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THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN

[League of Extraordinary Gentlemen]

Three weeks ago Comics 2 Film broke the story that comic and screen writer James Robinson (Starman, WW3.com) was in talks with producer Don Murphy to pen the screenplay for the movie version of Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  This week we can make that official.  “I’m officially signed on and I’m currently hard at work on my first draft of LoEG,” Robinson told C2F.  The writer said he is starting from scratch and will not be using any of the previously completed drafts from the film.

Robinson was tight-lipped about what direction he might take with the material. “I don’t want to give anything away that might give people false expectations, either positively or negatively. Suffice to say, I intend to be true to the spirit of the comic which I think is brilliant.”

He went on to tell us that he’ll be following the comic stories “fairly closely with some inevitable changes when adapting six comics into a two hour movie.”

Robinson has several other big-screen projects in the works, the most prominent of which may be the upcoming WW3.COM for 20th Century Fox. However, the writer had little information to share with us about this one.”Sorry, but Fox likes to keep this one under wraps for now. However I can reveal that they’re trying to rush this one into production so that it’s one of their event movies for 2001.”

Robinson is also on board to adapt Ursula K. LeGuin The Farthest Shore for Jim Henson Pictures. “All I can say is that I’m going to try to write a script that is fresh and exciting. Something respectful of the book, while at the same time not recycling the sort of stuff we’ve gotten used to seeing with the likes of Willow and its ilk. Not to mention Lord of the Rings which will be out before we know it.”

Robinson and his sometime screen and comic writing partner David Goyer (Starman, Blade) had also written a script called Evermere which fetched a seven figure price a few years back.  Sadly, it appears that there is little activity around this movie.  “[Producers Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna] paid me and David Goyer a lot of money for the script, got Chuck Russell all excited about directing it, and then promptly let the project die. Go figure.”

Many fans have wondered why Robinson’s outstanding Starman comic is never so much as rumored as being adapted for TV or film.  “The problem is that with DC properties you have to set them up at [Warner Bros.] or you aren’t allowed to do them,” Robinson explained. “There has been interest in Starman but nowhere where they could do much about it. Warner Bros. meanwhile have their hands full developing Superman and Batman. Me being an aviation fan, if I had my choice, would love to write a Blackhawk movie. Fat chance.”

As far as his work on the Starman comic, Robinson reports that his work on that is starting to wind down. “I’ll be done with Starman with #80. I’ve just finished #74 for I don’t have many more to do.”

And will DC let the series end with that, a la Gaiman’s exit from Sandman? “As far as I’m aware, they’re retiring my Starman comic with Jack Knight, my version of the hero. However, I’m sure they will be a new version of Starman before long.”

The writer does hope to revisit the character in the future. “Tony Harris and I have talked about returning to a Jack Knight telling a story set earlier in Jack’s career when he visited Japan. This would be a fully painted project. We shall see,” Robinson told C2F.  “Oh and there’s also a Shade Special I’d like to do telling the origin of that character.”

SPIDER-MAN

Comic legend Stan Lee chatted with fans on the Spider-Man Hype website tonight.  Lee talked about, what else, the Spider-Man movie.

Lee cleared the air about the recent casting rumors, which suggested that Jude Law (The Talented Mr. Ripley) may have been signed for the title role.  “The role hasn’t been cast yet. Too bad it took so long that I’m now a little too old to play him myself,” the ever-humble Lee told fans.

As far as who he would like to cast, Lee said, ” If it was up to me, I’d cast an unknown and let big stars play all the other roles… Bit it’s not up to me!”

Fans asked Lee how he felt about the organic web-spinners that James Cameron had written into the original treatment for the movie, replacing Peter Parker’s mechanical ones. “What’s the diff?” Lee asked.  “[Cameron] won’t be doing the movie and I don’t yet know what Sam Raimi’ll do about ’em.”

Just when the fans were having a good time, one of those pushy, webmaster/journalist types busted in on the conversation.  The so-called “Patrick” asked Lee about rumors that someone is rewriting David Koepp’s screenplay.  Lee responded ” Sorry, Pat, I truly do not know.”

The never-camera-shy Lee also encouraged fans to lobby director Sam Raimi to give him a cameo in the movie.

In related news, a scooper for the Spider-Man Hype site claims that “a source” spotted Raimi and actor Nicholas Brendon (Buffy) at Sony’s studios recently.  The scooper didn’t want to rush to any conclusions, given that Brendon as another project at Sony, but the actor has long been rumored (and some would say favored by the fans) to play Peter Parker on the the big screen.

Meanwhile, Ain’t it Cool News reports that the Spider-Man movie has a tentative filming start date of December 4, 2000.  No source is given for this information.

DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING

[Death: The High Cost of Living]

IGN Movies reports that Neil Gaiman is set to direct the movie version of his comic Death: The High Cost of Living.  Gaiman made the announcement at a recent signing at the Golden Apple comics store in California. IGN promises more details from their interview with Gaiman, which will be posted on their site Wed.

Gaiman made the public appearance as part of his efforts to promote the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Thanks to Corona Coming Attractions for the lead.

THE TICK

A source close to the production of The Tick TV pilot has told Comics 2 Film that Jed Rees is no longer cast in production.  David Burke (Invisible Man TV show) has replaced Rees in the role of Arthur.

Also, the character formerly known as American Maid has undergone yet another name change.  The character is now said to be referred to as Captain Liberty.  This is a change from previous reports which had her called American Woman (which presumably elicited concern from creators of the recent comic book of the same name).

GHOST WORLD

[Ghost World]

A posting on the Fantagraphics website provides new details on the movie version of Daniel Clowes’ Ghost World.  The movie is slated to start filming this month.  As previously reported, Terry Zwigoff (Crumb) will be directing from a script he co-authored with Clowes.  Thora Birch (American Beauty) and Scarlett Johansson (The Horse Whisperer) are set to star as Enid and Rebecca respectively.

As reported last February, Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs) and Bran Renfro (Apt Pupil) are set to co-star.  The update does provide new details about the roles these actors will play.

Buscemi will play Seymour, who is described as “a minor character fromClowes’ original graphicnovel that is significantlyexpanded in the film.”

Renfro is cast as Josh, “the fellow teenager who inadvertently helps drive a wedge between Becky and Enid.”

Crew members listed on the site are cinematographer Affonso Beato (All About My Mother), costume designer Mary Zophres (Fargo) and production designer Ed McAvoy (Office Space).

The site describes Ghost World as “the teenage best friends facing the unwelcome prospect of adulthood, and the uncertain future of their complicated relationship.”  The filmmakers are hoping for a 2001 release.  John Malkovich, Lianne Halfon (Crumb) and Russell Smith (The Man in the Iron Mask) are producing as Mr. Mudd for MGM/UA.

Of course, every movie needs a website.  Comics 2 Film discovered that Mr. Mudd has acquired the domain name www.ghostworld-themovie.com for the film.

Thanks to Corona Coming Attractions for the lead.

Rob Allstetter of the Comics Continuum reports that two new names have been added to the cast list for the Ghost World movie.  David Cross (Mr. Show) has signed on to play Gerrold, a friend of Seymour played by Steve Buscemi.  Illeana Douglas (Action) will play Roberta, Enid’s art teacher.

WITCHBLADE

[Witchblade]

Production on the Witchblade TV movie has wrapped according to a source at cable’s TNT Network.  The project is now in post-production, with special effects being added and editing taking place.

“Everything’s going great,” our source told Comics 2 Film, indicating that the project is on track for it’s October airing.

CROSS

A representative for the Lloyd Segan Co. told Comics 2 Film that a movie version of Andrew Vachss‘ mercenary character Cross is still in active development.  Writer/director Gregory Widen (The Prophecy) is attached.  The movie project was originally announced in October of 1997, with an eye towards a 1998 production start.

Cross was the subject of a Dark Horse Comics mini-series which focused on the character and his team of mercenaries.  The character was also featured in Predator: Race War, which had Cross tracking down an alien Predator.  The Cross characters and concepts originated in Vachss’ novels detailing the exploits of the character and team.

WARHAMMER

Games Workshop, the world’s largest hobby wargames company, and Exile Films, a Seattle-based production company, today announced the signing of an agreement for the production of a feature-length computer-animated film, to be broadcast through US and International TV networks.

The film will be set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe created by Games Workshop. This future is a grim and foreboding place, where mankind constantly struggles to defend its Empire against a myriad of alien threats such as the enigmatic Eldar, and the soul-devouring creatures of the Warp.

The first story is based upon the popular characters and settings of BloodQuest, a tale of Blood Angel Space Marines striving to redeem their honor. Exile Films will be producing and marketing the film, with Games Workshop controlling all merchandising rights, for which they are now seeking suitable partners.

Chris Prentice, Games Workshop’s Chief Executive, commented, “Over the years we’ve been approached many times by companies wanting to take our imagery to both the big and small screen, but we’ve never found the right people to work with. The crew at Exile are not only talented animators, but also huge fans of our worlds, and that makes all the difference. We feel sure that this agreement is an important step on the route to widening the exposure of our imagery to a broader audience.”

Simon Coombs, of Exile Films added, “We have put together an incredible team of artists. Then add to that state-of-the-art technology, great characters and an epic story and I believe we have the makings of something quite unique.”

