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DEVASTATOR, CHILLER

Comics2Film recently spoke with producer David Engel about several of his upcoming projects. Engel is a comics fan and is particularly enthusiastic about the work of writer James Hudnall. The pair previously teamed on the ill-fated Harsh Realm TV series, based on Hudnall's comic of the same name.

Engel told C2F that he's got Hudnall's Devastator in development as a TV series with Jerry Bruckheimer Television (CSI).

Ralph Hemecker, the show runner on TNT's Witchblade TV movie and series will executive produce Devastator and direct as well. However, the series can't move forward until Hemecker wraps up his next project. "Ralph Hemecker just agreed to show run a second year of Witchblade," Engel told C2F. "So we have to wait one more cycle for him to come back from Canada."

Season 2 of Witchblade goes into production in January for a summer release. Engel told us he's happy to wait for Hemecker. "He'll only be that much stronger when he comes back to do Devastator."

Another James Hudnall project on Engel slate is Chiller, which he hopes to set up as a feature film.

"I'm going to be going out with Chiller," Engel said. "My pitch is Exorcist meets Harry Potter. It's about an adult magician who gets caught up in a centuries old conspiracy."

Chiller was published by Marvel/Epic in 1993 with art by John Ridgeway. It was later collected as a trade paperback by Image Comics.

DAREDEVIL, ELEKTRA

[Colin Farrel]Colin Farrell is set to play the villainous Bullseye opposite Ben Affleck's Daredevil according to last Wednesday's Variety. Farrell was recently seen in Tigerland and American Outlaws and will star in next year's Phone Booth.

The report does not specifically say that the actor has signed but instead states that he's zeroing in on the role of the master marksman. The report indicates that Farrell had also been considered for the lead role in the film at one point.

Mark Steven Johnson (Simon Birch) will direct the $50 million movie. Gary Foster and Avi Arad are producing with Stan Lee named as executive producer. Cameras are set to roll next year.

Marvel Studios' senior vice president Kevin Feige told Comics2Film that the search continues for the actress who will play Elektra in the upcoming Daredevil movie. Feige serves as executive producer on the film.

"We're still looking. It's a tough role to cast and it's a very important role to cast," Feige said.

In casting the part, the producers of the film are looking beyond the initial movie. "It's very important because we see her not only as the kick-ass female lead the Daredevil movie but we see her spinning off in her own movies," Feige said. "A lot of pressure on the actress."

Fans who got excited by recent internet dreamcasting that put Greek actress Noni Dounia with the part may be disappointed to learn that she is not being considered for the role.

ASTROBOY

Variety reports that Eric Leighton is set to direct an all CGI feature film version of AstroBoy for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Leighton co-directed Disney's CGI flick Dinosaur. Todd Alcott (Antz) and Ken Kaufman (Space Cowboys) wrote the screenplay for the film, based on Osamu Tezuka manga creation.

AstroBoy tells the story of a grieving scientist who creates an artificial boy to replace his dead son. The character becomes a a publicly renowned superhero -- complete with devices like laser-firing fingers, uncanny hearing and jet-powered boots -- all eventually used to repulse an alien invasion of Earth.

According to the write-up Sony's Imageworks special effect facility is already working up test footage for the film. A 2004 release date is planned. Variety indicates that AstroBoy may be part of an effort by Sony to reposition its Imageworks special effects facility as a digital studio on par with Pixar. The move is bolstered by the recent box office successes of Disney/Pixar's Monsters, Inc. and Dreamworks' Shrek.

Don Murphy's Angryfilms (From Hell) is set to produce. Lisa Henson, president of Jim Henson Pictures and Kristine Belson, production executive at Henson, will also produce. SPE vice-chairman Gareth Wigan is overseeing the production.

X-MEN 2

There's been a flurry of reporting on the X-Men 2 movie over the past week.

First up, Comics2Film checked with our own sources about the recent reports that the Legacy Virus figured prominently into the storyline for the sequel. Our source, who wished to remain anonymous said that the Legacy Virus is not part of the current script. However, the source was at a loss to explain reports of a recently discovered document which stated otherwise.

The next report comes from CountingDown.com's famed "bagel-cam" (an internet-reporting innovation if ever there was one). The camera is set up at the craft services area on the set of Jackie Chan's new movie The Tuxedo.

