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NEWS ARCHIVE

May 2002

John Singleton to direct 'Sinbad'
Posted Friday, May 31, 2002, 5:51AM CDT by Franklin Harris
From Variety: John Singleton has signed to direct a new "Sinbad" movie, working from a script by "Terminator 3" writer Tedi Sarafian. Singleton is also directing the sequel to "The Fast and the Furious."

Darabont to pen 'Indy 4' script
Posted Friday, May 31, 2002, 5:46AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Frank Darabont ("The Green Mile") will write the script for the fourth "Indiana Jones" movie, Variety reports. Paramount is looking to release the film on July 4, 2005.

Alan Cumming to be Nightcrawler in 'X-Men 2'
Posted Thursday, May 30, 2002, 6:34AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Forget that story from The Hollywood Reporter saying that Ethan Embry ("That Thing You Do") has been cast as Nightcrawler in the upcoming "X-Men" sequel, "X2." Variety has a new story saying that Alan Cumming ("Spy Kids") will play the part of the fuzzy, teleporting mutant.

'Aliens vs. Predator' gets greenlight from Fox
Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2002, 5:46AM CDT by Franklin Harris
IGN FilmForce reports that Fox has greenlighted "Aliens vs. Predator." No director is attached to the film yet, but Paul Anderson ("Resident Evil") seems to be a leading contender.

Natalie Portman in 'Return of the Jedi' special, special edition?
Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2002, 7:21PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Dark Horizons relays a report from MTV that Natalie Portman will film new scenes to be inserted into a special, special edition of "Return of the Jedi."

Fourth 'Indiana Jones' to film in 2004?
Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2002, 5:33AM CDT by Franklin Harris
From MTV: George Lucas says that the fourth "Indiana Jones" movie may start filming in 2004.

Columbus passes on third 'Harry Potter'
Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2002, 5:26AM CDT by Franklin Harris
From Variety: Chris Columbus, who directed "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and is at work on its sequel, has passed on the third Harry Potter film, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."

Pioneer gets U.S. rights to 'Lupin III' TV
Posted Monday, May 27, 2002, 9:20PM CDT by Franklin Harris
From Japan Today: Pioneer Entertainment U.S.A. has aquired the rights to the 228-episode "Lupin the Third" anime series, based on the popular manga character created by Monkey Punch.

DreamWorks to turn Japanese video game into horror flick
Posted Monday, May 27, 2002, 10:04AM CDT by Franklin Harris
DreamWorks has purchased the rights to turn the Japanese video game Fatal Frame into a big-screen horror movie, according to Variety.

Monica Bellucci up for 'Extraordinary Gentlemen'
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2002, 4:09PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Monica BellucciVariety confirms earlier reports that Italian actress Monica Bellucci is close to signing on as Mina Harker in "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." (My readers may recall that Bellucci is my favorite to play Wonder Woman, should the long-in-development film based on the DC Comics character ever get out of Development Hell.)

Bellucci has become a hot property in Hollywood ever since her appearance in the sleeper-hit Italian film "Malena" (2000). She is a new favorite of genre filmmakers, with roles in "The Brotherhood of the Wolf," the "Matrix" sequels and the new Bruce Willis action film "Man of War."

New 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' in the works
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2002, 2:32PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Variety reports that a new company, Curzon House of Horrors, will start production this summer of a new version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." The film is the first in a planned series of classic remakes, to include "The Fall of the House of Usher," "Dr. Faustus" and "Crime and Punishment."

'Witchblade' production halts; star in rehab
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2002, 2:27PM CDT by Franklin Harris
TNT has temporarily halted production of its series "Witchblade," as star Yancy Butler has checked herself into an alcohol rehabilitation center, reports Cinescape Online. However, six new episodes are complete, and the series' second season will debut June 16 as scheduled.

Wolfgang Petersen to direct 'Ender's Game'
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2002, 11:54AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Wolfgang Petersen ("The Perfect Storm") will direct "Ender's Game," the feature film based on Orson Scott Card's science-fiction novel, reports IGN FilmForce.

'Ghost Rider' rises from the dead at Sony
Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2002, 11:41AM CDT by Franklin Harris
After a stint in development hell at Dimension Films, "Ghost Rider" is back from the dead at Sony, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Columbia Pictures is negotiating to acquire the movie rights to Marvel Entertainment's comic-book character and has Shane Salerno ("Shaft") in mind to rewrite the existing script. Neither director Steve Norrington nor star Nicolas Cage is still attached to the project, although Columbia hopes to lure Cage back.

