Sunday, June 14, 2009

News - 06/15/09...

Myths of the Animation Industry

Excellent article from the folks at Animation Mentor that should be read by all students of animation:

Myths of the Animation Industry

By Mark Garabedian

The animation industry is the business of creating myth and magic. As such, it's not surprising that a myriad of meta-myths have arisen—easy-to-believe falsehoods about the industry itself. In preparing for their future careers, the next generation of animators and artists need not be waylaid by such rumors. Below are five common myths about the world of cartoons and the realities behind them.

Myth: 2D animation is a dying art -

Nothing could be further from the truth. While 3D animation is filling theaters across the globe, 2D art endures. Internationally, films such as Sony Picture's Persepolis, Paprika , and The Secret of Kelis continue to astound audiences with engrossing, hand-drawn cinema. In Scotland director/animator Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville) is nearing completion on his next hand-drawn animated feature , The Illusionist. In the U.S. , Walt Disney Animation is hard at work on its new 2D feature, The Princess and the Frog, while shows such as Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender and Cartoon Network's Chowder provide bright futures for the traditional style. Beyond television, the Internet has spawned numerous opportunities for vector animation (Flash and Toonboom) 2D projects as well.

Myth: It's essential to be adept at every facet of the animation process -

To quote G.I. Joe, "Knowing is half the battle." The other half is being good at what you do. Familiarity with the entire animation process can only help you, but you are being hired for a specific position. In the words of Knowledge Adventure 3D Artist Chris Marsh, "Fanning your effort and skills out to do everything the process demands only decreases your quality of work and increases production time, and that's never good." The animation process requires the efforts of many specialized individuals. Walt Disney didn't achieve his whimsical empire by being the greatest animator ever. He did so by assembling the greatest animation team ever. Discover what you do best and strive to do it better.

Myth: You want to work for a big studio -

Certainly there's no shame in working for a large studio. Who wouldn't want to have Mickey Mouse on their business card? But smaller studios have their share of perks too. A smaller company gives a great artist more opportunity to shine. Networking becomes easier, and there's more room to expand your personal style.

Myth: You should stick with a single studio for as long as possible -

Ladders: We all have the urge to climb them, especially corporate ones. But in the animation industry, sometimes it's important to spread your artistic wings. Surely no one wants an artist who never sticks around to finish a project, but by changing studios and production companies from time to time, you make yourself better known to the animation community as a whole, networking, and becoming associated with your body of work rather than your company's. "A good stint at a company is one to three years," says Big Bad Tomato digital storyboard artist Sylvia T. Leung, "it shows you are committed enough to stay, but ambitious enough to leave."

Myth: You don't need to know how to draw-

While drawing is not necessarily a key skill in today's world of texture mapping and wire framing, it's still a valuable technique in almost every step of the animation process. Putting pencil to paper, breaking down complex objects into simple shapes, and translating them into graphite blueprints will help artists of all fields better their craft. This ability will also make you more attractive to a wider number of prospective employers. Remember, even Rodin roughly sketched his figures before casting clay.

Just as 24 drawings a second creates the illusion of motion, assumptions and opinions give the illusion of industry facts. Fortunately, the truth is usually quite optimistic and should give any budding artist hope for their creative and professional future.

cover from "Drawn To Life" Vol. 1 , by Walt Stanchfield

(Thanks, David Nethery)

Academy’s Milt Kahl tribute now online

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has put up video excerpts of the panel discussions from the infamous Milt Kahl Tribute in April. Great memories of Milt from John Musker, Brad Bird, Andreas Deja, Alice Davis, Richard Williams, etc. Check it out

(Thanks, David Nethery)

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Up still flies high, coming in second place again

Disney/Pixar's Up came in a close second again over the June 12 weekend, with $30.5 million, lifting the acclaimed animated film's total to $187.2 million, the Associated Press reported.

But Eddie Murphy delivered a dud with the Paramount family comedy Imagine That, which debuted at number six, with a lackluster $5.7 million.

The overall box office was down sharply from the same weekend a year ago, when The Incredible Hulk led with a $55.4 million weekend. Total revenues this weekend came in at $140 million, off 22 percent from last year's, the wire service reported.

