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BLADE II

Actor Ron Perlman told Comics2Film that his career has been like a pinball game. "I just basically bounce from one piece of good fortune to another," the baritone actor said in an interview conducted last week.

That first bit of good fortune may have been landing the role of Vincent in the legendary late-80's TV series Beauty & The Beast. Perlman's performance in the show left an indelible mark on the psyche of fandom and has lead to a constant stream of work leading up to the upcoming Blade 2.

Perlman told us he was approached to appear in Blade 2 by the film's director, Guillermo del Toro. "I did his first film called Cronos and we became lifelong pals. I like to think so anyway. Guillermo may have something to say about that," Perlman quipped. "Aside from being a brilliant, brilliant filmmaker he's a great guy.

"When he secured the task of developing and directing Blade 2 he asked if I wouldn't mind if he wrote something for me, which he ended up fulfilling. So, who was I to say no?"

[Reinhardt]Perlman plays Reinhardt, an imposing and militaristic member of the vampire bloodpack that Blade must ally himself with in the movie. "He's a professional soldier," Perlman said of Reinhardt. "He's the head of the elite guard that serves Damaskinos, the emperor of the vampire world. So he's the kind of guy you'd see running along side the presidential cavalcade. He's a guy whose been trained to take one for the team, if need be. He's really good at what he does and he's a vampire."

Although the part was written for him, Perlman and Del Toro continued to develop the character throughout the production. "Reinhardt became a great deal more in the making of the film than he was on the page," Perlman said. "He emerged more as the leader of this group than he was originally articulated simply because the look that Guillermo and the costume people gave him was really strong. He looked like the most formidable guy in the bloodpack.

"As I started to playing him he had a very, very stealthy, strong silence to him, which they decided to augment as the filming went on. So the character's importance grew and grew, in a very organic way. A lot of the stuff that ended up getting shot was thought of on the hoof."

Blade 2 was filmed on a tight schedule in Prague last year. Although some reports indicated that it was a tough shoot, Perlman said he enjoyed his time spent there. "I found Prague to be very civilized and a cool place to be when one wasn't at work. It's a very happening city," Perlman said. "I've worked on, personally, a lot of movies that are much more physically demanding. I think that if you ask Wesley you'll get a different response.

"He does major fighting in this film where he pulls out every bit of knowledge that he has, which is formidable in terms of his martial arts skill. Whereas I just kind of like...I pulled a gun every once in a while." Perlman told C2F that his fighting style in the movie is, "more western than eastern and more brawn than finesse."

Perlman tells us that we can expect a Blade 2 that is as well-directed as humanly possible. "There're some amazing action sequences that are just like non-stop roller coaster rides, from beginning to end," Perlman said. "I haven't seen the film yet but I saw a lot of the sequences that were cut together in a very raw state and they were rock and roll, really rock and roll. I asked to see them again when he got done showing them because they were so cool. It's not 'In the Bedroom.' It's an action adventure sci-fi movie and I think it lives up to those criteria in a very big way."

The actor credits the director with putting together an exciting movie. "Guillermo is just an amazing director of action which I think is going to be a surprise to the world because I don't think he's ever employed that side of himself on anything prior to this."

Working with Del Toro again was one of the attractions for the actor. "I just so enjoy performing for Guillermo because I know that he has a great eye," Perlman said. "If he sees something that he likes and prints it, you know its good. I trust him probably more than any other director I've ever worked for. That's a real luxury for an actor."

Perlman hopes to work with Del Toro again on the big-screen version of Mike Mignola's Hellboy. The director has long championed Perlman as his first and only choice for the lead in that film.

"I don't even have words to describe what that kind of loyalty and devotion means to me," Perlman said of Del Toro's commitment. "It's one of the great, great events of my professional life, to have that kind of devotion and loyalty emanating from somebody who is as accomplished as he is."