Actor Manuel Verge had a small part in X-Men and The Tuxedo and will also appear in X-Men 2. Verge said that he talked to "a high ranking member" of the X2 crew who revealed that the movie will film in May in Toronto, with some work also done in Vancouver. The movie will supposedly feature two new characters which will force Professor X and Magneto to team-up against a greater threat.

In yet another report, Halle Berry recently did an interview with the Cinema Confidential website. She talked about the prospect of becoming the next Bond girl and also about returning to the role of Storm.

"The truth is I'm trying to work out the dates with X-Men 2. I've been having a really hard time working around my X-Men schedule because it's a sequel. They are in first position so they have to approve of every movie that I take that could possibly interfere with their start date," Berry said.

The actress also commented on the amount of screen time her character got in X-Men. "The problem was that there were so many characters and I think they had to hone in on one story or else it would have probably come off like a bunch of vignettes. I think they opted to tell Wolverine's story," Berry said.

Berry said that she hopes X-Men 2 will explore Storm's role as a nurturing, mother-figure to the group. "I'd also love to understand a bit more about where she came from. She's from Africa and I'd like to understand and have the audience understand why she came here and what sort of led her to that, how she discovered her unique power," Berry said. "It's a really interesting story how she discovered that so I'm hoping some of those elements will be in the new script."

Finally, IGN FilmForce reports that Hugh Jackman is bulking up for the role of Wolverine in the sequel. Citing a WENN wire report as the source, Jackman is quoted as saying that he's "been doing nausea-inducing strength training four or five times a week for an hour with my trainer Josh. He's the guy who worked with Angelina Jolie for Lara Croft."

BULLETPROOF MONK

Sources close to the Bulletproof Monk movie inform Comics2Film that that the role of Jade in that film will be cast soon. However, the role will not go to Jessica Alba (Dark Angel) or Michele Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious) as was recently rumored.

Our source tells us that Rodriguez was in discussions early on but is currently not in the running.

Alba was never a serious consideration due to her commitment to Dark Angel.

However, the production team is closing in on a female lead for the movie although our source would not name names.

In other Monk news, Dark Horizons reports that 5 weeks of filming on the movie is slated to begin February 18th in Toronto.

PRIMATE

[Primate]Beau Smith tells Comics2Film that he is still working to set his recent comic Primate up as a movie. He and partner Kevin Bernhardt set the concept up to be developed simultaneously as a comic and movie.

The comic was published by Image back in October. It's an action story that tells of a gorilla who experiences heightened intelligence after his surrogate father is killed and uses his new intellect to gain revenge on the killers. Smith tells us Sales on the comic were better than expected.

Bernhardt is pitching the concept in Hollywood. However, Smith expects activity in December will be very slow, so a deal won't be likely this year. "At least that'll give Kevin some time to get some initial interest and see if something comes up in January," Smith told us.

Bernhardt has seen recent interest from Stan Winston's Creature Features and National Geographic, who has a hand in Harrison Ford's upcoming movie K-19.

In other projects Parts Unknown is still under option by American Film Video. That concept will likely get the direct-to-video treatment, "which is how I always intended it," Smith said.

Smith's modern-day, monster-hunting cowgirl Wynnona Earp is up for grabs again. The option on that concept recently returned to Smith. A trade paper back is due out next year and Smith expects to begin shopping the concept around at that time.

In comic news, Smith reports that his Wonder Woman vs. Xena from DC and Dark Horse is due out next spring.

CONSTANTINE

[Constantine]Producer Akiva Goldsman has been making the rounds talking about the soon-to-lens Constantine movie based on DC/Vertigo's Hellblazer. Goldsman told both SCI FI Wire and Cindy Pearlman of The Chicago Sun-Times that the movie is set to film in March with Tarsem Singh (The Cell) behind the camera and Nicolas Cage in front.

"Nick is a guy who went to hell, comes back and fights demons," Goldsman told Pearlman. "He finds himself in conflict with agents of darkness called the First of the Fallen. The movie is about how good and evil work like the gears in a clock."

The producer told SCI FI that the movie will be, "really dark [in tone], but I say that, and then the studio will come and hit me on the head."

Thanks to Cinescape for the lead.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

James Harvey of ToonZone recently sat down and chatted with Justice League master-mind Bruce Timm. Timm talked about a variety of subjects, but have several interesting tidbits to share regarding Justice League.

When asked about what guest heroes might appear on the show, Timm told Harvey, "Aquaman, The Demon, Metamorpho, Sgt. Rock, the Blackhawks, and, of course the JGA (no, that's not a typo)."

