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MAN-THING

Screenwriter Hans Rodionoff updated Comics2Film on the progress of the Man-Thing movie. Rodionoff met with Marvel and Artisan about the film early last week.

"Marvel just commenced me for the second step on Man-Thing," Rodionoff said. "I'll probably write it over the break and have a new draft in around January."

Rodionoff tells us the new work is a polish and does not involve drastic changes.

The screenwriter was also encouraged to see the muck-monster make an appearance in the most recent issue of Ultimate Marvel Team-Up. "He looked cool," Rodionoff said. "And it brings him back into the awareness a little bit."

Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #10 introduces Man-Thing and The Lizard to Marvel's Ultimate continuity. The story is written Brian Michael Bendis with art by Swamp Thing great John Totleben.

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN

[The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'Stephen Norrington is set to direct the big-screen version of Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for 20th Century Fox according to Monday's Variety. Norrington is well known to comic book movie fans as the director of Marvel's Blade. He's also currently attached to Ghost Rider and is said to have his eye on Shang Chi as well.

The Victorian-era film teams a handful of characters from classic literature. Moore's comic included Mina Harker of Bram Stoker's Dracula, H. Rider Haggard's Allan Quartermain, Jules Verne's Captain Nemo of 20,000 League Under the Sea, Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Henry Jekyll (and Mr. Hyde, natch) and H.G. Wells' Dr. Hawley Griffin, a.k.a The Invisible Man. Recent drafts of the script, written by comic great James Robinson, are also said to include Tom Sawyer as the team's American liaison.

According to the write-up, Fox has assigned an $80 million budget to the movie. Don Murphy (From Hell) will produce the film. Fox senior VP of production Michael Andreen will oversee for the studio.

The write-up also indicated that Norrington is hoping to begin on the film before he does Tick Tock. That movie is the bomb thriller which helped monkey wrench Ghost Rider. It has since suffered its own delays due to the September 11 tragedies.

According to Variety's report, Norrington's desire to move quickly could send The League into an immediate start with filming possible as early as March or April.

BULLETPROOF MONK

The Bulletproof Monk has its girl. The Hollywood Reporter tells us that model-turned-actress James King (Blow, Pearl Harbor) has landed the lead part in the comic book adaptation. King stars opposite Chow Yun-Fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Seann William Scott (American Pie).

The Reporter gives this description of the movie's storyline: "[Bulletproof Monk] centers on a mysterious monk with no name who has zig-zagged the globe for 60 years to protect an ancient scroll that holds the key to unlimited power. The monk must find a new scroll keeper and chooses Kar (Scott), a streetwise young man whose only interest is himself. King will play a sexy Russian mob princess called Bad Girl who joins the monk and Kar to fight the ultimate enemy and protect the scroll."

Charles Roven, Terence Chang and John Woo are producers. Michael Yanover, Gotham Chopra, Caroline Macauley, Doug Segal and Kelly Smith-Waite are named as executive producers.

THE ROAD TO PERDITION

[Road to Perdition]In spite of the proliferation of flashy, F/X-filled popcorn flicks like Blade 2, Men In Black 2 and Spider-Man, the biggest comic book adaptation of 2002 may turn out to be the movie version of Max Allan Collins' The Road To Perdition. Monday's Variety reports that DreamWorks has scheduled the film to open on July 12 of next year.

DreamWorks previously staged successful openings for Saving Private Ryan and What Lies Beneath on that weekend. Perdition will face Spyglass' dragon attack pic Reign of Fire.

Producer Richard D. Zanuck said, "Summer is the playground for effects pictures but after a while, the audience starts longing for something more."

"We've had good luck with this date," DreamWorks distribution chief Jim Tharp told Variety. "This film will appeal to adults, and July is certainly a good month for Tom Hanks."

Hanks will play a mob hit man known as The Angel of Death who embarks on a journey of vengeance after his wife and son are killed.

In other Perdition news, DreamworksFanSite.com reports that the film will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Collins told that site that he is working on a sequel novel called Road to Purgatory. Purgatory would be a prose novel, not a graphic one. The site has also posted a pair of new publicity stills for the movie.

WONDER WOMAN

Rumors that Friends star Jennifer Aniston is a contender for the role of Wonder Woman started making the rounds in October after the actress told TV Week magazine that she'd love to don the tiara and bracelets on the big screen.

The rumor gained steam when Australia's "Women's' Day" magazine published an article stating that Aniston had signed. The article was rife with insider quotes discussing the deal. Unfortunately, the article appears to have been a fabrication.

