THE LOBO PARAMILITARY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
|Click to enlarge.|
It’s not a hoax. It’s not an imaginary story. It’s not an alcohol-induced nightmare. It’s The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special: a live-action film adaptation of DC Comics’ main man.
A DVD of the edgy film landed in Comics2Film’s mail box this weekend. While the Lobo feature languishes in development hell at Warner Bros., up-and-coming student director Scott Leberecht has completed a high-quality, 13 minute 26 second film, complete with Hollywood actors, as part of his first year studies at American Film Institute.
Leberecht is no stranger to Hollywood. He’s worked for years at Industrial
Light and Magic on movies like Sleepy Hollow, Flubber and Spawn. However,
he soon got the itch to helm his own movies and embarked on his director’s
studies at AFI.
When thinking about a subject for his first-year video short, Leberecht quickly settled on his favorite comic book character.
“I think one of my first comics, that my brother bought me was the Paramilitary Christmas Special,” Leberecht told us. ” I just couldn’t get enough Lobo in my life after that.”
Adapting the story, in which the Easter Bunny contracts Lobo to kill Santa Claus, was seen as highly ambitious for a student film. One of the first hurdles was casting.
“One of the biggest things I was worried about was finding an actor: someone who could act and look like Lobo. He has to be a big guy,” Leberecht said. Fortunately, a scan of sites like C2F revealed that there was already an actor who was both a perfect match and wanted to play the part.
For years, Andrew Bryniarski has been dying to play Lobo on the big screen. Back in 1999 the actor had circulated make up tests he had done, showing his uncanny resemblance to the main man. Although he’s been a staple of big-screen movies, appearing in such films as Batman Returns, The Program, Street Fighter and Any Given Sunday the studio did not seem to be moving forward with the Lobo feature film.
Leberecht was eager to contact Bryniarski and tell him about his project. “Then I realized, ‘Oh my God, he’s this huge actor. He’s been in all these huge movies. He’s never going to do it. He’ll laugh.’ But then I thought, ‘maybe he’s just as insane as I am about the character and he’ll jump at the chance.'”
Bryniarski, who can currently be seen in Scooby Doo, was pleasantly surprised by Leberecht’s offer. “I thought it was lost forever, that nobody would make a Lobo movie,” Bryniarski told C2F. The actor quickly agreed to do it.
After Bryniarski came on board, the actor enlisted none other than Lobo creator Keith Giffen to do a touch-up on the script that Leberecht and his story editor Paul Bello had developed. “He added a bunch of total Keith-isms,” Bryniarski told us. “It’s a very Keith Giffen Lobo film.”
Initially the nay-sayers had doubts about whether or not the first-year student could complete such a film. “They told us we couldn’t do it because we didn’t have enough time or enough resources,” Bryniarski said. “but we didn’t want to do anything else so we made it.”
Likewise, Leberecht was undeterred, “I had to make this movie. I’m just a huge fan,” the director said. “This is just like any other kid drawing a Wolverine. I had to draw my picture of Lobo.”
The AFI budgets $2400 to the students to complete their movies. However, Leberecht knew that his vision would need more. Fortunately, the Christmas Special idea was compelling enough that donors came on board. “It was amazing what I was able to get out of people when they heard the premise, when I told them I was making a movie about a bounty hunter who is hired by the Easter Bunny to kill Santa Claus,” the director said.
Filmed in four days, the movie sports great costumes and makeup. One casualty of the low budget is the lack of Lobo-inspired mayhem. “That’s probably the one regret I have is that we weren’t able to do the ultra-violence,” Leberecht said. “I wanted to do the whole thing where he’s blowing [Santa’s elves] away, body parts flying, stuff like that.”
Another strength of the film is some top-notch acting. Aside from Bryniarski’s spot-on take on the title character, the director got a great performance from Michael V. Allen as Santa and a hilarious turn by Tom Gibis as the Easter Bunny. “Tom Gibis is amazing,” Leberecht enthused. “As soon as he got finished with the first reading I was like, ‘Ah…you got it.’ It was perfect.”