Timm said Aquaman was also a consideration for a repeat appearance. However, they do want to focus on the core seven characters and keep guest-heroes to a minimum. Timm also said that none of the core seven was likely to leave the team.

Although Timm is not trying to be slavish in tying the Justice League continuity to past shows like Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond, he did say there will be some nods to those shows. "We're planning on bringing Darkseid back for season two, so we'll more than likely deal with some of those 'Legacy' issues at that time," Timm said referring to the "Legacy" episodes of the Superman animated show.

What does the future of the show hold? "For season 2, we're thinking about using Amazo, Despero, possibly the Crime Syndicate, possibly an earlier, more souped-up version of the Royal Flush Gang, DEFINITELY another Injustice Gang/Legion of Doom/what-have-you story. Amazo will almost certainly get a complete makeover, and will probably not even be called Amazo by the time we're done with him."

Timm also made a point of acknowledging his Justice League collaborators. "I have to mention my co-producers/collaborators Rich Fogel, James Tucker and Glen Murakami at this point," Timm said. "I've been doing a lot of the publicity for the show because I'm the most well-known, but if you're enjoying Justice League, these guys deserve your applause as much, if not MORE than I do."

Plans call for a DVD of the "Secret Origins" story arc to hit the shelves in 2002.

Visit ToonZone for the complete interview.

IRON MAN

Cinescape got confirmation that Joss Whedon is interested in helming Marvel's Iron Man movie and they got it straight from the main vampire slayer himself.

"Iron Man is a definite possibility," Whedon told Cinescape. "But you know we are talking about a major motion picture, so it won't be any time soon."

Whedon added, "I'll probably end up doing another series before I do a feature just because of the time a feature will take and my deal with Fox. I'm looking to do a hard science fiction show."

Last September Comics2Film reported that Whedon was in talks with the producers of the movie to write a new script for the movie and direct the picture as well. That Whedon calls the project a "possibility" contradicts recent internet rumors which claimed he had recently signed on to the project.

THE HULK

Actress Jennifer Connelly recently talked to SCI FI Wire about her upcoming role of Betty Ross in The Hulk.

Connelly was attracted to the project after talking with director Ang Lee. According to the actress, Lee plans to deliver a deeper take on the monster-within theme. "It's really interesting and ambitious. He's not talking about a guy running around in green tights and a glossy fun-filled movie for kids," the actress told SCI FI. "He's talking along the lines of tragedy and psychodrama. I find it interesting, the green monster of rage and greed, jealousy and fear in all of us."

The actress also said that she has not seen a finished script yet. The movie is set to start filming next March.

SPIDER-MAN

[Wallpaper]According to the Comics Continuum the second trailer for the Spider-Man movie will run in theaters with The Lord of the Rings when that movie makes its debut on December 19th. As has been previously reported the trailer will also air during Temptation Island 2 this Thursday night.

The Continuum also reports that an oversized vinyl version of the second teaser poster is making its way into theaters soon.

If you're looking for a quick Spidey fix head over to the official Spider-Man movie site. That site has a groovy new wallpaper available for download. The new wallpaper is based on the poster artwork that was unveiled last month featuring Spidey crawling up the side of the building. Also up for download is a wallpaper version of the Green Goblin artwork that came out at the same time.

Fans who had difficulty accessing "Close Call" and "Tram Ride" video clips (which previously required a password) may now return to the site. The clips are easier to download and no longer require secret codes.

But wait! There's more! Dark Horizons has published a trio of new publicity stills from the upcoming Spider-Man movie. The images depict Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe) undergoing a mysterious lab experiment, Peter Parker in the wrestling wring with his crude, first-attempt at a Spidey suit, and a nice pic of Spider-Man and The Goblin facing off. Head over to Dark Horizons for a peek.

BLADE 2

[Blade 2]The new teaser poster for Blade 2 hit the web this week. Dark Horizons unveiled the surprisingly bright artwork for its readers on Monday. The teaser claims only a "Spring 2002" release date. However, recent reports indicate that movie will be released March 22 to be exact.

Of course a movie adaptation of a comic brings the inevitable comic book adaptation of the movie that adapted the comic. Marvel.com reports that screen scribe David Goyer will be teaming with comic great Steve Gerber on the comic book adaptation of the Blade 2 movie.

