An adaptation of James Hudnall’s 1998 comic Devastator may be headed for the small screen soon. Producer David Engel told Comics2Film that he currently has the concept in development as a TV series with Jerry Bruckheimer Television.
Ralph Hemecker, who helmed the highly successful Witchblade TV movie and serves as executive producer on the series, is attached to to direct Devastator. “We’re hoping it’s going to be Ralph’s next series. Ralph has blown up from Witchblade and wants to do it,” Engel said.
The comic takes place in future Los Angeles where everyone has neural interface sockets in the backs of their necks. When a troubled ex-cop named John Black plugs in a mood chip to alleviate his sorrows he gets more than he bargained for. The tampered chip turns him into a programmed killer out to assassinate the Mayor of L.A.
Engel and Hudnall previously teamed up to bring the comic Harsh Realm to TV, a project that went very badly for the pair. Engel feels that Devastator will be a completely different experience. “Jim and I feel really good about Devastator with Bruckheimer and Ralph Hemecker, a great guy.”
Bruckheimer TV is responsible for the critically acclaimed, award-winning CBS drama C.S.I.
Comics2Film spoke with a representative for Mad Chance Productions in a follow-up to last week’s article on the animated feature Ash. The DreamWorks film is an adaptation of Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti’s comic book about a fire-fighter turned super-hero.
Contrary to our previous report, our source at Mad Chance tells us that Kevin Kerwin is not a new writer on the project. However, our source did say that the producers are starting to look for new pitches on the film. “It’s been a backburner project for a while. We’re trying to get it back into active development,” the spokesperson for Mad Chance told C2F.
WEREWOLF BY NIGHT
The 4Filmmakers database now lists John Fasano as the writer on the Werewolf By Night movie. Fasano’s credits include the made-for-TV war movie The Hunley and the theatrical films Universal Soldier: The Return and Another 48 Hrs. He also directed a string of late-80’s horror flicks like The Jitters, Black Roses and Rock and Roll Nightmare.
Comics2Film has been unable to confirm Fasano’s involvement with the movie. However our sources have informed us that someone has definitely been hired to write the film at this point, so it may be Fasano.
Contrary to recent online reports, controversial rock personality Marilyn Manson will not be scoring the From Hell movie. Reports had indicated that Manson had landed the job after and had visited the London set of the film.
However, producer Don Murphy told Comics2Film that the reports are false. According to Murphy, Manson never visited the set of the movie and has never been a candidate to provide the film’s musical score. Murphy did tell us that it’s possible that the shock rocker may provide one song for the sound track.
GHOST RIDER, FROM HELL
The Cannes Film Festival ran last week as film buyers from all over the world check out upcoming movies. A couple for advertisements for comic book movies that were seen at the festival have popped up French Premiere website.
First up is From Hell, the adaptation of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s acclaimed graphic novel. The poster is dominated by blood-tinted close-ups of Johnny Depp and Heather Graham. The dark space between the faces is “ripped” open revealing the silhouetted image of the killer.
Also available at the Premiere site is a poster for Ghost Rider. The spirit of vengeance rides in full-blaze on this one. The painted artwork looks more like the nineties version of the comic character, rather than the Bernie Wrightson movie designs that hit the web last week.
Activision has released preview images from the upcoming Spider-Man: The Movie video game. The video game maker recently announced the title for both Sony’s Playstation 2 and Nintendo’s Gamecube. The vendor’s website features four impressive screenshots from the game, including images of Spidey, The Vulture and The Shocker.
Spider-Man Hype reports that a number of interesting Spider-Man movie props were on display at the recent E3 electronic entertainment convention. They’ve scored a number of interesting images from the event.
The first image comes from their pals at Gaming-Age.com. It provides the first look at the Green Goblin’s pumpkin bomb. They also grabbed a number of images from the Happy Puppy gaming site which provide a nice, close-up view of the hero’s web-shooters.
In other Spidey news Sci Fi Wire spoke with Lucy Lawless about her walk-on part in the movie. Lawless is married to Rob Tapert, her executive producer on Xena: Warrior Princess and a partner of director Sam Raimi.
