Producer Jerry Bruckheimer on rebooting Sorcerer's Apprentice
After winning over family audiences with his Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure franchises, producer Jerry Bruckheimer looks to continue entertaining children with a live-action Sorcerer's Apprentice and the animated feature G-Force.
Sorcerer's Apprentice updates the animated Mickey Mouse short from Fantasia to a modern-day New York setting. Nicolas Cage plays the Sorcerer, with Jay Baruchel as his apprentice; Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure) directs.
"Disney came to us, and they had been developing a screenplay on it," Bruckheimer said in a press conference on Sunday in Beverly Hills, Calif., where he was promoting his latest film, Confessions of a Shopaholic. "We jumped in and loved the concept of it and had been working on it ever since."
It will be Bruckheimer's sixth live-action film with Cage, who has altered his appearance from long-haired, muscular behemoth to mild-mannered scholar. Bruckheimer expects a comparatively normal Cage in Sorcerer.
"Well, it's not a kind of physical thing there, so he always looks good," Bruckheimer said. "He always takes great care of himself."
G-Force will also feature Cage as a voice. It's a family film about a team of special-agent guinea pigs on a government mission to thwart a supervillain. The producer has seen the final cut on that film. "It's really adorable, really cute," he said.
While there was a hint of talking animals in Kangaroo Jack, via dream sequences, Bruckheimer fully enters Babe territory this time. G-Force opens July 24. Sorcerer's Apprentice begins production in March.
Stanton goes in depth on WALL-E
In an interview with Newsweek Pixar’s Andrew Stanton touches on many interesting topics about his latest film WALL-E, including: breaking down the barrier between animation and live action, the relationship between EVE and WALL-E and how it parallels the way men perceive their relationships with women, the fact that this is Pixar’s first love story, the unintended environmental message, and the possibility of sequels.
Lycans Can’t Dislodge Blart from B.O. Top Spot
The Kevin James comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop was the nation’s top movie for the second weekend in a row, edging out FX-heavy prequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans for the No. 1 spot.
Cop grossed $21.5 million in its second weekend of release, with Underworld right behind at $20.7 million, according to Box Office Mojo.com. Sony is distributing both films.
Inkheart, the only other major new release, came in seventh place with a gross of $7.7 million. The rest of the weekend’s top films were holdovers, with Gran Torino, Hotel for Dogs, Slumdog Millionaire and My Bloody Valentine 3-D taking the third through sixth spots, respectively.
Undone Takes Slamdance Toon Short Prize
Undone has won the grand jury award for best animated short film at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival, which just wrapped up its 15th edition in Park City, Utah.
The festival awarded nearly $100,000 in prizes to 16 film and screenplay winners.
The film’s director, Hayley Morris, will receive a prize package that consists of Filmworksfx credit ($2,500 value), a FilmTracker System, a Showbiz software package and a Jungle software package.
Undone is a six minute stop-motion short revolving around an old man who fishes in the tempestuous sea beneath him, and struggles to keep the objects he recovers from slipping through his hands. Morris created the short as a visual metaphor for the progression of Alzheimer's.
Shorts Intl. Bring Nominated Toons to Theaters, iTunes
U.K.-based Shorts International will bring for the fourth year running the Oscar-nominated animated and live-action short films to U.S. theaters, starting Feb. 6.
The release, supported by Magnolia Pictures, will reach theaters in 60 cities before the Oscar winners are announced on Feb. 22.
The short films will also be made available for download in the iTunes stores in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada on Feb. 17.
The nominated animated shorts and their countries of origin are: Lavatory Lovestory by Konstantin Bronzit, Russia; La maison en petits cubes (House of Small Cubes) by Kunio Kato, Japan; Oktapodi from Gobelins l'ecole de l'image, France; the Pixar short, Presto by Doug Sweetland, U.S.A.; This Way Up by Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes, U.K.
The live-action films include Auf der strecke (On the Line) by Reto Caffi, Switzerland and Germany; Grisen (The Pig) by Dorthe Warnø Høgh, Denmark; Manon sur le bitumen (Manon on the Asphalt) by Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont, France; New Boy by Steph Green, Ireland; and Spielzeugland (Toyland) by Jochen Alexander Freydank, Germany.
Additional bonus films will also be part of the theatrical program.
France 3 Picks Up DECODE’s Chop Socky Chooks
DECODE Enterprises has signed a distribution deal for the 3D animated series Chop Socky Chooks to air on France 3.
