Monday, February 25, 2008

News - 02/25/08...

Academy Award Animated Winners

At last night's Academy Awards, the Oscar for Best Animated Film went to Ratatouille, the second Oscar win in the category for director Brad Bird.

Bird thanked his junior-high guidance counselor, who expressed repeated skepticism over his desire to become a filmmaker.

"It went on like this until we were sick of each other," said Bird, who also won the animation Oscar for 2004's "The Incredibles" and shared a nomination for original screenplay for "Ratatouille," a $200 million blockbuster. "I only realized just recently that he gave me the perfect training for the movie business."Bird remarked before thanking “all the dreamers at Pixar and Disney … for supporting a rat that dreams.”





The Oscar for Best Animated Short went to Suzie Templeton's Peter and the Wolf which can be seen in three parts here: Director Suzie Templeton was joined on stage by producer Hugh Welchman, who cradled the Peter stop-motion puppet used in the film.










The Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects went to The Golden Compass over the blockbusters "Transformers" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."Still, the team of Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris, Trevor Wood managed to pull out a win. After its stellar performance at the VES Awards, Transformers was the odds-on favorite, especially considering the Pirates saga has earned its share of vfx Oscars. The Compass team was quite enthusiastic as they took the stage. Fink hooted “Thank you!” before quoting Walt Disney in saying “It’s quite fun to do the impossible.”







Foo Fighters Sue Marvel for Copyright Infringement in Animated Trailer

Rolling Stone magazine is reporting that the Foo Fighters band is suing Marvel Entertainment for unlawful use of one of their songs in a trailer for the upcoming Wolverine and the X-Men animated series. The trailer debuted earlier in February and was quickly removed from most hosting websites, presumably due to the copyright infringement from the song. Also named in the lawsuit are the series producers First Serve international, Toonz Animation India, and First Serve Toonz.

E! Online has a few more details:

Per the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, “substantial excerpts” of the tunes “Best of You” and “Free Me,” both off the 2005 album In Your Honor, were used in a teaser for the upcoming animated series Wolverine and the X-Men.

The song samples “were copied directly from the Foo Fighters’ sound recordings of those two songs” and people can watch the trailer online, the suit alleges.


The suit was also filed on behalf of Roswell Records Inc., owners of the master recordings.





WonderCon: Quint's seen new IRON MAN footage! Favreau speaks! New trailer... and what's this about AVENGERS?

At Aint It Cool News, Quint has an extensive report on Jon Favreau's appearance at WonderCon, where he talks about Iron Man... and the Avengers...

Plus here's a brief rundown of his thoughts of the Star Wars: Clone Wars footage shown:

STAR WARS: CLONE WARS

This was a surprise, completely unannounced, Steve Sansweet came out and showed us some footage. Here’s the rundown:

The footage was broken up by an interview with Dave Filoni. He opens by saying that when he thinks of The Clone Wars, he goes back to the one sentence mention of it back in A New Hope. He said since that mention fans have been obsessed about thinking about the Clone Wars and what they could be.

I’m sure you’ve seen the already released trailer (click here if you haven’t seen it yet! ). There was more stuff, but the look and style was exactly that trailer. It looks cool and all, but I have some major problems, most of them under the banner “Should have been in the movies.” Let’s look

Filoni said that we’ve seen the beginning and the end of the Clone Wars, but nothing in the middle, so that’s what we’re going to get. Should have been in the movies.

“It was very important to George (Lucas) that we explore a side of Anakin… you couldn’t call it the good side, but more of who was Anakin? What was he like?” Should have been in the movies.

“In THE CLONE WARS we get to look at Obi-Wan Kenobi in a slightly different way. Mainly exploring his relationship with Anakin Skywalker and seeing that they were like brothers. It will have more impact when you see Anakin’s fall.” Should have been in the movies.

One thing that looked really interesting was the addition of a padawan for Anakin, a feisty alien chick named Ahsoka Tona. I’m not sure if I have my nerd rules right, but didn’t Anakin get denied being upgraded to Jedi Master in Episode 3? Are apprentices allowed to have apprentices?

