Thursday, March 19, 2009

News - 03/19/09...

CBeebies Gives Chuggington Second Season Pass

BBC’s CBeebies Channel has picked up 26 more episodes of Ludorom’s popular CG-animated series, Chuggington—bringing the total episode number to 78 x 10. The show premiered in the U.K. in the fall of 2008 on BBC Two and launched on CBeebies last January. It has already been sold to 140 countries, including Germany (Super RTL), France (TF1), Australia (ABC) and Canada (Treehouse). Broadcast will commence in several other key territories from spring 2009.

The CG-animated series follows the adventures of three young trainee egines (Wilson, Brewster and Koko) in the land of Chuggington. As the children ride along with the playful engines’ adventures and discoveries, they are introduced to pre-school values such as teamwork and friendship.

“We are delighted to be working with CBeebies on a second series of Chuggington and are extremely pleased by the series’ successful performance on the channel to date,” says Charlie Caminada, COO of Ludorum and a former COO of Hit Entertainment. “I want to acknowledge Sarah Ball and Don Toht who run the first class creative team who developed and produced Chuggington, and I look forward to building this property into a heritage brand for a great many years to come”.

CBeebies controller Michael Carrington notes, Chuggington is a fresh and exciting program and I am thrilled that the audience likes it as much as me”.

Ludorom will also be bringing Marvo the Wonder Chicken and Dennis & Gsasher to the MIPTV market in France later this month. For more info, visit

Paley Offers First Peek at Sit Down, Shut Up

The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills will host a special premiere screening of the first episode of the upcoming Fox primetime animated series Sit Down, Shut Up on April 26.

Executive producer Mitchell Hurwitz and cast members Henry Winkler, Cheri Oteri and Tom Kenny are scheduled to appear in person at the event, which begins at 7 p.m. Additional cast and crew appearances are to be announced.

Tickets for the event are on sale now and cost $15 for Paley members and $25 for non-members. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Paley Center’s web site at

And be sure to check out their coverage of the show in the April-May 2009 issue of Animation Magazine, on sale March 23.

Dance Stars of American Animation

New Yorkers, here’s a heads-up on a free program this week at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Forever Young: Dance Stars of American Animation will be discussed this Thursday night, March 19, at 6 p.m. at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, 111 Amsterdam Avenue (south of 65th Street).

Mindy Aloff, author of Hippo in a Tutu: Dancing in Disney Animation, will discuss the subject of dancing in historic American animation with dance legend Marge Champion and animation historian (and Oscar-winning director-animator) John Canemaker. Among their topics will be Ms. Champion’s early work as a live-action reference dancer and choreographer for Walt Disney’s animated features Snow White and Fantasia, Gene Kelly and Jerry Mouse’s duet in Anchors Aweigh, and Betty Boop’s Poor Cinderella for Max Fleischer. Film excerpts will be shown. Admission is free and on a first come, first served basis. For additional information and program updates, telephone 212.642.0142 or visit the New York Public Library website.

Hippo in a Tutu, is an entertaining, excellent read and I recommend it highly. Lavishly illustrated and well-researched, Aloff focuses in on an important, but critically neglected, part of the classic Disney features and shorts. Deserves a prime spot on your bookshelf.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Moonscoop Lands Worldwide Deals to Distribute "Ava Riko Teo"

Moonscoop has announced several worldwide distribution deals for its preschool series Ava Riko Teo: an animated paper cutout show that was co-produced with Character Plan, France 5, and EBS. Based on the works of French author and artist Mila Boutan, the series has landed deals in Italy, Australia, Finland, Israel, and on the al-Jazeera network in the Middle East.

"The Jetsons" Season 2 Vol. 1 Arrives on June 2, 2009

Warner Home Video has announced the Jetsons Season 2, Volume 1, will be shipping on DVD on June 2, 2009. The set will continue the misadventures of the family from tomorrow, with 21 episodes on 3 discs. Suggested retail price is $34.98.

The full press release follows.


