THE ELTINGVILLE CLUB
Evan Dorkin recently announced that he and Sarah Dyer have negotiated a deal to develop a TV pilot based on his Eltingville Comic Book, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Role-Playing Club strip. Speaking to fans from the House of Fun website, Dorkin revealed that he is at work writing a pilot script for The Cartoon Network. " Sarah and I completed an extensive series bible which was accepted by the Network, and I am now currently agonizing over the script for the pilot episode," Dorkin said.
Dorkin and Dyer will both be highly involved with the development of the show. "My official capacity (or whatever you call it) on the pilot is that of a 'creator/producer/writer'-type (or whatever it's called)," Dorkin explained. "Meaning that I will be completely involved in the character designs, scripting, voice casting, music and other aspects of the pilot's production. I think I also have to sweep and mop the offices, I'll have to look into that. I do know that Sarah is the story editor on the pilot, and the great Stephen DeStefano will be the storyboard artist on the project."
Dorkin and Dyer have been negotiating the deal since last February. They quietly signed in December of 1999. The pair have a "solid relationship" with The Cartoon Network. They put in seven years on the Space Ghost Coast To Coast series.
Realizing that many development deals never materialize into actual shows, Dorkin offered some disclaimers. "Nothing is definite in TV or film, or even comics for that matter. There's tons of optioned properties out there in Hollywood and its vines, and most of them don't live past the development stage. I've seen far too many comic book creators crowing about 'major' big film or TV deal that in the end amounts to not much more than an option check and a press release or two," Dorkin said. "And I don't want to look like an idiot bragging about an Eltingville show when there's a terrific chance of it never happening."
As a footnote to the announcement, Dorkin added "And if anyone's wondering, Milk & Cheese are still not for sale."
In the same House of Fun newsletter, Dorkin also commented on the Skeleton Key animated show: "There's been some interesting developments with the Skeleton Key animated series that Sarah and I re-developed for Sunbow, based on Andi Watson's swell comic. As I mentioned before, you can't count on anything when it comes to the entertainment industry, but there seems to be some real interest brewing, and it would be great to see the show move forward."
HEAVY METAL 2000
The animated feature Heavy Metal 2000 (or F.A.K.K.2) if you prefer, will make its debut on the STARZ! cable channel (not Encore, Starz! sister station as we previously reported). The release date is now set at July 18, 2000.
"STARZ! Pictures is pleased to offer the many rabid fans of cult classic Heavy Metal the never-before-seen premiere of Heavy Metal 2000, the eagerly awaited and already much talked about follow up - chat rooms have been buzzing about it for months," Robert Leighton, president of Starz Encore Entertainment. "But Heavy Metal 2000 should not only enthrall its passionate dedicated fan base and science fiction enthusiasts, but also attract all viewers with an appetite for more unique and daring programming. The movie will further establish STARZ! Pictures as a destination for provocative, cutting edge films that can not be seen anywhere else."
"I always wanted to do an epic heroic adventure with a strong female lead," said Kevin Eastman, co-creator Heavy Metal 2000. "One that is thriving in a backdrop that combines the desperation of Road Warrior, the intensity of Aliens, the visual feel of Blade Runner, and the magnitude of Akira Kurosawa's Ran. Heavy Metal 2000 captures all that and more. The film combines classic 2D-cel animation with advanced 3D-computer animation, and an extraordinary original soundtrack featuring some of the biggest names in hard rock. It's intense, full of action and very fast paced."
Also announced is the debut of the new official website at http://www.heavymetal2k.com.
VOLCANIC REVOLVER, JINX AND MORE
Scott Morse announced last week the formation of THRAVE, a new company poised to take the comics and online entertainment industries by storm. Producing a number of animated feature films to air on a variety of Macromedia Flash-based websites, THRAVE intends to make its mark by offering established comic creators the opportunity to write and direct animated series based on their personal creations.
