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GHOST RIDER, BLADE, BLACK PANTHER

[Ghost Rider]

Back in 1998 director Stephen Norrington helped break Marvel’s box-office losing streak by directing Blade. Now, according to a report from Variety, the director may turn his attention to another hot Marvel property: Ghost Rider.

The director is said to be in negotiations to develop and direct the movie. The movie has a reported budget of $75 million. The movie is in development with Crystal Sky Entertainment and Marvel Studios, although no studio is currently attached.

The movie could reunite Norrington with Blade collaborator David Goyer. Goyer recently spoke with Mothership about Ghost Rider. Goyer wrote a screenplay for the character five years ago, which will likely not be used for the new movie. However, Goyer told Mothership he is in negotiations to come aboard the new project.

“I wrote a script about five years ago for Ghost Rider and we’re sort of using that as a starting point,” Goyer told Mothership. “But because of the development process, it didn’t turn into the script that I wanted to write. Even left to my own design, I would probably write something kind of different now.”

Goyer also mentioned that Jon Voight (Anaconda) is a producer on the movie and may appear in it. He also said the Johnny Depp is very interested in taking the starring role in the production.

Goyer also talked about the Blade sequel. “Blade 2 is going into pre-production [this] month and we’ll start shooting that in February,” Goyer told Mothership. “The scripts are all done – all approved. The only two people coming back are Wesley and Kris Kristofferson. I won’t say how but it makes sense.”

Goyer is definitely hoping to carry the franchise into a trilogy, but said he likely wouldn’t stay involved if it went beyond three installments. Director Guillermo del Toro is currently in Spain filming The Devil’s Backbone.  According to the article Blade 2 is shooting for a November 2001 or February 2002 release.

But wait! Goyer just can’t keep his hands off the superheroes. He also revealed to Mothership that he and Blade buddy Wesley Snipes are also eyeing Black Panther. Snipes’ production house Amen Ra had long been attached, even before the property became part of the Marvel/Artisan package deal.

“Yes, [Amen Ra] is still attached,” Goyer said. “Wesley and I get along really well and he’s the perfect guy to do it. That’s probably something that’ll be the next Wesley franchise we do after Blade.”

GHOST WORLD

As reported in the Fantagraphics e-mailer, the August 2000 issue of England’s Sight and Sound magazine features a three page feature on the movie version of Dan Clowes Ghost World. The magazine visited the set and spoke with director Terry Zwigoff (Crumb) and writer/creator Daniel Clowes.

According to the article The success of Crumb, the acclaimed film about underground cartoonist Robert Crumb, led to many offers for Zwigoff, including the first Austin Powers movie. However, the director passed them by for the opportunity to co-write and direct Ghost World. “What attracted me to Ghost World was Dan’s dialogue and the characters,” Zwigoff told Sight and Sound, “but we wound up sharing a lot of the same sensibilities.”

[Thora Birch]
[Thora's Room]
Thora Birch as Enid Coleslaw

Making a movie based on those sensibilities proved to be a difficult sell in Hollywood. “Terry and I were the two worst pitch-men in the history of Hollywood,” Clowes told the magazine. “We would mention Woody Allen films and get the most horrified looks. The best thing that happened to us was American Beauty, because then we could say, ‘It’s like American Beauty’, and they’d think, ‘$200 million! Let’s make that movie!'” The magazine features a photo of Thora Birch’s Enid Coleslaw character in her room, a room that looks unlike a typical movie-teen’s. “We’ve used books where photographers have gone into real teenagers’ rooms, and you see how un-art-directed they are,” production designer Ed McAvoy said.

Indeed, Zwigoff wanted to steer clear of Hollywood’s slick and polished teen-movie feel. “I had to see a lot of teen movies when we were casting,” the director told Sight and Sound. “I can’t think of a single one I liked. They all seemed so false.”

At Zwigoff’s encouragement, Clowes was on the set and consulted continuously on the movie. Clowes describes the relationship as the director focusing on the big picture while Clowes coordinated the details. According to the article, the pair plan on collaborating again in adapting Clowes’ Art School Confidential as a film.

