www.cbr.com

DR. STRANGE, GHOST RIDER

[Doctor Strange]Filmmaker David Goyer, the hardest-working man in the comic-book movie business, confirmed for Comics2Film that he is in discussions to direct the big-screen version of Marvel's Doctor Strange.

"I've been talking to Dimension regarding helming Doctor Strange," Goyer told us. However, any mystic dealings hinge on his next outing as a director. "This is largely contingent on seeing how Murder Mysteries goes (which I will be writing this Fall)."

Just about a month ago Goyer committed to writing and directing Murder Mysteries for Dimension Films. The movie is based on a short story by Neil Gaiman. The film will be Goyer's second turn behind the lens, following Zig Zag which he wrapped filming on earlier this year.

In other news Goyer told C2F that there may be a casting announcement on the Ghost Rider movie in the coming weeks.

ELTINGVILLE CLUB

[Dork]Animation work is underway on the Eltingville Club pilot according to show runner and creator Evan Dorkin. Dorkin told Comics2Film that 90% of the material for the show has been shipped off to overseas animators.

They've also designed the opening sequence for the show and are working to hire a band to play the theme song. Dorkin remains mum about who the band is, telling us only that it's a lesser-known group that he's a big fan of.

One disappointment for the show (and for the Eltingville Club members themselves, no doubt) is that Marvel has declined to give the producers permission to reference their characters and properties in the pilot. "We had to change the designs in accordance, so now you won't see Josh Levy wearing an FF '4' shirt, or Pete DiNunzio wearing a Punisher skull."

Likewise, they were unable to get permission from DC, in spite of the fact that the show is for Cartoon Network and both corporate entities are part of the same AOL-Time Warner conglomerate. "You won't be seeing any of the characters wearing Superman or Batman logos," Dorkin said.

However, the minor setback has not impeded the progress of the show. "We did manage to get clearance from a few indy creators for their material, and I simply made up a host of fictional commercial properties for the balance of the props and background elements."

So, the pilot is well on its way to completion. However, the Cartoon Network won't commit to airing it until after they've seen it. In the mean time, fans can find the Eltingville Club in comic shops next month. Dork #9 has 12 pages dedicated to the Club. It goes on sale in July.

PARASYTE

Variety reports that the movie version of Hitosi Iwaaki's Parasyte now has a director. Bo Welch has signed to helm the project for the Henson Company and Don Murphy's Angryfilms.

Welch is an Academy Award nominated production designer. He received Oscar nods for his set design work on Men In Black, The Birdcage and A Little Princess. He's currently at work on Men In Black 2.

Matt Drake (The Truth About Tully) is also on board to develop the screenplay for the film. Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (Crazy/Beautiful) had previously been hired to do a draft of the script.

Iwaaki's comic tells the story of any alien parasite that takes over young Mike's left hand. Mike and Lefty form an uneasy alliance to save the rest of the world from an alien invasion.

X-MEN 2

Sci Fi Wire reports that X-Men director Bryan Singer is hard at work on the sequel to last year's hit movie. The helmet hopes to begin filming early next year, with a possible release date between Christmas 2002 and summer 2003.

Singer told Popcorn U.K. "I'm sort of sworn to secrecy."

However, fans can expect X2 to have "the comic-book lore that I adore so much and a lot of new ideas of my own."

Singer's movie did well at last week's Saturn awards, taking home six trophies. The movie was named "Best Science Fiction Film".

Awards also went to Director Brian Singer, actor Hugh Jackman, supporting actress Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, writer David Hayter and costume designer Louise Mingenbach.

While covering the awards for CHUD, Smilin' Jack Ruby got a few words in with X-Men producer Lauren Shuler-Donner. Shuler-Donner at first seemed reluctant to talk about the sequel. Undaunted, Ruby did manage to get some interesting tidbits out of her.

The producer confirmed that there will be Sentinels in X-Men 2. She also said that The Beast will probably make it into the film. "We love Beast. I'd like to see him," Shuler-Donner said.

Fans can also look for Professor X's unique training facility that was missing from the original. "We're going to fight for a Danger Room sequence," Shuler-Donner told Ruby. "We felt robbed last time."

SPIDER-MAN

Popcorn.co.uk (via Sci Fi Wire) reports that the end is near for Spider-Man. Sam Raimi, speaking from last week's Saturn Awards, told the site, "we're just finishing up the last of the shoot. We've got about another three days of photography, then there's a week somewhere two months from now, but we're almost done."

