Friday, June 6, 2008

News - 06/06/08...

Trailer for Richard Williams DVD Masterclass

The Animators Survival Kit ANIMATED logo intro line test!! Richard Williams to attend Annecy festival this year.

Below is the pencil test to the trailer of Richard Williams’ Animator’s Survival Kit dvd lecture series. More details to be posted soon at

Online "Batman: Gotham Knight" Advertisement

Warner Home Video has released an online ad for the upcoming direct-to-video Batman: Gotham Knight release and website.

To view the full-size image, click the thumbnail.


The MoCCA Art Festival is coming up this weekend in Manhattan. I’ve heard only good things about the event; it’s been described to me as kind of like a mini-San Diego Comic-Con, comprised entirely of people who are serious and appreciative of the comic art form. In other words, no sword play or collectible card games at this convention.

Many animation folk will be present at MoCCA: Chris McDonnell will be at the Meathaus table promoting the new book he created about Ralph Bakshi, various Blue Sky artists will be there to launch the new volume of Out of Picture, and other artists like Mo Willems, Bill Plympton and JJ Sedelmaier will be presenting projects at various booths. Also, on Saturday, Plympton will receive the 2008 MoCCA Art Festival Award, and on Sunday the festival will present a program of contemporary Nordic animation. Complete exhibitor list and programming guide can be found on the MoCCA website.

thanks cartoonbrew)

"Dilbert" Becomes Daily Animated Strip On-Line

Scott Adams' Dilbert newspaper comic strip will be returning to animation, in the form of daily animated strips to be created by RingTales and posted on a variety of on-line outlets, expanding from and MSN to YouTube and a podcast from Apple iTunes. New animated strips will appear five times a week.

Planet 51 Is E.T. In Reverse

Seann William Scott, who plays an alien UFOlogist in the upcoming animated SF comedy Planet 51, told SCI FI Wire that the movie flips the conventions of the UFO story on their head.

"One of the first scenes is, like, you see everyone watching this movie, and it pulls back to reveal that they're aliens," Scott said in an interview recently while promoting The Promotion. "And so humans are aliens to them. And Dwayne Johnson's character lands on the planet, and everyone's like, 'Oh, my gosh! I told you!'"

Johnson (Get Smart) plays an Earth astronaut who finds himself stranded, a la E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, on the title planet and must enlist the help of the green inhabitants to find his way home. Jessica Biel also stars.

"The script [by Shrek writer Joe Stillman] is amazing," Scott said. "It's really funny, and it's right up SCIFI.COM's alley, because it starts off on some other planet, and there's all these aliens."

Scott plays a variation on the UFO geek. "I play this guy who's a total conspiracy theorist and a comic-book geek," he said. "He's all, 'I told you! I told you they're real!' And so [Johnson is] the 'alien,' and we're trying to protect him."

Gary Oldman, John Cleese and Justin Long also lend their voices. Planet 51 is scheduled for release on July 24, 2009.

New "Wolverine And The X-Men" Images, UK Premiere Date

Liberation Entertainment has provided Marvel Animation Age with new images and UK premiere date information for Wolverine And The X-Men.

Click on the thumbnails below for a closer look at the new images provided by Liberation Entertainment.

Wolverine And The X-Men is set to premiere on BBC2 Saturday, August 2nd, 2008. Each episode will then repeat on the following Wednesday at 16:30, beginning on August 6th, 2008.

Liberation Entertainment has also set a November 3rd, 2008 release date for the first Wolverine & The X-Men DVD release date, just in time for the holiday season.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Evilution: the black costume of 'Spectacular Spider-Man'

For those watching closely over the past two episodes, the symbiote-induced black suit worn by Spider-Man has already undergone some evolutionary changes – and there are more coming in "Intervention," an all-new episode of ' 'The Spectacular Spider-Man' premiering this Saturday, June 7 at 10:00 a.m. ET/PT on CW4Kids.

The black suit, the result of an alien symbiote attaching itself to Peter Parker/Spider-Man, first appeared in the episode entitled "Persona." For that episode, the suit fairly replicated Spider-Man's red/blue suit into a black version with its classic web pattern, along with a spider emblem on his back in black with a white outline.

Spider-Man, in his new black suit, has a high-rise chat with Black Cat in "Persona."

The black suit gives Spider-Man some amazing new powers, though few knew water-skiing was included in that package in "Persona."

Evolution continues when in the next episode, "Group Therapy," the chest emblem increased in size and changed slightly in shape – much like the comics black spider shape. In addition, the emblem on his back had a slight change in shape and was now all-white, and the classic Spider-Man suit web pattern began coming apart with the webs starting to unravel. In "Intervention," the black suit has fully evolved into the comics version of the black Spider-Man costume.

Spider-Man leaps into action against The Sinister Six in "Group Therapy."

The black suit even makes web-slinging an art form for Spider-Man in "Group Therapy."