At any rate, Ahsoka seems to be something fresh in the series. Filoni describes her as having Anakin’s rebel spirit, but also some of Obi-Wan’s discipline. “She stands in between them.”

I’m sure her fate isn’t a good one since this takes place between Episodes 2 and 3 and she ain’t in REVENGE OF THE SITH.

He promised a lot more General Grievous. He promised a lot more clones, including specific characters like Captain Rex.

I’m not gonna poo-poo this. I loved Tartakovsky’s CLONE WARS cartoons, but I can say the exact same thing (Should Have Been In The Movie) with his work. I’m sure this’ll be fun and fill in for some of what was lacking the prequels for me. But at the same time, I’d kill to see an amazing live action version of this story that gets it right.





New 'Spectacular Spider-Man' Image

Marvel Animation Age has received a new image from the upcoming The Spectacular Spider-Man series. Click on the image below for a closer look!










The Spectacular Spider-Man premieres March 8th, 2008 on Kids'WB!.





Popeye the Sailor: 1938-1940 Volume Two DVD in June

DVDActive reports that Warner Home Video has announced the release of Popeye the Sailor: 1938-1940 Volume Two on dvd. The 2-disc set will include 31 uncut and remastered shorts and will be available in stores from 17th June. Extras on the discs will include Commentaries, Popeye Popumentary featurettes, an “Out of the Inkwell: The Fleischer Story retrospective documentary“, the feature-length movie “Gulliver’s Travels“, vintage audio recordings, radio interviews, and more. More information alongwith the cartoon listing, can be found here.







"Black Lagoon" Debuts on Starz Edge on February 26, 2008

The Starz Edge "Animidnight" programming block will begin airing the series Black Lagoon starting on Tuesday, February 26, 2008, at 12:00 AM (Eastern/Pacific). Two episodes will be shown per week.






Hong Kong Aims to Topple Japan as Animation Hub

Hong Kong is aiming to displace Japan as Hollywood's choice animation supplier, Times Online reports.

The article profiles the Chinese metropolis's Imagi studio, which is producing Astro Boy for Warner Bros., despite Astro Boy being an iconic Japanese character. Imagi CEO Douglas Glen says Hong Kong boasts several advantages Japan does not, including a confidence that Hong Kong-produced entertainment can find an audience outside its native territory and a cosmopolitan cultural background that makes its artists more familiar with styles and tropes from around the world.





Curious Pictures Announcing Slate of Feature Films

Curious Pictures is planning a set of feature-length animated films in partnership with Michel Gondry, Dan Clowes, Darren Aronofsky, and Danny DeVito, Variety reports.

Megalomania, to be co-directed by Gondry from a script by Clowes, will be about two friends who become enemies. Aronofsky is executive producing South for the Winter, a musical described as "The Jazz Singer for birds." DeVito will voice a cabbie in a 44-minute holiday special called Little Spirit.

The studio is also developing an animation/live-action hybrid called Beer Belly and Fat Boy.





Peter Segal's 'Shazam' gets a new title

IESB.net reports that the planned movie of the Fawcette/DC Comics character Captain Marvel may eventually fly under the title of 'Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam'. This comes from the mouth of director Peter Segal himself.

To us, the longer title evokes the pulpy tone of the theatrical serials that Captain Marvel used to appear in.

Segal slipped the details to an IESB reporter along with the news that screenwriter John August is hard at work getting the script into shape. Segal is also steadfast that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will play Black Adam in the movie.

Read the full story here...





Bale Not Voicing Batman in "Batman: Gotham Knight"

Despite recent speculation, Batman Begins star Christian Bale will not be voicing Batman in direct-to-video Batman: Gotham Knight animated feature.

Sources within Warner Bros. Animation confirm the actor will not be lending his voice to the highly anticipated project. Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Home Video are expected to officially announce Batman: Gotham Knight shortly, including release date information and further details on the animated direct-to-video's plot.