“I ran up to St. Marks Place with some of the wardrobe women/stylists on the movie, and we bought all this punk-rocker stuff. So I had studs in my nose, a short spiky wig and lots of earrings. I’m dragging on cigarettes,” Lawless said of her Spidey experience. “So I do this tiny little blink-and-you-miss-it cameo, but it was such fun. It was all fun and no responsibility. It was fun to wear these clothes, these punk pants and a ripped stocking shirt and great big black boots. It looked like I’d stomped on a couple of hedgehogs. And I wore it all the way home, because I wanted Rob to see my new look.”
Comics2Film caught up with comic creator Matt Busch at the recent Motor City Comic Con. Busch told us that he’s working to bring his creator-owned comic Alizarin’s Journal to the small screen. Busch is well acquainted with the showbiz industry having lent his artistic talents to dozens of movies and TV shows like Star Wars – Episode I, The Matrix, Millennium and Everybody Loves Raymond. His paintings have graced numerous book covers and a number of comic covers as well.
Alizarin’s Journal centers on Alizarin McKinnely, a scholar of parapsychology who travels the world with her pet guinea pig studying ancient cultures. She records her supernatural experiences in the titular journal.
“The vibe for it would be somewhere in the middle of X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Busch said. Alizarin has the rich characterizations of the Buffy cast but is closer in tone to X-Files.
Busch said that he favors the concept as a TV show over a movie. “It’s more of an ongoing series of character development and all kinds of possibilities more than a complete unified story that could just happen in two hours.”
The comic creator had taken the property around Hollywood last year and pitched the concept to a number of producers. He even created an animated trailer to help sell it. The trailer takes Busch’s rich, painted artwork and animates it using what Busch calls, “South Park technology.” It can be downloaded at Mattbusch.com.
Although the trailer is animated Busch envisions the show as working better in live-action. “I think with animation the problem is that all the supernatural stuff tends to get lost as you’re watching the cartoon,” Busch told us. “A lot of the subtleties might end up being more Scooby Doo and not really scary because you’re not really watching real people.”
Only one issue of Alizarin’s Journal was published in black and white by Avatar Press in 1999. Busch tells us he plans to continue the painted series as a full color comic elsewhere.
Currently Busch has just wrapped up work on a How To Draw Peanuts book. He’s also painting the toy packaging for the Reservoir Dogs action figures from Palisades, Lexx trading cards for Dynamic Forces and covers for the upcoming Shi/First Wave crossover.
Our good buddy Dex_sf, Witchblade aficionado that he is, has rounded up a nice episode guide for the June episodes of Witchblade: The Limited Series. The info comes straight from TNT’s online listings and provides additional info over our previous reports.
Comics2Film has also obtained TNT’s July schedule, which lists 5 new episodes. As an added bonus the network has released two snazzy new pictures from the show. All episodes air Tuesdays at 9PM (ET), with encore presentations at 11PM (ET).
Here is your Witchblade episode guide:
Warning! The descriptions contain major spoilers!
Original Movie – Airs: June 5. Fans who missed the TNT original movie that started it all can catch an encore showing of it at 9PM and 11PM June 5.
Episode 1 – Parallax – Airs: June 12, (Special Encore: 11PM June 30). Principal Actors: Kathryn Winslow. Description: “Learning to adapt to her companion – the Witchblade, and her new partner Jake McCarthy, Sara Pezzini’s role in the Rialto Theater incident from the pilot episode is questioned during a hostile meeting with the . Joe Siri announces he is retiring and that his replacement will be CAPTAIN JOE DANTE. Sara and Jake tangle with Ian Nottingham over a deranged ex-special forces soldier who’s out to kill Ken Irons.”
Episode 2 – Conundrum – Airs: June 19. Principal Actors: Kathryn Winslow, Laila Robins, Malin Ackerman, William Corno. Description: “Sara and Jake are caught up in the world of high fashion when a stunning young model is murdered. Sara’s connection to the legacy of the Witchblade becomes more mysterious when she uncovers a link between her past and the dead model’s roommate. As the investigation progresses, Sara’s instincts lead her to Kenneth Irons, his ex-lover and owner of a prestigious modeling agency.”