The program, which stars a trio of Kung-Fu chickens, is co-produced by DECODE and Aardman Animations.
The deal was concluded by Emmanuelle Bon, DECODE’s territory manager for French-speaking territories, Scandinavia and the Benelux.
New Orleans Museum to Host Disney Animation Exhibit
A show of Walt Disney Studios’ animation art is planned to open in November at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
The exhibit, titled “Dreams Come True: Art of the Classic Fairy Tales from the Walt Disney Studio,” will present more than 600 items from films such as Snow White through the present.
The exhibit, which will run through March 2010, ties into the Christmas release of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, a film set in New Orleans and featuring the studio’s first black princess lead character in an animated film.
Mary and Max trailer
As mentioned previously on the Brew, Adam Elliot’s Mary and Max opened the Sundance Festival this month. Collider.com has just posted four brief film clips from the film - and here’s the trailer:
CBR Talks with James Tucker on "Batman: Brave & the Bold" Blue Beetle
Comic Book Resources spoke with James Tucker, producer of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, about the "Fall of the Blue Beetle!" episode, which featured both the current-day Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) and the prior version (Ted Kord). Tucker discusses how he adjusted his direction to account for Wil Wheaton's comic book fan knowledge, the long-running plans to include Ted Kord on the show, and where he places this particular show and this version of Batman in comparison to other comic books and animated series. Tucker also briefly discusses several upcoming episodes, promising that one will finally use a supervillain team in a good episode instead of the earlier versions which "blew."
Loki speaks from HULK VS
Actor Graham McTavish brings the mischief in this behind-the-scenes clip
Today's January 27th, the drop date for 'Hulk Vs' on DVD and Blu-Ray. Today we've got another clip from behind-the-scenes of the Thunder God slug fest.
Before we show you today's footage, here's a round up of previous clips:
'Hulk vs Wolverine' clips: 1, 2, 3, 4
'Hulk vs Thor' clips: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
In this bit pulled from the extra features of the DVD release, provided by Lionsgate and Marvel, we look at the process of actor Graham McTavish giving voice to Loki, the god of mischief and catalyst for the conflict at the center of 'Hulk Vs Thor'.
Check it out!
Batman Returns, 2011?
The guys behind the seemingly successful global water-saving campaign (you know the one - no watering your garden on certain days of the week; 4-minute showers; sharing your tub with the saggy-boobed grandma next door to save runny stuff) must be in charge of the "Batman 3" news tidbit leaks, because there's not a trickle of information on the "Dark Knight" sequel out there. Nothing. Nada. Zippo.
And you just know that there's more going on with the film than someone potentially talking to Christopher Nolan about directing another sometime-or-another - actually I wouldn't be surprised if the ball started rolling the moment "The Dark Knight" bitch-slapped it's first $200 million but everyone at Burbank's been sworn to secrecy. I'd say it's even likely that Warner Bros already have a release date (or rough idea), an idea of what villains they'll be using (and have probably already started feeling out potential candidates for those roles), and a production plan already mapped out.
Executive Producer Michael Uslan essentially confirms all that in an interview with The Courier Post.
According to Uslan, the new film's likely to be out in 2011 - which, essentially, means Nolan's signed to direct, they're close to having a script, and casting can't be too far away.
Summer 2011 is likely when Warners will release the film, which means it'll be up against another superhero jaunt, "The Avengers" - Marvel's highest-profile superhero release ever.
DC Animated Series Scheduled For Disney XD Network Revamp Launch In February 2009
Disney XD schedules three classic DC Cartoons for the launch of the network's revamped look.
Disney XD, the name of the relaunched Toon Disney network, has announced a breakdown for its February 13th, 2009 premiere, and three DC Comics-themed animated series will be part of schedule . Below is the schedule for the DC animated shows that will be airing when the network is relaunched.
-Static Shock will air Monday-Thursday at 3pm (ET), Tuesday-Friday at 9pm (ET), and Saturday at 5pm - 7pm (ET).
-Superman: The Animated Series will air Sunday - Monday at 2am (ET)
-Batman: The Animated Series will air Sunday - Monday at 2:30am (ET).
While Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series have been fixtured on the Toon Disney network, Static Shock is a new addition to the schedule. Please note that special blocks of Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series will be airing on Disney XD at undisclosed timeslots. Stay tuned for further updates.