By the time the movie screened at AFI in May it was the most anticipated project on the campus. “Everybody had been seeing everything coming together, like bits and pieces of it, and there was all this talk about it because it was such an ambitious piece for a first-year video film,” Leberecht said.
The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas special played to a packed house and was greeted by enthusiastic cheers.
Sadly for fans, such movies are not intended to be screened publicly for profit. They are considered educational exercises, which was one of the reasons the director could utilize characters and stories owned by DC Comics.
While the short film may never see wide release, Leberecht hopes the right people in Hollywood, the ones control the fate of the Lobo feature, get to screen it. “I think Joel Silver needs to see it. I think people who are holding the rights to Lobo over at Warner should see it,” the director said.
Bryniarski added that he would love to see a Lobo feature, and hopes that the movie demonstrates the potential. “He’s such an interesting character. He’s such a contradiction,” Bryniarski said.
If such a movie were made, no doubt Leberecht would jump at the chance to direct. “If it puts me in a position some day to be able to make a real, live-action, feature multi-million dollar Lobo film, that’s great, but that’s not why I made it,” Leberecht said. “I made The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special because I fuckin’ love the character and I had to do it.”
The footage starts with a slow pan-over of a stone structure, which we quickly recognize is a building ledge adorned with gargoyles. Nestled in a crouch between two of the large, winged creatures is the man without fear himself. While the odd camera angle obscures our hero at first, the camera quickly whips around giving us a great front view of Daredevil.
From there we see a series of rapid-edit action clips. Things move so fast it’s difficult to describe in detail. Fans will get a good look at all of our four main characters. We see Jennifer Garner as Elektra running around in her leather assassin gear. We see a close-up of Colin Farrell, head shaved and sporting a nasty Bullseye scar on his forehead. We even get a look at Michael Clarke Duncan, styling as the obviously well-to-do Kingpin of crime.
Of course Daredevil dominates the short trailer. We see him in and out of costume and get a glimpse of some of his moves: apparently wire-assisted kung fu action.
There’s billy clubs and sais flying, and lots of frenetic energy packed into the short segment.
The clip closes on the obligatory title card, which reveals that the the official website will, indeed, reside at DaredevilMovie.com.
Check out Minority Report this weekend for your first look at Daredevil!
Fans who were worried that last week’s announcement attaching director Guillermo del Toro to the Grant Morrison flick Sleepless Knights would adversely effect the production schedule for Hellboy can rest easy.
“Hellboy is the movie I’m going to shoot next, without any doubt,” Del Toro told Comics2Film. “All other projects are in development. There’s nothing between me and my Hellboy”
In fact, the movie officially moves out of development hell this week with pre-production work on Hellboy starting. Mike Mignola and Wayne Barlowe are flying to Los Angeles to begin the process of creating designs the film. Del Toro is also beginning starting on casting the remainder of the movie. So far Ron Perlman is the only actor cast.
Cameras are due to roll on the film January 3rd in Prague.
Yet another cast member has been added to the X-Men 2 roster.
Victoria Time Colonist reports that Brian Cox (Bourne Identity, Rushmore, Long Kiss Goodnight) is among the newcomers of the film. He will be playing “Stryker, a villainous ex-Army commander who holds the key to Wolverine’s past.” This confirms reports that X2 is, in part, adapting from Claremont’s “God Loves, Man Kills” trade paperback, in which Stryker is an evangelist with a military background and “a plan of genocide for mutants.” However, it seems the movie will be taking some liberties, perhaps involving Stryker in Weapon X, the military project responsible for Wolverine’s adamantium grafting.
The article also reports that Kelly Hu’s character in the film is known not as Ann Reynolds but as Yuriko Oyama, the comic-book namesake of Lady Deathstrike, further confirming that she’ll be playing the role. One should note that in the comics, Lady Deathstrike’s claws are adamantium-laced, like Wolverine’s but as cybernetic extentions of the fingers, and that her father is the man who developed the adamantium-bonding process. It will be interesting to see how Singer and the writing crew have adapted the character.
X-Men 2 is currently filming external shots at Hatley Castle in Victoria, Canada, and will shortly be filming a scene in which the X-Mansion is being raided by military helicopters and ground forces.
