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PLATINUM STUDIOS (Part 2)

[Barry Ween]

Comics 2 Film recently spoke with Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and Gregory Noveck of Platinum Studios. Last week we told you about their plans for Prime, Million Dollar Heroes and Nathan Never. This week we bring you part two of our conversation with Rosenberg and Noveck and reveal some interesting new projects their working on.


Before we get to the fun stuff, we’d like to correct a bit of misinformation from last week’s write-up. Last week we incorrectly identified Rosenberg as the publisher at Malibu Comics. Rosenberg was the founder and president of Malibu. Dave Olbrich was the publisher. Picking up where we left off, fans may be surprised to learn that Rosenberg and Noveck have plans to develop the Judd Winick’s hit comic The Adventures of Barry Ween: Boy Genius. Noveck talked about the appeal of the comic, “It’s really funny. It’s a 10-year old genius with the mind of a Vegas pimp. We’re developing that along a whole bunch of different lines actually. It’s one of those characters that we feel is a real tried and true franchise.”


In his FAQ at the official Barry Ween website, Winick asserts that the property is in development as an animated series. Rosenberg and Noveck hinted that there may be more to it than that. However, the pair refused to disclose any details about how they planned to develop the property. “We’re launching it as ‘something’ but we’re not telling yet,” Rosenberg teased.


Another Platinum original concept is Cowboys and Aliens. The western sci-fi concept was created by Rosenberg for the big screen. “Cowboys and Aliens is progressing really nicely with a writer named Chris Hauty (Homeward Bound II),” Rosenberg told C2F. “We’ve gone back and forth with different scripts before. Now Universal, Dreamworks and us are all on the same page, no pun intended. It’s incredibly active at the studios.” Rosenberg is the producer on the movie with Noveck co-producing. Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, both of whom worked on Men In Black with Rosenberg and more recently on Gladiator, are also producing.


It’s not all superheroes, aliens and destructive geniuses over at Platinum. One of the more intriguing projects that the producers talked about is an adaptation of Miguelanxo Prado’s Trace of Chalk. The award-winning comic was published in the US by NBM under the title Streak of Chalk. The movie is set up at Miramax as a foreign-language film.


Noveck described the concept, “It’s really an unconventional comic book in the sense that it’s sort of a surreal love story that takes place on a desert Mediterranean island. It’s just a really great character-driven love story with a little bit of a surreal, supernatural overtone to it. Miramax fell in love with it. We’re developing that as a small, feature to attract really strong actors.”


“That’ll be done in Europe as a Spanish and an Italian film,” Rosenberg added, stating that they’re not always looking to create a Hollywood blockbuster out of the comics they like. “We try to figure out what’s the best way [to adapt the comic]. We don’t always just look at the US feature market. On something like Trace of Chalk, instead of doing a small indie here, we’re really looking at doing a European picture that has top European stars and top European everything attached to it. It’s just a different approach.”


Platinum had already had a relationship with Miguelanxo Prado. The artist did character designs on the animated Men In Black series, “which are incredibly different from Trace of Chalk,” Rosenberg is quick to add.


With the large slate of comic-based movies, it’s no surprise that Platinum will be publishing their own comics in the near future as well. “We’re finishing up scripts on a bunch of them right now,” Rosenberg informed us.


Noveck elaborated on what we can expect from Platinum’s comic book line. “They’re all across the genres, from lighter more comedic intent, to more serious and action oriented to super-heroes to more mystery. There’s a wide range of stuff. We’ve been working on it, obviously, for a while and it’s all sort of coming to fruition.”

[Yancy Butler as Witchblade]

[Witchblade]

WITCHBLADE

A source at Turner Network Televison told Comics 2 Film that the TV Movie Witchblade has been assigned an air date of August 27 at 8PM. Our source also provided the following information from a release made by Top Cow Productions, the publishers of the comic.


