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ALLEY CAT, THE SPECIALS

[Alley Bagget as Alley Cat]

Mindfire Entertainment COO Mark Altman told Comics2Film that the Alley Cat movie will not go into production early this year as had previously been targeted. A number of factors have lead to the production being delayed.

Altman is currently looking forward to a rewrite of the screenplay. “We’ve got a new draft of the script coming in and we’re gonna see where we are with it when that comes,” Altman said. “We’ll make a decision based on that.

“Too many comic book movies have been based on horrible scripts. Ultimately no one’s happy. We just want it to be as good a movie as it can be,” Altman continued. “We’ll make no movie before its time.” The new screenplay is due to be completed in the next few weeks.

When C2F spoke with Altman last September, we were told that the lead role had not yet been cast: surprising news in that the Alley Cat character was created around the image of supermodel Alley Baggett. However Altman now tells us that Baggett is a definite for the lead role. Recent screen tests filmed by the movie’s director, Greg Aronowitz, demonstrated Baggett’s ability to perform the lead. ” She has a real great screen presence,” Altman said.

With newcomer Baggett in the title role, the filmmakers are looking for some name actors to fill the supporting spots.

The Hollywood strikes haven’t helped Alley Cat stay on schedule. The movie has no hope of rolling before the strikes and is now scheduled to film after Mindfire’s House of the Dead. That film, based on a popular Sega game, is ready to roll as soon as the strike situation clears up. Altman tells us that Cat won’t film until that movie wraps.

Fans can look for Mindfire’s The Specials on video store shelves next week. The movie is set to be released on VHS and DVD. The DVD contains 15 minutes of deleted scenes, a wedding video, director/writer/producer commentary and more.

Also on the drawing board is an expanded edition DVD for Mindfire’s Free Enterprise. “It’ll be Free Enterprise: The Special Edition,” Altman said. “Sort of a spoof of the Star Wars Special Editions. There’ll be some new effects and a couple of restored scenes including one featuring a character named Biggs.”

The popular 1998 fanboy romance features Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack and Rafer Weigel and William Shatner.

WHITEOUT

[Whiteout]

Comics2Film touched base with Jon Hoeber for a progress reports on the movie version of Greg Rucka and illustrated by Steve Lieber‘s Whiteout movie. Hoeber and his brother Erich are the screenwriters on the project and were instrumental in getting the project set up as a film at Columbia Pictures.

Hoeber told C2F that they are currently working on a new draft of the script. “I’m nose-to-the-grindstone Whiteout boy,” Hoeber said. Work on the new script was started recently after ongoing development work with the studio. “It’s taken a long time on the back and forth with the studio reading periods. All that stuff is always madness.”

Hoeber also told us that the pair are not yet officially on board The Inhumans movie. “We’ve talked to Marvel about a number of projects and that is one of them,” Hoeber said. “It continues to be one of several that’s in discussion.”

MEN IN BLACK 2

Fred Topel of About.com’s Action-Adventure Movies section recently had occasion to interview Patrick Warburton, star of the upcoming Tick TV series. Warburton revealed to Topel that he’s set to appear in another comic book property.

“Barry Sonnenfeld’s offered me a role in Men in Black 2 which I’ll do in just a few months, two or three month,” Warburton is quoted as saying. “[I’ll play] Will Smith’s first partner after Tommy Lee Jones. It’s a good role in the first 10, 15 pages of the script.”

Warburton couldn’t get into the specifics of the role, except to say that he plays “a real person,” and not an alien.

Sonnenfeld is, of course, the director of both The Tick and Men In Black 2. Warburton also appears in the soon-to-be-released, Sonnefeld directed, Big Trouble.

The actor also confirmed that his much-anticipated and hilarious Tick TV show is now being held for a Fall release on Fox TV.

Thanks to Corona Coming Attractions for the lead.

