Thursday, June 11, 2009

News - 06/11/09...

Frederator presents Drinking and Drawing

Drinking and Drawing is coming to New York City once again. These events are always a lot of fun, and I’m glad it’s back. The event is being held on Wednesday, June 24, 2009, at 7:30pm, at M1-5 Bar/Lounge at 52 Walker Street, NYC.

Hope you can all make it! For more information, please visit

(Thanks asifaeast)

Scrawl and Nemo Develop Paranormalia

Scrawl Studios and Planet Nemo, the partners behind the hit Silly Bitty Bunny, are re-teaming to develop a 2D animated adventure comedy series called Paranormalia.

The series, set for 52 11-minute segments, is aimed at the 8-12 age range and tells the story of a timid boy werewolf named Hunter who becomes a hyperactive human during the daytime. He spends most of his time trying to find a cure for his strange condition while getting caught between his competing natures.

The original idea for the series came from Scrawl, which also will take the lead in designing the series and determining the animation style. Planet Nemo will manage the writing of the series.

Animation Magazine)

ILM Adds Nuke to its Pipeline

ILM has signed a deal with London-based VFX software makers The Foundry to add the compositing software Nuke to its in-house production pipeline.

Pat Tubach, ILM’s compositing department supervisor, says Nuke offers the facility many powerful features that keep up with its artists in creating complicated visual effects shots.

“Nuke allows us to leverage our 3D pipeline while remaining in the compositing environment, which puts a great deal of power into the hands of the compositors,” says Pat Tubach. “The remarkable speed at which Nuke operates means our artists can focus on the art of visual effects and not have their creativity impeded by a software speed limit.”

"ILM is a huge force in the world of visual effects and we are thrilled that they have chosen to add Nuke as a key tool in their compositing workflow,” says Bill Collis, CEO of The Foundry.

Animation Magazine)

MIPCOM Celebrates Simpsons 20th, Honors Groening

MIPCOM 2009 will help celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Simpsons with a series of special events climaxing with the presentation of the first MIPCOM Creative Icon Award to the show’s creator, Matt Groening.

Groening will receive the award
Oct. 7 at a special ceremony and banquet to be hosted by Simpsons executive producer Al Jean.

The banquet follows keynote addresses set for
Oct. 6 from both Jean and Groening on the show’s success and longevity. An international press conference also is set for Oct. 6.

MIPCOM is presenting the special
Simpsons events in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution.

“The irreverent humor of The Simpsons has traveled around the world. It is a remarkable example of a show that for two decades has combined creative richness with huge commercial success without compromise,” said Laurine Garaude, acting director of Reed MIDEM’s Television Division.

Animation Magazine)

Chow to Animate CJ-7 Sequel

Hong Kong actor, writer and director Stephen Chow has announced plans to make an animated feature film sequel to the 2008 Chinese sci-fi comedy film CJ-7.

Chow’s Star Overseas Co. and the government-owned China Film Group will co-produce the feature, expected to be released in 2010, reports Variety.

The film will feature the same characters as the original, which earned some $29 million at the box office in China, in a new story. The original actors are expected to provide voices for their roles.

Toe Yuen will direct the feature. His credits include the hit animation franchise
McDull. Chow will serve as executive producer.

Animation Magazine)


Animafrik, an African animation film festival that seeks to promote African art and animation will take place October 5th to the 9th, 2009.

Animafrik draws the relationship between art and animation and plans to offer a platform to showcase Africa's finest works with screenings, workshops (including workshops for children), exhibits, and professional meetings under the theme "Telling Our Own Stories". There will also be regional screenings in various cities following the festival.

DVD submissions may be sent by courier to: Animafrik Festival, No.5. Anowa Link, Tesano, Accra, Ghana; or by mail to: P.O.Box KN 150, Kaneshie, Accra, Ghana.

The submission deadline is July 31 2009.

More information can be found on the Animafrik 09 website.

Chris Landreth Talks The Spine

The Spine premieres this week at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, and Chris Landreth tells Bill Desowitz all about it.