Marvel provides this synopsis: "Half vampire, half human, all hero! The sequel will be just as fast-paced and action-packed if not more as the original film, so you won't want to miss out on the vampire hunter's next adventure! What new supernatural menace threatens the world? Only the brooding Blade can save us from it!"

The release of the book will coincide with the new Blade monthly series from Marvel's adult MAX line. That comic will have a completely different creative time.

Goyer penned the script for both Blade movies and has already signed to complete the trilogy. Of course, he's also linked to many other comic book movies. He's also written comic book titles like JSA and Starman for DC Comics.

Alberto Ponticelli (Marvel Knights) provides the artwork for the book.

Gerber wrote many of Marvel's horror titles. He may be best known for creating Howard The Duck a surprisingly controversial character. Howard The Duck was at the center of two legal disputes one pitting Disney against Marvel over similarities to Donald Duck and another pitting Gerber against Marvel over ownership of the character. The character is also remembered as the subject of one of Hollywood's biggest bombs (although we here at C2F still insist it was a good movie).

THE TICK

This week brings another new episode of The Tick airing in it's regular timeslot at 8:30p.m. on Fox. The episode is called "Arthur Needs His Space." TickTV.com offers this description of the episode:

"Arthur runs into a girl he went to high school with, Stacy Waxman, and is completely caught off guard when she makes a date with him. She insists he wear his super hero suit, though, which has Arthur a little unsure of whether she likes him or just the outfit. Once back at his apartment, however, it becomes quite clear that she has more on her mind than just his wardrobe -- but trying to find time alone from The Tick is difficult. Meanwhile, Captain Liberty enlists Batmanuel's help trying to intercept a shipment of Peek a Boom magazine which features nude pictures of her."

Fans will also want to head over to TickTV.com to check out the video interview with creator Ben Edlund.

Thanks to Digital Prozac and Marion for the lead.

ELFQUEST

Originally announced for earlier this year, the Elfquest Series One Action Figures have arrived.

Reports from retailers and messages received by Warp Graphics, the publishers of the internationally successful Elfquest comic books, indicate that the Elfquest figures are flying off store shelves as quickly as store owners can unpack boxes. Comments include "I just got the last set of Elfquest figures from my local comic book store about 30 minutes after they got them in," and "They never had a chance to hit the shelves." "They look absolutely incredible!", "These things are out of this world," and "I can't wait for Series 2 and 3," are also typical of the mail coming in. AnotherUniverse.Com, the largest on-line retailer of comics, toys, and related collectibles has listed the Elfquest Series One action figures among the top four items they sell.

Distributed by The Stronghold Group, a Los Angeles-based entertainment brand management company, Elfquest Series One contains four figures: Cutter (the chief of the Wolfrider tribe who is packaged with his wolf, Nightrunner), Leetah (a healer from the Sunfolk tribe and Cutter's lifemate, packaged with Petalwing, a Preserver), Tyldak (leader of the Gliders, a flying character with a 16" wingspan), and Picknose (a troll and one of the most massive action figures ever produced). Series Two and Series Three, each containing four additional characters, will be released in the Spring and Fall of 2002, respectively.

All of these toys are based on characters in the Elfquest comic book series, created by Wendy and Richard Pini. Stronghold Group will also be doing action figures based on the character designs from the Elfquest feature film being produced by Wolfmill Entertainment. Those toys will be released along with the film, currently scheduled for 2003.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE, SIN CITY

Frank Miller has the comic world buzzing again with his recently released comic sequel The Dark Knight Strikes Back. It's gotten plenty of coverage out side of the comic book press including a December 5 interview with The Onion A.V. Club. In the interview Miller talks about the new book and about his work as a screenwriter as well.

When asked about his recent scripts Miller said, "There's one that I don't know where it is now, that I did based on my book Ronin, and was developing with Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream). And Darren and I are currently developing my Batman: Year One as co-writers. I just passed a draft to him the other day."

Of Aronofsky, Miller said, "He does like comics a great deal. I can't really talk about what's in the movie, though, because I think Warner Brothers would have somebody beat me up. And asking a screenwriter what the movie's going to be like is like asking a doorman whether a building is going to be condemned."

When asked if has interest in doing a movie version of Sin City Miller responded, "I did for a while. I wrote a screenplay and everything. Then I decided, at least for the present, that I would only do it if I had an awful lot of control. I didn't want to release any of the underlying rights. The time hasn't come, and I'd rather do more comics right now."

Miller also said that if he ever did do a Sin City movie, he might want to do it as an animated feature, to capture the feel of the comics.