The actor is hopeful that Hellboy will happen. "It's a phenomenal project. The adaptation that Guillermo wrote based on the comic book just totally nails it. It's so cool and so theatrical. That would be huge fun to play that characters and a great honor because he's a phenomenal super hero."

After Blade 2 fans can look for Perlman in Star Trek: Nemesis. The actor recent wrapped work on that movie in which he plays a villainous character called The Viceroy. "He's from the planet Remus which is the sister planet of Romulus. We've seen Romulans in the Star Trek canon but we've never seen Remans until now. So it's kind of a new breed."

Perlman tells us that he is also poised to launch his own production company, an effort that's been brewing for three years. In the mean time, the pinball will keep bouncing between roles in cool genre movies. "I'm just lucky that they ask. Usually all it takes to get me is to ask."

MAN-THING

Comics2Film checked in with screenwriter Hans Rodionoff for a progress report on Artisan and Marvel's Man-Thing movie. Rodionoff told us that he delivered the latest draft of the script to Marvel last month.

"Everyone is happy at Marvel and they're going in to Artisan now," Rodionoff said. "We've made significant progress."

At this point the screenwriter is hopeful about the movie's future, but Rodionoff said realistically he doesn't expect it to go until after Artisan's Iron Fist gets underway at the earliest.

DAREDEVIL

The latest Daredevil casting scoop comes from the ever-reliable Stax over at IGN FilmForce. Insider's told Stax that David Keith (U-571) is the latest actor to join the roster of the film.

According to the unnamed source Keith will play Battling Jack Murdock, the pugilistic father of Matt Murdock. Fans recall that in the comics Jack Murdock was a single father and boxer pushing his son to excel in academics and build a better life. Things turn tragic when he refuses to take a dive in front of his own son.

The week's Variety confirmed the scoop.

According to Stax's read of the movie's script, Jack's ring persona and garb influence Matt in creating his superhero identity.

Cameras are set to roll on Daredevil soon.

THE HULK

The Beau Bonneau Casting site has updated their casting call for extras on The Hulk.

The notice on the site reads, "We are seeking all types with a particular emphasis on military types. Actual military experience is a plus!"

Check out the listing on the Web site for complete details on how to apply.

Thanks to Aint-it-Cool-News for the lead.

In other news, SCI FI Wire reports that Gale Anne Hurd is talking about The Hulk on her current press tour promoting her new movie Clockstoppers.

Hurd told reporters that Hulk will deliver more than just special effects and popcorn thrills. "It'll have the complexity of character that will keep audiences over 18 interested, but with great action sequences that the whole family will love."

Hurd also expressed confidence in director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and the depth and drama he brings to the production.

Cameras roll on Hulk this month. The movie is targeted for a 2003 release.

BULLETPROOF MONK

[Pirae]Last week's Variety reports that Marcus Jean Pirae has joined the cast of Bulletproof Monk. According to the brief, he'll play the leader of a street posse that pacts with the titular monk (Chow Yun-Fat) and his student (Seann William Scott) to fight an evil gang.

Meanwhile, Dark Horizons reports that Mako (Pearl Harbor) has also joined the cast.

Cameras started rolling last Saturday in Toronto.

GHOST WORLD

The movie version of Daniel Clowes' Ghost World draws even more critical acclaim this month. This time the good word comes from the "Critics' Choice" round up in the latest issue of Premiere.

The magazine amalgamated ratings from 15 of the nation's top film critics to create a list of the 85 most acclaimed movies of 2001.

Ghost World was ranked #4 on the list, trailing Apocalypse Now Redux, Shrek and Mulholland Drive. The film was tied with In The Bedroom.

Ghost World has also been nominated for an Oscar for Adapted Screenplay. The movie is currently available on home video.

MEN IN BLACK 2

In a write up in yesterday's USA Today movie make up designer Rick Baker talked about the myriad of alien creatures he created for the upcoming Men in Black 2.

