Wednesday, February 27, 2008

News - 02/27/08...

New Oscar Tour Pics of Nominees, Lasseter, Kroyer and More

AWN Oscar Travelogue

Slew of Horton posters

A handful of new posters from the upcoming Horton Hears A Who! can be viewed at Internet Movie Poster Awards. The one-sheets include individual character posters as well as group shots. Horton and the gang will be hitting theaters this March 14th.

Sleeping Beauty Platinum Edition DVD cover art

UltimateDisney has posted the cover art for the upcoming Sleeping Beauty Platinum Edition DVD which will hit the stores on October 7, 2008. A Blu-Ray release will also be made available, day-and-date with the new standard re-issue.

Grindhouse with Bunnies

The Starz Bunnies are up with their “60-ish seconds” version of Grindhouse which summarizes both features and also includes a trailer medley. Bunnies’ version can be watched here.

New Live-Action/Animated Indie Feature Peeks Imaginations on DVD

Vanguard Cinema International is releasing the independently produced live-action/animated feature IMAGINATION on DVD Feb. 26, 2008. Directed by Eric Leiser, the story follows a child neuro-psychologist who finds reality warped when he begins to treat twin sisters suffering from Asperger's Sydrome, whose vision and imagination are united in an alternative reality. The live-action feature includes both 2D and stop-motion animation.

The film has played at the Tel Aviv Film Festival, Istanbul Int'l Animation Festival, Aarhus Festival of Independent Arts, FilmsForPlay Fest, EXiS Experimental Festival Seoul, NewFilmmakers Fest and ANIFEST 2008.

The 100-minute production sells for $19.95.

For more information on the film, visit

Pixar, Pixar, Pixar

A few items of note from the Pixar universe:

* Pixar story supervisor Ronnie del Carmen writes about the celebration at the studio following their Oscar win for Ratatouille. Identifications for the above photo of Pixar story artists can be found on Ronnie’s blog.

* Production designer Bill Cone (A Bug’s Life, Cars) has started a blog to showcase his plein air pastel paintings.

* How does a graphic designer fit in at Pixar? Rataouille title designer Susan Bradley explains her role at the studio in this interview.
(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

Paniks Music Video

A little creativity goes a long way, which is why this hand-drawn music video created by Nadia Barkate, Marion Cruza and Eider Gutierrez is such a delight. It’s for the Spanish rock group Paniks. (via BoingBoing)

(Thanks Cartoon Brew)

Sony Includes 1st Blood+ Episode on Non-Anime DVDs

Episode of vampire series included with 30 Days of Night, Loch Ness Terror

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is promoting Jun'ichi Fujisaku's Blood+ vampire anime series by featuring the first episode as an extra with at least two upcoming live-action films. SPHE is bringing out Blood+ on both a single five-episode DVD and a full-season 25-episode collector's box on March 4. The series expands the story of a vampire-hunting girl that was first told in Hiroyuki Kitakubo and Mamoru Oshii's Blood: The Last Vampire movie.

The first episode will be included on the DVD of 30 Days of Night, a horror film based on a graphic novel about a vampire attack on a small and isolated town in Alaska. That film is due out on February 26. The same Blood+ episode will also be available on the April 15 release of the low-budget monster flick Loch Ness Terror. SPHE promoted the anime in a panel with the English-language dubbing director Michael Hack, actors Ben Diskin (Kai) and Dave Wittenberg (Solomon), and script editors Joe D'Ambrosia and Tom Teves at this past weekend's WonderCon in San Francisco.

The Martian Manhunter in George Miller's JUSTICE LEAGUE is...

A small story ran in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday that didn't seem to get much notice, but had some interesting information. The biggest news being that the name of the movie is now JUSTICE LEAGUE MORTAL... I'm thinking there might be a colon missing. JUSTICE LEAGUE: MORTAL maybe?

My source says that MORTAL is indeed tied to the film, appearing on official documents (sometimes representing the whole title... so it could also be a Blue Harvest situation). The story also lists a guy by the name of Hugh Keays-Byrne as appearing in the movie, but doesn't say who he'll play.

George Miller fans will remember Hugh from the original MAD MAX. He played Toecutter.

I don't think he's really been talked about at all, but I know who he is playing in the film. He's the one in the middle.

That's right. Hugh Keays-Byrne will play The Martian Manhunter.

