Smallville, Doctor Strange, Heroes, Azumi: July 27th Comic Reel Wrap


There's a reprint of a TV Guide article over at Devoted to Smallville, where actress Erica Durance talks about longbow hunting. "I'm the actress, not the writer, talking, but I think Lois being with Green Arrow will make Clark search through some of his feelings and make him ask himself why he feels that way," said Durance. "Watching characters dance around each other and bait each other and not quite fall into sentimental love is interesting for me to see. What is also interesting for me to see is these two fighting with each other and finding out why they love each other."


Somewhere on the web, Neilalien just perked up -- a new article at Now Playing states that the Doctor is in for the fourth planned direct-to-DVD animated Marvel film (following the existing "Ultimate Avengers," the pending "Ultimate Avengers 2" and the already-announced "Iron Man"). "People are like, 'Whoa, Doctor Strange. That's such a left turn!'" said Marvel's Craig Kyle. "But for us, every one of these films has been different. We've done this spectacular save-the-world team story that's very gritty and very dark and very moody and foreboding, just like the guys in the comics created it. And then you go into an origin story of Iron Man and you bring in all of this wonderful storytelling that's unlike anything you have in the team book. And now 'Doctor Strange' shows that Marvel's not just about mutants and radioactive characters: It has sorcery and mysticism and magic and creatures from other worlds." "Doctor Strange" is tentatively planned for a late 2007 release.


There's a great write-up of last weekend's panel and pilot screening right here at CBR and former "Alias" actor Greg Grunberg is quoted at Sci Fi Wire talking about being okay with the editing choices. Can I just say, for superstitious reasons, I'm extremely excited that I'm not in the pilot," Grunberg said. "I wasn't in the pilot of Felicity. I wasn't in the pilot of Alias. I was in the pilot of Lost, and then I got eaten. So I'm excited that I get established in the second episode. It's a good thing."


Superhero Hype has an interview with Japanese action director Ryuhei Kitamura, who's working on the adaptation of the Yu Koyama female samurai comic, discussing the challenges of working on the project. Kitamura said, "This producer asked me and I said, 'I will do Azumi, but we have two big problems, one is the story. The comic is so big, so long, so how do we make a two-hour story out of the huge comic? The other thing is the actress problem. Who's going to play Azumi?' It's impossible to find an actress who can move in Japan. It's not like Hong Kong or China or Korea. Most of the Japanese actors and actresses, they can't move. That was the problem, I knew that, but 'Azumi' was a very big movie so studios were all saying they wanted to use someone famous. Someone famous is easy to find, but it's a different thing if she can move, so I had to find somebody who I can train as Azumi, maybe famous or maybe becoming famous. Me and the producer auditioned 200 beautiful girls. We just called every beautiful girl from 14 to 23, all over Japan, but we couldn't find one. I was so desperate. I'm not the kind of director that can make a movie just as a job, so if I have no confidence in it, I'm not going to do it. On the one hand, we were fighting how to write the script. It took like a year and a half 'til we finished the script." Overseas fans have had access to this for some time, but the film is just now hitting the US.


Director Jon Favreau made a new post at his MySpace group about his weekend and the Marvel adaptation. "For those of you who haven't heard," Favreau wrote, "Mandarin will be the villain. But don't expect a magical Fu Manchu stereotype. We are taking many liberties to update the villain. He will still size up as Stark's nemesis, but we're throwing in a few surprises for the fans of the books. I also heard the 'James Bond' [sic] has since planned to release its next installment on our same date: May 2, 2008. The only weekend of 2008 taken, I might add. I'm sort of surprised by the move by Sony as I'm sure we share some of the same audience. It feels like two cars fighting over the same spot in an empty parking lot. I guess they expect us to move. I really don't get it."


Superhero Hype also has two new photos from the drastically different projects, while director Zack Snyder is quoted at Sci Fi Wire talking about the process of working in ancient Greece. "I drew the movie," Snyder said. "So the way I would do it [is] I'd draw a frame, and ... I'd photocopy Frank's frames, so basically the challenge for me was to get the movie to go through Frank's frames. ... If you look at the book, it's a montage, right? It's not a moment-to-moment experience, like a film is. So the challenge for me is to go, 'OK, here's the moment that Frank drew. The horse rears up, and it's frickin' awesome. So I how like get into that moment?'"


