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WITCHBLADE

[Yancy Butler is Witchblade]

Comics2Film has received another Witchblade scoop from LanternG whose been patrolling the sector to the north. LanternG been keeping an eye on the Witchblade TV show which is currently filming in Toronto. He’s got the scoop on three more episodes for the TNT original series. The show stars Yancy Butler as Sara Pezzini and David Chokachi as her partner Jake.

Filming wrapped up last week on an episode called “Sacrifice”. LanternG tells us that that episode has Pezzini investigating ritual murders, mutilations and druidic sacrifices. She crosses paths with an Irish rock star named Conchobar whose music is mysteriously linked to the crimes.

“Sacrifice” is directed by David S. Jackson who has helmed TV shows like Dark Angel and The Lone Gunmen.

Filming began last week on an episode called “Legion.” In this episode Sara investigates the murder of priest, found killed in his own church. The priest was about to reveal disturbing findings linking the Vatican to “unfathomable evil.” The episode pits Sara against a so-called Black Friar, an enforcer of the Vatican. Aiding Pezzini is Father Alyosha Petrosian.

“Legion” is directed by Neill Fearnley. Fearnley directed the recent TV movie Inside The Osmonds as well as sitting behind the camera for episodes of The Net and Earth: Final Conflict.

Finally, an episode called “Parallex” is set to begin shooting next week. The episode puts Pezzini into conflict with experimentally bred super-soldiers called “Black Dragons.” Her foe in this one is a Black Dragon named Hector “Moby” Mobius. Moby is inhumanly and impossibly strong and sleek. The socially withdrawn predator seems to be stalking Sara’s nemesis, Ian Nottingham.

“Parallex” is directed by James Whitmore Jr. whose credits include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Roswell and The X-Files.

The show is due to air on TNT in June.

SPIDER-MAN

[Green Goblin]

Last week Spider-Man Hype posted the scoop that everyone’s been waiting for: images of the Green Goblin costume! The Web site posted three set photos of an actor in costume. No word is given on whether or not it was Willem Dafoe under the hood.

Comics2Film received the following report from a Spidey Spectator who was involved with Monday and Tuesday’s filming, which included the sighting. In order to protect the identity of the reporter we’ve assigned him/her the super secret code name: “anonymous source.”

“The scene [Monday] was just Peter Parker photographing a festival. I was there again [Tuesday] and Spider-Man was fighting the Green Goblin. Willem Dafoe in costume as the Green Goblin was pretty awesome too!! Seeing Spider-Man do flips and look like Spidey live in person was too much!!

“When I first saw the Goblin costume I was a little skeptical but seeing it up close it is truly cool!! It is sort of a cross between Vlad the Impaler from [Francis Ford Coppola’s] Dracula and an alien from Aliens. Hard to describe but very, very cool!! The Spider-Man costume is very, very comic book-like. No foam like Batman it is one piece and seamless. Every muscle is the actors or stuntman’s. Very streamlined and believable. Totally blows you away seeing it in person!”

Thanks to “anonymous source” for that report!

[World Unity Pin]

In other news, Spider-Man movie memorabilia is already starting to show up on eBay. Someone who participated in the recent filming his hawking his “World Unity Festival” button on the auction site. Thousands of fans attended the fictitious festival which was the setting for the recently filmed scenes in which Spidey clashes with the Green Goblin.

For fans who want the real deal, the official Web site for the Spider-Man movie opened on Friday. Initially Sony had announced that domain name for the site is www.spiderman.com. Indeed, the title of the site is Spiderman.com. However, that URL currently only takes you to a page on the Marvel.com site. Instead fans are finding the site at spiderman.sonypictures.com.

The Flash animated site is impressive. With the movie a year away, the site already contains some nice content. The site opens with a spider-web intro. Move your mouse cursor into the web and you’ll find you are trapped. The web quivers as you try to free the mouse. Stay stuck long enough and a legendary arachnid emerges to infuse your cursor with spider-powers.

The site proper features a short video giving a behind-the-scenes look at the movies development. Also, by joining the Spider-Man network, fans can get a look at some test animation of the wall crawler…well…crawling walls. Very cool.