“Top Cow Productions will be releasing a special photo cover of Witchblade #1 featuring Yancy Butler as Witchblade that will be available via quick solicit through Diamond Dateline in the next few weeks. Photo posters and other related merchandise will be produced by TNT¹s licensed affiliates and Top Cow to coordinate with the launch of the film.”


The made for TV movie stars Yancy Butler as Sara Pezzini, a New York City police detective, who wields an ancient, living weapon. David Chokachi (12 Bucks), Eric Etebari (The Murder in China Basin), Anthony Cistaro (Angel) and Will Yun Lee (Profiler) also appear in the cast.


The movie is directed by Ralph Hemecker (Millennium, The X-Files) from a script by J.D. Zeik (Ronin). Dan Halsted (Any Given Sunday, The Virgin Suicides) and Marc Silvestri are Executive Producers.

[Fat Dog Mendoza]

FAT DOG MENDOZA

The animated version of Scott Musgrove’s Fat Dog Mendoza made it’s debut on Cartoon Network UK earlier this year to very strong ratings. The show, placed highly in the ratings, in spite of running against Hey Arnold, which was Nickelodeon’s #1 show last year, and Sabrina which has also been strong.


Comics 2 Film has acquired the comparative ratings from February through Easter vacation. The show wins 2 out of three categories, which demonstrates the Fat Dog’s dominance:

Comparative ratings 2/28/00-4/4/00
Category Fat Dog

(Cartoon

Network UK)

Hey Arnold

(Nickelodeon)

Sabrina

(Disney)

Kids 4-15 .92 1.07 .47
Boys 4-15 1.02 .98 .47
Kids 4-9 1.47 .99 .67

In spite of the show’s strength in Europe, Cartoon Network in the US has not yet made a commitment to air the program. Fans who are interested in seeing the quirky and somewhat surreal show are encouraged to let the Cartoon Network know. Letters of support for Fat Dog Mendoza can be sent to:

Betty Cohen, President

Cartoon Network

1050 Techwood Drive NW

Atlanta, GA 30318

SPIDER-MAN


(Business Wire) Sony Pictures Consumer Products and Marvel Enterprises, Inc. have joined forces to create a new partnership – Spider-Man Merchandising L.P. – to oversee the expansive licensing and merchandising campaign surrounding the highly anticipated Spider-Man: The Movie slated for Fall 2001 and based on the Marvel Comics popular superhero. Under the agreement, SPCP and Marvel will equally share sales responsibilities, divided by category. The new collaboration was announced announced by Peter Dang, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Consumer Products for SPCP and Peter Cuneo, President and CEO of Marvel Enterprises, during an exclusive Spider-Man; The Movie kick-off presentation on the UCLA Campus.


“The formation of this new company is necessary to maximize the potential of the built-in awareness of Spider-Man,” said Dang. “By joining forces with Marvel, we can maximize on major licensing opportunities to support the movie, while leveraging the enormous worldwide popularity that has already been built. In essence, we are matching our strengths with Marvel’s to ensure that the Spider-Man motion picture franchise generates the attention and excitement it deserves.”


Cuneo added, “This strategic and exclusive partnership allows us to explore a full range of categories for one of the world’s most recognized characters. SPCP is a company that understands the unlimited potential in Spider-Man, and we are looking forward to maximizing the licensing, merchandising and branding opportunities afforded by the feature-film and this partnership.”


Led by hosts Dang and Cuneo, the Spider-Man: The Movie event will include more than 400 potential licensees, agents, promotional partners and retailers. Dang and Cuneo will provide detailed information on the current and projected scope of activities that will take place under the Spider-Man Merchandising L.P. banner. Marvel and SPCP will share revenues from the joint venture and have divided responsibility for pursuing each licensing category. Marvel will manage master toys, apparel, accessories, collectibles, gift and novelty, and publishing (shared). SPCP will handle back-to-school, food and beverage, health and beauty, home furnishings, domestics, housewares, party goods, stationery, sporting goods, publishing (shared), ancillary toys and video games.


