It's hard to write a column like Comics2Film in light of the events of Tuesday morning. In the shadow of that surreal and sickening tragedy, the world of comic-based movies seems most trivial indeed. My thoughts are most definitely with this tragedy's victims and their families. It's hard to imagine anyone going untouched by this, but especially fans and professionals working in the comics and TV industries that have long had roots in the Big Apple.
I hope today's column provides at least a temporary diversion from what's happened. Read it if you're up for it. Also, consider taking action by donating badly need blood. Find out how by calling 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.
HELLBOY, R.I.P.D., WATCHMEN, CONCRETE
Comics2Film spoke with producer Lloyd Levin (Tomb Raider, Mystery Men) about the various comic book movie projects in the works with Lawrence Gordon Productions.
Of course, the movie on the minds of many fans is Hellboy. C2F has heard that the project is picking steam and, of course, it's been widely reported that Vin Diesel is in talks to star. Levin confirmed that the project is looking good.
"Vin Diesel is definitely interested," Levin told us. He added, "Guillermo [del Toro] is still set to direct. We're all hoping we can work this out so it's his next film after Blade 2."
As we report in the Daredevil story below, Diesel is highly sought-after so it remains to be seen if Hellboy fits into the actor's plans. At this point there is no studio attached to the project, although Levin said there is currently a lot of interest.
R.I.P.D., on the other hand, is set up at Universal Studios. Levin tells us the project is looking great and they have a new draft coming from Peter Lenkov in the near future.
"I think he's doing a great job," Levin said of Lenkov's writing. "We're all hoping that the next draft is the draft where we can start talking about it as a movie."
Although Watchmen has been in development seemingly forever, Levin hinted that it may move forward at some point. "I can't say anything about that at the moment, but there is something happening with it. We're definitely not giving up on Watchmen."
Also in development is Paul Chadwick's Concrete. The producers currently have a draft written by filmmaker Peter Jackson before he started production on Lord of the Rings. Although the producers would be happy to have Jackson direct the movie too, he currently is not attached to the project.
McCANDLESS & COMPANYPage 29
J.C. Vaughn told Comics2Film that his upcoming graphic novel McCandless & Company: Dead Razor is already garnering interest from Hollywood. The comic features art by Matt Busch (Alizarin's Journal) and Shawn Sheehan.
Dead Razor introduces the characters of Carey McCandless and Jessica Williams, two private detectives whose first case turns into a $60 million mystery. Vaughn hopes to publish a series of self-contained adventures.
"This one involves the death of a rock and roll star called Nemo Razorblade, a big heavy metal guy. It's either a murder or suicide. There's a $60 million insurance policy on it," Vaughn told us. "The girls more or less use Carey's family connections to get onto the list that the insurance company would call from."
Rounding out the small McCandless & Company staff is David Bradshaw, an aspiring writer who works as their assistant, and who ends up telling their story.
Early buzz from comic book creators is that the art for the book looks great. "It's a style Matt hasn't worked in before," Vaughn said. "Real high-contrast, black and white, noir stuff "
Vaughn, a long-aspiring screenwriter, started to get nibbles on the concept on the strength of the photo cover done by Sheehan. The cover was used as an ad which was shown around Hollywood and almost instantly landed Vaughn an agent. Subsequently he's had meetings with various parties in the film industry about McCandless & Company and his earlier screenplays as well.
While Vaughn is encouraged by the interest, he also admits that he is not raising his expectations. "That's a great first date. You don't know if it's going anywhere," Vaughn told us.
Of course, we had to ask Vaughn if he had any casting hopes if a movie or TV show should develop. "I tell my friends the reason I have two female leads characters is so nobody could say Nicolas Cage was going to play one of them."
McCandless & Company: Dead Razor is in the current Previews catalog and November from Mandalay Books.
Last week Rupert Harvey's Electric Entertainment announced production on the movie version of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's acclaimed comic Preacher. The movie has long been a project of Harvey, who has sought to make the film without the involvement of a major U.S. studio.
According last week's announcement the picture is slated to go before the cameras in November with Rachel Talalay (Touching Evil, Tank Girl) directing from a screenplay by Ennis.
A Co-Production of Electric and H. Michael Heuser's Storm Entertainment, the picture is currently out to cast through casting director Pam Dixon Mickelson (The Mask of Zorro, Vertical Limit). To be produced by Harvey (Bones, Plunkett & Macleane), the picture is one of the first 18 films on the release slate of the new U.S. marketing and distribution company, the Premiere Group. Budgeted at $22m, worldwide sales are being handled by Storm. Executive Producers are Heuser, Tom Astor (Tank Girl, Gorillaz), and Steve Robbins, Jim Reeve & Martin Auty of UK's Visionview Ltd.
