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SPIDER-MAN

[Willem Dafoe]
Willem Dafoe

The Hollywood trades have confirmed that Willem Dafoe is set to play the Green Goblin in the upcoming Spider-Man movie. The Hollywood Reporter supports weekend claims that the actor has signed for the part, while Variety states that Dafoe is in “final negotiations.”

The 45 year old actor has been seen in over 40 movies rocketing to leading man prominence in Oliver Stone’s Platoon. Dafoe’s latest effort is a bizarre turn as a seriously-method actor in the reality-based Shadow of the Vampire, which is set to hit U.S. screens in December.

The Reporter describes the Norman Osborn/Green Goblin character as being Peter Parker’s next-door neighbor who, “becomes the Green Goblin after an experimental formula blows up in his face. The formula increases his intelligence and strength but also drives him insane.”

The Reporter article also confirms the casting of James Franco (Freaks and Geeks) as Harry Osborn, the goblin’s son and Parker’s best friend.

In other Spidey news, Spider-Man Hype reports that the Central Casting agency in Los Angeles is recruiting 12,000 extras for the movie. Interested parties are directed to call the agency for more information.

The filmmakers are specifically looking for extras who own exotic market booths. Said booths (and their owners) would be part of a world market scene filmed in Los Angeles. Although the filming is in California, the setting for the scene is Times Square. Owners of such booths who are interested in appearing in the movie are encouraged to send photos to the following address.

Central Casting

220 Southflower Street

Burbank, CA 91502

Other interested parties can also use the above address or call (818) 562-2755 for instructions.

THE TICK

[Patrick Warburton as the Tick]

Production is underway on the first season of the live-action Tick TV series for Fox TV. “We’ve shot the first two and are editing them,” producer Flody Suarez said in a recent phone conversation with Comics2Film. The first season will consist of 8 new episodes in addition to the pilot episode which was filmed this summer.

Patrick Warburton stars as the big, blue, arachnid hero. David Burke plays Arthur: accountant turned moth-man. Nestor Carbonell and Liz Vassey are also regulars as Bat Manuel and Captain Liberty. Christopher Lloyd, who appears in the pilot, is not a regular on the show.

Tick creator Ben Edlund continues to serve as writer and producer on the series. “Ben is writing all the scripts with Larry Charles of Seinfeld,” Suarez told us.

The first episode of the series was directed by TV director Boris Damast. The second episode was helmed by Galaxy Quest director Dean Parisot.

Fans can look for the series on Fox some time next year. “Each episode’s a week’s worth of shooting and then there’s a lot of post,” Suarez told C2F. “We hope to be on in March.”

SCOTT MORSE PROJECTS

Scott Morse stopped by Comics2Film this weekend to bring us up to speed on his various projects.

The animated adaptation of Morse’s Volcanic Revolver is still in the works. “Volcanic Revolver is currently being shopped for financing to do the film the way we originally intended,” Morse told C2F. “It’s still alive and kicking at Thrave, and you should be able to see the trailer and some of the other Thrave stuff at BroadcastAmerica.com.”

“Magic Pickle is currently being shopped around to various studios,” Morse told us. “It’s being pitched as an animated television show, centering around the the exploits of a young girl who has to deal with a superhero pickle living under her bedroom floor. Magic Pickle originally appeared as a two-page comic short in Smack Dab from Carzyfish/MJ-12. Check out Crazyfish.net for future updates.”

Being an animation vet, Morse has other projects cooking that aren’t based on comic books. “Ferret and Parrot has been greenlit for the pilot to go into production at Cartoon Network. This is a project they’ve optioned from me that I’ll be overseeing. The storyboard is done and we’re casting voices now. Look for it to hit in August of 2001 on Cartoon Network.”

“The Lyrical Whales is the first live-action project I want to attempt on my own, as writer/director, but only when my schedule and life permit me to jump into something this big,” Morse told C2F. The script for this film is currently going through a rewrite following a read-through with some of Morse’s close associates.

“On the ‘film 2 comics’ front, I’m currently working on a new graphic novel for Top Shelf that will focus on a series of characters revolving around the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa,” Morse said. “The project, The Barefoot Serpent, will be fully painted, printed in black and white AND color, and issued as a hardcover for tentative release in Feb. 2002.”