Dan and Mary Rutherford, married 26 years, are "trapped in a spiral of mutual destruction." All images © Copperheart Cut Inc. and the National Film Board of Canada.

Chris Landreth follows up his Oscar-winning animated short, Ryan, with another bold, surreal, psychologically driven work, The Spine, collaborating once again with producers Steve Hoban (Copperheart Ent.), Mark Smith (Copperheart Ent.) and Marcy Page (National Film Board of Canada). However, in order to explore the breakdown of a marriage with a more ambitious, fluid look required a greater number of artists and resources, so Landreth utilized C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures along with Autodesk Canada and Seneca College School of Communication Arts.

The Spine concerns Dan and Mary Rutherford, married 26 years, "trapped in a spiral of mutual destruction." They sit unhappily in a couples' group counseling session. Angela, another troubled participant in this group, wonders why their marriage has become so lopsided and twisted. But when Mary leaves Dan, he undergoes a surprising transformation in this meditation on evolving, adapting and breaking using a symbolic spine.

The Spine premieres this week at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival (June 8-13), and will have its North American premiere at the World Wide Short Film Festival (June 16-21) in Toronto, Canada. In addition, Landreth will host a special presentation at SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans (Aug. 6, 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.) as part of the Computer Animation Festival: "Look Closer: Psychologically Driven Animation."

Bill Desowitz: What inspired The Spine?

Chris Landreth:
What inspired me to do this was fear of getting a failing grade in a professional screenwriter's course I was taking at Ryerson Polytechnic University. I had to write a screenplay and I keep a journal of short essays and I put two or three of them together to make the story that [became] The Spine. I was working with a group of people in this workshop and this is what came out of it for me.

The Spine was inspired by group therapy sessions Chris Landreth attended 20 years ago. He paid close attention to "the dynamics that are part of strange or twisted or dysfunctional relationships."

BD: How personal was this story?

There were a few parts of the story that were part of my experience. About 20 years ago, when I was still at University, I attended a group therapy session for couples much like the one you see in the film. And I got to see some of the dynamics that are part of strange or twisted or dysfunctional relationships. And it had always seemed to me that portraying a relationship such as one of those would be a really interesting story. This is a rather ordinary couple with a backstory that is extraordinary in the sense that when you bring it out and describe it, it becomes something that is big and has real drama in it.

BD: How long was the screenwriting process?

It took two hours to put the basic outline together and developing the story took a year. But then there's so much going over the material in your own outlines and drafts of the script and then running it by other people whose judgment you trust. The workshop was very helpful in the first month figuring out what the story would be and getting a lot of feedback from this group of eight professionals. I still meet with this group once a month, actually. All of us do have our own screenwriting projects. These guys have seen the film developed from a very rough outline to its final form. And the production team that I worked with at the National Film Board and Copperheart Ent. are people that I really trusted to work on this story with me. So I would say that, for me, the process of doing this film has been to not work in a vacuum…

BD: How was it different from Ryan?

On Ryan, I would say that we developed the story very much while we were in production. The actual editing was very fluid, largely because it was a documentary… and that process was still happening until the last stages of rendering. On this film, we were much more careful to have the story very much in place before we started production. If you look at the early animatics, some things did change, but not that much. We really concentrated the first year on nailing down the story.

Animated with a hybrid Maya and Houdini pipeline, the pivotal moment for Dan is when he grows the glass, gelatinous spine and then sprouts hair that twists into a braid.

BD: So tell me about the production process. How did C.O.R.E. become involved?

The film was a two-year process, with the first year basically being development: getting the story, working on the visuals, getting a few character models in place, doing mock ups. What we did at C.O.R.E. was the last year, 2008. But they were a new addition. The rest of our organization was similar to what we had on Ryan, involving the National Film Board being the producer on the film in association with Copperheart Ent. and the participation of Seneca College, but in a much bigger way than on Ryan. With Ryan, we had four animators and a few other people working on assets, texturing and rendering. For The Spine, we had 13 animators and about eight other people working on assets and rendering. Seneca did about 95% of the animation. They really carried the character movement and acting on this one.

BD: And how much did C.O.R.E. contribute?

