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DAN DARE

[Dan Dare]Bob Forward, producer and story editor on Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future, contacted Comics2Film to correct a bit of misinformation found in the recent article published by the Financial Times. The article states that Dan Dare purists might be upset by the addition of and elephant character as a sidekick for Digby.

However, Forward tells us that the character should not upset fans in the least. "The 'elephant-like character' that is Digby's pet is none other than Stripey, from the original Dan Dare comic series," Forward tells us. "Our Stripey is almost identical to the one in the comic, although Digby himself is a bit younger."

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To demonstrate the resemblance Forward has passed along images of the original Stripey (as drawn by Dan Dare creator Frank Hampson) as well as the CGI counterpart. The new image shows Stripey pretending to pilot the Anastasia as Digby looks on.

Forward has previously worked on numerous animated shows, including the recent hit X-Men: Evolution.

Another correction comes from reader and Dan Dare fan Ciaran Conliffe. Conliffe noticed that in last week's write-up we incorrectly stated that the Mekon is "the evil alien race that are Dan Dare's nemeses." Conliffe writes in to tell us we got that wrong. "As any kid who grew up reading Eagle comic knows, the Mekon is merely the big-headed leader of this race, who are actually called the Treens. (Hence the classic line in Geoffrey Willans's book, Whizz for Attoms 'You have captured me sir, like a Treen in a disabled spaceship'.)"

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Fans looking for more CG artwork from Dan Dare can check out Rowsby.com, the website for the animator known as Rowsby.

The site also goes into a bit of detail about the history of the show, which has been completed by Foundation Imaging after the Netter Digital, the original animation house to work on it, went bankrupt. Rowsby worries that the Netter episodes aren't quite up to par with the newer ones.

Rowsby has posted a nice poster of Dan Dare (and his various nemeses from the show) as well as modeling sheets for Evil Equinax and the Chronos Warriors.

LUKE CAGE

Comics2Film followed up on recent rumors that filmmaker John Singleton is attached to the big screen version of Marvel's Luke Cage.

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A few weeks back, the Sneak Peek website ran an interview with Singleton, whose new movie Baby Boy is in theaters now. Singleton told that site that he "definitely write/produce/direct next year's movie adaptation of Marvel comic book hero Luke Cage."

However, the movie does not appear to be set up at a studio yet. New Line Cinema had been interested in the project late last year. However, a source there told C2F that New Line would not be doing the movie.

We also checked in the Kevin Feige, Senior Vice President Marvel Studios. Feige couldn't talk about the details of the project except to say, "Singleton is a big fan of Luke Cage, and we're a big fan of his."

SHA AND MARSHAL LAW

Comic writer Pat Mills told Comics2Film that Hollywood is showing interest in a couple of his comic book projects.

According to Mills he's had some nibbles on Sha. This German comic tells the story of a 16th century witch reincarnated in a post-apocalyptic future.

In addition to Sha, Mills has a new title which will be published in the next six months that is also attracting Hollywood types.

The comic creator also hopes to get his most popular character, Marshal Law going as a movie project. The concept was set up years ago with a British production company but the rights have since reverted back to Mills and co-creator Kevin O'Neill.

The Marshal Law comics are currently available to subscribers of the Cool Beans World website. A CGI animated version of the character is also running on that site.

"This animated short of Law looks absolutely magnificent," Mills told C2F. "He looks extremely cool and we figure that now he's reaching a wider audience via the web we should attract some new interest [in a big-screen version]."

GHOST RIDER

Nicolas Cage is close to living the dream. The actor who has pursued more superhero roles than any other Hollywood star is now poised to nab the lead in the Ghost Rider movie according to Michael Fleming's Dish column in today's Variety.

According to the write-up, Cage is in early negotiations for the $75 million movie from Dimension Films.

Just yesterday Comics2Film reported that the movie's writer and producer, David Goyer, said a casting announcement could be coming soon.

