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December 2001

Sam Elliott, Nick Nolte sign up for 'Hulk'
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2001, 2:43PM CST by Franklin Harris
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sam Elliott and Nick Nolte have joined the cast of "The Hulk," directed by Ang Lee and based on the Marvel comic. Elliott will play the Hulk's nemisis, Gen. "Thunderbolt" Ross. Nolte will play the father of the Hulk's alter ego, Bruce Banner (Eric Bana). Jennifer Connelly has already signed to play Gen. Ross' daughter, Betty, who is also Banner's love interest.

PR: 'Hulk' movie release date set
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2001, 8:02PM CST by Franklin Harris
PRESS RELEASE: UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- Universal Pictures will release "The Hulk," the feature film based upon the classic Marvel Comics series, on June 20, 2003, it was announced by Nikki Rocco, president, Universal Pictures Distribution. Acclaimed filmmaker Ang Lee ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") is set to direct the film, from a screenplay by James Schamus. The film's producers are Gale Anne Hurd, Avi Arad, James Schamus and Larry Franco. Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee is the executive producer.

'The Hulk' will be our big tent-pole movie for summer 2003, which will be supported with an unprecedented company-wide marketing effort, and the third weekend in June is the perfect release date for a major event title like this," said Ms. Rocco.

Ang Lee's concept for the film will combine all the elements of a blockbuster visual effects-intensive superhero movie with the brooding romance and tragedy of Universal's classic horror films -- for The Hulk is at once a superhero and a monster, a wish fulfillment and a nightmare. Lee and his team have gone back to the moving, early incarnations of the character created in May 1962 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, staying true to the subversive spirit of the early Marvel years, while completely updating and projecting "The Hulk" into the dangers and aspirations of contemporary times.

Eric Bana, who won international acclaim in the title role of "Chopper" and who next appears in Ridley Scott's "Black Hawk Down," stars as scientist Bruce Banner, whose inner demons transform him into The Hulk in the aftermath of a catastrophic experiment. Bana will play both the human Banner and -- through groundbreaking visual effects technology provided by the Oscar(R)-winning Industrial Light and Magic -- the superhuman Hulk. Jennifer Connelly, who won rave reviews for her performance as a hapless Coney Island resident in "Requiem For A Dream" and who currently co-stars with Russell Crowe in Ron Howard's "A Beautiful Mind," portrays Betty Ross, whose scientific genius unwittingly helps unleash The Hulk, and whose love for Banner finds its impossible resolution in the film's denouement.

Production on "The Hulk" is scheduled to start on March 18, 2002 at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

Sinbad to sail again
Posted Monday, December 17, 2001, 10:39AM CST by Franklin Harris
According to Variety, Columbia Pictures is looking to revive the Sinbad franchise with a new film to be directed by John Singleton. Columbia is looking at possible 2003 and 2004 release dates.

The original Sinbad films are best remembered for the stop-motion miniature effects of Ray Harryhausen.

Norrington gets 'Extraordinary Gentlemen' film
Posted Monday, December 17, 2001, 10:35AM CST by Franklin Harris
According to Variety, Stephen Norrington will direct "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" for 20th Cenury Fox. The film, budgetedt for $80 million, is based on Alan Moore's comic book miniseries of the same name. The story features various Victorian literary creations (including Capt. Nemo, Dr. Jekyl and the Invisible Man) brought together by a mysterious man known as M to defend the British Empire from extraordinary threats. The script is by comic-book writer and screenwriter James Robinson ("Starman"). Production should begin in March or April.

Dreamwave to publish new 'Transformers' comics
Posted Thursday, December 13, 2001, 7:29AM CST by Franklin Harris
According to Newsarama, Dreamwave Productions has purchased the rights to publish new "Transformers" comics. The first new comics will be published in April, and the first six-issue mini-series will feature all of the "Generation 1" characters. Dreamwave also has the rights to produce comics, posters, etc., using characters from other "generations," as well as any new Transformers characters the toy company Hasbro creates.