♫“Meet George Jetson…”♫
The Jetsons: Season 2, Volume 1
Available June 2 on DVD from Warner Home Video

BURBANK, CA – Prepare to blast off for out-of-this-world laughs with the first family of the future as The Jetsons: Season 2, Volume 1 arrives on DVD June 2, 2009 from Warner Home Video (WHV). The popular animated series and pop-culture phenomenon explores the world of tomorrow with space age gadgets that made life ultra-convenient for everyone’s favorite futuristic family, The Jetsons. The three-disc collector’s set includes 21 fantastic episodes of the cult-classic cartoon series from the 1980s and is priced to own at $34.98 SRP.

“Meet George Jetson…Jane, his wife…daughter Judy…his boy Elroy…”

The catchy tune of The Jetsons ideally captures the lighthearted essence of the show, a futuristic counterpoint to The Flintstones that reflected the space-age optimism of the times. The Jetsons were the very first family, animated or not, to have a big-screen home entertainment system decades before it became a reality. They lived in a world of flying cars, floating cities and androids, all commonplace elements in today’s most popular sci-fi movies and television series.

The original series (Season 1), comprised of 24 episodes, was produced between 1962 and 1963 and was re-run on Saturday morning for decades. Its continued popularity led to further episodes being produced for syndication between 1985 and 1987. The Jetsons: Season 2, Volume 1 includes the 21 episodes broadcast between 1984 and 1985. The release will also include a documentary featurette called, “The Jetsons Return to the Future,” which looks at the various ways that the second season was updated for a new audience, as well as how it distinguished itself from its predecessor. Interviews include animation historians, cast, crew and others.


Disc 1:
1. Elroy Meets Orbitty
2. Rosie Come Home
3. Solar Snoops
4. Judy’s Birthday Surprise
5. SuperGeorge
6. Family Fallout
7. S.M.A.S.H.

Disc 2:
1. The Mirrormorph
2. Mother’s Day for Rosie
3. Jetson’s Millions
4. Fugitive Fleas
5. Rip-Off Rosie
6. Far-Out Father
7. Astro’s Big Moment

Disc 3:
1. The Cosmic Courtship of George & Jane
2. Fantasy Planet
3. S’no Relative
4. Instant Replay
5. Haunted Halloween
6. Future Tense
7. The Wrong Stuff

$34.98 SRP
Street Date: June 2, 2009
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Portuguese, French
Audio: Dolby Surround Stereo
Color / Closed Captioned
Rating: NR
Running time: 462 minutes

Season Finale of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" Introduces Deadly New Enemy

Lucasfilm has released details on "Hostage Crisis," the season finale to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which will premiere on Cartoon Network on Friday, March 20, 2009, at 9:00 PM (Eastern/Pacific). The episode will introduce Cad Bane, a ruthless bounty hunter who was, "patterned after the laconic gunslingers of spaghetti Westerns" and is brazen enough to take on the forces of the Republic on their own doorstep. The full trailer for the episode can be seen HERE:

The full press release follows.

The Chilling Season Finale of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS Introduces a Deadly New Enemy - Ruthless Bounty Hunter Cad Bane

The heroes of the Republic have repeatedly beaten back the assaults orchestrated by the evil Separatist forces, but an entirely new threat - lethal mercenary Cad Bane - will emerge from the shadows in "Hostage Crisis," the thrilling conclusion to the first season of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS, airing at 9 p.m. ET/PT Friday, March 20 on Cartoon Network.

Count Dooku seeks to spring a Separatist prisoner from Republic captivity, but his profile prevents him from getting close enough to set in motion his malevolent plan.

Enter Cad Bane, the galaxy's most fearsome bounty hunter, as ruthless as he is deadly. He is quintessentially cold, cruel and calculating - and when the price is right, he can't be stopped. Backed by Dooku and the Separatists, he's bringing his unique skill set and impressive arsenal to bear against the very heart of the Republic. Bane brazenly brings the fight to the Senate's doorstep, with a rogues gallery of galactic scum as his allies.

"This episode gave us the chance to do something totally different, to go in a new direction with the series," says supervising director Dave Filoni. "We've seen the good guys and the bad guys, from the top of the food chain to the cannon fodder on the front lines. Now we get to look at some of the opportunists, at the mercenaries operating without a side. It's a whole new dynamic we haven't seen yet, and at the same time it's very Star Wars."

