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G-MEN FROM HELL

[G-Men]

Producer Rick Albert told Comics2Film that the G-Men From Hell movie has been the recent recipient of praise outside the comic reading public. Albert recently screened the movie at the Cinequest film festival in San Jose. Director Christopher Coppola and producer Joe Vittorie were also in attendance.

Unlike last year’s showing in San Diego, the audience at Cinequest was largely made up of people who had never heard of Mike Allred and the comics that the movie is based on. According to audience exit cards at the two screenings, 75%-80% of the moviegoers rated the film “very good” or “excellent.”

The screening also led to a positive write-up in Variety. “What was amazing was how much they understood what Christopher was doing,” Albert said. “They understood exactly what his approach was. They compared us favorably to Dick Tracy…which isn’t bad.”

Albert is currently negotiating a distribution deal for the film. He’s leaning heavily for a theatrical release for the movie. “I’m not going to rush into a deal that’s going to hurt the picture. I believe the movie should be put in theaters,” Albert said. “Clearly, there’s an audience out there for it.”

GHOST RIDER

[Ghost Rider]

Producer/director/screenwriter/comic writer David Goyer told Comics2Film that things seem to be progressing nicely on the Ghost Rider movie.

“I have turned in the first draft of Ghost Rider,” Goyer said. “We are having a meeting with all parties tomorrow to discuss forward progress.”

Goyer also told us that he feels the movie is likely to roll shortly after the Hollywood strikes.

ZEN INTERGALACTIC NINJA

Steve Stern told Comics2Film that there are plans to promote the live-action Zen Intergalactic Ninja movie at the Cannes Film Festival. “Peter Chan has told me that he is going to produce a trailer for the movie in Shanghai starting next week.”

Work progresses on the movie, which will be filmed in China. Stern told us that there are exciting developments afoot, but none that can be announced at this point.

MR. MONSTER

Mr. Monster creator Michael T. Gilbert tells us that he’s still working on bringing his monster-hunting creation to animated life. The character had previously been optioned by Nelvana for a possible series. However that option has lapsed and Gilbert is shopping the concept around to other outlets.

Mr. Monster features the high-octane exploits of “Doc” Strongfort Stearn, a costumed, gun-toting scientist and monster chaser. It’s a quirky blend of super-heroes and EC style horror. A trade paperback collection called Mr. Monster: his Books of Forbidden Knowledge Vol. 0 is due out in July. If features reprints of hard-to-find stories and also previously unpublished material.

DAN DARE

Sources in the know have given Comics2Film a few bits of information on the Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future TV series. 

A few weeks back we reported on some Dan Dare images that could be found on animator Rob Powers‘ website. However, our sources tell us that those images are not part of the latest development efforts of the show. The episode that the images came from has been redone by Foundation Imaging to keep it looking consistent with the rest of the series.

We’ve also heard through the grapevine that Marvel’s Rick Ungar is an Executive Producer on the show. However, at this point C2F has not been able to confirm this information.

BARBARELLA

Comics2Film has learned that the first draft of the Barbarella script has been completed and turned in. Screenwriter John August penned the draft. The project reunites August with his Charlie’s Angels producer and star Drew Barrymore.

MEN IN BLACK 2

According to The Hollywood Reporter Famke Janssen may follow up her role as Jean Grey in X-Men with an appearance in another comic book movie. The trades announced that the actress is in  negotiations to play the lead villain in the soon-to-lens Men In Black 2. Janssen’s character is said to be a “bombshell” named Serleena.

The movie is set to film in June with Barry Sonnenfeld returning to the director’s chair and Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones wearing the black suits. The article confirms that Rosario Dawson (Josie and the Pussycats) is set to play Rita, Smith’s love interest. Patrick Warburton (The Tick) and Johnny Knoxville (Jackass) are also slated to appear. The article makes no mention of Linda Fiorentino.

X-MEN VS. MUTANT X

It’s mutant against mutant in U.S. District Court this week as both 20th Century Fox Film Corp. and Marvel Enterprises, Inc. filed opposing lawsuits in a dispute over the currently in-development TV show Mutant X.

According to the Associated Press report Fox feels the new TV show cheapens their X-Men movie franchise and violates their contracts with Marvel. The contracts allowed creation of the X-Men movie and sequels in the future. However, the contracts also forbade the development of any related live-action TV shows without Fox’s written consent.

