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WONDER WOMAN

Things are changing on the Wonder Woman feature film project.

Back in January Comics2Film was able to report that a new screenwriter had been brought on board the project. Inside sources now tell us that it is none other than Oscar-nominated writer Becky Johnston.

Johnston got an Oscar nod for The Prince of Tides (which she co-authored with Pat Conroy). She also wrote Seven Years in Tibet and took a pass at the recent The Mothman Prophecies.

Word is that Johnston has not yet turned in a script for the Amazon heroine. Never-the-less there’s been plenty of new buzz in the realm of casting.

What may be an indicator that Sandra Bullock is officially done with the project comes from a Liz Smith column appearing in last week’s NY Post.

Bullock responded to a previous Smith column, which reported Bullock threw a superhero costume party and came dressed as the Amazon princess. Bullock denied that the party took place and said, “But it’s a wonderful idea! Unfortunately, the idea of my doing Wonder Woman also bit the dust.”

[Jordan Bayne]

In the mean time, Comics2Film has followed up on a recent report from Superhero Hype that newcomer Jordan Bayne is up for the part. We spoke to a representative from Overview Management who confirmed they are working very hard to get their client considered for the part. However, they reminded us that Warner is not holding any formal casting calls for the role.

“We’ve approached the executive at Warner Bros., we’ve approached the head of Warner Bros. casting, and they’re looking at Jordan’s material,” the representative told C2F.

“They were intrigued about her. She’s got a tremendous underground following from her Poltergeist work and from the film she recently completed,” Overview said.

At this point it is uncertain whether or not the studio will continue to peruse a marquee name like Sandra Bullock. They may be willing to consider going with a lesser-known star, the same vein as Christopher Reeve’s work on Superman.

“With a property like Wonder Woman, which is well-known on its own, they may not need [a big name]. They can take a lesser-known actress who is an excellent performer with strong credits and really launch her.”

Our inside sources confirm that casting is not the top priority on the project at the moment and getting the script into shape is.

Thanks to the Jordan Bayne Fansite for their assistance in this story.

IRON FIST

[Iron Fist]

The chances of Iron Fist going into production this year are starting to look pretty slim. Although the movie had a script (by John Turman), a star (Ray Park) and a director (Kirk Wong) at the end of last year, Comics2Film has learned the project may not be ready to film yet.

Inside sources tell us that new writers are on board to take a pass at the script. Our source couldn’t give us names, except to say that it is a writing team.

Further delays come from the fact that Wong recently committed to a different project to film this summer. A report from The Hollywood Reporter states that Wong is now set to direct Wesley Snipes (Blade II) in When The Ride Is Ruff this June.

It’s not clear whether Wong’s departure is temporary or not. Even with the above it is still possible that filming on Iron Fist will simply be delayed until later this year or early next year.

G-MEN FROM HELL

[G-Men From Hell]

The movie version of Mike Allred’s G-Men From Hell is on track for DVD and VHS release this June from Framework Entertainment.

“The Framework executives understand fantasy,” Rick Albert, the film’s producer at Sawmill Entertainment, told Comics2Film. “The head of the company worked for Full Moon Entertainment and for Wizard Home Video distributing sci-fi and fantasy product.”

Framework Entertainment is the video distribution division of Dominion, the distributor that picked the film up earlier this year.

“They are enthusiastic about G-Men From Hell, and working aggressively to promote the title to all the video outlets throughout the U.S. so the DVD will be everywhere and easy to find,” Albert said.

Plans are to record commentary tracks for the DVD soon.

G-Men From Hell stars William Forsythe and Tate Donovan as Allred’s redemption seeking characters who first appeared in the Grafik Muzik comics. The film features a great cast which includes Gary Busey, Kari Wuhrer, Robert Goulet, Bobcat Goldthwait, Vanessa Angel, Gregory Sporleder and Paul Rodriguez. Christopher Coppola directed from as script by Robert Cooper and Albert.

DAREDEVIL

[On the Daredevil set]

Filmmaker and former Daredevil writer Kevin Smith filmed his cameo bit for Daredevil on Thursday. He made a one day appearance on the set, a location at the Crenshaw Hospital in L.A. In a nice nod to Marvel history Smith plays Jack Kirby, a morgue attendant in a scene with Joe Pantoliano, who plays reporter Ben Urich.