ZIPPY THE PINHEAD

Zippy The Pinhead’s off-again/on-again animation career appears to be onagain. In their announcement of fourth quarter and year end earnings for 2000, Film Roman has announced that they are developing the Pinhead for the Showtime cable network. Production on the show is slated to begin April. The announcement refers to the production as being ” long form,” indicating that Zippy would appear in a feature-length movie.

However, today’s Hollywood Reporter reports differently. Their write up calls Zippy a series.

The Reporter also fills in some additional details. Zippy will be a joint venture with Film Roman’s new investor, India-based Pentamedia Graphics. Film Roman CEO announced that production will take place in both Channai, India and in Los Angeles.

OMEGA 7

Omega Man Creator and Omega 7 founder Alonzo L. Washington told Comics2Film that his January tour of Los Angeles may lead to his characters making a guest appearance on a prime-time TV show.

While in L.A., Washington attended a taping of the Image Award nominated UPN show The Hughleys. “I met D.L. Hughley,” Washing told C2F. ” During the taping of the show he said he wanted to do something with the Omega7 characters.”

More recently, Washington caught up with Hughley again. “Mr. Hughley recently did a stand up comedy show in Kansas City. I attended the show and he spotted me in the crowd and called me up on the stage,” Washington said. ” He told the audience that he planned on using the Omega7 characters on his hit TV show once he figured out how to incorporate them into a script for the sitcom.”

Omega 7 fans can also look for Washington in the upcoming Spider-Man movie. Washington was one of the hundreds of spectators to fill the seats during the wrestling scene which filmed in January.

SMALLVILLE

Steve Younis of the Fandom: Superman posted even more Smallville casting this week again citing “inside sources.”

According to the latest report and actor named Sam Jones III will be playing Pete Ross in the show. Jones is set to appear in two upcoming features, one of which is David Goyer’s Zigzag with John Leguizamo and Wesley Snipes.

Also on board for Smallville is Cynthia Ettinger who will play Martha Kent. Ettinger has many screen credits and recently appeared in the TV movie Fail Safe.

Finally, rounding out the cast of regulars is Allison Mack. Mack will play Chloe Sullivan, a friend of Clark Ken and Pete. Sullivan’s father runs the Luthor Corp. fertilizer plant the Lex Luthor has been exiled to Smallville to make profitable. Mack has appeared in the direct-to-video release Honey We Shrunk Ourselves.

SPIDER-MAN

According to Marvel.com Spider-Man director Sam Raimi hopes to bring the movie in with a PG-13 rating. “The movie is really being made for the whole family,” Raimi told the site. “Spider-Man worked as a comic book, because in Stan Lee’s original conception, he was a real human being. It really brought out the base of people who could appreciate comic books.”

Fans can look for more comments from Raimi in the upcoming Ultimate Marvel Magazine.

In other Spidey news, Spider-Man Hype reports that the recent on-set tragedy will not effect scheduled shooting dates for extras. OSHA has investigated the incident and allowed work on the set to resume.

[J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson]

Actor J.K. Simmons revealed his J. Jonah Jameson mustache for all to see in a recent article published by The Rivertowns Enterprise, a Westchester New York paper. Ain’t It Cool News reprinted excerpts from the article, as well as the photo of the famous ‘stache.

The Enterprise reports that Simmons has been researching his part by reading Spider-Man comics that, “highlighted predictably juicy J.J.J. episodes.”

Not seen in the photo is the wig that provides Simmons with trademark Jameson flat-top. The actor also has been given prosthetic teeth. “He’s always screaming,” Simmons is quoted as saying, “I have crooked yellow teeth, and he’s got a mouth full of square white teeth.”

As for his performance, Simmons said, “Basically, it’ll be loud– a variation that I haven’t really used before. Sam [Raimi] said no heavy New York dialects.”

Although, she’s won a Tony and a Golden Globe and been nominated for an Oscar but Rosemary Harris’ greatest accolade yet may be for her work in the Spider-Man movie. “They’re making an action figure out of me!” Harris told Roger Friedman, author of the Fox 411 column for FoxNews.com.