Comics2Film thought the rumor would die out but we receive several e-mails a week alerting us to this "casting news." So we checked in with a source at Silver Pictures in order to set the record straight.

Our source said that they've had no conversations whatsoever with Aniston about Wonder Woman. Like previous reports that named Chyna and Lucy Lawless as contenders this is pure dreamcasting brought on by the public musings of the actress.

Furthermore our source told us that recent internet rumors that Wonder Woman has been greenlit by Warner Bros. are also false. Our source assures us that the project does have plenty of forward momentum. As we reported in October, Silver Pictures is beginning to assemble a production design team.

THE ELTINGVILLE CLUB

[The Eltingville Club]Comic creator Evan Dorkin told Comics2Film that the fate of his animated pilot for the Eltingville Club TV show is now in the hands of the executives at Cartoon Network. The pilot episode, "Welcome to Eltingville," was finished late in October but the network has not yet made a commitment to air it.

"There's been some talk of an air date, but no definite decision has been made at this time," Dorkin informed C2F. "We have received some very nice feedback from the Network -- but who knows what that means, they could have all been high on Nyquil while they were watching it."

The Eltingville Club has appeared numerous times in Dorkin's anthology title Dork. It features the hate-filled exploits of a trio of pop-culture-addicted teens and their never-ending pursuit of action figures, comics and other collectables.

ELFQUEST

[Diorama]Accidentally omitted from last week's announcement of the arrival in stores of the Elfquest Series One action figures was the news that a specially designed full-color background diorama by Elfquest co-creator and artist Wendy Pini is available at no cost.

The background diorama depicts the various lands from Elfquest's World of Two Moons where the characters in Elfquest Series One live: Leetah's Sun Village, Cutter's Fathertree, Tyldak's Blue Mountain, and Picknose's Troll Caves. The bases, included with each of the Elfquest Series One action figures, fit together and, when assembled, set each character in front of their appropriate land.

Warp Graphics, the publisher of the Elfquest comic book, maintains the Official Elfquest Website, http://www.elfquest.com and, by going to the toy update page on that site, http://www.elfquest.com/newtoys3.html, anyone can download the image.

The Series One background diorama is available either as one large file (approximately 300 Kilobytes) or three separate smaller files (approximately 100K each). The files are in .jpg format. Once downloaded, they can be printed out on any color printer and placed behind the collected the Elfquest Series One action figures for a dynamic tableau.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

Animation God Bruce Timm recently scooped Toonzone.net on some upcoming DVD releases that will please fans. The animator behind Batman: The Animated Series talked about the upcoming April release of the first DVD for that show.

Timm told that site that he recently did a series of "talking head intros for some of the DVD'S." However, there are no commentary tracks for the episodes. Fans will be pleased to learn that the disc contains "On Leather Wings", "Christmas With the Joker", "The Last Laugh", "Pretty Poison", and "Nothing To Fear", which are the first five episodes of the series.

Timm also commented on plans to release the uncensored version of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker on DVD. "I'm THRILLED that the un-cut ROTJ is coming out on DVD, are you kidding," Timm told Toonzone. "I'd always HOPED that Home Video would release it un-cut, but I'd pretty much given up hope...their announcement of its impending release came out of nowhere, quite took me by surprise. About the only extra feature that I know of will be the original commentary track that Paul, Glen, Curt and I recorded before the caca hit the fan."

In other DVD news, Timm revealed to Toonzone that there will likely be a Justice League DVD as well.

Meanwhile, voice actor Corey Burton, who provided the voice for Brainiac on Superman: The Animated Series, revealed to readers of his website that he has also recorded a session for the Justice League animated show on Cartoon Network. Justice League correspondent Xum Yukinoriuncovered the following facts about Burton's work on the show.

In an August 3, 2001 news posting on his site, Burton told fans, "I can't help but be amazed at the group of fantastic actors I recorded with this week for WB's new Justice League animated series. The cast for this double-episode story includes: Jeffrey Jones, Michael McKean, Stephen Root, William Katt, David Naughton, Carl Lumley, George Newbern, Ted McGinley, Phil Lamarr, Neil Patrick Harris, and Jennifer Hale," Burton said. He also added, "I played the part of DR. BLIZZARD, a Mayor, and an Ice Cream Truck Driver....watch for it next season"

Yukinori followed up with Mr. Burton asking him if the episode he refers to is the "Legends" episode. Burton confirmed that "Legends" is the episode he worked on. That two-parter centers around the team's encounter with the JGA or "Justice Guild of America." Apparently this is the TV equivalent of the JSA.