Director and screenwriter Mark Steven Johnson said he was pleased to have smith on the set. “Kevin is the reason I’m back into Daredevil. I’d been a fan of Daredevil my whole life, but at some point I lost interest until Kevin’s ‘Guardian Angel’ storyline came out. Then I got back into it in full force.”

20th Century Fox provided news outlets with this on-set Q&A with Silent Bob’s alter ego, direct from the set:

Q: What is it like to be in a Daredevil movie?

Kevin Smith (KS): “Pretty Awesome! It’s sort of like playing Daredevil himself – which I’m not in the shape for. It was really generous of [director] Mark [Steven Johnson] to put me in the film.”

Q: Who do you play?

KS: “I play a forensics assistant who is willing to take some cash to give Urich the inside dope.”

Q: What are your thoughts on what you’ve seen from the film?

KS: “When I did a costume fitting, they let me take a peek at the Daredevil costume and it is flat-out phenomenal! It’s as close as you can get to the comic book page without looking ridiculous. These guys know what they’re doing.”

Q: What do you think of Ben Affleck as Daredevil?

KS: “As long as Affleck leaves his ham-fisted theatrics – the ones he lends to my pictures – in the trailer, he’ll be awesome. He’s always been a big fan, long before the film was a twinkle in anyone’s mind. Ben has always said that the only movie he would ever put a costume on for would be a Daredevil flick. This is probably a dream come true for him.”

Q: What do you think of the rest of the cast?

KS: “I think Mark [Steven Johnson] got incredibly lucky to surround himself with a cast so willing to put on funny outfits – in addition to the fact that they’re pretty intelligent, believable, strong performers.”

Q: What is it like doing your scene with Joe Pantoliano?

KS: “I was delighted when I saw his name on the call sheet. I mean, ‘Guido the Killer Pimp!’ You can throw a rock and you hit a stellar performance from Joe Pantoliano: Goonies, The Matrix, The Sopranos, The Fugitive. He’s incredibly well-cast in this role.”

Q: What do you think of Mark Steven Johnson as director?

KS: “Mark is as passionate – if not more so – than anyone can be about making a Daredevil movie. He’s done heavy-duty research. He’s read all the important Daredevil work, and the not-so-important Daredevil work – like my own – and he’s certainly not going to let any Daredevil fans down from what I’ve seen.”

IGN FilmForce scored yet another Daredevil casting scoop this week. Stax’s never-failing source reports that Ellen Pompeo (Showtime) has been cast to play Karen Page in the movie.

Stax reports that the character is a minor player in the movie, with Elektra being the primary love interest.

Pompeo will be seen next in Catch Me if you Can and Goodbye Hello.

FilmForce quizzed their super-secret-but-reliable sources about how Karen Page’s role might expand. As was discussed earlier, the character is in the currently-filming pic, but is not a major character.

FilmForce asked their source if future films will follow Page’s tragic story arc from the comics. Their source tells them, “for sure. You know the story.”

The same source clued FilmForce in that the filmmakers are using a “bleach bypass process” to acquire a “gritty and grainy” look, similar to Seven or Fight Club.

In other DD news, Ben Affleck recently chatted with Tony Potts of Access Hollywood about his upcoming film Changing Lanes. However, the interviewer managed to sneak in some Daredevil questions as well.

Affleck told the interviewer he is doing Daredevil, “Which is based on this obscure comic book that I had read and was really into when I was a kid. I thought that if this thing goes by and I had the opportunity to do it and I didn’t then I’ll always regret it.”

When he interviewer asked about getting into the red tights Affleck responded, “They’re not actually tights… but yes, I’m in training and learning how to do martial arts and all that stuff. They have to put me up on string. I’m not a superhero in real life, contrary to what you may think, but it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

And what about Matt Murdock’s red hair? “I’m dying my hair red actually. Well, not really red,” Affleck explained. “They kind of chickened out at the last minute — it’s like a mild red. I had longer hair for Gigli and now I’m going to cut it, and it’s going to be different.”

If you haven’t heard: Michael Clarke Duncan is too small. At least that’s what the producers of Daredevil told him, the actor revealed to About.com’s Action-Adventure Movies site. Although filming on the project is underway, the actor won’t being his work as Kingpin until June 17th. He needs the extra time to bulk up for the part.

