Kirsten Dunst & Grant Curtis (co-producer)
- SFX Commentary: John Dykstra (special effects designer) & Visual Effects Crew
- Branching Web-i-sodes (access via Spider-Sense)
- Marketing Campaigns: Trailers & TV Spots — Filmographies & Character Files
- Music Videos: Chad Kroeger featuring Josey Scott, “Hero” & Sum 41, “What We’re All About” — DVD-ROM: Comic/Feature Comparison; Record Your Own Commentary; Countdown to “Spider-Man 2”; Weblinks
- HBO Making of Spider-Man
- Spider-Mania: an E! Entertainment Special
- Director Profile: Sam Raimi
- Composer Profile: Danny Elfman
- Screen Tests: Tobey Maguire, J.K. Simmons & CGI Spider-Man
- Costume and Makeup Tests
- Gag/Outtake Reel
- Conceptual Art & Production Design Gallery
- Historical Documentary — “Spider-Man:” The Mythology of the 21st Century
- The “Spider-Man” Comic Book Archives
- Rogues Gallery
- The Loves of Peter Parker
- Comic Book Artist Pin-Up Gallery
- Activision Game: Hints & Tips
- DVD-ROM: Activision Game (two playable levels for PC); three exclusive Marvel dot.comics (“Spider-Man:” Blue #1, Black Cat #1, & Peter Parker: Return of the Goblin); “Spider-Man:” Visualizer
MEN IN BLACK 2
Michael Jackson’s cameo in the recently released Men In Black II may have garnered big laughs on the screen, but it was not without cost to director Barry Sonnenfeld. In an Associated Press report, the director told reporters that, after the shoot, the pop-star was loaded with questions about the scene.
The director holed telling the inquisitive Jacko that there would be icebergs in the shot would be enough to placate him, but it was not to be.
“He said, ‘Can I see the icebergs?’ ‘No we don’t have the photos yet.’ ‘Is there anything else behind me?’ ‘Penguins.’ I’m making this up! I don’t know if there are going to be penguins,” Sonnenfeld said. “‘Can I see the penguins?’ ‘No I don’t have the pictures of the penguins yet.’ ‘Are they king penguins?’ ‘Yes.’ And then I said, ‘You know, I gotta go.'”
MEN IN BLACK 2, ROAD TO PERDITION
Box Office Mojo reports that actual numbers for the weekend box office for Men In Black II were slightly lower than the estimates announced on Sunday. The comic sequel took in less than $24.5 million in it’s second weekend, falling off 53%.
The other comic flick, Road To Perdition, which opened this weekend performed well, taking in just under $22.1 million. This was surpisingly good considering the movie played in a mere 1,797 theaters.
The movie also edged out Reign of Fire which looked to be a contender for top honors this week. The excellent dragon flick debuted at #3 taking in $15.6 million.
BIRDS OF PREY
Gotham Clock Tower has posted a bevy of Birds of Prey info for those interested in the upcoming WB television series based on the DC Comic.
First and foremost, Sherilyn Fenn, the actress who plays Dr. Harleen Quinzel in the pilot will not be able to continue her role in further episodes. Thus, the role will be recast and the scenes that Fenn shot as Quinzel for the pilot episode will be re-shot with the new actress.
Also of note, Gotham Clock Tower has transcribed some of a WB press conference which included the four lead actors in Birds of Prey (Dina Meyer, Ashley Scott, Rachel Skarsten, and Shemar Moore), as well as Executive Producers Brian Robbins and Laeta Kalogridis. Some tidbits talked about include the future of Helena’s costume on the show (which will become something more “logical” for fighting, closer to “street clothes”) and the possibility of the children of some certain Batman villains appearing on the show.
In other news, Dina Meyer found the time to talk with SCI FI Wire about her role as Oracle, the latest superheroic identity of Barbara Gordon (formerly Batgirl.)
“She’s a genius,” Meyer said. “She’s the glue. She’s the backbone of the Birds of Prey. She runs everything. She keeps everybody on track.”
Although her character was paralyzed by a gunshot wound from the most famous of Bat-nemeses, the Joker, Meyer sees the injury as a more of a catharsis than a disability.
“She got strong from it,” said Meyer. “She found her calling from it. Initially she was running … in Batman’s shoes. And it took her getting shot and paralyzed and being confined to a wheelchair to find out who she really was and, in a sense, becoming a better person than she ever could have been had she not fought these villains.
“So I think that’s really, really wonderful. She could have thrown in the towel. She could have said, ‘You know what? The hell with it all. I don’t have legs, I can’t kick ass, I’m done.’ And she didn’t. She said, ‘You know what? I’m going to find out who I really am and do what I got to do and be even bigger and better than I was.’ It’s the new and improved Barbara Gordon. And I salute her. I think she’s fabulous. And I feel honored to be playing her.”
Screenwriter David Goyer recently talked to Ab out.com and offered some information on Blade 3.
Goyer was asked if there was a worry that the Blade film series was finite. Goyer responded, “Well, we’re going to make a third one, but I don’t know that there will be a fourth one. We’ll see, but having successfully done two, you never know how many you’re going to have. It can’t last forever, and also for Wesley, they’re physically grueling. At a certain point, he just won’t want to do it anymore which I don’t blame him.”
