www.cbr.com

DAREDEVIL

[Daredevil]Last Wednesday's Variety reported that actor Vin Diesel has turned down the title role in the soon to film Daredevil movie. The ever more sought-after Diesel has opted instead to star in The Chronicles of Riddick, a sequel to his surprise hit Pitch Black.

So who's next in line to play Matt Murdock? Sources in-the-know told Comics2Film that Ben Affleck (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) is eager to don the crown of horns. 

It's well-known that Affleck's buddy Matt Damon is a fan of the character. Apparently Affleck is too. The actor wrote the forward to the Daredevil: Visionaries TPB which collects the issues of the comics written by his filmmaking buddy Kevin Smith.

No deal is on the table yet but word is that the producers of Daredevil like Affleck. Furthermore, they're hot to get a lead signed for what is meant to be a November shoot.

The Cinema Confidential website has independent corroboration of the news. Representatives for that site were on hand while filmmaker (and Affleck bud) Kevin Smith lectured at Cornell University. Smith told atendees that Affleck may star in his next movie, depending on whether or not the actor decides to do Daredevil.

Cinema Confidential claims to be the first to report that Smith's next is called Jersey Girl.

STARK RAVEN

Real Video

The cult comics character Stark Raven is making the leap from the printed page to the small screen. Ken Smith, the comic's creator and President/C.E.O. of its publisher Endless Horizons Entertainment, told Comics2Film that a series of animated shows based on Stark Raven is currently in the production.

Endless Horizons is producing the show with Sun Min Animation Production. Sun Min has previously produced such animated TV shows as Robocop, 101 Dalmatians, The Maxx and Gargoyles. Stark Raven marks the first time that the animation house is also an investment partner in the property they are developing.

Smith feels that Sun Min has much to contribute "from a quality standpoint, not just in what they're capable of doing but the fact that they're partners with us, will enable this to be one of the higher-quality animation TV shows out there."

Smith expects some of the 13 episodes to be completed by the end of the year. "We're still on track with the three episodes," Smith said. The remaining episodes are targeted to be completed early next year. Current plans are to release the animated show some time in 2002. The producers are currently exploring distribution options both domestically and overseas.

The Stark Raven website describes the concept as a "psychological thriller that allows action hero fans to enter a world where technology redefines the impossible and where deep mysteries are enshrouded within complex conspiracies. While the last threat to the evil N.E.S.T. regime was thought to be eliminated with the assumed death of a brilliant scientist, Stark Raven reemerges as the warrior of right."

The bi-monthly comic has cultivated a loyal following and decent numbers for an independently published comics. "We've been told that it's a cult hit," Smith said. "We'd like to get it up to a mainstream hit"

The animated show is part of an extensive campaign planned for Stark Raven. Already the subject of comics and action figures, future plans call for video games and possibly a live- action TV adaptation.

Thanks to Michael "Squedge" Mason for additional reporting.

CONSTANTINE

Things have been kind of quiet on the Constantine (a.k.a. Hellblazer) movie front. Leave it to screenwriter Frank Cappello to stir things up on the DC Comics message boards. Cappello, who made a number of revealing posts about the movie earlier in the year, returned recently to give fans an update.

Cappello praised Constantine's director, Tarsem (The Cell), who signed on to the project in January. " Now that I've worked with the man I can honestly say he has a lot more going for him then his incredible visual sense," Cappello said. " He understands the underlying struggles within this world and is an extremely intelligent and actually darkly humorous man. His push on the visual side will be nothing less then spectacular."

Tarsem is said to be equally pleased with Cappello's work on the screenplay.

Fans may recall that Warner Bros. mandated that the title character be changed from a Brit to an American. Cappello wrote his script as specified, but later lobbied to return the character to his English roots. The writer now tells fans that he's lost that battle and the big-screen John Constantine will remain American.

Cappello also reports that Nicolas Cage, who had flirted with the movie earlier, will likely be officially attached next week. Cage had originally opted to do Ghost Rider. However, that movie is in a holding pattern due to scheduling conflicts with director Stephen Norrington.

If Cage signs on then the film should enjoy a January production start.

