Comics2Film recently spoke with screenwriter John Rogers. Rogers is not only the writer of the movie version of Matt Wagner's Mage, but more recently he's been tapped to pen a new screenplay for the Catwoman movie. Ashley Judd is also attached to star in the film. We asked Rogers to talk about the Batman spin-off that's raising eyebrows among comic fans.
First off, Rogers confirmed that Selina Kyle will not be the character under the Catwoman mask. Instead it will be Patience Price, a character that's been developed in previous iterations of the screenplay.
"If you're starting a new franchise, the decision was to do a totally new character to make it stand on its own," Rogers said. "It's both a business decision and a creative decision that I can understand and agree with."
However, the new Catwoman will have some vague ties to the character who appeared in Batman Returns. The new Catwoman's origin story is similar to what happened to Michelle Pfeiffer's character in that movie. A woman is wrongfully killed and she comes back and gets to settle the score.
Rogers told us that the new movie will expand on the resurrection so it makes more sense to viewers. "We're going to set up a legacy in the first few minutes so that you understand how it works and the mythology behind it. In the first half-hour of the movie you will know not only how this happens with this girl, but how that worked back with Selina Kyle."
Rogers also points out that the movie isn't going to be one, long origin story. "This movie isn't about the mythology of Catwoman. It's about the adventures of this particular Catwoman, in this particular situation."
Patience Price will have to struggle with the duality of her reborn self. "The fun of the movie is watching this nice, pleasant person become this very sexy, viciously sarcastic, extremely talented criminal," Rogers told C2F. "As she evolves into Catwoman, one of the things she's dealing with is, 'this can't be good. I'm becoming a criminal.'"
The character is forced to use her Catwoman identity to solve the mystery of her own death, and to solve the greater mystery of what the villain of the piece is up to. "But she's also finding she's getting addicted to the buzz and to the thrill," Rogers said. The character will play more like an anti-hero. "It's not like, 'Oh, yay! Catwoman's here.' It's more like, 'well, this is going to be interesting and possibly destructive,' whenever she shows up. That ambiguity is some pretty decent character stuff to settle in on."
Rogers work is building on a previous script by Kate Kondell and Theresa Rebeck, a script which has been panned recently by the internet press. The screenwriter defends the previous script saying, "that draft has taken an awful lot of hitting and I just don't think it's fair. That was a direction that the studio and the producers wanted to explore and [Kondell and Rebeck] were the people on that particular turn around. They made some good choices on it. They've taken it in the neck from the fan sites and that's just wrong."
Rogers' take on the material is going to be darker and more action oriented than the previous draft. "There's a much heavier villain plot. It occurs in a large city. It's going to look much more like your classic superhero movie," he told us, adding that the filmmakers are looking to keep Catwoman's environs more realistic. "This is not going to look like Gotham with thousand foot statues you can ride your motorcycle on."
Like her comic book counterpart, Catwoman won't have super-powers, other than heightened senses. "It's a woman in a suit who, because of what has happened to her, is pushed to the limit of what she can possibly do."
Rogers tells us to expect big action sequences, much more detective work, banter and a story in the vein of the recent Entrapment. "Hopefully it'll be enough to satisfy the comic fans."
Comics2Film has learned screenwriters Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard will be commencing shortly on the second draft of their script for the big-screen adaptation of Powers. David Engle at Mace Neufeld Productions tells us that Columbia Pictures is still looking at Powers as a front-burner project with franchise potential.
Sources in the know say that Silver Pictures is in negotiations with a new writing team for the film adaptation of Tony Daniels' Adrenalynn. Word is that Jon and Erich Hoeber are in discussions to pen the script about a soviet secret weapon. Our source tells us that no deal is in place at this point, but things are looking favorably.
Christina Ricci (Bless the Child) has long been attached as a producer and potential lead for the movie. Joel Silver and Andrea Sperling, Ricci's partner in Blaspheme Films are also producing.
A little over a week ago, Comics2Film sat down with Bryan Singer and talked about the the X-Men sequel. One of the subjects we touched on was the collaboration (or non-collaboration) between two screenwriters, David Hayter (X-Men) and Zak Penn (Reign of Fire), who appeared to be working independently on two different scripts.
Singer informed us that they are actually working, in a strange way, on the same script. "They're working on a single treatment. It's really a collaborative effort on all three of our parts," Singer told us. " I outlined a storyline and they worked from that. It's on odd way of working but it's not two separate movies. It's one storyline."
However, at the same convention Penn told fans that he is working on a separate script from Hayter's. Prevue Magazine recently sat down with Penn to get to the bottom of what seemed to be contradictory statements.