In limited release, Sony Pictures Classics' sci-fi tale Moon pulled in $145,218 in eight theaters for an $18,152 average. The film stars Sam Rockwell as a lonesome, homesick worker on the lunar surface whose grip on reality is challenged when a second version of himself appears.

Applegate, Faris & Poehler to Voice the Chipettes

The holiday 2009 feature, Alvin and the Chipmunks Squeakuel has found its Chipettes. MTV’s movie blog reports that Christina Applegate, Anna Faris and Amy Poehler will be voicing the female counterparts to the Chipmunks in the upcoming release, which will be directed by Betty Thomas (The Brady Bunch Movie, Dr. Doolittle).

The Fox release will also feature Jason Lee (returning as David Seville) as well as Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney who will voice the singing chipmunks, Alvin, Simon and Theodore. Chuck star Zachary Levi also joins the cast as Seville’s nephew.

The original Alvin and the Chipmunks live-action hybrid was directed by Tim Hill in 2007 and made over $217 million domestically despite mediocre reviews. The Chipmunks were created by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. in 1958 as novelty song artists and went on to have a lasting career as animated characters in both TV shows, video and DVD offerings and features.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

New Images And Video Clips From Upcoming “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” Episode

The World’s Finest has new clips and images from the upcoming Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode "The Last Bat on Earth!"

Cartoon Network has passed along the episode synopsis, video clips, and over thirty images for the upcoming Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode "Duel of the Double Crossers!" To get a closer look at the images, click on the thumbnails below.

Click Here For More Images, Videos & Details!

The all-new Batman: The Brave and The Bold "The Last Bat on Earth!" episode, scheduled to air on June 19th 2009, is described as seen below.

Gorilla Grodd travels to the future where intelligent animals rule humans -- Batman follows him and teams with Kamandi (the last boy on Earth) to bring him down.

Three clips from the episode, provided by Cartoon Network, are available to view here at our Batman: The Brave and The Bold subsite. Other details for "The Last Bat on Earth!", including cast and crew credits, are also available at our Batman: The Brave and The Bold subsite.

Release Date For "The Haunted World of El Superbeasto"

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, an adult animated feature based on the comic book by Rob Zombie about a luchador superhero, may finally see a release. According to RightStuf, it is slated to debut on DVD and Blu-ray on 9/22/09. It's priced at $19.98 for the DVD and $34.98 for the Blu-ray.

Center for Visual Music to Preserve Fischinger Animation

The Center for Visual Music has been given two grants - including an Avant-Garde Masters Grant - for the preservation of early experimental animation by Oskar Fischinger, made in the 20s and early 30s.

Background, storyboard artist Romeo Francisco dies

Romeo Francisco, a background and storyboard artist from 1986 to 2005, has died, The Animation Guild (Local 839 of IATSE) announced.

His age was not stated.

During his career, Francisco worked for Marvel, Ruby-Spears, Warner Bros., Graz, Universal, Hanna-Barbera, New World, MGM, HBO, Adelaide and Sabella-Dern.

A background and model designer for 79 episodes of Transformers, Francisco was a background and character designer for The Transformers: The Movie (1986). He was a layout artist for 30 episodes of G.I. Joe as well.

He was a storyboard director for the TV series Dino-Riders and Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars!.

Francisco was a graphic and storyboard artist for Bionic Six (1987).

Other series for which he was a storyboard artist included Peter Pan and the Pirates and Dink, the Little Dinosaur (both 1990), James Bond Jr. (1991), Batman: The Animated Series (1992), X-Men (1992-1993), Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories (1993), Fantastic Four and Iron Man (both 1994), BattleTech (1995) and The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest (1997). In addition, he was a storyboard artist for the direct-to-video productions Mummies Alive! The Legend Begins (1998) and Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders (2000).

He was a key background designer for the 1987 TV special Barbie and the Rockers: Out of This World, and a background designer for the 1990 series Super Mario Bros. 3.

