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DAN DARE

[Dan Dare]

Comics2Film has learned that an animated television show based on the popular British comic Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future is in the works. We spoke with comic creator and animator Shannon Denton who worked as a director on several episodes of the new show when it first went into production.

Dan Dare is a classic English comic book character in the vein of Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers. The character was created by Frank Hampson in the 1950’s and published by Eagle comics.

Denton told C2F that the series has been in development for British television for over a year. Initially the project was set up at the now defunct Netter Digital, who did effects work for Babylon 5 as well as creating the CGI animated show Voltron: The Third Dimension. However, only a handful of episodes were produced by Netter before the animation shop closed its doors.

Bob Forward, who currently serves as the story editor on X-Men: Evolution is the story editor and producer on Dan Dare. After things went bad at Netter, Forward worked to revive the project elsewhere. Eventually the show landed at Foundation Imaging, the animators behind the Starship Troopers TV show. Like Forward, the folks at Foundation are big fans of the concept, and actually lobbied to get the show before it went to Netter.

Production on the show under Foundation resumed late last year. Denton told C2F that the show will be CGI like Starship Troopers. “The idea was to update it but still have it feel like the old stuff.”

Once completed, the show will air on British television. The producers will also likely look for U.S. markets to pick up the series.

WONDER WOMAN, ADRENALYNN, SILKE

Comics2Film touched base with a source at Silver Pictures and got an update on two of their projects.

Our source tells us that Wonder Woman has a new writer. Todd Alcott has been hired to rewrite an existing script by Jon Cohen (Minority Report). Alcott has a writing credit on the CGI film Antz and more recently penned Deadworld and the currently in-production 13 Ghosts for Warner Bros.

Our source tells us that work is progressing on the big-screen version of Tony Daniels’ Adrenalynn. While it’s not exactly new news, our source says that Alan Sereboff is the screenwriter on that one. Silver pictures is working closely with Sereboff and producers Christina Ricci and Andrea Sperling. Ricci is set to star in the film.

In related news, After successfully getting movie deals for Adrenalynn and F5, Daniels will likely try to bring his latest comic to the big screen as well. Daniels told the editor of his F5 Entertainment website “Silke, obviously is the next to go through [Daniels’ agent at] ICM and hopefully find a home in Hollywood, too.” Silke is Daniels’ latest title, published by Dark Horse comics.

JLA

A source close to the production of the JLA animated show told Comics2Film that the producers have hired most of the production staff for the series.

PLANETARY

[Planetary]

Warren Ellis announced to fans yesterday that a TV version of his hit comic Planetary is in the early stages of development. Addressing fans at The Warren Ellis Forum, Ellis made the following statement:

“As of today, here’s what I know:

“DC/Wildstorm have sold a development option on Planetary to Warner Brothers Television. Warner Brothers TV now have a period of time in which to develop Planetary as a TV show aimed at a 2002 release. Understand, they’ve simply bought the rights to develop the show. There is no guarantee that a Planetary TV show would ever even get in front of a camera.

“The person behind this drive at WB is one of their VP’s of drama development. Therefore, this is not an animated series they’re looking at, but a live-action series.”

Ellis later commented on that his connection to the comic won’t give him influence on the show. It’s a creator-participation contract, not creator-ownership. I will receive a large and sexy cut of everything DC/Wildstorm makes out of the property, but do not have control over other-media exploitations,” Ellis told the fans.

Thanks to Comics Newsarama for the lead.

SPIDER-MAN

[Spider-Man Cast]

Members of the cast and crew of the Spider-Man movie met with the press yesterday on the Sony lot where the movie is set to start filming this month. Photos from the event can be found on Corona Coming Attractions, Spider-Man Hype and IGN FilmForce with additional coverage found at several other sites. The Comics Continuum has posted a complete transcript from the press conference. Here are some highlights from The Continuum’s transcript:

In addressing the issue of organic webspinners, director Sam Raimi said, “What we’re trying to do in this Spider-Man picture is not just stick to the letter of the comic book. We’re trying to capture the spirit. We’ve always seen the great strength of Spider-Man is that he’s a real person, he’s one of us. He’s a kid from Brooklyn who doesn’t have a lot of money. He doesn’t get the girl. He’s got acne. He’s a fairly average-looking kid (a look from Toby Maguire and laughs from crowd). Or slightly better than average.”