The film's video blog has been updated with last weekend's Comic-Con footage and the film's leads chatting up the project.


Director Tad Stones gave Sci Fi Wire the skinny on the long road to get this project done. "I started working with [Hellboy comic creator Mike Mignola] when I was still at Disney on the Atlantis spinoff show, where he was designing monsters for me," Stones said. "When I left Disney, I called up Mike to ask if I could do a couple 'Hellboy' scripts just to have on spec. We went ahead and did two half-hour scripts, and he was there every step of the way. And then they did the [2004 'Hellboy'] movie. So we started the series before the movie was out ... like, a year before the movie was out ... It was talked about as a series, and, basically, the deal didn't go through for a variety of different things. IDT made a deal with Revolution Studios at Comic-Con last year, and it came through that we would do two movies, which was weird for Mike and [me]. Part of the fun was that we had all these stories, like, five Lobster Johnson stories to tell, but then it was movies, and once I got into the movies, I absolutely didn't want to do a series." "Hellboy: Sword of Storms" premieres on Cartoon Network this fall and comes to DVD in February 2007.

Stones was also interviewed at IGN where he said, "Mike [Mignola] basically feels like each new media version of Hellboy has got its own universe. I think even the game, even though it looks like the movie characters, the storyline is totally separate from the movie. The character relationships in our movies are those of the comics; we don't use the relationships between Liz and Hellboy which Guillermo thought were necessary for his movie. Guillermo had an arc figured out for those characters over the course of three movies, and we hope to see them all. But my feeling was hopefully we're going to have a lot of these movies, and I'm going to keep it as close to the comic as possible because that's the wellspring where everything came from. So these are standalone episodes, pretty much."


How can the big-time sequel get any bigger? IMAX, baby, according to IGN's FilmForce. Look for that on May 4th, 2007.

Meanwhile, the actresses were hush-hush on romantic triangle (or quadrangle) talk at a Sci Fi Wire piece from last weekend. "And so, you know," said actress Bryce Dallas Howard, "I don't want to give anything away. None of us do, because we don't want to betray the audience, because ... they had that opportunity with the first and second film. They really didn't know what they were going to expect, and it made it that much more entertaining."


According to Superhero Hype, "Platinum Studios, an entertainment company that controls the world's largest independent library of comic book characters, and NBC 7/39 have made dreams a reality for one lucky comic fan! D.J. Coffman, a Web illustrator from Pittsburgh, Pa., won the first annual Comic Book Challenge and will receive a Web and print comic book development deal with Platinum Studios for his comic concept, 'Hero By Night.' Platinum Studios will also develop the property for film, TV and other electronic mediums."


Comingsoon.net is reporting that "the studio will release director Andrew Douglas' 'Priest' on August 17, 2007."


Yahoo! Movies has a new clip from the Renny Harlin-helmed graphic novel adaptation.


Speaking of graphic novels, ICv2 is reporting that a live action feature film based on Kevin Eastman and Simon Bisley's "Fistful of Blood" is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2007. Eastman will produce and direct Fistful of Blood, which will likely have an "R" rating. Filming is set to begin in November; although, at this time, no cast members have been signed.


According to Kryptonsite, "Aquaman crept up the charts of the most downloaded TV show videos on iTunes, and at last glance, hit the #1 spot."


Here's where you get in on the action. Did you see a link we didn't catch? Have you snuck into a closed movie set, and have inside data? Maybe your cousin is dating somebody who knows something, and they had to tell you? Whatever it is, we wanna know it all -- fire off an email and let us know whether you want your name used or your contributions to geekdom to go down anonymously. Broadcasting live from Los Angeles, this is novelist/karaoke host/all-around lunatic Hannibal Tabu saying thanks for your time and indulgence, and [tagline sent back to development hell until something hipper can be dreamed up].

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