“They told me I was too small so I have to get up to 340 and I’m at 325 right now,” Duncan told About. “Right now, as far as weight lifting, I do everything heavy. I’m back into my heavy lifting. I had abandoned my heavy lifting because I was getting really big after The Green Mile and it was kind of hard for me to lose that weight. I got down to 285 and started seeing my AB muscles. Next thing I know, I get this role which they want me up a little bit more so I’m back to heavy workouts now. I have to eat five and six times a day, and I get paid for it. What can I say?”

All that muscle will be necessary for the actor to kick ass as the crime boss. Duncan described some of the action. “At the end of the script, Daredevil and Kingpin have this big fight and Kingpin is a big guy but he’s very agile and he knows karate and stuff. In my first scene, I have my assistant time me and he brings in these four karate masters. I have to beat them within 15 seconds. I take the first guy and just slam his head to the concrete. It takes 11 seconds [to get all four]. I look at my watch and say, ’11 seconds. The first two guys were good, but let’s get better at the second two.'”

Duncan told the site he’s a fan of the comics and plans to be faithful to the character, but also add his own interpretation. Check out the complete interview for all of the actor’s comments.

Thanks to SuperheroHype for the lead.

PARASYTE

Producer Don Murphy (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) told Comics2Film that work continues on the big screen adaptation of Hitosi Iwaaki’s manga Parasyte.

Bo Welch signed on to helm the movie last year. However, the production designer turned director is currently at work on The Cat in the Hat, starring Mike Meyers.

In the mean time, Matt Drake is working on getting the the script for Parasyte into good shape.

BULLETPROOF MONK

A reader named Tim wrote in to give us an update on the production of Bulletproof Monk in the Toronto area. Tim tells us that the crew was recently filming scenes near his house in Oshawa, Ontario.

Last week’s location was Parkwood Estate which has been seen in movies such as X-Men and Billy Madison.

Tim wasn’t able to spot much but he did tells us, “there are tons of film trucks and red pylons around. There are also sandwich board signs which read ‘Bulletproof Monk Crew Parking this Way’ (parking is limited as it’s right next door to a hospital).”

A representative for Parkwood Estate told Comics2Film that the location shoot lasted over a week and ended last Friday.

SAINT SINNER, BELZER CONNECTION, THE

SCI FI Channel issued a series of press releases last week announcing their upcoming movies and series plans.

Clive Barker’s Saint Sinner is briefly mentioned as still being in development as an original movie.

Mini-series announced are Battlestar Galactica (based on the classic TV show), Myst (based on the ground-breaking computer game), The Forever War and The Chronicles of Amber (both based on sci-fi novels) and On The Seventh Day (a SCI FI original). Colosseum was also announced as an original movie.

The Belzer Connection was also announced as part of the network’s “Alternative Reality” programming. Originally announced as a one-time special, this project has been expanded to a limited-run, one-hour series. Hosted by Law & Order: Special Victim Unit’s Richard Belzer, Connection searches for answers about the juiciest conspiracies of our time. The specials provide an entertaining reexamination of shocking and fascinating conspiracies as seen through the eyes of a wild assortment of believers, debunkers, field investigators, online fanatics and celebrity guests, like Janeane Garafalo, Ice-T and Al Franken.

This is of some interest to comic fans as Belzer optioned DC/Paradox Press’ Big Book of Conspiracies and Big Book of The Unexplained for development as a TV show way back in 1998. Although it’s unclear if Connection is using these books as source material, the concept for the show sound very similar to the planned show based on the Big Books.

Other shows in the Alternative Reality block are Scare Tactics, Dream Team with Annabelle and Michael and Starport Authority.

Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.

SILKE

[Silke]

Tony Daniel revealed to his readers that work is proceeding on a Silke movie.

“I’ve recently completed a screenplay that is based off the comic book, Silke,” Daniel told his readers in a February posting on his website. “It should be making the rounds in the coming weeks to most of the major Hollywood studios.”

The comic creator revealed he has other Hollywood projects in the works. “I’m also working with a very talented writer, James Bonny, on two projects, one being the development of a TV series, the other–a screenplay for a live action movie.”

Silke was published last year by Dark Horse Comics. The comics tell the story of Sandra Silke, an escapee from a failed CIA experiment that creates genetically-altered operatives. A fugitive, Silke must battle the agency that created her and set things right.

