THE LOBO PARAMILITARY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
Comic fans have been buzzing about the AFI short film The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special ever since Comics2Film broke the news of it last week. The number one question on most readers' minds is "where can I see it?"
Unfortunately, we don't have an answer to that one yet. It's a student film made without the permission of DC Comics, so any legitimate distribution of the movie is tricky.
However, this week C2F did talk to James W. Thompson, Jr, the production designer for the film. Thompson shares some behind-the-scenes photos from the project and gives us some insights as to how AFI students, on a shoe-string budget and a limited schedule, brought the main man to caustic life.
"We had a week and a half maybe two weeks to prep for this particular film. And then we have four days to shoot," Thomson said, adding that the school only allots $2400 for the movie's budget. "Then you have about a week and a half to edit this film, score it and screen it. To throw a piece like this together in that amount of time is a really cool thing."
Thompson said he tried to reference the comic books as much as he could when working on the Lobo movie. "It's difficult because when you look at stuff that's drawn within comics and you have to somehow materialize it and it has to function within our world. It's not an easy task," Thompson said. "For instance, a gun was drawn oversized. You're not going to find [a gun like] that so you have to make that."
Thompson said that his art department budget was about $800 for the movie. Given that, the art department had to make do with the materials they could find in the AFI inventory. "The stainless steel walls that were behind Santa Claus, they were flats that were donated to AFI. I thought this would be really cool to take that industrial, stainless steel and then put a fire place in it and paint it so that it's Christmassy and homey," Thompson said. "The same thing with the control booth for the elves."
Scrounging for parts in the AFI inventory raised a few eyebrows on the production.
"One of our prop designers, Melanie Rein, she said after the piece was done she was quite amazed because she saw the stuff that I was pulling out of the yard and she looked at this stuff and said 'what's he going to do with this shit," Thomson told us.
The Space Bar, where the film opens, was also quite a challenge, leaving the design team to start with the movie-set equivalent of a blank canvas.
"It was this totally white room, there was nothing in there. I had to convert [it] into a black, space kind-of bar that you see. The trick of it was that I was not allowed to paint the walls," Thompson said. "So I had to cover the walls with paper and fabric and everything possible so that it looked like a bar but yet, not touch those walls."
The team managed to create an environment that convincingly portrayed the seedy world Lobo lives in. Thompson also emphasized that the the production design is clearly a team effort. "Without all these people I couldn't possibly have done it. My job is to keep them all on the same page."
Thompson had particular praise for the supervising art director Gretchen Houk and properties master and assistant to the production designer Melanie Rein. "The beautiful thing about both of these people is that they're not students. They're professionals in the real world and they do this sort of thing in their spare time because they enjoy helping students get their work out. They live for the art," Thompson said.
Thompson applauds everyone involved with the movie for contributing to the top-notch production. "One of the things I learned working on these short films in school is that, even though the script is really good and even though the members of the team all were talented, if they didn't work together as a team then the film was going to flop," Thompson said. "Although all of my films had aspects of them that were good, this was the only one that I think that everyone was on the mark with what they had done."
Daredevil has arrived! The Daredevil website is now up and running.
The website is available both at DaredevilMovie.com and TheDaredevilMovie.com. Although the site seems quite preliminary, it does include a nice Flash intro. Unfortunately, the intro cannot be skipped... Go directly to http://www.thedaredevilm ovie.com/index2.html to bypass it.
Once inside the site, you can mouse over the brail menu to reveal various areas of the site, including access to photos, interviews and downloads. Currently there are some nice wallpapers of DD and Elektra featuring new artwork.
Of course, the most popular content on the website is the Daredevil teaser trailer, which debuted this weekend attached to Minority Report. The trailer is currently only available in Quicktime format, but is provided in three different resolutions.
Thanks to The Mighty El Stupidor for the scoop!
Twentieth Century Fox held a press conference in L.A. last week to promote the film and Comics2Film was there. In attendance from the crew were director Mark Steven Johnson, stars Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan, John Favreau and Joe Pantoliano and producers Gary Foster and Avi Arad.
Fox released new artwork and photos from the film as part of the press kit.
Affleck and Duncan owned up to being huge fans of the characters they are playing in the film.
Daredevil was a favorite of Affleck as a kid. He had stopped reading the comics for a while, but re-discovered Daredevil while talking funny books with Kevin Smith over the course of filming Mallrats and Chasing Amy. Affleck said the comics author and screenwriter "was impressed with my knowledge of the Daredevil storyline."
When he was approached for the role, the actor said it was a no-brainer to accept.. "Everyone has that one thing from their childhood that they really remember…and this (Daredevil) was that thing for me."