Raimi goes on to say, “In the comic book, he is a genius. And we’re going to keep that. He’s a very smart kid. But when he can develop a material that even the 3M Corporation can’t seem to develop, its starts to distance him from a real human being. It distances from the average kid in high school.

“In addition, it’s another of the devices to create alienation. Because Peter Parker has always been an outcast and Spider-Man a misunderstood hero,” Raimi added. “So I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. I think the greatest part about Peter is that he’s a human being and he’s faced with the problems of these powers. I never saw his ability to make a web as a great problem for him. I saw it as something that distances him from us.”

Tobey Maguire, who’ll wear the webs in the film, talked about gearing up for the role, “I’ve done all kinds of training for flexibility and for acrobatic grace and also just to do push-ups. I enjoy it thoroughly. I’m excited. I’m a little nervous, getting that pre-movie jitters. It’s been a long time in coming. I think I was cast in July, and the anticipation of the first day of work, which is now Monday, is all on me now. But I’m excited and I can’t wait to get in the middle of it.” The actor also reported that his training includes aerial wire work.

Maguire also gave his views on the Peter Parker. “I think he’s a great character and one of the big themes is, ‘With great power, comes great responsibility.’ I think there’s great power in just being alive and being a human being. And I think, within that, there’s great responsibility. Everyday that I wake up, I have a responsibility to myself and to others to live an esteemable life and to be an example for people around me.”

Kirsten Dunst talked about her part as Mary Jane, “I play Mary Jane Watson. And the way the script and the comic books, she’s had a very rough childhood and she’s always had to put up many masks. Part of this story and me in the movie is a lot of growth.”

Willem Dafoe plays the Green Goblin in the movie. “I think of my role in this movie as Norman Osborn first and then the Green Goblin grows out of an aspect of Norman Osborn. And Norman Osborn is an interesting character because he’s got a dark side and a light, positive side. He believes in science. He’s interested developing the mental and physical capabilities of a human being through science. And there’s a dark side and a light side – and the Green Goblin is a manifestation of that dark side,” Dafoe Said.

Dafoe also appreciated Raimi’s take on the psychological aspects of the character, “I always liked how he talked about the relationship with Norman and his son and Norman and Peter, in particular. It’s very rich.”

“Then the other aspect that attracts me to it was the physicality of it,” Dafoe continued. “I come from the theater and I still work in the theater and sometime what I miss in film is a real, tangible, physical investment in things. And in this, I have lots of things to play with and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Actor James Franco talked about his part in the movie, “I play Harry Osborn, son of Norman Osborn. And I guess what we’re developing in this film is the dynamic that I’m searching for love from him that he will not give and I can’t satisfy his demands. I think it’s very pertinent to this day and age where there are so many problems between parents and children. I think it’s told in our film. All our parents in this film are either absent or abusive.”

On the subject of special effects Raimi said, “We’re faced with a great challenge making Spider-Man believable. The kids really want to soar with Spider-Man, 60 stories up, they want to dance with him in these aerial acrobatics that he performs.”

Visual Effects Supervisor John Dykstra commented on the effects work on Spider-Man versus his earlier Superman. “Superman was a great job at the time, but I think the audience has become more sophisticated and much more adapted at determining what was real and what was illusion. And that’s our challenge. And I believe that you will be challenged hard-pressed to tell the places where we’ve helped reality a little bit,” Dykstra said. “But we will press the limits. We’re going to do things that haven’t been done in a movie before.” Both Dykstra and Raimi were reluctant to talk about the specifics of the effects work.

Raimi revealed that James Acheson, who is designing the wardrobe for the the movie, is sticking to the classic red an blue Spider-Man costume. The costume will be updated “just to bring it to the year of 2002, when the picture opens.” Raimi mentions that the costume will have more subtle colors and will be designed to work with Spidey’s physicality.

“The script is not in trouble,” Raimi told the press. “It’s one of the best scripts I’ve had the opportunity to work on, actually. And it, like many pictures in Hollywood, has had a lot of writers. And I say that because, well, because it’s true.” The director named David Koepp, Scott Rosenberg and Alvin Sargent as all contributing to the current screenplay.