‘Thor’ Writer J. Michael Straczynski Nominated For BAFTA Award, Cancels NY Comic Con Appearance
Popular comics, movie and television writer J. Michael Straczynski will not be attending next weekend’s New York Comic Con for the first time in its four-year history, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for fans of the former “Amazing Spider-Man” writer and “Babylon 5″ creator.
Stracyznski’s script for the Clint Eastwood-helmed, Angelina Jolie period movie “Changeling” has been nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, and the author announced today that he’ll have to pass up an appearance at the New York show in order to attend that awards ceremony.
“I never in a million years imagined that I might be nominated for a British Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Changeling,” explained Straczynski in a statement released today. “It simply was never on my radar screen.”
“I’m devastated at not being able to be at the con, and I send my deepest regrets and apologies to everybody who was looking forward to seeing me,” continued Straczynski. “With massive, massive amounts of apologies and bowing and scraping and forelock-tugging, I have no choice but to say that I can’t be there for the convention.”
Currently scripting Marvel Comics’ ongoing “Thor” series, Straczysnki weighed in on Kenneth Branagh directing the upcoming, live-action “Thor” movie last year in an exclusive MTV interview. A prolific comics and screenwriter, Straczynski has just completed an adaptation of Max Brooks’ uber-popular zombie novel “World War Z,” for Brad Pitt’s Plan B production house, and is currently in the process of re-making the sci-fi classic, “Forbidden Planet.”
The news was announced today by New York Comic Con via the following press release:
New York Comic Con (NYCC) today announced that Guest of Honor J. Michael Straczynski will no longer be able to participate in its 2009 event. Straczynski, a writer noted for creating the television series Babylon 5 and writing the recent feature film Changeling, had to cancel his New York Comic Con appearance due to Changeling’s script’s nomination for a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award and his need to be in England during the entirety of the convention for BAFTA events. New York Comic Con takes place February 6-8 in the Jacob Javits Center in New York, NY. Guests of Honor include Brian Michael Bendis, Carmine Infantino, Geoff Johns, Takashi Miike, Grant Morrison, and Bruce Timm and Special Guests include Seth Green, Jackson Publick, J.J. Sedelmaier, and Art Spiegelman.
Changeling has been nominated in several BAFTA categories including Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Screenplay. Other Best Original Screenplay nominations include Burn After Reading, I’ve Loved You So Long, In Bruges, and Milk. Winners will be announced during a ceremony on Sunday, February 8 in London, England. For more on BAFTA, please visit www.bafta.org.
“I never in a million years imagined that I might be nominated for a British Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Changeling,” Straczynski said. “It simply was never on my radar screen. I’m devastated at not being able to be at the con, and I send my deepest regrets and apologies to everybody who was looking forward to seeing me. With massive, massive amounts of apologies and bowing and scraping and forelock-tugging, I have no choice but to say that I can’t be there for the convention.”
“I and everyone involved with New York Comic Con are saddened that Mr. Straczynski will be unable to attend our 2009 event,” Show Manager Lance Fensterman said. “However, we have put together an amazing show with profound guests, and new announcements are made almost daily. We regret that JMS won’t be able to be with us this year, but we universally wish him the best of luck and hope he brings home a BAFTA Award!”
For further details about NYCC, please visit the official site at www.newyorkcomiccon.com or official blog at www.mediumatlarge.net.
ABOUT J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI:
J. Michael Straczynski has written for every medium except poetry, at which he sucks. In comics, he’s written for Marvel books including The Amazing Spider-Man, Thor, and Fantastic Four and his DC works include The Brave and the Bold and a project he can’t talk about yet. A former journalist for The Los Angeles Times, TIME, and other publications, he has also worked in television, creating Babylon 5, Crusade, and Jeremiah and working as a writer/producer on Murder, She Wrote, Twilight Zone, and others. He has recently begun working in film, writing Changeling for Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie, Lensman for Ron Howard, They Marched Into Sunlight for Tom Hanks and Paul Greengrass, Ninja Assassin for the Wachowski Brothers and Joel Silver, Forbidden Planet for Warner and Joel Silver, and World War Z for Brad Pitt’s company, Plan B.
