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'Y' optioned, 'Punisher' and 'Fantastic Four' talk: Comics2Film wrap for May 16, 2003

Y: THE LAST MAN

ComingAttractions at Cinescape reports that writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist PiaGuerra's Vertigo comic "Y: The Last Man" has been optioned for the bigscreen by New Line Cinema.

J.C. Spink and Chris Bender, Mason Novick of Benderspink and David Goyer aresaid to be producing the movie.

The information from the report appears to be largely derived from theproject's listing 4Filmmakers trackingsite, which sometimes presents bleeding edge information that turns out to beerroneous. However, as that site is run by Benderspink, odds are, in this case,the information is accurate.

Further corroborating the story, Coming Attractions also discovered that NewLine has purchased the domains ythelastman.com and ythelastmanmovie.com.

"Y: The Last man" tells the story of Yorick Brown, who findshimself the sole male survivor of a global plague. For more on "Y: The Last Man," read CBR News' interview with artist Pia Guerra from September, 2002.

PUNISHER

Ryan Downey of MTV.com caught up with Marvel's Avi Arad to talk about casting on "ThePunisher."

Back in April, Artisan officially announced that Thomas Jane ("Dreamcatcher")would step up to the lead role in the production. Arad commented on the choiceof casting a character actor over a Hollywood action hero.

"You don't want tojust get a man of steel - you want a man of steel with a bleeding heart. Youwant someone who cares and therefore you're going to care for him. Thomas Jane,he has soulful eyes," Arad said. "I see him as a cross between Steve McQueen and ClintEastwood. And he has that thing about him - when he is sad, you feel likecrying with him. And when he is mad? Watch out."

Just this week it was announced that John Travolta was on board to play thevillain in the film, Howard Saint, a crime-lord gone straight, who is pulledback into his violent lifestyle when is own son is killed.

"We didn't want to do a cliché villain," Arad said of Travolta."We are going for a dignified businessman [who is] cold but almostcharming. And we are going to see his world fall apart like he made Frank'sworld fall apart. ... There is a lot of pain to what happens to Saint in thismovie. And we needed an actor who can carry a real emotional journey."

In spite of the comics' violent tale of vengeance, Arad said the movie willlook beneath the surface to the humanity of the characters.

"We'd like to take the Punisher saga and turn it into a realinteresting film about emotions, about punishment, and deal both with the heroand the villain evenhandedly as people first and see what happens when the shoeis on the other foot. And you really need great actors to pull it off."

For more of Arad's thoughts about the movie check out thecomplete interview.

In other "Punisher" news a write up in TheSaint Petersburg Times talk's about the movie's Tampa location. Cameras willroll in the Florida city starting in July. According to the article, it will bethe first movie to film principal photography there in over a decade.

Tampa film commissioner Edie Emerald was also happy that the city would beplaying itself in the movie, and not merely standing in for a different orgeneric city.

"So often I'm showing clients around, looking for places that can doublefor New Orleans or Charlotte or Texas," Emerald told the Times. "This is thefirst time when a director felt (Tampa) was perfect."

The article credits Michael France, who penned the script beforewriter/director Jonathan Hensleigh came on board, as moving the character fromNew York City to Tampa. France is said to be a resident of St. Pete Beach.

Tampa's downtown, Ybor City and theColumbia Restaurant in Ybor have already been selected for locations in theshoot. Tampa Theatre, the Florida Aquarium andthe University of Tampa campus are also being considered.

Thanks to Peter S. for the lead.

FANTASTIC FOUR

LatinoReview is the latest site to chat it up with "Fantastic Four"director Peyton Reed. Reed confirmed much of the recent talk, including the factthat Mark Frost ("Twin Peaks") is on board to rewrite the script.

"I like the Fantastic Four really because they're daytimesuperheroes in a way and they don't have secret identities. They're verymuch a part of New York City, they're part of a community. You can run intothem on the street and there is that kind of thing, trying to get at the realityof what it would be like to have actual superheroes in the city and setting themup in a pretty realistic environment," Reed said of his attraction to thecharacters.

For more of the director's comments check out thecomplete interview.

Thanks to IGN FilmForce for the lead.

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