Producer/Supervising Director Victor Cook explained the reason for the evolution of the black suit from episode to episode.

"The symbiote's control over Peter isn't sudden, it progresses – and we wanted to show that aspect visually as well by having the black suit progress from classic web pattern to non webs," Cook said. "As the web unravels, so does Peter's control. Also, it was fun to for us to homage both the movie and comics versions of the black Spidey suit."

A close-up of the fully evolved black suit on Spider-Man.

High in the corner of Tombstone's office sticks Spider-Man

Spider-Man utilizes all of his new symbiote-induced powers while swinging through the city in his fully-evolved black suit in "Intervention."

And while the publicists for the show have been cagey, fans know where this is leading. Indeed, TV Guide revealed yesterday that Venom will finally appear in the show this weekend.

Marc Guggenheim pays respect to 'Green Lantern'

Marc Guggenheim recently chatted up Vanetta Rogers at about his work in comics, TV and film, including some dish on the 'Green Lantern' movie.

Guggenheim reports that he and his 'Eli Stone' collaborator Greg Berlanti are wrapping up a draft of the script. He was reluctant to divulge any specifics, as such things are frequently taken out of context on message boards and cause upset among the fans early on in the process.

"Although, I actually think fans are going to react really positively to the Green Lantern movie," Guggenheim said. "It's not only a respectful approach to the character, but it's a loving approach to the entire mythos. So while there is this desire to be quiet and secretive and let the movie speak for itself, it's hard for me, because I feel like I know -- as a comic book fan -- I know what I want to see in a comic book movie. And I know... look, I'm like everybody else. I vividly remember Tim Burton's 'Batman' movie. If you look back, there's 'Superman: The Movie' and the first 'Batman' movie, and those two movies are the first big budget, superhero tent-pole movies.

"And you kind of hold your breath because we've all seen the disastrous effect that the Batman live-action TV series had on the respectability of comic books. So I actually feel like comic book movies need to be better than your average movie. I think it's wonderful that we're living in a time and I'm working at a time when comic books have really gained that respectability, but I don't take it for granted. I don't want us to lose mainstream respectability. I think comic books have come an incredibly far way and I want to make sure we don't take a step back. I certainly don't want my name on a movie that would take it back.

"I think Green Lantern has the potential to be a very highly regarded superhero movie. We're approaching it with such respect and such care. And really, it's written to be a movie that everyone who's not familiar with the character can enjoy, but there are so many nods to things that I know the fans love and care about that I think people will be very happy."

During the interview Guggenheim talked more about his and Berlanti's love of the character, and also about how the current state of the art of film and special effects truly allows for a visually captivating take on 'Green Lantern'.

"That was one of the very first things, in our discussions with the studios, that we talked about. Basically, its time has come because now the technology exists to do it right.

"And what's great about 'Eli Stone' is that we're such a visual effects-heavy show. It's given Greg and I an incredible amount of experience with visual effects and doing very ambitious computer and practical effects. I mention that because Greg is also going to direct the 'Green Lantern' movie. So we're getting our boot camp going on Eli, as far as the visual effects side of the equation."

WW PHILLY '08: Hulk Retrospective With Lou Ferrigno

As Marvel prepares to debut a brand new Hulk to the world via the big screen in June, fans of the old school version from the classic television series The Incredible Hulk got to bask in some nostalgia Friday at Wizard World: Philadelphia. Actor/bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno, who embodied the cranky, green guy for five seasons on the series, hit the stage with Wizard’s Kevin Mahadeo to take a Gamma Ray-inspired walk down memory lane.

Right off the bat, Mahadeo introduced Ferrigno and asked his thoughts on the new The Incredible Hulk film which opens June 13th. “For the new movie, I do the voice. I’ve saw about 15 – 20 minutes of it. It’s much faster paced than the first film [Ang Lee’s Hulk]...I think this one will do very well because it’s more like the TV series. The other movie was the comic’s version but this film the Hulk is very sympathetic. I’m very excited about doing the voice of the Hulk too.”

Mahadeo put together a video and slideshow program for the panel and he started with a clip from the television series where actor Bill Bixby’s David Banner is grilled on the witness stand during a trial. Banner hulks out to the shock of the judge and jury.

At clip’s end, Ferrigno quipped, “That’s why you should never have Hulk go to trial.”

Ferrigno commented that episode was directed by Bixby in 1988 and really expressed David Banner’s frustrations well.

“That shows why the last movie didn’t do well,” Ferrigno remembered. “The new film is like the TV series and has the same kind of chemistry as the series. Once you start changing that formula that causes problems.

Mahadeo asked Ferrigno about the makeup and he lamented: “The makeup was hell and took about three or four hours. Sometimes I would have to be made up at four or five in the morning and I would have to mentally prepare to go back to makeup. When you are sitting in a chair for three hours, first with spirit gum and then the grease makeup...I had to keep thinking of my paycheck – that kept me motivated. I loved becoming the character and it was so much fun but those three hours were the tough part.”