LUNATIK, DAMAGE CONTROL, SHADOWMAN, EVIL ERNIE

A report in today’s Variety reports on the many comic-based projects at Barry Levine’s Brigade Entertainment (formerly known as Takoma).

The write-up reveals that Lunatik, which Avi Arad blabbed about last month, is one of such project. Adam Rifikin (Detroit Rock City) is attached to write and direct the movie based on Keith Giffen’s short-lived comic about an alien who comes to Earth and becomes a media celeb.

Also slated is Damage Control which Brigade is developing with Village Roadshow (The Matrix).  Levine and Neal Moritz (I Know What You Did Last Summer) are producing. Don Calume and Chris Conroy are developing the screenplay on that one.

Finally, it appears there is a new writer aboard the Shadowman movie. According to the write-up Keith Domingue is now working on the script. Ice Cube (Three Kings) is still set to star and produce.

Also, confirming reports from last month, Evil Ernie is listed as one of Brigade’s projects. Kiss front man Gene Simmons (Detroit Rock City) will also producer. Chaos! Comics pres Brian Pulido is set to executive produce.

SUPER BOXERS

[Super Boxers]

Comics2Film has received word from an anonymous source that Ron Wilson’s graphic novel Super Boxers has garnered some interest from a major studio. According to our source Columbia Pictures has contacted Wilson about developing the project. Our source told us that the property has made the rounds in Hollywood for years with Disney holding the option at one point and various producers and writers working on it at different times.

Super Boxers was originally published by Marvel’s Epic imprint for creator owned titles. The concept was created and written by Wilson with art by John Byrne and a cover by Bill Sienkiewicz.

SPIDER-MAN

In seeming confirmation of recent Internet rumors, the Sony Showbiz Scoop e-mailed from Tuesday afternoon hinted that casting of Green Goblin in the Spider-Man movie may be closer than we think. Quoting the newsletter directly, “Nic Cage is close to joining SPIDERMAN [sic] alongside star Tobey Maguire, as nemesis, the Green Goblin, whose bat-flying antics leave a trail of pumpkins behind him.” Of course, if they can’t even spell the title of their movie (it’s got a hyphen people!), then can we really take this news seriously?

The report does seem to contradict recent statements by Cage’s to Zap2it.com just last week. The publicist said then that the actor was interested, but there had been no negotiations yet.

Meanwhile a report at Whoosh.org (the Journal of the International Association of Xena Studies) indicates that Ted Raimi will make an appearance in Spider-Man. The actor is a regular on Xena and brother to Sam Raimi (Xena’s Executive Producer and Spider-Man’s director). The actor gave Woosh the news of the appearance, but would not say what his part would be.

Thanks to Spider-Man Hype and Corona Coming Attractions for the lead.

And Corona Coming Attractions has the latest web-backpack full of Spider-Man casting rumors.

The first rumor comes from an anonymous scooper who claims that William H. Macy is Raimi’s preference for playing Peter Parker’s hot-headed boss J. Jonah Jameson. However, Macy is set to start shooting Jurassic Park 3 soon.

The same scooper said the Doc Ock will be cast in contrast with Cage. Supposedly a shorter, older actor would be called for…someone like Bob Hoskins, who is an unconfirmed name associated with the part. Other unconfirmed tidbits from this scooper have Brian Dennehy playing Parker’s ill-fated Uncle Ben. Finally Ted Raimi is said to be playing “a one-armed scientist,” which may or may not be Dr. Curt Conners, whose limb-regeneration experiments lead to him becoming The Lizard.

Finally, this same scooper told Corona that Cirque Du Soleil ballerina, Helena Buonfigoli has allegedly been brought on board to choreograph Spidey’s web-slinging and swinging. The dance pro supposedly did some motion capture tests last week.

GATECRASHER

[Gatecrasher #1]

Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. and Black Bull Entertainment, L.L.C. today announced the signing of a development agreement to bring the new monthly comic series Gatecrasher to television.

The agreement calls for Mainframe Entertainment to develop a computer animated half-hour television series for the youth market from the sci-fi comic series. Gatecrasher is designed and written by the team of Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Connor and Mark Waid.

