www.cbr.com

JUSTICE LEAGUE

This week Comics2Film spoke with Scott Rummell, the voice of Aquaman in the upcoming Justice League animated show on the Cartoon Network. Aquaman is not part of the regular line-up for the show, but he's featured prominently in episodes 6 and 7, "The Enemy Below".

"It's an exciting episode," Rummell told C2F. "He's a cool character. I really enjoyed playing him. There's some things that happen within the show that will surprise people."

The show's producer described Aquaman as a "Conan of the sea" but Rummell has a different take. "I think he's an interesting cross between Edgar Winter and Hulk Hogan. He certainly has a very striking appearance."

Rummell is currently best known for doing commercial and voice-over work for movie trailers. However, he's very excited to be involved with a high-profile animated show. He started his work as a voice actor studying under legendary talent aws Butler. "Daws was the voice of Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and literally hundreds of characters for Hanna Barbera and MGM," Rummell said. "I studied privately with him the last 3 years he was on the planet. He was my teacher and my mentor.

"Animation was really my first love," Rummell told us. But early on he found himself getting a a lot of work in commercials. Aquaman marks a return to his dream and offers new challenges over the 15 minutes required to do a movie trailer. "It was fun to sit with the cast and do the table reading and spend time developing the scenes. It's a whole different thing than I'm used to and I really loved it. I'm hoping to do more."

Rummell said the character's not slated for any additional appearances on the show, but he hopes there'll be support for it. He's found that Aquaman is already popular with many fans. "It's surprising to me. When I mention that I play Aquaman people just freak out," Rummell told us. "I read something on line that the director said it was two of his favorite episodes so far. So who knows?"

Part 1 of "The Enemy Below" airs December 3rd at 9:30 p.m., December 7 at 7:30 p.m. and December 9 at 8:30 p.m. Part 2 airs December 10th at 9:30 p.m., December 14th at 7:30 p.m. and December 16th at 8:30 p.m.

Rummel's voice can be heard doing voice work in the trailers for the movies Oceans 11 and Behind Enemy Lines. Rummell is repped by Mike Soliday at Sutton, Barth & Vennari Talent Agency.

[Boards]Screener tapes for the Justice League opener sent out last month by Cartoon Network contained the first three episodes of the show, which make up the 90 minutes "Secret Origins" movie. What the tapes lacked, however, was the finished opening titles. Instead, reviewers saw animatics based on Bruce Timm sketches of the team.

C2F has learned that when the show airs the title sequence will be done in 3D computer generated imagery. Cantina Pictures, Inc. was charged with the task of converting Timm's animatics to CGI.

The sequence shows a silhouette of the assembled League and then flashes on each of the individual members.

The show features the voce talents of Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS) as Batman, George Newbern (Bull) as Superman, Phil LaMarr (Static Shock) as Green Lantern John, Stewart Susan Eisenberg (Max Steel) as Wonder Woman, Maria Canals (Grim Fandango) as Hawkgirl, Carl Lumbly (Alias) as The Martian Manhunter and Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) as The Flash.

Justice League debuts at 7 p.m. on November 17. An encore showing of the movie will air Sunday, the 18th at 8:30 p.m.

C2F has also been informed that viewers in foreign markets that don't carry the U.S. version of the Cartoon Network will have to wait a bit longer to see the show.

According to a publicist for Cartoon Network the Teletoon channel would be the primary outlet to bring the show to Canadian viewers. However a spokesperson at Teletoon told C2F that the show is not currently on the carrier's winter or spring schedules. It looks summer might be the earliest time for Justice League to land there.

Cartoon Network also tells us that each overseas offices are currently in negotiations for the telecast rights to the show. Once that is concluded, those offices will begin dubbing the show into local languages. Fans overseas can expect to wait about six months for Justice League to appear there.

Cartoon Network said this is fairly standard and popular shows like The Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack and Courage the Cowardly Dog all took a similar path.

SPIDER-MAN

[Goblin Poster]The first studio sanctioned images of Spider-Man's foe, the Green Goblin hit the web last week. Although he's covered from head-to-curly-toe in green armor, the photo does feature Oscar-nominated actor Willem Dafoe (Shadow of the Vampire) in the villain's big-screen gear, perched atop a very high-tech looking goblin glider.

