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Deadman, Garfield, Smallville and Punisher: Comics2Film wrap for June 10, 2003

DEADMAN

In our previousupdate about the seemingly-dead "Deadman" TV movie Comics2Film/CBRNews reported on a feature spec script based on the DC Comics character that wascirculating in Hollywood. Although the script is not related to the developmentof the TV show, we were hearing good things about it.

Since then we've been contacted by the author of that spec who turns out tobe one Chris Connolly, working out of the New York offices of independent filmproducers Daniel Bigel and Michael Mailer. Connolly has provided us with anexcerpt from the script and some background information about himself.

Connolly has been working with Bigel/Mailer for four years. He startedworking as an assistant on James Toback's movie about hip-hop culture,"Black and White" and most-recently earned an Associate Producercredit on the feature film "Empire," starring John Leguizamo.

"When it comes to screenwriting, I'm still a starving artist, I haven'tsold anything yet but I'm here to stay," Connolly told C2F/CBR News."I've always been drawn to it and, through my development work on Bigel/Mailer'sprojects, working with writers like Jim Toback, I know I can write just as welland avoid the pitfalls I see almost every day reading scripts."

Connolly said he's been captivated by the DC Comics character sincediscovering the "Deadman" reprints in the mid-1980s.

"I guess I had some kind of weird fascination with death and theafterlife or something. And it was so well rounded out by the '86 mini-series byAndrew Helfer and Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, I remember thinking back then what agreat movie 'Deadman' would make," Connolly said.

"When I started writing a few years ago, I pulled out those books andre-read the whole thing. It was just as amazing as I remembered, and it probablyinfluenced my religious thinking more than I knew," the writer told us. Atthe same time DC was publishing a new round or reprints as well as launching anintriguing new take on the character with quirky art by Kelly Jones.

Connolly said he still found the character intriguing ten years later."He's a terrific antihero and probably the loneliest character in thecomics universe, next to maybe the Swamp Thing. He's certainly the mostembittered. And his story is such a classic noir mystery that it practicallylends itself to that genre, which is why I set my story in the mid-to-late40s,"  he said, citing "The Big Sleep" and "L.A.Confidential" as influencing his adaptation.

Whenever a writer writes on spec (i.e. speculation that someone will want tobuy it) he's taking a gamble. When a writer creates a spec based on an existingproperty, the gamble becomes much greater as there is only one potential buyer:in this case Warner Bros.

"I called up a development person at Warner Brothers about 4 years agoand asked them if they had 'Deadman' in development, and she told me there wasno activity on it," Connolly reports. He also secured a commitment that hisscript would be read if he completed it. However, by the time the spec wascompleted, producer Dan Halsted (of "Witchblade" TV fame) had come into develop the property as a TV show for TNT.

"My heart sunk -- I felt pretty foolish for wasting the time, wonderedif maybe I planted a seed in their head." 

Connolly put the script aside and waited anxiously for the TV show tomaterialize. And he waited. And waited.

Although the TV development has been slow to move, the producers of the showare unable to consider Connolly's work for legal reasons. While the recent"Deadman" comics haven't fared well, the screenwriter still has faithin the character and his script.

"I still strongly believe that 'Deadman' would make a great surprise hitin the same way 'Blade,' 'Darkman' and 'Spawn' were, especially now thatsuperhero movies are such a hot ticket."

Connolly has other scripts in development and would love to try his hand at a"Green Lantern" script, although presumably he won't be doing that oneon spec.

In the mean time, fans and interested parties can read actone of Connolly's "Deadman" script and judge for themselveswhether or not he's captured the spirit of doomed adventurer Boston Brand.

 

GARFIELD

A recent article at Indystar.comgives some insights into the movie version of Jim Davis' "Garfield".The article details the path the project took from comic strip to production.

Kim Campbell, spokeswoman for Paws Inc., the creative and business end of theGarfield machine talked about the movie. According to the report, Garfield's dogpal/nemesis Odie will be CGI, just like the big orange cat. 

Campbell is quoted as saying that the pair, "really look like realanimals more than like the cartoon character you're used to seeing in the strip.With computer-generated imagery, these animals really look alive. These arecartoony, but they're more realistic. The cat has fur."

The article also reveals that Davis had creative input on the movie's scriptand also makes a cameo appearance as a drunken conventioneer.

Principal photography on the live-action elements of "Garfield" haswrapped and the CGI animation work on the leading pets is now underway.

Bill Murray ("The Royal Tenenbaums") gives voice to the chubby cat.Breckin Meyer plays Garfield's owner Jon, while Jennifer Love Hewitt plays theveterinarian Liz. The movie is slated for a June 2004 release.

Thanks to Aint-it-cool-news.comfor the lead.

 

SMALLVILLE (and TIMECOP)

Craig Byrne at KryptonSite.com recentlysent in this round up of "Smallville" related news.

First off, the short-lived "Timecop" TV series is returning to theSci-Fi Channel on July 11. Besides being based on a comic, it should be notedthat "Smallville" writers Mark Verheiden (co-creator of the concept), AlfredGough, and Miles Millar all worked on the show.

The 2003 KryptonSite Awards have now begun. The awards are a kind of the "Oscars ofSmallville." The nominations are in and Byrne will be releasing the nominee list shortly.Fans can currently vote for "Best Actor" for the 2002-2003 season.

KryptonSite has also confirmed that writer Drew Greenberg has joined the writing staff of"Smallville." Greenberg was a staple of the sixth and seventh seasonsof "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer."

 

PUNISHER

Are you a Florida resident or business owner and a glutton for punishment? VisitTampaBay.comrecently posted information about how to get involved in the soon-to-lens"The Punisher" from Artisan and Marvel.

Filming is set to begin in mid-July, and will feature many Tampa locations,including downtown and the Columbia Restaurant. Ybor City, the Tampa Theatre,the University of Tampa, and the Florida Aquarium may also be part of the movie.

Interested actors and business owners are asked visit the site periodicallyfor information about casting and vendor services.

Thanks to Brian from ComicBookConventions.com 

 

PUNISHER CONTEST X 10!

ArtisanEntertainment loves dishing out the punishment. 

The publicity folks there told Comics2Film this week that we can now pass ona total of ten copies of the super-cool teaser poster for "ThePunisher" to you, the readers.

We'll be taking names from now until June 22 (right around the time that theofficial website officialwebsite launches). Just fill out the simple entry form on Comics2Film.comfor your chance to win!

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