Cage's interest in the movie has been rumored since September of last year. A comic fan, the actor has been attached or rumored to be attached to a great many comic based movies including Superman, Hellblazer, Lobo, Iron Man, Hard Boiled and more.

SPIDER-MAN ANIMATED

Sources in the know tell Comics2Film that several 3D animation houses are working up tests for the upcoming Spider-Man cartoon. The test work has the webslinger rendered in what is described as "a 3D cel shaded look."

Our sources tell us that one of the companies working up 3D Spidey models is none other than Mainframe Entertainment. Mainframe pioneered all-CGI cartoons with their flagship show ReBoot. The company has gone on to create such eye-popping shows as Action Man and Beast Machines as well as features like Casper's Haunted Christmas.

The show is said to be in production at Sony and targeted for Fox Kids!

SPIDER-MAN

The Spider-Man movie is still almost 11 months away, but there seems to be no end to the constant stream of buzz for the film. If you're looking for hype it's hard to beat the Spider-Man Hype website.

[Green Goblin Art]The Hypesters latest find is a new piece of concept art for the Green Goblin character. So far we've seen one set photo of the costume, which looked a bit on the cheesy side, and some images of sculptor Martin Smeaton's work, which looked quite a bit mor dramatic.

This latest piece of art favors the Smeaton sculpt, giving the Goblin a wiry and armored look. Unlike what was seen in the set photo, the armor here has purple elements, bringing it closer to the look of the comics. Hopefully, the character will look this good blazing across the big screen on his goblin glider.

Entertainment Weekly has also jumped on the Spidey bandwagon, plugging the production with it's 2001 "It List Issue." Stars Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire grace the cover and are featured as the magazine's "It Dynamic Duo." The contents page of the mag also features a nifty shot of Tobey, in costume, on the set of the film. Click the thumbnail to view the image in its full glory.

Inside the cover, director Sam Raimi praises Maguire. "He's not fake. He doesn't know how to be fake," Raimi is quoted as saying. "With Tobey, you've got to be careful how you use that close up, because he's got a lot coming out. The more still he is, the more powerful he becomes."

Maguire was also enthused about the Spidey experience and talked about training for the part "I was real hungry, but I loved it. To have all these people at my disposal for different kinds of training was unbelievable!"

Dunst commented on competing for the part of Mary Jane. "I was like, You will never act again if you can't nail this audition," Dunst told EW. "I knew it would help me in another direction…. After Bring It On, people saw me as perky. I just wanted to kill it. I never want to be pigeonholed."

Also making the list is Frank Miller and his Dark Knight Strikes Back. The much-anticipated mini is listed as the "It Comic Book Project."

If you still can't get enough Spidey, then direct your browser to the official site. The super-slick site continues to provide goodies to webheads. Earlier in the week, registered members got the first look at the Spider-Man teaser poster. They also posted a new screensaver featuring the webslinger's webshooter.

In other Spidey news. The Comics Continuum reports that comic scribe and novelist Peter David will be taking on the task of writing the novelization for the Spider-Man movie.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

Variety reports that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are poised for a comeback which includes plans for a CGI-animated feature film. Director John Woo and producer Terence Change's Digital Rim Entertainment have pacted with Mirage Studios for the feature.

The movie is budgeted between $40 million and $60 million. Plans are to return the characters to their "darker, edgier comic book roots."

The deal spun out of a TV pilot created by Digital Rim. The show is currently being shopped to networks.

"I've always loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," Woo is quoted as saying. "It's one of the greatest action-adventure properties ever."

Current plans are to develop a script for the movie and watch the performance of the TV series.

Digital Rim is currently developing a CGI feature called Ark which is due out for the 2002 Christmas season.

BLOODQUEST

[Bloodquest]In a recent Exile-Films e-mailer, producer Simon Coombs has responded to a published report about BloodQuest, the CGI film version of the Warhammer 40,000 comics and gaming system. The report appeared in a recent issue of "The Daily Telegraph" and stated that Exile Films is in talks to bring the BloodQuest movie to DreamWorks.