Harris said of recent filming of scenes as Aunt May to Tobey Maguire’s Spidey, “I do knock on his door a couple of times, wondering what’s going on in his room. Of course, he’s changing into his outfit. But I haven’t seen all of it yet, and he hasn’t spun any webs.”

THE ROAD TO PERDITION

Variety‘s Army Archerd discussed Tom Hanks’ career in his Monday column and revealed some interesting tidbits about Hanks’ next film The Road To Perdition. Archerd confirmed that the recently rumored casting of Stanley Tucci (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Big Trouble) in the film is for real. Tucci is set to play Mob Lieutenant Frank Nitti.

Archerd’s report also corrects a few previously reported rumors. Alfred Molina (Chocolat) will be playing Al Capone instead of Tom Sizemore. Paul Newman will be playing Hanks’ gangland boss and not a cop.

Comics2Film has checked in with the production office for film and learned that Jude Law is not playing the part of Tom Hank’s son in the movie as was reported earlier this week. Law is playing a rival hit man named Maguire, also known as “The Reporter”, as has previously been reported.

Cinescape‘s Cindy Pearlman spoke to Law about the role. “You know, it’s kind of what one would call a cameo part for me,” Law told Pearlman, ” but I took it because it is a fantastic part. And I take that role as seriously as any other because every single time I’m on screen I want to be good. And I want to be worthy of the company I’m keeping in the movie.”

In their write-up of that conversation, Cinescape mistakenly reported that Jude Law (Enemy At The Gates) will be playing the part of Tom Hanks’ son in the film.

MUTANT X

Fans looking for a sneak peek at the Mutant X syndicated TV series can now tune their web browsers to MutantXTV.com. The website opened earlier this month. It gives a description of the show’s concept, a run down of the creative people involved and ongoing reporting on the production effort.

According to the site, extensive casting sessions have been completed and staff writers are starting to bang out scripts. Howard Chaykin is the head writer for the show. Staff writers include Mark Lisson (Mighty Joe Young), David Newman (Superman I, II, III) and Elizabeth Keyishian (Queen of Swords).

BLADE 2

Cameras started rolling Monday on Blade 2 according to Variety.  The Wesley Snipes sequel is set to film entirely on Prague soundstages and on location in the Czech Republic.

Comics2Film has heard from several sources that the working title for the movie is simply Blade 2 and not Bloodhunt or Bloodlust as has been reported for some time.

JON SABLE, FREELANCE

The 4FilmMakers database lists Steven De Souza as the writer on the big-screen version of Mike Grell’s Jon Sable, Freelance. De Souza has written a number of action movies including Judge Dredd, Street Fighter and Die Hard 2: Die Harder among others.

Jon Sable was announced last summer as a co-production between Kiss demon Gene Simmons and Pacifica Entertainment. Chris Dubrow and Moritz Borman (Nurse Betty) are also listed as producers on the movie.

X-MEN, BATMAN VIDEOS FROM WARNER

[X-Men: Evolution]

Warner Home Video has announced their summer slate of comic related video releases. Fans of the new Kids WB! series X-Men: Evolution will be able to pick up the first six episodes on video come May 1. The release of the shows will be in two VHS volumes titled “UnXpected Changes” and “Xplosive Days”. Each tape contains 3 episodes and carries a suggested retail price (SRP) of $12.95.

A slate of previously released Batman animated features also appears among WHV’s summer offerings. The feature-length, exclusive-to-video Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker will be offered for $19.96. While Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero, Batman Beyond: The Movie and The Batman Superman Movie all carry a SRP of $14.93.

Rounding out the offerings are five titles from the Batman Beyond television series that are being reduced to $9.95 SRP and the four, live-action feature films Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, priced at $9.94 SRP.

The fan favorite animated feature The Iron Giant is also set to be re-priced at $14.95.

Is the announcement be a precursor to a more exciting slate of holiday releases? Could be, according to James Harvey of the World’s Finest News Page.