Although the movie is almost a year away, the official X-Men 2 site is up and running, at the address of the original film: http://www.x-men-the-movie.com. Comics2Film stumbled onto the link at FoxMovies.com.
The X-Men 2 site is sparse but it’s still interesting. Once the site is uploaded, you are ushered into a room that might be the Cerebro Chamber… or perhaps the Danger Room. A cool animated X-symbol bounces around the screen as the film’s release date “05 02 03” flashes ominously in the background. You are also treated to some cool, spooky, technological sound effects. The only true “feature” currently available on the web site is a register button. By clicking on it you can register to receive e-mails when the site is updated.
FoxMovies.com also reported that the Daredevil website is “coming soon”.
Da, tovarisch! Who’s big, Russian, made of organic steel, and rumored to be in X-Men 2 ? That’s right! Colossus may well be making his big screen debut in the upcoming X-Men sequel.
Thursday, on the MTV Tough Enough reunion, the season 2 contestant known as Hawk had fanboy jaws dropping when he said that he’d recently read for the role of Colossus in X2.
As of yet, there have been no official announcements that Colossus will join the ranks of Nightcrawler and Pyro in the sequel.
Thanks to David S., Dave B., Titan, cheungcheung, Tyler, Chris H., Banky, EtherMonkee, Jimi-Z for the heads-up.
HULK, SPIDER-MAN 2
They say no news is good news… Well, there’s some bad news floating around that Comics2Film has discovered is not news at all.
For weeks, Hulk anticipation has been marred by rumors of “Hulk dogs”, the most recent of which claimed that Banner received the Hulk disease from the mutated dogs. However, a man close to Hulk history–and the movie–knows better. Peter David, who is set to write The Hulk movie novelization, approached the issue on Comicon.com‘s message boards. Although he is bound to a non-disclosure agreement, he believes it’s safe to say that Hulk-dog-bites-Banner rumor is, simply put, “bogus.”
Thanks to Jim M. for the lead on that bit of info. And now, the rumor control continues, moving from Hulk-dog to… Octopus.
While a listing on the Internet Movie Data Base has everyone buzzing about Spider-Man 2 casting, Comics2Film has learned that the addition of Sam Neill to the cast list of that film is in error. Neill, a veteran of such films a Jurassic Park and Bicentennial Man, is listed as being cast in the role of Doctor Octopus. However, sources at Marvel tell us Neill has not been cast in the part. In fact, there is no casting for the movie, other than the holdovers from the original.
Clive Barker talked with SCI FI Wire about the production of the “Saint Sinner” movie based on his Marvel/Epic comic of the same name. Barker spoke about the initial concept for the project, saying, “The notion was to create something that would be genuinely scary, but would also have a lot of style to it. I wanted to do something that would have a little metaphysics going for it as well.”
The movie features two villainesses, demons named Munkar and Nakir (played by actresses Mary Mara and Rebecca Harrell, respectively) who are followed into the present time by a monk, Brother Tomás (played by Greg Serano), who accidently released them. The setup allows for some interesting possibilities. “The fun of that lies not only in the fact that the demons are appearing in our time, and that they therefore have to learn about what this world is really like,” Barker said, “But also that we have a chance to create two villainesses. When you get two Lady Macbeths, if you will, together, they can be some real fun.
“Even in the title, we’re playing with some pretty heavy ideas. And that very much fits with the novels I’ve written and the movies I’ve been involved in. … Because the monsters are treated very seriously, whether they are human monsters or inhuman monsters, they linger in people’s imaginations perhaps longer than if the tongue is in the cheek … I think something that horror movies have always had to offer audiences, particularly young audiences, has been this idea that you can tell these primal tales, which really have some authority to them as tales of good and evil. … When [Tomás] speaks of God and faith and death and, in the end, redemption, [21st-century people] sort of roll their eyes. In fact, those are things which we’re all in our hearts concerned about, I think. We sort of lost the vocabulary along the way. We’re embarrassed by the vocabulary. And one of the things that horror stories have always allowed us to do is brush off that vocabulary, allow us to return to the notion of absolute good and absolute evil. The notion of redemption. The notion of deeds that are too terrible to be recounted except in whispers, and how they can be made good. And those sorts of ideas, in a curious way, are more pertinent since a certain event than ever. We’ve seen these terrible things going on in our world, and we have little but a secular response to it, and that’s perhaps regrettable.”