Roxburgh joins 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'
Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2002, 11:43AM CDT by Franklin Harris
IGN FilmForce reports that Richard Roxburgh has been cast as Campion Bond in the big-screen adaptation of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," based on Alan Moore's comic book of the same name. Roxburgh should be familiar to genre fans because of his supporting roles in "Moulin Rouge," "Mission: Impossible 2" and the upcoming martial-arts flick, "The Touch," starring Michelle Yeoh.

Miramax sends 'Zu Warriors,' Jackie Chan straight to video
Posted Monday, May 20, 2002, 11:54AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Miramax is shelving plans to release two recent Hong Kong movies in North American theaters. Instead, "Zu Warriors" (a.k.a. "The Legend of Zu") and the new Jackie Chan film, "The Accidental Spy," will go directly to home video and DVD, reports the Monkey Peaches Web site. Fans of these films were already disappointed about changes and edits Miramax reportedly made to both movies.

A trailer for "Zu Warriors" is included as an extra on the new DVD release of "The Others."

Disney revives 'The Greatest American Hero'
Posted Monday, May 20, 2002, 11:47AM CDT by Franklin Harris
According to Daily Variety, Disney is looking to revive the '80s ABC TV series "The Greatest American Hero" as a feature film. Paul Hernandez is writing the screenplay.

Fox cancels 'Dark Angel,' picks up 'Firefly'
Posted Thursday, May 16, 2002, 12:19PM CDT by Franklin Harris
From USA Today: James Cameron's sci-fi drama, "Dark Angel," joins the long list of casualties at Fox, a list that includes "The X-Files," "Titus," "Ally McBeal," "That '80s Show" and "Greg the Bunny."

Fox, however, has picked up "Firefly," a sci-fi series from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator Joss Whedon, for its fall schedule. "Firefly" is described as a "futuristic drama about space travelers that plays more like an old-fashioned Western."

Fox is putting "Firefly" in the "Dark Angel" slot, Fridays at 7 p.m. CT, according to Sci-Fi Wire and Variety.

Marvel predicts 2002 profit
Posted Thursday, May 16, 2002, 6:32AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Thanks in part to "Spider-Man"'s huge box-office take, Marvel Enterprises is predicting a profit of $2 million to $4 million for 2002.

Source: ICv2.com

'60s 'Batman' reunion in production
Posted Thursday, May 16, 2002, 5:54AM CDT by Franklin Harris
According to Variety, CBS has expressed interest in a "Batman" reunion special, which will bring together Adam West, Burt Ward and other surviving cast and crew from the campy, 1960s TV series.

ABC renews 'Alias,' picks up 'Dinotopia'
Posted Thursday, May 16, 2002, 5:48AM CDT by Franklin Harris
From Variety: ABC has renewed "Alias," one of the network's few hits during the past season, and picked up "Dinotopia" as an ongoing series.

Casting begins for 'I, Robot' movie
Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2002, 9:08PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Dark Horizons reports that director Alex Proyas ("Dark City") has started casting his film adaptation of Isaac Asimov's book "I, Robot."

'Attack of the Clones' to hit DVD by fall
Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2002, 11:00AM CDT by Franklin Harris
George Lucas said that "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" will be available on DVD this fall, according to the Associated Press.

Del Toro will not direct 'Blade 3'
Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2002, 6:18AM CDT by Franklin Harris
"Blade 2" director Guillermo Del Toro will be unable to direct "Blade 3" because of a scheduling conflict with his "Hellboy" project, according to Sci-Fi Wire.

Lucy Liu to revive 'Charlie Chan'
Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2002, 6:15AM CDT by Franklin Harris
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lucy Liu ("Charlie's Angels") is reviving the Charlie Chan franchise. She plans to play the Chinese detective's granddaughter in a new film to be produced by John Woo.

Brad Pitt as Captain America?
Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2002, 10:32AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Don't run screaming for the hills yet, but Brad Pitt says he wants to be a part of any "Captain America" movie, according to a report posted at Dark Horizons.

Frank Oz to remake 'The Stepford Wives'
Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2002, 10:30AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Dark Horizons reports that Frank Oz is set to direct a remake of "The Stepford Wives" for Paramount. This time, however, the movie will be a "black comedy."

