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PRIMATE

[Primate]
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Comics2Film caught up with writer Beau Smith this week, just as he returned from a tour of Hollywood. Smith was there pitching various properties for development.

Earlier in the year Smith told us about a comic and movie concept he’s been developing with screenwriter/producer Kevin Bernhardt. At the time the book was called Guerilla but since then the name has changed to Primate.

The comic, which features art by Mitch Byrd (Starship Troopers), is now finished. Primate was developed with funding from Idea + Design Works as both a comic and movie concept. It features a gorilla who uses his supernaturally expanded intellect to get revenge for the murder of his surrogate human father.

With the comic completed Smith and Bernhardt are now pitching to project to producers. His recent trip to California marks the beginning of that effort. “The ball has started rolling,” Smith said. “The reception was really good.”

The one-shot Primate comic is due out from Image next October. The book features a painted cover by sci-fi artist David Beck and a pencil and ink cover by Alex Garner (Danger Girl).

Smith tells us he also had pitch sessions on the recently published Parts Unknown and his western horror concept Wynnona Earp.

Smith also tells us he’s developing comic book concepts for action movie stars like Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Pearl Harbor, Planet of the Apes), Gary Daniels (Fist of the North Star) and Cynthia Rothrock (Tiger Claws).

THE ROAD TO PERDITION

The Road To Perdition led to Geneva, IL last week as production on that film resumed in that small town. Resident Ed J. Braddy was there to witness the event. “When I heard of the filming in my hometown of Geneva, I took Thursday (May 24th) off to watch. I shot 5 rolls of film,” Braddy said.

Braddy sent us a number of the pictures which include a couple of nice shots of the stars of the movie. The photo below “was taken when Tom Hanks was leaving his trailer for filming, which he did several times a day. He would always stop and wave to the crowd before getting in his ride,” Braddy said.

We have a similar image of co-star Jude Law leaving his trailer for filming.

[Tom Hanks]
[Jude Law]

“Most of the filming was in and around the Geneva Hotel,” Braddy says of our third image. “This photo was taken two days before filming when crews were changing store signs, window displays, etc.”

The Geneva movie theater bears a welcome greeting for the production crew. “I saw Star Wars at this theater when I was a kid,” Braddy tells us.

[Geneva Hotel]
[Geneva Theater]

The roads of Geneva were populated by classic cars for the depression-era filming. “During filming the old cars would drive by and loop back around (4 block loop),” Braddy said. “The owner of the Merra Lee store had an old sign in storage which the crew used.”

Of the long shot of Tom Hanks Braddy remarks, “After filming was finished (7pm), Tom threw his hat on the female to the left and waved to the crowd.”

The next three images show the crew of the movie setting up a shot around a classic car. Braddy comments, “I was told by one of the crew members that this car was for a close up shot of the son (Michael O’Sullivan, Jr.) honking the horn. I guess to warn his father?” The final image in this series shows a member of the lighting crew.

[Road to Perdition crew members]
[Road to Perdition crew members]
[Road to Perdition crew members]
[Road to Perdition crew members]

[Extras on the set of Road to Perdition]

Next we have an image that Braddy describes: “At one point I was able to walk through the set, no stars at that time, but I shot these extras sitting in front the Geneva Hotel.”

The next three images offer additional looks at the classic cars that filled the streets during the production. The third image features an actor in costume as a depression-era police officer. And finally we have an image of a member of the water crew doing his job. “They had to water down the set to match the rainy weather from filming earlier in the week,” Braddy tells us.

[The Set]
[The Set]
[The Set]
[Police Man]
[Water Crew]

Thanks to Ed J. Braddy for sharing his Road To Perdition images with C2F readers.

BRATS BIZARRE (AND OTHER CARL POTTS PROJECTS)

Former comic scribe and editor Carl Potts tells us that he’s working to develop a number of comic book properties as movies or TV shows. “We’ve got a variety of pitches out and we’re getting ready to do some more,” Potts told us. “I’m working with a management company in L.A.”

