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THE ELTINGVILLE CLUB

[Dork]

The Eltingville Club animated pilot for Cartoon Network now has a director and a full cast of shrill and angry-voiced actors. Creator and show runner Evan Dorkin told Comics2Film that he wasn’t ready to name names about about talent they’ve hired at this point. He did tell us that the director is actively working on the project and “he’s someone who has worked on projects people have heard of.”

As far as the actors go, Dorkin said, “Voices were all cast after an extended process of listening to over 160 try-outs, which I’m really glad is over and done with. The vocal tracks were recorded [approximately] two weeks ago here in [New York City], with Sarah and I, as well as the director and our overseeing producer on hand. People seem to think we have a good vocal track for this show, and I certainly hope that’s the case.”

Dorkin is finding the design work for the show challenging. He’s in the process of sketching 40-50 background designs for the show. Some of the locations being detailed are the Eltingville Club’s H.Q. in Bill’s basement, Bill’s bedroom and Joe’s Comic shop. “Those three in particular were a pain in the ass because of all the clutter and junk the characters collect and display,” Dorkin told C2F. “Although, because of the nature of animation the detail level on the finished product will be, out of necessity, far less than what I put into the designs.”

The Eltingville Club members are rabid consumers of all things pop culture, including toys, cards, posters and, of course, comics. Dorkin hopes that many of the elements that show up in the pilot will reflect real life characters. “I’m contacting some people in the industry to see if we can use their books and characters so the show will have some sense of verisimilitude,” Dorkin said. “We’ll have a bunch of fake/gag titles/characters, but I want to try to go for the sense that the characters exist in the real world and follow real pop culture as much as possible.”

Although it’s not crucial to the spirit of the show, Dorkin is pursuing a number of comics and characters that can turn up in the clubhouse. “We probably won’t be able to get everything we want, but if we can clear just a few recognizable items I’ll be happy. So far I’ve gotten the nod from a few creators to use their stuff, we’ll see how the rest pans out.”

Dorkin is also working on character and prop designs. Collaborator Sarah Dyer (who is also an executive producer on the show) is doing color keys for the backgrounds and will work on color models when the character models have been cleared with the animators. The unnamed director is working an animatic of the voice track and any story revisions he’d like to propose before animation begins.

If you haven’t read the hilarious Eltingville Club strips, you’ll have a chance to get caught up in June. Dorkin tells us that’s when the first collection of his award winning comic Dork called Who’s Laughing Now? will hit the stands. There should be plenty of Eltingville episodes to be found within.

Prior to that, fans should be on the lookout in April for The Young and the Reckless, volume 3 of the Hectic Planet trade paperback series. Also due out from Slave Labor in April is The Bummer Trilogy, reprinting Hectic Planet stories from Dark Horse Presents.

SANTO: INFRATERRESTRE

[El Santo]

He’s been a film star. He’s been a comic book character. He’s a legendary professional wrestler and considered by many to be the father of the famed lucha libre style of Mexican Wrestling. He’s El Santo and soon he’ll be back on the big screen with an all new movie: Infraterrestre.

Our Santo expert, Steve Ross (creator of Chesty Sanchez) tells us that Santo began as the creation of professional wrestler Rodolfo Guzman Huerta. Although he started off  a villainous wrestler (or “rudo”) on the Mexican circuit. At some point he became a heroic wrestler (or “technico”).

Cartoonist Jose G. Cruz was inspired by Santo’s ring presence and started doing comics based on the wrestler. “The comics were weird mixes of photos and painted backgrounds,” Ross told Comics2Film. “They were really popular (some have said that they sold in the millions), and helped Santo’s ‘cred’ as a wrestler and as an action movie hero.”

Santillan also provides this info about El Santo’s comic book career: “The Santo comic book was a weekly series that ran for 29 years and sold about 550,000 copies every week,” Santillan said.

Huerta starred in a string of movies as El Santo starting in the 1960’s and continuing on into the early 1980’s. Eventually Huerta passed his mask on to his son who wrestled as Hijo del Santo (son of El Santo) and eventually became the modern day El Santo. Huerta passed away in 1984.

Joel Santillan of Molinar Films told C2F that the modern Santo is poised to make his big screen comeback with this year’s Infraterrestre. In the film Santo investigates mysterious abductions that lead him to discover a society of supernatural underground beings.

Along with Santo, the movie stars Arieles-award winning actor Luis Felipe Tovar who Santillan tells us is one of the hottest actors in Mexico. The female lead is played by Diana Golden, an Columbian-born star of several Mexican soap operas. Also laying the smack down is Blue Panther, a legendary wrestler known as “El Maestro Lagunero” and considered one of the best of the Mexican wrestlers.

