Comics2Film spoke with David Engel, director of development at Mace Neufeld Productions, the producers on the Powers movie.
"The writers have turned in the first draft," Engel told us. "It's one of the best first drafts I've ever read."
Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard were hired late last year to work on the film. The pair previously worked on a script called Motor City. "They did a really good job with it. We're very impressed."
Powers creators Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming have also seen the script. Bendis told C2F, "This is one of those really surreal creative experiences reading someone else's interpretation of these characters. This is an all new experience to me."
Engel expects the script to go through the typical iterations of rewrites. However, he's optimistic that production on the film will start in spring of next year.
Powers focuses on Detectives Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, a pair of ordinary police detectives in a world teeming with superheroes. The "Who Killed Retro Girl?" story arc from the comic serves as the basis for the screenplay.
Wanna see what the Ghost Rider movie might look like? Eight design illustrations from the movie by comic and horror artist Bernie Wrightson have shown up for sale on the web. The sketches can bee seen at the Graphic Collectibles site and purchased there for $1100 each.
Two images depict Johnny Blaze (who looks slightly Nic Cage-esque). Two images illustrate the facial transformation of the character. The final four show the spirit of vengeance in all his blazing glory.
As promised by Wrightson in earlier interviews, the character has a creepy and tormented look. The cycle, too, has has an alien or demonic (almost bio-organic) feel to it. Here's a sampling of the images:
Visit Graphic Collectibles for all eight, full-size sketches.
Thanks to Ain't It Cool for the lead.
The animated feature version of Chaos! Comics' Lady Death is making it's way through production according to Andy Orjuela of ADV Films. Orjuela gave Comics2Film a progress report on the movie.
The filmmakers are starting to see animation from overseas. "We're getting some test footage back. We'll start putting it together here in town," Orjuela said. "Character designs are good to go. Key back grounds are still being worked on. They all kind of tie together and have the same Hellish look and feel. That's the hardest part right now, redeveloping Hell."
Chaos! and ADV are striving to give viewers a new vision of the underworld. "The standard interpretation is the red, fire and brimstone type of stuff. We've completely stayed away from that," Orjuela told C2F. "Our Hell is very dark and it's grays. There's hints of red, lava and fire, but it's very lonely. That's what we want. It's creepy. It fits really well with the story."
Brian Pulido wrote the treatment for the movie with Carl Maycek penning the screenplay. Maycek has been a producer on many ADV projects like RoboTech, Nadia: Secret of Blue Water and A.D. Police.
Plans are to putting test footage together with animatics and a scratch dialog track. This will allow the filmmakers to run through the movie and make sure everything works together as planned.
The movie could be completed this year. However, it's more likely the film won't be released until early next year in order to give ADV more time to promote it. Orjuela tells us to look for a promotional push that will begin on the internet late this summer. However, plans are to keep the queen of the dead under wraps until the movie comes out. "We're going to hide what Lady Death looks like."
Jay Stephens tells Comics2Film that there's an animated version of his Captain Rightful character in the works.
"[Captain Rightful] currently in development with my former studio mates, and multiple animation award winners, Clyde Henry (actually two different guys-- neither of whom is named Clyde or Henry)," Stephens said.
Plans call for a series of cutting edge animated shorts.
Early Captain Rightful strips appeared in Stephens' Sin Comics. The comic features a well-meaning superhero who usually arrives on the scene too late to avert disaster (but sometimes in time to accidentally inflict it). The fact that he has no arms doesn't help.
Images from the development can be seen at Stephens' website.
Santa Monica-based Media Revolution (www.mediarevolution.com), has been selected by Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment (SPDE) and Columbia Pictures to develop the official Spider-Man motion picture Web site (www.sony.com/spider-man) scheduled to launch later this year.
Building on the companies' creation and development of the film's teaser site which launched in March, the official Spider-Man site will surpass traditional movie sites by providing a truly immersive and experiential encounter that will entertain, engage and inform fans. The site will include video press conference highlights, downloads, discussion boards, sweepstakes and extensive behind-the-scenes information. Using a uniquely viral approach, Media Revolution is generating new ways to cultivate repeat visitors and establish the site as a permanent fan favorite.
"Media Revolution's creative energy, innovative thinking, Web strategy and approach to the Spider-Man brand impressed us," remarked Andrew Schneider, Senior Vice President of Broadband Content, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment. "Media Revolution has the tools to implement our creative vision and give our fans the exceptional level of interactive experience they have come to expect from a Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment site."
"Media Revolution brings intuitive marketing savvy to Spider-Man that will help us to capture the fury surrounding the film," said Jason Yim, President and Creative Director, Media Revolution. "Spider-Man is a marquee property and we plan to give it the presence and high-quality production that it and its fans deserve."
In other Spider-Man news, Activision has announced that it is in development with Spider-Man: The Movie for the Nintendo Gamecube platform.