"I really can't comment on whether DreamWorks is (or isn't) the studio we're talking to," Coombs told readers of the newsletter. "What I can say is that there is more than one studio interested, and we will be talking to them as-and-when it seems opportune."

Coombs also reports that they have put together a trailer but are not quite ready for fans to get a look at it. "It's not as polished as a 'proper' trailer would be," Coombs said, citing the fact that many of the models and designs featured in it are preliminary. Exile is reluctant to show fans (and other parties) a clip that isn't representative of what the movie will look like.

However, the filmmakers continue to roll out preview images on the Exile website. The latest postings include a computer rendering of an Ork Dreadnought and a teaser image of a Space Marine.

GENE POOL

Comic greats Len Wein and Marv Wolfman have sold the film rights to their as-yet-unpublished comic Gene Pool according to Variety. A partnership between Germany's Helkon Media, Tri-Pictures and Eagle pictures paid the comic scribes a low-six-figure advance on the property.

Wein and Wolfman are set to write the script. The concept features a team of reluctant super-powered heroes who are thrown together for survival and mutual protection when they find themselves hunted.

HELLBOY

IGN FilmForce has published a new interview with actor Vin Diesel which sheds the most light on the question of how involved he is with the Hellboy movie. Rumors started circulating last month that the actor is attached to the project. However some research made it clear that, while he's interested in it he has no real connection to the big-screen version of Mike Mignola's demonic hero. This latest interview bears that out.

In the interview Diesel admits to being a big comic book fan and a collector growing up.

Steven Horn of FilmForce asked Diesel if he's going to be in the movie. Diesel said, "I love the Hellboy project, I'm a fan of the Hellboy comic but I don't know how far along they are. I haven't read a script yet. I've got to read a script before I would commit to anything."

In spite of his professed interest the project Diesel seemed unaware of Guillermo del Toro, who's long been attached to write and direct the movie.

The actor currently appears in The Fast and the Furious which opened at #1 last weekend.

Thanks to Hellboy.com and Stax for the lead.

MEN IN BLACK 2

[Men In Black II]This week's Entertainment Weekly features some comments by makeup artist Rick Baker regarding the now-filming Men In Black 2. "The big lead baddie is a female alien -- and we're doing a number of other female creatures for this one as well," Baker told EW. Famke Janssen is on board to play the femme fatale in question.

Baker also tells fans to look for some old favorites to return. "The worm guys from the first film are coming back in a big way. They're practically the stars of the movie."

The worms aren't the only ones returning according to UpcomingMovies.com. According to that website, David Cross and Tony Shalhoub will reprise their roles from the first film.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE

Composer Clint Mansell, a frequent collaborator of Darren Aronofsky would like to compose the score for Batman: Year One. However, he told the French Premiere magazine that, at this point, he has no real attachment to the project.

Aronofsky.net ran excerpts from the recent interview. Mansell told the magazine, "It is great that they dare to entrust this project to a director like Darren. But unless they give him free reign, I think that the studio will want a composer more accustomed than me to this genre of film. But I would really like to do it."

Aronofsky.net also ran comments on the rumors which Mansell made on his own website. Mansell said, "There's a lot of excitement in the air regarding Batman Five - rumours everywhere. It's very exciting to be a part of those rumours, I must admit, but I really know nothing at this point so I can't pass comment."

X-MEN 2

Fan favorite actor Hugh Jackman has been making the rounds promoting his recent release Swordfish. Last week Comics2Film readers Troy and Maarten caught Jackman's appearance on the Australian TV show "The Panel". Reportedly Jackman told viewers that he was due to begin filming X-Men 2 in January or February of next year.

The night before the actor appeared on another show called "Rove Live". Although he didn't have any more to say about the mutant sequel, Maarten reports that Jackman has a sense-of-humor about his on-screen counterpart. "On 'Rove Live' he held up an action figure of the movie-version of Wolverine to his face, and towards the camera he tightened his brow. It was quite amusing."

Thanks to Troy and Maarten for writing in.