A lot of people. I'm wavering on that because there would be people that would come in and work a day or two. And then there were people that worked full-time. There was a rendering team of eight at C.O.R.E. that worked on most of the rendering. And there were others that worked on software support and infrastructure, including Alexandra Gunter, who was the production manager.

BD: And Sean Craig of Seneca was your animation director?

Yes, he's a professor. On Ryan, he was a student that worked on the film.

BD: How did you make The Spine?

The film was made with two principal 3D software: Maya 2008 and Houdini, particularly for the rendering, Mantra version 9.1. C.O.R.E. is very much of a Houdini-based pipeline. One of the things that we were doing here -- and it's really the first time in a very ambitious way -- was to be able to go cross platform between Maya and Houdini, with a lot of FBX and a lot of glue that was written by software people there. We basically used Maya for everything up to rendering: all of the modeling, rigging, texturing, effects. And we did lighting and rendering in Houdini, with the exception of a few shots that we did in mental ray. A few of the scenes were a Maya-based pipeline. For most of the scenes, there was a conversion between Maya and Houdini for the rendering and then Shake for the compositing.

BD: Talk about pushing your stylistic vision further.

There were a lot of things we had to work out dynamically. A big example would be the shot where Dan grows a spine, which corkscrews around him twice while that's happening. Yeah, that was certainly one of our big headache shots.

BD: How did you tackle that one?

That took a lot of cleverness to figure this stuff out without having to go into R&D territory. This was a film done with pretty modest resources and didn't have a budget for writing much of any proprietary code. There's a lot of cool rendering stuff going on with the spine: it is a glass, gelatinous object. So rendering wise, we were doing a lot of global illumination and caustics and setting up dielectric properties of the shader to make it compelling. He sprouts this long, beautiful hair during that shot and that forms into a braid and that took a lot of figuring out to get that to work.

Landreth wants viewers to come away with a greater awareness and understanding of conflict resolution.

BD: What are you proudest of?

I am proudest of the story. As I said, I worked a long time to get something that would play in a complex way, in a rich way -- a way that resolves itself at the end as being not just one kind of pat ending but something that I hope reaches deep into people and causes them to, in a sense, have conflict, but conflict in a good way. That the story has a tragic aspect on one hand, but also comes across as a noble and beautiful aspect on the other hand.

BD: Has this film been therapeutic?

: Yes, in a sense. There are fragments that I took from the lives of people that I know. For example: Mary's transformation where she gets big. A friend of mine has been through that experience. And I know other women and of other women that have been through that experience. I would say, in this case, that there is nothing autobiographical. I don't really identify myself with Dan. Fortunately, the relationship that I have in my life is a pretty healthy one. But on some level, when you tell a story or do something that's fictional, there's always going to be some tie-ins with your emotions, with your processes. Doing a story like this well, there is going to be some kind of catharsis.

BD: You'll always carry Ryan with you, right?

Yes. Certainly, that's always there.

BD: What has been the response to the film so far?

With some of the films that I have done, there very much has been a polarizing response. With Bingo, people either immediately dug it or just scratched their heads or were turned off by it. There's a great quote by Susan Sontag that real art has the capacity to make people nervous. So the response that I've gotten from this film has been a bit of nervousness about it. There is a disturbing aspect to the story. I'm not intending to creep people out with it. I hope there's empathy that people have with these characters -- that they're not alien or creepy, there's a real humanity to them. And a lot of people have commented that they're disturbed by the humanity. That's sort of the vibe that I'm getting in the early stages of showing this film.

Scholastic Media Renews "WordGirl" for 26 More Episodes

Scholastic Media has annnounced that production has begun on new episodes of WordGirl, the hit educational animated series on PBS Kids Go! The 26 episode order will continue to depict the adventures of the fifth-grade superhero WordGirl, who defeats her opponents through a combination of her super strength and awesome vocabulary. Returning cast members include Dannah Phirman as WordGirl, plus Chris Parnell, Tom Kenny, and Jeffrey Tambor, and Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords) will guest star in the new season.