BRIGADE ENTERTAINMENT PART II

Last week Comics2Film published part one of our interview with producer Barry Levine. Levine had told us about Shadowman, a movie based on the Acclaim comics character, set to go into production next year. Levine also told us that he has a few other Acclaim concepts in development.

“Right now we’re doing Quantum and Woody.” Levine told us. The comic was a comedic take on a pair of superheroes, created by Christopher Priest and Mark Bright. Levine reports that they’ll be shopping it to studios soon.

“We’re going out with it as Lethal Weapon meets Men In Black,” Levine said. Steve Carr (Next Friday, Doctor Dolittle 2) is attached to direct with Darryl Quarles (Big Momma’s House) set to write the screenplay.

Another Acclaim title on the Brigade slate is Bloodshot. “We’re developing Bloodshot right now for Triple H,” Levine told us. Triple H is the WWF wrestler also know as Hunter Hearst Helmsley and whose real name is Paul Levesque. This project is still in the early stages. John Kelly (The Chaos Factor) is writing.

While previous reports had indicated that Brigade was also developing Acclaim’s Turok, Levine told C2F that they’re not doing that.

In addition to Damage Control, which we talked about yesterday, Brigade is also taking on a few other Marvel concepts. “One of favorite projects with Marvel is Lunatik,” Levine said. “Adam Rifkin [Detroit Rock City] is developing this.”

Brigade is also planning a feature film based on The Inhumans. According to Levine, Jon and Erich Hoeber are scheduled to write the screenplay. The Hoeber brothers just finished a script for the movie version of Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber’s Whiteout.

Chaos! Comics also has a few concepts in place at Levine’s production house. Evil Ernie is in place as a co-production with Gene Simmons, who Levine has been associated since his days as a rock and roll photographer. 

Brigade is also developing Chastity with writer Michael Browning (Six Days Seven Nights).

Levine’s interest in comics doesn’t end with comic-based movies. “Brigade Entertainment will be starting our own comic book company,” Levine told us. Dave Elliot, a VP at Brigade will head up the comic book effort. Elliot’s no stranger to comics, having written such titles as Sharky and acted as publisher with his Blackball comics. The new venture will publish both print and online comics. Properties will be developed with an eye towards bringing them to the big screen.

As most fans can tell you, when filmmakers bring comic books concepts to the big screen, the transition isn’t always smooth. Levin explains, “What they try to do is, they radically try to change it so much that they dilute the essence of the character and the comic book, where it’s unrecognizable.

“I really believe that if you’re gonna make comic books for the sake of writing comic books, that’s great. But if you’re going to try and develop a comic book from the beginning and you want to make that into a film, I really believe that you should try and conceptualize it as a potential film.”

Brigade is bringing comic and screen writers together to work on concepts. They hop to start rolling out their comics in the Summer of 2001. The current slate calls for a number of mini series as well as a few longer series.

“We’re developing all these other comic books for so many other people, we just decided, why not develop it for us?”

MEN IN BLACK 2

Variety reports that Columbia Pictures and Amblin Entertainment are looking to start filming the much-anticipated sequel to Men In Black on June 4 of 2001. The production is scheduled in spite of the impending actors strike, with contingency plans in place should the SAG actually strike.

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are scheduled to shoot as many scenes as possible with director Barry Sonnenfeld before the strike. Earliest filmed scene will be the special effects pieces, which can then be worked on regardless of an actors or writers strike.

Smith’s next project is Ali while Jones is set to star in The Hunted. Both of those films are set to be wrapped before June of next year.

MS. TREE, JEREMIAH

A TV version of Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty’s Ms. Tree and Hermann’s French comic Jeremiah are two of the many TV shows on the recently announced slate of programming from Lions Gate Television.

Ms. Tree, is set to air as a one-hour action series for USA Network. Collins’ and Beatty’s hard-boiled female detective is Michael Tree, who inherits her father’s detective agency after he is murdered. Her first case is to bring her father’s killer to justice. The character first appeared in comic form in the early 1980’s and was published by Eclipse. The title bounced around among indie publishers before landing at DC Comics in the early 1990’s.