MEN IN BLACK 2
SCI FI Wire sat down with Barry Sonnenfeld, director of “Men In Black II,” to discuss the picture. Sonnenfeld provided a synopsis of the action: “Five years ago, Agent K [Tommy Lee Jones] was neuralized. He’s got no more memory. Now [Will Smith’s Agent J] is the top guy, and there is suddenly a threat to Earth that is based on an event that took place 25 years ago, when Agent K was the agent in charge. Obviously, something didn’t happen 25 years ago that was supposed to happen, and the only one who has the information about what went down-and this is shocking-is Agent K. So you’ve got Agent J, who neuralized Agent K, having to deneuralize Agent K. As it turns out, deneuralizing someone is a very difficult process. Who knew?”
Sonnenfeld also addressed the chemistry between Angents J and K in the script, describing it as being similar to an “adult that goes home for Thanksgiving.
“You’re with your wife, you’re in your mid-30s, and you’re going to visit your parents up in Schenectady for the weekend. You say, ‘They’re not going to push my buttons. I’m an adult now. They’re not going to open that door and say, “You wore that for Thanksgiving?”‘ … You get to that door. Ding-dong. The door opens. ‘You look so healthy.’ ‘What do you mean I look healthy? I always look healthy!’ So you have the wonderful situation now, which plays out in the second half of the movie, where Agent J, who’s been in charge, who’s been the main guy, suddenly reverting to his old self. The second Agent K gets his memory back, in the first scene after he gets his memory back, they’re dealing with the big question: Who drives? Agent K always did the driving. Agent J looks at Agent K and says, ‘Yeah, well, you drove that old busted-up stuff. I’m driving hot new wheels.’ Agent K looks at him, just stares at him. Agent J says, ‘All right, all right, just don’t scratch the paint.’ So I love the adult becoming the kid again. No matter how old you are you always fall right back into the family structure. That was [a storytelling device] that allowed me to make this film feel a little different from the original.”
WITCHBLADE SEASON 2
Earlier this week Dark Horizons reported on a rumor that has been circulating about TNT’s Witchblade program. The web site wrote, “Now that Yancy Butler’s hiatus is over, a rumour has emerged that in order to cut risks they’ve moved up filming of the season ending episode – “Just in Case.”
Comics2Film contacted TNT looking to see if there is any truth to this rumor. A source at TNT told C2F that work is being done on the season finale, but this is not unusual. C2F’s source explained that episodes are often shot out of sequence. The reason the seasons finale is being shot now, is because it has many special effects shots which will require, quite a bit of post-production time.
Now that Witchblade is back for a second season, watching an episode may make you feel like putting on a pair of leather pants and kicking evil’s ass. But since you would probably look ridiculous, and unless you are an authorized law enforcement agent kicking evil’s ass is kind of illegal, this is problematic.
TNT has got the perfect answer for you. The network recently updated the w ebsite for the Witchblade television show. One option that is now available on the site is Witchblade the video game.
Witchblade the game offers good Playstation One style graphics and lots of stuff to interact with and fight. The game appears to offer old school video game brawling with some RPG like elements like interacting items and people. Best of all the game is free to play.
Another newly updated and interesting place on the Withcblade site is The Witchblade Insider. Here you can find behind the scenes photos and storyboards for episodes. Perhaps one of the coolest features is the evidence room. The evidence room gives episode recaps by using pictures and text of props and people. The episode recap is written like a crime scene report.
Thanks to Dex for the info.
Last week’s Variety reports that Pathe Distribution and FilmFour have picked up U.K. rights to Bulletproof Monk from Stewart Till’s Signpost Films.
Signpost is also selling the international rights to the movie.
Filmjerk.com reported a potentially frightening story for Comics2Film readers. According to the site, Warner Bros has the writer behind the infamous Batman and Robin working on a film treatment of another DC comics character.