UPA, Jay Ward designer Bob Dranko dead at 84

Layout and storyboard artist and designer Robert L. "Bob" Dranko, a mainstay of early Mister Magoo cartoons for UPA Productions, died February 15 in West Hills, BoldCalifornia. He was 84.

Joining UPA in 1951, he worked on the famed 1953 short The Unicorn In The Garden, an adaptation of James Thurber's short story. He was also a production designer for the 1959 UPA feature film 1001 Arabian Nights, starring Magoo as Aladdin's uncle.

"Robert Dranko was one of the main designers during the heyday of UPA Pictures, often doing color and backgrounds as well," the UPA Pictures site ( said. "He came to the studio after seeing some of their work and realizing that this was the place to be for an innovative artist when most of the world was still in the Dark Ages when it came to creative work."

He supervised and designed animation sequences for the otherwise live-action 1972 film The War Between Men and Women (1972), starring Jack Lemmon and Barbara Harris, and loosely based on Thurber's life. He also was the animation producer and art director for sequences in the 1969 TV series My World and Welcome to It, based on stories by Thurber.

Born in Glendale, California on August 22, 1924, he designed over two dozen theatrical Magoo shorts at UPA. These included Madcap Magoo, Stage Door Magoo and Magoo Makes News (all 1955); Magoo's Canine Mutiny, Magoo Goes West, Calling Doctor Magoo, Magoo Beats the Heat, Magoo's Puddle Jumper, Trailblazer Magoo and Meet Mother Magoo (all 1956); Magoo Goes Overboard, Matador Magoo, Magoo Breaks Par, Magoo's Glorious Fourth, Magoo Saves the Bank and Rock-Hound Magoo (all 1957); Magoo's Young Manhood, The Explosive Mr. Magoo, Magoo's Three-Point Landing, Love Comes to Magoo and Gumshoe Magoo (all 1958); and Bwana Magoo and Magoo's Homecoming (both 1959). Earlier, he was a color artist for the 1952 Magoo shorts Hotsy Footsy and The Dog Snatcher.

Also at UPA, he designed the shorts Bringing Up Mother (1954) and Spare The Child (1955), and was a color artist for Pete Hothead (1952) and Four Wheels, No Brake (1954).

He was a character designer for the 1964-1965 UPA television series The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo, and for the otherwise live-action 1994 TV documentary David Macaulay: Roman City.

In the late 1950s, Dranko also was a staffer at Jay Ward Productions.

Until his retirement in 2004, he worked on assignments from such animation studios as Playhouse, Sutherland, Fred Calvert, Krantz, Kurtz and Friends, DePatie-Freleng, Hanna-Barbera, DIC, Film Roman, TMS, Melendez, Marvel and Graz Entertainment. In 2005, he received the Golden Award from The Animation Guild.

Dranko was occasionally a producer of animated series; his work included Galtar and the Golden Lance (1985) and Gravedale High (1990).

Series where he was a story director included The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972); Scooby's All Star Laff-A-Lympics (1977); Yogi's Space Race, Dinky Dog and The All-New Popeye Hour (all 1978); The Flintstone Comedy Show and Super Friends (both 1980); Smurfs and Laverne & Shirley with Special Guest Star the Fonz (both 1982); and The Biskitts (1983).

He was a storyboard director for Muppet Babies (1984-1988), My Little Pony and Friends (1986-1987) and Rude Dog and the Dweebs (1989), in addition to the 1985 TV-movie My Little Pony: Escape from Catrina.

Works where he was a storyboard artist included the TV series The Littles (1984); Timeless Tales from Hallmark; Captain N & the Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, Garfield and Friends and Potsworth & Co. (all 1990); and Yo Yogi! (1991-1992). He was a storyboard artist for the 1992 theatrical short Diner and -- though uncredited -- for Ralph Bakshi's 1973 movie Heavy Traffic.

Dranko was an art director for the TV series Galaxy High School (1986) and Bionic Six (1987), along with the direct-to-video Snow White and the Magic Mirror (1994).