Voice Director Andrea Romano Discusses "Green Lantern: First Flight" Animated Feature

Warner Bros. has released a new studio-conducted interview with Andrea Romano, the voice director for the upcoming direct-to-video Green Lantern: First Flight animated feature.

The World's Finest continues its series of presenting studio-conducted interviews, provided by Warner Home Video, for the upcoming Green Lantern: First Flight direct-to-video animated feature.


Andrea Romano knows how to pick ‘em.

Green Lantern: First Flight, Romano – arguably the best known casting/dialogue director on the animation scene for more than 25 years – has brought together a pair of voiceover novices in the lead roles, along with assorted veterans of feature film and primetime television, including an 82-year-old character actor whose screen appearances date back to Mighty Joe Young.

As usual, the mix works perfectly.

Green Lantern: First Flight is the fifth DC Universe animated original film in the ongoing series, and Romano has been the voice behind the voices in each successful instance. This particular production was a bi-coastal affair, starting with a New York recording in late June 2008 of Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) and Victor Garber (Milk, Titanic) as hero Hal Jordan and villain Sinestro, respectively. Neither Meloni nor Garber had ever recorded for animation, nor had they worked together, and yet Romano had the two actors perform their lines opposite each other in the same studio – which added a new degree of difficulty for both director and actors.

Back in Burbank, Romano selected Tricia Helfer (
Battlestar Galactica) and animation rookie Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs) to complete the primary quartet of voices. The remainder of the cast did their voice work at the Warner Bros. Ranch, as well, and that crowd included Juliet Landau (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), John Larroquette (Night Court), Kurtwood Smith (That ‘70s Show), Larry Drake (Darkman), William Schallert (The Patty Duke Show), Olivia d’Abo (The Wonder Years), David Lander (Laverne & Shirley
) and veteran voice actor Rob Paulsen.

Hal Jordan adapts quickly to the different ways of the universe – including utilizing hologram transmissions – in Green Lantern: First Flight, which is set for distribution July 28, 2009 by Warner Home Video. Christopher Meloni provides the voice of Hal Jordan.

Romano has been one of the driving forces in animation voiceovers for more than a quarter century, her credit list reading like the honor roll for the Saturday morning cartoon Hall of Fame. From dramatic (
Batman: The Animated Series) to silly (Animaniacs), contemporary (The Boondocks) to timeless (Smurfs
), Romano has set the standard for matching actor to character with absolute savvy. Along the way, she has become a household name to legions of animation fans.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has listed her name 20 times among their annual nominations, Romano taking home six of those Emmy Awards – and promptly attiring those statuettes in Barbie clothes. It’s a Romano tradition.

Green Lantern: First Flight, an all-new DC Universe animated original movie, is set for distribution July 28, 2009 by Warner Home Video.

Somewhere between recordings for new DC Universe films and her weekly chores at the helm of sessions for
Batman: The Brave and the Bold, SpongeBob SquarePants and The Boondocks, Romano found a few moments to discuss the casting and performances of the voices within Green Lantern: First Flight
. Fortunately, she speaks very quickly …

QUESTION: Did Christopher Meloni’s rave reviews as a detective on Law & Order: SVU lead you to casting him as the ultimate space cop, Hal Jordan?

Given the age range and the character type, and the fact that he is a very good actor, I thought Christopher Meloni would be the right voice. His voice has a nice strength and honesty to it, and his acting is really wonderful.

This is a role that requires the character to come off as very smart, but he also gets duped when he probably should’ve have seen it coming. That’s a tough tightrope to walk, but I found Christopher so incredibly believable. Every note in his acting was true, and real, and organic, and believable. He had not done much voiceover, if any, but he learned so fast that he sprang forth fully formed. He had it down. I don't think he ever had a technical problem.

QUESTION: From Broadway to primetime to major motion pictures like Titanic and Milk, Victor Garber has quite the resume. What made him right for Sinestro, and how did you talk him into doing his first voiceover for animation?

I have known Victor Garber's work since Godspell, and there have been several connections over the years. Carl Lumbly played J’onn J’onzz for us on Justice League while he was doing Alias with Victor Garber, and I tried many times to hire Victor to do an episode with Carl as a fun crossover – but he was never available. I had met Victor a few times and I met him again at Diedrich Bader's surprise birthday party. We spoke about him coming to work for me again, and this time his schedule worked out.

