Thursday, June 5, 2008

News - 06/05/08...

Bernie Mac and Alec Baldwin onboard Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, more images surface

USA Today unveils this morning nine new photos from DreamWorks Animation’s sequel to Madagascar which will roar in conventional theaters and IMAX on November 7, 2008. Don’t expect a sneek peak at new characters though since the gallery is made of screen captures from the featurette that debuted a few months ago on the Bee Movie DVD. In Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, the transplants from the Central Park Zoo made famous in 2005’s original try to get back to New York using an old plane. As the title suggests, the animal pals don’t quite make it. “In many ways this is an even better story than the first film,” says DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg. “It’s an opportunity for each of the lead characters to find out a lot about themselves.” The entire menagerie from the first film, which grossed $194 million in North America alone, is back: Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) and King Julien the lemur (Sacha Baron Cohen), as well as new characters voiced by Bernie Mac and Alec Baldwin. “For any actor, coming into a part understanding what the boundaries are creates a level of comfort and raises the bar for everyone,” Katzenberg says. “So in many ways, this is more outrageous and bolder.” One character experiences a heartfelt reunion, but the penguins are up to their usual mischief, Katzenberg says. “We had to be careful that they didn’t steal the show.”

Video interviews with the Kung Fu Panda cast

Coming Soon!’s Heather Newgen talked exclusively to Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman and Lucy Liu about voicing Po the Panda, Master Shifu and Viper, respectively, in DreamWorks Animation’s new film Kung Fu Panda which will be kicking its way to conventional theaters and IMAX this Friday.

Angelina Jolie “upset” by Disney films

Angelina Jolie told Digital Spy in a recent interviews that she finds Disney films offensive because they lack cultural diversity. The actress told OK! that she was reluctant to show her daughters movies from the animation giant because they don’t feature African princesses. “Even the colour of the children in the cartoon matters. There still isn’t a Disney princess that’s African and it’s very difficult because our daughters are getting into princesses right now and it upsets me.” Clearly the actress has not seen the first look image from Disney’s Christmas 2009 2D feature film The Princess and the Frog!

Kung Fu Panda toys unleashed at McD on Friday

Beginning June 6 through July 3 at McDonald’s restaurants in North America, and then rolling out across the globe, McDonald’s Kung Fu Panda Happy Meal program features exclusive characters from DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming. McDonald’s young guests will receive one of eight Kung Fu Panda toys with the purchase of a Happy Meal at participating McDonald’s restaurants, while supplies last. The eight action characters include Po the Panda, Master Shifu, snow leopard Tai Lung and the Furious Five, Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey.

Dave Stevens (1955 - 2008)

Old news to some, but new news to me...

I'm deeply saddened to learn that Dave Stevens has passed away March 11th, 2008 from complications of leukemia at the age of 52.

My deepest condolences to all his family and friends.

He was best known for creating "The Rocketeer" and reviving interest in Bettie Page.

He was raised in Portland, Oregon, then his family relocated to San Diego, where he attended San Diego City College and became involved in the early days of the San Diego Comic Book Convention, now known as the Comic-Con International. His skills as an artist were instantly evident to all, and he was encouraged by darn near every professional artist who attended the early cons, but especially by Jack Kirby and Russ Manning. In 1975, when Manning began editing a line of Tarzan comic books to be published in Europe, Dave got his first professional assignment, working on those comics and also assisting Russ with the Tarzan newspaper strip. Soon after, he worked on a few projects for Marvel (including the Star Wars comic book) and a number of underground comics. Later, he also worked with Russ on the Star Wars newspaper strip.

In 1977, Dave went to work for Hanna-Barbera where he drew storyboards and layouts, many of them for the Super Friends and Godzilla cartoon shows and bonded with veteran artist Doug Wildey, who produced the latter. Wildey and Stevens became close friends and in 1982, when Dave created his popular character, The Rocketeer, he modelled the character's sidekick, Peevy, on photos of Doug. Dave himself was Cliff Secord, who donned the mask of The Rocketeer, and other friends appeared in other guises.