Fans can also download wall papers, screen savers and more.

In other Spidey news, Ain’t It Cool has obtained copies of The Daily Bugle that are to be used in the production effort. They’ve printed scans of the mock news pages. However, fans are cautioned that the pages and headlines are considered MAJOR SPOILERS. View them at your own risk.

RUMORS: X-MEN 2, THOR, IRON MAN, FROM HELL

Comics2Film spoke with Marvel’s Kevin Feige this week in an attempt to get the scoop on a number of rumors that have been circulating.

First up we asked Feige if much of the recent talk about X-Men 2 was true. Rumor had it that certain characters like the Beast and the Sentinels were likely to be in the movie while other Gambit has probably been ruled out. Feige cautioned us that any rumors about X-Men 2 circulating at this point should be taken with a grain of salt.

“There are no definites,” Feige told us. “Everything’s been discussed. We’ve got 30 years of history, thousands of books and hundreds of characters. So, we’re figuring it all out.”

We also asked him if there was any meaning to be taken from the fact that Artisan Entertainment had registered a number of movie related domain names for Thor. Thor had always been talked about as a property to be developed for TV and not for film. Feige said that that is still the case. “Everyone [registers] every domain name possible so that nobody else can get it. They’ll register the domain name ThorOnMars or ThorGoesToJupiter just in case one day they want him to go to Jupiter.”

Feige also said that recent rumors that Ron Howard is being courted to direct the Iron Man movie are false. This was also confirmed by Don Murphy, who is producing shell head under his Angry Films shingle.

Murphy also told us that there is no truth to the recent rumors that the upcoming Johnny Depp movie From Hell is to be retitled for it’s U.S. release.

JLA

James Harvey of the World’s Finest News Page writes in to provide readers with the latest scoop on the Justice League animated show.

Phil LaMarr has been cast to play the Green Lantern John Stewart. LaMarr is a regular on two other comic-based TV shows starring in the animated Static Shock Saturday mornings and doing sketch comedy on Mad TV Saturday nights. He’s also been seen in movies like Pulp Fiction and recently did a top-notch turn as a suspected killer on NYPD Blue.

Also cast in the show is Carl Lumbly as J’onn J’onnz, the Martian Manhunter. The actor starred as the made-for-TV superhero M.A.N.T.I.S. and more recently played the father of Cuba Gooding Jr. in Men of Honor.

Harvey also provides these tidbits about the program:

  • Bruce Timm is currently in Korea visiting the animation shop that will be handling the series.
  • Storyboards of the pilot has been completed and is ready to be shipped overseas to begin production.
  • November WILL be the premiere date.
  • The crew behind the show is still unsure whether the show will air as an hour of 30 minutes. It does look like it’ll be in a prime-time slot, though!
  • There will be episodes focusing on specific characters. A Wonder Woman episode is currently in the works. An Aquaman episode is expected, and a Green Lantern episode has already been greenlighted.
  • There will be a sub-plot throughout the season, behind each epic battle, that will lead to a big finale.
  • The Injustice Gang? Maybe.
  • The series will take place in roughly the same universe as The New Batman and Superman Adventures.

Thanks to the World’s Finest News Page for the scoop.

MS. TREE

[Ms Tree]

Terry Beatty, artist on the Ms. Tree comics dropped Comics2Film a line this week to tell us that the TV show based on that character is in turnaround. According to Beatty, new management the USA Network has decided not to go forward with a number of shows that were in development, Ms. Tree being one of them. The producers are seeking a new outlet for the detective series.

Earlier this month, former president of Comedy Central and Fox Entertainment, Doug Herzog, was named president of USA Network.

FAUST

A source at Lion’s Gate Entertainment gave Comics2Film a status report on the U.S. Release of the Faust movie. According to our source, the movie doesn’t have a firm release date yet, but August or September are looking very probable. As suspected, the movie is going directly to video. However, our source refused to completely rule out a theatrical release for the film, stating that Lion’s Gate is still considering its options.

