Comics2Film has learned that the big-screen version of Matt Wagner’s Mage has gotten a greenlight from Disney. Sources-in-the-know tell us that the studio has given the production its blessing to Spyglass Entertainment to move forward on it.
According to our source Disney is eager to make Mage it’s comic book offering for 2003.
In an interesting twist, our sources also tell us that the producers are hunting for a director for the project. F. Gary Gray (The Negotiator) has long been attached. However, the director has moved on to another project. Word is the producers are looking at an up-and-coming talent.
Once a director is signed, casting is likely to happen at a rapid pace. The producers are said to be eyeing a late-Fall production start.
In addition to the above news, Comics2Film has also learned that Hollywood has now turned an eye towards Matt Wagner’s Grendel.
Dark Horse Entertainment and Arsenal Entertainment are developing the project. Hans Rodionoff, who penned the script for Artisan and Marvel’s Man-Thing movie, is attached as writer. Rodionoff is currently out pitching the concept to studios.
“The response has been very positive,” Rodionoff told C2F. “More importantly, this is a story that Matt Wagner has signed off on and feels passionate about.”
The screenwriter’s take on the material focuses on the Christine Spar incarnation of the character, a starting point that Wagner was initially hesitant about.
“I always imagined it being Hunter Rose first,” Wagner said. However, Rodionoff’s pitch quickly dispelled any reluctance from the creator. “Literally several minutes into it I was completely sold.”
The comic creator said he feels that he and Rodionoff are in synch in their vision. “He knows his stuff. He’s incorporated a whole lot of Christine Spar’s storyline and the history of the Hunter Rose storyline,” Wagner said. “There were several things that he did adaptively that I had always considered, if I were to approach Grendel on screen.”
Mike Richardson is set to produce the project for Dark Horse with Kevin Hageman co-producing. Ian Unterreiner of Arsenal Entertainment is executive producing the project.
Like that of his previous movie, Blade 2 Guillermo del Toro plans to make the website for his next movie a destination worth visiting.
“We’re already starting to plan and plot the Hellboy website. We want it to be up a year before the movie,” the filmmaker told Comics2Film. The movie is slated for release in Summer of 2004, so the website will likely be up and running next year.
“What we want to do is make it, eventually an update for the fans. We will post every single piece of conceptual artwork, with the exception of the C’thulu-esque creatures which I want to remain a surprise,” del Toro said. Although diligent fans may even find those designs too, if they look hard enough.
“We’re thinking of all sorts of cool stuff for people to lose more of their time on the web,” the filmmaker promised. “If you have one hour to spend with your family, now you will have none.”
Variety reports that 20th Century Fox is repositioning Daredevil for release a month later than initially planned. The movie is now slated to debut February 14th in hopes that it’ll do Spider-Man-like box office.
“Audiences have demonstrated a tremendous appetite for comic superheroes in the last couple of years,” 20th Century Fox vice chairman Bob Harper told Variety. “We are very excited about unveiling the next big Marvel superhero on the first big holiday of the year.”
We’ve got a nice sneak peek courtesy of a spy on the set of the film. An anonymous photographer supplied ManWithoutFear.com with a photo of the Daredevil wardrobe, hanging on a rack on-set. Here, we reveal the image for the first time to both Comics2Film and ManWithoutFear.com viewers.
Star Ben Affleck took time out of his duties to attend the premiere of his latest blockbuster, Sum of All Fears. In Fears, Affleck plays a CIA hero, but he had a few comments to USA Today regarding the comic book hero he is currently playing.
“I left my horns at home,” Affleck joked to reporters. “But my hair is dyed red for it.”
Compared to Spider-Man, fans are expecting Daredevil to have a much darker tone, and grittier “city of crime” feel. However, Affleck said that he expects the film to be much lighter than the premiere he was attending. Affleck was quoted as saying “If it’s not a lot lighter than this, we’re sunk.”
Hopefully, we can still expect some blood and serious beatings in Daredevil, if not world-threatening terrorism.
THE TALE OF ONE BAD RAT
Comic-artist-turned-filmmaker Tom Lyle told Comics2Film that work is continuing on the adaptation of Bryan Talbot’s The Tale of One Bad Rat. Lyle is producing the movie with his wife Susan Paris Lyle, as well as writing the screenplay.
“The first draft of Bad Rat is done and is circulating within a select group of people,” Lyle told us. “Bryan will give his feedback/input as soon as he has time.”