"We are excited to partner with Nintendo to bring these key franchises to the Gamecube," states Ron Doornink, President and COO, Activision, Inc." We believe that the Gamecube will offer revolutionary enhancements to the gaming experience and provide us with new opportunities to continue expanding our audience."
Spider-Man: The Movie game will bring Columbia Pictures/Marvel Entertainment's live-action feature film experience to the interactive arena. Spider-Man fans can play the fledgling super hero in highly detailed 3D environments as they battle the forces of evil.
Internet reporting outlets continue to provide an avalanche of set reports from the New York City filming. The Counting Down website has posted the latest, complete with five snippets of videos taken on the set. The videos aren't terribly revealing, although you do get to see what is purported to be Tobey Maguire filming some swinging stunts and chasing a school bus. There is an interesting clip of a stuntman, hooked to a crane, doing some swinging above the city rooftops. Go to Counting Down for the clips.
A photo revealing the back of Spider-Man's costume is the most recent offering from the Spider-Man Hype website. The image comes from a reader who scanned it from an Italian magazine called Sette.
The image shows the large red spider which graces the back of the costume. It's stylized quite a bit over the comic book version but still looks very cool.
In a separate report, a Hype spy reported in from Industrial Light & Magic, the Lucas-founded special effects house. Although Sony ImageWorks is providing much of the effects for the movie, it appears ILM is on board for some work as well.
The same spy also reports on seeing some of the computer generated work on the Green Goblin character. Fans had mixed feelings about the images of the Green Goblin that appeared online a few months back. The spy reports that the CG work does make the character look better, but still "pretty power-rangerish."
Finally, the UpcomingMovies website reports that Stan Lee is set to make his requisite cameo in the film. Unlike his walk on in X-Men Lee is supposed to have a line to speak in Spider-Man.
Witchblade: The Series makes its debut on TNT, June 12th at 9pm. The opening episode is called "Parallax". TNT provides this description of the episode:
"While learning to adapt to the powers of the Witchblade and her new companion and partner, Jake McCarty (David Chokachi), Sara Pezzini (Yancy Butler) finds her career on the force is threatened after she is questioned in a hostile meeting with the police review board for her alleged role in a murder case. Her long-time mentor on the force and friend of her father, who was killed in the line of duty, announces his retirement -- and something about his replacement is giving Pezzini a negative vibe.
"Pezzini and partner McCarty get a lead that suggests an ex-Special Forces soldier is out to kill Kenneth Irons (Anthony Cistaro), the man who may be her worst enemy and her most treasured ally. She must do what she can to save him; he's her only hope at getting closer to clues that will reveal her past and lead her closer to understanding her parentage to the Witchblade."
In other Witchblade news, Dex_sf directs fans to the Witchblade TV for the latest updates. "There is a a Sara Pezzini Screenmate for download and in the gallery of the site are nine NEW shots of the SERIES."
The WB network announced its fall schedule this week. The new Superman based TV show Smallville is on the schedule. The one-hour show will air on Tuesdays a 9pm, following Gilmore Girls at 8pm.
Smallville tells the story of a 15 year-old Clark Kent (played by Tom Welling) growing up in his Kansas home town. A teenage Lana Lange (Kristin Kreuk) and a 21 year old Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) are also among the series regulars. The series deals with Clark coming to terms with his powers, his relationship with Luthor and the general weirdness surrounding Smallville since an meteor crash 15 years earlier.
Fox TV is expected to announce it's fall schedule on Thursday. Fans can keep their fingers crossed that Ball and Chain will be on it. The show is based on Scott Lobdell's comic of the same name. Dan Cortese and Sasha Alexander are set to star as a bickering married superhero team on the brink of divorce. Unfortunately, their powers only work when they're together.
Reader Titan6959 wrote in to alert fans to the Smallville home page found on the WB Network's website. The Smallville page currently isn't all that impressive. It does feature a synopsis of the show (although nothing that hasn't already been reported) and one downloadable image of Tom Welling (Clark Kent) and Kristin Kreuk (Lana Lang). The site does, however, include a message board dedicated to the show.
At this point the domain name SmallvilleTV.com, which is owned by Warner Bros., remains unused.
The Fantagraphics e-mailer reports that preview screenings of Ghost World are generating good buzz for the film. The movie is directed and co-written by Terry Zwigoff (Crumb) and co-written by Daniel Clowes, the comics creator.
According to the e-mailer, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone raves about the movie in the magazine's "Summer Movie Guide" issue. Here's an excerpt:
"Ghost World is everything you don't expect when you connect comics and Hollywood. Working with Clowes, the gifted director Terry Zwigoff brings delicate feeling to this raw-edged tale of two teenage girls who are out of sync with the world around them.... Birch and Johansson sneak into your heart and stay there. Zwigoff's stunner of a film... is a rebuke to everything crass that Hollywood is bombing us with this summer. Don't duck this one; it's a winner."
Anderson Jones of E! Online reports that the movie's release has been pushed back until September.