Patterned after the laconic gunslingers of spaghetti Westerns, Bane is lethally cool and relishes being a bad guy. He is unflappable in the face of danger, and even welcomes the opportunity to pit his formidable skills against the legendary prowess of the Jedi Knights. Filoni says the inspiration from the red-eyed bounty hunter came directly from George Lucas.

"He had a clear idea for this bad guy who plays by his own set of rules, whose moral code is dictated by his fee," says Filoni. "And he had sketches and concepts dating back to the original films. If Boba Fett was sort of the Man With No Name of the Star Wars galaxy, then Cad Bane is his counterpoint - his Lee Van Cleef. So that's how we built the character, with that in mind. It's a cool parallel to our world, and a cool balance in theirs."

Making his STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS debut in Friday's season finale, Bane has already established a place as a fan-favorite - among the series' creators and crew.

"The crew loves Cad Bane, and I really think the fans will, too," says episode director Giancarlo Volpe. "He brings a serious bad-ass sensibility to Star Wars. He's a lethal and ruthless bounty hunter, and you see that right away in the episode - so long as Broadcast Standards & Practices lets us get away with it. Unlike Boba Fett, Cad doesn't take prisoners."

CBR Talks with Jeph Loeb on "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" DTV Movie

Comic Book Resources caught up briefly with writer Jeph Loeb, whose Superman/Batman debut story arc "Public Enemies" was recently announced as the next direct-to-video animated movie project coming from Warner Brothers Animation and DC Comics. Loeb discusses what he knows of the project, including how closely the movie will stick to the comics written by him and Ed McGuinness, whether he or McGuinness will be involved in the production, and his dream cast for the movie.

4KidsTV Offers Original Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! via YouTube

4KidsTV via their YouTube page are offering the first episode of the second Yu-Gi-Oh! animated series in its original Japanese version. This is the second official release of Yu-Gi-Oh! in its original language since a short lived DVD run of uncut episodes.

February Studio Roundabout

At Film Roman, most of the The Simpsons' crew is finishing the current season of The Yellow Family. Various people came up to me today and mentioned that they now have five qualifed pension years under their belts. So folks who've been working there since TAG signed a contract with FR in early 2005 are now vested in both pension plans run by the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan.

A few hearty souls have already started with Season 21 of The Simpsons. One of them related:

"We've got twenty-two episodes in the new season, which is great, but they're cutting schedules, so everyone is going to have to work longer days, and with the high def format we're reworking a lot of the old locations and setups and there's a lot more pencil mileage. And the word around is that the company want's to keep salaries flat. But hey, we're working ..."

"We're working," It's a phrase I hear a lot. (I might have mentioned this before. Like twenty or thirty times.)

And it ties in with what a Disney veteran (who's no longer there) recently told me over lunch re Disney Animation Studios.

"Old friends are telling me that Princess and the Frog has tested really well, and that the rumor going around is that the studio is thinking about doing more hand-drawn features, maybe two.

"But nobody's taking anything for granted, and everybody's insecure. Like they don't know if they'll be there after
PATF is done or not ..."

Then, of course, there's the tempest currently brewing in your local thimble:

... [E]ven though "The Princess and the Frog" isn’t released until later this year, it is already stirring up controversy.

For while Princess Tiana and many in the cartoon cast are black – the prince is not. Which has led some critics to complain that Disney has ducked the opportunity for a fairytale ending for a black prince and princess.

While some have hailed Disney’s decision as a reflection of melting pot America, others say the company is sending out a mixed message.

Mixed message. That's choice.

Apparently it's escaped the notice of some outraged filmgoers -- and journalists unhampered by irony -- that the United States has a President who is ... how do I say this diplomatically? ... of "mixed race." You know, like a white mother and black father?

So maybe the mixed message thing fits right in. You think?

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Michael Bay says no to Transformers 3 2011 release date

A day after Variety reported that Paramount had staked out a July 1, 2011, release date for a third Transformers movie, director Michael Bay has chimed in on his official blog to say: No way!