The Rocketeer made Dave's reputation and also spawned a resurgence of interest in fifties' figure model Bettie Page, whose likeness Dave used for the strip's heroine. But the strip was not profitable for Dave, who was among the least prolific talents to ever attempt comic books. It wasn't so much that he was slow, as his friends joked, but that he was almost obsessively meticulous, doing days of study and sketching to create one panel, and doing many of them over and over. Even then, he was usually dissatisfied with what he produced and fiercely critical of the reproduction. Friends occasionally pitched in to help with the coloring but some begged off because they knew it was humanly impossible for anyone, including Dave himself, to produce coloring that he'd like. Eventually, he sold most of the rights to Disney for a Rocketeer movie that was produced in 1991. Dave served as a co-producer of the film and did a brief cameo, but the endeavor was not as lucrative for him as he'd hoped, and it pretty much ended Dave's interest in continuing the character.

Most of what Dave did after that fell into the general category of "glamour art," including portfolios and private commissions. Many of these were illustrations of Bettie Page who, though once thought deceased, turned out to be alive and living not all that far from Dave. They met and Dave became her friend and, though he was not wealthy, benefactor. Deciding that too many others had callously exploited her likeness, Dave voluntarily aided Ms. Page financially and even took to helping her in neighborly ways. One time, he told me — and without the slightest hint of resentment — "It's amazing. After years of fantasizing about this woman, I'm now driving her to cash her Social Security checks."

Dave was truly one of the nicest people many have ever met... and was certainly among the most gifted. One story told is of an encounter at Jack Kirby's house around 1971 when he came to visit and show Jack some of his work. Kirby was very encouraging and he urged Dave not to try and draw like anyone else but to follow his own passions. This was advice Dave took to heart, which probably explains why he took so long with every drawing. They were rarely just jobs to Dave. Most of the time, what emerged from his drawing board or easel was a deeply personal effort. He was truly in love with every beautiful woman he drew, at least insofar as the paper versions were concerned. (Dave was married once...for six months to the prolific movie actress, Brinke Stevens, and she retained his last name after they divorced.)

Dave's illness these last few years was a poorly-kept secret among his friends, but he insisted that it be kept quiet, and struggled to make occasional public appearances. He joked that it was lucky he had such a reputation for slow production. Now that he was unable to work for weeks at a time, no one noticed that his output had declined. His main efforts went towards an "Art of Dave Stevens" book he was struggling to assemble. Dave loved to talk about comics and comic artists. Dave was a fan in the very best sense.

The thought of losing a great guy like Dave Stevens is just too, too sad. He was truly loved and admired by all who knew him.

R.I.P. Dave.

The Full New Wanted Trailer!

The full new trailer for Universal Pictures' Wanted is now online. You can watch it using the player below or in High Definition QuickTime here! Three new TV spots are also online and can be watched via this link.

Opening June 27, the Timur Bekmambetov-directed action-thriller stars James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, Thomas Kretschmann, Common and Angelina Jolie. It is based on the Mark Millar graphic novel series.


Universal Studios Hollywood Not Rebuilding King Kong Ride

Universal Studios Hollywood has confirmed in the following press release that the King Kong ride, that was part of the backlot tour and lost in the fire, will be replaced by a new "experience," while the New York Streets sets will be reconstructed:

Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk have taken a "the show must go on" stance and are open for business as usual after a much-publicized weekend fire that damaged the King Kong backlot attraction and one area of film sets that were frequently visited by the Studio Tour.

All rides, shows and attractions are open and operating normally, including the new and much-acclaimed "The Simpsons Ride," which opened to spectacular reviews just weeks ago and joined "Revenge of the Mummy -- The Ride" and "Jurassic Park -- The Ride" as stand-out Universal Studios Hollywood thrill-ride experiences.

Neither Universal CityWalk, the popular entertainment, dining and retail complex nor the Universal CityWalk Cinemas were impacted and have also opened for business as usual. The Gibson Amphitheatre, the Sheraton Universal and the Universal Hilton Hotels are fully operational and were not affected by the incident.

Universal Studios Hollywood's parent company, NBC Universal, has announced its determination to rebuild and replace the film sets that were lost in the fire. Specifically, the New York Streets sets will be reconstructed and a new, compelling guest experience will ultimately replace the 22-year-old King Kong attraction.

Universal's world-renowned Studio Tour attraction will continue to take guests behind-the-scenes of an authentic working movie studio backlot, an ever-changing landscape, responding to a myriad of productions daily.

