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WONDER WOMAN

The word on the street in Hollywood is that the script for the Wonder Woman feature film is making the rounds and gathering favorable praise. Todd Alcott (13 Ghosts) penned the script which reportedly strives for a dramatic tone.

One source told Comics2Film the movie reads like the first Superman or the first Batman movie. He said it most definitely does not have the goofy, girl-power vibe that last year's Charlie's Angels had.

The script does not have a comic book villain for the Amazon princess to square off with, but still contains a lot of high-octane action. Sources were vague as to what costume or uniform Wonder Woman might wear, stating that the script allows for one but it's a creative decision a director would make.

According to sources Warner Bros. is very pleased with the current draft and there may be some movement on the project soon. However, at this point there are no firm casting or directing attachments.

MARVELS

After several months of delays the long-awaited Earth X special edition hardcover book is finally in comic stores. The book, published by Marvel Comics and Graphitti Designs, collects the Earth X comic series, including additional materials, and comes with a 3D plastic shell depicting X-51, Machine Man.

Most fun for comic book movie fans is the 2 CD soundtrack with music by composer Scott Vladimir Licinia (Night of the Living Dead 30th Anniversary Soundtrack) and a a short video made up of live-action sequences directed by painter and series creator Alex Ross and CGI sequences by animator David Riske.

Hot on the heels of that release, Alex Ross Art and Screem Jams Productions have announced that it will premiere an animated film version of Marvels at the upcoming Wizard World convention in Chicago. The film, based on the groundbreaking mini-series written by Kurt Busiek and fully painted by Ross, is directed and animated by Riske. Like Earth X, Marvels features a soundtrack by Licina.

The Wizard World convention runs August 17th - 19th at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. The Marvels film will be running all weekend at the Alex Ross Art booth.

DAREDEVIL

Late last week WizardWorld.com reported that the Daredevil movie has been greenlit and is set to roll cameras in Canada in November. The word came from director Mark Steven Johnson, who was due to head for Montreal to scout locations.

However, Johnson cautioned, "you're never really on until you're yelling, 'Action!'"

The statement may have been somewhat prophetic. WizardWorld's article was followed by Friday's announcement from ACTRA, the Canadian actors' union. Apparently if there's one thing the man without fear sweats, it's an actors' strike.

According to the ACTRA website, the organization has confirmed rumors that 20th Century Fox is pulling Daredevil out of Montreal for fear of a strike by 18,000 ACTRA members.

"ACTRA is shocked by the studio's lack of respect for the upcoming negotiation process and can only view this decision as a move by the US major studios to set their own strike deadline months before contract negotiations even begin. This action places in question the US studios desire to negotiate a fair and equitable agreement with ACTRA and is designed to take away performers' power at the bargaining table," stated Stephen Waddell, National Executive Director, ACTRA.

Monday's Variety followed up with a report that the actors' union has offered a no-strike waiver to keep the production in the country.

The Canadian actors' contract is set to expired at the end of this year, and could cause a January walkout -- just as cameras are set to roll on the Marvel movie.

Normally side deals on individual productions are not allowed under the current Canadian contract. However, since the studios involved are U.S. based, they do not fall under the same regulations. While the concession to Fox would allow the studio to commit to keeping Daredevil in Montreal, some union factions see the waiver as detrimental to the union's bargaining power.

"This is just an effort to undermine our side of collective bargaining," Elizabeth McDonald, president of the Canadian Film and Television Production Assn. "That means, 'Oh, we can take these people and negotiate with them, and we'll leave the Canadian producers here, and who cares.' It's not collective bargaining."

Waddell said the waiver would allow production to roll on schedule, although it would call for the studio to retroactively adhere to the new contract once it's been negotiated. "We're looking to find a way that we can accommodate the needs of this individual production without compromising our overall collective-bargaining negotiations," said Waddell.

As of Monday afternoon, there had still been no agreement between ACTRA and the producers of Daredevil.