“I just got two emails, from inside sources, about the upcoming Batman DVD Re-releases this winter,” Harvey told C2F. “[Warner Bros.] will re-release the four live-action Batman movies on DVD this winter, in the same vein as the soon-to-be-released Superman movies.

Harvey tells us the Tim Burton original, Batman, will contain lots of extras, like additional scenes, deleted scenes, trailers, commentary, storyboards, cast info and so on. The other movies in the series  may also be re-released, but with fewer extras. Harvey speculates that Batman Forever may contain deleted footage as there was an estimated one hours worth cut from the movie.

The Batman DVD re-releases are said to be set for Christmas of this year.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

In a recent Fandom write-up reporter Steve Fritz spoke with Cartoon Network President Betty Cohen about the cable channels upcoming slate of original shows. Among the topics discussed was the much-anticipated Justice League show from popular animation creator Bruce Timm.

Cohen displayed Timm’s character sketches which featured eight Justice Leaguers, including a two-handed Aquaman. Comics2Film’s sources informed us late last year that the series bible called for Aquaman to appear in the show, but not be a part of the regular line up. The Fandom article does not make clear if Aquaman is now a regular member of the team. Other characters depicted in the sketches included the previously discussed Superman, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern.

There’s been some discrepancies as to the length of each episode of the show. In this interview Cohen reports there are 26 half-hour segments on order.

“As for when it will debut, I really don’t want to say. I know Timm is putting a lot of time and effort into the production of this series and I told him I’d rather he do it right than not do it at all,” Cohen told Fritz. “If it takes him until late into November to get the series done, I’m not worried. We aren’t under the same pressure to produce new series at certain times like the broadcast networks. That means we can debut Justice League any time it’s truly ready.”

WRIGHTSON AND BRADSTREET AT THE MOVIES

Comic great Bernie Wrightson spoke with Rob Allstetter of The Comics Continuum about his recent work in comic book movies.

Wrightson has been involved with costume design on the Spider-Man movie, working mostly on the Green Goblin character. “There were like three of us working on the Goblin, and we went through a lot of permutations and different ideas about it, and it will be fun to see what they settle on,” Wrightson told Allstetter.

Wrightson has also been involved with the planned Ghost Rider movie. His designs for the character grew out of conversations with director Stephen Norrington, and deviate from the traditional comic book look. “We made some changes,” Wrightson is quoted as saying. “The character right now is a lot more monstrous and demonic than in the comic book. I like it a lot better. It’s got a lot of personality and character.”

Allstetter also has been in contact with Timothy Bradstreet who reports being in discussions to work on the Hulk movie. Bradstreet told Allstetter that he’s been asked to meet with director Ang Lee about coming on board for some design work.

TALES FROM THE CRYPT

Regular readers will recall that late in February word on the net was that an upcoming horror flick called Revelation was set to be released by Dimension Films under the Tales From The Crypt banner. Subsequent to that, Comics2Film heard from a source at Silver Pictures that this was not true, the movie would not be linked to the Crypt franchise.

Our same source contacted us this week to say that he may have been mistaken. Although plans for the release of the movie are not finalized, the studio is considering putting the Crypt banner on the film.

Revelation is a Zombie movie based on the classic I Walked With a Zombie. It was developed by the same producing partners who shepherded the Crypt franchise as a cable TV series and then a series of films. Up until recently the movie was not developed as part of the franchise.

WITCHBLADE

The TNT network has begun airing promo trailers for the upcoming Witchblade TV series. Comics2Film reader Titan6959 reports, “I was watching WCW Nitro last night on TNT and they were playing the Witchblade trailer like crazy during the whole broadcast.”

Latest word on the show is that it’ll start running on the cable net in June.

GREEN ARROW

Anderson Jones of E! Online reports that Hollywood has taken notice of the red hot sales on the newly relaunched DC Comics title Green Arrow. The comic features a revamping of the character by filmmaker Kevin Smith.

Jones doesn’t get specific about who may be interested in the property except to say, “film producers are already sniffing around.”

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