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MADMAN

[Madman]

It appears that fans who are eagerly awaiting a Madman movie will have to wait a tiny bit longer. Madman and Atomics creator Mike Allred told Comics2Film that writer/director/producer Robert Rodriquez (Desperado, From Dusk ‘Til Dawn) has decided that his next project won’t be Madman after all. Instead he’s set to go straight into a sequel for his upcoming movie Spy Kids for Dimension Films.

“Dimension loves the first one so much,” Allred told C2F. “Even as they were finishing the first one, just based on the dailies, they asked him if he would make a sequel as soon as possible.”

Part of the reasoning for the immediate filming of the sequels has to do with the fact that the stars are children. Filming a sequel now, rather than after Madman, will allow the main characters to appear much like they do in the first one. Another factor is the availability of the complex sets, which have already been built for the first movie.

In spite of this, Rodriguez is still committed to bringing Frank Einstein and friends to the big screen. “He assured me that his intention is to make the Madman film right after this one,” Allred said.

Rodriguez also pointed to the timing with the threatened actors strike as something that will help Madman. “If that happens [Rodriguez] says that it’ll just give us more time to make the best pre-production effort possible.”

In the mean time Allred is enjoying a career milestone as the artist on Marvel’s revamped X-Force. “I’ve always been a big X-Men fan and there’s certain things that, I think, were left behind and I’ve always wanted to play with. Also, progressive things that I was interested in,” Allred told us. “Working with Peter Milligan…his scripts are magic. This is thrilling. I’m having a blast.”

FROM HELL

Earlier in the week, Comics2Film picked up on a story from the SFX Network website which cast controversy on the upcoming film From Hell. The article cited author Paul Begg (Jack the Ripper: The Uncensored Facts) as taking umbrage with the portrayal of Inspector Abberline as an opium addict. However, C2F has learned that Begg is not upset with the film and is, in fact, a supporter of it.

From Hell producer Don Murphy provided C2F with correspondence from Begg in which he expresses his dismay with the SFX article and voices his support for the movie and for Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Abberline.

“I did not attack your movie and am as angered over what has been printed as you appear to be,” Begg wrote to Murphy. “I did not slam or blast anything. In fact I was complimentary about the film and refuted SFX Network’s suggestion that people would be up in arms about the ending.”

Begg goes on to say that he originally contacted SFX to refute the supposed controversy surrounding the ending. “I sent an email saying that I was unaware of any uproar and that I doubt that anyone who knew about the Ripper would complain because the theory that Mary Kelly lived was a legitimate and much discussed theory,” Begg writes.

“I thought that Abberline being portrayed as an opium abuser might cause some complaints, but that from the photographs I had seen of the set it looked a superbly realistic re-creation and that I understood general historical accuracy to have been paramount,” Begg continued. “This, I felt sure, would far outweigh niggling criticisms from a few purists.”

Contrary to what the original report would have one believe, Begg is impressed enough with the film that he’s asked that the filmmakers be involved with commemorating Inspector Abberline. Begg is assisting Bournemouth Borough Council and Scotland Yard in inviting Depp to the unveiling of a plaque honoring Abberline.

SFX Responds: Comics2Film has heard from Iain Hepburn of SFX Network who stands by his site’s original article regarding the depiction of Inspector Abberline as an opium abuser.

Hepburn points out that SFX Network at no point made claims of tabloid controversy surrounding the changes to the film’s ending, as is suggested by Begg’s above comments – a story in which Begg was not involved. Hepburn further feels that SFX Network’s follow up article, in which Begg was quoted, has been misinterpreted by C2F as an attack on the film. Hepburn offers these comments:

“SFX Network appreciates the fact we’ve finally had the opportunity to respond. With regard to Mr Begg’s concern over his depiction in the original strapline to the story, this has been discussed and resolved satisfactorily with Mr Begg.

“SFX and SFX Network strives for accuracy at every opportunity, and that is why we have been happy to speak to, and work with, Mr Begg regarding his concern. SFX Network also regrets the need by other individuals for these matters to be brought into a public domain in this fashion.”

Updated 2/7/01 11:53 AM

R.I.P.D.

Comics2Film touched base recently with writer/producer Peter Lenkov (Demolition Man, Level 9) to see what the status is of his comic and movie concept R.I.P.D.  The concept was created by Lenkov for both format. The title stands for “Rest In Peace Department” and tells the story of afterlife policemen who guard the earth from demons and evil spirits. The comic version was published by Dark Horse in late 1999.

Lenkov told C2F that work is proceeding on the project. “I am about to deliver a rewrite to the producers — Mike Richardson, Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin,” Lenkov said. The screenplay follows the comic closely, “but of course the characters are better developed since we have more time to get to know them. All in all it is a faithful adaptation…with a lot of new twists and turns.”