BIG DADDY DANGER

Walt Disney has picked up the the movie rights to Adam Pollina's upcoming DC Comics publication Big Daddy Danger according to the Hollywood Reporter. The deal is worth mid-six-figures to Pollina who created and writes the comic. Pollina will be writing a treatment for the film, although scripting chores will likely go to a high-profile writer.

The Reporter described Big Daddy Danger as Spy Kids meets True Lies. The concept focuses on a nerdy kid whose father is a wrestler by day and a secret agent by night. The kid's uncle is the lead villain. The comic is due out in the fall.

Pollina has previously sold his adventure concept Shaolin to Disney. Also Hellhole a comic he co-created with Scott Lobdell, is in the works Dimension Films.

Disney President of production Nina Jacobson brought the concept in. Disney Executive Vice President of Production Mark Vahradian and Creative Executive Louanne Brickhouse will oversee the project for the studio.

JLA

Wonder Woman

Sources at the Fanboy Planet website told Comics2Film that fans can look for Aquaman to undergo an interesting transformation during the Justice League TV show. According to their inside sources, fans will see the king of Atlantis go from his old appearance to the new one during the two-part episodes that feature the character.

Meanwhile, fans who tuned in to the Cartoon Network this weekend caught a sneak peek of the Justice League animated TV show. One such fan is Ray S. Here are Ray's impressions of the short promo clips for the much-anticipated series.

"Three previews for Justice League aired between 7pm-8:30pm on Friday (8/10) during Cartoon Network's movie debut of Samurai Jack.

"The first is a slow zoom of planet Earth while semi-frantic international newscasts are heard, then the phrase 'They're Listening' appears.

"The second one is a closer shot of Earth where you can hear 'Metropolis' before a partial dissolve to Wonder Woman, Superman & Batman, probably from the line-up that appeared in TV Guide some months ago, which is then replaced by 'They're Watching.' (Turn up the volume to hear 'roads clear for emergency personnel') Both end with a Justice League logo and 'November.'

"The third one, which I think aired circa 8:25pm, looks like the fight with alien ships that was described as shown at the Comic-Con panel w/Bruce Timm. (No Flash.) The name & premiere date are shown."

Thanks to Ray S. for performing monitor duty in the watchtower.

ECTO-KID

[Ectokid]Variety reports that Clive Barker's short-lived comic Ecto-Kid has been optioned for development in film and TV by Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures. The seven figure deal has Barker producing the feature film along with comic fan Don Murphy (From Hell).

Variety provides this description of the concept: "The comic book follows the exploits of Dex Mungo, the love child of a psychic woman and the ghost of a murdered man. Dex has the ability to see the living with one eye and the spectral realm of the dead -- who 'exist' among us -- with his other eye."

"I hope to create a franchisable world for Nickelodeon," Barker told Variety, "but also one of great, transcendent beauty; one that reconfigures people's expectations of what ghosts are, of what comes after death."

MUTANT X

In April of this year 20th Century Fox and Marvel Enterprises, Inc. filed suits against one another over the syndicated TV program Mutant X. Fox asserted that the show infringed on its right to make X-Men features and violated their contract which forbade Marvel from developing X-Men related live-action TV shows without consent from Fox.

Marvel countered by stating the Mutant X is not an X-Men spin-off.

Subsequent to the filings, fans have seen a disclaimer appear on the Mutant X website stating in no uncertain terms that Mutant X is not related to X-Men. More recently, the art design for the show underwent a face-lift. This month the site rolled out the new look, logo and color-scheme, which further differentiated it from the feature film.

Yesterday New York District Court Judge Allen Schwartz handed in a ruling on the suits. The ruling was followed by a press release from Fox, claiming victory in the mutant battle. According to Fox's release, "the court issued an injunction against Marvel, Tribune and Fireworks, preventing them from violating Fox's rights in its X-Men movie."