The actor related how he would have to be in the makeup anywhere from 13 – 14 hours a day. Wearing a bathrobe, he would have to lay down gingerly on his back in attempt to take naps in between scenes without messing up the application.

“The hardest thing for me was sitting in the motor home,” he recalled. “I couldn’t hang out with the crew because of the makeup. And if weather conditions were bad, they would send me home. It was frustrating...I’d have to just come back the next day. After 86 episodes, you are talking about me getting made up over 400 times!”

Mahadeo then broke down the rest of the panel into subsections revolving around certain aspects of the series: special effects, fight scenes, and working with Bill Bixby. Each section featured a clip from the series and then Ferrigno gave some anecdotes about the material.

Ferrigno said his favorite fight in the series was when he got to duke it out with the other Hulk – not only because of the cool factor but also because the clone Hulk was played by a stuntman “and with a professional stuntman you can do anything!”

In a more somber remembrance, the actor said that his human counterpart on the show, actor Bill Bixby was never the same again after the tragic death of his nine year old son. “His son died and he came back on set two days later. I was mortified seeing him cover his pain...but Bill would never talk much about it. Professionally he was very smart and witty and a talented director and producer – but he isolated himself [after the death].”

Rounding out the panel, Mahadeo showed Ferrigno’s cameo appearance in Ang Lee’s Hulk, where he and Stan Lee walk by actor Eric Bana.

Ferrigno said he told Lee on the set of the Hulk TV series that Lee’s comics inspired him to get into bodybuilding.

“I was a fan of the Hulk comics. I lost 75% of my hearing as a child so I was very introverted. I fantasized about fighting evil...and I was so frustrated about getting beat up as a kid that I started bodybuilding so I could be so strong I would never get picked on again.”

In The Incredible Hulk, Ferrigno will appear again in a new cameo and his voice will play an important part of the performance. He takes over vocally from Edward Norton when Banner transitions into the Hulk.

“I didn’t get to do the Hulk’s voice on the TV series, but I did voice the animated Hulk series. For the new film, they wanted me to speak deep from my chest and project I got to scream and yell in a room for three hours!”

Lastly, he gave the modest audience a taste with a dramatic explosion of: “Puny human – HULK SMASH!”

Vincent, deleted scenes, Tim Burton intro & commentary on Nightmare Before Christmas 2-disc collector’s edition

Disney Home Video has announced a 2-disc collector’s edition of The Nightmare Before Christmas for release on the 26th August, says DVD Active. The film will be presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen, along with an English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track. Extras will include a commentary by producer and writer Tim Burton, director Henry Selick and composer Danny Elfman, some deleted scenes, a storyboard to film comparison, a Jack’s Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour, Burton’s original poem narrated by Christopher Lee, a making of featurette, another featurette on the world of Nightmare Before Christmas, original trailers and posters, the complete short film Vincent, and a digital copy of the film. Additionally, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is also offering Nightmare buffs the opportunity to purchase a limited release of the Ultimate Collector’s Edition DVD Set featuring an individually numbered hand-painted bust of Jack Skellington in all his gory glory equipped with a Jack’s “Sandy Claws” hat and beard, a sound chip that plays memorable lines from the film and a letter of authenticity. Retail will be $179.99. A Blu-ray release will also be available with an exclusive Introduction by Tim Burton.

Looking back at Buzz Lightyear of Star Command

One of the best animation resources out there, the TAG Blog, takes a trip down memory lane on Disney TV Animation’s 2D series based on the space warrior in Toy Story.

Academy Award-Nominated Screenwriter Josh Olson on "Batman Gotham Knight"


Hollywood tradition dictates that an Academy Award nomination begets lucrative offer after offer, and the nominee usually reaps the immediate seven-figure benefits. But sometimes, boyhood dreams take precedence.

Buoyed by his Oscar nod for scripting “A History of Violence,” Josh Olson has become one of the most sought-after writers in Hollywood. But amidst the offers following his nomination came the opportunity to pen a chapter of “Batman Gotham Knight” – and that was an offer simply too tempting to resist. The result is an impressive opening segment to the film that not only arrests the imagination with visually stunning perspectives of Batman, but sets the thematic tone for the entire six-chapter film.

In the segment, entitled “Have I Got a Story for You,” Olson tells the story of how chance encounters with Batman by a group of street-wise youngsters leave each kid with a very different impression of the Dark Knight.

Since “A History of Violence,” for which he was also nominated for the British Academy Award, the Writer's Guild Award, the Edgar and the USC Scriptor award, Olson has been busy drafting screenplays for both film and television. Olson has adapted the Dennis Lehane short story "Until Gwen" and will be directing the project himself. He worked on a draft of “Halo” for Peter Jackson, and is currently adapting L. Frank Baum's “Oz” books for Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures.