Here's what Hugh looks like today... so imagine the below without the beard and hair:

I gotta say I dig this bit of casting more than any of the others... well, maybe except Megan Gale and her NSFW pics that were posted when she was cast as Wonder Woman.

From what I hear the movie's going ahead strong now that the writer's strike is over. I hope Miller pulls it off. He's earned some trust with me. I hope it turns out well.

Shazam Delayed, Not Dead

Director Peter Segal told SCI FI Wire that the recently settled writers' strike delayed his proposed Shazam! movie, but that it's still in active development.

"I think it'll still happen," Segal (Get Smart) said in a group interview at WonderCon in San Francisco over the weekend. "Though timing is going to be a key issue now, because ... normally we'd be working on a script while we're in post-production [on Get Smart], so that hopefully when we're done with post-production, we're ready to go into preproduction [on the next project]. But now we're sort of out of sync, so, unfortunately, I'll have to spend more time with my family." (That last comment was a joke.)

But Segal said he didn't want to rush the script for the movie, based on the venerable DC Comics Captain Marvel franchise. Segal also confirmed that the movie's tentative title is now Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam.

"You don't really want to rush something like Shazam," Segal said. "I mean, it's going to be a huge movie. I mean, huge in scope and in price. And so you want to make sure you have a solid script and really pay attention to the casting and all the preproduction that goes into that. So, you know, I think when it's right, it'll be made."

Segal's upcoming Get Smart, based on the hit 1960s satirical spy series, opens June 20.

You'll Learn How to Train Your Dragon a Bit Later

DreamWorks Animation announced today it is moving How to Train Your Dragon from November 20, 2009 to March 26, 2010. Based on the book by Cressida Cowell, "Dragon" is about Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, heir of the Viking chiefdom, but a boy with one very big problem: a hero he is not. It's the riotous story of Hiccup's quest to hunt down the fiercest dragon, bring it into submission, and—hopefully—pass his initiation. Instead, he ends up with the smallest, most ornery dragon—it's even toothless!

This summer, the company will release Kung Fu Panda on June 6 and later this year, on November 7, Madagascar: The Crate Escape hits theaters.

DreamWorks Animation has set its first "Ultimate" 3-D release, Monsters vs. Aliens, for March 27, 2009. Then, How to Train Your Dragon will followed by Shrek Goes Fourth on May 21, 2010. The company's planned fall 2010 release, which has a working title of MasterMind, is scheduled for November 5, 2010.

"Slightly shifting our release schedule gives 'How to Train Your Dragon' access to the maximum number of screens in a less crowded release window," said DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. "We believe this provides each project with the best possible chance to succeed and is an overall positive for the Company and our shareholders."

In related news, the company said it plans to premiere "Shrek the Musical" on Broadway on December 14, 2008.

Star Wars: Clone Wars film clip

This is the video trailer that was shown at Wonder-Con of the upcoming animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie set to hit theaters in August with a TV series to follow. Taking place between episodes II and III, it's an in depth look at the Clone Wars and Anakin's relationship with Obi-Wan. Watch it now before Lucas sends stormtroopers over to the YouTube offices and starts blasting everything to holy hell.

T4 Opens May 22nd 2009

According to Variety, Warner Bros. will open McG's Christian Bale starrer "Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins" on May 22, 2009, the start of Memorial Day weekend.

That puts two tentpoles on the same date, even though the release calendar for summer 2009 is still relatively open.

Twentieth Century Fox had already staked out May 22 for the bow of the Ben Stiller sequel "Night at the Museum II: Escape From the Smithsonian." First film grossed $250.9 million domestically.

The last film in the franchise, "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," bowed in 2003 and grossed $150.4 million domestically.

"T4" begins lensing in New Mexico for two months on May 5. The state has become a favorite locale for producers because of its production tax incentives.

Storyline is being kept under tight wraps, but plot is part of a planned three-picture arc that begins after Skynet has destroyed much of humanity in a nuclear holocaust. A group of survivors led by John Connor (Bale) struggles to stop the machines. Sam Worthington ("Avatar") is in talks to star as well.

Tokyo Anime fair announces winners

'Evangelion' takes animation of the year award

The Tokyo International Anime Fair (TAF), the world biggest trade fair for toons, has presented "Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone" with its Animation of the Year award, organizers announced on Monday.

