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December 2000

'Outlaw Star' coming to Toonami on Jan. 15
Posted Thursday, December 28, 2000, 2:16PM CST by Franklin Harris
Cartoon Network is adding the "Outlaw Star" anime series to its Toonami line up. The first episode will air January 15 at 5:30 PM (Central). "Outlaw Star" is already available on VHS and DVD from Bandai Entertainment.

Ray Park is Iron Fist
Posted Wednesday, December 27, 2000, 5:52PM CST by Franklin Harris
IGN FilmForce is reporting that Ray Park ("The Phantom Menace," "X-Men") has signed to play the Marvel Comics superhero Iron Fist in a movie of the same name.

Saban selling interest in Fox Kids network
Posted Friday, December 22, 2000, 12:40PM CST by Franklin Harris
The Associated Press is reporting today that Haim Saban has exercized his right to have Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp buy out his interest in Fox Family Worldwide, which includes the Fox Family Channel and the Fox Kids Network.

Saban, a children's programming mogul who has produced such shows as "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," is currently Fox Family Worldwide's CEO. AP reports that it isn't known what role he will have with the company once NewsCorp buys out his stake, a deal that could be worth as much as $2 billion.

It also isn't known yet what impact the deal could have on Fox Kids and Fox Family programming. Both are now loaded heavily with Saban-produced programs, including "Digimon" and "Ultimate Spider-Man."

Potentially, Saban's reduced role could lead Fox to pursue more non-Saban programming, which will no doubt please critics who have questioned Fox Kids' treatment of non-Saban shows, including "Escaflowne."

Brosnan may star in Bradbury film
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2000, 5:36PM CST by Franklin Harris
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Pierce Brosnan may star in and Renny Harlin may direct a feature-film adaptation of Ray Bradbury's time-travel story "A Sound of Thunder." The two are reportedly in final negotiations, and filmmakers hope to put the project before cameras during the first quarter of 2001, before a possible actors' union strike.

"A Sound of Thunder" is the story of a big-game hunter who goes on a time-traveling safari to hunt dinosaurs and inadvertently changes history.

The Hollywood Reporter's story confirms remarks Bradbury made earlier this year. Speaking at the University of North Alabama, Bradbury was confident that the movie (with Brosnan as its star) was a go.

NY Press letter to the editor
Posted Friday, December 15, 2000, 11:09PM CST by Franklin Harris
I was moved by a particularly silly review of "Unbreakable" in The New York Press to write the following letter to the editor (which was published in the Press during the week of Dec. 10):

The Color Purple

Armond White's 12/6 review of Unbreakable is, doubtless, the most absurd piece of film criticism I've read in ages. White spends almost as many column inches denouncing fans of M. Night Shyamalan's latest opus as he does denouncing the film itself. The film, he says, is obviously racist, and so, too, must be we who are blind to its racism.

A far more likely possibility, however, is that Unbreakable isn't racist, and that the film's supposed racism is simply the product of White's delusional imagination.

White misreads the film from beginning to end. A typical example is when he writes about actor Samuel L. Jackson's wardrobe, which White regards, somehow, as evoking homosexual stereotypes. Of course, what Jackson's wardrobe actually evokes is the over-the-top dress of comic book villains. Jackson's character, Elijah, after all, thinks he is the embodiment of a comic-book-style criminal mastermind, a la the Joker or Lex Luthor, both of whom, like Elijah, favor outlandish costumes of a mostly purple hue.

Apparently, White believes African-American actors can never play villains without contributing to some blacks-as-evil stereotype. It's attitudes such as White's that prevent African-American actors from getting the best parts in Hollywood, for, as everyone knows, the bad guys are always the most interesting characters.

Franklin Harris, Athens, AL

Marvel to explore e-books
Posted Wednesday, December 13, 2000, 8:11PM CST by Franklin Harris
Marvel Comics is in talks with three different e-book companies about the possibility of publishing CD ROM editions of classic Marvel back issues, Marvel Presidet Bill Jemas said today.

"There's a lot of very rich and very smart companies that think e-books are the wave of the future," Jemas said, adding that he hopes to see Marvel's e-book program up and running by the end of the first quarter of 2001.

In other Marvel news:

  • With regard to J. Michael Straczynski's (Babylon 5) upcoming run on "The Amazing Spider-Man," Jemas said, "Buy plenty of socks; your socks are going to get knocked off."
  • Don't expect to see more than four or five titles in Marvel's Ultimate Marvel line. "I don't think it would make sense to flood the market with Ultimate," Jemas said. Rather, he said he sees the Ultimate line as an entry point for readers to discover the regular Marvel Universe.
  • "We are further down the line with the mature readers imprint," Jemas said. "I would say that not all, but a significant portion of the mature readers imprint would be creator shared or creator owned. It doesn't mean that everything that is creator owned will be mature readers." Nor, he added, does it mean that all of Marvels' mature readres titles will be creator owned.
  • Marvel is expanding its trade paperback publishing, Jemas said. Marvel hopes to cut printing costs for trade collections by increasing its volume. The company is also in talks with two national bookstore chains to increase Marvel's visibility.

Franklin Harris

Dunst to play Mary Jane
Posted Tuesday, December 12, 2000, 8:09PM CST by Franklin Harris
Spider-Man Hype! and Coming Attractions are reporting that Kirsten Dunst has landed the role of Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker's girlfriend, in the movie version of "Spider-Man."

Tenchi in LA Times
Posted Tuesday, December 12, 2000, 5:40PM CST by Franklin Harris
The Los Angeles Times recently did a nice article on "Tenchi Muyo!" featuring interviews with some of the American voice cast. You can read it here.

Roddenberry's E:FC go for 5th season
Posted Tuesday, December 12, 2000, 5:33PM CST by Franklin Harris
From Sci Fi Wire: "Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict," the syndicated SF show from the late "Star Trek" creator, has been given approval for a fifth season, a spokeswoman told SCI FI Wire. "The fifth season of the show has a firm go," said Leah Krantzler, a spokeswoman for Tribune Entertainment Co., which produces the show in association with Alliance Atlantis. The fifth season will begin in October 2001, Krantzler said. She had no word on storylines or cast changes for the next season.

Ellison to write 'Glass Hand' movie
Posted Tuesday, December 12, 2000, 5:28PM CST by Franklin Harris
From Ellison Webderland, the official Harlan Ellison Web site:

Harlan [Ellison] has signed up to script the feature film version of his classic "Demon with a Glass Hand" [originally an episode of "The Outer Limits" -- FH] for Dimension Films. The screenplay is to be finished the 1st of June, 2001. [Ellison] will be working closely with director David Twohy ("Pitch Black," "The Arrival") and notes this is the first time he will be developing a movie in tandem with its director.

New 'Vampire Hunter D' movie news
Posted Sunday, December 3, 2000, 1:00PM CST by Franklin Harris
Here is a link to an excellent article by anime historian Fred Patten on the new "Vampire Hunter D" movie. Urban Vision, a California-based anime distributor, hopes for a more-than-arthouse theatrical release for the new film.


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