Said Mainframe Entertainment Inc., Senior VP of Creative Affairs Dan DiDio, “Jimmy is a longtime friend and I have watched Gatecrasher grow from concept to comic. This comic book property is one of the most easily translatable to the TV platform that I’ve ever seen.”

Gareb Shamus, CEO of Wizard Press and Black Bull Entertainment said, “When we launched Black Bull, we made a conscious choice to make sure that anything we did beyond the comic books would get the love and attention that the books got in the first place. We feel it’s that attention to every last little detail that sets Black Bull’s comics apart, and we want to make sure that attention carries over into whatever off-page entertainment we create.”

Gatecrasher is the story of Alec Wagner, a college student who is half-human, half-alien and a full-time member of the Split-Second Squad, a secret alien army that protects Earth from alien attacks through interdimensional ‘gates.’ Using its liquid supercomputer ThinkTank, the Squad was able to locate these gates before damage could be done — until it was destroyed and its contents splashed all over Alec’s body. Although the youngest and least experienced of the team, Alec is the only Squadder with the power to sense when and where the invaders will strike, so he is always on call.

VOLCANIC REVOLVER

[Volcanic Revolver]

If you missed it at the Comic-Con International in San Diego, you can now catch the eye-popping (or should we say “eye-stabbing”) trailer for Scott Morse’s Volcanic Revolver online. Thrave.com posted the trailer earlier in the week.

Morse is writing. co-directing and co-producing Volcanic Revolver as an animated feature based on his Oni Press comic. Morse described it as “mafia story set in 1929 about a gang war between the Irish mob and the Italian mob. It’s the lower echelon of the mob structure.”

The movie will be done in Flash animation and released on the web in easy-to-download chunks.  Ultimately the movie is headed for a more traditional film release. Morse said last month that, in addition to the material released on the web, the filmmakers would be “putting another 20 to 30 minutes of animation into it, flushing out the story a little bit more, making it work more cohesively in film. It will be released on tape and DVD.”

Bryan Andrews is co-director and co-producer of the film, with Louis J. Cuck also acting as a producer. Thrave prexy Reid Gershbein serves as executive producer. Brian Mendelsohn provides the music and sound design.

HULK

Last month, Corona Coming Attractions unveiled a set of images that were makeup designs from the The Hulk movie. The images were said to be part of the failed development effort from the period when Jonathan Hensleigh was set to write and direct the movie.

Comic2Film contributor Joe Hendren dug up his copy of Hensleigh’s screenplay in an attempt to verify if the images mapped to the script. Indeed they do. Joe provided us with the following tidbits, which describe a character named Martin. These descriptions were culled from his reading of the screenplay.

“Basically the character, Martin, had inoperable liver cancer and was the subject of an experimental treatment that used Gamma radiation. The entire ordeal was, of course, covered up by the military,” Hendren explains. “Martin now lives in military patrolled compound. The characters you will see mentioned below are as follows: Banner, Bruce Banner… you know him. Frank: former head of research and development for the Gamma Project back in the ’70s. Felipe… Martin’s caretaker.”

“The first clue we get to Martin’s condition is described in the following, ‘Frank and Banner start inside. Felipe picks up a PAIR OF MEN’S CANVASS SNEAKERS, 3 feet long, size 47 EEE. Banner stares at the shoes and just keeps walking…’ Shortly after, in the screenplay, are described, ‘a PAIR OF SHOELESS FEET each the size of a surf boogie board.’ and then ‘MARTIN. A giant misshapen man, sitting on a crate/stool. He’s 12 feet tall and weighs 1000 lbs.’ The script also describes, ‘custom wire-rim spectacles… The lenses are the size of dinner placemats.'”

Of course a new script for the movie is currently being written by Michael Tolkin (Deep Impact), which will will not make use of Hensleigh’s screenplay. Most likely, the makeup work pictured will not be part of the movie either.

BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER

Warner Home Video has issued the following press release regarding Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker:

On Oct. 24, Gotham City will get a double dose of Batman as Bruce Wayne and the new Batman, Terry McGinnis, take on the world’s most infamous villain in Warner Home Video’s Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

Full of the nonstop action, suspense, intrigue and mayhem that have captivated Batman fans for decades, this state-of-the-art movie finally reveals what really happened during Batman’s last encounter with the Joker. This first-ever, feature-length Batman Beyond movie boasts a sleek new animation style sure to excite children and adults alike.

This exciting, theatrical-quality addition to Batman Beyond finds the sleeker, deadlier and seemingly immortal Clown Prince of Crime back with his own unique brand of pandemonium.

While trying to uncover the Joker’s secrets, the new Batman, Terry McGinnis, discovers the greatest mystery in the life of the original Caped Crusader: what happened the night he fought the Joker for the last time. When Bruce Wayne is almost killed in one of the Joker’s latest attacks, Batman vows to avenge his mentor and put the Joker to rest forever.

This movie will be available for $19.96 on VHS and for $24.98 on a loaded DVD.

The Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker DVD is loaded with special features, including:

  • Director/producer commentary;
  • Deleted scenes;
  • Beyond Batman Beyond making-of documentary;
  • Animatic sequences;
  • Video character biographies;
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Web site;
  • Crash music video by Mephisto Odyssey featuring Static X;
  • Trailers and TV spots.

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker features the voice talents of Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina the Teenage Witch), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Will Friedle (Boy Meets World) and Angie Harmon (Law & Order).

Exciting sounds from the movie will be available in October on the Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker soundtrack, featuring a hot single from debut Warner recording act Mephisto Odyssey (featuring platinum act Static X). Guitar wonder Kenny Wayne Shepherd also appears on the soundtrack.

Additionally, a music video for the song “Crash,” the first single from the soundtrack, will be running on music-video outlets beginning in October.

To celebrate this landmark release, the ultimate in virtual fun has been created at www.batmanbeyond.com. Extraordinary interactive features include a 10-minute “Return of the Joker” preview Webcast, a soundtrack sampler, a clip from the music video, interactive arcade games, character biographies, weekly contests and sweepstakes for chances to win great prizes, questions for the creators, chat events and much more.

CHRIS CROSBY COMIC

Chris Crosby who currently has a hit with his Superosity online comic, recently brought Comics2Film up to speed on his Hollywood deals.

Crosby told us that earlier this year he founded Keenspot.com, a web comic network. The success of Keenspot led to a deal with Bender-Spink. “They’ll be helping us to spin-off our comic strip properties into movies, TV, and more,” Crosby told Comics2Film.

“Doing a Superosity animated TV series has always been a main goal of mine, but for now I’m helping to develop some other Keenspot properties,” Crosby said. “I co-wrote a live-action feature film outline based on one of our more realistic-themed humor strips, it was very well-received by Bender-Spink. I’m also helping to develop a few other Keenspot comics for movies and TV. That’s going well. Our goal is for Keenspot Entertainment to eventually be a successful film, TV, and animation production company that co-produces our projects with Bender-Spink and the studio.”

A few years back Crosby had some Hollywood nibbles on his bad-girl action comic Scorn published by his now-defunt SCC Entertainment. At that time there was much interest in the heroine. “Hollywood interest in Scorn died down in late 1998, mostly because we stopped putting out new issues,” Crosby told us. ” I stopped promoting it to producers because I wanted to complete the screenplay first (which I’m still working on).” Subsequently Crosby shifted his focus to Superosity.

SUPERMAN

According to a recent report from Mothership‘s Eon Magazine, Superman may be hitting movie screens this year. Of course it wouldn’t be the long-awaited Superman Lives movie. Instead it would be a re-mixed, re-mastered edition of the 1979 classic starring Christopher Reeve. According to the report, Warner Bros. may release Superman 2000: The Special Edition in theaters (presumably this year considering the title). The re-release would contain extra footage as well as an enhanced soundtrack and special effects. A DVD edition would follow closely.

X-MEN 2

Halle Berry recently appeared on Access Hollywood and talked about the X-Men sequel according to Corona Coming Attractions. According to the write-up, the actress told Access Hollywood that she’ll definitely be back for round two.

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