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SPIDER-MAN

[Spider-Man]

Late last week, Andrew Rodgers kicked off his new Internet Movie buzz column on Zap2it.com by taking a pass at the Spider-Man movie and the casting rumors surrounding it.

Recent rumors indicated that Nicolas Cage was likely to be cast as the Green Goblin in the movie. Although Cage’s agent and a Columbia Pictures publicist initially poo-pooed the rumors, Cage’s own publicist chimed in with a different story. She told Rodgers that Cage is interested in flying the bat-glider but there have been no negotiations so far. Furthermore, the actor may have a scheduling conflict as Spidey is set to lens in November, while Cage’s current project, Wind Talkers will be filming until December.

Other rumors had Julia Stiles (Down To You) playing Mary Jane in the movie. Stiles’ publicist denied the rumors flat out. Stiles is attending college in the fall and has no time for Spidey.

Finally, Rodgers checked in on the rumor that Liev Schreiber (Scream 2 and 3) had been cast as Dr. Curt Conners (who becomes The Lizard). This rumor hit the net months ago and was regurgitated in a recent issue of Wizard. Schrieber’s agency said that he’s not currently attached to any projects, but is definitely available for the November shoot.

In other Spidey news, the August 14 issue of Time magazine features an article on the casting of Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man.  According to a report from Associated Press, Maguire makes the following comments about the process of being transformed into the webslinger:

“They put some kinda grease on my body and then layer after layer of this … stuff. When it hardens, they take it off, and it’s a bit painful ’cause I have hair on my body.”

Hopefully, by the time the movie comes out, the mainstream press will realize that the correct spelling of “Spider-Man” is with a hyphen.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man Hype reports that long time comic and horror illustrator Bernie Wrightson may be doing design work for the movie. The hypsters cite a “reliable source” who has informed them  that Wrightson is doing design work for the Green Goblin character.

TV Guide Online reports that Vincent D’Onofrio (The Cell) has responded to rumors and dream-casting that would have him playing Doctor Octopus in the movie. “I wouldn’t do it,” the actor told TV Guide. “There are certain things you cannot do.” The actor also reportedly passed on the chance to star as The Rocketeer in 1991. He did say, however, that he’s happy for Tobey Maguire to get lead role in Spider-Man. “I love Tobey Maguire. That’s Fantastic.”

One last bit of Spider-Reporting: The latest script review over at The Stax Report is none other than David Koepp’s April 14 pass at Spider-Man.

Stax sums up his review as “MIXED, MINOR SPOILER WARNING (but NOTHING that hasn’t already been discussed online or that any good Spidey fan shouldn’t already know, IMO).”

MAGE

Comics2Film spoke recently with Matt Wagner about the progress of the Mage movie. At this point the movie does not have the hoped-for green light from Disney. The studio has asked for a few minor script tweaks, which screenwriter John Rogers is currently at work on. Wagner tells us that the vibe is that the movie will go forward once these script adjustments are made. Disney has discussed a healthy budget for the film with the producers at Spyglass.

DANGER SQUAD, BIG GAME and ASTRO ACES

Comics2Film talked to animator and comic creator Shannon Denton about a number of his properties that have been optioned for TV and film. Denton is the founder of Meteor City Productions. As an animator he’s done work on many of the Fox Kids action programming including X-Men and Silver Surfer.  He created an anthology comic which was published by Antarctic Press and has also worked for Marvel and DC.

Two of Denton’s entertainment deals have spun out the comic he did for Antarctic Press. “I did an anthology comic called High Stakes Adventure. From that, I got some attention,” Denton told us.

Danger Squad is in development at Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Denton describes the concept as “Indiana Jones meets meets X-Files. Supernatural adventure like Indiana Jones, except its a team of guys set in the here-and-now. It’s high adventure with high-tech equipment.” The comic featured a team of operative investigating paranormal phenomenon.