Some of the imaginative invader identities include Tendril Guy, Pineal Eye Guy, Spider Bunny, Bird People, Robot Squid, Cream Corn Face and Split Guy. Baker and producer/director Barry Sonnenfeld discuss these creatures, as well as the stars of the movie.

However, if you want to get a look at these critters, tune your web-browser to MenInBlack.com every Friday. A new alien will be unveiled each week on the site.

SPAWN 2

A posting on Spawn.com reveals that Todd McFarlane and Steve Niles have completed their script for the Spawn sequel. The report indicates that producer Don Murphy (From Hell) has signed off on it and it is now in the hands of Columbia Pictures.

Niles and McFarlane hope this will be the final draft and will meet with studio approval.

Thanks to SuperheroHype for the lead.

Although the sequel will likely be a departure from the original, John Leguizamo told SCI FI Wire that he'd love to return to the role of The Violator.

Leguizamo told SCI FI that he hopes the sequel will be darker than the original. "I hope it's dirtier too. There was an R version [of Spawn] that was pretty nice," the actor said. "but I'd like this one to really be R as it should be, as the comic book was."

Of course, getting into Clown gear doesn't come cheap. "It's got to be really huge money for me to do that again," he said. "That makeup, I had blisters on my face, big pus-filled calluses around my eyes. It really wreaked havoc. I used to be handsome, and all of sudden that wrecked my image."

Leguizamo is not currently attached to Spawn 2. There's been no word as to whether or not the Violator character returns either.

ASTRO BOY VHS NEWS

With the CGI Astro Boy feature film in development at Sony, Manga Entertainment is releasing a series of VHS tapes with the 1980 color version of the anime series, according to ICv2.com.

ICv2 reports that the series is currently being re-solicited with new release dates. Volumes 1-3 are due out May 28, 2002. Volumes 4-6 will be out August 27, 2002. Volumes 7-9 will hit the shelves November 26, 200.

SPIDER-MAN, MEN IN BLACK 2

In case anyone missed it, CBR News broke the news last week that Spider-Man will grace the covers of a late April/Early May cover of TV Guide. The event will be timed to coincide with the May 3rd release of the movie.

Like the Smallville issues from last year, the Spider-Man TV Guide issue will come with four different covers. One difference is that the Spidey covers will be drawn by four different artists: John Romita Jr., John Romita Sr., Mark Bagley and Alex Ross.

The news comes directly from Romita, Jr., the current artist on Amazing Spider-Man. The artist reports that the four pieces will fit together to form one large image. Romita Jr.'s cover features Spidey letting go of his web-line at the top of his swing. This leads in to covers by Romita Sr. and Bagley, who depict the web-slinger in full-swing. Finally Alex Ross' cover brings the wall-crawler back to the apex. The combined image will be 20 inches wide by 7 inches tall.

In other Spidey movie news, The Hollywood Reporter did a round up of Sony's final-day festivities at the recent ShoWest trade show. Among many other events was the unveiling of the new trailers for Spider-Man and Men In Black 2. The studio also announced that it aims to raise the profile of the upcoming Vin Diesel vehicle XXX by attaching its trailer to these two big comic-book blockbusters.

In Spidey product news we have this field report from Hallopino: Every March costume and novelty retailers and vendors descend on the "Transworld's National Halloween, Costume, and Party Show" in Rosemont, IL. There they buy and sell the latest in Halloween products, costumes, masks, haunted house supplies and makeup in anticipation of the October Halloween season.

Comics2Film's cub reporter Hallopino was on the scene this year's 18th annual event. He managed to get a look at the Spider-Man wares that some kids will be sporting come pumpkin time.

[Masks]The red-hot chili pepper snapped off photos of movie-fied outfits from Disguise Costumes including a Green Goblin costume, on display on a mannequin, as well as the movie Spidey threads, hanging on the rack. Notice the white web lines on Spidey's costume, which are meant to emulate the shiny, embossed webs of the movie suit.