SHERMAN’S LAGOON

Jim Toomey, creator of Sherman’s Lagoon, told fans that he is in talks to bring his strip to TV.

“I have been trying to get an animated cartoon developed for quite a while and I continue to do so, with varying degrees of success,” Toomey said during an online chat at W ashingtonPost.com. “Right now, there is one producer who’s interested. If there’s any business more difficult to break into than print syndication, it’s got to be TV. If there is any news on that front, I will post it on my web site, slagoon.com.”

Thanks to Michael Rhode of the Comics Research Bibliography.

SPIDER-MAN, SPIDER-MAN 2

[Spider-Man]

We’ve been seeing strong indicators for weeks, but now the Hollywood trades say it’s offical: Spider-Man 2 is on!

Variety reports that the studio has signed deals with Tobey Maguire, Kirstin Dunst and director Sam Raimi as well as producers Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad and Ian Bryce for a sequel that will go into production early 2003.

“All of this because of our complete belief in the movie,” Columbia executive vice president Matt Tolmach told Variety.

Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the team who wrote Shanghai Noon and created and executive produce Smallville are on board to write the screenplay.

“They are excellent writers,” Tolmach told The Hollywood Reporter. “We honestly have been trying to get them to work here for a long time. We love not only the movies they’ve written, but also their show ‘Smallville.’ They felt like they were of this world. It was incredibly serendipitous. We now feel like we have absolutely the right team and the right movie in place to head into the sequel.”

Maguire will collect eight figures and gross participation for Spider-Man 2.

In other Spider-Man news, an AP wire report excerpts Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst’s mutual admiration expressed in the May issue of Vanity Fair.

“Tobey can cry just like that,” Dunst, 19, says. “Whenever I have a crying scene, I have to listen to sad music, put my headphones on and kind of zone out.”

The 26-year-old Maguire returned the compliment to saying, “She’s very, very talented. She’s very appealing and beautiful. She has a womanly quality, but also a very fun girl quality, an innocence.

The actor continued, “There’s no vanity in her acting. She just commits and goes for it.”

Dunst also recently talked to Entertainment Weekly‘s Liane Bonnin about the Spider-Man film.

She had nothing but praise for Tobey Maguire, her co-star and the man chosen to play Peter Parker and his web-slinging alter ego. When asked about why she wanted the role of Mary Jane Watson, Dunst said, “I wanted to do Spider-Man the minute I found out about it, even before Peter Parker had been cast. But as soon as I learned Tobey [Maguire] was doing it, I wanted to do it even more. He’s so talented and adorable, but more than that he has an immaculate body of work. I had been wanting to work with him for a long, long time.”

When asked about the casting of Maguire as Spider-Man Dunst responded, “People don’t necessarily picture him doing this kind of role, but they haven’t seen him beefed up like this. He got ripped for this film! People are going to be amazed by his fighting scenes. He shows that he can be very tough, and combined with his shy Peter Parker side, it’s pretty amazing.

Thanks to Cinescape for the lead

SPIDER-MAN PRODUCTS

[Toy]
[Toy]
[Toy]
[Toy]
[Toy]
[Toy]
[Toy]

If you haven’t seen or heard enough about Spider-Man toys in recent weeks, Toy Biz has sent out a set of images of their current and upcoming toy lines supporting the movie.

Check ’em out!

Like trading cards? ICv2.com reports that cards based on the Spider-Man movie are part of this year’s product line for Topps.

The cards will be priced at $1.99 for a 7-card pack, with 24 packs in each box. Chase inserts include Spidey hologram cards, web-shooter clear plastic cards, Spider-Sense glow stickers, and web-tech foil cards.

Following the movie cards will be a fall release of a second Spider-Man series, aimed at the collector market. This will be timed to coincide with the release of the DVD.

What would look better on top of your car’s radio antenna than the disembodied head of this summer’s biggest movie star Spider-Man? Eli McElmurray sent in this cool image of the Spidey antenna-toppers (still mint-in-bag) that fans can purchase at Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurants right now.

The toppers go along with the collectable drink cups we showed you earlier this week and the cool kids toys we showed you last week.

Eli tells us that you’ll find Spidey on the french fry containers and take out bags as well.

Thanks, Eli!

