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

by  in Movie News, TV News Comment
Deadman, Garfield, Smallville and Punisher: Comics2Film wrap for June 10, 2003


In our previous
about the seemingly-dead “Deadman” TV movie Comics2Film/CBR
News reported on a feature spec script based on the DC Comics character that was
circulating in Hollywood. Although the script is not related to the development
of 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 to
be one Chris Connolly, working out of the New York offices of independent film
producers Daniel Bigel and Michael Mailer. Connolly has provided us with an
excerpt from the script and some background information about himself.

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

“When it comes to screenwriting, I’m still a starving artist, I haven’t
sold 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’s
projects, working with writers like Jim Toback, I know I can write just as well
and avoid the pitfalls I see almost every day reading scripts.”

Connolly said he’s been captivated by the DC Comics character since
discovering the “Deadman” reprints in the mid-1980s.

“I guess I had some kind of weird fascination with death and the
afterlife or something. And it was so well rounded out by the ’86 mini-series by
Andrew Helfer and Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, I remember thinking back then what a
great movie ‘Deadman’ would make,” Connolly said.

“When I started writing a few years ago, I pulled out those books and
re-read the whole thing. It was just as amazing as I remembered, and it probably
influenced my religious thinking more than I knew,” the writer told us. At
the same time DC was publishing a new round or reprints as well as launching an
intriguing 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 the
comics universe, next to maybe the Swamp Thing. He’s certainly the most
embittered. And his story is such a classic noir mystery that it practically
lends itself to that genre, which is why I set my story in the mid-to-late
40s,”  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 to
buy it) he’s taking a gamble. When a writer creates a spec based on an existing
property, 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 ago
and asked them if they had ‘Deadman’ in development, and she told me there was
no activity on it,” Connolly reports. He also secured a commitment that his
script would be read if he completed it. However, by the time the spec was
completed, producer Dan Halsted (of “Witchblade” TV fame) had come in
to develop the property as a TV show for TNT.

“My heart sunk — I felt pretty foolish for wasting the time, wondered
if maybe I planted a seed in their head.” 

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

Although the TV development has been slow to move, the producers of the show
are unable to consider Connolly’s work for legal reasons. While the recent
“Deadman” comics haven’t fared well, the screenwriter still has faith
in the character and his script.

“I still strongly believe that ‘Deadman’ would make a great surprise hit
in the same way ‘Blade,’ ‘Darkman’ and ‘Spawn’ were, especially now that
superhero 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 one
on spec.

In the mean time, fans and interested parties can read act
of Connolly’s “Deadman” script and judge for themselves
whether or not he’s captured the spirit of doomed adventurer Boston Brand.



A recent article at
gives 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 the
Garfield machine talked about the movie. According to the report, Garfield’s dog
pal/nemesis Odie will be CGI, just like the big orange cat. 

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

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

Principal photography on the live-action elements of “Garfield” has
wrapped 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 the
veterinarian Liz. The movie is slated for a June 2004 release.

Thanks to
for the lead.



Craig Byrne at recently
sent in this round up of “Smallville” related news.

First off, the short-lived “Timecop” TV series is returning to the
Sci-Fi Channel on July 11. Besides being based on a comic, it should be noted
that “Smallville” writers Mark Verheiden (co-creator of the concept), Alfred
Gough, and Miles Millar all worked on the show.

The 2003 KryptonSite Awards have now begun. The awards are a kind of the “Oscars of
Smallville.” 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 seasons
of “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.”



Are you a Florida resident or business owner and a glutton for punishment?
recently 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 periodically
for information about casting and vendor services.

Thanks to Brian from 



Entertainment loves dishing out the punishment. 

The publicity folks there told Comics2Film this week that we can now pass on
a total of ten copies of the super-cool teaser poster for “The
Punisher” to you, the readers.

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

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