Thanks to Xum Yukinori for digging up the JL news.

GHOST WORLD

[Ghost World]Actor Steve Buscemi (Domestic Disturbance) has picked up an award for his work in this year's Ghost World movie. Buscemi grabbed the Best Supporting Actor award from the New York Film Critics Circle. Buscemi plays Seymour a hapless loser who strikes up an unlikely relationship with the film's main character Enid (Thora Birch).

And just this week it was announced that Buscemi has been nominated again for his work in the movie. The American Film Institute has released its list of nominees for its 2001 Awards. Buscemi is nominated for "Actor of the Year - Male - Movies".

That's not the only not Ghost World is getting from the AFI. Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff have earned the nom for "Screenwriter of the Year."

Ghost World is based on the graphic novel by Clowes.

THE TICK

[The Tick and Arthur]Even with the Holidays approaching there's no time off for a super-hero like The Tick. This week the azure arachnid avenger enters your living room not once, but twice.

According to TV listings, the show will air in its regular timeslot on Thursday, December 20th at 8:30p.m. with a repeat showing of the "Couples" episode. That show featured fan-favorite actor Ron Pearlman as the hero Fiery Blaze and Patrick Breen as his sidekick Friendly Fire. The pair hook up with The Tick in Arthur in a humorous study of the superhero sidekick

Then, on Friday, December 21st at 8:30 p.m. it's time for an all-new episode of The Tick. This time The Tick and Arthur get their shot at "The Big Leagues."

An exclusive superhero-club invites our heroes to join up. However, the flirtation leaves Captain Liberty and Bat Manuel feeling snubbed.

BLADE 2

[The Reaper]The official website for Blade 2 is open for business at Blade2.com. There's not much there other than a creepy Flash intro based on the teaser poster artwork. But if you slowly mouse around the grey and white screen the sudden appearance of blood splatters will tip you off clickable areas that take you to the Blade 2 message boards and e-mail sign-up lists.

Thanks to Corona Coming Attractions for the lead.

In other Blade 2 news, Aint It Cool gave fans a peek at the super-vampire Reapers that appear in the upcoming Blade 2. The site published a half-dozen images of an actor getting made up as a Reaper for the film. The images were frame grabs from a show that aired on the European Discovery Channel. Check out Ain't It Cool for all the images.

OSAMU TEZUKA'S METROPOLIS

Fans who can't wait for the CGI AstroBoy movie will be pleased to learn that an all new feature film based on the work of Osamu Tezuka is due in theaters next month. On January 25, 2002 Sony Pictures will release Toho Company's Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis.

The story centers on Detective Shunsaku Ban and his brilliant nephew Kenichi who investigate crimes in a futuristic society populated by humans and robots. During their investigations, Kenichi falls in love with Tima, a woman who doesn't realize she's a robot or that she's imbued with enough power to control the world.

The anime feature is directed by Rintaro who directed episodes of the AstroBoy TV show as well as the feature Galaxy Express 999. Katsuhiro Otomo of Akira fame penned the screenplay.

Sony will present the movie in Japanese with newly-translated subtitles. Visit Sony's Metropolis website for details.

Thanks to Michael Rhode of Comics Research Bibliography for the lead.

THE HULK

The announcements just keep coming on the big comic book flicks. Late Monday Universal Pictures announced the release schedule for The Hulk. Here's the word from the studio:

Universal Pictures will release The Hulk, the feature film based upon the classic Marvel Comics series, on June 20, 2003, it was announced by Nikki Rocco, president, Universal Pictures Distribution. Acclaimed filmmaker Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) is set to direct the film, from a screenplay by James Schamus. The film's producers are Gale Anne Hurd, Avi Arad, James Schamus and Larry Franco. Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee is the executive producer.

"The Hulk will be our big tent-pole movie for summer 2003, which will be supported with an unprecedented company-wide marketing effort, and the third weekend in June is the perfect release date for a major event title like this,"' said Ms. Rocco.

Ang Lee's concept for the film will combine all the elements of a blockbuster visual effects-intensive superhero movie with the brooding romance and tragedy of Universal's classic horror films -- for The Hulk is at once a superhero and a monster, a wish fulfillment and a nightmare. Lee and his team have gone back to the moving, early incarnations of the character created in May 1962 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, staying true to the subversive spirit of the early Marvel years, while completely updating and projecting The Hulk into the dangers and aspirations of contemporary times.