Episode 3 – Diplopia – Airs: June 26. Principal Actors: John Hensley, Laila Robins, Anthony Lemke, Rory Feore, Peter Cockett, Shaun Austin-Olsen. Description: “When Sara and Jake investigate the murder of a prominent Soho art dealer, they quickly narrow their search to an artist who turns out to be one of an unknown number of identical brothers connected to the myth of the Witchblade. Sara seeks answers about the Witchblade from the incarcerated Dominique Boucher and internet artifacts dealer, Gabriel Bowman.”
Episode 4 – Sacrifice – Airs: July 3. Description: Ancient Celtic sacrificial rites are being re-enacted on the streets of New York. Sara encounters a handsome, Irish alt-rocker, who may be the murderer she is seeking, or the reincarnation of a medieval Celtic bard who was Sara’s lover when she lived as Cathain, Ireland’s legendary warrior princess. Kenneth Irons tempts Sara with clues about the murders from a mysterious manuscript.
Episode 5 – Legion – Airs: July 10. When a respected Catholic priest is brutally murdered by one of his students, Donny Woo appears with the ghost of the dead priest to give Sara direction. The priest reveals that he was murdered to conceal a controversial bargain that suggest the Nazi’s and the Vatican were allies during WWII, and that the Witchblade was used to seal the deal.
Episode 6 – Maelstrom – Airs: July 17. True to the Celtic legend of Conchobar and Cathain, Sara races against a ticking clock to save her new love when he’s kidnapped and used as bait by an anti-terrorist group intent on arresting his brother for past IRA deed. In the end, the battle for Conchobar’s life becomes a battle for the Witchblade.
Episode 7 – Periculum – Airs: July 24. No description provided.
Episode 8 – Thanatopsis – Airs: July 31. No description provided.
4Filmmakers, the massive database of Hollywood projects, caused a stir last week when it updated its listing for X-Men 2. The update included the addition of a new screenwriter and two new cast members.
4Filmmakers listed Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal) and Scott Caan (Gone in 60 Seconds) as the new cast members. Speculation among fans was that Hopkins could provide the voice for the Beast while Caan might play Gambit.
Comics2Film checked with Kevin Feige at Marvel to see if the rumors had any truth to them. Feige was an associate producer on the first movie and is directly involved with the development of all of Marvel’s new films. He tells us there have been no discussions regarding new cast member for the movie. “I don’t know where they get this stuff,” Feige said.
However, Feige could not confirm or deny the news that Zak Penn (Reign of Fire) had been tapped to work on the screenplay.
After a long wait fans will finally get to see the hilarious live-action version of Ben Edlund’s The Tick. The newly announced Fox TV Fall schedule has the big blue arachnid slotted to air Thursday nights at 8:30pm.
The slot doesn’t look to be a great place to launch the quirky show. The 8:00pm lead-in on Fox is the animated Family Guy which has been off the air for more than a year. The comedy block will face tough competition from NBC’s “must-see” comedies, anchored by Friends and from CBS’s reality phenom Survivor.
The Tick stars Patrick Warburton as the none-too-bright superhero and David Burke as Arthur, a former accountant turned sidekick. The show is written and produced by Edlund. Barry Sonnenfeld (Men In Black) directed the first episode and is also a producer. Larry Charles (Seinfeld) is also on board as a writer and executive producer. Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest) also directed an episode.
Here’s how Fox describes the show:
“In the city known as The City, crime fights back. And where the forces of good are hip-deep in evil, there is The Tick! Armed only with his invulnerability, this big blue defender of all that is right patrols The City’s rooftops – not for fame, not for money, but for the love of his demanding mistress, a notion called Justice. At the Tick’s side is Arthur, an accountant who scorned the fuzzy security blanket of Corporate America to pursue his destiny as a heroic moth. Despite their odd-couple like tendencies, they both share a common dream – to fight evil. Accompanying them on their heroic exploits is Captain Liberty a patriotic superperson whose light from her torch of righteousness sends the roaches of wrong scurrying back to their dank, filthy crevices. Also joining the crusade is the suave Bat Manuel, whose Latin charm is as big as his wingspan.
“Production Company: Sonnenfeld/Josephson Worldwide Entertainment in association with Columbia TriStar Television; Executive Producer/Writer: Ben Edlund (‘The Tick’ comic book and animated series); Executive Producer/Director: Barry Sonnenfeld (‘Men in Black,’); Executive Producers: Barry Josephson, David Sacks, Larry Charles
“Cast: Patrick Warburton as The Tick, David Burke as Arthur, Liz Vassey as Captain Liberty, Nestor Carbonell as Bat Manuel.”