Disguise Costumes also has the license to produce masks based on a number of other Marvel characters. Hallopino took a picture of those too, including masks for Dr. Doom, Venom, The Hulk and Wolverine.

The costumes will be available from at costume shops everywhere later this year.

DRAGONBALL Z

The Hollywood Reporter reports that 20th Century Fox has acquired the rights to develop a live-action, feature film franchise based on the popular anime and manga property DragonBall Z.

DBZ was created by Japanese writer Akira Toriyama as a comic and has already spun into a lucrative global franchise featuring cartoons, video-games and straight-to-video releases.

SPIDER-MAN ANIMATED SHOW

Brian Michael Bendis told readers of his Message Boards that production has amped up on the Spider-Man animated show. Bendis, a producer on the show is in L.A. working on the show.

Bendis reports that the show is cast and voice recording begins Wednesday.

THE ROAD TO PERDITION

[Road to Perdition]The OscarWatch.com has posted the first online look at the movie poster for The Road To Perdition. The moody one-sheet features a shadowy Tom Hanks and young Tyler Hoechlin as Michael Sullivan, Sr. and Jr. The poster bears the tag line "Pray For Michael Sullivan," indicating that the character's name has been changed from O'Sullivan (as it appears in the graphic novel by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner).

Thanks to Chud for showing the way.

WELCOME TO ELTINGVILLE

Welcome to Eltingville fans can chat with Evan Dorkin, the mastermind behind the show, this week. Matt over at the Adult Swim Fansite tells us that ToonZone.net is hosting the chat, this Friday, March 15th at 8:00pm ET.

The chat will be moderated and hosted via IRC in the #toonzone chat room located at irc.cjb.net (or irc.mirc-x.com). Check out ToonZone's news item for complete details on how to participate in the chat.

X-MEN: EVOLUTION

Look for Captain America to make a guest appearance on an upcoming episode of X-Men: Evolution. The Comics Continuum reports that Cap will figure into the "Operation Rebirth" episode of the show.

Bob Forward wrote the segment from a story by story editor Greg Johnson and Boyd Kirkland. Gary Graham directed it.

No air date for "Operation Rebirth" has been announced.

BLADE III, BLACK PANTHER

In our interview with David Goyer last week, the filmmaker touched on the the prospect of following up his Blade partnership with Wesley Snipes, with another Marvel franchise, The Black Panther.

On a recent press outing, Eric Moro of Cinescape got more information on the project direct from the big man himself.

"We want to get to that next year… next year," Snipes said of The Black Panther. "So we've got to make a decision ­ we're either going to do Blade 3 next year or we're going to do Black Panther. Whichever one comes first, we're going to do."

Snipes mused that the crusading African prince would allow him to launch a franchise character that would be completely different from the brooding, tormented daywalker. While he agreed that the look and mannerisms of T'Challa would be completely new, when asked what approached he'd take in developing the character the actor/producer said, "Oh, man ­ I have no clue. I have to go hang out with some [Black] Panthers to go get inspired."

MORE BLADE II

Wesley Snipes, star of the upcoming New Line Cinema theatrical release Blade 2, stops by The National Network for "Blade 2 Week on The New TNN." From Saturday, March 16 through Saturday, March 23, Snipes will appear in a variety of network vignettes and will host TNN's Slammin' Saturday Night, introducing viewers to his new film Blade 2, which opens nationwide on March 22. TNN viewers will also have the opportunity to enter an exclusive sweepstakes to win a Ducati motorcycle featured in Blade 2.

As part of "Blade 2 Week on The New TNN," Wesley Snipes will appear in vignettes throughout the week, introducing TNN's primetime action-themed movie presentations (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT), Friday evening's two Star Trek: The Next Generation "Bonus Trek" episodes (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) and TNN's Slammin' Saturday Night tune-ins. The movies telecasting on TNN that week are Bloodsport on Tuesday, March 19; Death Warrant on Wednesday, March 20 and Kickboxer on Thursday, March 21. Like Blade and Blade 2, Death Warrant was written by David Goyer.