Putting the Green in 'Green Lantern'

'Superman/Batman' comic writer Michael Green told Newsarama that he's co-writing the script for the big-screen adaptation of 'Green Lantern'

I am. I'm co-writing it with Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim, the best people you could hope to get stuck in a room with for any length of time. As for status, we're writing it now and having way too much fun doing it.

The movie would follow the Hal Jordan character into his first adventure.

Read the full story here...





Wall•E Wondercon Panel

A summarization of several panels at this year’s Wondercon has been posted at ComingSoon. Included in the article is a report of Wall•E’s panel, which featured director Andrew Stanton as a speaker. He describes Wall•E as a love story that follows a cinematic style set by sci-fi movies of the 70’s, also mentioning a new technology used in his feature to achieve the more advanced type of camera work found in those films.





Good News For He-Man Fans, A Replacement Disc is Now Available!

The replacement disc for Mattel's "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) - Volume 1" (which had a mastering defect on of the its Discs) and was released on February 19th, 2008 now can be ordered by either sending an email to HeManDisc-gmail.com or by calling 866-641-3472. To make your request for a replacement copy, please include your full name, address and a daytime phone number as well as the name and location of the store, where you purchased your copy of He-Man.







"Oban Star-Racers" Race to DVD on April 22

Shout! Factory will release Oban Star-Racers Volume One: The Alwas Cycle to DVD on April 22, the company announced this week.

The two-disc DVD set will present thirteen episodes in 5.1 Surround Sound. Bonus features include a thirty-minute behind-the-scenes featurette; an interview with creator Savin Yeatman-Eiffel; Star-Racer profiles; original concept art; and trailers and a sneak peek at Oban Star-Racers Vol. 2. It will retail for $19.99.





Season Two of 'Bleach' Anime on Adult Swim

To Keep His Oath

Life used to be pretty simple for Ichigo. Go to school, maybe get into a fight, come back home, sulk a little. But recently, this fifteen-year-old ruffian with a knack for seeing ghosts has been somewhat busy, engaged in the fight of his life against phenomenal bizarre and supernatural forces in another world. At times the lone epicenter of the popular fantasy-action anime television series Bleach, Ichigo Kurosaki is a kid with heart; and if there was ever a time that he should barrel into a challenge with unbridled ambition, the advent of the second season of Bleach would be the perfect moment.

One of the best rated anime to find a home on the late night network Adult Swim, whose primary demographic are older television viewers, Bleach returns this coming March 2007 with its second season of programming. Having trained his butt off in preparation to save his dearest friend Rukia Kuchiki from her execution at the hands of a power hungry assembly of sword-bearing warriors; Ichigo knows that the road that lies ahead will be one hell of a ride.

"Bleach is a riveting story and the debut of the second season on Adult Swim has been highly anticipated by millions of fans," says William Germain, Viz Media Director of Animation Production.

"The plot thickens in Season Two as Ichigo and his friends battle soul reapers. With 52 episodes there will be plenty of surprises in store for viewers. Bleach possesses a story and style that has transcended the graphic novel genre to become a very successful animated and video game property and we are committed to continuing its development."

When the Second Season opens up, presumably on the first weekend of the up and coming month -- March 1st at midnight (ET) -- anime fans will be treated to a litany of subplots of disenfranchisement, corruption and deceit spotlighted by pseudo-villains such as the slick-grinned Gin Ichimaru and the stone cold Byakuya Kuchiki. Bleach, a remarkably powerful television magnet with young adult and tween audiences, pushes a maturing Ichigo in the center of a struggle, battling for a promise to a friend and the hope of so much more. In Season Two of Bleach on Adult Swim, confrontation is the name of the game.





Replacements Ready for Sophomore Season

Disney Channel will launch the second season of its popular animated series The Replacements on Monday, March 10. Created by children's author and illustrator Dan Santat (The Guild of Geniuses) and exec produced by Jack Thomas (The Fairly OddParents), the toon centers on tween siblings who can replace any grown up in their life with the help of a mysterious agency.

