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'Mandrake' makeover. 'Spidey 2' F/X. 'X2' on HBO: Comics2Film wrap for April 23rd, 2003

MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN

Screenwriters Josh Oppenheimer and Tom Donnelly ("A Sound ofThunder") have turned in a draft of the script for the big-screen update ofLee Falk's "Mandrake The Magician." Comics2Film/CBR News followed upwith the producers at Crusader Entertainment to see how the project was shapingup.

A spokesperson for Crusader told us they are thrilled with the first draft."It is an incredibly unique action film."

Createdin 1934, Falk's Mandrake strip featured a stage magician who used his powers ofhypnotism and illusion to fight crime.  Crusader tells us that the moviewill update the character for the 21st century.

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"The Mandrake in the film will not be the 'classic' Mandrake, clad intop hat and tux," our source said. "He will be a contemporary magicianin the high concept, David Blaine mold. His skills range from simple illusionsto elaborate escapes."

Plans are for Oppenheimer and Donnelly to do a polish on the script beforegoing out to actors and directors. Crusader tells us they've had interest fromseveral parties on the talent front, but so far nobody is attached. However oursource tells us the ideal lead for the movie would be, "someone like ColinFarrell, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp or Leonardo DiCaprio."

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Crusader Entertainment and Hyde Park Entertainment announced that they'dpicked up the film rights to the classic comic strip last fall. Around the sametimeframe, they also purchased the feature rights to Falk's classic costumedhero "The Phantom."

 

SPIDER-MAN 2

Warning: This "Spider-Man" update contains potential, but minorspoilers about the new movie.

A New Zealand news outlet called Stuffdetails the work of Kiwi F/X man Mark Sagar on the upcoming"Spider-Man" sequel. Sagar will be working as part of the SonyImageworks team on the digital effects for the animating character and his foeDoctor Octopus.

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The new movie will provide some unique challenges over the first one, whichwill require Sagar to model not just the web-slinger, but star Tobey Maguire aswell.

"During the first movie, virtually all the action shots involvedSpider-Man with his mask on," Sagar told Stuff. "But this time therewill be extended computer-generated sequences in which Spider-Man has his maskripped off."

Since the limits of motion capture would make it impractical to try tocapture all potential expressions made by Maguire, Sagar, who holds a doctorateengineering, has developed a new method for generating realistic facialmovements based on "geometrical expression changes."

"The techniques I'm using are the most realistic yet, but require dataacquisition from the subject," Sagar said. "However, there are quitecomplicated ways to modify this data to make it look like someone else."

Sagar has already used his Lightstage software, which he co-created, tocreate animated models of President George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden. Thosewere just for fun.

Thanks to Mark for the lead.

 

X2: X-MEN UNITED

What lurks on channel X? Only Rob Zombie knows, but if you want to know what lurks in the new X-Men movie tune in to "The Making ofX2" on HBO starting this week.

For behind-the-scenes revelations about those dashing mutants, tune in to thecable premium channel on Thursday at 10:45 p.m. If you miss it, don't worry.Many encores are planned through May.

Here are the schedule airdates:

Channel

Date/Day

Time

HBO

24-Apr THURS.

10:45 PM

HBO

27-Apr SUN.

6:00 PM

HBO

29-Apr TUES.

4:30 PM

HBO

2-May FRI.

2:15 PM

HBO

2-May FRI.

9:45 PM

HBO

7-May WED.

7:00 AM

HBO

7-May WED.

11:15 PM

HBO

10-May SAT.

3:30 PM

HBO2

1-May THURS.

5:35 AM

HBO2

3-May SAT.

10:15 AM

HBO2

12-May MON.

11:00 PM

HBO2

22-May THURS.

5:45 AM

HBO FAMILY

6-May TUES.

8:45 PM

HBO FAMILY

14-May WED.

4:00 AM

HBO FAMILY

15-May THURS.

8:45 PM

HBO FAMILY

16-May FRI.

5:45 AM

HBO FAMILY

24-May SAT.

8:45 PM

HBO ZONE

18-May SUN.

10:45 PM

HBO ZONE

29-May THURS.

10:45 PM

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