The toon, the latest feature installment in the Hideaki Anno TV/pic franchise about teens who pilot giant robots against alien invaders, was a hit last year for distrib Klockworx, finishing with a series high of $19 million.

TAF announced a slew of other prizes in its two main sections: Nominated Works, for toons broadcast, screened, or sold during the previous 12 months, and Submitted Works, for toons submitted by the general public from around the world.

Receiving the Grand Prize in the Nominated Works section was "Adventures in the NPM," a Taiwanese short by Helen Huang that is an animated guide through the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Grzegorz Jonkajtys' "Ark" and Moin Samadi's "The Lost Puppet" were selected as Notable Entries in the General Category, the section's second prize. Young-kwang Jo's "Christmas in Taxi" scooped the Special Award, while Takashi Kato's "The Clockwork City" and Guillaume Briet's "BistRobot" won Notable Entry prizes in the Student Category.

TAF will be held from March 27 to 30 at the Big Sight event space in Tokyo. Last year TAF featured exhibits from 270 companies, including 55 from abroad, and attracted 107,713 visitors.

A 'World of Quest' from comics to animation

Quest scruffs Nestor

Kids WB! has long been a haven for comic-based animation, with shows like 'The Batman', 'Static Shock' and 'X-Men Evolution'. Add to that roster of popular superheroes 'The Spectacular Spider-Man'. But this March, the toon outlet will host the rare series based on an indie comic, 'The World of Quest'.

Comics2Film recently had a chance to talk to Michelle Melanson, producer of the show. First, some background on the comic:

World of Quest Volume 1 - The Yen Press edition

'The World of Quest' is the creation of Jason T. Kruse, a feature film and video game animator who turned to the worldwide web as an outlet for comics, first publishing the series on The reaction from readers on the web was strong enough to motivate Komikwerks to publish the complete 'World of Quest' graphic novel and Kids WB! to option the property.

Last year Cookie Jar Entertainment, creators of numerous animated shows such as 'Arthur', 'Johnny Test' and 'Spider-Riders' took the reigns on producing 13 episodes of 'Quest'. Melanson whose background includes shows like 'Medabots', 'George Shrinks', 'Jacob Two Two' and 'Rescue Heroes' was offered the show and sparked to it immediately.

"I really like doing boys action adventure and comedy," Melanson told us, so 'Quest' was easy to say yes to. From her production office outside Toronto, she joined Executive Producer Stephen Sustarsic and a staff of writers stationed in L.A. and the quest for 'Quest' had begun.

'Quest' tells the tale of Nestor, a young, smart-alecky prince who enlists the aid of a retired hero in a mission to help him save his parents from the show's villains. That hero is Quest, and he wants nothing to do with precocious princes or adventuring, but he's bound by mystical spell to safeguard Nestor.

"One of the first things I did was introduce myself to Jason, and also Shannon Eric Denton, of Komikwerks," Melanson said. "I got to know those guys as best I could and understand where Jason was coming from in terms of what he wanted to see and what was important to him from taking it from the graphic novel to television."

Going from a 120-plus page graphic novel to short 22-minute bursts of animated network television is no easy feat.

"Jason's graphic novel is amazing and there's a lot of mythology and a lot of back story to it," Melanson told us, but part of the adaptation process comes from knowing the audience and the medium. "When you have the book in front of you and you can take the time and really immerse yourself in your own imagination. It's a lot easier than for an eight-to-twelve year-old boy who's watching something for 22 minutes.

"What we did was we created a story arc, specifically on the first 13 episodes that paid respect to Jason's ideas, but simplified some of the concepts. It's a really well thought-out graphic novel and even though it's just one book at that point, even making that into 13 episodes was a challenge," Melanson said.

Which is not to say that the show will discard the more complex mythology altogether. The goal is to grab the viewers' attention up front, and layer in the mythology once the audience is established.

"Those great creatures that Jason created, the bad guys, are all still there. The great villains, Lord Spite and General Ogun are very much part of it, and Deceit, the female villain," Melanson assures fans of the comic.

Being a Saturday morning cartoon, the concept also needed a slight tweak in tone.

"Jason's graphic novel plays more on the action-adventure side," said Melanson, "whereas Kids WB really wanted that zip-zany kind of comedy styling. There's lots of visual humor and fart jokes, and all of that has to be jammed into 22 minutes as well."