A few other interesting tidbits: Stan Lee will do his traditional walk-on cameo, but is otherwise not involved. Mary Jane will be a red-head. The movie will be PG-13. Ted Raimi is in the movie.

Following the press conference, conflicting reports have arose on the Internet about whether or not the characters Flash Thompson and Robbie Robertson appear in the Spider-Man movie. Shooting on the film starts today and no casting announcements for the characters have been made.

Last week Spider-Man Hype cited an unnamed source at Sony who told them the characters were not in the movie.

Today, Rob Allstetter of Comics Continuum said they are in the film. Allstetter’s source is Kevin Feige of Marvel Studios, who refuted the report on Friday of last week.

In conversations that occurred in late December, Feige also told Comics2Film that the characters were in the movie, albeit in minor roles.

GHOST WORLD

[Ghost World]

Corona Coming Attractions has published the latest image from the Ghost World movie. MGM shared the pic with Corona along with a Spring 2001 release date for the film.

There’s plenty more images to be seen. MGM has opened their website promoting the Ghost World movie. The site is located at http://www.mgm.com/ghostworld. The site currently includes movie stills with a trailer, cast biographies and productions notes “coming soon.” The site does not reveal a release date and also notes that the movie has not yet been rated by the MPAA.

Curiously, the studio does not appear to be using the domain name ghostworld-themovie.net, which it owns, or ghostworld-themovie.com, which is owned by Mr. Mudd, the production company on the film.

Thanks to Upcomingmovies.com for the lead.

BLADE

Rob Allstetter of the Comics Continuum has posted some extensive details about the upcoming Blade 2: Bloodhunt. 

Today Allstetter confirms that Luke Goss has been cast in the film. A representative for Goss told Allstetter that the actor will portray the primary villain in the movie, Nomak, a bloodthirsty renegade vampire.

Earlier in the week Allstetter posted an interview with comic book artist Timothy Bradstreet. Bradstreet just completed a stint as a designer on the film. In the casting department, Bradstreet confirmed that Ron Perlman (Aliens: Resurrection) would be cast in the movie in the part of Verlaine. Verlaine would be the twin sibling of Traci Lords’ Racquel character from the original. Bradstreet told Allstetter that the filmmakers are pursuing Lords for the sequel.

Bradstreet also said that Tcheky Karyo (The Patriot) will be offered the role of Damaskinos, a vampire whose mark all members of the Bloodpack bear. Tim Curry, Terrence Stamp, David Bowie and Donald Southerland were all considered for this part.

Bradstreet also talked extensively about his designs for the Bloodpack. Initially plans were to have them wear battle gear all the time, but Bradstreet argued for civilian clothes as well. “Some have tattoos, some are ultra slick and some are based on my own ‘Gypsy White Trash’ vampire look. They all bear the mark of Damaskinos and they are all battle-hardened vampire warriors. I was given a lot of room to add my own visual style to the characters,” The artist told Allstetter. “Rienhardt, the leader, wears a tattoo of a black hand on his forehead. Guillermo had seen an illustration of mine that had a similar tattoo and wanted this character to have that look.”

The Continuum has posted one of Bradstreet’s design illustrations. “His name is Priest and he fought under Napoleon in the 7th Hussars. In the script, Priest is described as a modern primitive, lots of tattoos and piercings. Now he is decked out in the traditional hair stylings, trappings and livery of an officer of the 7th Hussars. His wardrobe is based on the old uniform blended together with a more contemporary style.”

Another vampire called Lighthammer was originally intended to be a native American. However, Bradstreet transformed him into a Maori, the native tribe of New Zealand, and gave the character the distinctive facial tattoos of the people.

Other Blade news comes from the week’s Entertainment Weekly. According to a brief mention there, the movie is budgeted at a mere $52 million, close to that of the $45 million budget of the original. In order to keep costs down, star Wesley Snipes and director Guillermo del Toro are deferring parts of their salaries.

Finally, the RedDwarf.co.uk website reports that actor Danny John-Jules has signed on to play a role in the upcoming Blade movie. John-Jules has appeared in features like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The actor is probably best known for playing the role of Cat, and evolved humanoid cat character, on the British science fiction series Red Dwarf.

Thanks to Corona Coming Attractions or the lead.