Meanwhile, The Comics Continuum reports that producer Ralph Winter is on board for the X-Men sequel. Winter was a producer on the original production as well.

"I am starting a concept artist and we are beginning to write the script," Winter is quoted as saying. "I am very happy to be back."

X-MEN

The new X-Men trailer is online! No, it's not for a movie.

Instead, Marvel has worked up a flash-animated preview of the "Return to Weapon X" storyline that will run through Ultimate X-Men #7-12.

The story looks to be a Ultimate universe retelling of Wolverine's weapon X story that also introduces Nightcrawler to the Ultimate X line-up.

Check it out at http://dev.marvel.com/weaponx.

This is just the first of many comic book trailers Marvel will develop to promote some of its most anticipated upcoming projects.

DOCTOR STRANGE

Following up on the news that David Goyer is in preliminary talks to direct the Doctor Strange movie for Dimension Films and Marvel, Stax at IGN FilmForce got the filmmaker to comment further on the project.

Stax asked Goyer how he envisions the big-screen Doctor "I would attempt to use as many practical effects and in-camera tricks as possible. I like CG (computer-generated imagery) the most when it is done subtly," Goyer said.

The filmmaker confirmed that the conversation about the movie is still in the very early stages. The studio is waiting to see how Murder Mysteries, Goyer's second outing as a director goes. That movie is an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's short story, that Goyer is also writing. If he does land the job, Goyer said he will start Doctor Strange from scratch, and discard the screenplay he wrote many years earlier.

BLADE 2

Actor Matt Schulze recently spoke with Sci Fi Wire about his experiences on the upcoming Blade 2 movie. Schulze, who also appears in the soon to be released The Fast and the Furious, plays a vampire named Chupa in the sequel.

"I'm the leader of this Vietnam kind of crew that gets hired," Schulze said of his character. "Five people--me, Ron Perlman and a couple other actors--go in to kill these reapers. A reaper is this half-ghost, devil type creature that has the ability to fly. You have to see it. The story is that they've captured Prague. I'm fighting with Blade because I don't like his leadership, so I'm a rebel in that sense, but I'm actually a good guy in the whole element of the picture."

The actor sees plenty of the action in Blade 2. Reportedly in one scene he engages 20 reapers martial-arts combat. Another scene is even more bloody. "There's one scene that I have where I kill 150 people, and the whole place blows up, and it's $100,000 a shot, so it's just amazing."

WITCHBLADE

TNT has released a pair of photos from the upcoming fourth episode of the Witchblade TV series. The episode airs July 3 at 9pm.

Here's the description for the episode, which is called "Sacrifice": Sara's latest investigation draws her into the underground music scene, where a handsome alternative rocker named Conchobar (Kim De Lury) may be the leader in a Celtic sacrificial rites homicide case. The Witchblade uncovers clues that suggest this frontman might have been a medieval Celtic bard who was Sara's lover in another lifetime. Will the allegations accusing him as a possible murder suspect keep Sara away from her chosen destiny to be with the only true love she has ever known?

In other Witchblade news, uber-fan Dex points us to a ratings summary published this week on Inside.com. The report indicates that ratings for the second episode have fallen off predictably over the debut. Tuesday night's airing scored a 1.3 in the 18-49 demographic (down from 1.6) and a 1.1 in the 18-34 range (down from 1.2). The biggest loss was the teenage audience with 12-17 year olds falling from 1.5 to 0.7.

Dex also tells us that there's interesting stuff to be found at the WitchbladeTV.com website. The official Witchblade The Series site offers now two new behind-the-scenes video clips: one interview with Yancy Butler and one closer look at the gauntlet. They contain scenes of the series, blue-room scenes, rehearsals and comments of Yancy Butler, Eric Etebari, Will Yun Lee, David Chokachi, Anthony Cistaro, Ralph Hemecker and Kim de Lury.

Fans can also download RealAudio clips of two songs ("Let Me Up", "Reasons Why") of and some info about the Brand New Immortals, the band featured in "Conundrum" episode.

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