The new season begins with a new episode guest-starring Tom Arnold, which finds Riley and Todd contemplating their future careers. Riley refuses to believe that she's headed for a life as a window washer and teams up with a motivational speaker to prepare for life as a cool spy, while Todd really likes the idea of becoming a clown! Josh Duhamel, Carson Palmer, Jason Dolley and Tim Gunn will also add their voices to the guest star roster this season.

Another new addition to the series is Tempestt Bledsoe (who played Vanessa on The Cosby Show). Bledsoe joins the cast as Abbey, a rich fashionista friend of Riley.





Hoodwinked 2 Voice Cast Revealed

Cory Edwards, director of Hoodwinked! and co-writer of Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs. Evil, announced on his Blog that "Heroes" star Hayden Panettiere has joined the voice cast of the animated sequel, replacing Anne Hathaway as the voice of "Red." Edwards, who again will voice Twitchy, revealed most of the voice cast in his post:

Many of the original cast have returned. Glenn Close is still Granny, and Patrick Warburton remains The Wolf (very, very happy about that). Nicky Flippers will once again be performed by David Ogden Stiers. Andy Dick has voiced Boingo again (that's right, Boingo is still around, as unstable as ever... but not the greatest threat this time).

And yes, yes, yes, for everyone who keeps asking, THE GOAT IS BACK. Japeth the singing goat will appear again, voiced by my good buddy Benjy Gaither.

There are some brand new and very cool additions to this sequel. This time around, Red will not be voiced by Anne Hathaway, but by Hayden Panettiere, the "super cheerleader" from Heroes. This seems very fitting, since Red becomes a bit more of a "caped crusader" in this film. The Woodsman is now being voiced by comedy legend Martin Short. Martin Short! He was an "Amigo" for Pete's sake. Crazy. Those are the new folks stepping into old roles.

As for new characters, without giving any plot away, I will tell you that Joan Cusack is a new villainous witch, Brad Garrett is The Giant from the notorious beanstalk, and Wayne Newton plays "Jimmy Ten Strings," his singing harp. That's right. Wayne Newton. As a harp. He's totally into it. David Alan Grier plays a troll, which should be really funny... I heard he was off the charts with the ad-libs. And finally, all you SNL fans will be psyched to know that Amy Poehler and Bill Hader will be voicing Hansel & Gretel. How's that for a cast?


The original Hoodwinked! grossed $51 million domestically and $109 million worldwide.





Nancy Cartwright Chats with Jeff Snow

In this edition of her bimonthly column, Nancy Cartwright interviews animation veteran and Annie nominee Jeff Snow, who currently runs a training program at DreamWorks.

Animation World Magazine





Spider-Chat: Spectacular Spider-Man Producer/Director Victor Cook

With the one hour premier of "The Spectacular Spider-Man" on Kids WB! mere weeks away (March 8, 10 AM folks!), at Marvel.com they pledge to bring you everything you need to know—directly from the peeps making the webslinger come alive. This week, they kickoff their inside looks at the brand new animated series by sitting down with series Supervising Producer/Director, Vic Cook.

Marvel.com: So, what drew you to the "The Spectacular Spider-Man?"

Vic Cook: I am a big fan of the character, and loved the idea that in this show he would be in high school just like the original Stan Lee/Steve Ditko Spider-Man!

I also really loved the old 1960s animated show as a kid. This was an opportunity to define a new animated Spider-Man with a few retro touches, a new cool theme song of its own and one that truly makes use of the medium of traditional animation. With over-the-top Hong Kong-style action sequences and with every twist, flip and spin, this is a Spider-Man that moves, that is designed to be animated. I wanted to be a part of bringing a new classic Spider-Man to a new generation.


Marvel.com: And at what point did you become involved with the project?

Vic Cook: In early 2007, to oversee the visual development.