For the complete Miller interview visit The Onion A.V. Club.

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

WITCHBLADE

Fans of the Witchblade TV series now have a chance to own an interesting prop from the show. Witchblade super-fan Dex points readers to an eBay auction for the "Ian Nottingham Armor" used in the show. The armor comes with a letter of authenticity.

The following description of the merchandise is provided:

"Custom made by Production Designer and Armorer, Ugo Serrano (Planet of the Apes 2001, Black Knight) for Ian Nottingham (Eric Etebari), this hero suit of armor, is made of 16 and 18 ga. steel. Leather straps and buckles are used for mounting. This outfit includes, the Close helmet, (the visor is hinged and tilts up), pauldrons, rerebrace, breastplate, elbow cops, vambraces, tassets, gauntlets, 3/4 leg armour, and leather skirt. This piece does have a worn and aged look due to use in the series.

"This outfit is a fighting quality armour, but the SCA requirement for combat is at least 16 ga. steel." At the time of this writing bidding was over $2200. The auction ends on December 14.

Thanks to Dex for the lead.

MUTANT X

Variety contains a report spotlighting Marvel/Tribune's Mutant X as the top new syndicated weekly action hour on TV. The show pulled a 3.0 national household rating for November sweeps and a 3.1 for the final sweeps week. The show was third weekly hour overall for the month.

New syndicated hours that trailed the mutant mayhem were Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and The Practice.

The two veteran weekly hours that topped Mutant X were Entertainment Tonight Weekend and Andromeda.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

Fans who procrastinated in going to look at the CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pilot on the NinjaTurtles.com website are out of luck. The site was unable to keep up with the bandwidth demands created by fans clamoring for turtle power. They've pulled the clips off the site, at least temporarily.

The folks at NinjaTurtles.com report they are exploring their options, like a new hosting solution, and hope to bring the clips back soon. A notice on the site reads, "we had no idea the clips would create such a ruckus - apparently there's more TMNT fans out there than Hollywood thinks there are."

Thanks to Russ for alerting us!

BATMAN VS STATIC

The Comics Continuum was able to confirm news that was broken last August by the FanboyPlanet website: Batman and Robin will be appearing on an upcoming episode of Static Shock!

Chris Simmons, the story editor for the show confirmed the story earlier this week.

"Yes, fans...the oft-reported rumors are true," Simmons told The Continuum. "The Dark Knight and the irrepressible Boy Wonder make their way to Dakota. Seems that a certain white-faced, green-haired arch-nemesis with a warped sense of humor wants to spread his own kind of joy in Static's hometown. And once he appears, can the Bat be far behind?"

Eli Marienthal also confirmed that Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill will reprise their voice roles of Batman and The Joker. Eli Marienthal, the star of The Iron Giant will provide the new voice for the Boy Wonder.

NEW YEAR'S EVE-IL

Cartoon Network will ring in 2002 with the four-hour New Year's Eve-il marathon, airing midnight-4 a.m. (ET, PT) on Monday, December 31 and featuring Toonami's top villains. To determine the ultimate villain that viewers love to hate, fans can vote online at CartoonNetwork.com December 3-7 for their favorite rogue from a list of 25 Toonami bad guys. Online, fans will choose from 25 villains from their favorite Toonami programs including Dragon Ball Z, the Gundam series, Outlaw Star, Batman: The Animated Series and Superman.

Then, on December 31, the wicked festivities will begin when the best bad guy, as voted by viewers, kicks off the first hour of the New Year's Eve-il marathon at midnight. Lurking in the winner's evil shadow, the three villainous runners-up will follow in episodes highlighting their malevolent ways during the extended Toonami block airing until 4 a.m. (ET, PT). Viewers who tune in to the marathon will receive a special Cartoon Orbit Code that can be redeemed for an exclusive New Year's Eve-il cRing on Cartoon Orbit on CartoonNetwork.com.

Toonami, Cartoon Network's popular afternoon action-adventure programming block airs weekdays 5-7 p.m. (ET, PT) and features programs like Gundam Wing, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Tenchi Muyo!, Big O and Outlaw Star. Intermittently throughout the two-hour programming block, Toonami features popular music, computer generated 3-D animation segments and the block's host, TOM, an animated character who inhabits the space vessel, The Absolution. Toonami Midnight Run, an extension of Cartoon Network's popular action-adventure programming block, airs weeknights from 12 midnight-1 a.m. (ET, PT).

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