Olson will join fellow “Batman Gotham Knight” writers Brian Azzarello, Greg Rucka and Alan Burnett, along with executive producer Bruce Timm, on the panel following the film’s premiere at Wizard World Chicago on June 28. “Batman Gotham Knight” will arrive July 8, 2008 on DVD and Blu-Ray disc, and will also be available that day On Demand via digital cable and for download through broadband sites.

Olson strode off the yellow brick road for a short discussion of his role in the creation of “Batman Gotham Knight,” his amusement over 1960s Batman action verbiage, and his passion for a good, old-fashioned decapitation.

Without further ado, the Q&A with Josh Olson …

You have arguably the most visually diverse chapter in the film. How did you communicate the direction in your script for your variety of Batman looks, and how detailed did you go?

Josh Olson answers:
My feeling was that I’d never worked in animation before, so if I was going to write a cartoon, I wanted it to BE a cartoon. I tried to come up with something that would be as visually entertaining as possible. Having worked on film crews in the art departments and around the digital effects guys, I know the best people for creating those visuals are the people that actually do it. So I was specific in relation to the story – I described a creature that grows out of shadows, a creature that is more bat than man, things like that. But I didn’t get into too much detail because I wanted the directors and designers to knock themselves out. The animators got the chance to go nuts – and with them, and for this, nothing is too wild.

Are they any particular moments in your segment that exceeded your vision?

Josh Olson answers:
Honestly, I love them all, but there are some little flourishes that the director incorporated that really make me happy. In the robot batman segment, I love the way Batman hops off the building, and the way he sort of skids when he’s turning around. There’s a wonderful sense of whimsy in that direction that I really love.

Question: Most folks leverage an Academy Award nomination into seven-figure deals, but you opted to draft one-sixth of an animated direct-to-DVD? What were you thinking?

Josh Olson answers:
I’m a comics kid going way back, and we’re talking about my favorite character. I got offered a lot of jobs after Violence, but I’m picky. I have to really love the subject to write it. You’re supposed to take your big money-making job right after you get a nomination, but I took this Batman project because it was an absolute no-brainer. You don’t buy a house off this, but I was absolutely thrilled to do it. I got the chance to write the cartoon I would have wanted to see as a kid, and would still be entertained by today as an adult. I always wanted to write Batman – and when Chris Nolan is done with them, I’m ready.

Question: Did you take a different approach to writing for animation than you normally take to live-action?

Josh Olson answers:
This is so much more about the visual, and you have to be keyed into that. You have to justify the medium you’re working in – in other words, it’s animated for a reason. It’s not an arbitrary choice. So I had to do something that justified that medium, and this one definitely does.

Is there anything in your segment that we might not see if we weren’t looking for it?

Josh Olson answers:
There are all sorts of little in-jokes. When the girl is describing the fight sequence, and she’s saying “biff!!!” and “pow!!” -- that’s my little tribute to the on-screen sound effects from the old Batman television show. But one of the words they had on screen back then was “flrbbbb!” – that drove me nuts as a kid. That’s not a sound effect! So I had to throw that in.

As a nod to Chris Nolan and “Memento,” I thought it would be fun to approach this by telling the story backwards. So you’ll notice that each time the villain appears, he seems to be gaining weapons instead of losing them. That was an intentional nod to Chris Nolan’s film, and I love playing with that type of structure.

Where did the inspiration for your segment initiate, and how did that play into your approach?

Josh Olson answers

The idea that was pitched reminded me of a great old 1970s Batman comic – Dick Giordano drew it, but it could have been Jim Aparo – that was a short story about three kids, each of whom saying what they thought Batman looked like. I remembered there was also an animated version that had three kids describing him in different iterations. Now you get a third story, so it becomes a legitimate genre. I always loved that story – kids sitting around a campfire talking about Batman, and he shows up. I thought it would be fun to make it more active.

(Note: The comic referenced was also made into the"Legends of the Dark Knight" episode of The New Batman/Superman Adventures)

How did you decide on the street slang the kids used in describing their brushes with Batman?

Josh Olson answers:

That was tough because I didn’t want it to be completely locked into contemporary slang. I used some writer’s tricks to cover up the fact that I’m way too old to know how kids are talking today. I wanted it to be timeless and a little futuristic, so I used classic street kid slang tossed in with contemporary slang. I thought that was it would become clear that this was not set yesterday – it would be more likely take place tomorrow or the day after, at the latest.

Was there anything you definitely wanted to include that you’re particularly proud made it into the final film?

Josh Olson answers:

Just because it’s a cartoon, and because of the nature of the story, I wanted to do the one thing you’d never see in a Batman segment: a decapitation. I was so happy they let me keep it. I thought, “I’ve gotta get it in there.” The director did such a beautiful job. Batman never kills anyone. I wanted to have him do something really grotesquely inappropriate, and yet get the point across that Batman never kills. That was fun … very dark fun.