Most of the properties are from his days as editor of Marvel’s Epic comic line. One such project is Brats Bizarre. The 4 issue comic was written by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner and illustrated by Duke Mighten. Mills and Mighten teamed more recently on Batman: The Book of Shadows. “It’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High meets X-Men,” Potts said.

The concept is being pitched as a feature. Potts tells me he’s teamed with a prominent writer. Although he couldn’t name the writer he did tell C2F, “it’s someone who has worked on turning comics into screenplays before.”

Other projects Potts’ is developing include Hypersonic, The Last of the Dragons, Untamed and, of course, Alien Legion. Potts tells us Alien Legion is still in development with producer Don Murphy (From Hell) and screenwriter J.D. Zeik (Witchblade).

HELLBOY

[Vin Diesel]
Vin Diesel

The web’s been buzzing all week with reports linking rising star Vin Diesel (Pitch Black) to the lead role in the Hellboy movie. The comic’s creator, Mike Mignola let the news slip during a recent interview with The Oregonian.

According to the write-up Vin Diesel is now part the movie package that Dark Horse Entertainment is pitching to Universal. Director Guillermo del Toro has long been attached as writer and director on the film.

Comics2Film checked in with Dark Horse to see how solid the talk was. Our source told us, “There’s definitely talks going on, and there’s definitely interest on his part, but I don’t know that there’s been a full commitment yet.”

Dark Horse and Universal are both enthused about the prospect, “He’s actually perfect for it,” our source told us. “The project is set up and Universal and Universal is big fans of Vin Diesel, especially with Fast and the Furious coming out.”

We also checked with a different source who has ties to the project. Our source confirmed that the producer’s liked Diesel for the part. However, our source also said that Hellboy is “not a priority” for Universal right now. But who knows? If Diesel signs on it could throw down the gauntlet for Universal to fully commit with a green light.

R.I.P.D.

Writer/producer Peter Lenkov (Demolition Man, Level 9) told Comics2Film that work on his R.I.P.D. movie is proceeding. He recently turned in a draft of the script which garnered a favorable reaction.

“I’m going to do one last pass for them before it goes out to directors,” Lenkov tells us.

R.I.P.D. (Rest In Peace Department) was published as a comic by Dark Horse in late 1999. Lenkov tells us that he has another comic in the works with the publisher.

THE SPIRIT

Sources tell Comics2Film that there is renewed interest in a movie based on Will Eisner’s classic comic The Spirit. There’s a variety of Spirit memorabilia coming out such as action figures, T-Shirts, lunch boxes, etc. Our source tells us that this is due to an effort to build up the brand and, hopefully get the movie project going.

MUTANT X

Casting on the Mutant X TV show has been finalized. The Toronto Sun (via Jam! Showbiz) has revealed the actor who will play the ongoing villain of the piece. Award winning Canadian actor Tom McCamus has been cast in the role of Marcus Eckhardt, the mutant-hunting head of the Genetic Security Agency (GSA).

McCamus starred in the 1993 feature called I Love A Man In Uniform for which he won won a Genie award for Best Actor. More recently he can be seen in a supporting role in The Claim starring Wes Bentley.

Early casting sides described the GSA as “a completely covert intelligence service… that seeks out Mutants to bring them into the government’s custody. The government agency has converted a team of mutants to work for them in their mission to track down all the New Mutants. Each adventure will pit Mutant X against other equally powerful-or even more powerful-mutants, working for the GSA.”

The same casting sides named this character Albion Magnus. The name was likely changed due to potential confusion with a certain X-Men villain. The similarities between the two properties have lead to mutual lawsuits between Marvel and 20th Century Fox.

This dispute likely led to the following disclaimer which recently appeared on the official Mutant X site: “You may be aware that Marvel Entertainment, Fireworks Entertainment and Tribune Entertainment are named in a dispute with Twentieth Century Fox, with Fox claiming that there may be some confusion about a relationship between X-Men and our Mutant X. We have made it clear that the only relationship between X-Men and our Mutant X television series is that each originates with Marvel, the publisher of Spider Man, The Incredible Hulk and a whole host of other successful properties featuring superheroes. We want you to know that Mutant X is not based on the X-Men property and is not in any way related to, licensed or approved by, or associated with the motion picture X-Men or Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.”