Marvel.com: What does Supervising Producer/Director mean? What exactly is your role on the 26 episodes of "The Spectacular Spider-Man?"

Vic Cook: For episodes 1-13, I am Producer and Supervising Director. Episodes 14-26, I am Supervising Producer and Supervising Director.

I co-developed "The Spectacular Spider-Man" for television. I meet with the writers at outline stage and add any notes I have at that point and also make director notes on the finished scripts for handout to the artists. I oversee the art direction and filmmaking on the series—working with the designers and painters to make sure the show has the right mood and level of detail for animation.

Additionally, I supervise the storyboard artists and episode directors to make sure the staging, acting and action is dynamic and cinematic. Although this is a TV series, I approach this as filmmaking, so every pose, every angle is all about the storytelling. The action is choreographed to be dramatic and over-the-top with a dash of humor when needed.

The storyboard is the blue print for the animation process that follows. My job is also to follow through in animation. I have gone to the studios overseas to direct them in how they need to approach this show. I am in daily contact with them from here as well. When the animation is completed, I work with the editors, composers and audio effects people in putting on the final touches to deliver the finished episode.

Marvel.com: Very cool stuff indeed. You mentioned you were a fan of the character growing up, just how familiar were you with Spidey and his history before joining the show?










Spidey swings

Vic Cook: I grew up a comics fan and on the Stan Lee/John Romita era of Spider-Man.

Marvel.com: With a background like that, what does it feel like now that YOU'RE the one directing the interactions between such classic characters?

Vic Cook: "With great power comes great responsibility." It is an honor and great fun. These are such rich characters with real depth. Even the characters that seem like clich├ęs have depth. The high school scenes have been both humorous with Flash [Thompson] and Sally [Avril] and dramatic with Harry [Osborn].

The Bugle scenes with Jonah [Jameson] are some of my favorites! Jonah is so fun to pose and act out. The scenes with Peter [Parker] and Gwen [Stacy] are sweet, but because I know what the future holds, it is also melancholy.

Norman [Osborn] is pure drama. The sequence when we first meet [Adrian] Toomes, Otto [Octavius] and Norman was great fun having the visuals so totally tell that story with one character literally towering over another character then having that dynamic change is pure cinema. Staging Spidey facing down the super villains is a blast. For us, this is the first time Spidey meets The Vulture, Electro or any of the villains. We get to see his first reactions and see him think on his feet figuring out how to deal with these super powered bad guys.


Marvel.com: Since the show's airing in the Saturday morning time slot, it clearly needs to appeal to children. But when you're working on it are you aware that many older fans will most likely be tuning in as well? If so, are there ways you layer the show to give them something that younger fans wouldn't key into?










Spidey from all angles

Vic Cook: This show is for Spider-Man fans, that's why kids will love it, too.

We are contemporizing the Lee/Ditko era of Spider-Man when Peter Parker was still a high school student and when he first faced supervillains.

While each episodes story can stand alone, like the comic, the series as a whole is a saga. There will be true character development over the course of the series, we will meet supervillains before they become supervillains, Peter's friends grow and evolve.

Peter himself has a lot to learn about life and how to be a hero. Most of the characters in our series, even the most minor will be based on characters already introduced at some point in the history of the Spider-Man comics. And of course, this being Spider-Man, it will be fun, cinematic, there will be fantastic arachnobatics, cool action, over-the-top fight scenes, drama, humor and a variety of awesome supervillains. The supervillains will be at the same time classic, iconic and contemporized.

Marvel.com: You have a lot of experience directing shows that are based on rather established characters such as Hellboy, Buzz Lightyear and Tarzan. Is there something about characters who have a history built into them that draws you to them, or is that just the way your career happened to turn out?















Spider-Man has the proportionate strength, speed and agility of a spider

Vic Cook: These are iconic rich characters with interesting back stories. That's what gives any story its emotional center. It's always more fun for a director to have characters that you care about in a story that matters. Action scenes become more than just choreography when you approach it from the point of view of the character.