Similarly Duncan said he was very familiar with the character before he got the role. He told the press he has always read comics and specifically looked for titles that had the Kingpin character. Getting the role of Wilson Fisk was "a dream come true," Duncan remarked.
In fact, the actor also said his only childhood was so similar to Kingpin's it was "eerie." As a kid Duncan revealed he was always picked on and beat up until he learned to fight back and make other kids respect him.
Affleck commented that the movie contains a lot of anime-influenced, kung fu wire fighting. And who has greater mastery the techniques: Affleck or Garner? "She had so much training from the Alias thing, she shames me every day," Affleck revealed.
Garner told reporters that fight choreography on Daredevil takes longer than her hit show Alias because it's more specific. She and Affleck have trained for 6 weeks, 3 hours a day for one fight scene that they were to shoot that day.
Affleck said he trains a little bit every day, working with the billy club and working out his kung fu moves.
Garner talked about Elektra's costume and compared her black, movie outfit to the costumes seen in the comics.
"Elektra has two different costumes in the comic. The one that's more well-known is the red, with the sashes and apparently nothing underneath," Garner said. "I have to say, I had nothing to do with changing the look. She also does wear a black leather costume throughout some of the comics."
The actress also commented on James Acheson's designs for her and her co-stars. "The costume designer, Jim Acheson, has done an incredible job of taking something that could be so embarrassing and making it as cool as possible," Garner told reporters. "All of the super-hero looks have a real hip element to them and they are not your average kind of man in tights. Mine is no exception to that. It's not average. It's fun."
Producer Avi Arad also commented on the process of translating costumes for the big screen. "Sometimes it's a tough leap of faith to go from the comic-book pages to the big screen," the producer said. "You've been into the books forever and you see something change, black versus red, there are issues that have to do with production design, with cinematography, that make decisions and we try to make an homage to the books."
Michael Clarke Duncan, who plays the Kingpin, was very enthusiastic about his wardrobe, "Coming from being in three-and-a-half hours of make-up on Planet of the Apes and another hour on Scorpion King, this is just like a breath of fresh air," the actor said. "You just don't know. It's very refreshing to come to set and get dressed up in the nice suits that they had made for me and then to be able to have to fight in these suits is really like the coolest thing on earth at this point. I love it."
For Affleck, part of the Daredevil costume wasn't so comfortable, but it did help him get into characters. "I have the contacts that I wear and they're deep blue," Affleck said. "So when I wear them, I am, in fact, blind. So the challenge is actually not to walk into furniture."
Twentieth Century Fox has announced that production on X-Men 2 is underway in Vancouver. The studio will release this, the next film in its X-Men motion picture franchise, on May 2, 2003.
X-Men grossed nearly $300 million theatrically worldwide, was a video and DVD phenomenon, and pioneered the current wave of comics to film adaptations.
X-Men 2 reunites all of the principal cast members of the 2000 blockbuster, including Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, recent Oscar-winner Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Bruce Davison, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, and Academy Award-winner Anna Paquin.
Also returning are the original's key creative team, led by director Bryan Singer. Re-joining Singer are producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter, and executive producers Avi Arad and Tom DeSanto.
In addition to its star-studded returning cast, X-Men 2 will feature favorite mutant characters from the vast X-Men comics universe, who are new to the film franchise. Alan Cumming (The Anniversary Party) joins the cast as Nightcrawler, a mutant who can teleport himself from one point to another almost instantaneously. In addition, X-Men 2 will showcase the talents of young actors who play mutant children, each possessing unique powers, known as the X-Kids. Shawn Ashmore portrays Bobby Drake, aka Iceman; and Aaron Stanford is John Allerdyce, aka Pyro.
Also joining the X-Men cast are award-winning actor Brian Cox (The Bourne Identity) as the villainous Stryker, a former Army commander who holds the key to Wolverine's past - as well as the future of the X-Men - and Kelly Hu (The Scorpion King) as Stryker's assistant, Yuriko Oyama, who has her own surprises for the heroic team.
Director Bryan Singer's credits include the acclaimed drama The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil, as well as X-Men. Producer Lauren Shuler Donner's credits include Free Willy, the upcoming Timeline and You've Got Mail. Ralph Winter, who has a producing deal with Fox, most recently executive produced the studio's summer 2001 blockbuster Planet of the Apes. Avi Arad recently executive produced the blockbuster Spider-Man, and serves as producer on Fox/Regency's upcoming Daredevil and on The Hulk.
The X-Men 2 screenplay was written by David Hayter and Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris, based on a story by Bryan Singer and David Hayter (writing credits are not final).