ABOUT NEW YORK COMIC CON:
New York Comic Con is the East Coast’s biggest and most exciting popular culture convention. Our show floor plays host to the latest and greatest in comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies, and television. Our panels and autograph sessions give fans a chance to interact with their favorite creators. Our screening rooms feature sneak peeks at films and television shows months before they hit either big or small screens. And with dedicated professional hours, New York Comic Con is a market place, bringing together the major players in the entertainment industry. New York Comic Con is the second largest pop culture convention in America and the only one that takes place in the comic book, publishing, media, and licensing capital of the world — Gotham City. Further information can be found at newyorkcomiccon.com.
ABOUT REED EXHIBITIONS:
The New York Comic Con is operated by Reed Exhibitions, the world’s leading events organizer. In 2007, Reed brought together over six million industry professionals from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today, Reed events are held in 38 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and organized by 39 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions is part of Reed Elsevier Group plc, a FTSE-100 company and world-leading publisher and information provider. In 2006, Reed Elsevier made adjusted profit before taxation of £1,052 million on turnover of £5,398 million.
New ‘Wonder Woman’ Movie Images, Vicki Lewis Goes Back To School For Persephone Role
When it comes to the halls of academia, comic books have come a long way from the days when our grandparents used to do the old “hide the funnybook inside your arithmetic text book” trick. These days, there are college-level courses that study the story structures of some of comics’ most acclaimed series, and, in the case of Vicki Lewis — who provides her vocal talents to DC’s direct-to-DVD animated feature “Wonder Woman” — comics were a way of going back to school.
“I’ll be honest, I knew nothing about the mythology of any of this,” said Lewis of her character, Persephone. “I got the script, and oftentimes I just kind of look at my part, but this is a fascinating story. I ended up spending half a night on Wikipedia going through the real mythology of the character. Persephone is a very fascinating character in Greek mythology and the comic books. I wasn’t a great student, so I love any opportunity at my age to learn something new. So that’s how I prepared.”
However, providing the voice of Persephone wasn’t all book-learnin’ for Lewis. According to the actress — who’s most famous or her role as Beth on the cult sitcom, “News Radio” — Persephone was a chance to break away from her usually-zany typecasting and take on a character that’s more endearing yet powerful.
“I do a lot of animation, and mostly I get cast as the wacky character,” explained Lewis. “But this was really enticing because Persephone is a solid, commanding woman. This character has some very heartfelt and sad moments, and it was really vulnerable and really human. It wasn’t cartoony – it touched something somewhat real. So I was actually affected by it in a way I didn’t expect to be.”
“Wonder Woman,” which features the vocal talents of Keri Russell, Alfred Molina, Virginia Madsen, Rosario Dawson and Oliver Platt, will premiere at next month’s New York Comic Con on February 6. Fans who won’t be able to attend the special screening will have to wait until “Wonder Woman” hits shelves on DVD and Blu-ray on March 3. The film will also be available on OnDemand, Pay-Per-View as well as digital download.
Venice gives Golden Lion to Pixar's John Lasseter
For the first time in his history, the Venice Film Festival will honor an entire studio with a Golden Lion.
American director and producer John Lasseter will share the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement with the other directors of Disney-Pixar, festival organizers announced Monday. They described Lasseter as "one of the protagonists of the innovation in contemporary animated cinema."
The Golden Lion will be presented to Lasseter at a special ceremony in the Sala Grande of the Palazzo del Cinema at Venice Lido during the festival in the presence of some of his oldest and closest Disney-Pixar colleagues: Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich.
One of Europe's three biggest movie fests, the 66th Venice International Film Festival runs from September 2 to 12.
"John Lasseter is the protagonist of 'Western' contemporary animation cinema," declared festival director Marco Müller. "Always on the lookout for that point at which the avant-garde (whether artistic, technological or formal) meets the blockbuster, and the director of magnificent films -- such as Toy Story (1995), A Bug's Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999) and Cars (2006), Lasseter has not only contributed in a fundamental manner to bringing animation cinema to new heights as one of the great expressive forces of the new millennium, but has also become one of the symbols of the most precious, vital and inventive tradition of the great Hollywood cinema."
"We are particularly pleased to award this Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to one of the great innovators and experimenters of Hollywood," declared Venice Biennale president Paolo Baratta. "We believe that the presence of John Lasseter in Venice, with his fellow Disney-Pixar directors, will represent an extraordinary opportunity for them to meet young Italian and European animation filmmakers as part of a workshop organized with the Biennale."
Lasseter is chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios and principal creative advisor of Walt Disney Imagineering. He is a two-time Academy Award-winning director (Toy Story, 1995; Tin Toy, 1988) and oversees all Pixar and Disney films and associated projects.
