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Comics2Film Wrap for April 4th, 2003

SILVER SURFER

Driving cars off of bridges and parasailing on weapons of mass destructionjust aren't exciting enough for Vin Diesel. The actor revealed to TheNational Post that he'd also like to surf in space.

While fans have been puzzling over which superhero the muscled thespian wouldbe perfect for, it seems Diesel aspires to none other than Marvel's "SilverSurfer."

The actor said that he sees his own multi-ethnic reflection in the Surfer'sshiny skin. "The Surfer is an intergalactic superhero," Diesel toldThe Post. He also views the character as being "one step further than allthese regional superheroes."

At this point, however, such talk is just the actor's musings. "SilverSurfer" has long been in development with Twentieth Century Fox, who pickedit up as part of a package deal with "The Fantastic Four." At onepoint Andrew Kevin Walker ("Seven") had written a script for it. 

However, the most recent status is that they appear to be starting over. In aFebruary interview, Marvel chief Avi Arad said the project was in the earlystages and had no writer. Marvel did list it in recent earnings report as beingin development.

Playing big screen heroes is just part of the game plan for Vin Diesel, whohas exploded into stardom in the past few years. The actor will reprise his roleas the Riddick in a "Pitch Black" sequel. Aside from the Surfer, healso hopes to play Hannibal, the Carthaginian general in a period film, star ina remake of "Guys & Dolls" and do a romantic comedy as well.

Thanks to Cinescapefor the lead.

 

THE PUNISHER

The Internet press tipped it early, but yesterday Artisan Pictures and MarvelStudios officially announced that Thomas Jane ("Dreamcatcher") willstar as Frank Castle in "The Punisher."

Although no other parts have been cast, cameras are set to roll on the moviein July. Plans are to release the movie in summer of 2004. The filmmakers aim tothrow together a teaser trailer that will run with "The Hulk" thissummer.

Marvel's Avi Arad ("Spider-Man") and producer Gale Anne Hurd("The Hulk") are producing "The Punisher." JonathanHensleigh is directing from his own screenplay. The announcement does makemention of Michael Tolkin ("The Player") who recently did a polish onthe script.

Arad commented on the casting of Jane, "Although Frank Castle is atough-as-nails vigilante, he is, at his very core, an extremely tortured soul, avictim of survivor's guilt. Thomas Jane, being a character actor, is going tohave all the dimension necessary to bring to life the depth of a character whois both the hero and the victim with the physicality of a Super Hero. By signingThomas, we follow the Marvel tradition of bringing art-house actors in to tackleour complex characters. We are very excited to have him as part of ourfamily."

Fans who are wondering how the character's storyline will be tweaked for thebig screen should note this description of the movie:

"'The Punisher' tells the story of FBI undercover agent, Frank Castle,who until now has beat considerable odds. A former Special Forces operative, heis finally moving out of the field and into a desk job – and a normal lifewith his wife and son. Then Castle's world is shaken to its core by anightmare he has longed feared: his family is executed as a repercussion fromhis final undercover assignment. With unparalleled intensity, ferociousintelligence and fearless actions, Castle seeks to punish the murderers – andfinds the one thing he least expected: redemption."

Hurd agrees, adding, "Thomas is one of our finest actors and comes fromthe indie world, as have other actors who've assumed Super Hero roles sosuccessfully such as Tobey Maguire ('Spider-Man') and Eric Bana ('The Hulk'). Weare thrilled that an actor of this caliber will be our Punisher."

Artisan Entertainment Executive Vice President, Patrick Gunn, who overseesall Marvel projects at Artisan, and Artisan Pictures Director of Development,Rachel Murray are shepherding The Punisher at the studio. Marvel Studios'Executive Vice President, Kevin Feige will oversee "The Punisher" onbehalf of the Company, Vice President of Production, Ari Arad will co-produce.

The announcement also mentions that "Iron Fist" is in activedevelopment with Marvel and Artisan.

 

THE CROW: WICKED PRAYER

Edward Furlong ("Terminator 2") is pumping iron and bird watchingin preparation for the role of play James O'Barr's tortured avenger in "TheCrow: Wicked Prayer" according to SCIFI Wire.

"I'm on this special diet, I'm working out and I'm looking at crows allthe time," Furlong told SCI FI.

When some actors take on superhero roles, they start talking about Greektragedies or hidden-depths, but Furlong will have none of that. "I reallywant to be dressed up in leather and go kick the hell out of people with rockmusic in the background," he said. "I think it would be cool."

Amen, Eddie. Amen.

 

PAINKILLER JANE, BATTLE CHASERS

Producer Jason Netter dropped C2F/CBR News a line to let us in on a few moredetails about the "Painkiller Jane" TV pilot, which was recentlyannounced for SCI FI Channel.

Netter tells us that the character's creators Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiottiare both acting as associate producers on the show. The pair created thecharacter under their Event Comics publishing imprint. Fans well know that fromthere they moved into the position of editing Marvel's "MarvelKnights" imprint, which helped rejuvenate the publisher's flaggingcreativity. Now Quesada is editor-in-chief of the entire Marvel line.

Ken Levin is also a co-producer on "Painkiller Jane". Netter isacting as co-executive producer on the project.

Netter also points out in that in our "Battle Chasers" write-up, weneglected to mention that Gil Netter ("Phone Booth") is a producer onthe project.

 

ASTROBOY

Fans are reminded to head over to Dr. Boynton's lab on Sunday, April 6th andwitness the miracle of Tetsuwan Atom coming to life. Cake and ice cream will beserved later.

Tetsuwan Atom is better- known to fans in the west as Astroboy. In the"Astroboy" storyline, April 6th, 2003 is the date that the artificialboy is created by the hear-broken scientist.

Fans in Japan will enjoy new cartoons in conjunction with the special dateand a CGI animated movie is in development for U.S. audiences.

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