He was a layout artist on the TV series Linus! The Lion Hearted (1964) and Smurfs (1981), The Mad Magazine TV Special (1974), the feature films Heidi's Song (1982) and Katy (1984), and the 1965 theatrical short The Shooting of Dan McGrew.

A graphic artist on the 1986 TV series Galaxy High School, Dranko was a graphic designer for the Dr. Seuss TV specials Halloween Is Grinch Night (1977) and Pontoffel Pock, Where Are You? (1980).

In TV series, he was a production designer for The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show (1983), a storyboard designer for The Berenstain Bears (1985) and a background designer for Madeline (1993-1994).

Dranko was an animation production designer for the 1997 TV-movie Casper: A Spirited Beginning.

A watercolorist in his spare time, he continued to create his own fine art during and well after leaving UPA. He illustrated Flora Mae Hood's book Something for the Medicine Man.

Deaf H-B background artist Gino Giudice dies at 76

Eugene "Gino" Giudice, a deaf background artist and cel painter who worked for Hanna-Barbera from 1964 until his 1989 retirement, died March 7. He was 76.

Giudice had been hospitalized following a massive heart attack October 10, three days before his birthday.

"Many people might not realize [the items in the] background [of The Flintstones], such as rocks, grass, sky, feet, stone tires, etc., were drawn by a deaf artist. His name is Gino Giudice," read a post in the Fookem and Bug blog.

Giudice moved to Hollywood from Chicago in the late 1960s to work for Hanna-Barbera. Besides The Flintstones, he was a background artist for the H-B series Cattanooga Cats, Scooby Doo, Where Are You!, Josie and the Pussycats, The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show, The Flintstone Comedy Hour, Inch High, Private Eye and Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch.

As well, he was a background artist for the 1973 movie Charlotte's Web, also a Hanna-Barbera release.

He was an ink and paint artist for the 1978 movie Winds of Change, a Japanese-American co-production from Sanrio Films' short-lived Hollywood studio. The movie was also known as Metamorphoses, Star of Orpheus and Orpheus of the Stars.

Beyond his work in animation, Giudice loved creating homemade costumes, which he fashioned himself. He hosted many Halloween parties in different locations in the Hollywood area for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. He was active in WRAD, Inc., formerly known as the World Recreation Association of the Deaf.

In September 2007, Giudice was one of eight persons inducted to the Deaf Filmmakers Hall of Fame.

A celebration of Gino Giudice's life was held March 14 at the Holy Angels Catholic Church of the Deaf in Vernon, California.

Promo for "Wall-E" receives Golden Trailer Award

For its preview of Pixar-Disney's "Wall-E," Craig Murray Productions has been presented with the Golden Trailer Award in the Best Animation/Family category.

The 10th Annual Golden Trailer Awards were held June 4 at the Director's Guild of America in Los Angeles. The Golden Trailer Awards honor the best in feature film previews.

Zealot Productions Inc. was recognized in the Best Anime Trailer category for its promotion of Persepolis.

Best Animation/Family TV Spot went to Create Advertising Group for its "Adventure/Rope" ad for Pixar-Disney's latest release, Up.

The Solid State was given the award for Most Original Poster for its work boosting the stop-motion Australian animated feature film $9.99.

DreamWorks Animation Walk Thru

I spent a good part of my morning going around DreamWorks Animation's Glendale campus, updating members about the ongoing negotiations between TAG and their studio.

In the layout department, I stood watching a clip from Shrek 4 and asked an artist what he thought of the latest ogre opus. He said:

"You know, I laughed out loud more during this one than the others. I think it's really funny. I think it's the best of the four ..."

It was at that point that his roommates began debating him, one artist saying the like Shrek 2 the best, another saying he thought the first had a lot of zest and pizzazz. (I'm partial to the first, but that's me.)

The quality of the next Shrek, to be released twelve months hence, might have something to do with today's financial report on DWA:

Dreamworks Animation stock has been showing support around 27.86 and resistance in the 29.14 range. Technical indicators for the stock are Bullish and S&P gives DWA a positive 4 STAR (out of 5) buy rating. DWA appears on the Investors Observer Volume Leaders list ...