Sony reports that the Goblin, a.k.a. Norman Osborn, assumed his ghoulish persona after his test with an experimental formula went awry. The formula increased his intelligence and strength but also drove him insane.

"There is no better actor to bring this character to life," says Spider- Man director Sam Raimi. "Willem continually amazed us with his talent, his ideas, his versatility and his generosity to the other actors."

"I was drawn in by the dynamics of playing the dual character of Norman Osborn and the Green Goblin," says Dafoe. "It was challenging, but it was also the most fun I've had on a movie in a long time."

The studio provides these interesting tidbits about the Goblin costume and props:

  • The Green Goblin costume, designed by costume designer James Acheson, who has won Academy Awards for Restoration, Dangerous Liaisons and The Last Emperor, is made of 65 sculpted pieces bolted to pearlescent green vinyl.
  • Acheson's inspirations for the design included Japanese art prints, reptilian patterns, comic books and spacesuits.
  • It takes 30 minutes and three people to get Willem Dafoe into the costume.
  • The Glider, the Goblin's preferred mode of transportation, houses an impressive arsenal of machine guns, pumpkin bombs and mini-sidewinder missiles. It is also equipped with tridents that detach from the Glider for combat in close quarters.

Dafoe recently spoke with USA Today about his role in Spider-Man. He likened the process of getting into the stuffy goblin suit to "putting toothpaste back into the tube."

Dafoe found riding the glider a challenge too. He said that experience was like "a cross between surfing, snowboarding and riding a mechanical bull. I'm locked into these shoes with clips like a ski boot."

The actor had to coordinate his movements with the computer-controlled device. "I have to zig when I have to zig and not zag. It can be hairy," Dafoe told USA Today.

In other Spidey reporting: It's good news for building-block fans. Among the slew of products coinciding with the release of the Spider-Man movie will be web-crawler Lego sets according to the American Dream Comics website. ADC reports that LEGO sets due out in April of next year include LEGO: Studios Green Goblin, Spider-Man Action Studio and Wrestling Scene.

The LEGO Studios toys put filmmaking gear in the hands of kids. Expect to see spin-off flicks featuring a block-headed Spidey hitting the internet after these toys come out.

Thanks to Spider-Man Hype for the lead.

FEIGE ON MARVEL MOVIES

Comics2Film touched base with Kevin Feige, Senior Vice President at Marvel Studios, to talk about the various projects they've got brewing.

There's been plenty of rumor swirling surrounding the casting of the Daredevil movie. Aside from Ben Affleck in the title role, however, no other parts have been cast. "We're looking at a lot of women," Feige told us. "Elektra's an important role." Feige declined to comment on the specific names offered up recently by the rumor mill.

Recent reports of disagreements over the location for the filming of X-Men 2 may be overstated according to Feige. 20th Century Fox and director Bryan Singer are a definitely discussing Vancouver and Toronto as potential locations, however the V.P. said he wouldn't characterize the discussions as disagreements.

He also said there is no truth that Tom Sizemore is being looked at for the role of the villain of the piece.

While Feige didn't have any major scoops to share with the fans he did advise that we stay turned. "There'll be announcements forthcoming on Iron Man, Namor, Hulk and X-Men," Feige said.

IRON FIST

Sources in-the-know tell Comics2Film that screenwriter John Turman turned in a new draft of the Iron Fist script early this month. Recent reports in the Hollywood trades indicate that the movie could lens next year. However, a source at Marvel told us the movie does not yet have a firm start date.

Ray Park (The Phantom Menace) will star. Kirk Wong (The Big Hit) is set to direct Iron Fist.

THE TICK

A Reuters round-up of recent Nielsen ratings indicates that Fox's new show The Tick did numbers that were respectable but not stellar. Reuters states that the big blue bug, along with its lead-in show Family Guy pulled in some of Fox TV's best young-male demographics for the competitive Thursday night timeslot.