Eric Bana, who won international acclaim in the title role of Chopper and who next appears in Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down, stars as scientist Bruce Banner, whose inner demons transform him into The Hulk in the aftermath of a catastrophic experiment. Bana will play both the human Banner and -- through groundbreaking visual effects technology provided by the Oscar-winning Industrial Light and Magic -- the superhuman Hulk. Jennifer Connelly, who won rave reviews for her performance as a hapless Coney Island resident in Requiem For A Dream and who currently co-stars with Russell Crowe in Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind, portrays Betty Ross, whose scientific genius unwittingly helps unleash The Hulk, and whose love for Banner finds its impossible resolution in the film's denouement.

Production on The Hulk is scheduled to start on March 18, 2002 at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

X-MEN 2

Last week Twentieth Century Fox officially announced the release of the X-Men sequel. Here's the press release:

Twentieth Century Fox Wednesday announced that that it will release X², the second film in its X-Men motion picture franchise, on May 2, 2003.

X² reunites all of the principal cast members of the 2000 blockbuster, which theatrically has grossed nearly $300 million worldwide, was a video and DVD phenomenon, and revitalized the legendary comics series. Also returning are the original's key creative team, including director Bryan Singer, producers Ralph Winter, Lauren Shuler Donner and Avi Arad, and screenwriter David Hayter.

X² is scheduled to begin principal photography in May, 2002.

In addition to its star-studded returning cast, X² will feature several surprises, including favorite mutant characters from the vast X-Men comics universe, who are new to the film franchise. Since the release of X-Men, the worldwide fan base has been burning up the Internet with speculation on which new characters would appear in the sequel.

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, Any Given Sunday and Volcano. Ralph Winter, who recently signed a producing deal with Fox, most recently executive produced the studio's summer blockbuster Planet of the Apes.

Jam Showbiz reports that X² is eyeing locations in Vancouver, Canada instead of Toronto where the original was filmed. Sets and props from the original are said to be in storage and will make their way to Vancouver in time for the summer shoot.

In other X² news, director Bryan Singer told Variety that they're being careful about keeping story details under wraps but fans can expect some new mutants in the movie. "We want to keep those characters a surprise," Singer said. "But there will be some really interesting new characters, both young and old."

Thanks to Corona Coming Attractions and IGN Film Force for the lead.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

Fans will have to wait until February before any new episodes of Justice League air. Cartoon Network is repeating the first seven episodes (which make up the "Secret Origins," "In Blackest Night," and "The Enemy Below" story arcs) starting this week and lasting through the first week of February, 2002.

However, the show's producer, Bruce Timm, gave the ToonZone.net website a glimpse at what's to come. Timm provided ToonZone with a complete list of Justice League episodes. Here it is:

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES - TV MINI-SERIES

Earlier this month Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creator Peter Laird made an interesting posting in his Blast >From The Past online column.

Laird related a meeting he had several weeks prior with Steve Barron. Barron directed the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and is set to direct a live-action mini-series in the near future.

Barron showed Laird a tape he had of the rough-cut of the original movie which started the pair talking. "It is VERY rough," Laird said of the tape. "There are a few scenes missing (not many, though), there's no music, no finished sound or voices (curiously, in many of the turtle speaking scenes you can hear two voices - the actor in the turtle suit and the puppeteer -- speaking the same lines simultaneously!).

Laird continues, "What there IS, though, is some neat stuff that never made it into the final released cut of the film, including several fairly long scenes -- one of which is the comic publisher's office scene intended as the ending of the movie, from which I had only seen one still (I was never sure if the whole scene had been shot). There is also a wonderful extended training scene when the turtles are recuperating at the old farm, as well as many other character bits and pieces which got trimmed."

What comes next is the exciting part. "I asked Steve if he would be willing to work on a director's cut version of the film for a DVD release, and he said, 'Sure!' Whether or not the film still exists to use for a project like this, I don't know. But it sure would be cool! Maybe it's time to start bugging New Line"

So, a new, special edition DVD of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie may be in the cards for fans. Visit NinjaTurtles.com and let them know you're interested. Thanks to Dew for the lead.

SMALLVILLE

KryptonSite.com recently interviewed Smallville producer Alfred Gough. The producer commented on a number of aspects of the show including the "freak of the week" syndrome, in which young Clark battles a new, kryptonite-infected super-citizen each week.