Clifton Campbell (The Profiler) is the showrunner, executive producer and writer of the show. Adam Kline is also an executive producer. Shonna Diskin developed the project and will produce. No word on when the show will air.

Also on the Lions Gate slate is Jeremiah based on Belgian cartoonist Hermann’s long running comic. A two-hour backdoor pilot for Showtime will be produced in association with Paramount International Television. The series is set in the near future when a society of children attempts to rebuild the world after a catastrophic virus annihilates everyone over the age of 12. The creative team includes director Joe Dante (Gremlins, Small Soldiers) and writer/producer J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5). Scott Rosenberg of Platinum Entertainment will be executive producer.

X-MEN 2

Anna Paquin is ready, willing and able to reprise her role as Rogue in the sequel to the X-Men movie. While speaking with the Toronto Sun, via the Jam! Showbiz site, Paquin said, “If they make one I’m signed for it and I want to be in it.”

While the actress wasn’t aware of director Bryan Singer’s status on the film she did say, “I can’t imagine making that movie without him.”

The actress also talked about the slightly unnerving prospect of having an action figure of herself. “It’s just a creepy process because, at the end of it, you have this little six-inch high plastic figure of yourself running around all over the world in toy stores and little kids’ playrooms,” Paquin said. “It’s just kind of a slightly weird thing to think about.”

Meanwhile, Patrick Stewart is also talking about returning as Professor X. Stewart told Anderson Jones of E! Online that he’s “keeping fingers crossed that Bryan Singer’s going to direct the sequel.”

Stewart went on to say, “We were talking about it the Monday morning after the first great weekend. We were stunned–and, of course, thrilled. We never allowed ourselves to dream of something so successful.”

Stewart also expressed some concern about the Writers Guild strike. “We’re all wondering what impact that will have,” Stewart told Jones. “At the moment, there’s not even a storyline. I would be very surprised to see any production in the next 12 months.”

Finally, X-Men director Bryan Singer is apparently seeking a bigger budget for the sequel to his comic to film smash. According to the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, Singer was unhappy with the $75 million allotted the first effort. Although he and producer Tom DeSanto are reportedly negotiating with the studio for more, Singer told EW, “everyone seems to be on the same page.”

Singer will make Confessions of a Dangerous Mind in March, leaving plenty of time for fans to wait for the start of X-Men 2.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE

Syndicated columnist Cindy Pearlman spoke with director Darren Aronofsky about Batman. The director was a little more forthcoming with information than he has been in the past. Pearlman reports that the director is getting started on the screenplay for the movie this week.

“I want to introduce some Freudian psychology and answer the question: What does it take for a real man to put on tights and fight crime. I promise that this time Batman will be a complex character with issues,” Aronofsky told Pearlman.

The director also warns fans not too look for the latest hot teen star to play the title role. “It’s not the teen Batman. But we do tell the origins story,” Aronofsky said. “We learn how Batman saw his parents killed in front of him by a gunman and then trained himself to fight crime.”

The director goes on to say that any casting rumors we’ve heard are false. “It’s really premature. Honestly, I haven’t thought about it.”

Thanks to Ain’t It Cool News for the lead.

FROM HELL

[From Hell]
(Clockwise from upper left: Heather Graham, Johnny Depp and Hughes. All images © New York Times.)

The New York Times Magazine recently ran a photo spread on the From Hell production in Prague. The text of the spread mostly focuses on the prior works of the directors Albert and Allen Hughes (Menace II Society, American Pimp).

One interesting factoid about From Hell: the directors chose to use machine-generated mist instead of the traditional London fog. Allen Hughes said the audiences may have, “preconceived images in their heads, but they’re not going to get the Jack the Ripper with the fog.” 

Thanks to Gail (not YABS Gail…well, thanks to YABS Gail too, for the laughs, but not for the pictures)!

GHOST RIDER

[Ghost Rider]

In the latest issue of the spiffy new Total Movie magazine Patrick Sauriol talks to writer/producer David Goyer about the Ghost Rider movie. Although Goyer’s comments seem to be dated by recent internet interviews, there are some interesting insights never the less.

Goyer describes the story as being about “a man that made a deal in order to save the life of the woman he loves, and it went horribly wrong. That is the conceit.”

