www.cbr.com

KABUKI

[Kabuki]David Mack's Kabuki has been in development as a feature film for several years now. Initially the film was set up with Fox Animation and in the works as a feature film. Last summer, Twentieth Century Fox closed down its animation arm but development continued on the Kabuki movie. Late in 2000 Mack announced to readers on his message boards that Fox had renewed their option on the movie for another 12 months.

Just last month, the comic creator divulged new information about the current state of the film. He said that the studio is still developing Kabuki as a theatrical feature film. Mack also told fans, "the new division of Fox I've started working with earlier this year has decided that at this point they are now approaching it as a live action film.

advertising

"Two or three years ago, we began approaching it as an animated film because it seemed like it may not have been able to be pulled off as live action, and still live up to the spirit of the book," Mack told his readers. "But now, films like Crouching Tiger, or The Matrix and others have proved that it can be done as a drama-oriented, live- action film and still pull off the needed set and effects."

Catherine Winder (Spawn animated show) and Mack are producing the movie. Indie filmmaker John Sayles (Limbo, Lone Star) is also involved.

Thanks to Martin, Dustin, CMarze and Victor

JUSTICE LEAGUE

Press materials for the Justice League show reveal as many as 20 villains that will appear in the ongoing Cartoon Network series. Mark Hamill will reprise his insanely-inspired turn as The Joker. Likewise Clancy Brown will return to the part of Lex Luthor.

advertising

Hamill will also give voice to Solomon Grundy who's described as "Another member of Luthor's gang. He is a big, hulking zombie, with the muscle to crush any of our heroes."

Olivia D'abo (Hacks, Disney's The Legend of Tarzan) gives voice to the Green Lantern's femme fatale, Star Sapphire. "This sex super-villainess has class, style and a killer power gem that allows her to fly and shoot deadly blasts."

Sheryl Lee Ralph (The Wild Thornberrys) will voice Wonder Woman's nemesis Cheetah.

Eric Roberts (Spawn: Animated Series) will be showing up as Mongul, the ruler of War World. Powers Booth (Men of Honor) gives voice to Gorilla Grodd. Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) is Felix Faust.

advertising

It's not all about guest villains though. Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan) will be popping up as one of the League's more bizarre members: Metamorpho!

Other villains are listed without their voice talent. Here's a few you might not have heard about yet:

Vandal Savage - Virtually immortal, Vandal Savage is a powerful and mysterious figure. He has secretly influenced history since the dawn of t time. Adopting a new identity every hundred years, Savage has conquered countless civilizations. He was Ghengis Khan. He was Vlad the Impaler. He was Stalin. Knowing that every dictator will eventually fall, Vandal Savage periodically fakes his own death, then assumes a new identity, renewing his endless quest for power.

Dr. Destiny - Using a device called the materioptikon, this skull-faced villain can bring nightmares to life.

Draaga - Superman defeated Draaga, a disgraced intergalactic gladiator, in the arena but refused to kill him, depriving Draaga of an honorable death. Now, Draaga must live with this disgrace, and his honor cannot be restored until he kills Superman or dies trying. As a symbol of his shame, he wears Superman's shield on his chest.

The Key - Through the use of psycho-chemicals and a fantastic keyboard controller, The Key can control the minds of others.

Cartoon Network has released its schedule through the end of December. Here's the breakdown for finding Justice League on the cable channel:

Plus here's a selection of images from the show pilot.

CRAZY JANE

Comics2Film recently spoke producer Aaron Meyerson about progress on the proposed Crazy Jane movie. Meyerson optioned the character from DC/Vertigo in 1999.

Meyerson tells us that he is still developing the project but is now targeting it as a TV movie. The project is set up with Warner Bros. TV. The movie could potentially serve as a backdoor pilot for a series. The project is still in the early stages and currently does not have a home at any network.

Crazy Jane is taken from the pages of Grant Morrison's run on Doom Patrol. The character suffers from multiple personality disorder, with each personality coming complete with a unique super-power.

