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ALLEY CAT

[Alley Cat]

Mindfire Entertainment has produced such fan favorite movie fare as Trek-centric Free Enterprise and the superhero inaction movie The Specials. Next year they’ll launch their new genre division Mindfire Millennium by rolling cameras on a big screen adaptation of Alley Cat. Comics2Film spoke with Mindfire COO Mark Altman about the Alley Cat movie.

“The situation with Alley Cat is that we are going to be doing the feature film next year, based on the comic book,” Altman told us. “Greg Aronowitz is going to be directing. Greg is a very successful make up artist and talented director, but this will be his first feature. We’re real excited to have him doing it. He was involved in the creation of the comics.”

According to Altman, co-creator Matt Hawkins is working with Bob Napton on finishing the script. “They originally designed the movie for a low-budget type of thing,” Altman said. However, the current budget for the movie is a sizable $15-20 million. “So we’re really just trying to open it up and give it more scope and more action.”

Alley Cat focuses on a lingerie model who becomes involved with ancient, evil forces. “There’s this model, Alley, who is about to get married to this successful lawyer in New Orleans,” Altman explained. “While she’s planning for her wedding night she finds this [ancient garment]. We find out that it’s a cursed garment and it grafts itself into her. She’s possessed by the spirit of evil, which she’s constantly fighting. What we learn later on is that the Marquis de Sade himself has possessed somebody who is very important in her life.” The model-turned-heroine must solve a series of murders, avenger her sister’s death all the while, “trying to ward off the evil that’s slowly consuming her soul.”

Altman told us to expect a movie that’s more like The Sixth Sense than Batman. “What we’ve been struggling with is helping the script make the transition from the comic book to the big screen. Making it something that’s not just going to appeal to fans of the comic book but make it a little more accessible to a wider audience. That’s why there’s that Sixth Sense vibe. There’s definitely a horror element or a supernatural element that will make it more appealing than just a superhero story. It’s going to be creepy.”

The producers hope to get the movie rolling early next year, before the potential strikes in Hollywood. When cameras do roll, the movie will probably be filmed on location in New Orleans. 

It’s no secret that the comic book character was created as a vehicle for real-life model  Alley Baggett. However, Altman told us that no parts in the movie have been cast at this point, including the title role.

Mindfire Millennium will be devoted to genre movies based on video games, comic books and horror and science fiction concepts. “We’re really excited. My background is in the genre having been the editor of Sci-Fi Universe and having written about sci-fi as sort of a commentator, so it’s exciting to be able  to do some stuff. Especially since I’ve been so critical of the a lot of the material that’s been done in the last couple of years. We hope we can really deliver the goods.” Altman expects to make announcements soon about several movies based on popular video game properties that will be part of the new division.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE

[Darren Aronofsky]
Darren Aronofsky

Although his attachment to the project been rumored on the internet for months, Daily Variety reports up-and-coming director Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream) has officially signed on as the director of the next Batman movie. This puts to rest the recent smattering of “is it or isn’t it dead?” rumors and speculation about the franchise.

Also laid to rest are any arguments about what direction the franchise is going in. The Variety write-up tells us that the movie is now official known as Batman: Year One.

Even more good news for comic and movie fans is word that Aronofsky will be developing the screenplay with none other than Frank Miller, author of the comic on which the movie will be based. Aronofsky is a big fan of Miller’s. He’s commented in the past how Miller’s Sin City influenced the look of Pi. Also Aronofsky quickly attached himself to a big screen version of Miller’s Ronin, shortly after the successful debut of Pi. The pair reportedly worked on a screenplay for that movie as well.

Variety reports that Pi and Requiem producer Eric Watson will be part of the production team for Batman: Year One.

In a related story, TV Guide has good news for fans who were upset by recent rumors that had Brad Pitt starring in the Batman: Year One movie. The rumors are not true.

“The media put two and two together and got seven,” Aronofsky told TV Guide. “It’s true, I did meet with Brad, but we were actually talking about the science fiction [film] that I’m writing. He had seen Requiem for a Dream and really dug it and wanted to meet me. The word Batman didn’t even come up.”

Aronofsky also said that they haven’t ever considered who the lead actor might be. “I haven’t really started working on it. I don’t even know how old Batman is [going to be].”

THE CROW: SALVATION

[The Crow: Salvation]

According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Crow: Salvation will most likely be denied a wide theatrical release. A representative for Dimension Films told the trade that the dismal response to the recent test screening in Spokane, Washington has the studio shopping the film to cable outlets.

However, fans at the CrowFans.com website are eager to pin the blame on poor promotion for the film on the part of Miramax. With that in mind CrowFans is encouraging a boycott. Here’s an excerpt from their press release:

“Miramax sent the film to Spokane, WA to one theatre for a one week test run to see if it warrants a nationwide release. Miramax Films spent very little in advertising. [They ran] only a dinky newspaper ad, zero radio and TV ads. Miramax programmed the movie for failure and sent it up to Spokane to die.