'Flash' movie report debunked
Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2002, 10:27AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Comics 2 Film has debunked an earlier report that Warner Bros. was putting "The Flash" into development and looking at Vin Diesel to star. As they say: Never mind.

'Extraordinary Gentlemen' cast shapes up
Posted Monday, May 13, 2002, 10:51AM CDT by Franklin Harris
IGN Filmforce brings us up to speed on the casting of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," the film based on Alan Moore's comic-book miniseries. The cast so far: Sean Connery (Allan Quartermain), Stuart Townsend (Dorian Gray), Shane West (Tom Sawyer) and Jason Flemyng (Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde). Major roles yet to be cast are Mina Murray Harker, the Invisible Man and Capt. Nemo.

Kingsley may join Bradbury's 'Sound of Thunder'
Posted Monday, May 13, 2002, 8:17AM CDT by Franklin Harris
From The Hollywood Reporter: Ben Kingsley ("Sexy Beast") is close to joining the cast of "The Sound of Thunder," the movie based on Ray Bradbury's time-travel tale about a big-game hunter seeking to bag a dinosaur. Peter Hyams is directing, and Catherine McCormack and Edward Burns have already signed on to star.

NBC plans miniseries based on Rice's witches
Posted Monday, May 13, 2002, 8:12AM CDT by Franklin Harris
According to Entertainment Weekly, NBC is planning a 12-hour miniseries based on Anne Rice's Mayfair witch books: "The Witching House," "Lasher" and "Taltos." It will air sometime during the 2003-04 season.

'Star Trek II' special edition DVD due in August
Posted Monday, May 13, 2002, 8:04AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Cinescape reports that the special edition DVD of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" is set for an August 6 release. The special edition will be a 2-disc set featuring an expanded cut of the film, new and old interviews with the cast and crew, trailers, an audio commentary by director Nicholas Meyer and a text commentary by Trek encyclopedia co-author Michael Okuda.

No DVD of original 'Star Wars' trilogy until 2005
Posted Monday, May 13, 2002, 7:56AM CDT by Franklin Harris
According to the Toronto Sun, it will be 2005 before fans get DVD editions of the original "Star Wars" trilogy.

'Spider-Man 2' bad guys revealed?
Posted Friday, May 10, 2002, 4:59PM CDT by Franklin Harris
According to Empire Online, "Spider-Man" star Kirsten Dunst let slip the identities of the villains in "Spider-Man 2": Doctor Octopus and the Lizard.

'Thundercats' comic book coming from Wildstorm
Posted Friday, May 10, 2002, 4:41PM CDT by Franklin Harris
Another bit of '80s nostalgia is making its return. The Wildstorm imprint of DC Comics has picked up the rights to "Thundercats." Newsarama reports that a five-issue miniseries based on the popular cartoon (now in reruns on Cartoon Network) will debut in August.

Issue No. 0, which will serve as a primer for those new to the Thundercats, is scheduled for an Aug. 7 release. Issue No. 1 will hit stands two weeks later.

'The Flash' in development at WB
Posted Friday, May 10, 2002, 12:13PM CDT by Franklin Harris
No doubt the folks at DC Comics are feeling a bit of envy over Marvel Comics' newfound boxoffice success. And the fact that most of DC's movie projects are in some level of Development Hell probably isn't helping. But 4Filmmakers.com is reporting that "The Flash" is going into development at Warner Bros. with Vin Diesel (!) in mind as the title character.

Sony sets up CGI-animation unit
Posted Friday, May 10, 2002, 11:00AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Sony Pictures is starting a division to produce computer-animated cartoons, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Jackson to star in 'S.W.A.T.' movie
Posted Friday, May 10, 2002, 10:58AM CDT by Franklin Harris
From The Hollywood Reporter: Samuel L. Jackson has agreed to star in the big-screen version of "S.W.A.T.," based on the '70s TV series. Production will start later this year.

'Dragnet' returns; ABC orders 13 episodes
Posted Friday, May 10, 2002, 9:50AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Producer Dick Wolf ("Law & Order") is bringing back the old Jack Web TV series "Dragnet." ABC has ordered 13 episodes for a January launch, Variety reports.

Tom Cruise to remake 'War of the Worlds'
Posted Friday, May 10, 2002, 9:13AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Variety reports that Tom Cruise will produce a remake of "The War of the Worlds" for Paramount. Production is to begin in 2003 for a 2004 release. Cruise may or may not star in the film.