WATCHMEN

Screenwriter David Hayter, apparently gearing up to be the next David Goyer, has attached himself to yet another comic book project. He wrote X-Men and a good draft of The Hulk (not to mention working on X-Men 2 more recently). Now, according to The Last Comics Site, Hayter is writing the script for Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons' Watchmen.

Hayter apparently sprung the news at last week's Vancouver International Film Festival. The announcement came as part of a discussion about how the September 11 terror attacks will affect the movies. As the storyline from the book deals with a catastrophic event in New York City, Hayter feared the project would be shelved. However, he told the audience that it is still in development.

The screenwriter also discussed his concerns about boiling the complex, 12-issue comic book series down to a two-hour movie. However, the producers are determined to go the theatrical route, so the story will have to be streamlined. One plot thread that Hayter has decided to eliminate is the "Tales of the Black Freighter," the pirate comic-within-the-comic which served as a thematic device.

WONDER WOMAN

Sources at Warner Bros. tell Comics2Film that a pre-production staff has been hired for the Wonder Woman movie. Among those hired is a Production Designer. C2F has been unable to determine who the designer is but we're told it's "somebody good."

THE INVISIBLES

[The Invisibles]A posting on Grant-morrison.com reveals that parties in Hollywood are showing interest Grant Morrison's creator-owned Vertigo title The Invisibles.

In his online column Morrison writes, "The Invisibles has been optioned for development as a Hollywood feature once again. The production team will be known to many of you from a slightly different context but I'm extremely excited about this and think all fans of the book will be too."

The concept had previously been in development as a TV series for the BBC. Morrison himself was doing the adaptation there, but the project eventually ran aground. Many also believe that The Invisibles heavily influenced The Matrix.

Morrison promises "more details as they happen."

Thanks to Dark Horizons for the lead.

BLADE 2

A crop of new stills from the upcoming Blade 2 have hit the web, courtesy of the French Premiere website.

Blade 2 is due in theaters next month. It has Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson reprising their roles from the original movie. The movie also stars Leonor Varela, Ron Perlman, Luke Goss and Donnie Yen. It's directed by Guillermo del Toro (Mimic) from a script by David Goyer (Blade).

BULLETPROOF MONK

A source close to the production Bulletproof Monk movie told Comics2Film that the script's logline is different from the comic-book plot that we described in our previous update. The official logline for the script reads:

"The story is about a special monk who's been chosen to safeguard the scrolls which hold the powers of the elements. There is an evil group (Nazis) after the powers. The monk has been traveling around the world keeping the scrolls safe and trying to find who will be the next guardian of the scrolls. The story takes place in NY, when the monk meets up with a young man, Kar, who seems to be qualify to be the next bearer. Meanwhile, the Nazis have caught up with the monk and action ensues...."

Our source also reveals that Atlas Entertainment is involved with production of the film. Atlas has produced such movies as Three Kings and Twelve Monkeys as well as the upcoming Scooby Doo and the in-development Rising Stars.

In other Monk news, Heath Ledger (A Knight's Tale) has dropped out of contention for film even before fans had been given a proper chance to complain about the casting. According to an article in Variety Ledger had been considering the starring role in the film but has opted to do Sin Eater instead.

MEN IN BLACK 2

In this week's Movie Scoop column on E! Online, Anderson Jones reveals that the most bizarre, alien creature in the upcoming Men In Black 2 movie may not be one of Rick Baker's makeup creations.

Apparently pop-star Michael Jackson was seen visiting the set of the sequel recently. Jones reports that Jackson may be contributing a song to the film's soundtrack. However, Jacko only agreed to do so on the condition that he be allowed to make an appearance in the movie.

Jackson was the punch line of a joke in one scene the original Men In Black. In that movie Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith observe a wall of monitors displaying known aliens living among us. Jackson's was one of the many faces appearing on the monitors.

According to Jones, Sony denies that the singer has a cameo in the film, but confirms that he may do a song for the soundtrack.

SPIDER-MAN

[New Spidey Web Site]The official Spider-man movie site is back up and running, and it's got an all-new cut of the teaser trailer.