On Saturday, March 16 and Saturday, March 23, Snipes will host TNN's Slammin' Saturday Night (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT). During the March 16 telecast Snipes will introduce viewers to Blade 2 through movie clips and behind-the-scenes commentary. In addition, Snipes will offer viewers an opportunity to enter the "Blade 2 Week on The New TNN Sweepstakes" where one Grand Prize-winner will ride off with a Ducati Motorcycle used in his new film. Viewers will be encouraged to log onto TNNOnline.com from Saturday, March 16 until Thursday, March 21 (at midnight, ET) to enter to win. The winner of this exclusive sweepstakes will be announced during Slammin' Saturday Night on Saturday, March 23. Aside from the one Grand Prize, there will be 100 secondary prize winners with 50 receiving a copy of the original Blade on DVD and the other 50 receiving a copy of the Blade 2 soundtrack.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

Cartoon Network announced several major programming initiatives for 2002 at a press conference in New York last week. Speakers at the event included Cartoon Network executive vice president and general manager Jim Samples, senior vice president of programming and production Mike Lazzo, and series creators Tom Warburton (Codename: Kids Next Door) and Michael Ouweleen and Erik Richter (Harvey Birdman, Attorney-at-Law).

Good news for comic fans is the renewal of Justice League. According to press materials, the net has ordered up an additional 26 new half-hours of the record setting show.

Cartoon Network enjoyed a tremendous year last year. In press materials recapping 2001 accomplishments, the net cited Justice League as a winner. Justice League's premiere on Saturday, November 17, 2001, scored as the most-watched original premiere in Cartoon Network history with 1,770,000 homes and 4,114,000 different viewers tuning in. The premiere also posted the highest adult 18-34 rating (1.6) and delivery (755,000) for an original telecast.

SPIDEY DVD BOX ART

DVDToons.com has gotten a hold of the cover art for Buena Vista Home Video's upcoming DVD release Spider-Man: The Ultimate Villain Showdown. The collection of animated Spidey toons is due out on April 30th on both DVD and VHS. Preorders will begin on March 19.

For a larger version of the artwork, please visit DVDToons.

Featuring the thrilling origin of Spidey's archenemy the Green Goblin, the webslinger not only goes head-to-head with the Goblin, he takes on the sinister Doctor Octopus, the criminal Kingpin and more of his city's most cunning fiends in "The Ultimate Villain Showdown." Then, discover for yourself how it all began for Spider-Man in this special, full-length animated adventure."

SMALLVILLE, SPIDER-MAN ANIMATED SHOW

Doogie Howser may be out of Smallville and into Spidey, according to recent online reports.

Kryptonsite.com told its readers that former Doogie star Neil Patrick Harris will not make his guest appearance on Smallville as previously announced. The news comes from E! Online's Wanda.

But comic fans needing a Doogie fix may get their chance according to The Comics Continuum. That site reports that Harris is a candidate for the lead role in the upcoming Spider-Man animated show for MTV. The Continuum previously reported that Smallville's Michael Rosenbaum is also a contender.

NEXUS

According to Steve Rude's e-mail update, the comic book artist still has high hopes to produce an animated series based on Nexus. However there is "nothing going on" with the show presently.

Rude told Comics2Film last November that he was shopping the property around to animation houses. There's already been plenty of development work done which he hopes to utilize in future efforts.

Nexus was created by Rude and writer Mike Baron. It features an offbeat science fiction hero whose mission is to assassinate evil-doers who are identified in his troubled dreams.

GREEN LANTERN

MovieHole.net reports that Dawson's Creek star Kerr Smith has his eye on a certain comic book character that he'd love to play on the big screen.

"The Green Lantern! We should make a film about this guy. He could kick any other super hero's ass," the star enthused to MovieHole.

Of course, Smith needn't hold his breath waiting. Last anyone heard, any plans for a Green Lantern movie were stalled out.