MTV Wants Animators For Reality Show

Animation contests are not a popular subject around the Brew, but this one sounds intriguing enough to mention. MTV is currently recruiting animators, designers and filmmakers from around the world to participate in a show called Engine Room, in which four teams (Europe, the US, Asia and Latin America) compete for a chance to win $400,000 in cash plus lots of tech gear from Hewlett-Packard. The contest was described to me by an MTV producer as “a design/animation-based reality show.” The show is casting through the end of June, and will be filmed for four weeks beginning in mid-July.

Here’s a bit more description from the materials he sent me:

Each team will be made up of four members with one or more of the following talents: graphics and web design, animation, filmmaking, and sound mixing. Each team member will need to make sure they’re making the most of their unique talents if their designs are going to stand up to criticism from our panel of experts.

The Engine Room is a unique opportunity for talented creatives to compete in a high pressure, highly creative environment – and the prize will give the winners a massive head start in their professional lives.

As sponsors of the show, Hewlett Packard are there to ensure that the stars are working on top of the best hardware they’ve got to offer, with a selection of cutting edge design packages.

MTV channels will be screening Engine Room on-air and online across the world this autumn, but this is so much more than a reality show. This is the perfect opportunity for young talent to shine.

I’d mistakenly posted earlier that they’re only looking for Europeans, but there are slots open for all regions.
To submit a portfolio or for additional details, visit or email engineroom [at]

(thanks cartoonbrew)

Iron Panda Thunder

This is an honest, if not particularly funny, bit from the MTV Movie Awards about the desperation in Hollywood for finding new and unique ways to promote movies online. Just remember the key word: viral.

(thanks cartoonbrew)

Cartoons from Korea

The former work-for-hire power transitions into a source of proprietary animation for the global market.

Animation World Magazine

Madagascar 2 poster

The first theatrical poster for DreamWork’s upcoming sequel Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa can be seen at Cinematical. The one-sheet features all of the lead characters from the first film, including Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, and the comical group of penguins. To view the poster in full-size, click here. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa hits theaters on November 7th, 2008.

LA Times on Yanked "Boondocks" Episodes

The Los Angeles Times is reporting on the two episodes of The Boondocks which were never aired by Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block, quoting anonymous sources that the episodes were eventually pulled due to the threat of legal action from BET. Executives at Turner and Viacom (which own Cartoon Network and BET, respectively) both deny that discussions were held to censor the episodes.

Both episodes will be included on the upcoming Boondocks DVD set, along with commentary tracks by Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder and co-executive producer Rodney Barnes. The Times states that, "Because of legal reasons, [McGruder] adds, he cannot mention the real names of the people satirized in the episodes" on the commentary track.

AOL Names Toy Story Top Toon

America Online’s Moviefone site ( has posted a list of what it considers to be the Top 25 Animated Movies of all time, placing Disney/DreamWorks Toy Story at No. 1 spot. The groundbreaking 1995 CG-animated release edged out the 1994 2D favorite The Lion King for the top spot, while the 1999 sequel Toy Story 2 made the list at No. 17.

Other expected entries include the Disney classics Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Bambi and The Jungle Book. The list also includes decidedly underappreciated films such as the Oscar-nominated French pic The Triplets of Belleville, DreamWorks/Aardman’s Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Warner Bros.’ The Iron Giant and Paramount’s South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.

Joining the host of time-honored classics are several animated films released in the past several years, including Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek and the Disney/Pixar hits Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Ratatouille. See the complete list with images at

Writer Picked to Reboot ReBoot

Rugrats scribe Jon Cooksey has been hired to script the an animated feature film based on the ground-breaking 1994 CG television series ReBoot. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will be the first in a trilogy to be produced by Rainmaker Animation, which acquired ReBoot originator MainFrame Ent. in 2006.

The original ReBoot children’s series was the first 3D program on television. The show lasted four seasons on ABC and Cartoon Network in the U.S. and on YTV in Canada, and was eventually seen in 70 countries around the world. The seies remains one of YTV's top-rated programs and helped to establish Mainframe Ent. as a leading computer animation studio.

In furthering the development of the revamped ReBoot, Rainmaker entered into a strategic alliance with Zeros 2 Heroes, a social network for comic-book fans. Five undiscovered writers were selected to work with the professionals at Rainmaker to develop their own pitches for a new storyline. The pitches were posted on in July of 2007, allowing fans to vote for their favorites and provide feedback. The result was a new web comic titled Paradigms Lost from writer Jeff Campbell, producer Shea Wageman, artist Shaun Martens and designer Kelly Schmidt.