The WizardWorld.com site ran a report on the press conference.


According to the write up, WizardWorld.com was able to confirm with unnamed sources which villains would appear in the movie. According to WW, the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus will “definitely” be included in the picture. WW also reports that Alex Ross has been approached to do character designs for the film.


Didn’t get your invitation to the event? Not to worry. The CHUD provided fans with three images scanned from the invitations. The images may provide a sneak peek at what the movie’s design will look like. Here’s one graphic featuring the Spider-Man logo:

[Spider-Man: The Movie]


(Thanks to Corona Coming Attractions for the lead)


Late last week, Eon Magazine/Mothership published a first interview with director Sam Raimi centering on the upcoming Spider-Man movie. The inteview revealed some interesting insights on the direction Raimi might take with the movie.


Raimi talked with the online magazine about the accessibility Peter Parker/Spider-Man has over other superheroes. “What I hope to put into the movie,” Raimi is quoted as saying, “is what I found so attractive about the comic books. He is not pretending to be somebody, like Superman pretends to be Clark Kent. Superman is really cool and unstoppable and he winks at us with the glasses and says, ‘I’m just pretending to be a nerd.’ But Peter really is. He never loses sight of who he is and that’s what’s great about him. He’s still us in that costume.”


Producer Avi Arad was also interviewed. The Marvel bigwig talked about what flavor of Spidey fans can expect. “Spider-Man has gone through a lot of changes and so has Peter Parker in the last 38 years, but we’re going to stay very close to Stan Lee’s original version,” Arad told Mothership. “Obviously, there are some changes because you only have a couple of hours to tell a pretty big saga. But, the same guy – Uncle Ben – dies. Mary Jane is still very important. Aunt May is very important. We make her even more important than in the books. Peter is Peter – there’s no reason to change him. The fans are going to love it. There will be no controversy. Everybody is going to get what he or she wants out of it.”


No casting has been done on the movie, but Raimi hinted that they would be choosing a lead for the movie in about three months.


Another surprise was the revelation that there would be an entirely new Spider-Man animated show, what would spin-off from the movie. Arad told Mothership that, like the movie, the show would be produced by Sony. The producer also speculated that the show would be done in CGI.


For more details, see the complete article.

[Diabolik]

DIABOLIK

Comics 2 Film has obtained press materials released earlier this year by Fox Kids! regarding their new Fall lineup. Included is the image at right, promoting the upcoming spy series Diabolik. Fox Kids! also provides this description for the show:


“Diabolik brings to life one of Italy’s favorite comic book characters, featuring a sophisticated hero living on the edge of darkness battling the forces of evil. Raised by a wealthy adoptive father to lead a life of crime, Diabolik instead dedicates himself to defeating his corrupt brother and the powerful, criminal regime he’s ruled since his father’s death. Produced by Saban International there are 40 captivating episodes.”

BABY BLUES


The prime-time, animated TV adaptation of Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman’s Baby Blues still lacks an air date according to Kirkman. The show was originally set to launch with a Christmas special last year on the WB network. Subsequent reports indicated that a March or April start was possible. At this point the show may be looking at a summer start.


“The latest word from the WB is that the show will start airing in July,” Kirkman told Comics 2 Film. However, he cautioned us that that date is also just tentative.

THE TICK

[Patrick Warburton/The Tick]

A few weeks back, a posting appeared in the The Tick Usenet newsgroup by none other than Ben Edlund. The posting reveals many details about the upcoming Tick TV series. However, we held off running it until we could confirm that the post was, in fact, from Edlund. At this point Comics 2 Film has gained verification from a source at Sonnenfeld/Josephson that the release did come from the Tick creator himself. Here’s what Edlund had to say about the show:


UNSOLICITED PROPAGANDA FROM BEN EDLUND REGARDING THE TICK PRIME TIME TV SHOW


“Hello. I’m Ben Edlund. No joke. For a while I wrote and drew a comic book called The Tick. Then I helped make a Saturday morning cartoon series called The Tick. And now, fourteen years after I gave painless birth to this freaky blue sub-icon, The Tick threatens to arrive again.