And once all those elements are reconciled, there's the perilous no-mans-land of legal clearances, where the suits scrutinize the show and fret over any potential copyright infringements. "Every script goes through legal counsel. We get told a name has to be changed and we don't question it.

"For example, I remember Chomps didn't clear because that is actually the proper name for Pac-Man," Melanson told us. Whenever changes were mandated, she always went back to Jason to brainstorm new names. "He has a character called Lance the Boil, which turns out to be the name of a character in another animated series called 'Grossology', and so we had to call him Lanze."

As challenging as it may be to translate from graphic novel to animated series, Melanson credits a talented team with pulling the show together from several locations in two countries.

"Our directors Paul Brown and Jamie Whitney are both great. Paul really was the one who found the comedy and the timing in the shows. He really brought the funny," the producer said.

"The cast is amazing. Basically we have six actors playing 18-23 roles," Melanson said. "There are a lot of new characters that we meet along the way, because it is a quest."

"That starts with our lead Ron Pardo," she said of the Canadian impressionist who has been compared to Rich Little. "He plays Quest as well as [the griffen] Graer, which, if you hear, the voices are two totally different characters and pulled it off perfectly."

Playing two of the primary characters is really just the beginning for Pardo, "There were episodes where Ron played up to 12 characters, and I defy you to think that it's the same man."

Paring up with him is a young actor named Landon Norris, who plays Prince Nestor. Norris is also racking up the big-screen credits, with his next role happening in the upcoming 'Flash of Genius', starring Greg Kinnear and Alan Alda.

Other cast members include James Rankin who plays Lord Spite as well as some of the Katastrophe brothers, Kedar Brown who plays Gatling and another Katastrophe brother, Krystal Meadows who plays Anna Maht and Melissa Altro plays Way and Deceit.

Animation for the show is being done out of Mercury Filmworks, who Melanson tells us carried the task from storyboard straight through to animation.

Melanson also cites her co-producer Ria Westaway who has taken up the reigns during post-production and is seeing the show through to broadcast.

Then there is a pair of cool theme songs for Voodoo Highway music, a comedic one intended for U.S. audiences and a more adventure-oriented one for the show's Canadian run.

Most fans have read that the Kids WB! programming block will end in September, with 4Kids taking over the Saturday animation programming on The CW after that. The transition leaves the status of current cartoons up in the air.

World of Quest Poster

"The good news is that we'll get at least one run. We're 13 episodes. If we start airing in March we should get a good run in," Melanson assured us. Whether or not 'World of Quest' continues to air in the U.S. is uncertain. It will likely depend on how many kids tune in for its initial run.

However, production on the show will continue for its Canadian audience. "We also have a sale to Teletoon. They haven't set a date yet, but they're also looking towards 26 episodes."

Last week, the Kids WB! announced a release date of March 15th for the show, allowing it to follow immediately behind the buzz created by March's other new series: 'The Spectacular Spider-Man' . While that's going on, Jason Kruse is returning to the source material, polishing up the second volume of his epic comic caper, which is now published by Yen Press.

Melanson feels confident that it all adds up to a show that will find an enthusiastic audience.

"It really is an awesome show. It looks unlike anything else I think. I don't say that often, but I think we really do look different. I always equate it to Star Wars. It's sort of set in the past yet it's got a futuristic feel to it. That's what I really like about it."

Miller's The Spirit Production Blog #3

Will Eisner's The Spirit writer/director Frank Miller has posted a third production Blog on the film's official website in which he talks about actors. It's a cool read, so check it out.

Opening January 16, 2009, the Lionsgate action-adventure stars Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes, Sarah Paulson, Paz Vega, Jamie King, Dan Lauria, Stana Katic, Johnny Simmons and Louis Lombardi.

Oh MY!! Is George Takei In J.J. Abrams’ STAR TREK Movie??

George Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu on the original “Star Trek” and now serves as announcer on Sirius’ Howard Stern radio show, recently had lunch with J.J. Abrams, Takei tells Sirius' Howard 100 News.

Asked if he would be in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming “Star Trek” feature with Leonard Nimoy, Takei would only issue a “no comment.”