The first feature film is being overseen by Rainmaker Animation exec vp Paul Gertz. He tells the Reporter that the studio will continue to engage the fans in guiding the direction of the franchise. Rainmaker is also busy at work on its first theatrical feature, Escape From Plant Earth. Happy Feet exec producer Ed Jones is producing and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End lead animator Steve Nichols is directing animation for the family flick, which was written by Tony Leech and Cory Edwards, the writing team behind The Weinstein Co.’s indie animation hit Hoodwinked. The Weinstein Co. is handling financing and worldwide distribution for Escape From Planet Earth, which involves an alien prison break from Area 51.

Platinum’s Final Orbit on Film Flight Plan

Platinum Studios is working with producer Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Motion Pictures to develop a feature film based on the Platinum comicbook Final Orbit, according to Daily Variety. Hurd and Platinum Studios CEO Scott Mitchell Rosenberg will produce the pic from a script by Russell Gewirtz (Righteous Kill, Inside Man). The comic is slated to debut in early 2009.

In Final Orbit, lottery winners travel to a newly completed international space station, only to have their dream vacation turn into a nightmare when damage to the facility leaves them trapped without the aide of trained astronauts. The film will be exec produced by Randy Greenberg and Valhalla’s Gary Ventimiglia.

After successfully launching the Men in Black property with Sony Pictures, Platinum Studios has two sci-fi feature films based on its comics set up at DreamWorks—Atlantis Rising and Cowboys and Aliens. The company recently teamed with Hyde Park Ent. to produce Dead of Night, an adaptation of Tiziano Sclavi’s cult-favorite Italian comic book series Dylan Dog, with Superman Returns star Brandon Routh in the lead role, and is also working with Disney to adapt its Unique comic. Valhalla is a producer on Marvel Studios’ The Incredible Hulk, which opens June 13.

Willis Game for Kane Role?

Despite its weak track record, Hollywood continues to mine the world of interactive entertainment in a bid to launch new franchises. The Hollywood Reporter today brings word that Lionsgate is negotiating with action star Bruce Willis to play the role of Kane in an adaptation of Eidor Interactive’s video game Kane & Lynch. Veteran stunt coordinator and second-unit director Simon Crane is directing the pic from a script by Kyle Ward, who is also scripting Lionsgate’s big-screen take on the Alias comic book Deal With the Devil.

Kane & Lynch was developed by IO Interactive. The popular game involves a death row inmate (curiously resembling Willis) who teams with a schizophrenic killer named Lynch to bust out of prison in order to retrieve stolen loot and save Kane’s wife and daughter. The movie is being produced by Daniel Alter and Adrian Askarieh, who both served as producers on last year’s poorly received video game adaptation Hitman.

Crane has overseen stunts on various James Bond movies, the Alien franchise, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and the upcoming Will Smith super hero pic Hancock. He is currently working as stung coordinator and second unit director on Disney’s upcoming sci-fi thriller The Surrogates, which stars Willis and is being directed by Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Breakdown).

Skunk Fu! Merchandising Hits the U.S.

Galleon Holdings plc. announced today that the merchandising line based on its animated TV series Skunk Fu! is set to launch in the U.S. at the 2008 Licensing Show International, taking place June 10-12 in New York City. The cartoon made its U.S. debut in September of 2007 during the Kids’ WB! block on The CW, and recently debuted on Cartoon Network.

Galleon has appointed The Sharpe Company Inc. as licensing agent for Skunk Fu! in North America. The toy line, developed and produced in-house by Croco Sourcing Worldwide, a wholly owned subsidiary of Galleon, will premiere at the Licensing Show at The Sharpe Group’s booth (No. 4309). In addition, Galleon is in talks with a DVD distribution partner for the U.S.

Skunk Fu! is created by Aidan Harte and produced by Cartoon Saloon, Cake Ent. and Telegael for TG4 in Ireland and Super RTL in Germany. The series of 52 13-minute comical adventures that revolve around a young western skunk learning Kung Fu from a wise old Panda in China so that he can help the resistance fight against the evil Dragon and his army of Ninja Monkeys. The show features madcap humor and adventure themes aimed at kids aged 6-12.

