'Deadman,' 'Ghost Rider' updates. Also: 'Smallville,' 'The Crow' and 'Battle Royale': Comics2Film Wrap for May 13, 2003


Although it may seem deader that Boston Brand, Comics2Film/CBR News haslearned that the proposed "Deadman" TV movie is still in development.

Sources close to the development effort tell us that Neal Marshall Stevens("Thir13en Ghosts") is busy working on the script for the movie, whichcould serve as a series pilot.

Turner Network Television (TNT) announced the movie way back in the summer of2000. The most recent description of the concept states that "it deals witha murdered man who comes back to oppose evil."

Jason Pomerance completed a script for the film in 2001. Neil Cohen("Mann and Machine") came on board in December of that year to do apolish on the script. Stevens boarded the project last summer.

Dan Halsted, who brought "Witchblade" to TV, is an executiveproducer, along with Jorge Saralegui ("Queen of the Damned") and DCComics' Jeanette Kahn.

Our source cautions us that, while the project is still in activedevelopment, it's a long way from production.

C2F also has word that a feature spec script for "Deadman" ismaking the rounds in Hollywood. Although that spec is said to"amazing" it has no relation to the TV movie.



SCIFI Wire recently spoke with actor/producer Jon Voight about the upcoming"Ghost Rider" movie. Voight, who is a producer on that one, revealedhe might also be cast as the villain in the movie. However, he declined to sayspecifically who the villain of the piece is.

"Daredevil" director Mark Steven Johnson came on board "GhostRider" back in April and has the movie fast-tracked as his next project.Indications are that cameras could be rolling by the end of this year. 

Nicolas Cage is attached to flame up in the lead role.

"Ghost Rider" is a co-production between Voight's Crystal SkyCommunications and Sony's Columbia Pictures.



Fans can look for Clark, Lana, Lex, Chloe and the gang on a new night nextseason, according to today's Variety

The WB Network is moving their hit drama "Smallville" to Wednesdaynights at 8 p.m. where it'll serve as a lead-in for the returning"Angel."

Replacing the boy of steel on Tuesdays is the new Jerry Bruckheimer show"Fearless," dealing with an FBI agent who is incapable of feelingfear.

Fans who are late coming to "Smallville" will also have a chance tocatch up. Repeats of season one of the hit show are slated to fill the WB's 7p.m. slot on Sunday nights. The show is followed by new episodes of"Charmed" at 8 p.m. and then the new "Tarzan and Jane" at 9p.m.



Work on "The Crow: Wicked Prayer," the fourth film in thecomic-based franchise, is heating up. The movie has a cast that includes EdwardFurlong ("Terminator 2"), David Boreanaz ("Angel") andDennis Hopper ("Speed") and a targeted June start date.

Now, fans seeking new insights into the movie can click over to the "ABoy and His Bird" site at CrowFans.com. ABaHB has posted a reviewof the script by writer/director Lance Mungia ("Six-String Samurai")and producer Jeff Most ("The Crow").

The review is said to be very positive and contains minor spoilers.



In the film-to-comics front, fans in the U.S. will want to seek out"Battle Royale" in comic stores this week. Published by TOKYOPOP intrue manga format, the book adapts the controversial Japanese movie.

Caustic wit Keith Giffen ("Formerly Known as the Justice League","Lobo: Unbound") has taken on the task of writing the English adaptationof Koushun Takami and Masayuki Taguchi's graphic novel.

Takami Koushun wrote the original novel, which the manga was based on.The books then inspired the film, directed by Kinji Fukasaku. 

The premise "Battle Royale" involves a near-future Japan, plaguedby economic and social decay, and an increasingly violent youth underclass. Toremedy the situation, the government enacts the Battle Royale Act, creating ato-the-death tournament for under-achieving junior high school age children. Thestudents are isolated on an island, given guns and other weapons, and forced toengage in the bloody, last-man-standing contest.

The ultra-violent movie, largely viewed as unsuitable for mainstream,American, post-Columbine audiences, has never seen a legitimate release in theU.S.

TOKYOPOP presents all their manga titles in true manga format, readingright-to-left in order to preserve all artwork and sound effects as intended inthe original publication. 

"Battle Royale, Vol. 1" scored an A- grade in EntertainmentWeekly's comics section, making it the highest-rated book reviewed by theentertainment mag this week. The book is in stores this week.



In case you missed our breaking, afternoon update yesterday clickhere to see the first image of Ron Perlman in "Hellboy" makeup.

Chris Evans and Joe and Anthony Russo on the set of Avengers: Infinity War
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