So, ultimately, how did you feel about your segment and the overall film?

Josh Olson
It’s fun – really visually pleasing. It was the best version I could possibly hope to see. I’ve never seen a movie that so honored the script – it’s up there word-for-word, perfectly translated, and it’s really exciting to see that it worked. I’m a huge fan of this film – the visions of Batman are amazing, and the visuals are incredible. I especially enjoyed Alan Burnett’s segment – there’s a visual of Deadshot on the Ferris wheel with these balloons and fireworks – it is really amazing. This project was an absolute blast.

Sex’s Cattrall Hot for Producing Parker

Forget about her role as Samantha in Sex and the City. Actress Kim Cattrall’s next big role will be on Breakthrough Animation’s hot new show Producing Partner. Slated for a spring 2009 debut on E! network in Canada, the adult animated series offers a satiric behind-the-scenes look at the workings of a daytime chat show.

Cattrall will provide the voice of Dee, the lead character’s self-absorbed, high-maintenance boss and host of The Dee Show, a daytime talk show that sells viewers the myth of having it all. Each episode of Producing Parker follows the adventures of Parker, the show’s overworked and underpaid TV producer, as she manages her boss’s delicate ego and shenanigans.

“We’re very excited to have Kim Cattrall starring in this much-anticipated animated sitcom,” said Kevin Gillis, Breakthrough Animation’s managing partner and exec producer. “Kim has developed an enormous following among female viewers and it is appropriate that she should play such an important role in the first primetime animated series designed for women.”

Chapman Entertainment Opens Own Studio

Fifi and Roary have finally arrived as they’re getting their own studio. U.K. family entertainment outfit Chapman Entertainment, which produces stop-frame animated preschool shows Fifi and the Flowertots and Roary the Racing Car, will open the doors of its own studio in Altrincham, Cheshire. The set will become fully operational in July. Its first project will be the second season of Roary the Racing Car, which will air on U.K.’s Five Milkshake! and Nick Jr. next year.

Chapman’s managing director and exec producer Greg Lynn note that the new studio will initially employ a total of 20 employees who will work on the shop’s future production needs including all forms of animation and live action. Roary the Racing Car will continue to be directed in Altrincham by Tim Harper and senior produced by Phil Chalk.

“Setting up our own studio was the next logical move in our development and is a hugely exciting step in the company’s expansion,” says Lynn. “We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Cosgrove Hall for the tremendous work and dedication they put into both series of Fifi and the first series of Roary.”

The studio is also promoting Emily Whinnett to director of production and Nadia Harti to head of production.

It’s a Strawberry Shortcake World After All

DIC Entertainment has closed a slate of broadcast deals for many of its hit animated shows in Europe, Middle East and Africa. High on the list of money generators are the company’s evergreen girls’ brand Strawberry Shortcake, which has made over $2.5 billion dollars in retail sales since it was re-launched five years ago. The show has over 500 licensees around the world today. The original design of Strawberry Shortcake and her cat Custard was done in 1977 by Muriel Fahrion during her time as a greeting card artist at American Greetings.

DIC recently signed new broadcast agreements for Strawberry Shortcake—including TV2 (Denmark), TV4 (Sweden), Mnet (South Africa), TiJi/Canal J (France), M6 (France), Tiny Pop (UK), Modern Times (Greece), SIC (Portugal), VRT (Belgium), TSR (Switzerland) and Mediaset (Italy). Additionally, DIC has signed home entertainment partner Fox Video Europe (France and French-speaking Benelux).

DIC has also roped new terrestrial partners for its new animated Dino Squad, including Mediaset (Italy) and Mnet (South Africa). In addition, the company has finalized broadcast deals for a slate of animated and live-action titles from DIC’s library of approximately 3,000 half-hours of programming, including Care Bears, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, Where on Earth is Carmen San Diego, Trollz and Madeline.

In Dutch-speaking Belgium, DIC has concluded a deal with VRT for the animated movies, Dennis the Menace in Cruise Control, Inspector Gadget’s Last Case and the CGI animated feature, Inspector Gadget’s Biggest Caper Ever…The Case of the Flying Lizard.

WALL•E Clips Debut on AniMagTV

As Disney and Pixar gear up to release their eagerly awaited new animated feature film, we’re bringing you some behind-the-scenes featurettes, as well as the high-resolution trailer for WALL•E on AniMagTV. Tune in now to see director Andrew Stanton and other members of the Pixar crew discussing the making of the sci-fi family flick, which hits theaters on July 27. We’ve also added a new CG-animated short film from Cilantro Animation and more.

WALL•E takes place 700 years in the future and revolves around a young industrial robot left alone to clean up the mess that human kind left behind when the Earth became too polluted to support life. WALL•E’s life changes one day when a spacecraft arrives carrying a sleek new robot probe who captures our hero’s heart and takes him into space on a thrilling journey of self-discovery.