The series has been sold by TV distribution partner Cake Ent. in more 100 territories. Broadcast partners include France 5 and Canal J in France, RAISAT in Italy, ABC in Australia, SVT in Sweden, RTBF in Belgium and Cartoon Network in Europe, Australia, Asia and Latin America. All audiovisual exploitation rights are controlled by Cake Distribution and all licensing and merchandising rights (excluding Germany) are handled by Galleon Plc. Both companies are equity owners of the property.

Safeway goes Looney Tunes to get kids eating right

Safeway Inc. and Warner Bros. Consumer Products announced Wednesday a partnership to use animated Looney Tunes characters as part of a a better-for-you line of food products for children, uniting flavor and nutrition.

Through a licensing agreement with Safeway, the characters will be featured on the new Eating Right Kids line of food and beverages, to be sold at Safeway. Each product in the multi-category, competitively priced line will feature such world-renowned Looney Tunes characters as Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Taz, Sylvester, Wile E. Coyote, Roadrunner, Marvin the Martian and Daffy Duck.

Eating Right Kids, an extension of the successful Eating Right adult line, will launch later this year with select products arriving on store shelves this summer. The line will initially be carried at over 1,700 Safeway locations throughout the United States and Canada. Early next year, Eating Right Kids will also be available nationally via the Better Living Brands Alliance.

Eating Right Kids is the first broad product line to feature entertainment characters and be dedicated solely to a healthier eating philosophy.

"The Warner Bros. Consumer Products partnership will allow us to extend the Eating Right brand to a line of products that will appeal to children, and at the same time give parents the comfort that these products are healthier choices," said Mike Minasi, Safeway's president of marketing. "Integrating such well-recognized characters into our brand architecture will make the line more attractive to our target audience and augment the line's success."

"This partnership with Safeway allows us to utilize the Looney Tunes characters' enduring popularity with kids and teens to promote a lifestyle choice that's healthier for them," said Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Barry Meyer. "Using our iconic characters as ambassadors of health and fitness, the Eating Right Kids program helps simplify good nutrition for parents and their children."

The product line will feature more than 100 items across 30 categories including breakfast foods, portable meals, dairy, snacks and beverages. Products are formulated based on the most recent dietary recommendations and regulations from several federal and state agencies, including Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the California School Nutritional Guidelines SB12.

The product packaging will retain the Eating Right design architecture while taking full advantage of the personalities associated with the Looney Tunes characters. The characters will also be integrated into the Eating Right "Spot Your Needs" easy-reference system, which helps customers quickly identify the nutritional benefits of each product.

"As our nation continues to struggle with the issue of childhood obesity, Safeway has taken a leadership role in providing parents and consumers with food products that are healthier for children, and we believe in this philosophy," said Brad Globe, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products. "Not only will the Eating Right Kids line provide a healthier eating solution for kids and their parents, but we've taken the additional step across the entire Looney Tunes product line in North America to ensure that the majority of food products featuring the characters meet this better-for-you standard and will be exclusively available through the Eating Right Kids line."

I tawt I taw a puddy pasta: Sylvester reaches out for Tweety, but has another meal in mind as well.

Seth Rogen on The Green Hornet

Before even seeing Seth Rogen on the New Mexico set of his new Warner Bros. movie Observe and Report (working title), we could hear his infectious laugh roar through an Albuquerque mall where the base camp was set up to shoot and we couldn't wait to chat with him. Not only is Rogen one of the coolest guys to interview because of his raunchy sense of humor and his genuine interest in wanting to talk to press, but he gave us some insight as to what is going on with The Green Hornet, which he is co-writing and would star in as the masked crime fighter.

"'Green Hornet' is PG-13 and that's an action movie. You can do anything violence wise," he told us.

When asked about Stephen Chow being involved in the project, Rogen confirmed that his name has come up and said, "Until you get an official green light, the studio won't spend any money and you can't get an actor without any money. We would love to have him. The version of the script is ultimately written as a very intense action movie."

"It's a very intense action movie and the relationship between Green Hornet and Kato, a lot of comedy comes from that. At first actually, we weren't even sure going in we could be more of a Jet Li type guy who maybe isn't the funniest guy in the world, but he's physically very impressive, or whether it would be more of a Stephen Chow type guy who can do martial arts, but clearly has a sense of humor. In the version that we've made it seems like a Stephen Chow type guy would be more suitable for the role. Again, until they officially greenlight it, it's hard to make any of those decisions," Rogen continued.