The DreamWorks Toon factory continues to expand, with a newer building going up behind the Lakeside Building, and more staff continuing to be added.

I've got the idea that the company is confident about its three upcoming features (all released in 2010) doing better than all right.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Upcoming in North America

Abrams ComicArts
Astro Boy World notes that Abrams ComicArts will be releasing The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga by Helen McCarthy in October.

Osamu Tezuka has often been called “the god of manga” and “the Walt Disney of Japan,” but he was far more than that. Tezuka was Walt Disney, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Tim Burton, and Carl Sagan all rolled into one incredibly prolific creator, changing the face of Japanese culture forever. Best known for Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion, Tezuka was instrumental in developing Japanese animation and modern manga comics.

The Art of Osamu Tezuka is the first authorized biography celebrating his work and life and featuring over 300 images—many of which have never been seen outside of Japan. With text by respected manga expert Helen McCarthy, The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga pays tribute to the work of an artist, writer, animator, doctor, entrepreneur, and traveler whose curious mind spawned dozens of animated films, and over 170,000 pages of comics art in one astonishingly creative lifetime.

The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga also includes an exclusive 45-minute DVD documentary covering Tezuka’s prolific career, from his early manga characters to his later animation work.

About the Author

Helen McCarthy is the author of eight books about Japanese animation and comics, including the first book in the English language devoted to anime:
Anime! A Beginners Guide To Japanese Animation (1993). She is also the curator of the Osamu Tezuka Film Festival at London’s Barbican Centre.

To say that something like this should be on the shelf of every serious fan of anime and manga would be a huge understatement. Let's hope that the final product will be as good as it aught to be. Considering the people involved, I see no reason why it shouldn't be. The additional DVD is an incredible bonus, especially since there really isn't much of anything else out there in terms of English-language video about Tezuka to fill that gap.

New and Upcoming in Japan

Gigazine collects a list of Summer 2009 anime (both TV and movies)

A promo for Yamato: Revival Chapter

Katanagatari - the OVA adaptation of NisiOisin's light novel series

Spice and Wolf II

20-Seiki Shonen Saishu-Sho: Bokura no Hata (Twentieth Century Boys the Final Chapter: Our Flag)

Kaiji, the live action adaptation of the gambling manga


Via Anime News Network
Currently running basketball mecha anime Basquash's chief animator Katsuzo Hirata blogged that main director, Shin Itagaki (Black Cat, Devil May Cry), is no longer working on the project. The anime was established as a collaberation between Shoji Kawamori (Macross, Escaflowne, Aquarion) and French animation creator Thomas Romain (Oban Star-Racers, Aria the Natural)

Anime Vice looks at the drama


A theatrical adaptation of Yuji Iwahara's sci-fi manga King of Thorn is planned to hit theatres in 2010.
Kazuyoshi Katayama (Appleseed video, The Big O, Doomed Megalopolis) will direct off a script co-written by himself and Hiroshi Yamaguchi (Bastard!!, Blue Submarine No. 6, Yukikaze). Hidenori Matsubara (Ah! My Goddess!, Sakura Wars, Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo) will design the characters, while Kenji Andou (Brigadoon, Karas, Origin ~Spirits of the Past~) will design the monsters.


Madhouse and Monster director Masayuki Kojima will be producing an anime adaptation of Chinese novel Tibetan Dog (Tibet Inu Monogatari).


The Terminator will be making a cameo in a special for the long running adventure of the time traveling robot cat Doraemon - Doraemon 1-Jikan 'O-26(furo) Special' ~Nobita o Aishita Bishojo~"(Doraemon One-Hour O-26 (Bath) Special: The Beautiful Girl Who Loved Nobita), scheduled for June 26th. A humanoid T-800 robot named "Terrinanor" appears in the story's climax as the ultimate weapon.

A Jack Sparrow double named "Captain Johnny" previously appeared in Doraemon


Hiroshi Yamaguchi (Bastard!!, Blue Submarine No. 6, Yukikaze) will be scripting the Junichi Sato (Gate Keepers, Pretear, Princess Tutu) directed, fifth Sgt. Frog movie, scheduled to hit Japanese theatres in 2010


Voice actor Rikiya Koyama revealed that a sequel to boxing anime soon-to-end Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger is being planned.