CONSTANTINE

Nicolas Cage has signed on to play the title role in the upcoming Constantine according to last Thursday's Hollywood Reporter. The movie is an adaptation of the DC/Vertigo title John Constantine: Hellblazer.

The movie is set to lens on March 1, 2002 with Tarsem (The Cell) behind the camera. The screenplay has been written by Frank Cappello who heralded the actor's involvement with postings on the DC Comics message boards four weeks ago. Cappello has also reported to fans that the lead role will be played as an American, rather than in keeping with the British comic book character.

The movie is to be produced by the Donners Co. (X-Men). Michael Aguilar will produce for Donners. Akiva Goldsman (Lost in Space) is also a producer the project. Michael Uslan and Benjamin Melniker (both of Batman fame) will serve as executive producers. Warners senior vice president of production Bob Brassel is overseeing the project.

As has been well documented by Comics2Film, Nicolas Cage has long sought a role in a comic book movie adaptation. He had signed to headline Superman many years ago before that movie ran aground. He's also had flirtations with Ghost Rider, Hard Boiled and Spider-Man (as the villain) as well as having been rumored to be interested in several others. Constantine could be the actor's ticket to comic book stardom!

GHOST RIDER

Comics2Film contacted with filmmaker David Goyer to check on the progress of the Ghost Rider movie. Not surprisingly, the recent casting of Nicolas Cage in Constantine effectively severs his attachment to the Marvel movie.

"I think that Cage is definitely out of Ghost Rider," Goyer told us. The filmmaker expressed his frustration over what once appeared to be a promising project. "The whole thing has been a huge disappointment. We were ready to go and then a slew of stupid complications ground things to a halt."

Ghost Rider had been speeding through the development process. The project was announced in May of 2000 with Goyer writing and producing. In August of that year director Stephen Norrington (Blade) signed on to helm the demon-biker pic. Later that year rumors began circulating that Cage was interested in the movie and in June of this year the actor officially became attached.

In spite of all these positive indicators things slowed down in August when Norrington announced that he was going to helm the action thriller Tick-Tock before doing Ghost Rider. This created a scheduling conflict with Cage, who has apparently moved on. Further complicating things, the September terror attacks have caused production on the bomb-themed Tick-Tock to be delayed until mid-2002.

Goyer is currently at work penning the screenplay for the adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Murder Mysteries, which he expects to finish by the end of the year. Goyer is set to direct that film. Goyer's directorial debut, ZigZag, is due in theaters next year.

THE TICK

In the latest issue of TV Guide The Tick co-star Liz Vassey talks about the burden of being a super-hero hottie in a tight costume. "I have to lift men's chins up so they look me in the eye," Vassey said to TV Guide. The problem lies with the star-shaped cleavage on her Captain Liberty costume. "I look like Super Whore."

The show is set to debut on November 8 at 8:30 pm on Fox TV. Fox has released a group of images from the November 15 episode as well. In that episode our four heroes try to cover up the untimely demise of the greatest superhero of them all: (no not The Tick) The Immortal.

EVIL ERNIE

[Evil Ernie]First they rendered Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neill's Marshal Law as 3D online toon. Now Cool Beans Productions has entered into an exclusive agreement to bring the popular Chaos! Comics character Evil Ernie to animated life.

Under the deal, Cool Beans Productions will produce an all-new computer animation featuring the twisted teen zombie, from a script by Brian Pulido, Ernie's proud co-creator. The CGI story will be made exclusively available via Cool Beans World, the interactive comics portal launched in May 2001. The deal will also see the 9 issue "Evil Ernie: Destroyer" story made available through Cool Beans World.

"Evil Ernie is the perfect addition to the Cool Beans family," said Dan Whitehead, Marketing Manager at Cool Beans. "Cool Beans World offers edgy, gritty comic action from the traditional strip work of Torturer, through to animated tales of terror such as Dark Frankenstein. We'll do everything we can to make Ernie feel at home." Cool Beans World is already home to the computer animated adventures of Pat Mills' Marshal Law and the demonic small town terror of Saintly.