But that isn't stopping the comedian from searching for someone to helm the comic book film. "We have been meeting with directors and stuff even though we haven't been greenlit. We just kind of took it upon ourselves to kind of begin conservations with people. I'm really excited. It seems like it might really happen."

While they have approached a few different directors, Rogen isn't sure if he wants someone who has experience with big budget action films or more of an independent helmer. "We've been meeting with people in both worlds I would say and that ultimately is the real question. Do you get a guy who does action really well and who has done that before, or do you get a guy who has never done action before, but can bring something unique to that style movie? We don't know yet. Until we get the script down to people, we're kind of letting their response to what we write be the dictator. Someone will read it and be more psyched than the other guys and that will be the guys we go with."

When asked who will get more action -- Green Hornet or Kato -- Rogen said, " It's them sharing the action, but I would say the story has something to do with them working out their relationship exactly. I would say in a way it's your quintessential story about a hero and his sidekick. That's what really initially drew us to it. We always thought that was kind of a funny dynamic and a funny relationship and no movies really did that except 'Batman & Robin.' No movies did that well."

Rogen, who is writing the script with childhood friend Evan Goldberg, said the two had always been fascinated by superheroes and hope the project moves forward. "For years Evan and I have been toying with this notion of a movie that explores the hero / sidekick relationship and what is a hero without a sidekick and what is a sidekick without a hero. It's actually a dynamic that applies to many real life situations--a lot of working dynamics, a lot of bosses and their underlinings. The one thing people say when you see the Green Hornet is Bruce Lee and Kato. He's the only hero with a sidekick who is way more known than he is."

What exactly is the hold up with the movie? Rogen explains it's actually him. " It's more just us finishing up a newer draft of the script."

And he admitted he doesn't think about the budget when writing the script. " We don't think about the money at all. When we're writing a script, the only way we can do it is write exactly what it is we want to see when we go to a movie. When we wrote 'Pineapple Express,' we didn't know if it was going to be a $100 million movie or a $27 million movie. Ultimately, it was a $27 million movie, but that didn't affect the way we wrote it. We did all the action we wanted in that. That being said, this seems like it would be more in the $70-100 [million] world."

The high in-demand actor can't say for sure if the movie will be approved by the studio, but he's leaving his schedule open just in case. "If we make 'The Green Hornet' it would probably shoot sometime after [the Judd Apatow untitled project] so we're kind of leaving that slot open."

He joked, however, and said we could hear something soon and isn't 100% sure it's going to happen, but did say, "I have been getting good indicators lately and we've heard that they [Sony Pictures] really like the first draft that we've turned it," which was about three weeks ago.

Rogen is known for being a comedic writer and actor, but he grew up watching action films which he says is one of his favorite genres. "My mother's favorite movies were 'Die Hard,' 'Total Recall,' 'Under Seige' I remember seeing in the movie theater when I was way too young to see it. I remember seeing 'Lethal Weapon 2' in the movie theater, so those are my favorite types of movies, really, so it's not hard at all for me to write action. It's really fun for me...With 'Green Hornet' it's our goal to show people action that they haven't quite seen before."

Christopher Lee Would Return as Saruman

86-year-old Christopher Lee has expressed his interest in returning as Saruman in Guillermo del Toro's The Hobbit and/or the untitled sequel.

While the evil wizard is not featured in the "Lord of the Rings" prequel, the two films give plenty of room for Saruman to return in some aspect. Lee tells Empire Online:

I'd be interested in seeing how that transition from good to evil occurred and, yes, of course I would return to the role if I was asked.

For much more on the wizards' backstory, read the full interview here.

Dumbo Cel Release and Artist Signing

On Saturday, June 21, 2008, The Disney Studios Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios™ will be holding a Dumbo Cel Release and Artist Signing. “Share in the love of Mrs. Jumbo’s, sweet, little, “Baby Mine” with the newest edition to the Ink and Paint collection from the Studios Animation Gallery at the Walt Disney World Resort! . . . Don’t miss this opportunity to purchase this beautiful cel and to meet the artists of this timeless piece and [have] your questions [answered] firsthand!”

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