"I said I was taking off a year from Transformers," Bay wrote on his official forum. "Paramount made a mistake in dating Transformers 3. They asked me on the phone. I said yes to July 4—but for 2012—whoops! Not 2011!!! That would mean I would have to start prep in September. No way. My brain needs a break from fighting robots."

The post confirms at least that Bay is considering directing the third installment, about which there has been no other information except the release date.

Iron Man 2's Mickey Rourke does research in a Moscow prison

Mickey Rourke—who is expected to play a Russian supervillain called Whiplash in the upcoming Iron Man 2—last week toured Moscow's infamous and overcrowded Butyrka prison to prepare for the role, the Moscow Times newspaper reported.

Rourke, who was in Russia for the premiere of his film The Wrestler, also became the first person in 35 years to don a tsarist torture device called a "slingshot," used to keep prisoners awake.

Butyrka is the main pre-sentencing facility in Moscow; its inmates have included the KGB forerunner's founder Felix Dzerzhinsky, Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn and oligarch and former NTV owner Vladimir Gusinsky.

During his time behind bars, the actor also visited with guards, strolled the grounds and even tested out the prison beds, Access Hollywood reported.

(Thanks to for the photo.)

Take a look at the wild new poster for Where the Wild Things Are

The Spike Jonze Fan Blog has revealed the new poster for the director's film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, which you can view after the jump.

The poster, from Nick Magazine, features star Max Records in the big-screen adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's book, which hits theaters Oct. 16.

Original 'Darth Vader,' David Prowse, battling cancer

David Prowse, who wore Darth Vader's black armor in the original Star Wars movies, revealed that he is battling prostate cancer but is responding well to radiotherapy treatment for his illness, according to a report in the British Daily Mail newspaper.

The 73-year-old-actor, who appeared as Luke Skywalker's nemesis, has been undergoing radiotherapy for the last couple of months, the newspaper reported. Speaking on a British radio show, Prowse added that he was feeling fine.

Prowse is being treated at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

Originally a bodybuilder, Prowse played the Dark Lord in all three original films. Producers decided not to use his West Country English accent for the role, instead giving Lord Vader's lines to deep-voiced American actor James Earl Jones.

Jon Favreau Posts Iron Man 2 Update

Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau has posted an update on the sequel:

Rehearsals began today on Iron Man 2. Three weeks from shooting and my life is no longer my own. I forgot how overwhelming this process is.

Iron Man 2, starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson, hits theaters on May 7, 2010.

La-La Land Records To Release Complete "Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm" Soundtrack

La-La Land Records will be releasing the complete score soundtrack to the acclaimed Batman: Mask of the Phantasm animated feature at the end of March 2009.

A representative for La-La Land Records has confirmed for The World's Finest that the record label will be releasing the complete score to the acclaimed Batman: Mask of the Phantasm animated feature. La-La Land Records will start taking orders for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm - Expanded Archival Collection from the official La-La Land Records website beginning March 24th, 2009 at 12pm(PST)/3pm(ET), with the soundtrack set to be released on March 31st, 2009. The release is currently priced at $19.99US. Much like with their previous soundtrack release for Batman: The Animated Series, this Limited Edition release will only be available through La-La Land Record's official website and other participating websites.

A representative for La-La Land Records confirms the soundtrack will be a limited release of only 3000 copies, similar to their previous Batman: The Animated Series soundtrack release. The Batman: Mask of the Phantasm - Expanded Archival Collection CD soundtrack release will contain Shirley Walker's complete score to the feature film, completely remastered with more than 27 minutes off additional content. La-Land Records is billing this release as the definitive version of Shirley's complete orchestral score to the animated feature, and will also include a twenty page CD booklet featuring in-depth liner notes. Reprise Records, a Time Warner Company, previously produced a soundtrack release for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm with over 30 minutes of content in 1993.