Comic fans and pros alike are puzzled over why a film version this character can't seem to get off the ground. The concept has such strong visuals it seems like a no-brainer. And, of course, with the notion of rotating leading men already built into the concept studios needn't worry about cornering an actor with a multi-picture deal.

KISS ANIMATED SHOW

A write up in last week's Variety discussed the losses posted by Mainframe Entertainment in their reporting of their third fiscal period. The losses are due to a change in strategy moving them away from work-to-hire and toward creating its own programming.

However, a company press release states, "We are enthusiastic about the financial prospects for the proprietary projects that we contemplate delivering during our next fiscal year."

Among the projects is the Kiss animated show. While not a comic adaptation per se, the rock foursome has been in enough four-color adventures to make us wonder.

Of course, Mainframe also has a little something called Spider-Man which may help boost profits.

THIS WEEK ON JEREMIAH

Comic book super heroes influence the characters of Jeremiah in this week's episode entitled "Man of Iron, Woman Under Glass".

In a recent posting on the rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.modera ted newsgroup, showrunner J. Michael Straczynski provided this synopsis for the show:

"A somewhat fanciful tale of a guy who grew up after the Big Death believing that some day the super heroes he read about as a kid would come back and fix things...and a tale of a most unusual romance between another of our main characters -- Marcus Alexander, head of what was once the NORAD Thunder Mountain complex -- and a woman whose existence has been kept secret from everyone for years."

"Man of Iron, Woman Under Glass," airs at 10:45 p.m. on Showtime. Clips from the show are currently available for download at the Showtime Jeremiah Web site.

After the show, stop by the Jeremiah site for an online chat with Malcolm-Jamal Warner. The chat starts at 11:30 pm (E.T.).

THIS WEEK ON SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH

Sabrina becomes utterly forgettable in "Time After Time", this week's episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.

Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) mixes old fashioned witchcraft with modern technology to help Zelda (Beth Broderick) mend a long time broken heart but the spell backfires altering Spellman family history and erasing Sabrina from everyone's memory. Jeff Mellman directed the episode written by Dan Berendsen England.

"Time After Time" airs Friday, March 15 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 Cartoon Network debuts part two of the "The Brave and the Bold" storyline of Justice League. "The Brave and the Bold" teams the fast-talking Flash with the highly-disciplined Green Lantern.

"The Brave and the Bold Part 2" airs Sunday, March 17 at 7:00 p.m. on Cartoon Network. Encore showings are 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 23. The widescreen presentation airs the same day at 10:00 p.m.

NEXT WEEK ON WITCHBLADE SEASON 2

Next week on Witchblade, TNT's re-airing of season 1 continues with episode #8: "Thanatopsis".

Jake (David Chokachi) and Sara (Yancy Butler) tail an arms dealer, but a sniper's bullet ends their chase. The case gets weirder when Sara finds a dossier among the victim's effects containing shocking details on Irons, Nottingham ...and herself!

"Thanatopsis" airs Monday, March 18th at 9pm ET on TNT. An encore airing is scheduled for Tuesday, March 19th at 11pm ET. The encore showing is presented in widescreen format.

NEXT WEEK ON SMALLVILLE

A psychotropic flower turns Lana into the Lolita of Smallville while an infected Pete goes after Lex in "Nicodemus", the March 19th episode of Smallville.

Clark (Tom Welling) must solve the riddle of the mysterious Nicodemus flower and Lex's (Michael Rosenbaum) shady involvement after it infects the residents of Smallville removing their inhibitions - Jonathan (John Schneider) becomes a coach potato, Lana (Kristin Kreuk) puts the moves on Clark as the town Lolita and Pete (Sam Jones III) tries to kill Lex - then puts them into a deadly coma. James Marshall directed the episode; written by Greg Walker with teleplay by Michael Green.

"Nicodemus" airs Tuesday, March 19 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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