Nielsen estimates that The Tick had 6.75 million viewers scoring 3.3/8 with the 18-49 demo. This was up from Family Guy's 5.28 million viewers and 2.6/6 in the same demo bracket.

The 8:00 block is down from last winter's Temptation Island but does represent an improvement in Fox's Thursday p.m. numbers.

The intial episodes of the show were recently screened at the Savannah Film and Video Festival. According to NY Post columnist Neal Travis the show generated an enthusiastic from the college crowd. Travis claims that the good buzz on the show has Fox considering a feature film version.

This Thursday night's episode centers on the death of a prominent superhero called The Immortal. Fox provides this description for, "The Funeral":

"The Immortal is coming to town for a book signing and Captain Liberty (Liz Vassey) has been assigned to escort him around to his appearances. However, she has not been assigned to hop into the sack with him, but she does. And, the Immortal proves to be mortal after all ­ he drops dead in the middle of their lovemaking. Shocked and not sure what to do, Captain Liberty calls her super hero friends and they try to cover for her. Batmanuel (Nestor Carbonell) dresses up like the Immortal so that he can complete the book signing while at the same time The Tick (Patrick Warburton) and Arthur (David Burke) try to remove the Immortal's body from her loft and take him back to his hotel."

Watch "The Funeral" on Fox TV at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Fans of The Tick are invited to tune their web browsers to TickTV.com for their very own Tick poster. The website features an image of the big blue bug of justice that can be easily downloaded and printed.

The Fox network has also released a slew of new images from upcoming episodes of the show.

The December 6th episode is called "The License" and has the superhero friends delving into the mystery of the Tick's secret identity.

The segment after that is entitled "Arthur Needs His Space." In it, the Tick is dumbfounded as his sidekick Arthur tries to rekindle a relationship with a high-school flame.

Finally, just in time for Christmas, our heroes are invited to join the most exclusive super-hero club in all the land in "The Big Leagues."

OUTLAW

Last November Fine Line Features (a division of New Line Cinema) purchased the feature film option on the 200AD character Outlaw. A source close to the production recently told Comics2Film that New Line recently renewed the option for another year.

Outlaw tells the story of a criminal captured by a weapons design company and turned into the ultimate fighting machine.

Previous reports indicated that the film is budgeted at $10 million - $15 million. Andrew Upton is expected to direct from a screenplay by Lloyd Foneville.

TORTURED SOULS

Clive Barker and Todd McFarlane have sold the feature film rights for Clive Barker's Tortured Souls -- Animae Damnatae to Universal Pictures according to Monday's Variety. The deal is for a mid-six-figures against $2 million-plus.

Tortured Souls is the action figure line the pair created and released in limited quantities last July. McFarlane Toys quickly sold out of the gruesome toys which featured such characters as Talisac, Lucidique, Scythe-Meister, Agonistes, Mongroid and Venal Anatomica. Each figure was packaged with a chapter of a novella detailing the origins of the characters.

Barker is writing a treatment for the film as well as producing. McFarlane is also a Producer. Joe Daley, VP at Barker's Seraphim Films, and Terry Fitzgerald of McFarlane Entertainment will co-produce. The project will be supervised by Universal VP Tim O'Hair and Universal co-president of production Mary Parent.

JUST A PILGRIM

[Just A Pilgrim]Catch 23 Entertainment has acquired the worldwide film rights to Just a Pilgrim, the comic book created by Garth Ennis (creator of Preacher and writer of Punisher) and published by Black Bull Entertainment, a sister company of Wizard Entertainment Group, it was announced last Wednesday by Jeremy W. Barber, President of Catch 23 Entertainment.

Marc Danon, vice president of production and acquisitions, who previously oversaw the development of the Marvel comic book franchise at Artisan Entertainment, brought Just a Pilgrim to Catch 23. Danon will oversee the project for Catch 23 with the help of David Keith, who has recently been promoted to the position of development assistant and junior story editor. Catch 23 will immediately begin to package and develop the property.

"I've long been a comic book fan and Just a Pilgrim is great cutting edge material to launch Catch 23 into this space," said Robert B. Sturm, Chairman of Catch 23.