Sinestro needed to be elegant. There are many, many different Green Lanterns – some females, some male, some alien, some looking more human. They’re all different. This particular Green Lantern – Sinestro – is a bad guy. But we, as audience members, are not supposed to know that he’s a bad guy in this particular film. So I needed someone who could seem egotistical and strong, but not tip us off that he’s got an ulterior motive all the way through the piece.

Victor hit every note perfectly. There was a musicality to his delivery. You don’t even have to tell someone like Victor Garber to do that – he just naturally finds the vocal music and brings it to the character.

Michael Madsen provides the voice of Kilowog, trainer of all Green Lantern recruits and a key character in Green Lantern: First Flight, an all-new DC Universe animated original movie set for distribution July 28, 2009 by Warner Home Video.

QUESTION: Were you at all worried about casting two actors who had not done voiceovers for animation, and having them record together?

You would have thought they had worked together for years and years. They play well together, and it was a dream for me. When you're a casting director, you never really know how it's going to work out until you're in the room doing the gig. This was one of those instances where I thought, “I know what the heck I'm doing!” I actually cast exactly the two right actors – they were perfect for the roles. They knew exactly what they needed to do and they did it. And they had fun in the process.

We struck this nice combination of Victor Garber playing this sort of duplicitous, sophisticated, elegant, eloquent guy and Christopher Meloni playing this kind of not necessarily blue collar, but much more down to earth, real guy that your everyman can relate to. Putting them together and having them play off each other was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. I sat in that recording session and smiled. They needed me fix and finesse a few things here and there, and explain certain bits of action. But as far as the acting beats, I didn’t have to tell them one thing. For the most part, I just got out of their way – because they knew exactly what they were doing.

QUESTION: Michael Madsen is another voiceover novice, but that voice is made for character animation. What prompted you to cast him as Kilowog?

Kilowog is an alien Green Lantern, and we really wanted a voice with texture and character and some edges to it; a voice that sounded gruff and big and strong, but also smart. I did not want someone who sounded like a big dopey guy. For years and years, I wanted to hire Michael Madsen and this was just the perfect marriage of role, actor and availability.

It’s a lot about availability, and Michael is a great example. He hadn’t done any animated roles before Green Lantern, and yet when I finally got him in the room, we found out how much he had wanted to do it and, now, how much he loves doing voiceover work. He loves this whole world of animation, and characters like Batman and Superman.

You need an actor who has an enthusiasm for the project, for the role, and for the process – and Michael was there, in the moment, he understood, and wanted to do more takes than we needed. That is very generous and brought some really beautiful texture. I love those raspy, deep, dark voices – that sound that tells you that there’s been some life experience there, whether it’s been smoking cigarettes or drinking booze or just living. I don’t think I’m the only person that responds to that kind of voice with character. That’s a voice that's lived.

QUESTION: You cast Virginia Madsen in Wonder Woman and her brother Michael Madsen in Green Lantern: First Flight. When was the last time you cast siblings in back-to-back projects?

Never. Never ever. But that was so cool having both Madsens in consecutive films. Though not being able to hire siblings hasn’t been for a lack of trying. I was seated next to Tyne Daly once and we got to talking and I asked “Do you want to do voiceovers?” And she said, “I’d love to do it – my brother (Tim Daly) does it.” And I said, “I know, he’s my Superman!” So I’ve tried for years to find the right role for her, but there are not that many significant roles for women. Wonder Woman was the only one that really had nice, big, beautiful parts for women. But I'll find something for Tyne – I love her work.

QUESTION: And how was the final member of your lead quartet, Tricia Helfer as Boodikka?

We really needed Boodikka to be smart, sexy and strong. Tricia Helfer was interested and available and we were lucky to get her. She is such a very nice person, and such a good actress – especially for this kind of piece. She really understands it. She’s big in the Sci-Fi world, and she gets it. She plays this character so that you never know what twists are coming. You think it’s very straightforward and then something happens and you’re surprised because she never tips it off ahead of time. She was spot on with her performance and I loved working with her. She was just a joy.