Into eBooks? Peter David’s adaptation of the Spider-Man movie is the #2 best-selling fiction eBook for March of 2002 according to Palm Digital Media’s Top 10 list. The novelization (published by Ballentine Books) trailed only Steven King’s new book Everything’s Eventual and edged out Anne McCaffrey’s latest Pern book among others. Palm Digital Media announced the top 10 list in a press release yesterday.

Last week Cingular Wireless launched a fully integrated marketing campaign based around the Spider-Man movie.

Fans of the webslinger will be able to buy Sony Ericsson T60 series handsets and limited-edition Spider-Man faceplates. Cingular is also offering exclusive Spider-Man ringtones, alerts and trivia games to celebrate the comic book hero’s jump to the big screen.

“We feel the action superhero, thriller genre and the excitement surrounding this movie matches the self-expression, fun and creative branding that Cingular stands for,” said Virginia Vann, Cingular’s Chief Marketing Officer.

The campaign — supported by TV, print and radio advertising, direct mail, and in-store placement — is the most ambitious ever for a wireless carrier in conjunction with a Hollywood movie. Cingular, the nation’s second largest wireless carrier, developed the campaign with Sony Entertainment. It includes a range of themed components, including:

  • Sweepstakes — The opportunity to win one of two specially designed Dodge Vipers with a Spider-Man paint scheme. Official sweepstakes rules are available at www.cingular.com/spidersweeps.
  • Promotion — Never pay long distance or roaming on Cingular’s nationwide plans. Customers can also surf the wireless “web” because they’ll receive free wireless Internet service for the life any Cingular Home, Region or Nation plan $29.99 or higher.
  • Phone offer — Special deals on Sony Ericsson T60 series handsets.
  • Data services — Exclusive Spider-Man ringtones, trivia games and Spider-Man alerts. Caller ID logo, screen saver, and picture messages can be downloaded to the Sony Ericsson T61z phone, available in Cingular’s GSM markets in California, Washington state, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Eastern Tennessee and coastal Georgia.
  • Accessory/Expressory items — Limited supplies of Spider-Man “themed” faceplates, Spider-Man accessory bundle and collector Spider-Man prepaid cards.

DAN DARE

Model & Collectors Mart had a nice write-up on the Dan Dare animated show back in March. Producer Bob Forward commented on some of the changes that they made for the show. The show is a more streamlined approach to Frank Hampson’s sprawling, epic tales with a huge cast of characters.

Changes included, “making the Prof the creator of the Anastasia rather than the Therons, and starting with the creation of Space Fleet rather than having it an already-existing entity,” Forward said.

Digby is younger than his comic book self and his elephant-like pet Stripey enters the story much earlier. Forward continues, “and of course Sondar was changed to a hulking giant and made part of the team instead of the leader of the new Treens, but that was mainly to keep him active and to possibly make a cool toy.

“We also changed the Therons, for two reasons. One was that we felt that having tanned blonde Malibu-elite ‘good guys’ and green-skinned bad guys on Venus was unintentionally racist, and we were sure Frank Hampson would never have wanted that. We felt it was stronger to have the Treens and the Therons the same race, but of differing ideologies. Plus, it gave us great opportunities to have Treens disguising themselves as Therons.”

The Model & Collectors Mart reports that fans in the UK will be able to see the Dan Dare show on Sky One, the country’s highest-rated satellite channel.

Thanks to John Freeman and the Dan Dare E-Mail Group for the info.

ASTERIX AND OBELIX: MISSION CLEOPATRA, ASTERIX AND OBELIX VS. CAESAR

Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra is officially the most successful French-made movie in 35 years according to ICv2.com. The site reports that the movie continues to sell tickets in it’s ninth week of release.

Miramax is planning on releasing the film in the U.S. some time this year. They’ve also got the U.S. distribution rights for the precursor Asterix and Obelix Vs. Caesar.

X-MEN 2

The Winnipeg Sun (via Jam! Showbiz ) reports that Fantastic Films will be handling the F/X chores for X-Men 2.

“We’re excited and thrilled and confident that it’ll be a lot of fun,” Frantic president Chris Bond told The Sun. “I love bringing this kind of work to Winnipeg. Everybody in L.A. will know Winnipeg soon.”

The company is currently at work on the underground adventure flick The Core.