'Miami Vice' coming to the big screen
Posted Thursday, May 9, 2002, 11:45AM CDT by Franklin Harris
"Miami Vice" creator Michael Mann is producing and writing a big-screen version of his '80s TV series for Universal, Variety reports. Mann may also direct. The movie will be an update of the original series rather than a continuation; so, it's probably a good bet that TV series stars Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas will not return as Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs.

'Buffy' to end after next year?
Posted Thursday, May 9, 2002, 6:28AM CDT by Franklin Harris
From Ain't It Cool News: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" ends for good after season seven, according to last Thursday’s edition of The Courier-Mail (Australia). The report is based on remakes from "Buffy" cast member Nicholas Brendon. Given the direction of the series this season, it doesn't seem unlikely that the next season will wrap things up.

Marcus Nispel to direct 'Texas Chainsaw' remake
Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2002, 10:20AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Another remake we could do without: Variety reports that music-video director Marcus Nispel will direct a remake of Tobe Hooper's "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" for New Line Cinema. Shooting begins in July.

Voices for MTV's 'Spider-man' cartoon announced
Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2002, 6:25AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Entertainment Weekly reports that Neil Patrick Harris ("Doogie Howser") will privide the voice for Peter Parker/Spider-Man in MTV's upcoming, CGI-animated "Spider-Man" series. Singer Lisa Loeb will give voice to Mary Jane Watson. As previously announced, "Ultimate Spider-Man" writer Brian Michael Bendis will be scripting the series.

No new 'Harry Potter' book until 2003
Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2002, 6:19AM CDT by Franklin Harris
The New York Times is reporting that the fifth "Harry Potter" novel won't reach stores until the middle of 2003.

David Fincher to direct 'M:I 3'
Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2002, 6:16AM CDT by Franklin Harris
David Fincher ("Panic Room") has signed to direct "Mission: Impossible 3," the next installment in the Tom Cruise spy franchise, Variety reported Tuesday.

'Spider-Man 2' coming in 2004
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2002, 6:26AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Mark your calendar: Newsarama reports that "Spider-Man 2" is scheduled to open on May 7, 2004.

MGM discontinues uncut 'Swamp-Thing' DVD
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2002, 6:20AM CDT by Franklin Harris
If you don't already own Wes Craven's "Swamp Thing" movie on DVD, you may be too late. DVD File reports that MGM has discontinued the disc, and some Blockbusters have removed it from their shelves. Why, you ask? It seems MGM used the extended, international version of the film on the DVD while forgetting to change the DVD's PG rating.

DVD File describes the additional footage: The first addition occurs in the infamous Adrienne Barbeau "let me take a bath in the swamp" scene. In the previous video versions, you can only see a side shot of her breast, but on the DVD there are numerous generous extra seconds of full-on breast shots. Then, later in the film, right before the Bruno's big comeuppance, there is extra footage of two dancing gypsy women taking off their clothes at the beginning of the party scene.

There is no confirmation from MGM on if the DVD will be reissued with either the proper rating or the American version of the movie (hopefully the former).

Also, The Dallas Morning News reported on the mother who got the DVDs yanked from Blockbuster stores.

'Spider-Man' breaks all box-office records!
Posted Sunday, May 5, 2002, 6:58AM CDT by Franklin Harris
"Spider-Man" is on its way to a $105 million opening weekend, Box Office Mojo reported this morning. That will blow away the previous weekend record of $90 million, set by "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." "Spider-Man's" opening-day total of $41.4 million has already topped "Harry Potter's" opening-day record of $32.3 million and single-day record of $33.5 million.

UPDATE: The opening-weekend take for "Spider-Man" is now about $114 million.

The politics of 'Star Wars: Episode II'
Posted Friday, May 3, 2002, 9:30AM CDT by Franklin Harris
A friend of mine, economist Mark Thornton, has written a column on the political message of George Lucas' "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones." For more, click and read "Star Wars and Our Wars."

'Powers' movie in development at Columbia
Posted Thursday, May 2, 2002, 8:55AM CDT by Franklin Harris
Columbia Pictures has snagged the film rights to the Image comic-book series "Powers," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Written by Brian Michael Bendis ("Ultimate Spider-Man," "Daredevil"), "Powers" the comic follows the adventures of two homicide detectives in a world overflowing with superheroes. Columbia has hired Frank Oz to direct the movie, which will revolve around the murders of members of a Justice League-like superteam.



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