Marvel.com: When you're directing Josh Keaton, what is it you look for in his performance that is essential to Peter Parker/Spider-Man's character?

Vic Cook: Of course, I want great acting and a range of emotions from Peter's insecurities to Spidey's cockiness and quipster humor. But what really needs to come through is attitude. It is so essential for the animators and storyboard artists when they pose and visually act out either Peter or Spidey. Whenever I listen to a recording of Josh saying "I am The Spectacular Spider-Man," I believe he really is!





Iron Man Trailer to Debut on Lost

From Marvel.com :

Not that you need another reason to watch "Lost," but if you do, we have one: The brand new "Iron Man" movie trailer premieres during the Feb. 28 episode of "Lost" on ABC. "Lost" kicks off at 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central. Don't miss a minute of it!





New Iron Man WonderCon Poster

Screen Rant has posted a new Iron Man poster that is being handed out at WonderCon in San Francisco. It featurs the Mark I, Mark II and Mark III armors! You can click on the image for a giant version of the poster. Opening May 2, the Jon Favreau-directed comic book adaptation stars Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges.














J.J. Abrams on Star Trek and Cloverfield 2

ReelzChannel caught up with J.J. Abrams at the US-Ireland Alliance party and he talked briefly about the change in date (from December 25, 2008 to May 8, 2009) for Star Trek, which he is directing, and also said that Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard and director Matt Reeves have an idea for a second one. You can watch the interview using the player below:







WonderCon: Jon Favreau on Iron Man!

ComingSoon.net/Superhero Hype! got a chance to sit down with Iron Man director Jon Favreau at WonderCon 2008 in San Francisco on Saturday. You can listen to the unedited (includes some explicit language) interview in MP3 file below!

Opening May 2, the comic book adaptation stars Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges. The film tells the story of Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. Upon his return to America, Tony must come to terms with his past. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man.

JON FAVREAU ON IRON MAN (MP3)





Ghostbusters announcement at Comic Con

News from Wonder Con this weekend – yes, that’s why the net is so quiet – is that something “Ghostbusters” might be in the works from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Slashfilm.com has a jpeg of a flyer that was handed out at the convention which clearly states that a new “Ghostbusters” release is to be announced at Comic Con – in July.

The new “Ghostbusters” video game has been announced, so it’s not that. One can only assume Dan Aykroyd has convinced the powers-that-be to let him make his CGI “Ghosbusters 3” – something he’s been spruiking for a while now.

Guess we’ll find out come July?







The (New) Bat-Coaster

Take a look at the newest thrill ride swinging into Gotham.

Here's a rendering of the highly anticipated Dark Knight Coaster, a $7.5 million Batman-themed scream machine set to open April 26 at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey.

The ride lasts just two minutes, but will rise 45 feet high and reach speeds of 30 mph, according to reports, winding along 1,213 feet of track as the Joker pops in and out in his menacing way.

The Dark Knight's 10 open, miniature cars are dispatched individually every 14 seconds, each with four passengers in tow.

But the twists and turns may not even be the best part for true blue Batman buffs - the ride will also include exclusive clips from Warner Brothers' "Dark Knight" film to be released this summer. The movie stars Christian Bale and the late Heath Ledger.





Durand is The Blob in Wolverine?

FilmSchoolRejects is reporting that Wild Hogs, Mystery, Alaska and 3:10 to Yuma actor Kevin Durand will play The Blob in X-Men Origins: Wolverine:

Our source inside the production tells us that Durand was "live-scanned" for The Blob a while ago, but has just officially signed on to the project in recent days. Word is that he will be heading up to his native Canada to shoot scenes for the film sometime next week. This is also important because the rest of the production is happening half way across the world in New Zealand and Australia.

"Wolverine" hits theaters on May 1, 2009.









Mr. T Graphic Novel Announced

In anticipation of the major worldwide launch of their Mr. T graphic novel in summer 2008, British publisher Mohawk Media has announced that they are celebrating with a special Limited Advance Edition.