Filmjerk reports that Akiva Goldsman (Batman and Robin, A Beautiful Mind) is working on a film treatment of Supergirl. According to the report, this story treatment makes refrence to stories that Supergirl comic-book writer Peter David has written. Elements mentioned include the stories of a link between Linda Danvers and Matrix and of Supergirl becoming an earth-born Angel. The material appears to be such a summary of David’s work, it even makes references to a specific issue number.
Upon hearing this story, a curious Peter David looked to see if there was any truth to the supposed treatment, and was surprised at what he found. In a post on Comicon.com‘s message boards, David wrote, “Well, this is interesting. Some of the item is correct (which is going to come as a surprise to the DC editors I asked about it who knew nothing of it). Most of it is not true.”
According to David, Goldsman’s office confirmed that he has indeed been approached about developing a Supergirl film. However, the character is being called “an amalgam of several different incarnations of the comic book character.” Goldsman’s people also told David that the character will be darker than the comic incarnations, and darker than anything seen on television, pointing out Buffy the Vampier Slayer as the chief comparison. “Dunno…” David adds, “Has there ever been anything darker than the latest season of “Buffy?”
David speculates that Filmjerk’s material was simply a summary of the current comic-book character, which was being passed on to Goldman for research. In David’s opinion, Goldsman had no intention of “simply lifting wholesale” David’s storyline for a film treatment. He concludes, “Who could possibly envision a film that incorporated a Supergirl based on Lana Lang’s brain patterns?”
HE-MAN & THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe will make its Cartoon Network debut at 4 p.m. (ET, PT) on Friday, August 16 with a 90-minute special featuring the never-before-told story of the origin of He-Man. Beginning August 23, the 26-episode series will begin airing on Fridays during Toonami. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe will join the daily Toonami line-up in November.
Cartoon Network provides this description of the concept: “Eternia is a land of myth, sorcery and advanced technology where epic heroes accomplish remarkable deeds, strange creatures roam the land, and malevolent enemies wreak havoc. Deep within Castle Grayskull lies the repository of universal knowledge hidden long ago by the Elders of Eternia. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe defend Castle Grayskull and all of Eternia from the tyrannical Skeletor and his Evil Warriors.”
On Friday, August 16, the 90-minute movie premiere will tell the story of how Prince Adam became He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe, for the very first time. The original He-Man series was introduced to television audiences in 1983 and became one of the most successful kids entertainment properties in history.
Wolfmill Entertainment recently announced the acquisition of the online comic strip Ponytailers for development as a TV series.
Currently, Ponytailers is a series of contemporary adventure stories told from a girl’s point of view and presented in comic strip form. It tells the story of Caitlin, Kachina, and M.G., three 12 year old girls from disparate backgrounds who live in the ranch country of High Sierra Falls, just outside of Yellowstone National Park. Riding their horses through the beautiful Sierra mountains, the stories of Ponytailers are about the the exciting adventures these three girls share as they bond and their friendships grow.
“Girls the world over love horses, which makes Ponytailers a natural,” said Marv Wolfman, one of the partners in Wolfmill Entertainment. “Ponytailers combines that love for horses with strong human adventure stories and great, intriguing characters.”
Ponytailers has been running on the A Girl’s World (AGW) website since March of this year, receiving over 6,000,000 hits per month. AGW is the most popular internet site for girls that isn’t owned by a toy company, according to Alexa, the web information company that maintains archives and activity logs on the millions of websites on the internet. By Alexa’s ratings, AGW is in the top one-third of one percent (0.33%) of the internet in terms of popularity.
“Ponytailers works as a comic strip and will work as a TV series because it harkens back to classic children’s television. These shows, like Fury and My Friend Flicka, were huge hits and ran for years,” said Craig Miller, Wolfmill’s other partner. “But Ponytailers isn’t just adventure stories. Its contemporary stories show our characters dealing with today’s life – school, home, the prospect of dating — and the building of friendships between people from very different backgrounds.”
In addition to weekly installments of the Ponytailers comic strip, AGW also hosts a letter column, on-line chats with the writer and artist of Ponytailers, contests, games, and other educational and interactive activities directly related to Ponytailers and its contents.