The site went dark two days after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. Following the attacks Sony Pictures recalled all existing Spider-Man promotion materials that featured images of the World Trade Center.

Now the site is up and running again. It features new artwork (including a new image of the wall crawler). The studio has also posted a new edit of the official teaser trailer. The new cut removes the bank heist sequence which climaxed with a shot of a massive spider web strung between the twin towers.

Thanks to Kevin Leung for the heads-up.

Composer Danny Elfman is set to begin recording the score for the Spider-Man movie in January according to Spider-Man Hype. The word comes from an Elfman fan site called Music for a Darkened People.

SMALLVILLE

Comics2Film received a few e-mails from Canadian TV viewers in response to last week's Smallville article. Apparently the release schedule for the show in that country is looking quite a bit better than what we had reported.

Cory tells us that the A-Channel is available in Mantioba, as well Alberta. He also says that the A-Channel has the show's premiere date scheduled before the U.S. premiere on the WB network.

Another reader, Keith, confirms the above. He also adds the following, "GlobalTV is not 'the national broadcaster' in Canada, it is one of several broadcasters and only the 3rd largest. Several local channels will be carrying Smallville, on schedule. Furthermore, most cable markets in Canada now include WB anyway so it really isn't an issue."

So, it appears our neighbors to the North will be seeing Smallville at the same time as U.S. viewers, if not sooner.

In other news, when the producers of Smallville shot the original pilot for the show, they had cast Cynthia Ettinger in the role of Martha Kent. Subsequently, Ettinger was replaced by former Lana Lang, Annette O'Toole (The Huntress).

Now, Steve Younis of the Superman Homepage has learned the reasons behind the replacement. Going straight to the source, Younis spoke with Ettinger about the switch.

"They told me I was too young and pretty... which you would never guess from seeing how awful I looked in the pilot," joked Ettinger. The producer apparently felt that viewers would believe she could have a child the age of Tom Welling's Clark Kent.

Nevertheless, Ettinger is not bitter about the move. "I was disappointed that I was replaced," the actress told Younis. "However I think Annette O'Toole is a great actress and I think she will be perfect."

MUTANT X

An unnamed spy has e-mailed in a link which reveals a loophole in the GenomeX website security. Following the link to http://www.genomex.net/intranet gives fans access to the evil corporation's internal e-mails. The e-mails paint a pretty clear picture about what's going on inside the mind of the evil Security Head, Mason Eckhart.

To hack in, you'll need the following:

username: pseurver-admin

password: genomex

GenomeX is, of course, the villainous organization that will appear in the Mutant X TV show. The above link is just part of the online fun, including faux websites, created by the show's producers. Check out the MutantX.net website for more links like that one.

Mutant X debuts in syndication this week.

CAPTAIN RIBMAN

Captain RibMan, one of the Internet's longest-running, online comic strips, may be headed for the small screen treatment. According to a recent article in The Hollywood Reporter a TV pilot script for the concept has been completed. No additional details are provided.

ALIEN LEGION

In a message to fans sent via the Yahoo! Alien Legion Group, Alien Legion creator Carl Potts said that movie version of his comic is progressing slowly. "The movie project is in slow motion at the moment," Potts said. "I hope that will change soon."

The feature film is in development with producer Don Murphy (From Hell) and screenwriter J.D. Zeik (Witchblade).

HULK

According to The Comics Continuum, producers of the Hulk movie are scouting locations for that movie.

"We're looking at desert landscape, but that's only a small portion of the film," Marvel's Kevin Feige told The Continuum. "We're doing location scouting all over the country."

Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) is set to diresct the movie. Lee's producing partner James Schamus is also said to be working on a new draft of the script.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE

Fans on the internet have regularly offered up Christian Bale (American Psycho) as a candidate to play Batman on the big screen.

With development on Batman: Year One proceeding under the guidance of director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream), Moviehole.net has gone to the actor to see what he thinks about the prospect.

Bale reportedly told the site that he is "very interested in working with Aronofsky."

Pokemon Sword & Shield: Farfetch'd's Evolution Was Well Worth the Wait

More in CBR Exclusives