The Business

Matt Alt has summarized a recent working paper written by Robert Dujarric and Andrei Hagiu for the Harvard Business School that lays out the problems facing the anime industry in stark, depressing detail.

Fans tend to romanticize the anime world as one of unbridled creative freedom. The reality is a vicious cycle in which production committees not only dictate the content (as they will only fund the series they feel are solid investments) but keep the majority of the profits (as animation studios have traditionally only been paid a fixed sum, without royalties, for their work.) The vast majority of the men and women who actually create the stuff toil in poverty and obscurity, because they are at the absolute bottom of the food chain.

Roland Kelts also addresses the various worrying reports

Anime on American TV

Southern California's United Television Broadcasting (UTB) has begin airing The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in addition to Eureka Seven, Fantastic Children, The Third: The Girl with the Blue Eye, true tears, sola, D.I.C.E., and Nihongo Dekimasu


Nelvana announced that Beyblade: Metal Fusion will debut in Fall 2010.


Anime Network SVOD is premiering SuperGals!, El Hazard, Koi Koi 7, and Izumo, as well as bringing back Lost Universe

Ghibli Round Up

Slash film has put the clues together and speculated that Hayao Miyazaki will be appearing at San Diego Comic Con

When I first heard that Legendary Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki would be making a very rare trip to North America, to my neck of the woods - the bay area, to appear, accept a prize, premiere his new film and participate in a Q & A on July 25th, I screamed out loud. It wasn’t a scream of joy, like it should have been… it was a scream of annoyance. As CartoonBrew put it, Miyazaki “so rarely travels to the US, and even less so to make public appearances.” And July 25th is the same weekend I’ll be traveling down to San Diego for Comic Con. In the days that followed, something occurred to me — why would Miyazaki be making an around the world trip just to appear at Berkeley?

Unless he’s making the trip for a bigger reason? Miyazaki’s new film
Ponyo is set to be released in the United States on August 14th, opening on over 800 screens (the widest release for any Miyazaki film in America). The film will make its official premiere on June 28th as the closing night film at the LA Film Festival, which I’m now sure Miyazaki will be in attendance for.

Could it be that he’ll be appearing at Comic Con as well? Producer Frank Marshall revealed on twitter that
Ponyo “will have a big presence at ComicCon” which leads me to believe that Miyazaki will be appearing at Comic Con to promote the upcoming release.


Howl's Moving Castle will be running on IFC June June 23rd.


The Japan Times looks at Animation studios seek rural inspiration - including Ghibli's collaboration with Toyota

Spanish indie film distributor Aurum Prods. will be releasing nine Ghibli films on DVD including "Castle in the Sky," "My Neighbor Totoro," "Porco Rosso" and "Princess Mononoke." Variety notes that the deal builds on Aurum's release in DVD and cinemas of Studio Ghibli titles in Spain such as "Howl's Moving Castle" and "Ponyo."


Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park Visits Ghibli Studio and Museum in Japan

Pixar's John Lasseter Visiting Ghibli

"Evangelion 1.0: You Are [Not] Alone" Trailer Online

FUNimation has the English dub trailer for Evangelion 1.0: You Are [Not] Alone, the movie based on the Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series, on its official website. A release date for the R1 DVD hasn't yet been set, but the movie opens on 77 screens this summer.

Pixar’s Partly Cloudy talkback

What do you think?

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

"Pajama Gladiator" wins gold Student Academy Award

Computer-animated short "Pajama Gladiator," about a boy who's caught stealing cookies, won the gold Student Academy Award in the animation category Saturday night.

Made by Glenn Harmon of Brigham Young University, Pajama Gladiator received the Gold Medal from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California. It was the 36th annual Student Academy Awards ceremony.

The Silver Medal in animation went to Sebastian's Voodoo, by Joaquin Baldwin of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Kites, by Jed Henry of BYU, won the Bronze Medal.