The comic was created by writer Sarah Byam with artwork by Ric Estrada. Byam has been a professional writer for the past 14 years, creating and writing comics for Marvel, DC, Disney, Dark Horse, and other comics companies. She is also the founder and creative director of Labor of Love Studio, an art studio dedicated to community service projects. Estrada has worked in every facet of cartooning, commercial art, and journalism for companies ranging from McGraw Hill to DC Comics including time spent doing animation storyboarding, political cartooning, and artwork for romance comic books, Wonder Woman, and Amethyst Princess of Gemworld.
In addition to the 104 episode series Pocket Dragon Adventures still airing around the world and Ponytailers, Wolfmill Entertainment is also working on Astounding Space Thrills, based on another internet comic strip, and Elfquest, based on the internationally best-selling comic book series of the same name.
THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN
Regarding casting, the site reports that according to their inside informant, Monica Bellucci (who was slated to play Mina Harker) has exited the project due to personal reasons. While former contendant for the role, Saffron Burrows, is again under consideration… a new name has popped up in connection with the role. FilmForce reports that Milla Jovovich is now being considered for the only significant female role in the film.
Actor, Irfan Kahn, who was in negotiations for the role of Captain Nemo, has also moved on. The new likely candidate for that role is an actor named Naseeruddin Shah.
Formerly reported to be playing the role of Campion Bond, Richard Roxburgh will actually be playing the film’s mysterious villain, The Fantom. Also, Max Ryan will be playing The Fantom’s right-hand-man, named Dante.
The role of The Invisible Man has gone to Tony Curran, according to FilmForce. Curran was seen recently in the Marvel Comics-inspired Blade II as Priest, a member of the Bloodpack. Also cast is Tom Goodman-Hill in the role of British intelligence agent, Sanderson Reed and David Hemmings, who will be playing Nigel, a friend of Allan Quartermain (played by Sean Connery).
Finally, FilmForce says that changes have been made to the most recent draft of the screenplay which include a new supporting character, taken from the original Alan Moore graphic novel. The only say that the changes made, should make fans of the comic happy.
THIS WEEK ON SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH
Pop singer Vitamin C guest-stars on the encore presentation of “Cloud Ten,” this week’s episode of “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch”.
Sabrina’s (Melissa Joan Hart) depressed when Roxie (Soleil Moon Frye) and Morgan (Elisa Donovan) start becoming good friends, so she connects with an old friend (guest star Colleen Ann Fitzpatrick, aka Vitamin C) from the past to forget the present. Cathy takes Sabrina on a getaway to “Cloud Ten” where all her problems disappear, but the ecstasy only lasts for so long and Sabrina comes crashing back to reality. Series star Beth Broderick directed the episode written by Laurie Gelman.
“Cloud Ten” airs Friday, June 21st 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 WITCHBLADE
Sara investigates a rock and roll murder in “Static”, next week’s episode of Witchblade.
When a rock star meets his untimely demise, Sara (Yancy Butler) and Danny (Will Yun Lee) are called in on a series of strange homicides. But when Sara discovers that the killer is using a trail of mayhem to lure her into a trap, her investigation turns into a fight for the Witchblade.
“Static” airs Monday, June 24th at 9 p.m. on TNT. An encore showing airs Tuesday, June 25th at 11 p.m.
NEXT WEEK ON JUSTICE LEAGUE
Next Sunday night brings an encore airing of “In Blackest Night Part I,” on Justice League on Cartoon Network.
The Green Lantern faces an intergalactic tribunal and accusation of Genocide. It’s up to the Flash to defend him in court while the other League members uncover the truth.
“In Blackest Night Part I” airs Sunday, June 23rd at 7:00 p.m. on Cartoon Network. Additional showings are 7:00pm on Friday, June 28th and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday June 29th.
Cartoon Network gives you an extra episode of “Justice League” by scheduling a repeat of “War World Part I” on Saturday, June 22nd at 10:00p.m.
Also fans can catch the entire “Secret Origins” movie on the network’s Cartoon Theater show on Thursday, June 27th at 7:00p.m.