"The thing you always want to do when you launch a series, so that people watching it week to week can understand what your series is about, and now it's 'what are the new and exciting and fun things we can do with Kryptonite,' obviously," Gough said. "And then also also, what are the other types of stories we could tell, like "Rogue," which airs in January, really doesn't deal with Kryptonite at all, it deals with the much bigger issue of "what happens if somebody discovers Clark's secret."

During the interview Gough also answers questions about the connection between Lana Lang and Lois Lane, returning villains and the possibility of a Smallville DVD. Check out KryptonSite.com for the complete interview.

In other news, the Christmas day episode of Smallville looks to be a repeat of the episode "Cool". Here's The WB's synopsis for the show.

"Clark (Tom Welling) has a chance at an evening out on the town with Lana (Kristin Kreuk) thanks to Lex's (Michael Rosenbaum) matchmaking, but the evening is interrupted when Clark faces an icy enemy (guest star Michael Coristine): the high school lady killer who has a kryptonite-induced case of permanent hypothermia and has to feed off of body heat to survive - starting with Chloe (Allison Mack). Jim Contner directed the episode written by Michael Green.

"Cool" will air Tuesday, December 25 at 9:00 p.m. ET.

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

In other news, a reader named Gary wrote in with some info for Canadian fans of the Smallville TV show. According to Gary, a representative for Global TV tells him that the show will movie to Wednesday night timeslot starting in January. Global TV ran the first five episodes of the show in two Friday night marathon blocks, but has it on hold until the new year. The rep suggested that January 9 would be a likely date for the show to return.

SPIDER-MAN, MEN IN BLACK 2

Advertising Age (via ICv2.com) reports that Sony has picked up 13 thirty-second ad slots for Fox's upcoming Super Bowl broadcast. Sony's got plenty to promote for 2002 including Men In Black 2, Stewart Little 2 and a little movie you might have read about called Spider-Man.

At least two of the ads will run during the game while the remainder will air in the pre- and post-game coverage. The package will cost the studio $5 to $7 million. The article does not reveal which ads will air when.

In other news, the Spider-Man movie is doing reshoots this week according to Variety's Army Archerd.

WATCHMEN

When David Hayter recently signed on to write, and possibly direct the Watchmen movie he wasn't sure if he should expect to get any feedback from the book's typically hands-off writer Alan Moore. Now, a nice write-up on EW.com recently features comments from both Moore and Hayter about the project.

Everybody admits that Watchmen will be a difficult project to adapt, but Moore seems to wonder if the project is too specific to the comic book format. "Watchmen was designed as a showcase of things that comics are capable of but aren't so easy to achieve in any other medium," Moore said to EW.com. The author cites tiny background details in the comic that might be overlooked at first glance, but figure into the overall story.

"With a comic, you can take as much time as you want in absorbing that background detail, noticing little things that we might have planted there," Moore is quoted as saying. "You can also flip back a few pages relatively easily to see where a certain image connects with a line of dialogue from a few pages ago. But in a film, by the nature of the medium, you're being dragged through it at 24 frames per second."

But Hayter is not discouraged by the depth of the comic. He likens the adaptation process to adapting a lengthy novel. "One of the greatest aspects about Watchmen is the relationship between what's being said and what's being seen," Hayter adds. "The films that I love do the same thing."

The screenwriter is struggling with the book's ending, which features an immense catastrophe intentionally inflicted on the city of New York. "When [Sept. 11] occurred we were just in preliminary discussions, and I thought that might be it," Hayter said to EW.com. "I thought, 'Oh my God, the ending of Watchmen just happened to the world.' But [ultimately], all that does is reinforce the truth behind this story."

Check out EW.com for more comments from Hayter about the movie.

Also on EW.com this month is a Q & A article on Spider-Man although regular readers of this site won't find anything new there.

Thanks to Jason Averett and Michael Rhode of Comics Research Bibliography for the lead.

THE MASK 2

Cinescape reports that Jim Carrey is unwilling to do a sequel to The Mask for fear of the end of the world.

When asked if he'd consider doing The Mask 2 Carrey replied, "If the world's end came tomorrow, I don't want to spend it doing something I did two, three years ago or more."

Back in July Lance Khazei (Romantic Comedy) signed on to pen a script for the sequel. It seems he will have to write Carrey's character out and open the door for a new lead.

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