PR: 'Ghost World' comes to DVD and VHS on Feb. 5
Posted Thursday, December 13, 2001, 7:19AM CST by Franklin Harris
PRESS RELEASE: SANTA MONICA, CA From the director of the critically acclaimed feature film "Crumb," the "uproariously funny" (Premiere) "Ghost World" debuts on DVD and rental VHS on February 5, 2002 from MGM Home Entertainment.

Based on the hit underground comic book of the same name, "Ghost World" features the hot new talents of Thora Birch ("American Beauty"), Scarlett Johansson ("The Horse Whisperer") and Brad Renfro ("The Client"), and includes veteran favorites Steve Buscemi ("Fargo") and Illeana Douglas ("Stir Of Echoes"). A "whip-smart comedy" (People), "Ghost World" is an outrageously wry coming-of-age satire about two social misfits who learn the hard way that life gets even weirder after graduating from high school.

Available for $26.98, the "Ghost World" DVD boasts deleted and alternate scenes and a "Making-Of" Ghost World featurette, which features interviews from the cast and crew. In addition, the DVD includes a rare music video from Gumnaam, 1965 showcasing the music of Mohammed Rafi's "Jaan Pehechaan Ho."

While their classmates head for college, Enid (Birch) and Rebecca
(Johansson) focus their energies on tormenting those around them! From a goofy convenience store clerk (Renfro) to an eccentric art teacher (Douglas), these two saboteurs wreak havoc on all who cross their paths.

But when they zero in on an oddball loner (Buscemi) looking for Miss Right, their seemingly innocent meddling threatens to shatter one of their hearts -- not to mention their lifelong friendship!

'X-Men' sequel gets release date
Posted Wednesday, December 12, 2001, 7:41PM CST by Franklin Harris
Twentieth Century Fox announced today that its "X-Men" sequel will begin filming in May, with a planned release date of May 2, 2003. The sequel has the somewhat underwhelming title, "X2."

The studio says the film will include additional characters from the "X-Men" comic books.

Source: Sci-Fi Wire

Universal looks to remake 'Black Lagoon'
Posted Wednesday, December 12, 2001, 7:27PM CST by Franklin Harris
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal Pictures is looking to remake its 1954 classic, "Creature from the Black Lagoon." Gary Ross and his father Arthur A. Ross, the co-writer of the original film, will produce the remake.

Clooney, Soderbergh get 'Jennifer Government' rights
Posted Monday, December 10, 2001, 7:48PM CST by Franklin Harris
George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh's Section Eight production company has purchased the rights to "Jennifer Government," described as a mystery/thriller set in a futuristic world in which everything has been privatized, reports Variety. (Actually, that sounds just like my kind of world.) "Jennifer Government" is a novel by Australian author Maxx Barry. Doubleday, meanwhile, purchased the book's North American publication rights. Barry's previous novel, "Syrup," was a send-up of soda marketing. (Meaning that Barry is probably just the latest tired critic of "consumer culture." Which, of course, doesn't keep him from complaining that his publisher doesn't do a good enough job of promoting his books.)

Tarantino takes on 'Alias'
Posted Monday, December 10, 2001, 7:41PM CST by Franklin Harris
USA Today reports that Quentin Tarantino will appear (as an actor) on an upcoming episode of ABC's new series, "Alias." Tarantino, who will play a villain, will not direct the episode, which will air next year.

'Astroboy' film to be CGI
Posted Monday, December 10, 2001, 7:38PM CST by Franklin Harris
Sony's feature film "Astroboy," based on the Japanese manga and anime series, will be CGI animated, according to a report in Variety. Originally, the project was conceived as a live-action film. Sony is shooting for a 2004 release.

PR: '9-11 Emergency Relief' tops charts
Posted Saturday, December 8, 2001, 7:00AM CST by Franklin Harris
PRESS RELEASE: Alternative Comics' "9-11 Emergency Relief" graphic novel -- the upcoming collection of autobiographical stories and reflections on the September 11 terrorist attacks on America from a host of over 80 major mainstream and independent cartoonists -- is the top-selling item from Diamond Comic Distributors in their Graphic Novels/Trade paperbacks category for books to be released in January. What's more, since it was first announced, the book has increased in size from 128 to 208 pages -- but remains just $14.95 retail.