HELLBOY

[Hellboy]

There hasn’t been much news on the Hellboy movie front recently, although the comics creator recently talked about the planned film with a reporter at the Kansas City Star. In an aritcle focusing on last weekend’s Kansas City ComiCon the creator commented on director Guillermo del Toro’s efforts to bring the character to the big screen.

“As it stands now, del Toro is hoping to do Hellboy after Blade 2,” Mignola told The Star. “He needs a big-hit, commercial action movie to get the juice in Hollywood.”

According to the write-up, del Toro’s written six drafts of the screenplay for the film.

As has been mentioned in the past, Mignola and del Toro have their leading man picked out. “We have the perfect actor who wants to do it, Ron Perlman (who played Vincent on the TV series Beauty and the Beast),” the creator said, “but Ron isn’t an A-list actor, and that’s a problem. If (the studio) could get a big-name actor who wanted to do it, that would justify the cost. But if you take a big-name actor and you paint him red, people are going to laugh.”

Perlman can be seen in the recently released Enemy at the Gates.

The article states that the movie is set up at Universal Pictures, but a report from over a year ago indicated that the studio had put the film in turnaround.

Thanks to Michael Rhode of the Comics Research Bibliography.

TOO MUCH COFFEE MAN

Too Much Coffee Man creator Shannon Wheeler tells Comics2Film that the animated version of his comic book is “moving to the next stage.”

The comic creator told us late last week that his contract to do the show just went through. The show is in development with Nelvana for the Comedy Central cable network.

X-MEN 2

According to the Sci Fi Wire X-Men producer Tom DeSanto is not yet signed to work on the sequel. The producer told the wire that he’s still negotiating a deal in spite of the fact that work has begun on the film. DeSanto was a driving force in making the hit movie a reality.

“I know that Fox is working away on some things, but as of yet, my baby, whom I raised, is going off to college without me,” the producer told Sci Fi Wire. “It’s tough, but it’s part of the business.”

DeSanto had previously discussed sequels with director Bryan Singer. According to the write-up, the pair had planted the seeds for future storylines in the original. “I’m not sure if those are going to pay off now.”

In other X2 news, professional Wolverine Hugh Jackman recently spoke with Cinescape columnist Cindy Pearlman about plans for X-Men 2. The actor commented on the romantic possibilities for the character, who displayed an obvious attraction to Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey.

“I think Old Wolfie gets a few romantic possibilities in the sequel. He doesn’t want to narrow it down to one X-Woman,” Jackman told Pearlman. “He’s a little afraid of commitment.”

Jackman also reported that he’s pleased to be able to return with the original cast and director. “I’m thrilled to come back and do it. It was great fun, and the fans embraced it.”

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS

[Josie Web site]

Not to be outdone by the amazing Spider-Man Web site Universal Pictures has now given a proper opening it’s Josie and the Pussycats.

The site has been up and running with only a splash screen since November. This week, the revamped Web site features plenty of content to promote the movie which opens in just a few weeks. The movie stars Rachel Leigh Cook, Tara Reid and Rosario Dawson.

Josie fans visiting the site can enter a contest to win a Samick Guitar, like the one used by Cook in the film and a rock and roll wardrobe from The Diesel Clothing Co.

Visitors to the site can download the movie’s trailer and music video. Additional video clips are set to be rolled out at a later date. Fans can download 5 virtual trading cards. The first 500 to collect them all will win actual printed copies of the collectibles while everyone else gets a free Josie screen saver. The site also features music clips, song lyrics and band member profiles.

Under the heading of “coming soon” are the “Make Our Video” and “Horoscope” sections of the site.

The site also features loads of product placement. Be careful where you click as you may pop open a new browser window featuring a Web site for one of the movie’s numerous sponsors.

The most intriguing link on the site leads to DuJourTheBand.com. Fans will recall that Du Jour is the name of the rival boy band in the movie played by Seth Green, Breckin Meyer, Donald Faison and Alexander Martin. Unfortunately the Du Jour Web site isn’t actually up and running yet, and the link is presently a dead end.