Lyle also reports that producer Connie Zastoupil of CZ Filmworks in the Czech Republic is seeking studio backing for the project, with an eye towards filming much of it there. “Certain exteriors would be shot in Great Britain. That would make for a major cost savings in production costs,” Lyle said. “She has a copy of the first draft right now as well and I am waiting to get her feedback on it.”
Lyle reports that he is also now attached as director of the movie. He just completed helming a 20 minute segment of his other movie project Cleansing, written by Susan. CZ Filmworks has also shown interest in that project and plan to use the short as a pitch reel, and also as a demonstration of Lyle’s directing abilities for Bad Rat.
Lights Out Entertainment recently ran the report of a scooper who claims to have seen some filming on the currently in-production adaptation of The Hulk. The tipster claims, “The crew of Hulk [has] been in the Sequoia National Park recently shooting some scenes in which Jennifer Connelly is attacked by animals. The tipster did not see the animals, as they are to be added as CGI. However, he suspected the rumored “hulk dogs”, because “whatever it was supposed to be, it had to be BIG.”
By the way, another code word for a big film: “Hulk is going by ‘Big Green’… Yeah. That doesn’t give it away.”
Thanks to Dark Horizons for the lead.
There’s been some new casting on the X-Men 2 movie according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Ethan Embry (Can’t Hardly Wait) is said to be in negotiations to play Nightcrawler in the film. While newcomer Aaron Stafford has been cast as Pyro. Production is scheduled to begin in the summer for a May 2 release.
Embry is currently working with X-Men 2 producer Lauren Shuler-Donner on Paramount Pictures’ Timeline.
Thanks to Nikhil for the tip.
In other X2 news, Brian from Comic Book Conventions.com has told Comics2Film about a promotional tape for the movie that he had the opportunity to view.
“The first thing that struck me as funny was the way they kept referring to the movie as X-Men 2, not X2,” Brian says. He adds that the tape features interviews from the principal cast & crew of X-Men, including Hugh Jackman, Bryan Singer, Lauren Schuler-Donner, and Avi Arad, and that they confirm the return of most original cast members. Among the returning cast mentioned are Ian McKellan and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.
The film will feature some of the “Junior X-Men”, specifically Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Pyro… and Nightcrawler. “They showed production sketches that struck me as funny because Nightcrawler wasn’t wearing anything from the waist up,” Brian says. “They talked about how Nightcrawler looked demonic but was actually very religious.” Brian adds that there was mention of a villian named “Stryker”, but no details were given.
Fans can breathe a sigh of relief, as the video confirmed we will “see more of the X-Mansion,” according to Brian. “They confirmed that there will be a Danger Room sequence.”
Director Bryan Singer, who felt confined in his storytelling in X-Men because of the need to introduce characters, says he has more freedom to tell “the story he wants to tell.”
Finally, Nick Setchfield of SFX Magazine spoke with Patrick Stewart recently. Fortunately for us, Stewart had a few things to say about the X-Men movies.
It’s widely recognized that the first X-Men film was hampered by a relatively small budget – half that of the budget of Spider-Man according to some reports. “In any case, I always felt [the first] was just an extended trailer [for the second],” Stewart said. “It was sort of ‘This is who the X-Men are, this is the kind of thing that they do, and that’s all we can tell you for now.’ It was an establishing movie.”
Stewarts comments confirm that the sequel will be much bigger in scope, but he says that’s not all that’s different. “The script for X2 is very different in tone from the first one. I’m happy to say that this screenplay now assumes that everyone knows what’s going on, and who we are,” Stewart said. Now that we know most of the characters and their motivations, the sequel skims over these elements, and thusly Stewart said “the script is almost entirely given over to plot and character growth and development.”
Stewart is at an interesting time in his career, being a central character to two of the most popular genre film franchises in history. What does he think of that? “I suppose Fox thinks they might have got their hands on their very own Star Trek [type franchise], which is a curiosity for me, given that one is apparently winding down while the other is just starting up.”
As far as the often fluid relationship between film and comic books, Stewart mentioned exerting a small iota of influence on an X-Men comic book. “There was a comic book which was Next Generation meets the X-Men,” he laughed. “And they wanted to put me on the cover. This was right at the beginning of my involvement in X-Men, and I was able to use some influence to say ‘I think it would be best if you didn’t do that,’ because I knew there was a chance I might end up playing both parts. The curiosity is that now we will have Star Trek X, of course which only adds to the confusion.”