Proceeds from sales of the book will benefit the American Red Cross. The book is expected to ship from the printer on January 11.

The "9-11 Emergency Relief" website is: www.indyworld.com/relief.

Bullseye cast for 'Daredevil' film
Posted Thursday, December 6, 2001, 8:26PM CST by Franklin Harris
Variety reports that Colin Farrell will play the assassin Bullseye opposite Ben Affleck's Daredevil in the "Daredevil" film based on the Marvel Comics character.

WB considers 'Lone Ranger'
Posted Thursday, December 6, 2001, 8:19PM CST by Franklin Harris
According to The Hollywood Reporter, The WB has given the green light to a pilot for a new "Lone Ranger" television series. (It can't be worse than 1981's "The Legend of the Lone Ranger," can it?)

Jim Shooter returns to Marvel
Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2001, 9:05PM CST by Franklin Harris
Hell has frozen over. Newsarama reports that former Marvel Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter is returning to Marvel Comics to write an Avengers project, which will feature the return of an old Avengers foe, Korvac.

Unedited 'Batman Beyond' DVD coming
Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2001, 8:57PM CST by Franklin Harris
In an interview with ToonZone, "Batman Beyond" producer Bruce Timm revealed that an unedited version of "Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker" is headed to DVD in 2002. The DVD will feature a commentary track.

WB starts up 'Birds of Prey' pilot
Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2001, 8:54PM CST by Franklin Harris
According to Dark Horizons, The WB has started pre-production on a pilot episode for "Birds of Prey," based on the DC Comics comic book starring the Black Canary and former Batgirl Barbara Gordon (a.k.a., Oracle). For the TV series, however, Oracle may not be Barbara Gordon, so as to distance the character from Batman.

No 'Star Wars' original trilogy DVDs until 2006
Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2001, 8:48PM CST by Franklin Harris
Waiting for the original "Star Wars" trilogy to come out on DVD? Keep waiting. George Lucas doesn't plan to release the original trilogy on DVD until 2006. (And even then, it'll probably be the Special Edition versions. Wait and see.)

Source: Post Magazine and Dark Horizons

Harlin booted from Bradbury flick
Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2001, 8:40PM CST by Franklin Harris
SciFi.com reports that Renny Harlin was fired as the director of "The Sound of Thunder" after Harlin said he wanted to remove a key plot element from the classic story, based on a Ray Bradbury short story.

In an interview with SciFi.com, Bradbury said, "[Harlin has] been on the project for more than a year, and he's a fine director ... But then, about four weeks ago, quite suddenly, [he said,] 'Why don't we take the butterfly out of Sound of Thunder?' Can you believe that? When I heard it, I whooped with laughter. I said, 'Oh my God, ... if you wanted to be accurate about being stupid, this was it.' So they fired him, and we've got a new director [Peter Hyams] now."

"The Sound of Thunder" is the story of a time-travelling big game hunter who unwittingly alters history just by stepping on a butterfly.

Pierce Brosnan is set to star in the film.

Fiennes joins 'Red Dragon'
Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2001, 8:32PM CST by Franklin Harris
Ralf Fiennes has agreed to star as The Tooth Fairy serial killer in "Red Dragon," based on Thomas Harris' novel, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Anthony Hopkins will also appear as Hannibal Lecter. Brett Ratner is directing the film, which will also star will also star Edward Norton, Emily Watson, Harvey Keitel, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Mary-Louise Parker. Michael Mann previously filmed the same story as "Manhunter."

'Terminator 3' moves forward
Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2001, 8:10PM CST by Franklin Harris
If the long-in-development "Terminator 3" ever actually starts production, it will give Arnold Schwarzenegger his biggest paycheck yet: $30 million according to Variety columnist Michael Fleming. But any studio that picks up the film is looking at a budget of as much as $180 million.


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