Presenters included Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast animator Andreas Deja, The Dark Knight actor Gary Oldman, Blues Brothers and Coming to America director John Landis, and producer and AMPAS first vice-president Robert Rehme.

Gold medal winners receive $5,000. Winners get $3,000 for silver medals and $2,000 for bronze medals.

The Student Academy Awards were established in 1972. Former winners include South Park creator Trey Parker, director Robert Zemeckis, actor Bob Saget and director Spike Lee.

BUFFY Producers ‘Reach Out’ To Whedon For The Movie!! His Response? ‘I Think That's Something Better Left Untouched By Me!!

After news of a new, Whedon-free “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” movie was greeted by howls of outrage from fans of the franchise, the big-screen project’s producers did “ultimately reach out” to franchise mastermind Joss Whedon, Whedon reveals to Entertainment Weekly.

Busy with both “Cabin in the Woods” movie post-production and preparing a second season of “Dollhouse,” Whedon apparently indicated he had little or no interest in what is expected to be a reboot free of such beloved characters as Willow, Xander, Giles, Angel, Oz and Spike.

“I think that's something better left untouched by me,” Whedon tells Entertainment Weekly. “So I wish them luck.”

An EW poll reveals that 3% of respondants would see a Whedon-free “Buffy.”

One wonders what percentage of EW readers were aboard when Paramount announced J.J. Abrams would be taking over the "Star Trek" franchise.

I love The “Buffy” TV series above all others, but I believe I’ll wait for the reviews before I consider seeing a new movie.

Find the update at the bottom of this EW exclusive.

A new MR. LIMPET? Hrmm...

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Again, the news is dominated by remakes and reboots. This time it's Disney remaking THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET. They've been trying for a while, but this time it's serious as a movie poster would say. They've locked in ENCHANTED's Kevin Lima to direct the movie guaranteed to have 100% less Don Knotts.

I'm not necessarily down on this project specifically, but we're reaching a point now where f***ing everything is just repeating itself. I like Lima as a director and thought ENCHANTED was a ton of fun. It was a smart, cute and fun take on the Disney Princess legacy... and... an original movie.

The Hollywood Reporter's Steven Zeitchik says this project will continue the tradition of the first in that it will be an animation and live-action hybrid. If Lima really wanted to sway me personally (and I'm sure that's high up on his priority list) then instead of going the CGI route for when his hapless lead becomes a fish we get to see a 2-D classic style animation transformation, like ENCHANTED, but in reverse.

He'd also keep it period and not have this new fish sniffing out underwater Al Qaeda or whatever the modern day threat would be. Nazis in kids movies ALWAYS work. I cite BEDKNOBS & BROOMSTICKS and rest my case.

Lima's got a few projects on his plate at the minute, so who knows how things will end up. If he's directing, I have some degree of interest in this project, but I'd rather see him developing his original material. You?

(Thanks Aint It Cool)

Alexander Skarsgard Was So Close To Playing Thor, He Even Tried On The Costume

Recently, he came this close to landing one of the most highly-sought-after star-making roles in Hollywood. But don’t feel too bad for stocky Swede Alexander Skarsgard, because he returns next week for the second season of the hit series “True Blood” — which takes a bit of the sting out of the fact that he won’t be Thor.

“Yeah, I met with [Marvel Studios chief] Kevin [Feige] a few times and the director [Kenneth Branagh],” the affable Skarsgard admitted when asked about rumors that he was one of the last people cut before Chris Hemsworth was chosen to play the Norse god of thunder. “There was definitely some truth in that, yeah.”

When I told him I thought he had the perfect look to bring the comic book hero to life, Skarsgard had a simple — and honest — response: “So did I.”

The casting process got so far along, in fact, that Skarsgard — who plays Eric Northman, a secretive vampire Sheriff on “True Blood”even filmed an audition in the complete Thor costume, hammer and all.

“Yeah,” he remembered of slipping into the hero’s threads. “That was pretty fun.”

But, even though he ultimately lost the role to Hemsworth, Skarsgard told me that he’ll keep an open mind and remain hopeful to someday land another comic-book-based role. And, since Feige has made recent statements saying that the people he met during the “Thor” auditions could be brought back for other Marvel roles, we might still see him in Spandex and a cowl someday.