Goyer said that the original future Vampire Apocalypse world idea for Blade 3 has not been abandoned just modified. He told About, “One of the things that’s fun about Blade is that it’s somewhat set in the real world.” So, Goyer has taken his original idea and moved it back 20 years. In Blade 3 an apocalyptic event is occurring that could give Vampires the opportunity to conquer the planet. All that stands between the Vampires and Humanity’s enslavement is the Daywalker. Goyer said this take would be more interesting.
About asked Goyer if he had given any thought to directing the third Blade film. He said, “We had talked about it, but in this instance, I’m producing the Blade movies now as well and I’d rather write it and produce it and not have the headache of having to be there for 100 days in a row.”
When asked how quickly we will see Blade 3, Goyer responded that Wesley Snipes is eager to do the next film soon, since they are physically grueling shoots for him. Snipes hurt his knee while filming the second film and do not want to wait three years between movies like last time.
Thanks to Dark Horizons for the lead.
Horror movie website Bloody Disgusting is reporting that a script is being written for a big screen adaptation of Chaos! Comics’ Evil Ernie. The site reports that at this past weekend’s WizardWorld convention Ernie creator, Brian Pulido announced that he and Joshua Dysart are currently writing the script.
Thanks to Dark Horizons for the lead.
THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN
While filming began last week on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, there was still a question as to who would be playing one of the film’s characters… until now.
IGN FilmForce has reported that Jason Isaacs has landed the role of Campion Bond, the British Secret Service agent who assembles the League and who will have a descendent a few decades later with the same last name and a similar job with Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
It had previously been reported that Richard Roxburgh would be stepping into Campion Bond’s shoes but that statement was later retracted, saying instead that Roxburgh would in fact be playing the film’s villain, The Fantom.
Isaacs joins a cast including the aforementioned Roxburgh, Sean Connery, Shane West, Stuart Townsend, Jason Flemyng, and Peta Wilson, among others.
On a side note, FilmForce says that Wilson, who plays Mina Harker will be sporting “red- blackish” hair in the film, as opposed to Wilson’s usual golden locks or the brunette hair Mina has in the graphic novel by Alan Moore that the film is based on.
Twentieth Century Fox is set to release The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in the Summer of 2003.
THIS WEEK ON JEREMIAH
This is it! Friday brings the dramatic conclusion to the first season of Showtime’s successful comic adaptation Jeremiah with a finale written by J. Michael Straczynski. Everything that’s been building throughout the season comes to a head, from Marcus’s efforts to rebuild civilization, to Jeremiah’s search for his father. Don’t miss part two of “Things Left Unsaid”.
Marcus (Peter Stebbings) and Erin (Monique Kavelaars) head to a meeting in St. Louis, where they hope to forge ties with other groups trying to make the world better…while Jeremiah (Luke Perry) ignores Ezekiel’s warning and goes in search of his father. Written by J. Michael Straczynski and directed by Mike Vejar.
“Things Left Unsaid (Part Two)” airs Friday, July 19th at 10:45 P.M. on Showtime. There will also an encore on Sunday, July 21st on Showtime Beyond at 10:45 PM (ET & PT).
Preview clips of the show are available online at Showtime’s Jeremiah site. Click “Episode Preview” from the site’s nav.
You can also visit that site for a virtual tour of Thunder Mountains. Click “Behind The Scenes” from the site’s nav. (Java and Flash required).
THIS WEEK ON SABRINA
Tennis superstar Andy Roddick guest-stars on the encore presentation of “The Competition,” this week’s episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.
Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) gets offended when Josh (David Lascher) says that women can’t play tennis as well as men, so she enlists tennis superstar Andy Roddick for lessons and juices up with a witch’s potion that sends her competitive streak out of control. Meanwhile, Hilda (Caroline Rhea) and Zelda (Beth Brodrick) reluctantly coach Sabrina’s mischievous cousin Amanda (guest star Emily Hart) for her witch’s license test. Ken Koch directed the episode written by Ruth Bennettis.
“The Competition” airs Friday, July 19th at 8:00 p.m. on The WB Network.
Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.
NEXT WEEK ON JUSTICE LEAGUE
Next Sunday night brings an encore airing of “Paradise Lost Part I,” on Justice League on Cartoon Network.
Wonder Woman returns to Themyscira to find it has been devastated by Felix Faust and his mysterious master.
“Paradise Lost Part I” airs Sunday, July 21st at 7:00 p.m. on Cartoon Network. Additional showings are 7:00pm on Friday, July 26th and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday July 27th.
Cartoon Network also presents a repeat airing of “Fury Part I” on Saturday, July 20th at 10:00p.m.
NEXT WEEK ON WITCHBLADE
Sara comes into conflict with a vicious serial killer known as “V” in “Hierophant”, next week’s episode of Witchblade.
A killer known only as “V” tries to take over New York’s organized crime syndicates, leaving a swath of mayhem in his wake. But when the evidence gathered at the crime scenes turn up the fingerprints of Sara’s (Yancy Butler) long-dead father, she must trust the Witchblade’s powers to overcome her feelings and wage battle with the greatest evil she has ever faced.
“Hierophant” airs Monday, July 22nd at 9 p.m. on TNT. An encore showing the same night at 11 p.m.
Thanks to Dex!