The track list for the Batman: Mask of the Phantasm - Expanded Archival Collection release from La-La Land Records is as follows, as seen below.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm - Expanded Archival Collection
1. Main Title: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (Expanded) (5:01)
2. The Promise (Expanded) (1:25)
3. Ski Mask Vigilante (Expanded) (4:28)
4. Fancy Footwork (0:40)*
5. Phantasm's Graveyard Murder (3:52)
6. Bad News* / Set Trap* / May They Rest In Peace* (1:51)
7. First Love (1:59)
8. City Street Drive* / Sal Velestra* / Good Samaritan* (2:16)
9. Birth of Batman (Expanded) (6:01)
10. The Joker's Big Entrance* (3:02)
11. The Big Chase (5:40)
12. Nowhere to Run* (2:01)
13. A Plea For Help (1:01)
14. A Tall Man / Arturo and his Pal* /
Makes You Want To Laugh* / What's So Funny?* (4:04)
15. Andrea Remembers* / True Identity* (3:18)
16. Phantasm and Joker Fight (6:01)
17. Batman's Destiny (1:46)
18. I Never Even Told You (4:23) - Performed by Tia Carrere
19. Theme from Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (2:06) (Bonus Track)
20. Welcome to the Future!* (1:01) (Bonus Track)

Total Time 62:05
* - Denotes Previously Unreleased Material

La-La Land Records will start taking orders for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm - Expanded Archival Collection from their official website beginning March 24th, 2009 at 12pm(PST)/3pm(ET), with the soundtrack set to be released on March 31st, 2009. The release is currently priced at $19.99US. Please note this is a Limited Edition of only 3000 units.

Ireland, U.K. Premiere Special Simpsons Seg

A special Irish-themed episode of The Simpsons had its worldwide premiere on St. Patrick’s Day in the United Kingdom and Ireland—the first time an episode of the show has first aired in any country besides the United States.

According to Variety, exec producers James L. Brooks, Al Jean and voice actress Nancy Cartwright appeared in Dublin to celebrate the occasion, part of a year-long 20th anniversary celebration for the show. Additionally, people dressed as Marge Simpson will appear at bars in major U.S. cities to pass out codes for free Simpsons ringtones and cellphone wallpaper.

The episode, titled “In the Name of the Grandfather,” is scheduled to air Sunday in the United States.

Wolverine Artist Appreciation Month

Marvel's press release:

Marvel is proud to announce that in honor of Wolverine's 35th anniversary, numerous Marvel titles will feature Wolverine Art Appreciation Variant Covers in April, as part of Wolverine Art Appreciation Month. In the tradition of Marvel's previous variant cover programs, featuring everything from villains to zombies to monkeys, select Marvel titles will feature variant covers spotlighting the most popular X-Man through a unique lens! Inspired by some of the world's greatest artists, these variant covers depict Wolverine like you've never seen him before, in styles reminiscent of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol and more!

"This is a huge year for Wolverine as he proves why he's arguably one of the most popular characters in the world," explained Joe Quesada, Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief. "He's not just popular with fans but also with artists, as evidenced by how many of today's top comic artists jockey for a chance to draw him. This got us thinking: what if Wolverine had been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years? What great, classic artists would want a crack at drawing a Wolverine cover?"

We here at ComicMix are hereby starting Wolverine Artist Appreciation Month. This will pay tribute to the great, classic artists that have gone into creating Wolverine over the years, yet somehow are not getting their fair share from Marvel over the character to which they contributed so much, and who have been underappreciated in so many other ways.

So please, take a moment to thank:

Len Wein
Herb Trimpe
John Romita Sr.
Chris Claremont
Dave Cockrum
John Byrne
Terry Austin

In particular, if you'd like to honor the late great Dave Cockrum, please consider purchasing some of his file copy comic books from his estate to help his widow Paty. The list of available books is here.

(Thanks ComicMix)

Disney Releases Interview with Director of "Bolt" TV Show

In advance of the release of Bolt on DVD and Blu-ray disc next week, The Walt Disney Company has released an exclusive interview with the unnamed director of the Bolt television show, where he discusses his amazing method-acting dog and addresses the oft-repeated rumors of strain between the production and the network.

Bolt will be available on 3-disc Blu-ray on Sunday, March 22, and on 2-disc DVD on Tuesday, March 24, 2009. The full press release interview follows.