The all-new animated Ernie episode will debut in early 2002. Work on the animation has already begun at Cool Beans' state-of-the-art UK studio, with the possibility of work continuing as an animated TV series or motion picture in 2003.

WATCHMEN

Screenwriter David Hayter has signed a seven figure deal with Universal pictures to adapt Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' acclaimed graphic novel The Watchmen. According to both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter Hayter will write the screenplay and could end up directing the pic as well.

"Alan Moore's Watchmen presents one of the most brilliantly plotted, exciting and original stories to ever grace the pages of a comic book, novel or any other genre," Hayter told The Hollywood Reporter. "It is my goal to realize that on film. My primary hope is to retain the relationships between what is being said and the images presented. In the graphic novel, everything you see and hear is interconnected on many, many different levels; I think this will translate very well to film. Like the book, people should be able to watch the film six or seven times and get something different from it each time."

Universal is negotiating with Larry Gordon who has long held the film rights for the comic. Gordon and producing partner Lloyd Levin apparently championed Hayter for the job. Gordon will serve as a producer on the film.

Hayter's name is well known to comic book movie fans as the sole credited writer on X-Men. He's also gone on to pen The Hulk, The Scorpion King and the Pitch Black sequel The Chronicles of Riddick.

"Just the way we tried to make the characters in X-Men real and show that their superpowers were a curse as much as a gift, The Watchmen has a very high and intense level of character development," Hayter said to Variety. "The series deconstructed the superhero mystique and took a literate look at the comic book genre. It goes way beyond the standard hero and villain stuff and has the makings of a richly developed mystery."

DAREDEVIL

Dark Horizons has gotten a hold of casting sheets for the Daredevil movie which reveal bits about a couple of characters from the movie.

The character description for Elektra reads: "[Elektra Natchios] Age Range 21-31. Elektra is the daughter of a Greek business tycoon. Exotic, intelligent, raised in private schools in a life of privilege. Very beautiful, athletic and trained in martial arts."

They've also got the sides for young Matt Murdock "[Young Matt] Age range 12-14. Brown hair and brown eyes. Matt Murdock as a young boy - smart, articulate, sensitive yet strong. Idolizes his father, who is a boxer. He is struck in the eyes and goes blind, only to find other senses have been heightened. Trains his body to gymnast levels."

Multiple sources on the Internet are reporting that cameras will roll on Daredevil in March of next year. According to the reports, filming will take place in Los Angeles, instead of Vancouver where the studio had secured a soundstage. Dark Horizons broke the story last week citing unnamed sources. IGN FilmForce quickly followed up with confirmations, also from an unnamed source.

Dark Horizons' initial report indicated that the move to L.A. was made to accommodate the movie's potential star Ben Affleck. This jibes with recent reports in the trades that Affleck is set to film Gigli in November, which was when Daredevil was initially scheduled to being production.

Marvel Studios declined to comment on the rescheduling.

The roles of Elektra and The Kingpin have not yet been filled, although rumor and speculation have begun on both fronts.

SPIDER-MAN

Spider-Man Hype reports that director Sam Raimi will make a cameo appearance in the upcoming Spider-Man feature.

X-MEN 2

IGN FilmForce has been rounding up info on the X-Men 2 movie. FilmForce quizzed producer Lauren Shuler Donner about the sequel. Shuler Donner told the online mag that the movie is now tentatively due to film in spring of next year. She also stated that work is continuing on the script.

FilmForce also looked into the conflicting stories about who might compose the score for the film, Michael Kamen who did the original, or John Ottman who is a longtime collaborator of director Bryan Singer's. The site excerpted an upcoming interview with Kamen to get to the bottom of things.

Kamen reports that, while he is on good terms with Singer, they haven't been in regular contact since work wrapped on X-Men. Kamen has talked to Singer on one occasion and, at that time, the composer expressed interest in scoring the sequel. However, that's as far as he's gotten with it. "I think and I hope that I'll be considered to do the movie," Kamen said. "I know that John Ottman may be a preference for him which I can understand, because he had an earlier relationship with him but if John doesn't want to do it, I'll be there."