The release also states that the court has held that Fox can recover monetary damages for Marvel and Tribune Entertainment's use of Mutant X as the title of their television series, in violation of Fox's contract with Marvel, and that a permanent injunction on the title of the series may later issue.

The release references the logo change as a direct result of the lawsuit and claims that the court has ordered further changes. Furthermore, Fox can now take their case against Marvel and Tribune to full trial.

All of this sounds like a resounding victory for Fox. However, an article in today's Variety states that Marvel and Tribune are also claiming victory.

Tribune Entertainment president-CEO Dick Askin told Variety that the judge, "overwhelmingly ruled in our favor...(and dismissed) all of the significant claims against Tribune."

For one thing, the court order does not prevent Tribune from launching the show. Mutant X will go into syndication on October 1 as planned.

Also, the order does not forbid the use of the title. So, there's nothing stopping Marvel and Tribune with proceeding with the launch without making any further alterations to the show's title, look or format.

However, with the option of a full trial open to Fox, the show's producers may be considering taking steps to avoid further problems. Ted Russell, Fox's VP of litigation cautioned, "If Tribune and Marvel decide to use the title Mutant X, they do so at their own peril."

SMALLVILLE

Craig Byrne's top-notch KryptonSite.com continues to provide great coverage for the upcoming Superman-based TV series.

Krypton Site tells fans to watch for the series to premiere on the WB Network on October 16th this year.

Episode two of the show is called "Metamorphosis." It's written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and directed by David Nutter. The site offers an expanded description of the episode for those that don't mind spoilers.

Finally, Krypton Site directs fans to the WB's official Smallville Site for some new, online clips from the show.

WITCHBLADE

The final episode of the Witchblade limited series is called "Transcendence" and airs on Tuesday, August 21st. Here's a description of the show provided by TNT:

Sara's unlikely protector surfaces with a life-threatening passion to watch over her that leads to irrevocable consequences. Sara has no choice but to accept the destiny that comes with wielding the gauntlet and use it to regain what she has lost. But every gain has its price. True to the words of the Witchblade's past wielders, "Nothing is as it seems." A startling discover about Dante and his team of corrupt cops leads to to a suspenseful showdown between the rising warrior and a band of enemies that she must conquer before her father's killer is revealed.

As previously announced, the series end will be followed up by a marathon recap on Sunday, August 26. The marathon begins on TNT at 10am (ET) with last year's two-hour original movie. All 11 episodes of the mini follow after that.

BULLETPROOF MONK

UpcomingMovies reports that music video director Paul Hunter has signed on to helm the Bulletproof Monk movie. Hunter is the director of numerous music videos including the MTV VMA nominated "Lady Marmalade" by Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya and Lil' Kim., "Again" by Lenny Kravitz and "Love Don't Cost A Thing" by Jennifer Lopez.

The movie is based on the comic written by Gotham Chopra and Brett Lewis with art by Michael Avon Oeming and Jason Baumgartner. MGM purchased the movie rights to thecomic in May of last year. John Woo and Terence Chang are producing. Chow Yun-Fat (Anna and the King), a frequent leading man in Woo's Asian movies, is set to star.

UpcomingMovies gives no indication as to the source of the Paul Hunter announcement.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

Peter Laird continues to publish images from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles CGI-animated show on his Blast From The Past website. The Turtle creator posted what will be the last of the images from the pilot short. Here's the latest sampling:

DAN DARE

Andrew Paul directs fans to his Eagle Archives website for a sneak peek at the upcoming Dan Dare animated TV show. Paul recently posted an unofficial trailer for an episode of the show called "The Outpost," which was provided by the show's producer Bob Forward.

And new this week, the Eagle Archives site offer fans new insights into the fi series. The site has available for download the compete series bible, provided by none other than show-runner Bob Forward.

Additional images from the show can be found in the gallery of Forward's own website at BobForward.com.