The pic is produced by former Lucasfilm Digital president Jim Morris, who joined the Pixar team in 2005. Ben Burtt, the Oscar-winning sound designer behind R2D2’s vocalizations and other Star Wars sound effects, played a major role in the production, which relies more on electronics sounds than dialogue to express the various emotions of its automated characters. Check out Animation Magazine's June/July issue of their print magazine to read all about the making of Pixar’s ninth feature film.

Flapjack Sets Sail on Cartoon Network Tonight

If you’re in the mood for a beautifully designed and animated new show that doesn’t insult the intelligence and makes you smile, you’ll have to check out the new Cartoon Network series The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack which debuts tonight (June 5) at 8:30 p.m. Created by Thurop Van Orman, the series is centered around a young boy who is raised by a protective mama whale called Bubbie and goes along seafaring journeys with a gruff pirate known as Captain K’nuckles.

Van Orman, a CalArts graduate and former Cartoon Network intern who also worked on The Powerpuff Girls and Camp Lazlo, told Animation Magazine that he was obsessed with having wild adventures from an early age. At age 14, he left home to try living in the wilds of Shell Island off the coast of Panama City in Florida. “It was just this huge misadventure,” he says. “I starved for three days—I felt I blew it.”

He certainly didn’t blow it when it came to creating his own show. We have a feeling Cartoon Network audiences are going to enjoy Van Orman’s colorful new creation and get a kick out of the stunning art direction of the toon. L.A.’s Screen Novelties studio has also contributed some killer stop-motion sequences to the production. For more info about the 13-part series, visit

Jon Favreau on Iron Man 2! Hype! visited the set of DreamWorks' upcoming comedy, I Love You, Man, and got a chance to talk to Iron Man director Jon Favreau, who plays a role in the comedy, opening in theaters on January 16, 2009. The comedy co-stars Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Jaime Pressly and Rashida Jones. With Iron Man 2 already set for an April 30, 2010 release, we asked Favreau for an update. He talked about the sequel, the other upcoming Marvel Studios movies and even films like Hancock and The Dark Knight:

CS/SHH!: "Iron Man" did really well.

Jon Favreau: Really, really good. You guys were the only ones who gave a sh*t before Comic-Con. Then since Comic-Con, everything just started to build, then people got excited by it, and then we just were at the MTV Awards a couple of days ago. Everybody online voted for the movie, we got some golden popcorn, and you could tell by the reviews and box office that everybody seems to have jumped on board and really loves the movie. That is really, really gratifying for all of us who worked so hard for so many years on the thing.

CS/SHH!: So now you are back to being in front of the camera and goofing off?

Favreau: Yeah, it was pretty interesting. I am definitely a supporting character and this is a big ensemble comedy. There is a lot of sitting around in your little trailer. It was like right after "Iron Man" and I'm on it, and everybody was like, "Why are you here?" I said to Robert [Downey Jr.] "It's really weird to go from directing a big, big movie, and going around the world with you for three weeks, and having the red carpet rolled out for us all across Europe, Asia, Australia, and then you come back. You are sitting in your little trailer doing a little comedy." He says, "It's the best thing you could do. Trap wood and carry water." It's very easy to lose your bearings when something very wonderful happens, or when something really devastating happens. It tends to throw your whole life off. I know when I've experienced that in the past it throws you off. You lose your bearings. It was very nice to come here and work for a director like John Hamburg, who is a really good guy, and it's a really great ensemble of performers. It was great just to be able to dive into something where all I had to worry about was being funny, knowing my lines, and being a good scene partner.

CS/SHH!: How big is your role in this? How many days are you shooting on this?

Favreau: I'm shooting about 2 weeks all told. Some of those are like wedding scenes and things like that, so I don't have a big part, but the scenes I am in are a lot of fun. Look, it's hard to schedule me into a movie. It takes somebody to go out of their way to make it fit my schedule because I like to stay in town. When you are working on a film like "Iron Man," that thing takes two years and that's your top priority, so it has to squeeze between your day job gigs.

CS/SHH!: Are you still working on DVD features?

Favreau: Yeah, we are going to do a commentary. I just got delivered a whole bunch of extras that look really, really good. We had cameras on the set all the time. They put together something for "Iron Man" that spans from the first story meetings, to designing the suit, all the way through mixing it up at Skywalker Ranch, through the premiere. There are hours and hours of great stuff that will be available eventually. We have to look over all of that stuff so there is still a lot of work to be done. Then there is trying to figure out where the hell we are now and what we are doing.

CS/SHH!: Would you launch into another two year movie after this?