Cinescape followed up on the report and talked with Frantic Vice President Ken Zorniak who filled them in on the firms involvement with the movie. “We are extremely excited to be working on a project like X-Men 2 but we will not be the only visual effects company on it,” Zorniak said. “A massive visual effects film like this will involve several talented companies and we didn’t want there to be any misunderstanding.”

Cinescape reports that the folks at Frantic were the masterminds between the opening eye-candy for the movie Swordfish. The sequence freezes a massive, street-level explosion in time and tracks 360 degrees through the still chaos.

In other news, The Comics Continuum reports that a new writer is working on the X-Men 2 script. No names are given. Previuos drafts were written in an unusual separate-collaboration mode by Zak Penn (Reign of Fire) and David Hayter (X-Men) with director Bryan Singer merging the two efforts.

HULK

Development hell can be frustrating for movie fans but sometimes the slow trek through the process can benefit a movie.

Producer Gale Anne Hurd told Entertainment Weekly that the time is now right to create an all-CGI creature for the currently filming The Hulk. “If we started a few years ago, I don’t think the technology would have been up to it.”

The project has been in development for over five years. Hurd credits the attachment of Ang Lee with pushing The Hulk into production. “It’s always been alive and kicking, but we opened the floodgates about a year and a half ago,” Hurd told EW.

Hurd lobbied for Lee stating, “You want to make this film a character-driven film with amazing action.”

KING CONAN: CROWN OF IRON

A write up in this week’s Entertainment Weekly detailing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s reemergence at the box office gives a few tidbits about King Conan: Crown of Iron.

Executive producer Jon Jashni told EW that writer/director John Milius will use Arnold’s age to give make the new movie “Lear-like”.

The e.p. also said that he’s eyeing Vin Diesel to appear as Conan’s son, Kon. Jashni primses fans “a blood-drenched third act…We’re getting back to the fundamentals.”

WITCHBLADE SEASON 2

The season ender for last year’s Witchblade left the series in a strange place and, according to a write-up on The Comics Continuum, the new season finds lead character Sara Pezzini without the mystical gauntlet in her possession.

“The first episode is just amazing. We come out of the gate with a quite bang,” star Yancy Butler told The Continuum. “We actually pick it up prior to Pezzini having the Witchblade. So she has to acquire it all over again.”

Apparently Pezzini will have some vague recollections of the things that happened in season one, although she has to rediscover them.

Witchblade season 2 starts on Monday, June 10 on TNT.

PITCH YOUR CONCEPT TO PLATINUM STUDIOS

Take a look at the big-budget movies coming out this year (Blade II, Spider-Man, Men In Black 2, Road To Perdition) and filming this year (Bulletproof Monk, Daredevil, The Hulk, X-Men 2) and it’s pretty clear that Hollywood is interested in comics as a story telling medium.

It’s no surprise to Scott Rosenberg though. Scott has long recognized that comic books are a great medium in their own right, and also lend themselves to adaptation in more popular formats. He was, as the president of Malibu comics, the one who saw potential in a little indie concept called Men In Black. Malibu published the comic series twice and Rosenberg helped shepherd it to big-screen success.

Now, the founder and CEO of Platinum Studios, Rosenberg has helped bring another of his favorite comics to life on the small screen. Showtime’s hit show Jeremiah is the results of years of effort by Rosenberg. Platinum Studios is looking to continue the trend.

“We are now actively looking for more materials,” Rosenberg told Comics2Film. “I don’t think people realize that. I think people think we have our library of stuff and we dig into that, when it couldn’t be further from the case.”

Comic creators with fresh ideas can now find submission guidelines at PlatinumStudios.com. The company is looking for new concepts that can be developed as comics and/or movie or TV shows. “We don’t care if they’re already pre-existing stories that were published years ago. We don’t care if they’re coming out now or coming out from whatever publisher in the future. We also don’t care if they don’t have a publisher. Because if they don’t have a publisher we’ll go out and get them one,” Rosenberg said.

The studio’s efforts to find fresh voices has already born fruit. Rosenberg told of recent experiences with an indie comics creator that Platinum is currently working with. They liked his current book, although it wasn’t specifically what they were looking for form film or TV development. “So we called him up and said, ‘Hey, look. Submit stuff that you’d like to see as comics.'”