Although the villains were undecided at the time of the interview, Goyer did say, “There’s a guy in the story that’s basically the Devil, but he’s never called the Devil. And then we were kicking around using a version of the Scarecrow, but again, we’re still kicking this around.”

Lest fans fear that the movie might somehow go the camp route, rest assured. “It’s very scary,” Goyer told Sauriol. “First and foremost it’s a horror movie, and when you see the Ghost Rider, it’s not campy, it’s not funny, it’s horrifying.”

THE CROW: SALVATION

The release date for video release of The Crow: Salvation has apparently been moved from January, 2001 to March 20, 2001. This date coincides with the release of the boxed set of the first three Crow films.

Thanks to Corona Coming Attractions for the lead.

CONAN

Chris Stewart of IGN FilmForce recently asked Arnold Schwarzenegger about the prospect of the star returning to the Conan franchise that launched his action-hero career.

“Right now there’s too many things on the table to do,” Arnold answered. “From Terminator 3 to Doc Savage and a possible Total Recall number two and maybe a comedy – I [also] want to direct again. I don’t know where this [Conan] will happen.”

Thanks to Cinescape for the lead.

MARSHAL LAW ONLINE

Cutting Edge digital animation studio Cool Beans Productions Ltd., has announced the immediate launch of the Cool Beans World preview website. The preview site gives a sneak peek at what will be an Internet channel dedicated to the best in comic and CG storytelling. Accessible via www.coolbeansworld.com, this cyberspatial reading room promises to feature original and exclusive work from some of the comic industry’s most talented writers and artists. Slickly designed, endlessly inventive, in Cool Beans World the comic book is reborn.

There are eleven on-line titles to set Cool Beans World spinning when the full site is launched early next year. Renowned writer Pat Mills and artist Kevin O’Neill inject a heavy dose of cool carnage with an epic, all-new Marshal Law storyline.

Also running on the site is Saintly: a dark, computer-generated face-off between schoolteacher Abby Sterling and small-town evil, and Kingdom of the Wicked: a writer falls into the poisoned realm of Castrovalva, a world he once imagineered as a child. Further titles to be announced shortly.

“Comics have always dealt with the fantastic, the extreme, the humorous and the downright hideous,” explains Nick Percival, Creative Director of Cool Beans World. “Comics are graphic storytelling. We want to enhance that form of graphic storytelling. We want to hit the comic book fans that have grown up. We want to hit fans of video games and movies who now demand more from their entertainment buck. Consequently, our creators, combined with Cool Beans digital muscle, are creating hard edged animated comic books, epic graphic novels, interactive evolving storylines, hoards of cool supporting material and fully CG animated adventures that apply all the dynamics of comic book storytelling, pacing, style and content.

“By bringing together some of the best creators in the industry,” Percival continues, “we give them the chance to do what they do best – create new worlds and characters that will engage you, scare you, thrill you and have you coming back for more. These will be fully supported by a strong Cool Beans World community, which will allow fans exclusive access to creators, features, give-aways, behind the scenes information and the chance to have a real involvement in the development of Cool Beans World. By mixing established comic book icons together with the freshest new blood, Cool Beans World is the next evolution in graphic storytelling.”

SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE

[Christopher Reeves as Superman]

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly discusses a small stampede of films slated for re-release in 2001 and 2002. The surge follows the successful re-release of The Exorcist this summer. According to the article Superman: The Movie is due for a new flight on the big screen some time in 2001.

Fans have also been keeping their fingers crossed for a DVD release of the film in the near future.

BARBARELLA

Syndicated columnist Cindy Pearlman recently spoke with Drew Barrymore who dropped some more hints about the Barbarella movie. Barrymore’s character in the film will be a next-generation heroine, and not the same character that Jane Fonda played in the 1968 version. “I will be completely different,” Barrymore told Pearlman. “We aren’t doing a remake. This will be a new Barbarella. I’m not going to play the Jane Fonda character.”

Barrymore’s producing partner, Nancy Juvonen had the following to add, “We haven’t even begun to write it, but I can tell you that Drew won’t be a Fembot. The new film will be about society and what happens in Utopia. It will still have some flower child ideas in it.”

Thanks to Ain’t It Cool News for the lead.

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