Hal Jordan and Sinestro fly toward adventure in the next DC Universe animated original movie, Green Lantern: First Flight, which is set for distribution July 28, 2009 by Warner Home Video. Christopher Meloni and Victor Garber provide the voices of Hal Jordan and Sinestro, respectively.

For more information, images and updates, please visit the film’s official website at

New Mexico Tech gives Wile E. Coyote a fresh start

If Wile E. Coyote had had a proper engineering education, would his harebrained contraptions have been able to catch the Road Runner?

That's the rather simple premise of Man Vs. Cartoon, a six-episode starring New Mexico Tech, which begins airing Saturday on cable network TruTV.

Pilgrim Productions set up camp in Socorro, New Mexico for four months last summer to film the show, which was planned to coincide with the re-release of Warner Bros.' Road Runner cartoons.

For the series, two teams of Techies were given problems to solve. One team included seven students: Tyson Joe, Carolyn Eggert-Pehap, Justine Davidson, John Korbin, Daniel Preston, Jessica Elias and Stefan Marr. The students conducted three experiments and tests: the Coyote Contraption, Rocket Skates and Fan Skates.

"I'm so excited to see the show," said Eggert-Pehap, an Alamogordo native. "We spent so much time on it and we had such a good time on it. I can't wait to see how it turns out."

The two teams of New Mexico Tech engineers recreated 10 stunts, which will be featured in six hour-long episodes. The show will air at 9 p.m. every Saturday from June 13 to July 18.

"You invest so much time and effort and then you get to see it play out on TV," said Davidson, a Los Lunas High graduate. "When you watch the show, it looks like it didn't take very long, but we took a month to build that contraption.

Davidson said she and her castmates have been anticipating the release of the show.

"We've been Googling the show every day and seeing it in the news," she said. "I think it represents the school pretty well and it's entertaining."

"It's been nearly a year of waiting and anticipating," Joe said. "There was so much hype within the student body and the university.

"We were amped up for the first six months after filming. Then it got delayed and delayed. Now that it's really happening, it's sort of surreal."

Each of the students said the filming process was a lot of fun and hard work.

"We were all from different disciplines," Marr said. "We were kind of running around doing our own thing, but we got it all together."

Joe said each of the student team members brought their own strengths and skills to the Tech engineering cast. Eggert-Pehap and Korbin are math majors. Elias is a physics major. The others are from different engineering disciplines: petroleum, chemical and mechanical.

"We all had exceptional abilities and a sense of planning," Joe said. "But we usually work with people within our own department. So we had to figure out how to work together to make these projects work."

Several months ago, Pilgrim Productions gave Tech a promotional video for the show, which the university has used as a marketing tool. Vice-president of research Dr. Van Romero, who was largely responsible for bringing the TV show to Tech, showed the video to visiting politicians, state leaders and gatherings of students. Dr. Romero used the video, along with an interactive physics tutorial, to engage students at the State Science Fair and the State Science Olympiad.

"The national exposure will be priceless," Romero said. "But I truly treasured the opportunities I've had to relate talk about science in an innovative style. Everyone knows the Road Runner cartoons, so these students stay engaged when we talk about how math, science and engineering are put to use in the real world -- or the cartoon world, in this case."

The students said the same thing -- that Tech will get invaluable exposure from the series.

The other team was made of up staff members from Energetic Materials Research Testing Center: engineers Mike Stanley, Leonard Garcia, Jason Metzger and Robert Abernathy, along with several support technicians. The EMRTC crew recreated seven coyote experiments and stunts.

EMRTC associcate director Mike Stanley said he's previewed all six episodes and much of the footage is dramatic. Stanley, who's also a Tech graduate, said the show could serve as a great recruiting tool.

"I think it's going to be great publicity for Socorro, New Mexico Tech and EMRTC," he said.

Most of the series was filmed in labs and workshops on the main campus and the EMRTC test range. However, other portions of the series were filmed around town as well, including trips to hardware stores, pawn shops and other local locations.