Is Abrams to reunite members of the original cast? William Shatner has admitted he and Abrams met on the “Boston Legal” set shortly before Abrams’ involvement in the “Star Trek” franchise was announced – but both Abrams and Shatner continue to deny that Shatner will be in the movie, which reportedly deals with time travel and hits cinemas in 2009.

When asked why he won’t be in Abrams’ movie, Shatner (who turns 77 in less than a month) likes to point out that his character, Jim Kirk, died in the seventh “Star Trek” feature.

Shatner has co-written a slew of novels for Simon & Shuster that deal with a resurrected Kirk subsequent to the events of “Star Trek: Generations.”

Beowulf, Smurfs on DVD

This week’s slate of home video releases offers CG action for adults and some classic 2D cartoon fun for kids as Paramount Home Entertainment releases Robert Zemeckis’ performance-capture fantasy feature Beowulf, and Warner Bros. delivers re-mastered episodes from the first season of the hit 1980s television series The Smurfs on DVD for the first time ever.

The theatrical version and the unrated director’s cut of Beowulf each come with featurettes that go behind the scenes and examine how the time-honored epic story came to the screen via state-of-the art digital technology. The theatrical version only offers the documentary A Hero's Journey: The Making of Beowulf, but the director’s cut also includes the featurettes Beasts of Burden: Designing the Creatures of Beowulf, The Origins of Beowulf, Creating the Ultimate Beowulf and The Art of Beowulf. There are also six deleted scenes and a theatrical trailer.

Those who purchase the director’s cut on HD DVD will also get an interactive version of A Hero’s Journey: The Making of Beowulf with optional pop-up trivia. The two-disc set features additional deleted scenes and more featurettes including The Journey Continues, Stunts and Rigs, Plan of Attack, Fight Me, Baby It's Cold Inside and A Conversation with Robert Zemeckis. The HD DVD edition lists for $39.99.

The Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 1 is a two-disc set with 19 installments from the Emmy-winning Hanna-Barbera show’s 1981 debut season. For those who have been living under a mushroom for the past twenty plus years, the series centers on a village of little, blue people who live in peace and harmony, when they’re not being terrorized by the evil wizard Gargamel, his cat Azrael and various monsters, dragons and trolls. Listing at $26.99, the set contains the bonus episode The Smurfs Springtime Special and a music video featuring the best moments from the first season cut to the famous theme song.

It’s been 50 years since Belgian cartoonist Peyo first introduced The Smurfs (a.k.a. Les Schtroumpfs) in comics magazine Le Journal de Spirou. Now Paramount and Nickelodeon movies are working on a CG-animated feature film that was originally slated for release this year, but was pushed back. Director Colin Brady (TMNT, Everyone’s Hero) is attached to helm the project, and John Lithgow and Saturday Night Live alumnus Julia Sweeney among the possible voice cast members.

Zula Patrol on the Big Screen

The animated public television series The Zula Patrol has been teaching kids 3-8 about science, math and astronomy since fall of 2005, and now the show is making its big-screen debut with The Zula Patrol: Animal Adventures in Space! The one-day-only theatrical event will take place on Saturday, March 29 at 10 a.m. (local time), featuring five never-before-seen episodes that will include sing-a-longs.

Created by Dr. Deborah Manchester, Zula Patrol is produced by Zula USA, LLC.
With The Zula Patrol: Animal Adventures in Space!, kids will follow the Zula Patrollers on their ecological adventures as they search for stolen frog eggs, help restore life in the canyon on Zula, solve the mystery of the missing honey, and tunnel through the dirt with their new worm boot camp comrades to save their little ecosystem. Along the way, they will discover a little something about the importance of the plants and animals in our environment.

Zula USA teamed with National CineMedia's Fathom, which will present the episodes in high-definition with Cinema Surround Sound in more than 300 theaters. Participating chains include Cinemark USA Inc., Goodrich Quality Theaters, Kerasotes ShowPlace Theatres, Marcus Theatres, National Amusements and Regal Entertainment Group movie theatres. NCM’s exclusive Digital Broadcast Network will also bring the event to the Penn Cinema in Lititz, Penn. and State Theatre at State College, Penn. Tickets are available at presenting theatre box offices and online at The site also offers a complete list of theatre locations and prices.

Franny’s Feet Walks to Disney Channel U.K.