IRON FIST

Corona Coming Attractions ran a recent Iron Fist report from an alleged insider who revealed certain elements about the story's direction. The information is consistent with what was revealed in Comics2Film's interview with screenwriter John Turman earlier this year.

According to the anonymous scooper Misty Knight is in the movie as Danny Rand's girlfriend and sidekick. There is an action sequence in which the pair battle armed, ninja-like assassins "through a maze of moving trains."

The scooper also reveals that Ward Meachum will be the film's villain (as he was in the comics). The character is depicted as being crippled and having "automated, metallic limbs." This sounds to us like a good setup for the bionic arm that Knight had in the comics.

Iron Fist will not wear the comic book costume (as has been reported). The iron fist will be used sparingly but to spectacular effect when employed.

Depictions of the mystical city of K'un L'un are apparently being scaled back due to cost considerations.

SMALLVILLE

Smallville continues to pull good numbers for the WB network in its Tuesday evening timeslot. Variety reports that the Superman based show retained 90% of its audience with its second airing. Last week's episode with the top show in its hour among men 18-34 (4.3/12) and placed second with women 18-34 (3.9/10). The premiere showing set record numbers for the frog network. Over the two-week run the show is averaging 7.8 million viewers.

This is all good news for fans. The strong numbers have prompted WB to order a complete season for the show. The order for the final nine episodes will ensure that 22 segments will be produced for this season.

FROM HELL

From Hell moved from its #1 debut spot to #3 on the box office charts this week. The comic book adaptation was knocked down by two highly-anticipated openers. The #1 spot was taken by the Kevin Spacey/Jeff Bridges flick K-Pax which took in $17.5 million. #2 went to Warner Bros. spook-fest Thirteen Ghosts which pulled down $15.7 million.

From Hell took in $6.1 million in its second week, once again beating out Riding in Cars With Boys which was #4 and Training Day at #5.

MUTANT X

The syndicated Marvel/Tribune action hour Mutant X debuted to a 3.3 national household rating making it the number two syndicated, hour-long weekly for the week ended October 14 according to Variety. The number one spot was held by the long-running Entertainment Tonight Weekend. To add one more qualifier, this makes Mutant X the top syndicated, hour-long, weekly, action-oriented show.

G-MEN FROM HELL

Producer Rick Albert told Comics2Film that he is still working to secure a domestic distributor for the feature version of Mike Allred's G-Men From Hell.

The film was released theatrically in Germany late last year. It's also been on the shelves in European video stores since the first quarter of 2001.

G-Men From Hell was directed by Christopher Coppola from a screenplay by Robert Cooper, Nicholas Johnson and Albert. The movie stars William Forsythe (UC: Undercover), Tate Donovan (Hercules) and Gary Busey (Slap Shot II).

The film garnered praise at this year's Cinequest film festival, including a positive write-up in Variety. The show was also well-received at its preview screening at 2000's Comic-Con International in San Diego.

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES DVD

Warner Bros. has recently made rumblings about releasing the much-adored Batman: The Animated Series on DVD. Fans are concerned that the studio may plan on distributing the show in the form of "best of" samplers rather than the completist-friendly format of releasing entire seasons in boxed sets (as has been done recently with The Simpsons and many other shows).

Fans in favor of a complete season boxed sets have started an online petition at http://www.Petiti onOnline.com/BmanBox/petition.html. They are hoping that, if enough signatures are gathered, Warner will respond with the product that fans demand.

CORRECTION

Last week we incorrectly stated that the Comics Continuum reported that Michael Kamen would be scoring the X-Men 2 movie. The Continuum actually reported that E! News Daily made the initial report about Kamen. The Continuum later followed up with word from producer Ralph Winter that no one has been hired to do the music chores for that film.

advertising
Endgame: The Key to Tony Stark's Rescue May Be This Marvel Hero
advertising

More in CBR Exclusives