Of course fans often recognize the distinguished actor, and he relayed a comical incident in which “…someone came up to me in Long Beach and said ‘I love your work, everything you do, but I especially love you in Star Wars and X-Files!’ It’s remarks like that which really put the whole thing into perspective.”
The latest report from Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo tells us that Spider-Man broke more box office records over the weekend, including securing it’s place in the Top 10 money making movies of all time.
The film’s domestic take now stands at an estimated $316,557,000, a figure which would make it #8 on the all-time movie chart, ranking above The Lion King, The Lord of the Ring: The Fellowship of the Ring, Return of the Jedi and Independence Day. Gray predicts the movie will climb to #6 by the end of the long Memorial Day weekend.
As expected the movie also set the record for reaching the $300 million mark faster than any prior competitors. The tally hit $305,110,000 on Friday — its 22nd day of release. This is six days faster than Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace did it.
TURTLES COWA-COMEBACK TO DVD!
The heroes on the half-shell have been plotting and planning their comeback with multiple projects targeted at the big and small screen. Now, New Line Home Video has announced that the entire slate of the first series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action movies will be released on DVD this year.
The first film is already part of New Line’s available DVD titles. It’s priced at $14.98.
On September 3rd of 2002, the second and third installments of the feature franchise will also be available, with an MSRP of $14.94. Here’s how New Line describes the sequels:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The turtles are up to their shells in trouble when a canister of toxic ooze falls into the hands of the evil Master Shredder. Aided by their new pal Keno, the pizza delivery boy, the Turtles take on Shredder and his mutant allies, Rahzar and Tokka, to capture and destroy the dangerous ooze and make the world safe again for Turtles, humans and pizza!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: America’s most awesome amphibians are back and this time they’re history in this motion picture adventure. When a magic scepter accidentally transports April back through time to 17th century Japan, the turtles takeoff in hot pursuit, cowabunging their way out of the sewers right into Samurai-O-Rama! Now they must battle the evil Lord Norinaga to reclaim the magic scepter that will bring them back below the subways of New York City. So join the heroes in the half-shell in a totally turtle-rific trip through time.
The turtle sequels are part of a slate of six family-oriented releases for September. Other titles include Monkey Trouble (starring Thora Birch and Harvey Keitel), Surf Ninjas, Mr. Nanny and Suburban Commando.
Monkeypeaches.com reported that Chow Yun-Fat recently celebrated his 47th birthday on the set of his current film the big screen translation of the comic book Bulletproof Monk. Monkeypeaches also posted a photo from the film. The photo shows the film’s two stars, Yun-Fat and Sean William Scott, running down the middle of a busy city street
Thanks toDark Horizons for the lead.
WITCHBLADE SEASON 2
Variety followed up on last week’s reports that filming on TNT’s Witchblade TV show has been halted while star Yancy Butler enters rehab for alcohol treatment.
One new bit in the Variety write-up cites “insiders close to the show” who say they are eager for Butler to return to work following completion of her treatment. However the producers and network have also “put feelers out for a replacement.”
BIRDS OF PREY
Gotham Clock Tower has conducted an exclusive interview with Laeta Kalogridis, a writer/producer working on the upcoming WB series, Birds of Prey.
In the interview, Kalogridis reveals that the pilot draws inspiration from the Birds of Prey and Batman comics, as well as The Killing Joke, The Dark Knight Returns, and Batman: The Animated Series. According to Kalogridis, “We were kind of pulling from other places within DC mythology and bringing them all together under that name. But it’s actually a wider net than the Birds of Prey title itself.” She was attracted to the project because of her love of strong female characters, along with being a fan of the comics.
Kalogridis offered this observation on her hope for the success of the show: “We’ve created something that we thought was a good story and then we just hope that people will agree with this when they watch it.”
For the complete interview, including information about the show’s stars, Harley Quinn’s role in the series, and Terry McGinnis and Nightwing’s chances of appearing on the show, visit Gotham Clock Tower.
LADY DEATH: THE ANIMATION
Yesterday ADV Films announced its “Lady Death Endless Graveyard Contest.” This contest gives fans a chance to be a part of ADV’s upcoming original production Lady Death — an animated film based on Chaos! Comics’ most popular creation.