Favreau: Yeah, I would do it. Hopefully we'll figure out how to get "Iron Man 2" going and I'll be involved with that. You have got to out-do what you did before. So, if the last one took two years, we would need at least that to do what we are talking about, or at least thinking about. Nobody knew about "Iron Man," and that was a disadvantage in some ways, but nobody expected anything. I think people were pleased based on the fact that they had no preconceptions about the project. Now, we have a movie that people seem to like and you can't give them less. You have to give them more. There are challenges that come with that as well as the benefit of people already understanding who he is and the character. We told the origin story so where do you go from here? There are plenty of story lines to explore from the 40 years of history from that character.

CS/SHH!: Have you chosen anything?

No, we haven't. I haven't been hired to do it yet. I know that Robert and I have talked a lot about what types of things we would like to do, and how to play into the strengths of what we discovered last time around. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves. Hopefully that won't be too long in coming.

CS/SHH!: Kevin Feige said that he was pretty confident that you guys would get something going pretty quickly. Peter Billingsley said the same thing as well.

Favreau: Yeah, Kevin is just a gem of a guy. He really walked the line very well of being the guy who is in charge of movies, and the studio, as well as being my producer and somebody who oversaw the way that the source material was being dealt with. That is a lot of hats for a guy to wear. It was a fairly new position for him. I don't think that he has ever had the responsibility he had on "Iron Man" before. I know that he has worked on "The Incredible Hulk" since then, but its great to have a mix of somebody who respects the source material and doesn't just treat it like something you can use or discard as you see fit, and was very supportive in getting us what we needed to make a good movie. The casting of Robert, the visual effects budget, working with the right vendors, but he had a very high standard of quality control in the film. He was also very helpful in helping me understand the genre, and what people expect from it, while still giving Robert and I the room to have a very different take on the material. We broke a lot of the rules that the genre normally has. We have all been rewarded for taking the chances that we did.

CS/SHH!: I know that Samuel L. Jackson talked about expanding Nick Fury's role for a second film.

Oh, good.

CS/SHH!: So, it's news to you?

Favreau: I'm not in the loop on that unfortunately. I think that Marvel has their hands full right now. They have another big movie coming out right now, with "The Incredible Hulk," and that's coming out in a couple of weeks. I know from when I was in that position on "Iron Man" a lot of the heavy lifting for the studio comes in at this stage in the game. They are partnering up with Universal trying to figure out how to roll out the marketing campaign for that, so a lot is riding on that film. I know that they are done creatively working on it, but that is only half the game, so I think right now it's a small studio. There are not a lot of people and I'm sure they have their hands full on that one. Hopefully when the dust settles everybody will be ready to get their head in the game and try to make some more movies.

CS/SHH!: It's obvious that in "The Incredible Hulk" there is the super soldier serum and Captain America's shield in your film. So, is there a story there already with Captain America that you guys will put in?

Favreau: Yeah, truth be told it's more like instinctively we are gravitating towards combining certain properties, but you don't really discover how that happens until you roll your sleeves up and get into the story telling. You do casting. There are a lot of ideas floating around. We will have conversations as we all gather and paw the ground in the parking lots. We'll kick rocks around and start having conversations where we let our imaginations go wild. It's not like we've sat down with a dry erase board and wrote through the whole line of stories. For me I'm pretty confident about who Iron Man is, what that character is, and what the rules of that world are. Maybe Marvel knows, but I have no idea how you relate that reality to the reality of Thor, which seems like a very different set of rules to that universe. Captain America I get, I understand how that would relate, or The Hulk. Especially if you are working towards the idea of doing "The Avengers," how do you make those worlds all feel consistent with one another in the look of the film, the casting of the film, and then the look of the visual effect.

CS/SHH!: I guess you will just have to direct all of them.

[laughs] I would love to. Clearly I have stated that "The Avengers" would be fun. But I look at their release schedule and they have announced "Iron Man 2" for 2010 and then "Avengers" for 2011. I know from experience there is no way I could. I don't know what they have in mind, but there is no way that "The Avengers" could be done in a year. Either they are thinking about somebody else doing it or they have something up their sleeve that I don't know. I know these movies take time to get right. I know that you have to have a good script. You have to understand where you are headed when you go into it, otherwise you are relying on blind luck and hard work. It's good to have a game plan, especially at this stage in the game, it's important to understand where all of this is going. All of these properties are working together and I know Kevin has been very diligent about trying to keep a consistency. I will look forward to having these conversations with the guys at Marvel, to laying out all the puzzle pieces and seeing how they fit together.

CS/SHH!: 2010 is pretty soon if you think about it. Is it just an understanding with Robert, you, and everyone just knows it will be a five year thing and you launch into it?

Favreau: I don't know how that works. I've never worked in that world before. I have never done a sequel to a film, nor have I in the past worked on anything where a sequel felt organic. I think it's the nature of "Iron Man" because it comes from a serialized piece of source material, that it does lend itself to having sequels. It's all new ground for me, it's new ground for Marvel, although they have been partnered up and done sequels with other studios. There are a lot of different approaches you could take. Hopefully we end up going for a sequel that is going to be bigger and better than the first one. That's not always the case with sequels. Sometimes you end up trying to do just rush, and hit a release date. Hopefully this sequel will be driven by the material and driven by good ideas. I think that is what got Marvel the success that they have had as an independent studio. I have no doubt that they are going to continue with that philosophy of letting the source material, and the quality of the story, dictate all the other decisions. They are not shackled down by what a normal studio, with a release schedule, has to contend with.