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, where the sun has begun to die and the oceans have dried up, Just a Pilgrim centers on a mysterious and deeply religious former Green Beret, Pilgrim, who quotes scripture while dispensing the Lord's harsh judgment on the unholy and unrepentant, as he leads a rag-tag group of refugees to safety.

Just a Pilgrim debuted in March 2001, and has sold more than 230,000 copies. The second series, "Just a Pilgrim: Garden of Eden," premieres in March 2002.

"Pilgrim is a bleak and fierce comic book hero whose unshakeable faith and defiant mission are perfectly tuned to the mood of the times," Barber said. "I am also proud that Marc has continued his work in the comic book space that he began at Artisan."

Black Bull Entertainment's President and COO Fred Pierce and Director of Business Development Rob Felton, represented Black Bull. Bruce Vann of Kelly Lytton & Vann, and Danon represented Catch 23.

"We are proud to be working with Catch 23 on this exciting, intense project," said Gareb Shamus, CEO, Black Bull Entertainment. "They understood Pilgrim from the outset, and we know we have the right partner for this amazing comic book creation of Ennis'."

LENORE

[Lenore]Sequential Tart recently conducted an interview with indie comic creator Roman Dirge. Dirge is best known for his macabre humor strip Lenore which features the antics of a cute little dead girl.

Dirge commented that he has two projects in the works with screenwriter Larry Wilson (Beetlejuice), one of which is the Lenore movie. The film has been in development as an animated feature with Sony since summer of 2000.

When asked how he feels about the development process Dirge replied, "Nervous as hell. If they let me make the movie I want, it will be a thing of beauty. If executives try and be creative, then my apologies to all."

Apparently the process has not been stress-free. "I can say that it is a bizarre experience to have a company say 'We love your character and the stories you wrote, but now we're going to have these people write it who know nothing about it and have a completely different sense of humor than you,'" Dirge told Sequential Tart.

The comic creator also hinted that there may be plans afoot for a television series, but refrained from commenting due to contractual obligations. "I can tell you that right now, there are 26 animated Lenore shorts on Sony's new website www.Screenblast.com. That's a big dose of Lenore."

For the complete interview with Roman Dirge, please visit the Sequential Tart website.

Thanks to Michael Rhode of the Comics Research Bibliography.

HAYTER ON HULK, WATCHMEN

Last week The Comics Continuum published a series of articles focusing on screenwriter David Hayter. Hayter is credited with writing the X-Men movie and is also presently working on X-Men 2, The Hulk and Watchmen.

Regarding The Hulk, Hayter seemed happy with the casting of Eric Bana in the lead role. As a relative unknown Bana has the opportunity to become closely associate with the part. "The first time anyone saw Hugh Jackman, it was as Wolverine," Hayter told The Continuum. "You get a unique actor for the role."

Hayter also talked about his take on the script, which is currently being worked on by James Schamus, producer and partner to Ang Lee, the director of the film.

"For my own part, I came at it from the point of view of the character of Bruce Banner and the incredible battle he fights with his inner demons," Hayter said. "We all know what it's like to wrestle with controlling our anger at times, but if he loses it, then he rages through the city and tears it to pieces."

Another project Hayter recently signed on for is Watchmen. The project makes for a difficult adaptation due to the complexity of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' graphic novel. "I believe I have found a way to do it," Hayter is quoted as saying. "It's certainly not easy. It's a very complex story, very dense, very literate. "I sat down and broke down the story points into their main components, and I found that in that structure, I was able to find a way to present it in a two-hour format."

In addition to writing, Hayter may also direct that movie. "But right now I'm focusing on writing it," Hayter said. "I have to see how expensive it is, how big a picture it is and how easy of a process it will be getting the story approved by Universal. If we're not able to do in a way it should be done, and that's not a given, we may not be able to do it at all. I believe in either doing it right or not doing it at all."

Hayter will reportedly begin working on the script next year. He also cautions fans to understand that, even though there were announcements, getting the movie made is a long haul.

CONSTANTINE

UpcomingMovies.com reports that Constantine (the big-screen adaptation of DC/Vertigo's Hellblazer) has been assigned a targeted release date of December 13th, 2002.