"The animation will be done traditionally so as to maximize the quality," commented THRAVE creator and Director of Creative Development, Scott Morse. "The films will initially air on the net in two to three minute, weekly installments. They will, when cut together, run approximately 80 minutes each, the basic theatrical length for animation. We will eventually release the films on DVD, video, and theatrically, through festivals and art houses."
Morse burst on to the comic scene with Soulwind in 1997 from Image Comics. He has since amassed an impressive collection of work including the Eisner-nominated Visitations and the Oni Press miniseries Volcanic Revolver, which has since become THRAVE's first feature project.
The initial set of THRAVE films and creative teams include but are not limited to:
- Volcanic Revolver – Scott Morse: writer/producer/co-director and Bryan Andrews: co-director
- Apparition Fightmachine – Scott Morse: writer/director/producer
- GRRL Scouts – Jim Mahfood: writer/director/producer
- Jinx – Brian Michael Bendis: writer/director/producer
- Blue Monday – Chynna Clugston-Major: writer/director/producer
- Cupids – Lawrence Marvit: writer/director/producer
- Seat of Life – Reid Gershbein: writer/director/producer
Joining this exciting group of creators is Bob Camp, a producer/writer/director from the award winning animated series Ren and Stimpy. Camp will serve as co-Director of Creative Development with Morse, as well as head up the Southern California studio and write/direct/produce his own feature, Pain and Envy. In addition to Camp and Morse, THRAVE will also have the expertise of consultant Mark Andrews, the Annie Award-winning storyboard artist of last year's Iron Giant. Founder Reid Gershbein rounds out the THRAVE staff, bringing with him significant animation experience, including a tenure at Pixar.
"This is very simply the next logical step in our visual storytelling evolution," says Jinx creator Brian Bendis. "These are characters and stories that we love and now we will be able to make them breathe with the same purity in which we first created them."
Though still in the very early stages of development, THRAVE has released two test animations from the feature Volcanic Revolver, exclusive to crazyfish.net and thrave.com. These prototype tests lack the exact colors, sound track, and complete smoothness of motion that will make up the final, but still hint at the unique nature of these new films. They can be found at http://www.crazyfish.net/thrave/vc1test.swf nd http://www.crazyfish.net/thrave/vc4test.swf.
Look for expanding content at THRAVE.com leading up to the trailers for first round of features in July, as well as a significant presence (along side Crazyfish) at this summer's Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Comic and screen writer Jeph Loeb recently gave an interview on the PopImage website. Among other things, he touched on his Blast! movie, which he's collaborating on with Joe Joe Madureria. The movie has been in development with Nickelodeon Films and Paramount Pictures.
Loeb told PopImage, "First off, there is Blast! at Nickelodeon which I am writing and producing with Joe Mad. It is afull length live action feature. We'll be doing ananimated series based on the movie as well." The writer went on to say that he "recently turned in the firstdraft to a very happy studio (including Paramount)."
Loeb has another animated project in the works as well. "I've taken my first step into animation," he said. " This fall,on PBS, I'm the head writer/supervising produceron Seven Little Monsters, based on thebook Seven Little Monsters by MauriceSendak (Where the Wild Things Are)."
PopImage asked why Loeb, given his dual writing disciplines, isn't writing the Batman or Superman movie. "Never been asked. Hollywood has it's own set of rules and I respect those. Someday." The prospect of Loeb writing the next Batman movie has been the subject of an internet support campaign spearheaded by the Batcave website.
The subject of Spider-Man casting rumors turned up in Michael Fleming's Dish column in last week's Daily Variety. According to Fleming, the lead candidates for the part are Heath Ledger (Patriot), Wes Bentley (American Beauty), Chris Klein (American Pie), Tobey Maguire (The Cider House Rules), Ewan McGregor (The Phantom Menace) and Leonardo DiCaprio (The Beach). The article mentions that Sony/Columbia have said that no casting decision has been made.
This week, a spy for Ain't it Cool News reports what may be some corroboration for the Chris Klein rumor.
The spy, a Savannah student who worked as an extra on The Gift, claims that Klein was in town during the shoot. The Gift, of course, is Spidey director Sam Raimi's current project. The spy claims to have confirmed this, although it's not clear if he actually saw the actor or not.