Thanks to SkyFox for the lead!

SPIDER-MAN

[Green Goblin Sculpture]

On Friday Ain’t It Cool alerted its readers to an image of a great piece of design work for the Spider-Man movie. The work is a sculpture of the Green Goblin by Martin Smeaton. The image shows a very high-tech looking goblin armor, with the character perched atop the goblin glider. In the image, the character looks quite a bit more dramatic that it has in the previous set photos we’ve seen.

Smeaton has worked as a sculptor on many films including 102 Dalmations, Anna and the King and Batman and Robin. Images from all these films can be seen at Smeaton’s website.

Meanwhile, an inside sources told Anderson Jones of E! Online that fans shouldn’t get their hopes up about the upcoming Spider-Man theatrical trailer. Jones reports that a “true-blue fan” who got a peek at the footage give the trailer a thumbs-down. The reviewer told Jones that Tobey Maguire is “too indie-looking” and unconvincing as an action hero.

WITCHBLADE

A broadcast airing of the Witchblade TV movie lent strong ratings to the WB network according to Variety. The frog channel launched it’s Tuesday movie night with the hit movie from it’s sister cable station TNT.

The report indicates that movie drew 5.2 million viewers, easily topping the WB’s Tuesday season average (4.2 million).

The movie airs yet again on June 5, leading into the premiere of the limited series on June 12.

On Monday Top Cow announced that they, TNT and eBay have teamed up to raise money for the American Cancer Society through a special promotion for the upcoming Witchblade television series launching on June 12, 2001 at 9pm on TNT.

Beginning June 11th, eBay will host listings on its site for such unique items as Yancy Butler’s leather jacket from the TV film signed by the entire cast, signed episode scripts, original artwork from the Witchblade comic book and many other one of a kind items. All proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

“We’d been talking with eBay about doing a special promotion on their site for the Witchblade series,” says Top Cow President Matt Hawkins. “And since Witchblade co-creator Michael Turner has been fighting cancer for the past year it seemed a logical charity to donate the proceeds to.”

“TNT was thrilled to partner with Top Cow to provide the Witchblade signature items to benefit The American Cancer Society through eBay,” said Scot Safon TNT Marketing Senior Vice President. “It’s a great opportunity for Witchblade fans to get engaged in the fight against cancer.”

[Boucher]
Actress Laila Robins as Dominique Boucher

In other Witchblade news, TNT has released a photo of actress Laila Robins from the show. Robins plays Dominique Boucher, a character taken from the comics. She appears in the June 26th episode, “Diplopia.” She’s seen here wearing a Witchblade-like gauntlet.

Thanks to Dex for the lead.

THE TICK

If you missed the commercials promoting live-action Tick TV show then direct your browser to The Movieguy website. That site is running a sneak peek from the show. The two and a half minute trailers features scenes from the pilot as wells as clips from another episode featuring the Superman-esque character The Champion. The video is in RealMedia format.

Thanks to Firemeboy for the tip.

MAL CHANCE

Miramax Films has optioned the feature film rights to Platinum Studio’s Spanish comic book Mal Chance according to The Hollywood Reporter. Scott Murphy, writer of TV’s Angel has adapted the comic for the big screen.

Spain’s Martin Pardo and David Morancho created the comic which focuses on ” characters and stories surrounding a 2,000-year-old tradition of Chinese assassins from the Han Dynasty.”

The reporter provides this description for the screenplay: “Murphy’s script is described as romantic comedy disguised as a Hong Kong actioner. It follows Lola, a female Chinese assassin for the most powerful gangster in Chinatown, until her boss marks her for death. With her only hope of survival being to bring down her former employer’s entire crooked organization, she enlists the help of Dennis, an American rookie FBI (news – web sites) agent who is not aware of Lola’s true identity as a killer.”

Platinum Studios chairman and CEO Scott Mitchell Rosenberg is producing the project. Ervin Rustemagic and Gregory Noveck are co-producing. Blake Morrison is the associate producer.

