The Dark Knight, Ghost Rider, TMNT, Hellboy: August 14th Comic Reel Wrap


Superhero Hype talked to producer Chuck Roven during press junket for the new musical "Idlewild," and asked about what was and what wasn't happening in Gotham City. "One of the things that we have always done -- we did it with the first 'Batman' movie in which we were involved, 'Batman Begins'" Roven said, "[is] we don't comment on any rumors because it takes all the fun away. We're really thrilled about Heath Ledger playing The Joker. As Chris Nolan said, the great thing about Heath is he commits himself fully and totally to everything he does. He's just a brilliant, brilliant actor and you know this Joker is a very interesting dark fellow. The script is in the process of being written. There isn't a screenplay that exists right now, so I can't really tell you much more than that. Certainly Christian Bale is going to play Batman and Bruce Wayne. We are supposed to start shooting what we call a preshoot, which we know what that is, in January and then the main body of the movie is going to start in March."


The fourth video blog is online, talking about the character of Johnny Blaze. The film is slated for a February 16th release.


Our pals at Comics2Film have an interview with director Kevin Monroe, talking about some of the technical elements of the project. "We went in and lit the movie as a black and white movie before we added any color to it," Monroe said. "So, we had like 1,000 lighting keys where we went and took films like 'Third Man,' most notably, it's a beautiful black and white film, so well lit. And we had a lighting department in Hong Kong, right, and we sat them down and screened Third Man, like, and we'd stop it and say, 'Right there, see that? The specularity on that shot, that's what we need to get.' So the cool thing is that we're really achieving it and so that was the sort of look we really wanted to go for, that moving graphic novel kind of thing. People throw that out so readily just to say, 'That's a moving comic book.' Seriously, I want to be able to go through this movie and you just get stills and just do a letterbox comic. That to me would be, I'd be more proud of that merchandising than anything else, the toy line, the video game, I just want to get a book of the stills and go, oh, okay, it looks like art."


Director Guillermo del Toro talked to Latino Review about the road ahead to the sequel. "We have a long prep ahead of us," del Toro said. "We're going to shoot this one in Budapest in Hungary, and we're going to shoot a little bit in London, and we're going to do preproduction and post-production in London. ... We definitely have all the regulars: Hellboy, Abe Sapien and Liz Sherman are back. We have two characters from the fantasy world, which are a prince and a princess that we will be casting very soon." The director described the story as "sort of the magical world declaring war on the human world. The first one was dealing with a much more urban environment, and the second one is more in a mythical type of environment, more magical. So hopefully it's closer to some of the aspects of the comic book that we couldn't portray in the first one."

Meanwhile, on the animated front, creator Mike Mignola goes into the variant flavors of Hellboy over at Comics Continuum. If, heaven forbid, we have to do a string of these films, each one of them has a unique-to-itself, separate identity," Mignola said. "Let's do one of these and one of these. Let's do a Sherlock Holmes thing. Let's do a fairy tale thing. So that they're all distinct and different." Of the upcoming "Hellboy: Sword of Stones," Mignola said, "I said that we should just lose Hellboy into his Japanese folklore world so that this thing just reeks Japan. And the next film will be a completely different thing." A second film, "Hellboy: Blood and Iron" is already in development, and producer Tad Stones said, "It has vampires and haunted houses, and it has much more emotion to it. You see Broom as a young man and an old man."


The forthcoming Gwen Stacy has no plans for a star spangled outfit, according to Contact Music. "I don't think I'm the right casting for that at all," said actress Bryce Dallas Howard. "I don't know how I'd look in that suit."

X-MEN 4?

Producer Lauren Shuler Donner is quoted in the LA Daily News as holding out for a possible return to Westchester. "The newer cast members are signed, and the older cast members are not," she said of further film possibilities. "Next, we're going to do 'Wolverine,' but not before the end of the year because he's in the Baz Luhrmann film. We have the script and are working on it. We also have 'Young Magneto' in development."

She's not the only one looking for another semester at Xavier's. Actor James Marsden told Movieweb "Yeah, I think this is going to be -- no, no, I, um -- I have no idea. I don't think that they're doing a Cyclops spin-off, but, if they're doing a 4th one, I don't know, I doubt it. I think they're just going forward with the 'Wolverine' spin-off, I think with Hugh (Jackman)." Marsden said he'd be up for a spot alongside Logan. "If they'd have me, I'd be a part of every one they did."


There are some great photos at the Legion World message boards showing some of the voice actors and crew for the new Cartoon Network series.

You can also catch a gaggle of screen captures at Comics Continuum.


CHUD has a story with screenwriter Zak Penn, who expounded on his next comic book movie projects. "No question the thing that it inspired me was the Ultimates run," Zak said. "I thought it was brilliant, cinematic, and made me realize that a super hero team didn't have to be goofy. There has been a lot of discussion about whether it will be live action or a next-gen big budget CGI thing, but we've tabled it for awhile while I write 'The Hulk.' I imagine we will make all these decisions next year." He lets slip a small point about the gamma-powered sequel as well.


There's an in-depth article at Variety (subscription required) about why Warner execs are still not sold on a Bryan Singer-led sequel. The trade believes the film will eventually break even. "Warners and co-financing partner Legendary Pictures have a shot at breaking even on 'Superman' once all the revenue streams are accounted for, but it's going to be a long, tough haul. Warners and Legendary -- which splits all profits with the studio down the middle -- are counting on strong home entertainment sales to make up for slower-than-expected box office."


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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