One final bit of X-Men 2 preview comes from a scooper known as The Woman Without Fear. She was kind enough to drop in with a picture of some X-Men 2 promo artwork.
The two-sided display is an 8.5" x 11" card that was handed out by Fox publicity at the recent International Licensing show in New York City.
The cards reveal the returning X-Men and also purport four new mutants for the sequel. However, the identities of the new mutants are blurred and stamped "Classified".
Variety reports today that screenwriter Linda Woolverton has agreed to script the Fathom film for Lightstorm Productions and 20th Century Fox.
Top Cow founder/CEO Marc Silvestri, along with Spike Seldin and Chris Carlyle, will produce alongside Jon Landau, Rae Sanchini, and the uber-famous James Cameron. Titanic Jim's main appeal for the property springs from, oddly, a scene on a ship: In the comic's first issue, a young woman with no memory is found on a yacht. This "underlying theme of an ordinary person facing extraordinary circumstances", according to Variety, is what drew Cameron's interest.
Woolverton's past credits include Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Homeward Bound, and partial credit on The Lion King. Stay tuned for more details as production on Fathom gets deeper.
The home video release Blade II just can't get here fast enough. New Line Home Entertainment has announced that the DVD is now slated to arrive in stores August 30th. This is moved up from the previously announced date of September 3rd.
The movie will be released on VHS with two separate language editions (English and Spanish) with an SRP of $22.94. A 2-disc Platinum Edition will also be in stores with an SRP of $29.95.
Blade II will be available for preorder on August 6th.
Thanks to James Harvey and Scott for the lead.
MEN IN BLACK 2
The Hollywood Reporter has posted it's review of the forthcoming blockbuster, Men in Black II. In the front page blurb, HR was fairly non-committal on the film's quality, although hedging it's bets against any MiB runaway success.
The periodical said "Naturally, what was hip and original in the first movie is now familiar and less hip in the sequel. Nevertheless, director Barry Sonnenfeld and company retain much of the rubbery alien slapstick humor."
HR went on to kiss up to the film's leads, as well as their teammate with "All American team Smith and Jones continue to play off each other smoothly, and a bigger role has been created for that instant laugh-getter Frank, the cigar smoking, tough-talking pug." And finally, HR predictably said that "the critics will have fits, but most younger audiences will be in stitches."
In one final act of vaguery, HR again played both sides of the field "MiB II may not approach the gross of [the first film], but then again it's not impossible." Apparently we'll have to wait for a more solid opinion as more review come trickling over the internet.
ROAD TO PERDITION
Can't wait to see Tom Hanks seek righteous revenge with a Tommy gun? Then check out, The Road To Perdition Fansite which recently posted four pages of nice, high resolution photos from the upcoming film adaptation of the graphic novel by Max Allen Collins. The site also recently added a making of section. This section features the official production notes for the film.
Thanks to Dark Horizons for the lead
Ever wish the Hulk would ditch those silly purple pants? Well, at the risk of sounding cliché... Be careful what you wish for.
Entertainment Weekly's Scott Brown and Adam Duerson report that when the CGI Hulk that appears in Ang Lee's Hulk film goes on a rampage, all the Green Goliath will be wearing is green... That's right, nothing more than his irradiated birthday suit.
However, those of you who are worried about gamma-mutated naughty bits don't need to fret. Universal executive Mary Parent said, "Ang made a creative choice...to have him naked. It's like he's first born. He's posed in a way that's not revealing. Obviously, we're not having frontal Hulk nudity.''
The article also reported that former TV Hulk Lou Ferrigno would be playing a security guard when he makes his cameo appearance in the film.
Thanks to GrendelGuf for the tip.
SPIDER-MAN ANIMATED SHOW
If you were hoping to see MTV's animated Spider-Man show this fall you will have to be a little more patient. Toonz one's Vincent Benenati reported that MTV has delayed the show's premiere date to early 2003, possibly January but perhaps even later. The show was previously set to premier this November.
The delay may be a result of rewriting, which Spider-voice Niel Patrick Harris has previously attributed to the unexpectedly explosive success of the Spider-Man film.
The BBC News site reports that the animated series Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future will finally air in the UK next month. The network reports that the show will begin airing on Channel 5 on July 6.
The CGI animated show has been completed for some time now, and has been airing on Fox Kids Latin America since December of last year. There's been little talk of if or when the show will be available to American audiences.
The 26-episode show stars Greg Ellis as Dan Dare and features Robbie Coltrane, Tim Curry and Charles Dance as guest villains.
Thanks to Andrew Skinner for the lead.