The creator turned in one-paragraph pitches on some 30 concepts. “We now have a screenwriter writing one of them and two of them we’re setting up for TV animation and we’re negotiating the deals right now.”

On of the studio’s recently announced publishing projects is Illegal Aliens by Rob Moran. “We liked his writing and he started submitting us paragraphs for what comics could be and he gave us some more treatments,” Rosenberg said. Platinum found many gems out of the a number of pitches. “There were six of them that we said, ‘yes’ to, that we’re developing as graphic novels and developing for film or TV with him.”

With a hit TV series on the air now, the studio is looking use their momentum to develop new live-action TV concepts. Another area where they’d like to build is horror. Although they have over a thousand of concepts in their stable, Platinum is still looking for more. “You know something, no matter what we have there’s nothing like a creator coming in with a brand new spin on something that moves it right to the top of the desk. So we’re eagerly looking,” Rosenberg said.

CATWOMAN

IGN Filmforce broke the story last month and now The Hollywood Reporter confirms that Pitof (Jean-Christophe Comar by birth) is in negotiations to direct the Catwoman movie.

The French filmmaker made his directing debut last year on the crime thriller Vidocq, starring Gerard Depardieu. Prior to that he did visual effects work on movies like The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, Asterix & Obelix vs. Caesar and Alien: Resurrection.

Ashley Judd is set to star and the latest draft of the script is by John Rogers (Mage).

The Comics Continuum reports that Judd recently appeared on the “Revealed With Jules Asner” show on the E! cable net.

According to The Continuum the actress commented on the possibility of actually filming the bat-spin-off saying, “Catwoman is very good. Well, I certainly hope so. That’s the intention. Absolutely.”

The actress went on to say she’s defending against pretender’s to the cat-crown, “I’m extremely possessive of that part now. I’m just like a dog hiking my leg all around that script. I’m like, ‘You people back off. It’s mine!'”

INITIAL D, GTO — GREAT TEACHER ONIZUKA

Today’s Variety features a write-up on Tokyopop, a six-year-old outlet that is looking to funnel manga and anime to Hollywood.

At the forefront of Tokyopop’s current slate are popular Japanese concepts like Initial D and GTO — Great Teacher Onizuka.

Initial D is a popular manga title which sold 30 million copies. CEO Stuart J. Levy told Variety, “we are in negotiations with networks,” about Initial D. The Toykopop chief likes the series to The Fast and the Furious meets Speed Racer. It centers on a tofu delivery boy whose driving skills make him a street racing hero.

The firm is based in L.A. with an office in Tokyo.

BLADE II

Blade II slipped again at the box office this week, but still hangs in the top 10. The comic book sequel fell to #7 taking in $7.2 million in ticket sales. It’s total take at this point is $67 million.

Panic Room was #1 for the second week in a row. High Crimes bowed at #2. Ice Age chilled at #3. The Rookie, National Lampoon’s Van Wilder and Clockstoppers were fourth, fifth and sixth.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

[Justice League Toys]

Fans who were geeked about earlier reports that Justice League toys will be available at Subway restaurants next month will be pleased by this image sent to us by Cartoon Network. The net acquired the display card for the toy promo that depicts the seven magnificent toys.

The premiums will be available in Kids’ Paks at participating restaurants May 20 through July 7, 2002.

Here’s the list of toys:

  • Batman and Superman figurines are formed from a translucent material that is painted from the inside. These two classic heroes are rich in color and come with detachable bases featuring their individual emblems.
  • The Flash and Wonder Woman are detachable figurines featured on crazy straws that twist to form the special shield icon of each character. Each toy also includes the character’s emblem.
  • Hawkgirl, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter are classic articulated action. This superhero trio is ready for adventure. A detachable Justice League base in also included.

MUTANT X

Tom McCamus is taking a break for the hit syndicated TV series Mutant X according to SCI FI Wire.

A spokeswoman for the show told SCI FI that a new villain will be introduced at the end of the first season. Michael Easton will guest star in the finale as Gabriel Ashlocke, “the first child of Genomex.” Easton will become a regular recurring guest star next season, and he has been signed for several episodes.

Ashlocke is a powerful antagonist who may be “the most dangerous new mutant ever.” The character is said to have a following called The Strand, who is Mutant X’s opposite number.

McCamus will be a recurring guest star in the second seaon.