Although things have seemed quiet on the project it is apparently garnering attention from various parties in Hollywood. “There are a few A-list directors and some actors who have it on their radar,” Lenkov has been told by the producers.

However, the movie probably won’t go into production this year…at least not before the upcoming strikes. “This movie is big,” Lenkov told C2F. “The 3rd act takes place in hell. It’s not the kind of film you want to rush into production.”

Lenkov also told C2F that he wrote the series bible for the upcoming Spy Boy animated show from Nelvana. He’s also writing a TV pilot for Perfect Dark based on the video game of the same name. He’s also got more comics for Dark Horse on the horizon.

Thanks to Cathy at PeterLenkov.com for the assist.

XIII

Comics2Film has learned that the French comic series XIII is in development as movie or as a TV series. Our source LanternG came tells us that work is underway, although details are sketchy at this point.

XIII has been published by Dargaud in Europe as a series of graphic albums written by Jean Van Hamme and drawn by William Vance. The novels tell the story of a amnesiac government operator who climbs a ladder of conspiracy as he regains his memory.

THE ROAD TO PERDITION

Sources have informed Comics2Film that Tyler Hoechlin has been cast in the soon-to-lens production The Road To Perdition. The film stars Tom Hanks (Cast Away) and is directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty). Hoechlin, a 13 year old actor from Los Angeles will play Michael O’Sullivan Jr., son to Hanks’ hitman character.

The film, based on the graphic novel by Max Allen Collins and Richard Piers Rayner,  is set to begin filming this month.

In other casting news, Upcomingmovies.com reports that actor Daniel Craig (Tomb Raider) has a part in the movie. That site also reports that the movie is targeted to be released November 2nd, 2001.

BLADE 2

[Matt Schulze]
Matt Schulze

Matt Schulze is the latest actor to join the cast of Blade 2: Bloodhunt according to Variety. The trade reports that Schulze will play a member of the vampire pack. Schulze also appears in the upcoming The Fast and the Furious which stars Vin Diesel and also had a part in the original Blade. Blade 2 is set to lens next month in Prague.

SMALLVILLE (AND CATWOMAN)

Steve Younis of Fandom: Superman reports that there’s been additional casting in the upcoming Smallville TV show. According the his report, actress Kristin Kreuk will play Lana Lang in the show. Kruek has a few TV credits under her belt, including a starring from in the CBC TV series Edgemont and the title role in the upcoming ABC TV movie Snow White. No word was given as to the source of the news.

The casting of Kruek was confirmed by Variety this week.

[Tom Welling]
Tom Welling

Two weeks ago newcomer Tom Welling was cast in the role of Clark Kent. Pictures of the model/actor were found on a website for a German modeling agency called Louisa Models.

Comics2Film spoke with a representative at Louisa who confirmed that their model is, in fact, the same actor who is cast in the show. This led to us getting into contact with Welling’s publicist. We learned that Welling gained attention for Smallville due to a recurring role he has on the CBS hit show Judging Amy. Welling is also listed as having a recurring part in the “Untitled Judd Apatow Project”.

Meanwhile, Fandom’s Smilin’ Jack Ruby posted a pair of script reviews on comic book movie fare last week. One review covers the pilot episode of Smallville while the other is the more intriguing Catwoman feature.

It’s been over two years since we’ve heard anything about a Catwoman movie. One had been discussed after Michelle Pfeiffer’s turn in Batman Returns but the project had seemed to have been permanently stalled. However, Ruby’s review is of a new script dated November of 2000. The script is by Kate Kondell, who did an uncredited re-write on Valentine, revising a draft by Theresa Rebeck (Gossip). Denise Di Novi is named as a producer on the project.

The script sounds likea bizarre take on the character, which is only loosely connected to the big screen Batman. Ruby characterizes the script as being more Scooby Doo than Dark Knight. The character is not Selina Kyle, but a young orphan who is apparently inspired by the now-dead Kyle to take on a Robin-Hood-like role in Gotham City.

Likewise, Smallville does not adhere closely to the Superman storyline. Although Ruby seemed to enjoy the script, it does sound more like Roswell than Superboy. Check out Ruby’s reviews for complete comments on both scripts.

SPIDER-MAN

You can add the name of Michael Papajohn to the cast of the Spider-Man movie. According to Bob Carlton’s column in Alabama’s The Birmingham News the actor is set to play the infamous burglar. Papajohn also appeared in Spidey director Sam Raimi’s For Love of the Game as well as Spawn.

Thanks to Spider-Man Hype for the lead.

In other casting news, Rob Allstetter of The Comics Continuum reports that Ted Raimi will, in fact, play Dr. Curt Connors in the movie. It’s long been rumored that Raimi would play the one-armed doctor who eventually transforms himself into the monstrous Lizard. A press release from Sony Pictures Consumer Products confirms this info.