Fox alleges that Mutant X characters and premises are virtually identical to X-Men and that the show has been marketed with similar logos and artwork in order to try to link the show to the movie.

Marvel also filed suit against Fox disputing the merits of the studio’s case. Marvel asserts that Mutant X is totally different from X-Men in terms of character likenesses, character names, character personalities, underlying premise and individual episode stories. Marvel also asserts that it can’t be found to be infringing on its own trademarks and wants a declaratory judgment from the court that it had done nothing wrong.

Marvel points to the timing of Fox’s suit stating, “Fox has carefully waited until the last-minute to strike, a time when it would be the most difficult in all ways to cease production of the series.” Cameras are set to roll on Mutant X on June 4.

HULK

In recent interviews director Ang Lee had made some comments about reworking David Hayter’s Hulk screenplay, which had received raves from insiders. This prompted much debate among fans: Was this just a tweaking of the allegedly terrific script? Was it a complete rewrite? Would it slow down the development of the movie?

Seemingly in answer to these questions the director spoke to USA Today about the work he’s doing on the project. “I wasn’t particularly taken with the existing script that Universal prepared,” Lee told USA Today.

Lee then told the national paper that he wants to explore the project on three levels. 

“Scientifically, I am doing an academic study on how a cell can expand and how a person can become a Hulk,” Lee said.

“Technically, I am asking myself, ‘How do I create the Hulk?’ You can’t have a big guy, paint him green and put comic book pants on him. The Hulk is not human. He’s 9 to 12 feet tall, 1,500 pounds. I guess I’ll go with digital (photorealistic animation).

“Culturally, I need to know, ‘Why does it work?’ On a psychological level, ‘Why is he so popular?'”

So, it sounds like fans will have to wait a little longer before the Hulk makes his big-screen transformation.

Thanks to IGN Film Force for the lead.

BALL AND CHAIN

Sasha Alexander is the latest addition to the cast of the Ball and Chain television pilot. Variety announced yesterday that the actress has landed an unspecified part in the show. It’s possible that she is the main female lead, opposite MTV’s Dan Cortese.

The pilot is based on Scott Lobdell’s comic about a divorcing couple who become endowed with super powers. Unfortunately those powers only function when the bickering couple is together.

Alexander may be best know as Pacey’s sister Gretchen on Dawson’s Creek. She also starred on the short-lived TV show Wasteland and appears in the upcoming movie All Over The Guy.

Thanks to Cinescape for the lead.

WITCHBLADE

The Associated Press reports that 57-year-old rock legend Roger Daltrey has been cast in a episode of Witchblade. According to the report, “Daltrey will portray a Catholic priest caught in a dispute between Nazis and the Vatican.” This sounds like the episode entitled “Legion” that we told you about a few weeks ago.

The former lead singer for The Who has appeared in many movies and TV shows.

BLADE 2

[Thomas Kretschmann]
Thomas Kretschmann

IGN Film Force reports that German actor Thomas Kretschmann is among the multi-national cast of the currently filming Blade 2. The actor was cast in the movie in February. Kretschmann was seen most recently in U-571 and will soon appear in The Knights of the Quest with F. Murray Abraham and Edward Furlong.

DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING

In his journal on his American Gods website Neil Gaiman reports that he has handed in the screenplay for his Death: The High Cost of Living movie. The journal entry is dated April 3, 2001. Gaiman announced last year that he is attached to direct the movie which is based on his Sandman spin-off.

Thanks to Corona Coming Attractions for the lead.

SPIDER-MAN

[Willem Dafoe]
Willem Dafoe

Green Goblin actor Willem Dafoe adores comics. He said so during a recent chat with French audiences on the CanalChat.com website. The site published a transcript of the April 11 chat which was subsequently translated to English by the Spider-Man Hype website.

Dafoe was asked if he read comics to prepare for his role in the Spider-Man movie. The actor replied, “In passion, I adore comics and I’m inspired to bring about the great moments in any role.”

The actor was also asked if Spider-Man was a change of pace for him. “Sure it is, but every film is interesting that way,” Dafoe said. “Otherwise, we’d always do the same thing and audiences would abandon me.”

In other Spidey news, Corona Coming Attractions has a report and some photos from the New York location of the film. A scooper named Kel wrote in to describe the dressing of a NYC side street. Film crews are apparently trying to make the chilly spring milieu look more summer-like with fake trees and green leaves.