Can you tell us exactly what a television director does?
A director is the top dog on a television show. He’s the person in charge, the person who everyone reports to. He’s also the guy the network comes to when things go wrong with a show.

Sounds like it’s a very important job…
Oh, it is. I’m in charge of everything from the look of a show to the casting of actors and animals.

How would you describe your star dog, Bolt, and his TV show?
Bolt is the greatest superhero on television. He has amazing super powers including super speed and super strength. He’s always saving a girl called Penny from the evil clutches of Dr. Calico. It’s an amazing show.

There’s a rumor going around that the network have been to see you recently…
Really? Who told you that? Have you been snooping around or something?

A little birdie told us…
Well, you’re right. Mindy Parker from the network came down to the studio recently. Oh, Mindy. Poor, poor Mindy. I didn’t like her one bit. She didn’t have a clue about the show or the dog.

What did Mindy say?
She told me that 18-35 year olds weren’t very happy with the show. The network didn’t like the way that we weren’t appealing to that age group, so they asked us to make some changes. They wanted more drama and said the show was predictable. How outrageous!

So you didn’t like her comments?
I didn’t like them one bit. How dare she come into my edit suite and talk to me like that! She didn’t know a thing about Bolt. She didn’t even know that he doesn’t even realize he’s in a television show.

What do you mean by that?
Bolt thinks his powers are real. He doesn’t know he’s the star of a TV show.We jump through hoops to make sure he believes everything he sees is real.

Sure! That’s why we don’t miss marks. That’s why we don’t re-shoot.And that’s why we most definitely don’t let the dog see a boom mike, which is something that happened recently. If the dog believes it, the audience believes it. That’s the key to our success.

Did Mindy agree with you?
Mindy didn’t care. All she wanted to see were increases in viewing figures and that’s it.

Did Mindy get to meet Bolt?
No way. I wouldn’t let that happen. Mindy didn’t care for the dog. She just thinks of him as any other animal, but I don’t.

What do you see when you look at Bolt then?
I see an animal who believes with every fiber of his being – every fiber – that the girl he loves is in mortal danger. I see a depth of emotion on the face of that canine that has never been seen on the small screen before.

You sound very passionate about the dog and the show…
That’s because I’m the director! I put my heart and soul into this project – and I’ll be damned if a network executive like Mindy Parker is going to ruin my show. I’ll make sure she doesn’t if it’s the last thing I do!

Is Harlan Ellison's Star Trek suit aimed at J.J. Abrams' movie?

The Guardian of Forever

[Update: original Star Trek writer David Gerrold has posted on his thoughts on the Ellison lawsuit and the issues at stake. His comments are numbered 222, 225 and 287.]

About that lawsuit filed by SF author Harlan Ellison against Paramount over his Star Trek episode, "City on the Edge of Forever"?

Reports have surfaced that the lawsuit may have something to do with the rumored plot of J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Trek reboot movie, which (spoilers ahead!) may feature elements of that episode—specifically, the time-travel device called the Guardian of Forever.

Fans know that in "City on the Edge of Forever," Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) travel back in time through the mysterious alien portal to 1930s Earth to rescue Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and inadvertently upset the timeline by saving a woman named Edith Keeler (Joan Collins).

When Abrams' film was coming together, various rumors circulated that the plot would hinge on time travel, specifically dealing with the Guardian of Forever. Since then, there's been no confirmation that the device would figure in the story, though it is widely believed the story will deal with a Romulan villain, Nero (Eric Bana), who travels back in time to wipe out Kirk (Chris Pine) before he becomes captain of the Enterprise. None of this has been officially confirmed by Paramount.

In any case, Ellison—who has jealously guarded his rights to his creations over the years—has previously warned Paramount not to use any elements of "City on the Edge of Forever" that he takes credit for creating (which would include everything except the main Trek characters) without compensating him.

Abrams' Star Trek opens May 8.

1 comment:

Coffee Maker said...

Iron Man 2 is shaping up to have a stellar cast; plus John Favreau tends to do a great job in any case