“Miramax films is one of the prime R-rated film distributors. Thus, they could potentially be very susceptible to political pressure. Crow fans should not allow Miramax to throw away The Crow: Salvation for the sake of avoiding congressional coercion.

“Fans of The Crow can let their voice be heard at http://boycott.crowfans.com/, and they can find how to help get The Crow: Salvation in theatres and to contact Miramax.”

SPIDER-MAN

Cinescape reports Danny Elfman has been hired to provide the musical score for the Spider-Man movie. The word comes from none other than director Sam Raimi, who has collaborated with Elfman on films like Darkman and A Simple Plan.

“He is [perfect for the film]. He’s a great composer,” Raimi said. “I really have enjoyed working with him in the past.”

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS

[Rachael Leigh Cook]
Rachael Leigh Cook

Universal Pictures issued a press release Friday announcing the production start on Josie and the Pussycats. The musical comedy stars Rachael Leigh Cook (She’s All That), Tara Reid (American Pie), Rosario Dawson (Down to You), Parker Posey (Scream 3), Alan Cumming (Titus) and Gabriel Mann (Outside Providence). The film is written and directed by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont (Can’t Hardly Wait) and produced by Marc E. Platt and Tracey E. Edmonds. Also producing is Riverdale Productions’ Tony DeRosa Grund and Chuck Grimes.

Josie (Cook), Melody (Reid) and Val (Dawson) are three small town girl musicians determined to take their rock band out of their garage and straight to the top — while remaining true to their own look, style and sound. When the girls are “discovered” by band manager Wyatt Frame (Cumming) and megarecords CEO Fiona (Posey), who instantly offers them a recording contract, it looks as if Josie and the Pussycats are on their way.

Before long they have the number one single in the country … but something’s not right in Riverdale. It’s all happening too fast, and it’s all coming too easy, and fame and fortune are not as much fun as they thought it would be. Realizing they’ve been played as pawns by Fiona and Wyatt in an evil plot to control the youth of America, the girls vow to get even and clear their names — even if it means sending Josie and the Pussycats back to the garage.

Based on the Archie comic book, Josie And The Pussycats features an all-new power music soundtrack from some of the music industry’s hottest names. Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds serves as the music producer. Josie And The Pussycats is being filmed on location in and around Vancouver, B.C. and will be released by Universal Pictures in 2001.

In the related rumor department, an anonymous scooper at Corona Coming Attractions reports that Letters to Cleo front-woman Kay Hanley is providing the lead singing voice in the movie. According to the report, Hanley herself told the scooper that she is the singing voice for Rachel Leigh Cook’s Josie.

GHOST WORLD

[Scarlet and Thora]
Scarlet and Thora

Fans eager for a peek at the upcoming Ghost World movie are encouraged to check out the Fantagraphics website. Fantagraphics has posted 10 or so new stills from the movie. The images show stars Scarlett Johansson (The Horse Whisperer) and Thora Birch (American Beauty) in character as Becky and Enid, the protagonists of Daniel Clowes’ story.

The movie is written by Clowes and co-written Terry Zwigoff (Crumb), who also directed it. Filming on the movie wrapped last May. The cast includes Steve Buscemi (Armageddon) as Seymour, Brad Renfro (Apt Pupil) as Josh, David Cross (Mr. Show) as Gerrold, Illeana Douglas (Action) as Roberta, Teri Garr (I’ve Got A Secret) as Maxine and Bruce Glover (Warlock II) as Feldman.

X-MEN: EVOLUTION AND STATIC SHOCK!

A Comics2Film reader going by the name of Sticks wrote in to let us know that Kids WB! has opened it’s website promoting X-Men: Evolution. The website still appears to be under construction. However, it does give fans a thumbnail view of the major characters from the show. X-Men: Evolution is set to air Saturday, Nov. 4 at 11:30am.

The net has opened a similar site for the recently debuted Static Shock!

THE PURSUERS

James McKenney, creator of The Pursuers told Comics2Film that the movie version of that comic is currently stalled. “The Pursuers has been in Limbo since the Brazilian economy collapsed. We still have some of the financing for the movie, just not enough,” McKenney explained. “Freight Films isn’t giving up, though. They are committed to the project and still trying to get more money.”

The Pursuers features a group of 60’s-style super-agents. Freight Films announced earlier in the year that the movie would star Adam West, Frank Gorshin, John Levene (Doctor Who), Beto Simas and Diana Lee Inosanto. In a prior statement McKenney described the concept as “a combination of the original Avengers comic books and The Avengers British TV series”

“The Pursuers will be made, I just wish I knew when,” McKenney assured Comics2Film. “Hopefully, the movie that we’re working on now, CanniBallistic! will help stir up some interest in what we’re doing.”

For more information on The Pursuers, CanniBallistic and MonsterPants Comics check out MonsterPantsOnline.com.

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