Lasseter executive produced Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007) and WALL-E (2008). He returned to the director's chair in 2006 with the release of Cars.
In 2004, Lasseter was honored by the Art Directors Guild with its prestigious "Outstanding Contribution To Cinematic Imagery" award, and received an honorary degree from the American Film Institute.
Israel's "Waltz with Bashir" screened near Beirut
Although officially banned in Lebanon, the Oscar-nominated Israeli animated documentary Waltz With Bashir managed to be shown in a southern Beirut suburb January 17.
Waltz With Bashir, which won the Golden Globe award for best foreign film, was also screened in the West Bank city of Ramallah and may soon be shown in the Persian Gulf states, director Ari Folman told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Tuesday.
In Lebanon, Waltz With Bashir -- nominated last Thursday for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film -- was shown privately near Hezbollah headquarters after a DVD copy was sent to the organizers. About 90 people attended the screening, although just 40 were invited.
The screening was organized by UNAM, an organization of volunteers which uses written and audio-visual materials to document Lebanon's history and memories of war, Variety reported. It took place in UNAM's cultural center, the trade paper said.
"They contacted the film's French producer at the Abu Dhabi film festival and asked his permission for the screening, and we sent them a DVD of the movie," Folman said.
Waltz With Bashir is based on the director's memories from the first Lebanon war in 1982, when he served with the Israeli army in Beirut and witnessed the massacre in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.
"The movie may have no effect on the decision makers, but 90 people saw it in Lebanon and that's wonderful," he said.
UNAM officials described the screening as "private," as public screenings of Israeli movies are banned by the censorship board of Lebanon's Security Directorate.
"The subject of this film is a crucial moment in the history of Lebanon, for the history of Israel, for the history of the Palestinians, and for the history of Palestinian life in Lebanon," UMAM founder Monika Borgmann told Haaretz.
"At some point, every state must deal with its violent past, and the sooner it does so, the better. That's why I think this movie should be shown," she said.
"It is a shame that a film critical of Israel is not allowed in Lebanon, especially as it covers a crucial period in history for Lebanese, Palestinians and Israelis," said Borgmann.
"Yesterday, my phone didn't stop ringing...everyone wants a copy of the film. I think it comes out on DVD in March. The next day, it's going to be pirated all over Lebanon."
Similar pirating was widespread in Lebanon last year, when the animated film Persepolis, about the Islamic revolution in Iran, was forbidden by that country's censors. Soon, public pressure forced the film's approval.
UNAM co-founder Lukman Slim, Borgmann's husband, said before the screening that he hoped the film would be publicly shown, "for there is perhaps no people that this film directly affects more than the people of Lebanon."
Added Folman: "In principle, I don't believe movies can change the world, but I'm a great believer in their ability to form small bridges."
Asked if Waltz with Bashir would be screened in Lebanon, Lebanese information minister Tarek Mitri told reporters Thursday: "According to existing law, it is illegal to import the film or to project (it)."
However, Mitri opposes censorship and has proposed a law for its abolition.
The ban on the film is "absurd because you can download it and see it on YouTube," he said. "We need to abolish that law so that we can see films like this and any other films and then, if you abolish the censorship law we have, then whoever is harmed can take the matter to court."
Boy dies of injuries from 2000 Disneyland accident
Thirteen-year-old Brandon Zucker died early Monday at Children's Hospital of Orange County, eight years after suffering injuries in a Disneyland accident from which he never recovered.
Brandon was 4 at the time of the September 2000 accident, when he was trapped under the Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin.
He died at 1:13 a.m. Monday, said Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. His mother was at his bedside, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Brandon suffered severe brain damage from the 2000 tragedy, never recovering from his injuries. The accident led to the first major investigation under a law regulating amusement parks.
His father called 911 at about 9:30 a.m. Sunday after finding him nonresponsive at their Anaheim, Califiornia home, officials said. He was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, then later transferred to Children's Hospital.
Wide press coverage was given to the accident, in which Brandon fell from the spinning "taxi cab" and was trapped beneath the following car. That vehicle folded his 45-pound body in half when it rolled over him. Before being freed, he was stuck for 10 minutes.
California's Department of Occupational Safety and Health found that Disneyland employees had failed to lower the lap bar after they improperly placed the boy, his mother and brother into the ride.
The department also ordered such important safety changes to the ride as a sensor-equipped guard around the bottom of each car.