One grand prize winner will be selected to have his or her name inscribed onto one of the key gravestones seen in the film. The grand prize winner will also receive an original animation cel set-up of the scene signed by the producers. Five runners-up will also be selected to have their names included on gravestones in the film’s Endless Graveyard.
To enter the contest, fans must design their very own tombstone, then send a copy of that design along with the official entry form — available for downloading and printing on the ADV website — to ADV Films’ home office in Houston. The contest will be judged by Lady Death producers Carl Macek and Andy Orjuela, who will pick the design they feel is most creative and best embodies the spirit of the project.
All entries must be postmarked by July 13, 2002. The grand prize winner will be announced during ADV’s Lady Death panel at the San Diego Comic-Con International in August.
For more information about the contest, including complete contest rules and entry form, visit the official “Lady Death Endless Graveyard Contest” page.
Temuera Morrison, who is currently playing the fearsome bounty hunter Jango Fett in Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, has revealed his next film project.
According to Dark Horizons Morrison told fans attending the SciFiExpo in Plano, Texas that he has signed on to the film adaptation of Moebius’ Blueberry. Blueberry stars Vincent Cassel and Eddie Izzard. Production is sent to wrap by the end of the year.
Chow Yun-Fat a Website On Fire recently posted a picture from the Upcoming Bullet Proof Monk translation. The picture is of stars Yun-Fat and Sean William Scott together.
The site also posted the report of a scooper named Monkey Peaches. On May 20th, he wrote, “A news conference of Bulletproof Monk will be held in Cannes this morning. Sean William Scott and James King will attend but Chow Yun-fat stays in Toronto. Taiwan’s Mun Sang Poh reports some mockup mountain has been built inside a soundstage. Chow Yun-fat is wearing a tightly buckled jacket protecting the sacred sutra tattooed on his body. During the final fight scene, he will remove the jacket and unveil the sutra.”
Thanks to Dark Horizons for the lead.
Dark Horizons reported that a French newspaper named Liberation wrote that French director Pitof has signed to direct the Catwoman movie starring Ashley Judd. The newspaper wrote that Pitof signed the Catwoman deal the other day in Cannes.
Eli McElmurray sent in some info on the upcoming Smallville DVD. The disc recently began appearing in catalogs for outlets in Canada, where it’ll enjoy an exclusive release.
McElmurray also sent along a picture of the video’s box art. It’s due out June 11th and has the following extra:
THIS WEEK ON JEREMIAH
Anticipating a confrontation with Valhalla Sector, Marcus looks for allies. It’s a crucial turning point in “Tripwire,” this week’s episode of Jeremiah written by J. Michael Straczynski.
Marcus (Peter Stebbings) begins forging alliances with those strong enough to oppose Valhalla Sector forces, including the residents of the nearby town of Camden, which still contains a nuclear arsenal. The episode is written by Straczynski and directed by Neill Fearnley.
“Tripwire” airs Friday, May 31st at 10:45 P.M. on Showtime. There will also be an encore on Sunday, June 2nd on Showtime Beyond East 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.
THIS WEEK ON SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH
I Dream of Jeanie star Barbara Eden guest stars with Country Music Star Andy Griggs on “The Arrangement,” this week’s episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.
Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) defies her Great Aunt Irma’s (guest star Barbara Eden) wishes about an arranged marriage with a handsome witch (guest star Greg Vaughan, Charmed) from the Other Realm. When his affections turn towards Roxie (Soleil Moon Frye), Sabrina must try to break them up and walks in on his bachelor party complete with a bar room performance by country music singer Andy Griggs (hit single “You Won’t Ever Be Lonely”). Ken Koch directed the episode written by Rosalind Moore.
“The Arrangement” airs Friday, May 31st 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 SMALLVILLE
Clark must protect Lex from a deadly, invisible force in an encore presentation of “Shimmer”, the June 4th episode of Smallville.
A teen girl’s (guest star Azura Skye, 28 Days) obsession with Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) turns life-threatening when invisible attacks in Luthor Mansion pits Clark (Tom Welling) against an undetectable enemy. Meanwhile, Clark is thrilled when Lana (Kristin Kreuk) looks to him for companionship after Whitney (Eric Johnson) inexplicably pushes her away. D.J. Caruso directed the episode written by Michael Green & Mark Verheiden.
“Shimmer” airs Tuesday, June 4th at 9:00 p.m. ET on The WB network.
Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.