Patrick Stewart (X-Men) will lend his voice to a Transmetropolitan animated series according to Corona Coming Attractions. Word from that website is that the comic’s creator Warren Ellis, is cutting a deal with Sony Digital to make a series of Transmet shorts for their upcoming Screenblast.com venture.
Ellis will be writing the show. Stewart is attached as the lead, Spider Jerusalem. He’s also producing along with his wife Wendy Neuss-Stewart.
Back in January Ellis made a posting on his website suggesting the above deal. Ellis told his fans, “There are, once again, plans afoot to develop TRANSMET for other media in ways that would not see it reduced to a PG or prime-time dilution, and an agreement to collaboration has been signed with a famous and well-respected actor.”
Corona also claims that Ellis is at work on a new treatment for a Transmet live-action movie. Word is that Robin Williams is interested in the role of Royce, Jerusalem’s editor.
UpcomingMovies.com reports that Ghost World will enjoy an August 3rd release after all. However the initial release of the movie will be limited, with a wide-release following in September. There may be an interim wider release between the limited and wide release of the film.
The movie continues the build positive buzz. The May/June issue of Film Comment magazine contains what may be the first print review of the movie. The magazine is on the stands now. Film Comment has provided this excerpt from Mark Olsen’s review for Comics2Film readers:
“Most everybody’s felt it, at one time or another. That I-don’t-belong/where-did-I-go-wrong? feeling. Some feel it more than others, or maybe some just hide it better, pushing it to the back of their minds and quietly trudging ahead with their inner demons and their deepest fears beside them. And some succumb, boarding themselves up inside lean-tos of despair. Ghost World, directed by Terry Zwigoff and written by Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes, creator of the comic book/graphic novella on which it’s based (originally serialized from 1993 to 1997 and now available as a stand-alone book), fitfully essays a small circle of loners and losers perennially stuck in the psychic crawl-space between their fears and ambitions. With the same gentle grace he brought to Crumb, his documentary portrayal of acclaimed cartoonist and unrepentant misfit R. Crumb, Zwigoff’s latest film forges a deep personal connection to material that could easily have been a glossing and smirking hipster’s holiday.
Clowes has been a vital part of the American alternative intelligentsia ever since his emergence in 1989 with the underground comic Eightball. Mixing the Zen sparseness of hardboiled fiction with a piercing radar for the bogus, in stories like Art School Confidential Clowes pulled off the strange feat of scornful mockery and delicate celebration at the same time – his barbs stung so sharply that they could only have come from someone who was well-acquainted with those foibles.”
In other Ghost World reporting, The Thora Birch News website had announced that the film will enjoy a premiere screening in at the Seattle International Film Festival. The movie will screen on June 16 at 9:30 pm at the Egyptian Theatre and June 17 at 1:45 pm also at the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets are now on sale at the Seattle International Film Festival website.
THE ROAD TO PERDITION
Filmmaker and mogul Stephen Spielberg is employing the Angel of Death to free himself from commitments to 20th Century Fox. Today’s Variety reports that Spielberg’s involvement with the studio is one of the motives behind a deal with his own DreamWorks Pictures, which has Fox purchasing half the stake in The Road To Perdition. The Angel of Death is the nickname for the hitman character played by Tom Hanks in that film.
Although the already-in-production film, which is directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes (American Beauty) seems like a sure money maker, word is DreamWorks is smarting from the high salaries of the cast. In addition, part of Spielberg’s agreement to direct Tom Cruise in Minority Report gives Fox the option on a future Spielberg movie.
The pact on The Road would alleviate the film’s budget burden and also free Spielberg from that commitment.
Pueblo Film Licensing has filed a $20million lawsuit against Warner Bros. and DC Comics over the recent release of the Superman movies on DVD according to Inside.com. Pueblo is the successor-in-interest to Alexander Salkind, the producer on the movies. Pueblo claims that Warner Bros. had a contractual obligation not to release the third and fourth installments of the film in any new medium without the consent of Salkind or his successors.
According to the lawsuit, the re-editing of the films for DVD release has jeopardized the movies’ creative integrity and constitutes an unlawful use of materials owned by Pueblo.
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