A trailer for Infraterrestre can be seen at the Molinar Films website. Santillan told C2F that the movie is in post production. The filmmakers hope to capitalize on the international appeal of Santo and gain a world wide release for the film.

ShiGI

[ShiGI]

Billy Tucci of Crusade Entertainment sent in a piece of preview artwork from his upcoming CGI animated movie based on his Shi comics. The movie, tentatively titled ShiGI is targeted to be released on video in fall of this year.

The movie will be developed simultaneous to a comic book which tells the story. The same computer models and sets used for the film will be incorporated into comic called Shi – The Ring of Fire.

A preview edition of the comic/film project is due in comic shops in May. The preview will illustrate the production showing turnaround drawings, character models and other aspects of the process. The Shi – The Ring of Fire comic book is slated to hit the shelves summer of this year.

BLOODQUEST

Contrary to internet reports this week, the BloodQuest movie is alive and progressing nicely at Exile Films. The movie is based on Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 comics and gaming concepts.

Reports surfaced on the net pointing to a message at www.exilefilms.com indicating that the company had gone out of business. However that website was host to a different company using the name which apparently has gone under. The address for the producers of the BloodQuest movie is www.exile-films.com (with a hyphen). At that site readers can still find all kinds of information about the movie including test animations and models of the futuristic war craft featured in the CGI film.

Comics2Film spoke with Simon Coombs, Chief Executive of production at Exile, who assured us that the movie was still doing well. Although he had few details that he could share with us, Coombs did say that fans could expect announcements about the movie in the near future. He also added that Exile Films is committed to making only a movie that is consistent with the concepts created by Games Workshop.

HELLBLAZER

[Hellblazer]

Fans interested in the Constantine movie have found great information at the DC Comics message boards. Late last year screenwriter Frank Cappello began posting there and revealed some of his plans the character.

One element of the script that raised fan ire was plans to depict Brit John Constantine as an American in the big screen version. Cappello’s arguments in favor of the change did little to appease fans. However, after much lobbying on the part of Hellblazer readers the screenwriter now seems to have had a change of heart.

“I’m going to request that I rewrite [the character] English. I’m serious about this,” Cappello told readers in a February 9 posting on the message boards. “Maybe I’ve seen the light or maybe it’s the Guiness or maybe it’s my wife watching Notting Hill for the twentieth time, but there is NO REASON not to make John English. None. Even if it means an American plays him.”

Cappello goes on to say, “Not only would it be proper for realizing the true character but the flavor of his rantings wouldn’t have to include American Cuss words which would make John more crude and less cool. There are so many English cuss words that get right by the censors here. I will bring this up as soon as everyone regroups. Right now it is scheduled as an ‘After Strike’ picture, which means no one knows when it will go.”

Thanks to DrZaius for the lead!

MEN IN BLACK 2

His MTV antics have caused many a sleepless night for parents and senators alike. Now, Johnny Knoxville, star of the controversial TV show Jackass is set to take his hijinks to the big screen, including a turn in an upcoming comic to film sequel.

According to Michael Fleming of Variety, Knoxville will next appear in Big Trouble, a Tim Allen comedy directed by Barry Sonnefeld. Then the self destructive star follows Sonnenfeld to the much anticipated Men In Black 2 starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Knoxville will reportedly play a two-head alien in that movie.

Also on deck for Knoxville is a starring role in a movie called Gringo produced by Tom Jacobson (also a producer on Big Trouble). He’s also negotiating to star in a The Ringer, produced by the Farrelly Brothers for Fox.

Men In Black 2 is set to go before the cameras this year. Plans are to shoot around the potential actors strike, and tackle F/X chores should the strike occur.

SPIDER-MAN

Thought Spider-Man casting reports were done? Corona Coming Attractions has uncovered casting info on three characters. Some of these characters are well-known to Spidey fans but presumably have small roles in the movie. CA’s report comes from an anonymous scooper who they say has provided solid casting information in the past.

First up is Joe “Robbie” Robertson, the Daily Bugle’s assistant editor whose amiable manner often balanced out the flaring temper of J. Jonah Jameson. According to the scooper, Bill Nunn (Lockdown, Kiss The Girls) is on board to play Robbie in the movie.

Next is Betty Brant, Jameson’s sexy secretary and some time love interest for Peter Parker. According to the scooper Betty is to be played by Elizabeth Banks (Shaft, Wet Hot American Summer).

Finally, CA’s scooper reports that Ted Raimi (Xena: Warrior Princess) is said to be playing the part of a Daily Bugle reporter named Hoffmann. This corroborates stories that have been reported by Spider-Man Hype indicating that Raimi is not playing Dr. Curt Conners (a.k.a The Lizard) as has been rumored in the past.

These casting rumors are, as yet, unconfirmed.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

The Cartoon Network has announced it’s new programming slate for the coming season. 