Britain is the latest destination for Franny’s Feet as the internationally successful animated children’s series gets sold to Disney Channel in the U.K. Produced by DECODE Ent., a subsidiary of DHX Media Ltd., the series was commissioned by Canada’s Family Channel and the U.K.’s Five, where it airs as part of the channel’s Milkshake preschool block. In the U.S., it airs on PBS member stations and can be seen in more than 150 countries worldwide.

Franny’s Feet follows the adventures of a little girl with magical shoes that take her around the world to learn how people live and work. For instance, a pair of sandals allow her to meet an Egyptian Princess, and hiking boots transport her her to the mountains of Tibet, where she learns about Yak herding.

DECODE signed a U.K. apparel deal for the series this month with Cooneen, brokered through U.K. agent Rocket Licensing. The licensing program also includes recent deals with Allumination Filmworks for U.S. home entertainment, Disguise Inc. for U.S. Halloween costumes, and Cadaco for arts activity products. Playskool holds the worldwide master toy and game license and Penguin Group USA recently launched storybooks, readers, stickerbooks, a series of novelty books last month. Sımon & Schuster will begin releasing color and activity books and kits later this year.

Donald Duck and Cheerios Kid in The Explorer

(Thanks, Steve Moore and Cartoon Brew)

Indian Industry Group Calls for Tax Breaks, Subsidies to Aid Animation Industry

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) is calling for tax exemptions and a ten-year tax holiday to aid the animation, gaming, and VFX industries, Indiantelevision reports.

The group wants service and sales taxes removed and development assistance extended to the industries, as well as the imposition of a requirement of ten percent mandatory local content put upon Indian networks.

Nelvana Opening Animation Cel Archives at Artexpo

Nelvana Studios will open its animation cel art archives to collectors at artexpo at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City from Friday, February 29, to Monday, March 3, at Booth #2534, the company said today.

“For the past five years, we have been cataloguing our animation archives preparing for this opportunity to bring a treasure trove of never-before released original and documented animation art to the collector’s marketplace,” said Doug Murphy, President, Nelvana Enterprises, who is coordinating the sale on behalf of the Nelvana Studios. ”Attendees at the exposition this year will experience for the first time the art of some of their favorite television shows and movies.”

Properties that will be on display include:

Babar – the elephant king, beloved in France and around the world
Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.s – based on the popular comic book series by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi
Rock & Rule – released in 1982, the first all-Canadian animated feature film featuring music from Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, Lou Reed, Cheap Trick and Earth, Wind & Fire
Cadillacs and Dinosaurs – based on Mark Schultz’s comic book series Xenozoic Tales
My Pet Monster – a cult classic!

Founded in 1971 by Michael Hirsh, Clive Smith and Patrick Loubert, Nelvana is one of the world's leading international producers and distributors of children's animated content and is owned by Corus Entertainment Inc. Nelvana’s animation has aired in over 160 countries and has received over 70 major international awards including the Emmy®, Gemini, Pulcinella, Parents’ Choice and Banff World Television Festival awards.

Voltron Fans Can Order "Fleet of Doom" on Amazon

Great news for Voltron fans. The Voltron animated movie "Fleet of Doom" can now be ordered on

The feature length movie features the "Lion Force" and "Vehicle Force" versions of Voltron stopping a new armada of Viceroy Throk and King Zarkon. The DVD is limited to 1000 copies.

The DVDs will be shipped on February 29th.

Full Speed Ahead for Justice League

Now that the writers strike has been resolved, Warner Bros. is pushing ahead with its plans to make Justice League in time for a 2009 debut, reports Variety.

Warners tried to get the big screen adaptation into production earlier, but put it on indefinite hold in January, allowing the cast options to expire. At the time, the studio said it didn't want to move ahead until the screenwriters had another shot at the script.

Writers Kieran and Michele Mulroney are busy polishing up the script, which is expected back at the studio in several weeks, and the cast has been advised to keep training for their superhero roles. Director George Miller is in pre-production in Australia.

Adam Brody, cast as the Flash, is the biggest star in the superhero lineup. Rapper Common nabbed the Green Lantern role; other roles went to lesser-known actors such as Armie Hammer Jr. (Batman) and Megan Gale (Wonder Woman).

The trade adds that Justice League, based on the DC Comic, is a huge priority for the studio and considered a launching pad for future superhero projects down the line.

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