BLADE III

SCI FI Wire recently sat down with New Line co-chairman Bob Shaye and talked about the prospect of Blade III.

As reported by Comics2Film last month, Blade and Blade II writer David Goyer envisions the sequel set in a world where the vampires have taken over. Director Guillermo Del Toro told us he would be interested in helming the third installment, if they go with Goyer’s ideas.

“It’s interesting,” Shaye said in an interview with SCI FI. “I’ll have to call [Goyer] about it. He hasn’t presented it to me yet, so I don’t know. I don’t have any foregone conclusions. I don’t think this is light material anyway, but I think it’s great page-turning comic-book material. David is a good writer.”

Such a move would require working out the budget. “It’s the flip side of the three Lord of the Rings stories,” Shaye said. “Although there’s still more money to be spent to realize the second and third chapters, they’re basically in the can. [For the Blade series], we’re working on getting our deals in place. But if we can, we’ll go ahead with Blade III.”

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN

IGN FilmForce reports the latest casting rumors on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

An unnamed source tell FilmForce that David Thewlis (Dragonheart) is a possible contender of the role of Dr. Henry Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.

The same source reports that Eddie Izzard (Mystery Men) has read for the part of The Invisible Man. Apparently the read went well.

The source cautioned FilmForce that nobody beyond Sean Connery has signed for the movie yet and the above actors are just possible casting choices.

THIS WEEK ON JEREMIAH

Dig into Kurdy’s past before the Big Death in “City of Roses,” this week’s episode of Jeremiah.

A brutal assault on a young woman triggers memories for Jeremiah and Kurdy, who then take separate paths: Jeremiah to find a mysterious vaccine, and Kurdy to find his past. The episode is written by Emmy-award nominated Sam Egan (executive producer of The Outer Limits) and directed by James Head.

“City of Roses” airs Friday, April 12th at 10:45 P.M. on Showtime. There will also an encore on Sunday, April 14th on Showtime Beyond East at 10:45 PM (ET & PT).

Preview clips of the show are available online at Showtime’s Jeremiah site. Click “Episode Preview” from the site’s nav.

Stop by MGM’s Jeremiah site for a video interview with Straczynski. While you’re there, enter to win an autographed script of the premiere movie

THIS WEEK ON SABRINA

Home Improvement’s Debbe Dunning makes a cameo appearance on “I, Busybody,” this week’s episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.

After Sabrina’s (Melissa Joan Hart) advice to her friends backfires and she realizes that she gets too involved in other people’s lives, Sabrina goes to the Other Realm for a tune-up from Buddy’s (guest star Steven Petrarca) Busy Body Shop. Debbe Dunning makes a cameo appearance as a curvaceous witch who gives Salem (Nick Bakay) a run for his money. Brian Roberts directed the episode written by Adam England.

“I Busybody” airs Friday, April 12 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 the second chapter of “Fury,” an all-new episode of Justice League on Cartoon Network.

When a renegade Amazon named Aresia takes over Lex Luthor’s old gang. Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl must team up to stop her from destroying Man’s world.

“Fury Part II” airs Sunday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. on Cartoon Network. Encore showings are 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 20. The widescreen presentation airs the same day at 10:00 p.m.

There’s even more Justice League four weeknights next week as well. Each episode airs at 8:30 p.m. Here’s the schedule for these encore presentations:

Date

Episode

Monday, April 15

Paradise Lost Part I

Tuesday, April 16

Paradise Lost Part II

Wednesday, April 17

War World Part I

Wednesday, April 18

War World Part II

NEXT WEEK ON SMALLVILLE

The Kents take in a young boy who discovers Clark’s secret in “Stray”, the April 16th episode of Smallville.

After Martha (Annette O’Toole) accidentally hits a young boy with her car, the Kents take him in until they can locate his parents, unaware that the boy can read minds and has unlocked the secret thoughts of Lex (Michael Rosenbaum), Lana (Kristin Kreuk), Jonathan (John Schneider) and Martha, which puts Clark’s (Tom Welling) secret in jeopardy. Meanwhile, Lex must decide if he wants to take his father (guest star Lionel Luthor) up on his job offer and move back to his old life in Metropolis. Paul Shapiro directed the episode written by Philip Levens.

“Stray” airs Tuesday, April 16 at 9:00 p.m. ET on The WB network.

Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.

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