Nicolas Cage signed on to play the title character last month. The film is to be directed by Tarsem (The Cell) from a script by Frank Cappello. The movie is slated to begin filming March 1, 2002.

SMALLVILLE

The WB network has released a description of the November 27 episode of Smallville entitled "Craving":

"A weight-obsessed teen loses more than she had hoped - Clark (Tom Welling) must save Pete (Sam Jones III) from literally being devoured by a female classmate (guest star Amy Adams) whose crash diet of kryptonite-infected vegetables causes her to shed weight faster than she can handle and must somehow satisfy her ravenous hunger. Meanwhile, Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) gets one step closer to the truth about Clark after funding a study on the green meteor fragments. Phil Sgriccia directed the episode written by Michael Green "

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

Meanwhile, Kryptonsite.com has some exciting news for fans of Smallville and Superman comics. According to that site the show will be featured on the cover of the December 2-9 edition of TV Guide.

As has become a regular occurrence with that magazine, the issue will sport four different covers. The really cool news is that each cover will be painted by none other than fan-fave Alex Ross.

If that weren't enough the interior of the magazine will feature a Smallville "comic-book style story drawn by Terry Dodson (Harley Quinn)."

ALIEN LEGION

Fans continue to wait for movement of the planned Alien Legion feature film. The movie is in development with producer Don Murphy (From Hell) and screenwriter J.D. Zeik (Witchblade).

However a new series of trade paperbacks will soon hit the market to tide over fans of the comics and allow the uninitiated to get up to speed.

According to a recent press release, Checker Book Publishing Group, a new publishing venture, has announced the launch of its list with the December publication of Alien Legion: Force Nomad.

Alien Legion: Force Nomad is the first in a series of collections of the critically acclaimed comic book series, which ran from 1987 to 1991. Featuring a fascinating concept - a galaxy-hopping mercenary force a la the French Foreign Legion - developed by Carl Potts, and scripted and drawn by the dynamite creative team of Chuck Dixon (Birds of Prey) and Larry Stroman (Tribe), Force Nomad collects the first eleven issues of the series' second run.

A second collection, which will collect the remainder of the second run, is slated for May 2002 publication. Checker has more volumes of this fan favorite planned, in addition to numerous other projects.

"Alien Legion: Force Nomad was the perfect title to launch our publishing house," said Publisher Mark Thompson. "It demonstrates our mission, which is to go back and rescue worthy comic book properties which lived and died in the era before the graphic novel format had taken hold, and to keep them available to the public in a durable, good-looking, complete format that's equally at home in a comic shop or a bookstore."

BELZER'S CONSPIRACY COUNCIL

It's time to jump into the way-back machine and travel to summer of 1998 when The Hollywood Reporter announced that comedian/actor/author/conspiracy buff Richard Belzer had purchased the option on the DC/Paradox Press books The Big Book of Conspiracies and The Big Book of the Unexplained. Belzer planned on using the books as source materials for an animated series examining conspiracies.

Later, Belzer penned his own book on the subject called Ufos, JFK and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Believe. However, talk of a TV show died down shortly thereafter.

Now it looks like Belzer is back at it. A write-up in last week's Variety tells us that that Sci Fic Channel has given the green light for Conspiracy Council. The show is to be a series of hour long specials in which Belzer proves or debunks long-standing conspiracy theories.

"It's a subject I've been interested in my whole adult life, and there are so many amazing things out there that are of a conspiratorial nature, that are exciting enough to make marketable and entertaining," Belzer told Michael Fleming of Variety. "The first show, for instance, will focus on Majestic 12, an organization alleged to have been founded after World War II to study UFOs. It had been a myth, but there is enough of a paper trail to create a convincing case that there was a government board sanctioned to review extraterrestrial intelligence. What we'll do on the show is field pieces and in-studio panel discussions that will give both the pros and cons of conspiracy theories. It'll be a smart show."

Belzer's own book is cited as the source material for the show. The Big Books are not mentioned. Could it be a cover-up?

Black Panther Just Used Deadpool to Find the Cure for [REDACTED]

More in CBR Exclusives