Each team was given several tasks to engineer. After each team constructed and tested its devices -- like rocket-powered roller skates -- professional stuntmen put some of the properly-engineered devices to the test.

Other stunts include the Coyote's boulder drop and the Coyote trying to spear the Road Runner while swinging from an oversized pendulum.

Beep, beep: New Mexico Tech faculty advisor Dr. Don Weinkauf, the Road Runner, student Joe Tyson, stuntman Casey Adams, stunt coordinator Tim Gernec, and students John Korbin, Stefan Marr and Carolyn Eggert-Pehap.

EW: Fox Demands Ridley Scott Direct New ALIEN Prequel??

I am – Hercules!!

Tony Scott told during a “Pelham 1 2 3” junket last month that commercial director Carl Erik Rinsch would make his feature directorial debut on a new Predator-free “Alien” prequel Tony's brother, original “Alien” director Ridley Scott, is producing.

But Fox apparently would prefer Rinsch make his feature directorial debut with some other movie, according to Entertainment Weekly:

Sources at Fox, however, tell EW that the studio is not interested in greenlighting a prequel unless [Ridley] Scott himself directs.

Although I’m certain Rinsch is a perfectly lovely man and his TV ads quite eye-catching, I admit I find myself getting a little chubbed up at the idea of Ridley Scott ordering around a bunch of face-huggers one more time.

Find all of EW’s story on the matter here.

(Thanks Aint It Cool)

Todd McFarlane Pictures Leonardo DiCaprio In Lead Role For ‘Spawn’

Last month, we caught up with comics veteran Todd McFarlane during the premiere of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and received some details about his plans for a new “Spawn” movie. Comparing the film to everything from “Jaws” to “The Departed,” the Spawn (and Spider-Man villain Venom) creator had a lot to say about his ambitious plans for a reboot of the “Spawn” movie universe — plans that include a very lofty goal for the film’s lead actor.

“The main character isn’t Spawn, per se, it’s the guy chasing Spawn,” McFarlane told MTV News. “And I’ve always had [Leonardo] DiCaprio in the back of my mind.”

“It’s a big wish, but his dad was a big fan of underground comic books and he came from that,” explained McFarlane of why he has the “Revolutionary Road” actor in mind. “It’s not a big special-effects movie, it’s a character movie, so I could shoot it in 40-50 days and you don’t have to budget that much time.”

As for the character he envisions DiCaprio playing in the film, McFarlane hinted that it wouldn’t be either of the two detectives “Spawn” fans have come to know best — possibly due to some other Hollywood project with their names on it.

“We had Sam and Twitch in the book, but because of some of the stuff I’m trying to sell in Hollywood, we might have to change the characters a bit,” explained McFarlane. “But it would still be a police character who’s chasing down a case and in the middle of this ‘Godfather’-type movie, something weird is out there and no one knows about it except him and a few other people.”

‘Green Hornet’ Web Series Filming In Chicago?

Honestly, I never thought I’d say this, but it really is a good time to be a “Green Hornet” fan these days.

While I’ll admit not being very up-to-date with my knowledge of Britt Reid and Kato’s adventures, the combination of an upcoming Michel Gondry movie starring Seth Rogen and Stephen Chow, as well as a comic book series written by Kevin Smith, makes it pretty darn likely that everyone is going to know a lot more about the classic character soon enough. And if certain rumors prove true, there could a new online series on the way, too.

Over at Destructo, they’re reporting that filming for a “GreenHornetTV” web series recently occurred at a famous landmark in Chicago. While their sources say the project isn’t related to the “Green Hornet” movie, they do claim that whatever does come of the shoot will end up online at (The site currently states that whatever is planned for it is “coming soon.”)

“Filming at the Uptown Bank building seems to have been for basic interior shots and did not appear to involve the Hornet himself,” reads the site’s report. “However, other witnesses said that the police who were present may not have been wearing Chicago issued uniforms, but this could not be confirmed.”

Could there be yet another medium Green Hornet is headed to in the near future? We’ll be sure to keep you posted as any news develops.

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