The hotly anticipated Justice League is set to hit the airwaves in November of this year. Contrary to previous statements by the network, the show is now said to be a one-hour show instead of a half hour.

Cartoon Network will also become the television home to DC Comic characters Batman and Superman, showcasing such popular Warner Bros.’s action series as Batman: The Animated Series, The Adventures of Batman & Robin, The New Batman/Superman Adventures and Superman. These series are set to roll-out throughout 2001-2002.

2001 will also see the premiere of six new anime series: Mobile Suit Gundam, Pilot Candidate, Gundam 8s, Outlaw Star, Big O and Dragonball.

HULK

The latest issue Entertainment Weekly has a brief mention of the Hulk movie. Producer James Schamus mentions that he and partner Ang Lee are considering making the Hulk as a CGI special effect, rather than use an actor. “If we do it, it’s only because we believe that we can create a superhero/monster movie nobody has ever seen before,” Schamus is quoted as saying.

Schamus also told EW that the earliest the movie might be out is Summer of 2003.

TALES FROM THE CRYPT

Last week, word on the internet was that a new Tales From The Crypt movie could be hitting the screens this year. An in-the-can monster flick called Revelation was due out from Dimension Films, the studio currently linked with the Crypt franchise. Reportedly the studio planned to slap the Crypt title on the movie, which is a reworking of I Walked With A Zombie.

However, Comics2Film has learned that the movie will not be tied to the Tales From The Crypt franchise. C2F spoke with a source at Silver Pictures who gave us the scoop. 

According to our source, Revelation was developed in the same way  the previous Crypt movies were. The same parties were involved and the movie is very much in the vein of movies like Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood (the first two Crypt films). However our source tells us that Revelation will not bear the Tales From The Crypt name, include the Crypt Keeper character or otherwise be identified as a Crypt movie.

THE TICK

Sci Fi Wire reports that the debut of The Tick has been pushed back from Fox’s midseason schedule. Sci Fi reports that a Fox spokeswoman has said the show may air in Summer or Fall instead. The upcoming Hollywood strikes are cited as the reason for the change in schedule. The Tick is being held in reserve in case the strikes leave the net with a programming shortage.

THE CROW DVD

The CrowFans website has updated their DVD section. Interested fans can now download the trailer for the upcoming boxed set release of the three Crow movies on DVD. Also available on the site is the trailer for the third installment The Crow: Salvation, which never enjoyed any significant play in movie theaters.

The movies are due in video stores on March 20, 2001.

GHOST WORLD

[Ghost World]

The Fantagraphics e-mailer reports that the release of the Ghost World movie has been pushed back to June. MGM apparently wants to take more time in promoting the movie.

Fantagraphics also encourages fans to pick up the latest free issue of “Request Magazine” (found at Sam Goody locations). The issue contains a feature on Ghost World creator Daniel Clowes and sports a Thora Birch cover.

Also look for “Surface” magazine (number 27) which has a Clowes’ interview with lots of details about the movie.

ELFQUEST

[Elfquest]

Film critic Eric Lurio sent in this bit of artwork for the ElfQuest movie. The artwork was on display at last summer’s Comic-Con International in San Diego. Eric e-mailed it to us a few months ago but it got lost in our cluttered inbox. We’re not sure if the tentative release date displayed on the poster is still accurate, but we still thought ElfQuest fans might enjoy the poster.

Thanks Eric!

SAINT SINNER

Fangoria reports that a cable movie based on Clive Barker’s Saint Sinner comic is in the work. Barker told Fango that the Sci-Fi Channel is developing the movie based on his short-lived Marvel comic. Doris Egan (Dark Angel) is writing the script.

Thanks to Cinescape for the lead.

X-MEN 2

Michael Fleming of Variety reports that X-Men director Bryan Singer is set to executive produce the small-screen relaunch of Battlestar Galactica. X-Men collaborator Tom DeSanto will join Singer on the project, which is to be a series from Studios USA.

Fleming confirms that Singer has signed on for X-Men 2. The report indicates that Singer will also direct the pilot for Galactica, but only if it doesn’t clash with his work on the X-sequel.

“The lesson I learned on X-Men is to have a healthy respect for the fan base of sci-fi fantasy franchises, and I’m confident that the Galactica brand is a sleeping giant,” Singer told Fleming.

ARCHIE

It looks like a movie for America’s favorite teenager may be in development again. Archie Comics chairman Michael Silberkleit told Entertainment Weekly that an Archie movie would be developed “Within the next year or so.”

Archie had previously been in development at Universal over a year ago. However the studio put the project in turnaround at the end of 1999 and opted to move forward with Josie and the Pussycats instead. Comics2Film has heard that the new take on Archie may focus more on Betty and Veronica than on the carrot-topped teen himself.

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