A source at Lions Gate Entertainment told Comics2Film that Faust: Love of the Damned now has a release date. The movie version of David Quinn and Tim Vigil's comic is due out direct-to-video on August 28th.
Film Roman, the leading producer of prime time animation in the U.S., announced it's 1st quarter earnings yesterday. Good news for stockholders as earnings are up 51% over the same period last year.
Part of the announcement included various upcoming projects for the animation house. Film Roman's Digital Animation Studio is producing Werner, as an Internet pilot for Platinum Studios. The show is based on Germany's number one comic book and animated character.
Last year, Platinum's Scott Rosenberg told Comics2Film that he hoped to air Werner episodes on the web and also on television. They're also looking to create an animated feature based on the character.
Comics2Film has heard that Marvel and Fox are seeking a new writer to work on the Fantastic Four script. Sam Hamm (Batman) did two drafts of the script last year. However, the studio recently signed Peyton Reed (Bring It On) to direct the film and will likely be seeking changes based on the director's input, which is not unusual.
Kevin Kerwin is the writer of the Ash animated feature according to the 4FilmMakers website. The movie is based on Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti's fire-fighter turned super-hero concept, published by the now-defunct Event Comics. It's been in development as an animated feature at Dreamworks for almost four years.
If the information is correct, Kerwin is the latest in a string of writers to tackle the project. Past scribes have included Ed Khmara (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story), comic writers Len Wein and Marv Wolfman, and Larry Wilson (Beetlejuice, The Addams Family) and Les Bohem (Dante's Peak, Daylight).
Anime great Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira) has also expressed past interest in helming the feature.
4FilmMakers provides this description for the film's story: "Two firefighting brothers are exposed to chemicals and miraculously survive a blazing inferno. They come to realize that they were spared by a force from the future that has given them superhero powers. However one becomes good the other evil."
Back in February Comics2Film reported that director Robert Rodriguez would not start work on Madman following the wrap of Spy Kids as fans had hoped. At that time Madman creator Mike Allred told us that Rodriguez had been tapped to do a sequel to what promised (and ultimately proved) to be a hit family movie. So the Madman movie would have to wait for Spy Kids 2.
Now it appears the comic to film adaptation is even further down on Rodriguez's list. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed what had been rumored on the internet for weeks: the director's next movie will actually be Once Upon a Time in Mexico, a follow-up to his break-out indie flick El Mariachi and its slick sequel Desperado.
Like Desperado, Once Upon A Time will star Antonio Banderas as the Mexican troubadour-turned-killing machine. Quentin Tarantino, who appeared in Desperado, will return and Salam Hayek is a possibility too. Mickey Rourke also joins the cast. The story is said to be loosely based on Sergio Leone's classic spaghetti western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Presumably Rodriguez will follow Once Upon A Time with Spy Kids 2. Fans can keep their fingers crossed that Madman will follow that.
MEN IN BLACK 2
Dark Horizons reports that Famke Janssen is getting suited up of her role in Men In Black 2. Janssen is set to play Serleena, the lead-villain in the film. The movie is set to start filming in June.
Fans eager for a glimpse at Ang Lee's Hulk can check out his latest movie Chosen. The movie can't be seen in theaters. Instead, you can download it from BMW Films, a new website that puts today's top filmmakers behind the camera to make short films that feature BMW cars.
Lee's film features The Driver using his 540i to safeguard an eight-year-old Tibetan boy.
Lee is currently developing The Hulk for Marvel and Universal. Chosen doesn't feature the character prominently but does include a wink and a nod for fans.
Thanks to S.D. for the lead.
GOYER DIRECTS GAIMAN
David Goyer (Blade 2, Ghost Rider) is set to write and direct a movie based on a short story by Neil Gaiman according to The Hollywood Reporter. Goyer has signed with Dimension Films' to helm Murder Mysteries.
Gaiman's story is described as "a film noir set in heaven during the last days of Earth's creation. It follows the angel of vengeance as he sets out to solve the first murder ever committed, which occurs among the angels in heaven."
The movie is set up at Dimension Films. Don Murphy and Alessandro Camon are producing.
Rob Allstetter of The Comics Continuum recently spoke with Shaun McLaughlin, associate producer of the Justice League animated series. McLaughlin commented on some of the characters, first and foremost of which is Superman.
"He's the center of the group, I believe," McLaughlin told. "He's the one that everyone else can connect with because he's Superman.
McLaughlin also tells fans to expect Green Lantern to sound completely different from the animated superhero Static, in spite of the fact that they're both voiced by actor Phil LeMarr (Mad TV). "If you didn't know it was Phil, you wouldn't guess it was Phil," McLaughlin is quoted as saying. "I hesitate to call him a man of a thousand voices, because it takes away from how good an actor he is. He's stunningly talented."
Aquaman will be one of the few guest heroes in the series, with the initial run focusing on the core seven Justice League members.