X-MEN 2

In one of his recent Movie Scoop columns for E! Online Anderson Jones discusses the upcoming films of fan-favorite actor Hugh Jackman. The mention focuses primarily on Jackman’s upcoming Swordfish which he’s currently filming with John Travolta.

However, the actor also mentioned that he’ll be back as Wolverine filming X-Men 2 in a year. Fox is said to be targeting the next mutant outing for Christmas 2002. The article states that Beast, Gambit and Jubilee will all be featured in the next installment.

The write-up also mentions that pro-wrestler The Rock will not be playing the Beast, so consider that rumor thoroughly debunked.

Thanks to Dogmonsta for the lead!

BATMAN: YEAR ONE

Late in December the rumor-mill offered up Aaron Eckhart (Nurse Betty, Erin Brockovich) as a name that Batman: Year One director Darren Aronofsky favored for the lead role in that movie. Last week the Pure Batman 5 Rumors website refuted those reports citing denials from an anonymous source.

Now, Bill Ramey of the Batman on Film website has also managed to get some follow-up information on the story. Ramey’s unnamed source was a bit more cagey about the rumor. The source wouldn’t confirm or deny it.

Although it’s been assumed that Batman would be played by a younger actor in the Year One movie, Ramey’s source said that the role could actually go to someone in their late 20’s or early 30’s, someone like Eckhart. In a November interview, Aronofsky told syndicated columnist Cindy Perlman that with his take on Year One, “It’s not the teen Batman.”

Finally, the source points out that having a teen or young Batman in Year One could leave it seeming too similar to the also-in-development Batman Beyond live action movie.

THE TERROR, THOR

An article from The Hollywood Reporter gives a status report on the troubled UPN television network. It’s not dead yet. In fact the article lists a number of genre shows that are in the UPN future.

Todd McFarlane’s The Terror is mentioned as “a new comic book franchise” that’s in development. Marvel’s Thor is also said to be in the network’s future.

WATCHMEN

Fans interested in reading Sam Hamm’s script for the aborted Watchmen movie can now find it online at http://www.batcave.net/entertainment/comics/fearfulsymmetry/. The movie was to have been directed by Terry Gilliam. Last November Gilliam said in an online interview that he’s glad he never moved forward with the difficult adaptation. Compressing the epic story into a two-hour movie would not have done it justice.

More recently, director Darren Aronofsky has said he’d like to try his hand at Watchmen.

Thanks to Corona Coming Attractions for the lead.

THE SPECIALS

[The Specials]

Online vendors have begun taking pre-orders for the DVD release of last year’s The Specials. Vendors list March 6, 2001 as the release date for the disk.

The superhero spoof saw a limited theatrical run last year. The home video release will be the first opportunity for many to see the movie.

Thanks to Upcomingmovies.com for the lead.

HULK

Corona Coming Attractions reports that “Universal Digital,” is now doing research and development for a CGI version of The Hulk for the upcoming movie. An unnamed scooper told the website that the budget for the Hulk effects is “extremely handsome” and “may even rival the R&D budget for Sony Imagework’s Stuart Little.” The scooper claims that, with that movie, it cost $1 million to develop the model for the lead mouse.

MONKEYBONE

[Monkeybone and Brendan Fraser]

IGN Filmforce has published a new set of images from the upcoming movie Monkeybone. The pictures provide a sneak peek at star Brendan Fraser interacting with a number of bizarre animated and live action characters. Trailers for Monkeybone are currently in theaters. The movie is expected to be released in April.

In related news, the Upcomingmovies.com website reports that 20th Century Fox has rescheduled Monkeybone for an earlier release. The new release date is now said to be February 23rd, 2001.

THE ROAD TO PERDITION

Popcorn.co.uk reports that Paul Newman is in final negotiations to appear in The Road To Perdition. The movie is based on the graphic novel by Max Allen Collins and Richard Piers Rayner. Perdition stars Tom Hanks as a hitman, traveling with his son and seeking vengeance for the murder of his wife and other son.

As previously reported, Jude Law is said to be in talks to play an assassin called the Reporter while Tom Sizemore is negotiating for the part of Al Capone. Oscar winner Sam Mendes (American Beauty) will direct. According to the report, the film will begin production next month in Illinois and Maine.

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