Penn told Prevue that he is, in fact, developing a complete script that is separate from the script being written by Hayter. Singer intends to merge the two into a final screenplay.
"Normally I'd feel really hesitant to support having my work torn apart or having bits and pieces of it taken, but they do know what they are going for," Penn told Prevue. "If I write a scene that's too over the top for Bryan, it's good that he'll be the one to cut it out, because that is definitely something I trust him on."
Penn also said that his work with Hayter is non-competitive and that he's happy to be working on X-Men.
Not to be outdone, Sci Fi Wire also chatted with the writer about the project.
"What I can tell you is that both David and I are working on drafts of the script, but we are doing that in concert," he said. "We're talking to each other about it." The concurrent work is described as a time saving effort.
"We are working separately, but the outline we're working on is based on both of our ideas," Penn continued. "Bryan's in charge of the whole thing."
Penn also talked about the difficulties of keeping all the characters active in the story. "That's what makes it hard to write the script, to tell you the truth," the writer told Sci Fi. "It's easier to write the setups. We were both talking about this the other day--it's just a difficult screenwriting task to balance all these different stories and give them the proper weight. I mean, there's so many different characters that everyone loves. There's only so many minutes in a movie."
The writer did not want to discuss the plot, except to say that Wolverine and Professor X would be back, "and some of the other characters as well." He said the story is faithful to the comics.
Fans can expect the sequel to be bigger and better. "I think there is a genuine feeling on X-Men that there's no reason why the second one can't be better than the first."
Film composer Danny Elfman recently spoke with Cinescape magazine about his work on movies like Planet of the Apes. In January Elfman also begins work scoring every comic fans' most anticipated release Spider-Man.
"I've already been down that road with Batman," Elfman told Cinescape. "You know, whether it is Planet of the Apes, Batman, or Spider-Man, you can't worry about what hard-core genre fans are going to perceive of what you do or don't do. You have to take everything for what it is - the movie will be what it will be, and I'll do the best I can with it."
Elfman has worked with Spidey director Sam Raimi before, on movies like Darkman and A Simple Plan. He's also scoring the comic book adaptation Men In Black 2. His work on the first Men In Black earned him both Oscar and Grammy nominations.
In other Spidey news, the official website is alerting fans to new goodies available for download. The previously announced Windows Media Player skin is now easy to find on the main menu of the site.
The site has also been continuously updated with images from the movie. The latest batch of images feature, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco and Ted Raimi. Last month the site showed J.K. Simmons in full J. Jonah Jameson makeup, looking very much like his comic book counterpart.
Finally, the Spider-Man Hype website reports the following international release dates for the movie:
The site also reports that Argentinean fans can now enjoy the official Spidey site for that country at http://columbiapictures.com.ar/web/films/spiderman/index.html.
Last week the Hollywood trades announced that director Stephen Norrington would helm Jennifer Lopez's next actioner Tick Tock. It was potentially disappointing news for Ghost Rider fans, as the schedules of the two movies conflict. Ain't It Cool now confirms suspicions that Norrington will film Tick Tock first and doing the comic book adaptation at a later date.
Ain't It Cool contacted the director who had this to say, "Yes, I'm going to do Tick Tock first. As for Ghost Rider - it has the potential to be the best Marvel movie yet, particularly with Nic Cage starring, but it's not moving forward as fast as we anticipated, and we need loads of prep time - more than we had realised. It's a project that's extremely technically complex, one that will stand and fall by the quality of it's visuals, so there's no point pulling the trigger before we're completely R+D'd and prepped."
While Nicolas Cage hasn't officially signed on the dotted line for the movie, it seems very likely that he will star. IGN FilmForce ran a report (originally from Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith's syndicated column) about how Cage pursued the role.
Producer Steven Paul told the gossip columnists that, after hearing Johnny Depp was up for the part, Cage phoned Norrington and said, "I am the Ghost Rider!"
Paul also said that Cage proved "he was the biggest Ghost Rider fan in the world – and even owned five Ghost Rider motorcycles. He flew in from Hawaii (where he was filming Windtalkers) for meetings, and that was that. We're closing a deal with him now."
Fans concerned that Martha Kent will suffer an identity crisis in the upcoming Smallville TV series can rest easier. The character was played in the pilot by Cynthia Ettinger (Fail Safe) in the pilot, but will be played by Annette O'Toole (Superman III) in the regular series.