The founding members of Exile Films are experienced computer animators, whose previous credits as individuals include Lost In Space, Star Trek and Starship Troopers.

Thanks to Dark Horizons for the lead.

BLADE 2

Guillermo del Toro (Mimic) is working enthusiastically towards a November film start on the upcoming sequel to Blade according to a write-up on Dark Horizons. Citing “The Mexican News” as it’s source, Dark Horizons quotes the director as saying, “This is the first project in which I didn’t write the story, but it has a script that I really liked, besides, when I finished Cronos I still had a lot of vampire ideas that I couldn’t develop due to budgetary constraints.”

The article also reports that del Toro has met with David Goyer to discuss script changes.  “The first part explored his interaction with society in a modern city and now the idea is to see how he functions from within,” the director is quoted as saying.

Del Toro will shoot for El Espinazo del Diablo (The Devil’s Backbone) with Pedro Almodóvar this summer before moving on to Blade 2.

Fans curious for further insights into the upcoming Blade sequel need look no further than the FlixBurg website.  Stax, FlixBurg’s webmaster and script reviewer-to-the-super-heroes, has posted a review of David Goyer’s Blade 2: Bloodhunt.  Stax sums up his review as “mixed” with “some spoilers.”

STATIC

According to Daily Variety, Static Shock is the name of the new animated TV show based on the Milestone Media character.  Kids WB! is calling the character the “first teenage African-American superhero.”  According to the write-up, the show will feature “Chris Rock-like humor.”  Static Shock is set to air at 10:30 am on Saturdays.

The same article reveals that the animated X-Men program will be called X-Men: Evolution.  That show airs Saturdays at 11:30 am.

Phil LaMarr (Mad TV, Pulp Fiction) has been cast as the lead voice in the upcoming show, according to Rob Allstetter of the Comics Continuum.  LaMarr will give voice to Virgil Hawkins, the titular kid with the electric powers.

Other cast members for the show are Jason Marsden (Step by Step) as Richie Foley, Kevin Richardson (The PJ’s) as Robert Hawkins, Michelle Morgan as Sharon Hawkins; and Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years) as Freida Goren.

SHEENA: QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE

According to a recent Beck/Smith Hollywood Exclusive column, filming on the Sheena: Queen of the Jungle show is set to begin in June.  The show stars former Baywatcher Gena Lee Nolin.  It’ll film on location in Orlando, FL.  Columbia/TriStar TV is banking on Sheena to be a significant syndicated show.

FROM HELL

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Heather Graham (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) is in talks with 20th Century Fox to appear in the adaptation of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell.  Graham is currently working on the Farrelly brothers’ Say It Isn’t So.  Following that, she would join the From Hell production in July.  The movie is slated to shoot in the Czech Republic. Graham’s role would be an Irish prostitute, stalked by the ripper.

SHI

[Shi]

According to Rob Allstetter of the Comics Continuum, Mira Sorvino may be in talks to star in the live-action movie version of Billy Tucci’s Shi.

Tucci told fans at the recent MegaCon in Orlando, “There’s been a big power play at Warner Bros. When I signed at Franchise Pictures, who was producing the movie, it was going to be Tia Carerre and it was going to be a $15-17 million movie. Now, it’s a Warner Bros. movie, it’s a $40 million movie and, the last I heard, it’s going to be Mira Sorivno.”

Tucci also is said to have told fans that Chow Yun-Fat (Anna and the King) may also be involved with the film.

X-MEN

[X-Men Glasses]
Enlarge

Corona Coming Attractions did some follow up on their story that there would be no Cyclops/X-Men themed sunglasses from Oakley this summer.  Previous reports had indicated that the glasses and visor from the movie were on display at the Oakley store in California with the suggestion that special X-Men specs would be on sale in conjunction with the movie.

Representatives for Oakley have now told CCA that, in spite of the previous confusion on their part, there are plans for a limited-edition run of red-tinted “Juliets” similar to the ones worn by James Marsden in the movie.  However, the movie glasses are tinted so deeply with red that they cannot function as practical eyewear. The Oakley reps could not tell CCA when the glasses would go on sale, or how many pairs would be available.

CCA encourages anyone interested in the “Cyclops” edition of the Oakley “Juliets” to e-mail the company at info@oakley.com and let then know.  This may get the supply up to meet the demand.

BATMAN

William Goldman (The General’s Daughter) and David Koepp (A Stir of Echoes, Spider-Man) are the latest names being bandied about as possible writers for the next Batman movie.  Fabio2’s Batcave website reports that an “inside source” claims that these two writers are being looked at.  However, no decisions or offers have been made to either writer.

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