SUPERTALK

Fans are talking about indie filmmaker Andy Lawler and his comic themed short Supertalk. The fanboy flick features the tough-love radio talk specialist Dr. Flora Habinger who handles phone calls from neurotic superheroes. While fans have previously only been able to view it on tape, the entire short is now available for download at the official Supertalk website. It's presented in seven segments. Each segment is available in both fast-downloading Windows Media Player format and high-quality QuickTime format.

ASTERIX

[Asterix]Producers of the new Asterix movie, Asterix And Obelix: Mission Cleopatra have opened an official website supporting the film. French-speaking fans can direct their browsers to MissionCleopatre.com. The site does not offer translations for an English-speaking audience.

The French-made Asterix And Obelix: Mission Cleopatra is the sequel to the successful Asterix and Obelix Vs. Caesar. Both movies star Christian Clavier (Just Visiting, Les Visiteurs) and Gerard Depardieu (Hamlet) as the title characters.

Miramax Films recent purchased the U.S. distribution rights to both movies. The studio plans to release the sequel to U.S. audiences before it screens the original.

Thanks to Michael Rhode of the Comics Research Bibliography.

SPIDER-MAN

Spidey senses

Activision announced yesterday that Treayarch, LLC is developing Spider-Man: The Movie Game for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, Xbox video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube. The title, which is inspired by the upcoming movie is expected to be available on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance in May 2002 to coincide with the release of the film.

Both Activision and Treyarch are working closely with Columbia Pictures and Spider-Man Merchandising L.P., a limited partnership between Marvel Enterprises, Inc. and Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc., during all stages of the game's development.

Activision has partnered with Treyarch on such past projects as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 for Xbox, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 and Spider-Man for Sega Dreamcast.

Six images from the game can be found at PS2.IGN.com.

In other Spidey news Beny, the greatest fan of Spider-Man in Mexico, writes in to let us know that the web slinger has begun his tour south of the border. The now-famous teaser trailer is playing in Mexican theaters with Final Fantasy. The CGI-animated film was released there last Friday.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE

Last week a person known only as Spooky Drelock circulated what was purported to be a script review of Frank Miller and Darren Aronofsky's screenplay for Batman: Year One. The ludicrous e-mail described a funky, that-70's-Batman with a jive-talking Joker, a black Alfred and a host of other images that would curdle fanboy blood.

Sadly, the "review" made its way onto the internet causing a stir among bat-fans. However, after a few brief phone calls, Comics2Film is happy to verify what many already suspected: the review (and the alleged script) is a hoax.

C2F checked with Frank Miller's agent who told us that there is no June 22 draft of the script. In fact, the writer hasn't completed a first draft yet. "He's just started writing the script," said Miller's rep. Miller has only recently wrapped work on his Dark Knight Strikes Back graphic novel.

MORE DEBUNKING

Casting rumors are half the fun of movie news, but oftentimes the facts don't support the sound bites. Comics2Film dug into a trio of recent rumors to see what's what.

Rumor #1: The UK press recently reported that former Batman George Clooney had been approached to play Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards in the planned Fantastic Four movie. Not so, says Kevin Feige. "[Director Peyton Reed] is working on firming up the story now," Feige told C2F. "We've not discussed casting."

Rumor #2: Internet outlets have reported that Daniel Day Lewis (The Gangs of New York) has expressed interest in the Sub-Mariner movie to Marvel Prexy Avi Arad. Feige sinks this rumor as well. "Not true," Feige said. "Interesting but not true." Of course it's still possible that Lewis and Arad talked informally, but so far it doesn't appear to be an more solid than that.

Rumor #3: The U.K. press reports that Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible 2) has signed to star in a movie called Preacher. Based on the brief description provided, this didn't sound a movie that is based on the comic book of the same name. Never the less, Comics2Film checked it out. Scott's agents in both Hollywood and London told C2F that their client had not signed to any such movie.

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