Will this be confusing for fans? Nope, says KryptonSite.com. Reason being, O'Toole is set to reshoot the Martha scenes in the pilot. When the general public sees the run of the show, there will be no sign of Ettinger.
Glen Hanson and Allan Neuwirth have confirmed for Comics2Film that they've inked a development deal with Film Roman to develop their comic strip Chelsea Boys as an animated TV show.
The gay-themed strip has been running since 1998, where it started with New York City's Next Magazine. It now runs in newspapers and magazines all across the U.S., in Canada, the U.K. and South Africa.
Exile Films continues to provide interesting insights as to the development of their CGI feature film BloodQuest. The movie is based on the gaming and comics concept Warhammer 40,000.
This week, the official Exile Films website has published part 2 of their series detailing the development of the CGI models for the Space Marines characters for the film. The article is accompanied by images of the armored marines, as well as two animations revealing the CG motion of the 3D models.
Fans who stopped by the Komikwerks and Top Cow booths in San Diego got to see a spiffy CGI animated trailer for the upcoming Markus Fang comic.
The comic is created by animator Shannon Denton, screenwriter Ross LaManna (Rush Hour) and actor Russell Wong ( Romeo Must Die). It's an all-ages action concept that could spin off into other media.
The trio created the trailer with a team of animators just for Comic-Con. It features motion capture work done with two high-profile martial arts stunt doubles and is scored by Star Trek veteran Dennis McCarthy.
The official Mutant X website has changed its look and posted some new goodies for the fans.
The new site has been redesigned to reflect the show's new logo and look.
They've also posted a promo video from the show, which feathers a number of shots of cool special effects, the Mutant X team in action and the evil Mason Eckhart putting on his skin! Click here to view the QuickTime video.
Fans of the TNT limited series Witchblade are lobbying hard for the cable net to extend the show another season. The 11-episode series premiered last June and is set to run through the end of this month. While there's reason to believe that TNT is happy with the numbers the show has generated, fans aren't taking anything for granted.
Zap2It reports that fans have embarked on a mail-in campaign and are sending Pez dispensers to TNT's offices in Atlanta. The candy shooters represent the lead character in Witchblade, Sara Pezzini.
A spokeswoman for TNT told Zap2It that they've received several hundred dispensers since the show's premiere.
Thanks to Ron, Jessie and Dex for the lead.
In other renewal news, the Second Season of Witchblade online petition continues to gather steam. Carrie Hults, the organizer of the petition, tells us that they've collected over 1700 online signatures so far. They aim to collect as many as they can in order to demonstrate to TNT fan interest in another season of the show.
Fox has put a copy of the From Hell trailer on the internet. Fans can download three different-sized versions of the trailer in QuickTime format from the Apple - Trailers site.
The trailer site also directs fans to the film's official website at FromHellMovie.com. The site is now open, however it is still under construction.
Thanks to UpcomingMovies.com for the lead.
UpcomingMovies.com reports that the big-screen version of DC/Vertigo's John Constantine: Hellblazer is now targeted for a Fall 2002 release. The movie will be called Constantine.
The Fall release date seems somewhat aggressive, as there is presently no cast in place for the movie, nor is there a production start date.
Early this year, Tarsem (The Cell) signed on to direct the movie. Frank Cappello (Suburban Commando) has developed the screenplay. Lauren Shuler Donner (X-Men) and Michael Aguilar are producing. Executive Producers include Michael Uslan (Batman) and Benjamin Melniker (Batman).
BATMAN VS STATIC
According to the FanboyPlanet website the second season of the popular WB Kids series Static Shock! will end with a bang...and a special guest star.
FanyboyPlanet reports that The Joker, low on cash, pays a visit to Dakota City to kidnap Bang Babies and convince them to join his gang. Among his recruits are Ferret and of course, Hotstreak.
Static investigates Ferret's disappearance, and attracts the attention of Batman and Robin, who have followed The Joker. While Robin makes nice, the Dark Knight remains aloof and chides Static for being an amateur. By the end of the episode, of course, a respect of some kind is forged.
No airdate has yet been announced.
Unnamed sources inform The Comics Continuum that the planned Bloodstone TV series may end up on the Sci-Fi channel. The show is to be based on the upcoming relaunch of Marvel's monster-hunter. The new comic, as well as the show, will feature the daughter of the original character.
Announcements on the show are expected soon, according to The Continuum.
Jay Faerber's comic book Noble Causes has been optioned for development as a TV series. Faerber told The Comics Continuum that Goodman/Rosen Productions had picked up the option on the show.
The producers are responsible for such fare as Highlander: The Series and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World.
The comic is due out from Image in September.