Raimi also commented on the fan scrutiny the film has endured during its filming. "I've never had anything to do with a film where people were really interested when we were making it, so it's a brand new experience for me," he said.

Raimi wasn't the only one talking about Spider-Man at the Saturn Awards. His brother Ted also blabbed to Smilin' Jack Ruby, who covered the event for the CHUD website.

Ted, who worked on the film for about two weeks, verified that he is not playing Dr. Curt Conners (aka The Lizard) in the movie. He did talk a little about what sets he did his work on.

"I was on the Daily Bugle set and a couple of other ones that I'm not allowed to mention," Ted told Ruby. " If I talk about it, Sony sends hitmen out to get me. They know where I live."

The actor also had much praise for Spidey star Tobey Maguire. "He's great. He's incredible. I would say, from the time that I had with him on set, he's an incredibly intuitive actor and people always say, what a young and talented kid and he's really not a kid at all. He's as young as one, but he doesn't behave like one. He's very mature and just an amazing actor."

As recently promised in an online note from Dwight Caines, V.P. of Internet strategy for Sony's Columbia Pictures. The teaser poster for the Spider-Man movie is now available online. The file is available for download at the members-only area of the official site. The poster doesn't reveal anything new to fans-in-the-know, but we think it looks swell anyway.

DAREDEVIL

Artwork from a recently licensing show in NYC has had many fans speculating that the planned Daredevil movie had undergone a title change. The graphic promoting the property reads "Daredevil + Elektra", which some have taken as the new title for the movie.

However, Marvel senior V.P. Kevin Feige says it isn't so. "Elektra is the lead female character in the Daredevil movie," Feige told us.

He also quipped, "The movie however will not be called Daredevil & Electra or Daredevil + Elektra or Daredevil meets Elektra or Daredevil/Elektra or Daredevil loves Elektra."

MEN IN BLACK 2

[Men in Black II]Eric Lurio was prowling the floor of the recent licensing show in NYC. He scored a number of nice images promoting movie tie-ins including this Men In Black 2 concept poster. Cameras are now rolling on the film, which reunites Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones and adds Famke Janssen to the cast.

In other MiB2 news, Sci Fi Wire reports that Rick Baker is also returning to handle the makeup effects for the film. Baker has just come off his duties on the upcoming Planet of the Apes. Sci Fi interviewed the artist at the recent Saturn Awards in Los Angeles, where he collected an award for his work on How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

"I went right from Apes to Men In Black, and that was literally about a month and a half ago. They started filming yesterday."

Baker and a team of more than 100 makeup artists are using "every trick in the book. I mean, there's simple makeups, there's complex makeups, there's guys in suits," he told Sci Fi. "We're designing the [computer-generated] characters as well. It's all kinds of stuff."

Baker told Sci Fi to look for a lot of his work at the end of MiB2.

Meanwhile, former Pussycat Rosario Dawno recently chatted with the Calgary Sun (via Jam Showbiz!) about her role in the currently filming Men In Black 2. While the actress was sworn to secrecy under penalty of flashy thing, she was able to tell the sun a few things about her part in the movie.

"About all I can say is that I'm Will Smith's love interest," Dawson said. "We're going to shoot the beginning and end of the film first in case there is an actors' strike so the effects people have something to work with."

Dawson also said that Linda Fiorentino "might be back" for the sequel.

Meanwhile, a scooper for Corona Coming Attractions had a bit more to share. The anonymous source told CA that Fiorentino's character, Elle, has only a cameo part in the film. The agent apparently works more in a forensics role with the MiB agency.

The scooper also said that Patrick Warburton's character is an agent named Tee. Tee is one of many rookies Will Smith's Jay goes through before he's finally reunited with Tommy Lee Jones' Kay.

DAN DARE

[Dan Dare]A recent article by Paul Nathanson in the Financial Times details plans for the new Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future CGI-animated TV show.

FT reports that the show has a $20 million budget for 26 episodes. It's produced by Britain's Dan Dare Corporation and Sony.

The article also states that the show may raise the ire of the character's fans due to various changes. According to the write-up, the new Dan Dare resembles an 18 year old Tom Cruise, rather than the 30ish comic book character he's based on.

Fans should also be wary of an elephant character that's been introduced as a pet for Digby and a Liberace-esqe villain named Retro Rocket.

Colin Frewin, chief executive of the Dan Dare Corporation, hopes to allay the fears of the fans. "In everything I've done, I've tried to respect the quality of Frank Hampson's original creation," Frewin told FT. "That has been our first principle and we have achieved that and retained the Britishness of the story."