The same spy also heard that Liam Neeson was in Savannah during the shoot as well. Neeson has been rumored in the past as being attached to the role of the villain of the movie (possibly the Green Goblin). However, the spy could not offer first-hand confirmation of Neeson's visit. It was just something he had heard.
In a related story, Spider-Man Hype reports that Neil Spisak may be on board as production designer for the movie. Spisak has credits on movies like Heat, Face/Off and Spidey director Sam Raimi's The Gift. Raimi and Spisak also paired on last year's For Love of the Game. The Hypesters do caution that this is an unconfirmed rumor.
Ain't it Cool News reports that Darren Aronofsky has confirmed his involvement with the next Batman movie. A spy from Argentina reports seeing the director while at a screening of Pi for the Independent Movie Festival.
According to the spy, Aronofsky allegedly said that he's been approached to the movie and likes the idea. The director is also said to have commented that he would like a "younger and independent" Batman for the movie. Beyond that, he refused to disclose any further details.
Rob Allstetter spoke to Chaos! Comics publisher Brian Pulido about the upcoming Lady Death animated movie in his Trailer Park column. "We're still targeted to come out March 2001," Pulido told Allstetter. "We've handed in the story and we're 90 per cent through the character designs. We go into full pre-production in about a month. It's about two months off track, but other than that, we're proceeding along swimmingly."
Pulido revealed that the movie will likely see a theatrical release in Japan, but will probably be direct-to-video in the U.S. However, he also speculated that a cable airing is possible too.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
A recent press release from Mirage Licensing, Inc. indicates that they have assumed assumed responsibility for all licensing rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The characters were created by Mirage founders Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in 1983.
The characters enjoyed 15 years of marketing success, starring in an animated show, three movies, comic books and an seemingly endless line of toys and merchandising.
No word is given as to what impact (if any) the move will have on the prospect of a future Turtles movie or TV show.
A recent interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger (End of Days) reveals that scripting on the Doc Savage movie is underway. "That's being written now as we speak," Schwarzenegger told The Sci-Fi Wire recently. "But ... I've not seen a finished draft. I've only seen parts of it."
The actor related a story of how he first became aware of the character during his body builder days. Another body builder had patterned his appearance after the bronze-skinned, blond-haired character. That person showed Schwarzenegger his collection of Savage books and memorabilia, thus exposing him to the character.
Frank Darabont (The Green Mile) and Chuck Russell (Eraser) have been developing the movie with Schwarzenegger since last summer. "Frank Darabont and Chuck Russell [and I] ... were always sitting down together talking about what would be great to do, what could we do together," Schwarzenegger told Sci-Fi Wire. "And Frank Darabont said, 'You know something, I've been watching you. You're like Doc Savage. Have you ever thought about it? ... You're more Doc Savage than you are Conan or the Terminator. You'll be great. ... Would you ever do it?' And I said, 'Why not?' That's how that all happened."
Sean Wise (a.k.a. The Wiseguy) took to heart recent urgings to write to the Oakley company about acquiring a pair of Cyclops shades from the X-Men movie. The Wiseguy heard back from Oakley and received this interesting response:
"Dear Sean, Thank you for your e-mail. The style of glasses in the X-Men movie are called Juliet's. They are currently not available with Ruby Quartz lenses, however, they are available in 4 other different color combinations. Fortunately, we are currently testing the possibilities of having the Juliet's available to the public with Ruby Quartz lenses. So stay tuned and check back with our website for future information regarding the X-Men movie."
The Wiseguy is a life-long superhero fan who is sponsoring a contest to any talented artist who can transform him into a comic book character. Click here for details.
Meanwhile, Sir Ian McKellan continues to keep X-Men fans informed on his website. He posted the answers to many fan questions earlier this month. On bit of information regards the planned sequels. "Like other actors in X-Men I have agreed, under certain conditions, to return if a sequel is made," the actor said.
Thanks to BloodFang for the tip.
DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING
IGN Movies spoke to Neil Gaiman at a recent fundraiser for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. A major tease from the interview, which hit the web early this week, was the revelation that Gaiman was now on board to write and direct the big-screen adaptation of his comic Death: The High Cost of Living. More of that interview was posted on Wed.
Gaiman told IGN that the movie was looking to be an indie-size affair, in spite of the fact that'll it'll be coming from Warner Bros. "It's a small, character-driven film, that is not star-driven, and is not effects-driven. It's plot-driven," Gaiman told IGN. "When I began talking to Village Roadshow, I said, 'Look, one of the reasons I want to do this is, it's notintimidating. It's a small film, and it should be a small film in order to work.And it should be a small, cool film that people tell their friends about.'"
Although currently plans are for a small movie, Gaiman explained that it will expand on the comic significantly. "If you took [the graphic novel] and made afilm out of it, you'd have a fairly cool 40-minute film. So it needs to grow."
Of course, with the comics creators holding the major creative reigns on the movie, it will still be true to the book. "At heart, it's the same story. It's the idea that you have a young man whothinks he wants to die, who meets a young girl who claims to be Death,who teaches him the meaning of life. Or that there is some reason to stickaround. That story won't change."
Gaiman also commented on rumors that Fairuza Balk (The Waterboy) would play the goth-babe Death. "No. I like Fairuza enormously, and I'm pretty damn sure that she'dlove to be Death. I've seen her quoted in interviews as saying she'd love tobe Death. [But] there is no casting yet. Casting, when it happens, will haveto be done with Warners and Village Roadshow. And I think it's really thatI will get to have lunch with all the possible contenders. So that makes meenormously happy."
MEN IN BLACK 2
A report from the Mothership indicates that Will Smith (Wild Wild West) has signed on for the sequel to Men In Black. According to the report, while talking to Pat O'Brien on Access Hollywood, Smith said, "Men In Black 2? We just signed up for that one. The script is brilliant. Essentially, there's an intergalactic war, so this one takes place beyond the boundaries of Earth."
The Showtime cable network is looking to break into adult-oriented animation by adapting Gahan Wilson's Nuts, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Nelvana Ltd. will produce the feature-length telefilm, which will be called The Kid. The movie will tell three different stories about "a 10-year-old boy with an overactive imagination."
Voice talent on the movie includes Lolita Davidovich (Play it to the Bone), Andrea Martin (The Rugrats Movie), Jennifer Tilly (Liar, Liar), William Shatner (Kingdom of the Spiders), Edward Asner (Max Steel), Eugene Levy (American Pie) and John Neville (The Silver Surfer).
Wilson will serve as executive consultant on the movie, which he co-created with Stan Daniels. Daniels will serve as an executive producer along with Gene Kraft and Paul Winters. The film is set to air late 2000 or early 2001. It may serve as a pilot for a series as well.
During a recent chat on bigstar.com sci-fi babe Julie Strain (Heavy Metal 2000) expressed her desire to play Wonder Woman on the big screen, in spite of the fact that Sandra Bullock (28 Days) has been often-rumored for the role. At the prompting of Comics 2 Film reader Scott Hargaves Strain answered, "I auditioned for that Wonder Woman movie, and I know I'm the best Wonder Woman, but I found out that Sandra Bullock is playing that part. Its ridiculous -- you want to see someone with long legs in that part. Its year 2000; loosen up and hire someone that'll show their t*ts."
The feisty Strain (who told fans last year that she could kick Lara Croft's ass) went on to say, "But I'm the Wonder Woman year 2000; I know it and everyone else knows it. I'll wear stars and stripes and a G-string to the movie premiere, and I'll show everyone who the real Wonder Woman is."
Thanks for the tip Scott.
Rob Allstetter of the Comics Continuum got some disappointing news when he spoke with Nexus co-creator Steve Rude about then animated series recently. "Regarding the series, it is dead at this point," Rude told The Continuum. "I withdrew after many endless delays from both sides, Fox and Sony."
However, Rude did say that Dark Horse was picking up the option on the property.