The story is described as "both a moral fable for our time, and a love letter to the values of the old west, the movie tells the tale of a man in search of God - but definitely NOT for religious or spiritual enlightenment. Told in a highly contemporary vernacular and set in west Texas, depicting images and inhabitants of heaven, hell, and the space in between (with an Irish vampire and John Wayne's ghost thrown in for good measure), the comic book series by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon, has long been an international underground phenomenon."
With fans still wondering if he's going to play Hellboy the Hollywood Reporter reports that rising star Vin Diesel has been offered the part of Daredevil in the upcoming movie. The trade confirms that Regency Enterprises and director Mark Steven Johnson have extended an offer to Diesel for the lead role in the film.
However, Diesel is already fielding several offers from various suitors. Furthermore, he recently signed to do the spy thriller XXX for a reported $10 million. This may leave little time for Daredevil which is currently scheduled to start filming in November.
Diesel's next movie is New Line Cinema's Diablo. Hmmm...Diablo, Hellboy, Daredevil...is there a pattern forming?
Meanwhile, Smilin' Jack Ruby recently posted a review of the Daredevil screenplay on 13thStreet.com. The script, by director Mark Steven Johnson (Grumpy Old Men) with rewrites by Brian Helgeland (A Knight's Tale).
Ruby sums up his review for us saying, "It confirms a lot of rumors about Elektra, Kingpin, and Bullseye being involved, but goes against some of the original mythology (especially the origin). I keep the review pretty spoiler-free however."
For insights into the direction of the soon-to-film movie check out the complete review.
Is Joss Whedon going to step up to scripting chores on the planned Iron Man movie? Could be, according to an interview with the writer/director/producer that appeared recently on The Onion A.V. Club Web site.
While talking about his nightmarish experiences with the Alien: Resurrection movie, Whedon made the following remarks: "I think I'd like to do something that isn't just somebody else's," Whedon said to The Onion. "Having said that, I'm now considering doing the Iron Man movie. But that's just because it's got that cool shiny suit."
Comics2Film has been unable to determine if Whedon has signed on to the film at this point.
Thanks to Gilgamesh for the scoop.
DYLAN DOG (DEAD OF NIGHT)
Comics2Film has learned that Dimension Films has placed the comic book adaptation Dead of Night in turnaround. The movie is to be a an adaptation of the hit Italian comic Dylan Dog.
Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, a producer on the film tells us that Platinum Studios is looking to redevelop the movie in house before taking it out to other studios. "This is one we're focusing on starting in the next couple weeks," Rosenberg told us.
The latest edition of the Fantagraphics e-mailer calls Ghost World a phenomenon due to the success of the movie. Playing in limited release on 81 screens in the U.S., the film has grossed $3,233,127 domestically and pulled in an impressive $7,054 per screen over labor day weekend.
The film expanded to 8 new markets this past weekend.
Fantagraphics reports it is having a hard time filling demand for the graphic novel, which is now their best selling book ever.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Mark Snow is providing the music for the upcoming Smallville TV show. Snow may be best known for his work on the X-Files TV show.
"I'm expecting to do a mix of orchestral and modern-contemporary rhythms. There's going to be acoustic guitar and simple piano, an Americana folk element -- that intimate sound contrasting with the big sound when necessary. Plus, there are going to be a lot of songs geared to the WB's young audience. I don't think it's going to be eclectic; I think it's going to be more like Blink-182 and other contemporary bands. There are music supervisors who are in charge of selecting that music," Snow told The Reporter.
In other Smallville news, the WB network has given the show's Web site a makeover, and moved it. The redone site is much more extensive than what the network has posted previously. However, WB still seems to prefer an unwieldy URL to the SmallvilleTV.com domain they registered earlier in the year.
Finally, The WB is offering fans a chance to attend a premiere screening of the show in October. Fill out the contest entry form at the WB Web site. The network will fly a winner and a guest to Los Angeles for the October 16th screening and a party with the stars of the show.
Thanks to KryptonSite for the leads.
Variety reported an update in the ongoing struggle between 20th Century Fox, Tribune Entertainment and Marvel Entertainment over the Mutant X TV show. Judges Jon O. Newman, Guido Calabresi and Robert D. Sack of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York denied Fox's request to bar the producers of the show from using the Mutant X title until the court hears an appeal on the studio's previously denied injunction.
The court did grant the studio an expedited appeal and ordered the parties to file briefs later this month.
Fox has taken issue with the show, which they feel is positioned as a spin-off of the X-Men movie franchise. Tribune has carefully maintained that the show is unrelated to X-Men despite a number of similarities between the two concepts.