Denton seems pleased with the relationship with the producers. “The Bruckheimer guys, I really like working with them because I know when it does get made it’s going to be made well,” Denton said. “It’s going to appeal to the masses. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to have action in it. I’ve really enjoyed working with them.”

The other concept from High Stakes is called Big Game. “Lethal Weapon meets Blade,” is the five-second Hollywood pitch-line Denton told us. He further elaborated: “East meets west, Kung Fu and Western tradition coming together on the streets of Los Vegos.”

John Peters Entertainment currently holds the option on this property.  A new Big Game comic series is in the works.

Both the Danger Squad and Big Game projects are in the early stages of development.

Denton has also optioned his property Astro Aces to Fox Kids. Aces has never appeared in the comic book format, but was put together first as an animation pitch. The 3D trailer that Denton created with the help of Foundation Imaging can be viewed at the Lightwave Lab website. “The trailer was done mainly so that I could convince Fox that it could be done in 3D,” Denton told us.

Although the deals present exciting opportunities, Denton is taking it in stride. “It’s just been fun. I totally was not expecting any of this but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with everyone and look forward to what comes next.”

THOR

Greg Dean Schmitz of the Upcoming Movies website popped in at this weekend’s Wizard World convention to dig up some news. He attended a panel discussion with Tyler Mane, a.k.a Sabretooth from the X-Men movie (as if you didn’t know). Acting on a hunch Schmitz asked the enormous, light-haired actor if there had been any talk of him playing the part of Thor on the recently announced Artisan/Marvel live-action TV show.

Surprisingly, Schmitz’s hunch was right on the money. “I went to lunch with Stan Lee a couple of weeks ago,” Mane told Schmitz, “and when I walked into his office, he had all this creative staff there, and said, whenever I get tired of Sabretooth, that he would create a character for me. And he said, that I would be a good Thor too. So, you never know. I’m keeping my fingers crossed on all of that.”

Mane went on to encourage fans to support him in his bid to be the God of Thunder. Mane told fans, “Stan-Lee.com, get on there, say ‘Tyler Mane needs to be Thor’.”

The actor apparently has a website of his own in the works with the domain Tyler-Mane.com.

HULK

[Lou Ferigno]

Another scoop picked up at Wizard World by Greg Dean Schmitz of the Upcoming Movies website relates to the Hulk. You may recall hearing rumors that Lou Ferrigno is to be involved in the new Hulk movie. More recently there have been rumors indicating that Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley would be involved in the movie. All rumors were attributed to Ferrigno himself, who supposedly remarked on these things at conventions and/or radio talk show appearances.

Schmitz talked to Ferrigno on the floor of the Wizard World convention. Ferrigno told Schmitz that the rumors of his involvement with Hulk were false, or at least said that he would not be appearing in the movie. Furthermore the actor admitted that he has a part in the movie Bedazzled, which stars Fraser and Hurley. His comments about Bedazzled are likely where the recent confusion started.

Following this above article, a new report appeared on the net providing contradictory information. Reporting for the X-Fan website, Drew Reiber also said that he spoke the to two-time Hulk (Ferrigno played the character in the live-action TV show and voiced the character in the more recent animated show).

Reiber reports that Ferrigno told him that he IS involved with the movie, just the opposite of what was reported Sunday by Upcoming Movies. Ferrigno told Reiber that he’ll make a cameo in the movie and there’s also a possibility that the hulking actor will do motion capture work for what will presumably be a CGI charcter.

We had done our own checking on the involvement of Ferrigno in the movie last year. We spoke to a source at producer Gale Anne Hurd’s office who told us Ferrigno was definitely not involved in the movie. So, we have several puzzling reports on the subject. However, given the nature of modern movies, with several producers involved with each project. It’s possible that Ferrigno has some kind of arrangement with one of the parties involved with the production. Only time will tell.

WEBSITES: WITCHBLADE, SHEENA, STATIC SHOCK!, GREEN LANTERN

Comics2Film conducted the latest in our never-ending search for the next movie and TV domain names. We turned up a few interesting entries.