With a total number of only 4,000 copies, Mr. T: Limited Advance Edition is now available. It marks the return to prominence of Mr. T, the Mohawk muscleman who was voted the fourth “Greatest American” in a recent global BBC poll, muscling in front of the likes of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

‘It’s great to be the star of a graphic novel’, says Mr. T. ‘And great entertainment is always driven by great writing!’

Mr. T continues: ‘There’s my long-time fans, but there’s also a new generation because of “A-Team” reruns, my cartoon show reruns, and the renewed interest in “Rocky III” following the recent sequel. That’s humbling, and this graphic novel is my method of reaching them all. I’m so proud of all my life’s work, but to see myself in this book feels extra special.’

Author Christopher Bunting adds: ‘We’ve seen comebacks happen over and over again in the entertainment industry, whether it's John Travolta, the Spice Girls, or fictitious characters such as Indiana Jones or Rambo. Now it’s Mr. T’s time.’

Bunting continues: ‘I’m often drawn to writing “mystery” dramas, where threads weave a much larger tapestry, with the core being the human journey, in the vein of “Lost” or “Heroes”. Therefore my attention had increasingly turned to novels and scriptwriting, and away from the shrinking comic industry. This graphic novel has been the perfect vehicle. I could approach it as a novel, yet also incorporate the finest elements from comics and television.

‘And besides, when Mr. T calls you personally, wanting you to do it, you don’t dare say no!’

Editor Stuart Buckley adds: ‘This book’s star is already a household name known and loved the world over, making this possibly the world’s highest-profile graphic novel. It’s a call for celebration, hence this Limited Advance Edition.’

Buckley continues: ‘Most so-called “graphic novels” are reprints of comics, the equivalent of cobbling together a bunch of episodes of a TV show and calling it a “movie”; or works that, in their desire to be highbrow, determinedly distance themselves from their comic forefather.

‘Neither makes full use of the inherent potential in graphic novel storytelling. This book – an all-original like Mr. T himself – does.’

Mr. T, who contributes world-exclusive interviews to the graphic novel and acts as its Executive Editor, adds: ‘I’ve always strived to be a good role model to children and adults alike. I can’t think of a better way to do that than by encouraging people to read! What would I say to anyone who doesn’t read my graphic novel? “I pity the fool!”

Mr. T: Limited Advance Edition can be ordered direct from publisher Mohawk Media at www.mohawkmedia.co.uk for the exclusive price of £15.99 / $39.00 including delivery. Alternatively, from April 2008, it will be available through bookstores worldwide, including online, by quoting its 13-digit ISBN: 9780955680403





Chiklis wants the Puppet Master for next 'Fantastic Four'

A recent post on MTV Movies Blog makes it seem as if another 'Fantastic Four' film may not be on actor Michael Chiklis' radar. Chiklis, who played Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, in the first two outings says he hasn't been in touch with his cast mates since the previous film ran its course.

“I’m not gonna call the guys like, ‘Hey, what are we doing?’ ” Chiklis said. “I’m kinda moving on and doing other stuff, which is great. [Another ‘Fantastic Four’ movie] is sort of on backburner mode for a while.”

However, that didn't stop Chiklis from speculating what his dream storyline for 'Fantastic Four 3' would be.

“For selfish reasons, I would love to see Puppet Master happen, obviously,” he told MTV. “For those of you who know what I’m talking about, it would really tie in Alicia’s character and mine. It’s a great story line for the Thing.”

Read the full story here...






Common Keeping Justice League Hope Alive

Common, the man who would be bringing John Stewart/The Green Lantern to life is keeping hope alive for Justice League.

Ronnie over at JFX ran into Common and got an update on the Justice League live-action film. "Now that the writers strike is over, [the script is] going to head back to the writers for a cleanup. God willing, it’ll get done. This would be a big role for me,” Common tells JFX.

