In his Dish column for Daily Variety, Michael Fleming reports that Sony/Columbia will not be going forward with planned movie versions of Daredevil and Doctor Strange. Both movies were previously reported as being fast-tracked at the studio, who is also making the long-anticipated Spider-Man movie.
While the news doesn't mean that the movies will not be made, it certainly means that development on them will slow down as they seek new studios. Writer/Director Mark Steven Johnson and his producing partner Gary Foster hold the reins on Daredevil, while producer Don Murphy will shepherd Strange along. Fleming reports that Michael France (Goldeneye) is looking likely as the the screenwriter on Doctor Strange and that Chuck Russell (The Mask) and Steve Norrington (Blade) are both interested in directing that one.
No details are given about the abandonment except that talks between Marvel and Sony "hit the wall after six months of deal making."
Comics 2 Film got a Trencher progress report from writer/artist Keith Giffen.
"I'm pounding my way through another rewrite," Giffen said of the screenplay he's developing for the movie. Trencher tells the story of an agent of the afterlife sent to Earth with the mission of repossessing souls that have wrongly been reincarnated.
Giffen seemed happy to be revamping the script, "One of the good things is that I'm turning it back into my vision after a lot of people got involved and tickled with it for a while," the writer said.
He also seemed optimistic of the chances of the Trencher movie becoming a reality. "It seems to me it's no longer a matter of 'if'. It's a matter of 'when.'"
Giffen has also seen interest recently in a TV project called Lamentations. He described the original concept as, "Twilight Zone stories told through the Monty Python sense of humor, all set in Mayberry."
G-MEN FROM HELL
Mike Allred dropped Comics 2 Film a line to tell us that he's seen an early cut of the G-Men From Hell movie. "Saw a rough of the film. LOVED IT!" Allred enthused.
"Weird - strange - fun. And VERY faithful to my comics," he explained. "Virtually every one of my G-Men lines is in the film."
The movie is currently in post-production and should be ready for screening this year. No release date has been set for the film.
Corona Coming Attractions reports that the second trailer for X-Men will make its debut tomorrow night on Access Hollywood. The official website for the movie reports that the trailer will be available online on Thursday night.
In these franchise-hungry times it's never too early to start talking about the sequel. Indeed most reports on the internet state that the actors for the X-Men movie were required to sign contracts obligating them to appearing in sequels. Now Wizard magazine provides additional details.
The most recent issue of Wizard contains an extended write-up on the X-Men movie. Included is a brief mention of the sequels which are said to be scheduled for 2002 and 2004.
Director Bryan Singer told the magazine that he's eyeing certain characters for future installments. "The Beast...Gambit...Nightcrawler. Then there's villains, just one after another, that are great," the director is quoted as saying. "My favorite mutant of all is Proteus."
Executive producer Tom DeSanto favors the maniacal gamesman Arcade as a villain and also mentions the Brood. "We could do the Brood, but I think Fox'd sue us for ripping off Aliens," DeSanto said.
On a less speculative note, Singer indicated that the human constructed Sentinels is probably the most likely choice for sequel antagonists. "The villain [in the sequel] would be man. Mankind."
Thanks to BloodFang for the tip.
THE CROW: SALVATION
First up is the newly opened The Crow: Salvation website. The Flash driven site heavily promotes the soundtrack for the movie, which is now available in stores. It also includes a picture gallery from the film with downloadable wallpaper for your computer. The "About The Movie" section offers a plot summary and promises more behind-the-scenes information and images in the near future.
Nowhere on the site is the official release date given. However Irony reports that the Internet Movie Database is claiming a release date of May 19. This is unconfirmed, although previous reports did indicate the release would come in May.
Irony also reports that the score for Salvation will be out on April 11th, by Marco Beltrami (Scream 3). This would be the film's music score, not to be confused with the song selections found on the current soundtrack disc.
Looking forward to the Fourth Crow movie, Irony found this description of it on the Pressman Films site, "Crow IV - Continuing the comic-book horror franchise, The Crow IV will be set in the world of hip-hop music. The story will focus on a rap artist who, at the height of his career, is gunned down in mysterious circumstances. A year later, he returns from the grave through the spirit of the Crow in order to find out who his real killers are and to exact revenge upon them in style."