Alonzo Washington, activist and creator of Omega 7 comics, told Comics2Film that his recent contribution to Spider-Mania will soon reach a national audience.
Back in May, Th e Kansas City Star contracted a gaggle of comic book artists to conjure up Spider-inspired comics in celebration of the Spider-Man movie and the character's anniversary. Washington, along with comic vets like Steve Lightle (Legion of Super-Heroes), Kerry Callen (Halo and Sprocket), Anna-Maria Cool (Elvira: Mistress of the Dark), Mike Worley (Simpsons Comics), Josh Cotter (The Fun Book), Ande Parks (Green Arrow), Rick Stasi (Spider-Man Adventures) and Hector Casanova (Guffman & Godot) all contributed strips for the event.
Now, Washington, who was also an extra in the Spider-Man movie (try and find him in the Unity Festival crowd), tells us that the strips will be reprinted in an upcoming issue of Comics Buyers' Guide.
Washington's own strip featured a team-up between his flagship Omega Man character and the web-slinger.
WITCHBLADE SEASON 2
Many curious viewers tuned into the June 16 second-season premiere of Witchblade, which Variety reports scored the show's highest rating ever. The show earned a 3.1 ratings share of cable households, breaking the previous record, a 2.7 share for the premiere and finale episode of season one. The show averaged about a 2.3 share for last season.
Thanks to Dex for the scoop.
THIS WEEK ON JEREMIAH
In the world after the Big Death, knowledge is power -- but there are some people who believe knowledge is evil, thinking that's what caused the Big D in the first place. This is what Kurdy and Jeremiah learn in "Out of the Ashes", this week's episode of Jeremiah.
While Kurdy (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) helps a self-appointed librarian learn to read and fend off zealots who are convinced that books are the root of all evil, Jeremiah (Luke Perry) embarks on an arduous journey with a wheelchair-bound woman determined to deliver her father's ashes to the remote island where she was raised. The episode is written by Sam Egan and directed by Mike Vejar.
"Out of the Ashes" airs Friday, June 28th at 10:45 P.M. on Showtime. An encore showing is slated for Sunday, June 30th on Showtime Beyond at 11:37 p.m. (ET & PT) following the premiere of Odyssey 5.
Preview clips of the show are available online at Showtime's Jeremiah site. Click "Episode Preview" from the site's nav.
THIS WEEK ON SABRINA
Sabrina serves up a second slice of "Humble Pie" on this week's encore episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.
Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) and her roommates band together to help Morgan (Elisa Donovan) after her family financially cuts her off, but when Morgan refuses to get a job to pay her friends back, Sabrina serves up a big helping of "humble pie." Brian Roberts directed the episode written by Laurie Gelman.
"Humble Pie" airs Friday, June 28 at 8:00 p.m. on The WB Network.
Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.
NEXT WEEK ON JUSTICE LEAGUE
Next Sunday night brings an encore airing of "In Blackest Night Part II," on Justice League on Cartoon Network.
The Green Lantern faces an intergalactic tribunal and accusation of Genocide. It's up to the Flash to defend him in court while the other League members uncover the truth.
"In Blackest Night Part II" airs Sunday, June 30th at 7:00 p.m. on Cartoon Network. Additional showings are 7:00pm on Friday, July 5th and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday July 6th.
Cartoon Network also presents a repeat airing of "War World Part II" on Saturday, June 29th at 10:00p.m.
NEXT WEEK ON WITCHBLADE
Sara investigates a rock and roll murder in "Static", next week's episode of Witchblade.
When a rock star meets his untimely demise, Sara (Yancy Butler) and Danny (Will Yun Lee) are called in on a series of strange homicides. But when Sara discovers that the killer is using a trail of mayhem to lure her into a trap, her investigation turns into a fight for the Witchblade.
"Static" airs Monday, July 1st at 9 p.m. on TNT. An encore showing airs Tuesday, July 2nd at 11 p.m.
Thanks to Dex!
NEXT WEEK ON SMALLVILLE
Secret pasts come back to haunt Clark and Lex and threaten their futures in a repeat showing of "Zero", the July 2nd episode of Smallville.
Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) faces the consequences of his shady dealings in Metropolis years ago when an old enemy comes to Smallville intent on destroying his life, ultimately putting Clark (Tom Welling) and Lana (Kristin Kreuk) in harm's way. Meanwhile, Clark has his hands full as he tries not only to protect Lex from the past, but also keep Chloe (Allison Mack) out of his after she discovers a mystery surrounding his adoption. Michael Katleman directed the episode; story written by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar, teleplay by Mark Verheiden.
"Zero" airs Tuesday, July 2 at 9:00 p.m. ET on The WB network.
Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.