In other Josie news, Volition.com is offering free passes to an advance screening for the Josie and the Pussycats movie.  Be the first to see the girls from Riverdale make it big. Visit the Volition site to enter the contest. Entry deadline is April 1.

The movie screenings will be held in Albuquerque, NM – Monday, April 9 at 7:30 pm and in Phoenix, AZ – Monday, April 9 at 7:30 pm.

If you are not in one of those locations, you can still enter to win a prize pack. The prize pack with be a tee-shirt, a music CD and a movie poster. Enter and win!

JOSIE ANIMATED

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Josie and the Pussycats will follow their big-screen, live-action debut with a small-screen, animated project.

A new animated TV show is in the works from DIC Entertainment under a deal with Riverdale Productions (who are also producers on the movie) and MultiModal Media Group. DIC has produced other animated shows based on Archie characters such as The New Archies, Archie’s Weird Mysteries and Sabrina, the Animated Series.

DIC CEO Any Heyward, DIC chief creative officer Michael Maliani and Riverdale’s Chuck Grimes an Tony DeRosa-Grund will be producers on the Josie show. “Josie is poised for enormous success, and we are excited to bring her adventures to animation,” Heyward told The Reporter.

The movie opens in theaters April 11, 2001.

WITCHRIGHT HALL

The pilot episode for Witchright Hall, the planned Sabrina, The Teenage Witch spin-off is set to air next week on the WB network. The April 6th episode of Sabrina will serve as the back door pilot to the proposed new show. The episode features Emily Hart (sister to Sabrina star Melissa Joan Hart) as Sabrina’s rowdy cousin Amanda. The troublesome teen is sent to Witchright Hall, a special school for maladjusted young witches. The show airs at 8pm.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE

Will Aaron Eckhart (Erin Brockovich) play Commissioner Gordon in Darren Aronofsky’s Batman: Year One movie? Anderson Jones of E! Online says that’s the latest rumor. The actor’s name came up earlier in the year as a rumored candidate to don the bat suit prompting some debate over whether he was too old to play a fledgling caped crusader. However, he does seem right for a year one Gordon.

USAGI YOJIMBO, TUTENSTEIN AND MORE

[Usagi Yojimbo]

Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo is among a number of projects recently announced by Hollywood Comics. The agency only reports that there are on-going negotiations for the property, but currently is not providing any details.

Stories of Sakai’s 17th century rabbit samurai have been published since 1984. The title is currently published by Dark Horse with issue #47 hitting the stands in April. 

Hollywood Comics are also negotiating a deal for Paul Pope’s Escapo. The graphic novel is described as “the incredible tale of an escape artist who has made a deal with Death.”

Jean-Marc Lofficier and Gil Formosa’s Robur is also one of the properties being negotiated. Lofficier’s Web site describes the concept as “a series of stories featuring the mysterious Robur and taking place in a 1920s steampunk world where the Selenites have conquered the Earth.”

As with Usagi Yojimbo, no details are currently available on Escapo or Robur.

However, another Hollywood Comics property is expected to hit the small screen this year. Jay Stephens‘ Tutenstein is in development by Porchlight Entertainment for the Discovery Channel’s Discovery Kids. Porchlight also developed the animation shorts for Stephens’ Jetcat, some of which aired on Nickelodeon’s KaBlam! The shorts can be seen at both Porchlight and Stephens’ Web sites.

Porchlight provides this description: “Tutensteinis a half-hour animated series about a nine-year-old mummy who is struck by lightning and brought back tolife in a modern-day Smithsonian-like museum. A lothas changed in 4000 years, but one thing hasn’t changed in all that time is the kid’s attitude: he stillthinks he’s a Pharaoh! Armed with a big ego,Tutenstein concocts a series of comedic schemes and adventures to reclaim his rightful place as a ruler!”

The show is slated to debut in Fall of 2001.

SAINT SINNER

Variety reports that Clive Barker’s Saint Sinner adaptation is in the works as a movie for the Sci Fi Channel.  Doris Egan (Dark Angel) is working with Barker on the script.

The write up describes the movie pitch as being “about a 19th century monk who accidentally unleashes two buxom female demons in human form on the world and has to track them down to contemporary Los Angeles.”