Last week’s issue of Sean Jordan’s long-running Zentertainment e-mailer reports that actor Chris Coppola is has been cast in the upcoming Spider-Man movie. Coppola had a bit part in Spawn and also appears in the upcoming Al Pacino movie Simone. Zentertainment cites The Hollywood Reporter as the source of the information.

Although initial reports had indicated that Coppola would be playing a villain called “The Heckler” C2F was the first to report that this was not the case. We spoke with Kevin Feige at Marvel studios who had a good laugh over the report, which originated with the article in The Reporter. Feige told us that Coppola likely does appear in the film. However it will be as one of about 300 people in the wrestling scene where the actor will play A HECKLER, and not a villain called THE HECKLER.

Finally, Ain’t It Cool News has some new set photos from the filming of the movie. Their ringside photos don’t offer much over similar images that appeared on Popcorn.co.uk last week. However AICN does have some nice images of the Daily Bugle delivery truck.

GHOST RIDER

Ain’t It Cool News recently spoke with director Stephen Norrington about his plans for the Ghost Rider movie.

The director commented on how designs, from comic great Bernie Wrightson, might differ from the comics. “I asked Bernie to go much more extreme than the comic, bigger, more demonic, more ‘manga’ and to include the clothes and the bike in the transformation,” Norrington said. “But the flames, and the skullish thing are definitely still at the heart of it all.”

Norrington also settled the Blaze vs. Ketch question. “It’s Johnny Blaze, but his origin’s very different, more thematic, more realistic than the comic. Don’t want to say any more than that.”

X-MEN 2

The X-Men sequel could begin filming as early as this year according to Rob Allstetter of The Comics Continuum. Allstetter spoke with Kevin Feige of Marvel Studios who said that they hope to have a script finished before the anticipated writers strike in May. Director Bryan Singer and writer David Hayter are expected to return.

In related news, Variety reports that X-Men has been nominated for an excellence in-costume-design award by The Costume Designers Guild. Louise Mingenbach, the designer behind the threads in last summer’s hit comic book adaptation, has been nominated in the category of “Contemporary Film.” Other designers to receive a nod in this category are Joseph Aulisi for Charlie’s Angels, Jeffrey Kurland for Erin Brockovich, Laura C. Bauer for High Fidelity and Louise Frogley for Traffic.

FILM 2 COMICS: THE MUMMY

[The Mummy]
The Mummy Preview

Comics2Film received the following press release from Prime Universe this weekend:

The explosive summer film season is upon us for 2001 and it’s sure to be filled with many blockbusters including, one of the most anticipated films of the year – The Mummy Returns from Universal Pictures. Following up the successful film, The Mummy, this sequel features the return of the original cast that starred Brendan Fraser and bolsters its already powerful line-up with the addition of WWF superstar The Rock, as the powerful Scorpion King. The film will be a major hit not just among moviegoers, but also for comic readers as well when Chaos!, the nations #1 horror and supernatural publisher, publishes a three-issue Mummy series corresponding with the nationwide release of the big-budget sequel. The series is called The Mummy: Valley of the Gods.

For this project, Chaos! teams up with Prime Universe Entertainment. Chaos! and Prime Universe obtained and negotiated the licensing deal with Universal Pictures and put together the creative team of penciler Mat Broome and writer Marv Wolfman on this highly anticipated comic book. “We are very excited to be working with Chaos! Comics in bringing this exciting property to the comic book audience. We hope that the Mummy series is the first of many partnerships between Chaos! Comics and Prime Universe,” says Adrian R. Askarieh-President & CEO.

The Mummy fits perfectly with Chaos!’ edgy supernatural feel. The mystery, action, and suspense that surrounds The Mummy make it a great addition to Chaos!’ arsenal of previously successful licensed comics that includes the WWF, Halloween, and Insane Clown Posse. Who better to tell a tale of the Mummy than the company who set the standard for horror and supernatural comics?

Written by industry veteran Marv Wolfman, The Mummy: Valley of the Gods #1 will be filled with thrills and nail-biting action, just like the films. The series features the same characters as the films, but will tell a story people have not heard before! It’s the perfect collectable for fans of the film craving more Mummy madness – and the comic will offer just that!

Prime Universe Entertainment is packaging and co-producing the series with Chaos Comics. The Mummy: Valley of the Gods #1 is a full color, 32 page comic that retails for $2.99. Look for the exciting new comic series to be unveiled in comic shops everywhere on May 9, 2001.

BROKEN SAINTS

Brooke Burgess, author of the online graphic novel Broken Saints wrote in to tell Comics2Film that he’s getting some inquiries about his work. “Already garnering some interest for a possible animated or live-action series based on my just-launched graphic novel in Flash (based out of Vancouver),” Burgess told us. “I’ll take the buzz with a grain of salt until financing and rights are secured in ink/blood.”

The graphic novel can be read at www.brokensaints.com.

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