“For the last several months, I’ve been working on a live-action Tick TV pilot for possible airing on Fox this fall. Barry Sonnenfeld is directing the pilot, and has drawn together an impossibly talented group of people to bring The Tick to twisted life. I know that in some odd pockets of the world — including mine — the prospect of a live-action Tick is met with trepidatious anticipation. At this point, we’ve finished shooting the pilot, and I feel now is as good a time as any to talk to those who give a damn about the strange golden egg we’ve been laying here in Los Angeles. So:


“THE NEW TICK KICKS ASS! PATRICK WARBURTON (who played Puddy on ‘Seinfeld’) is perfect for this role. He has the firmest of grips on the secret pilot light of the Tick’s soul. His costume (designed by COLLEEN ATWOOD) is especially good. Big. blue, and extra-muscled! He looks like a giant immaculate toy! AND HE HAS REMOTE-CONTROLLED ANTENNAE! These antennae alone will hypnotize many into tantrums of pleasure and a rabid mob-frenzy of ancillary merchandise consumption. They move with a fluid grace never before seen atop a lead actor’s melon.


“AN IMPORTANT NOTE – The costume differs slightly from the cartoon and comic book versions. This difference occurs in and about the face area. While previously the Tick has had pupil-less white eyes set in a blue face mask, this new version exposes the Tick’s eyes and brow. I imagine some of you will be deeply disappointed by this departure from Tick scripture. That’s OK. But I believe absolutely that the right aesthetic choice has been made. Patrick is an excellent comedic actor with a very expressive face. There was no way to cover his eyes and get the same range, intensity, and specificity of emotion. With face unfettered, Patrick has created a three-dimensional, hilarious., totally convincing Tick. Embrace the new and give him a chance to win your hearts. DO!


“Arthur (played by DAVID BURKE) is ideal. He embodies the vaguely charismatic everyman Arthur was always meant to be. David’s ability to make his character’s reactions real in the face of relentless absurdity will prove invaluable to the development of the Tick’s better half. In his hands, Arthur will reach a new level of beleaguered humor and humanity.


“PLUS – the pilot will introduce two new characters: Batmanuel (played by NESTOR CARBONELL) a suave, Eurotrash hero who has a torrid off-and-on relationship with Captain Liberty (played by LIZ VASSEY) a beautiful but violent superhero with dubious connections to the CIA and other shadowy government agencies.


“There are some other changes. Chief among them, sadly, is that the material from the cartoon series has passed into the ownership of interests outside this current endeavor. But, in a way, this situation has served us well. We were forced to re-investigate our motives for making this thing, and had to engineer it from the ground up, applying what we’ve learned over the last few years to creating a better, stronger Tick. The show will be closer in tone to the comic book, favoring character over action, painting a superheroic portrait of genuine human lameness. We will all miss various things from the cartoon. I, personally, will miss SPEAK most of all. But I am extra-hot on the new stuff in this prime time beast.


“If we get to make this a series, the four core writers of the cartoon show (myself, RANDOLPH HEARD, RICHARD LIEBMANN-SMITH, and CHRIS McCULLOCH) will be back in business, thrown into a tiny, smelly room to squirm, thrill, and vomit out the first stabs at this new expression of the Tick’s message. And I suppose other, better-groomed men and women will join in as necessity demands.


“BARRY SONNENFELD (who directed Men In Black, among other films, and who can make his finger smell like cheese simply by rubbing it behind his right ear) is now the highest ranked General in the army waging slow war against a non-Tick world culture. He, too, KICKS ASS. The thing couldn’t have a better helmsman — a true disciple of inspired weirdness, and a dude generous with his ample talents. BO WELCH was our production designer, which means the pilot looks beautiful. Know this if nothing else: we all of us made an honest attempt to do the Tick justice.