Last month New York District Court Judge Allen Schwartz ruled on the studio's lawsuit against the show's producers. The ruling did not prevent Tribune and Marvel from going forward with the show or using the title, but it did open the door for Fox to pursue further action.
The show is set to debut in syndication next month.
According to The Comics Continuum, Cedric Smith is set to make a guest appearance in the first episode. Smith may be well know to mutant fans of the X persuasion as he provided the voice for Professor X on the long running X-Men animated show. Other than that, Mutant X has no relation to X-Men.
JOSEPH HARRIS HORROR PIC
Variety reports that Distant Corners Entertainment Group's first feature film will be the horror movie Don't Peek based on Comic scribe Joseph Harris' screenplay The Tooth Fairy.
Harris has written several comics for Marvel including Slingers, Bishop and the upcoming The Last Wolverine Story. The comic writer and filmmaker developed The Tooth Fairy as a short film that was due to be released this year.
The feature film will be directed by first-timer Jonathan Liebesman and has a budget of $6 million-$8 million. Cameras are set to roll in Australia this November. Chaney Clay will play the male lead opposite Emma Caulfield (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
Variety provides this description for the concept: "the story centers on a young man considered crazy by everyone in town, except for his childhood girlfriend (Caulfield) and her little brother. The young man is the only thing that stands between a legendary evil and the boy."
Visit josephharris.com for more details.
Variety confirms that James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment has signed a deal to develop a live-action feature of Top Cow's Fathom. Cameron will produce with partner Jon Landau and Lightstorm president Rae Sanchini. For Top Cow, Marc Silvestri, Spike Seldin and Fathom creator Michael Turner will serve as executive producers. The movie will developed with 20th Century Fox.
Fox had originally slated Fathom to be an animated feature, but subsequently shut down their animation arm. Fox production vice president Emma Watts and production president Hutch parker revived the project.
Variety reports that Sony has filed an appeal to the recently proposed fines for the alleged safety violations surrounding the on-set death of Welder Tim Holcombe. California's division of Occupational Safety & Health had proposed $59,000 in penalties citing nine violations against Sony.
Holcombe died during set construction on Spider-Man when a boom extension toppled onto and aerial basket he was working from. The worker safety organization cited two major violations, each resulting in $25,000 worth of fines. These included alleged use of a shop-made extension to a forklift, which caused the forklift's load capacity to be exceeded and the forklift to become unstable, and allegedly making the modification to the forklift without prior written approval from the manufacturer.
Sony did not comment on the decision to appeal.
In a related story, Hollywood.com asked its readers to select the best movie trailer for the month of August. The Spider-Man teaser trounced the competition, pulling down a whopping 36.3% of the votes.
Hollywood.com calls the Spidey trailer, "A mini-movie in its own right, the trailer magically manufactures a complete story in about 120 seconds."
The remaining votes are distributed over 9 other trailers, with the next closest competitor being American Pie 2, which got a measly 14.7% of the votes.
In Spidey Web site news, Sony has now opened up the online Spider-Man movie store. Although the release of the film is still eight months away, it's not too early to start buying shirts and baseball caps.
For a new Spidey freebie stop by the official site. The latest free download there is Harry Osborn wallpaper for your computer (featuring actor James Franco).
Amanda Conner told the Comics Continuum that the Gatecrasher animated show will be a bit edgier now that it is slated for MTV instead of Fox Kids. Conner is a co-creator of the comic and is art director on the show.
"They want it to be closer to the comic book, where Fox was like, 'We'll have to tone it down for the kids,'" Conner told The Continuum. "MTV wants it to be edgier and a little bit more irreverent and make the kids go, 'Yeah!' and the parents go, 'Oh, my God!' So, that's what they're going for."
In an interview with Prevue Magazine filmmaker and comic creator J. Michael Straczynski gave a brief status report on the Rising Stars movie.
"MGM purchased the rights to it last year and I'm in draft four of the screenplay. They seem to want to fast track it into production," Straczynski said. "I think there is a good chance it will get made."
In the complete interview the creator talks about Babylon 5 and various other projects he's involved with.
KING CONAN: CROWN OF IRON
Dark Horizons reports that there is trouble brewing in the development camp for the King Conan: Crown of Iron movie. Their report comes from an anonymous source who the Web site deems to be reliable.
According to the source, writer/director John Milius (Conan The Barbarian) is having creative differences with creative partners Larry and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix). The scooper claims that reaction to Milius' script is that it is "exceptional." However, the Wachowskis are allegedly asking for the tone of the script to be "watered down."
The dispute has supposedly brought the development effort to a standstill.
Lois Lane knows it. Mary Jane does too. Now playmate Neriah Davis (E! Wild On) learns that superhero romance is not easy in Captain Ribman's hit music video "The Date".