CLOAK AND DAGGER

Variety reports that Cloak and Dagger will be the latest Marvel comic to head for the big screen. Dimension films is developing the tale of two runaways with mutant abilities.

According to the article, producer Rick Alexander and screen/comic writer David Tischman developed the concept and got Marvel’s Avi Arad excited about it. Arad is also producing with Marvel’s Kevin Feige serving as executive producer.

“I compare Cloak and Dagger with Blade, in that they aren’t the most high-profile Marvel properties, but audiences will identify with them,” Arad told Variety. “This will be an action-packed, exciting movie.”

ASTERIX AND OBELIX (I & II)

After a long wait it appears U.S. audiences will be able to see the big screen adventures of Asterix the Gaul. According to a write-up in Variety Miramax Films has acquired the U.S. rights to both the upcoming sequel Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra and the original Asterix and Obelix Vs. Caesar.

The $40 million Ceasar stars Christian Clavier (Just Visiting, Les Visiteurs) and Gerard Depardieu (Hamlet). As the most expensive French movie ever made, it went on to rake in $110 million worldwide.

The two stars return for the sequel, which is due out in France early next year. No date has been set for the U.S. release of the movie. However, the article does state that Miramax plans to screen Cleopatra before Caesar. The studio feels that Cleopatra director Alain Chabat will provide a greater draw for the material than Claude Zidi, director of the original.

SMALLVILLE

[Smallville]

Michael Rosenbaum is the latest actor to bring Superman’s nemesis to life. Rosenbaum told TV Guide that he’s thrilled to be playing the smooth pated Lex Luthor in the upcoming TV show Smallville. Rosuenbaum plans to “reinvent Lex Luthor. Everyone knows he’s evil. Now you’ll see why,” Rosenbaum said.

He’s also pleased as punch that Smallville will not find Superman in costume. “That’s cool. I just didn’t want to do some superhero thing.”

WONDER WOMAN

If dream-casting is any indication of how hotly anticipated a movie is, then the world can’t wait to see Wonder Woman. Eliza Dushku is the latest name to be dropped into the hat for potential Amazon stars. The rumor was reported by the Popcorn.co.uk website. Dushku is well-known to fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for her role as faith.

Popcorn checked the rumor with Silver Pictures who didn’t confirm or deny it. The only comment from Silver was, “the story is still in development and there’s no production office set up for the film yet.”

Dushku joins a long list of actresses who have been rumored for the part, including Lucy Lawless (Xena), Chyna (WWF Wrestler), Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sandra Bullock. While most of the casting talk has been simply rumor, the producers of the movie have talked openly about wanting to get Bullock for the part. Just last May producer Leonard Goldberg told Variety that there have been talks with the actress.

X-MEN 2

The results of the MTV Movie Awards air set to air on Thursday but the winners were announced on on Monday. The film had been nominated for a “Best Movie” award, which goes to Gladiator instead. The mutants also missed-out on the “Best On-Screen Team” award, which instead went to Charlie’s Angels. Finally “Breakthrough Performance, Male” went to Sean Patrick Thomas for his part in Save the Last Dance and not to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.

The CHUD website sat down with Jackman for an interview recently. While they neglected to ask Jackman about the MTV shut-out they did get some of the rising star’s thoughts on X-Men 2. Jackman told CHUD he things they’ll be shooting the movie in January or February.

“Everyone’s back. Bryan’s directing and I think there’s going to be a few more characters introduced,” The actor said. “The script is almost ready, but not quite. I ask for it all the time and it’s not quite ready.”

AKIRA

ICv2 reports that the 100,000 units of the special edition DVD of Akira have sold out. Orders for the DVD were to be taken up until June 19th. Pioneer, the makers of the special edition, had bumped production from 75,000 to 100,000 in an attempt to meet the demand on the product. The two-disk special edition ships in a collector’s tin and features a re-mastered and restored version of the film.

A regular edition of the movie will be available on DVD and on VHS on July 24th. The report indicates that the two-disc version will also be available without the limited-edition tin, but the release date for that is uncertain.

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