Thanks to Irony Despair for this investigative work. Thanks too, to Krow of As The Crow Flies for additional scoops.
ASTERIX AND CLEOPATRA
Daily Variety reports that the sequel to last year's Asterix and Obelix Vs. Caesar is moving forward. Christian Clavier and Gerard Depardieu will return to the roles of Asterix and Obelix in Asterix and Cleopatra. The movie's budget is expected to top that of the original, which cost $48 million making in the most expensive French-language movie of all time.
Alain Chabat (Didier) wrote the script and is set to direct the movie. The movie is to film in September in France, Malta and Morocco.
Fans in the United States have yet to see the original.
In an announcement detailing it's fourth quarter earnings, Film Roman Inc. also mentions it's upcoming animated series based on Marvel's X-Men. According to the report, Film Roman "will produce 13 episodes of an animated series, X-Men, based on the best-selling comic characters, for Marvel Media, which will air on the WB Kids network."
The official announcement has been made that the show is on the Kids WB! fall schedule according to a write-up in The Hollywood Reporter. The show is set to debut shortly after the live-action movie hits the big screen. The show is executive produced by Marvel's Rick Ungar and Avi Arad and animation veteran Boyd Kirkland.
The article also mentions an animated Jackie Chan show that's on the fall schedule. No word is given about the animated Static program.
JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS
The Reporter also states that Tara Reid (American Pie) is in negotiations to play the drummer of the band. Alan Cumming (Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas) is also in talks for the role of Posey's flunky talent scout who discovers the Pussycats.
Of course, every hot new movie needs a website. Comics 2 Film figured Uni must have picked up the domain name for this fast moving project. Sure enough, a quick look at the internet registry shows that Universal Pictures owns www.josiethemovie.com. Not surprisingly, the domain is not yet active.
BATTLE ANGEL ALITA
Cinescape checked with Viz Communication about the prospect. Viz publishes the U.S. version of the manga. The representative who spoke with Cinescape didn't know anything specific about any such movie. However, this person did tell them, "I know [Fox] called here a couple months ago, but we don't have the rights to the property and directed them to the proper people in Japan."
Rob Allstetter of the Comics Continuum reports that Alan Burnett (Batman Beyond) is a producer on the Static animated show for Kids WB!
Dwayne McDuffie will serve as a writer on the show and Denys Cowan will be a director (as we reported last week). The two men were founders of Milestone Media which created the character.
Producer/Director Chris Columbus has recently been attached to the Harry Potter movie leaving some fans wondering what will happen to the Fantastic Four movie. Cinescape contributor Cindy Pearlman asked Columbus for an update on that comic book movie.
"We had budgetary concerns," Columbus told Pearlman. "You have four characters who have these intense superpowers. One person is invisible, which is fairly easy to do. But when you combine that with a guy who bursts into flames plus can fly and a guy who can stretch nearly any part of his body nearly a mile and an eight-foot character made out of concrete and rock--well, it gets to be a budgetary nightmare. We're trying to find a way to do it that's not complete animation. It's really daunting. Right now, the budget would be about $280 million. It's prohibitively expensive. We can't make that film. So we continue to tinker with the script to get this movie down to size."
Thanks to BloodFang for the tip.
The Spider-Man Hype website continues to come up with interesting rumors about the Spider-Man movie. A story appearing on the site today claims that the title role in the movie has been cast. According to an anonymous source reports that other anonymous sources saw a person get out of a limo at Sony headquarters in L.A. with a "giant coat" covering him. For some reason the scooper is convinced that this is the top-secret actor who will be cast now and go into training for the role. The scooper offers no speculation as to who might have been under the coat.
Earlier in the week the Hype site posted what was said to be a concept illustration for the movie. The design work came from an anonymous graphic designer who was contracted to do the work. It is said to be one of 10 pieces this designer did for the movie. It does seem a bit peculiar though, given the attempted secrecy of movie productions these days, that a designer would leak his own work and allow himself to be identified by the studio as the source of the leak.