Warner Bros. has purchased the domains static-shock.com and staticshocktv.com. Both the domains are inactive. Presumably the would be activated to used for website promoting the upcoming Static Shock! animated TV series.

Meanwhile Sony has purchased sheenatv.com. This URL currently takes you to Sony’s TV site, but would likely be used in the future to promote the upcoming Sheena syndicated TV show starring Gena Lee Nolin.

However Sheena.com was recently opened, promoting the original jungle girl! This site, which is still under construction, was created by Paul Aratow’s Galaxy Publishing, Inc.  Aratow has held the rights to the character for over 20 years and was the producer on the 1984 movie starring Tanya Roberts. Aratow tells us that this site represents “The Real Sheena.”

It does not, however, represent the upcoming Sony/Columbia Sheena syndicated TV show. Last December, it was reported that Aratow was bringing a lawsuit against Sony. Aratow claims that the studio deprived him of his “first right of negotiation” when it assigned the TV project to producer Douglas Schwartz (Baywatch) without giving him a crack at it. The suit is still ongoing at the time of this writing.

Finally, TNT has opened its website promoting the upcoming original movie: Witchblade. The site features a movie synopsis, cast and crew biographies, a look behind the scenes and photos from the production. There’s also an online game. Coming soon are a downloads section and the ability to send Witchblade e-cards to friends. Finally, there’s a link to a contest co-sponsored by Top Cow which could have the lucky winner’s writing appearing in an upcoming issue of Witchblade.

Of course, a movie as good as Witchblade deserves more than one website, and Top Cow has recently opened its own Witchblade.com. The site is still under construction, but it does have the official trailer for the movie available for download.

In other domain name news: A scooper for Corona Coming Attractions discovered that Warner Bros. has purchased the domain name www.greenlanternthemovie.com. Clicking the link takes you right to the WB movies page. CA cautions fans not to get too optimistic about this long dormant project. Most likely this is just a precaution taken by the studio to ward of them yellow domain squatters.

MEN IN BLACK 2

[Men In Black]

The Cinema Confidential website reports that Tommy Lee Jones made some recent public statements about Men In Black 2. While promoting his new movie Space Cowboys, Jones stated that a script rewrite was underway and the movie looks definite.

THE DARKNESS

Corona Coming Attractions reports that screenwriter Chris Morgan has sold his pitch for a movie version of Top Cow’s The Darkness to Columbia Pictures. Daily Variety is cited as the original source of the info.

HEAVY METAL 2000

Cinescape reports that Heavy Metal 2000, which just began airing on the Starz/Encore! cable channels last month, is now slated to hit video stores on October 17.  According to the write-up, there’ll be VHS and DVD releases. The DVD will include the Julie Strain: Super Goddess featurette and a number of other extras.

CASPER’S HAUNTED CHRISTMAS

Friendly Ghost fans can now pre-order the next direct-to-video movie featuring their hero. This week Casper’s Haunted Christmas was listed with most online video vendors as being available for preorder.

The movie is an all-CGI feature produced by Harvey and Mainframe Entertainment. Mainframe is known for CGI animated programming like Reboot, Beast Machines and Action Man.  The movie, which was originally slated for a December release, is now set to ship on October 31.

CHELSEA BOYS

A recent article in The Washington Blade discusses the work of artist Glen Hanson. Hanson recently designed MTV’s Spy Groove and also provided character designs for many animated shows such as Daria and Babar.

Hanson and collaborator Allan Neuwirth are now seeking to turn their comic strip Chelsea Boys into an animated show. The strip deals with three gay, male roommates. The creators are in talks with animation studios in England and Canada, and they are set to begin writing a script this year.

Hanson and Neuwirth have also recently collaborated on DC Comics’ Real World title Wonder Woman vs. the Red Menace.

Thanks to Michael Rhode of the Comics Research Bibliography.

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