CS/SHH!: But the team is pretty much the same?

I know that all the actors are definitely in active negotiations. All of that has been agreed to, which is really encouraging, because I think the cast was a big part of the success of that as much if not more than "Iron Man" the character. I think that as long as you got all those people together, and you have a solid take on the material, then I expect great things.

CS/SHH!: "Demon in a Bottle"?

Yeah, I mean that one is definitely brought up a lot. How do you handle "Demon in a Bottle" and when does it come in? I think it happened in the '80s, which was 20 years after the first "Tales of Suspense" so when do you play that card? When do you play the "Demon in a Bottle" card? We sort of tip our hat to it, and certainly there is a lot to be mined there, but it's all a puzzle. How does it fit in? "Demon in a Bottle" also relates to War Machine and James Rhodes's arc. What villains are you dealing with and how much effort do you put into revealing a whole set of characters. We really spent most of the time dealing with Tony in this one, explaining who he is, and why he is the way that he is so that now Iron Man comes to life. You then have to reveal, I think, some heavy duty, heavy weight bad guys that you could then counter balance this incredibly powerful super hero.

CS/SHH!: You introduce The Ten Rings...

Favreau: We have The Ten Rings in there, but the Mandarin is still there. I'm glad that we didn't try to attack the Mandarin the first time around. There is a lot that is very relevant about that character, in the pool of the landscape that we find ourselves in, but there is something off putting and distasteful about the way that the Mandarin had been presented back in the '60s. I don't think that is relevant anymore. How do you maintain the core spirit of what makes that villain so formidable without having something that either seemed out of our reality, as far as what his abilities are, or the way he is depicted.

CS/SHH!: In "Demon in a Bottle" there weren't really a lot of villains. It was when Tony realized he wants to be Iron Man again, James was like, "I don't think so."

So you have to create. I also want to see what other movies are doing. It seems that "Hancock" is dealing with a lot of those issues too. The comic book fans might see "Demon in a Bottle" as a fresh story line but I haven't seen "Hancock" yet. From what I've seen it seems there is a lot of imagery that seems to be shared. Him flying through billboards and things. The idea of the hero whose biggest enemy is himself, and him fighting through his demons, you want to come at the audience with something fresh. You don't want to feel like you are echoing something that somebody else is doing. I think you have to look at the comics, look at what else Marvel is doing, but then you have to look at the landscape of superhero films. There are so many out there. I think that part of the reason that "Iron Man" was so successful was that we really chose to break new ground in a new area tonally, cast wise, the way we depict the hero, what his abilities are. It felt fresh in a genre that is beginning to feel stale if it's not done with the proper amount of inspiration and a strong voice or tone. I think as the summer roles out, and I'm really curious about "The Dark Knight" to be honest with you. That was this looming presence that we knew was going to be a great film. I have no doubt that it's going to be phenomenal. I think our big saving grace was the fact that we had a couple of months between that film and us and there was room for both of us. We weren't fighting for shelf space. Even though we weren't going head to head, it was very clear that we could not take this character that on paper could seem very similar to Batman, and I have no doubt that just the inception of "Iron Man" was a reaction to DC. It was definitely borrowed a lot from DC because here you have the billionaire bachelor guy, who was struggling with inner conflict, and he has no super powers. He invents his own suit and his abilities come from himself. He's a self-made hero. We had to really steer clear of everything that "The Dark Knight" was doing. I have tremendous respect for their cast, for [Christopher] Nolan, and so I want to see what they do. I definitely don't want to fight for the same territory as them. There is plenty of room to tell these stories. As a fan I'm really looking forward to it and I have a lot of respect for the way they approach the material too. He has no second unit on his films. He does all the directing himself. If they are going to do some IMAX work then they shoot it in IMAX. He put together a cast in a way that broke ground for me to be able to use the cast that I did. They made sure the script was perfect before they started shooting it and that's not typical for all superhero films. A lot of times they just throw them together and try to do them as inexpensively as they can. They try to chase the poster and chase the date. They put a lot of care into that film. I'm looking forward to see how it pays off. From everything I've seen so far my hat is off to them. I look forward to checking that film out. I have something to talk about, so that's pretty kick ass.

Transformers 2 Will be a Revenge of the Fallen

DreamWorks/Paramount has confirmed that the full title for Michael Bay's sequel will be Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.

The movie began shooting on June 2nd in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. While details of the movie's plot a closely-guarded secret, expect a key character from the first movie to make a dramatic comeback and attempt to settle a score.

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen is scheduled for a June 26, 2009 release.

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