“IMPORTANT AGAIN TO NOTE – This is only a pilot, and awaits FOX’s final judgment before it can go to series. Maybe our warped fruit will tumble out of your TV screens sometime in October. I hope it will, and I hope that you will decide to jump on the big Tick hay-ride to Happyland. That would certainly help me pay my mortgage.


Sincerely


BEN”


Thanks to Chris Baile, Bloodfang and Cinescape

BATTLE ANGEL ALITA

Cinescape looked into recent rumors that Producer/Director/King-of-the-World James Cameron is pursuing a movie version of Battle Angel Alita. The magazine spoke with Rae Sanchini, president of Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment about the prospect. According to Sanchini, Cameron is “in negotiations for all the rights, but we haven’t made any decisions on talent.”


Thanks to LowtekSH for the tip

ALIEN LEGION


In a recent interview on the PopImage website, Alien Legion creator Carl Potts talked about the prospect of bringing his concept to the big screen. Efforts had been underway to develop the concept as a TV movie up until early this year. At this point Potts is starting over and aiming for a theatrical feature.


“I’ve teamed up with a top screenwriter and producer,” Potts told PopImage. “We’ve recently been pitching an Alien Legion film idea to the majorstudios. Time will tell if we’re successful. The main concernis that this would be a BIG (read ‘expensive’) film to make.Studios are reluctant to commit to huge films. It takes a lotof convincing, even with a strong high concept.”

Potts also told PI, “I’mcurrently concentrating on trying to get a feature filmcooking. I’ve teamed with a Sony-based producer and agreat screenwriter and I think we’ve cooked up the perfectfeature film story to launch a franchise with.”

FROM HELL

[From Hell]

Corona Coming Attractions reports that From Hell directors Allen and Albert Hughes may be drawing inspiration from the early works of Alfred Hitchcock.


Albert reportedly told Interview magazine, “I’ve been looking at a lot of Hitchcock, I’ve not been a major fan of his as far as his ’40s–’60s work but the stuff he did in the ’30s was so bold and stylistic. We’re not going to try to go the same route as our other work, where the violence is so graphic or in your face. There might be moments like that but I want to shoot it more stylistically, where the audience has to imagine what’s going on more in their own minds–which everybody says is more scary, which is true.”


Corona also reports that Heather Graham appears to be officially on board for the movie. The website references a report from MSNBC in which that actress is said to have dyed her hair red and is learning a Cockney accent for the movie.

WONDER WOMAN


Last February it was reported that the domain names wonderwomanmovie.com and wonderwomanthemovie.com had been picked up by Warner Bros., obviously in anticipation of a Wonder Woman movie.


Now, Comics 2 Film reader Artemisboy informs us that the domain dianaprince.com was also purchased by Warner at the same time. Like the previously discovered domains, this URL currently takes surfers to a page promoting Warner Bros’ movies.

X-MEN?


In what may be an early sign of X-Men over-exposure backlash, the Modern Humorist website has cooked up an article skewering the production effort for their May issue. The crowing achievement to the spoof is their MP3 of Jewel’s song A Little Prayer (Wolverine’s Theme) from the movie’s soundtrack (clue: the real Jewel will not be performing any music for the movie). The soulful send-up starts off with these pleading lyrics:

Cold shiny claws pop out from my paws

To slay the evil mutants

But they can’t stop anti-mutant laws

That spread with such virulence


It just gets better from there.

HEAVY METAL 2000


Comics 2 Film has just learned that our most recent update on the Heavy Metal 2000 movie contained a factual error. We incorrectly reported the date that the movie is to make its U.S. debut.


Heavy Metal 2000 (sometimes known as F.A.K.K.2) is slated to air Friday, July 14 at 12 midnight – ET/PT on the Starz! cable channel. The movie will be played several times after that in July. From there it moves to the Starz/Encore Super Pak channel – Action – for plays throughout the month of August.

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