SPIDER-MAN VIDEO GAME

Activision Inc. has announced that it has obtained the exclusive rights to develop and publish interactive entertainment games based on the upcoming Spider-Man movie. The game vendor has obtained the worldwide rights to develop games based on the multi-million dollar movie for all current and next generation platforms, the PC and hand-held platforms. The license also grants Activision the option to develop and publish products based on a subsequent movie sequel or new television series.

“We are thrilled to create interactive games based on the story line, characters and action-packed sequences from the upcoming Spider-Man’ film,” states Ron Doornink, President and COO, Activision, Inc. “Activision will bring our own brand of interactive magic and vision to this unique property and continue building on the success we have already had with the Spider-Man franchise.”

According to Al Ovadia, Executive Vice President of Sony Pictures Consumer Products, “We are very pleased to be partnering with Activision on this extraordinary property. Activision has proven themselves as innovative and visionary in the interactive entertainment arena. We are confident that they will develop exciting and dynamic games for the marketplace on a worldwide basis.”

According to the announcement, Activision will work closely with film director Sam Raimi, Columbia Pictures and Spider-Man Merchandising L.P. to deliver an interactive game that reflects the storyline, characters and environments of the upcoming movie.

Under a separate agreement, Activision has also obtained the long-term exclusive rights to the classic Spider-Man comic book character. Under the terms of the agreement, Activision will develop and publish an unlimited number of games for all platforms based on the Spider-Man franchise.

Activision’s previous Spider-Man effort was released in August 2000. It’s ranked as the #10 title for PlayStation for 2000.

BLADE 2

Writer/Producer David Goyer recently spoke with Rob Allstetter of The Comics Continuum about progress on the Blade 2 movie.

“This movie takes us even deeper into the Vampire sub-culture,” said Goyer. “It also pushes the boundaries in terms of what the Vampires are capable of. This film has more action, more humor — but it also has a whole level of suspense and tragedy that was missing from the first film.”

Star Wesley Snipes is also said to be enjoying his return to the role. “Wesley is definitely at the top of his game. He’s never been in better shape and he is totally committed to the film,” Goyer said. “We’re shooting for about 90 days, and the shoot will take place completely in Prague. The film is actually set in Eastern Europe.”

In the casting area, Goyer revealed that Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf) will be playing a character named Asad and Daz Crawford (The World Is Not Enough) is playing Lighthammer. Also, the previously announced Tcheky Karyo (The Patriot) is not in the movie, but Goyer could not say who had replaced him.

Also, as Comics2Film first reported a few weeks back, Goyer has confirmed that the current working title is simply Blade 2.

THOR AND OTHER MARVEL TV SHOWS

Rick Ungar of Marvel Studios told Rob Allstetter of the Comics Continuum that the planned live-action Thor TV show is not likely to hit the airwaves next season. 

“Thor, right now, is nowhere at this moment,” Ungar told Allstetter. “The script did not get picked up for a pilot. So we’re looking at what we want to do with it.

Ungar did say that they are developing a Daughters of the Dragon TV show. The comic book concept is part of the Iron Fist continuity. It followed the exploits of Iron Fist’s friends Misty Knight and Colleen Wing’s Knightwing Restorations investigative firm.

However, Misty Knight will not be part of any planned TV show. Earlier this year Comics2Film learned from Iron Fist writer John Turman that the Knight character is slated to appear in the Iron Fist movie. However, Ungar told Allstetter that any Daughters show would likely feature three characters.

Ungar also revealed that Nick Fury and Bloodstone are being considered for TV development.

Also, the new Spider-Man animated show is targeted to air in Fall of 2002.

CORRECTION: SMALLVILLE

Earlier this week we reported that the Smallville TV show was “set to go into production soon.” Actually, it turns out “soon” happened about three weeks ago. Fabio2 of the Superheroes at the Movies site tells us that the show started production on March 1 with some initial filming done on the Warner Bros. lot. On March 8 the production then moved to British Columbia for the long haul. Thanks to Fabio2 for setting this right.

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