GHOST WORLD

Our friends at Thora Birch News have pointed out that fans can now download a QuickTime version of the Ghost World trailer. Previous online trailers were only available in Windows Media Player format. The amusing trailer can be found at the Movie-List.com site.

For surfers whose connection speed isn’t up to a large trailer download, Thora Birch News has also posted a few dozen image captures from the trailer.

PLATINUM STUDIOS

A write up in The Hollywood Reporter tells us that Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and his Platinum Studios have signed with Artists Management Group for representation. Platinum is said to have a catalog of over 1,000 comic book characters. AMG will help shepherd those properties into TV, movie and new-media projects.

Some of the characters and concepts currently in development by Platinum are Europe’s Dylan Dog and Nathan Never, Germany’s Werner and Platinum’s original Cowboys and Aliens, Ghosting and Million Dollar Heroes.

Platinum’s Comic Book Department Executive Editor Lee Nordling provided Comics2Film with this additional information:

Platinum Studios is moving forward on over twenty graphic albums and miniseries, with many more to be announced in the near future. They will be published in a variety of formats, including: three-and-four issue miniseries, as well as forty-eight and sixty-four page, 8 1/2″ x 11″ graphic albums, the latter to be printed on high quality, clay-coated stock.

The company will be arranging for publication with several different publishers, with placement based on editorial appropriateness for the individual projects, which range in genre from crime, horror, humor, science fiction, action, suspense, westerns to superheroes. The first projects will be solicited in 2002, once all materials are in house.

Nordling, said, “I’m excited to be able to announce this first slate of publishing projects that creators have been working on for so long.”

Alphabetically, Platinum’s slate of projects include:

  • Age of Kings by Andrew Foley
  • Alien Circus by Dave Roman and Vincent Deporter
  • Boxavo Tan and His Adventures On Planet Earth by Bob Keenan and Rich Larson
  • Cowboys & Aliens, Million Dollar Heroes and Nuclear Family by Fred Van Lente
  • Crimefighter and Superhero High by Brian Augustyn
  • Crossing Over by Danny Fingeroth
  • Ghosting by Faye Perozich
  • Guilty, Socorro and Paladins by Steven Grant
  • Human Factor by Scott O. Brown
  • Illegal Aliens by Rob Moran
  • Indestructible Man by Andrew Osborne and Arnie Gordon
  • Jaunt by Dean Motter
  • The Proxy by Nat Gertler
  • Secret Identities by Marv Wolfman, Scott Roberts and Will Blyberg
  • Sun & Moon by Janet Harvey.

Platinum will fund the publication of a creator’s work if it’s the kind of story that also works in other media. The company also actively options already published and upcoming material for television and film development. Interested parties are directed to send their name, land-mail address and phone number to lee@platinumstudios.com to receive Platinum’s submission kit in the mail.

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS

Josie and the Pussycats did disappointing box office in it’s opening week, in spite of an early bow on Wednesday. The Archie Comics-based film limped in at a disappointing #7 on the charts. The movie brought in $5.2 million over the weekend and $7.2 for the entire week.

Spy Kids continued to dominate, holding the top spot for the third straight week, earning $12.8 million this weekend for a total take of $68.6 million.

SUPERMAN DVD

[Superman DVD]

The special edition DVD of Superman: The Movie is less than a month away. Dave’s Video in Studio City, CA will be hosting a signing in conjunction with the release. Director Richard Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz will be in the store on May 1st signing autographs.

Fans who show up can have two items signed as long as 1 is a copy of the DVD purchased at Dave’s Video. A portion of the proceeds will go to a charity of Mr. Donner’s choosing. Dave’s Video. The store acknowledges comic and screen scribe Geoff Johns (JSA, The Flash) for helping put the event together.

Interested parties can contact Dave’s Video at:

(818) 760 3472

12144 Ventura Boulevard

Studio City, CA 91604

GATECRASHER

Jimmy Palmiotti recently talked to Rob Allstetter of the Comics Continuum about the Gatecrasher animated show that is in development. According to the report, the show is now in development for MTV.

“It is going to be sexier and more wild than before because it is going to go to a hipper audience,” Palmiotti told Allstetter. “More rock and roll. A little bit crazier than originally pitched. Just like the comic come to life.”

Palmiotti along with Mark Waid and Greg Johnson (X-Men: Evolution) are writing the show. The comic creator reports that the show would be on TV next year at the earliest.

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