The show is geared for a younger audience and some of the villainy has been toned-down. However, the Mekon (the evil alien race that are Dan Dare's nemeses), are said to be as grotesque as ever.

Voice talent for the show is said to include Robbie Coltrane and Charles Dance. Elton John's 1980s hit "Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future)" is to be used for the show's theme song.

INFERNO

Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman have sold their script Inferno for development as both a Warner Bros. feature and a Top Cow comic book. According to Variety, Warner paid low- against mid-six figures for the concept. Inferno tells the story of "12 brave but rather flawed men who descend through the recently uncovered gates of Hell to bring back a sacred key."

Solomon and Konzelman previously created the syndicated TV show The Immortals.

Spike Seldin of Top Cow and Susan Levin, V.P. at Silver Pictures are producing.

FAUST

UpcomingMovies reports that the MPAA has assigned the Faust movie an R rating. The movie, based on David Quinn and Tim Vigil's violent comic book, is due out on video and DVD at the end of August.

HELLBOY

The intriguing comic book casting question on the web for the past few weeks is "Vin Diesel as Hellboy -- is he or isn't he?"

While various sources confirmed for Comics2Film that Diesel's been in conversation with the producers about the role, Diesel himself told Sci Fi Wire that he's not attached to the project.

Now, Anderson Jones of E! Online has spoken to the rising star about his various upcoming projects. When asked about Hellboy Diesel told Jones, "I haven't read the script yet. So, let's read it and make a decision."

So, it appears Diesel is eying the project, but is far from any kind of commitment to it.

DEATH, THE HIGH COST OF LIVING

Writing from his journal on his American Gods website, author Neil Gaiman told his fans that he may have some comic-book movie news shortly.

"Today brought some good news about the Death movie," Gaiman said in the June 13th entry in the journal. "With luck I'll have news I can announce before the tour starts."

The quote refers to the book tour promoting the writer's new book American Gods. The book goes on sale Tuesday, June 19th. The tour started Sunday, June 17th. So, the announcement could come any day now.

Gaiman has written the screenplay for the feature film based on his Death: The High Cost of Living comic. He's also on board to direct the movie for Warner Bros.

Thanks to Matt for the tip!

THE CROW 4

The Assignment X website reports that Edward Pressman Productions isn't giving up on the Crow franchise. A source for Press man said that they are pursuing a name director to turn one of the crow novels in the next feature.

"This is a director who could attract name talent, and for some reason he happens to like The Crow," the unnamed spokesperson said. The source said the next movie will likely feature a female hero.

The sources comments also confirm talk that, if filmed, the previously planned Lazarus (starring DMX) will not be part of the franchise.

Thanks to Titan for the lead.

WITCHBLADE

Tuesday's season premiere of Witchblade on TNT set industry ratings records. According to a write-up in the Hollywood Reporter, Nielsen Media Research estimates the show drew viewers from 2.2 million households, making it the highest ever for a basic cable summer series launch.

The show averaged a 2.7 rating during its 9-10 p.m. ET time slot, 60% higher than TNT's 1.7 year-to-date primetime average.

The article attributes the success of the show to a clever marketing scheme, which included running the lead-in movie on the WB network just a two weeks before the premiere of the series.

"It was one of the better marketed programs in cable television history," said Steve Koonin, general manager for TNT. "The ads talked to people in a very fun, dramatic way."

Thanks to Dex for the lead.

THE ROAD TO PERDITION

Fans looking for the some insights in the Road To Perdition movie can check out the latest edition of The Stax Report at IGN FilmForce. Stax provides a review of the screenplay that he terms "positive" with "some spoilers".

Filming continues on the movie, which recently moved from Illinois locations to Grand Haven Michigan.

NINJA BOY

The Comics Continuum reports that Ninja Boy creator Ale Garza is in talks for an animated series based on his WildStorm comic book.

AKIRA

If you love DVDs but hate odd-shaped packaging that doesn't let your special edition discs site on the shelf with the rest of your collection, then you may be encouraged by ICv2's latest report concerning the Akira re-release.

The anime masterpiece is due out on July 24 in a special edition that ships in a tin container. Also due out is a regular edition DVD and two VHS versions of the film. Missing from the July shipment is a package that contains the special edition discs, but not the bulky tin packaging that some aficionados hate.

However, ICv2 reports that Pioneer will release such a package on September 25th. The vendor was surprised by the quick sell-out of the tins and is now scrambling to arrange the packaging on the non-tin edition.

Twilight Zone's Take On the Hulk Is a Dig At Toxic Masculinity

More in CBR Exclusives