There is no doubt that The Green Lantern would be a big role for the Hip-Hop superstar but will the re-write get done anytime soon?

IESB sources in Australia tell us that there are early rumblings within the studio that the film might, and this is a big might, be having a second shot come sometime this summer.

At the same time, we also been hearing sources at WB Burbank who believe that The Man of Steel is picking up speed and since the strike ended various "A" list writers have gone in with promising pitches. Bryan Singer is still attached and the studio big wigs are still counting on him directing the sequel.





WIZARD INSIDER: THE JOKER

Fans demanded a darker, more violent, murderous Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’—now they’ve got it

RAGS TO RICHES
“[Director] Chris [Nolan] didn’t want him to have a brand-new costume made,” says “The Dark Knight” costume designer Lindy Hemming. “I started getting pieces together, and we made up a look, but always keeping them in various shades of purple. There are like 25 of those coats, all in different stages of breaking down because of the things happening to [the Joker].”

PROJECT RUNWAY
“The first place that I looked [for inspiration] was obviously pictures of the Joker in past graphic novels, comic books, films, whatever, and then after that, I started to think, ‘Well, how could someone be like this?’” explains Hemming. “Then I wanted to contemporize it, so I started looking in fashion.”

GREEN SCREAM
“I wanted to give [the Joker] a green thing, and on the last day, I made him a green waistcoat and we tried it on and it worked,” recalls Hemming. “I think that it does look like the Joker, and I think that it’s important because his whole Joker style is much more Goth/punk. It’s much more of a street kind of Joker rather than a man who puts on a clown mask.”

LAYING THE FOUNDATION
“We find [the Joker] dressed like this [when he first appears in the film],” says Hemming. “You can assume that he might’ve been dressed like that for years. He may have always been wearing those clothes. Instead of putting them on like the Joker has done before, you find him wearing these. He’s already scarred in the film, so the makeup comes from what he does to enhance that rather than to look like a clown.”

UNCOMMON CRIMINAL
“What’s strong about the Joker was this idea of this commitment to anarchy, to chaos,” reveals “The Dark Knight” director Christopher Nolan. “He’s not just a bank robber or an ordinary criminal who’s out for any kind of material gain. His chief motivation would be that of anarchist.”

WHAT THE FROCK?
“Strangely enough, all the catwalks just before we began doing [‘The Dark Knight’] had purple clothes, which was a bit sad really, but they did,” laughs Hemming. “There were a lot of frock coats and that kind of look. I was going for stovepipe trousers and frock coats and things, and Gucci even produced men’s evening wear and coats that were just copied from frock coats.”

‘ROTTEN’ INSPIRATION
“You say, ‘What’s the rationale for him being able to dress like this?’ That’s when I started looking at the pop world and I ended up looking at the Sex Pistols and Johnny Rotten,” says Hemming. “I was just thinking, ‘Well, there are plenty of guys out there who actually are as extreme as this, and there’s nothing wrong with doing it.’ You’ve got to make it look like someone really dresses like this. It can’t just be, ‘Hello, I’m putting on my costume.’ It’s got to be wherever he lives and whatever he’s been doing, he’s been wearing that.”






Is Harley Quinn in 'The Dark Knight'?

An online resume for actress Sarah Jayne Dunn lists the her most recent credit as appearing in 'The Dark Knight'. What's surprising though, is Dunn is credited as playing "Harley Quinn" in Christopher Nolan's Batman sequel.

Fans know that Quinn is, the Joker's girlfriend, a character created for the Paul Dini/Bruce Timm animated 'Batman', series. In short order she became one of the most sensational Batman rogues, taking a place among his top tier of villains. Eventually the character transitioned into Batman canon, appearing in the comics as well as other spin offs, like the ill-fated 'Birds of Prey' TV series.

Fans will have to wait and see if Quinn appears in full harlequin gear and makeup in the movie, or is a bit player in Joker's army, waiting to explode into the next sequel.

Dunn is largely known for her work on British television.

Read the full story here...






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