“It depends on the circumstances,” Skarsgard said of possible roles in “Captain America” or beyond. “It’s pretty hard to say [whether I’d take another comic role]. It depends on the circumstances - who the director is, and what the character is. But of course [I’d be interested in looking into it]. I think it’s every little boy’s dream; it would be a person’s dream to play an action hero.”

News briefs: Weaving in Hobbit; Marshall directs Predators

Guillermo del Toro has confirmed in a chat with BBC Radio 5's Simon Mayo (at the 02:10:55 mark) that Hugo Weaving will reunite with Andy Serkis and Ian McKellen in The Hobbit; Weaving played Elrond in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, reported.

Bloody-Disgusting reported a rumor that Neil Marshall (Doomsday) is close to signing on to direct the Predators movie for 20th Century Fox. Fox has this on fast track for release on July 9, 2010.

IGN reports that Reaper creators Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters have joined the writing staff of Fox's Dollhouse; writer Maurissa Tancharoen announced the hiring in a tweet, IGN reported: "Fazekas and Butters are in D-house and they're awesome."

Sony has opened an official Web site for District 9, the sci-fi alien movie from director Neill Blomkamp and producer Peter Jackson.

Enchanted director Kevin Lima is attached to direct Warner Brothers' update of The Incredible Mr. Limpet, a story about a man who turns into a talking fish, according to The Hollywood Reporter; Don Knotts starred in the studio's 1964 original.

Fox announced that it will feature Dollhouse at this year's Comic-Con International in San Diego, featuring creator Joss Whedon and star/producer Eliza Dushku, July 24, and a screening of the previously unaired episode "Epitaph One."


A sneak peek at Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will be included on the Blu-ray and DVD release of the first Transformers movie, starting June 16; the bonus content will be made available on a secure micro-site through an access code from the back of the exclusive sneak-peek sticker on the DVD package or via BD-Live.

Why original V star Marc Singer thinks the time is right for the remake

Morena Baccarin plays the new alien leader

Marc Singer, who starred in the original 1980s sci-fi miniseries V and subsequent spinoffs, told SCI FI Wire that he would love to take part in ABC's upcoming re-imagined series, which is slated to debut after January 2010.

Singer played reporter Mike Donovan in the original miniseries, about an invasion of apparently benign aliens who turn out to be sinister lizard creatures with a nefarious agenda.

The new V is a re-imagining, about the world's first encounter with an alien race in which the aliens call themselves the Visitors and have a seemingly friendly agenda that may or may not be a cover for something more malevolent. The new show stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack Landry, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie Stevens, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans and Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

The series is produced by HDFilms in association with Warner Brothers Television. Scott Peters is executive producer/writer, and Steve Pearlman and Jason Hall are executive producers. The pilot was directed and executive-produced by Yves Simoneau.

Marc Singer as Donovan

For someone who was a major part of the original series in all its forms, I'm dying to know what you think of V returning to television.

I think a good story can always be retold, and I think it is a good story. I think its relevance is as powerful today as it was then. The same forces of subversion and the same sort of fascist tendencies are afoot, and I think it's a cautionary tale that bears retelling.

Everyone who watched the original show knows the ending. Do you think it can work even with that knowledge?

Well, I do. ... I don't know if they will keep the original ending or perhaps modify it. I think it's more in the telling of the tale of society being subverted. And society being wooed into channels that are disruptive and dumbed down. I believe that those are the ways in which the story's retelling sort of supersedes that plot line, because it's the human interaction. It's the failings and dangers of our own nature that lie at the heart of this story.

Last time I spoke to Robert Englund [who played Willie in the original series], he said he'd like to do a cameo in the new series. Would you be interested in doing one?

Oh, sure. I think it would be fun to do a cameo. I think it would be fun to do more than a cameo and see where that leads us. The nice thing about a program like V is that it's open to all sorts of add-ons and interpretations. The possibilities are definitely there. I am certainly an admirer and friend of Kenneth Johnson, so it's possible that that sort of thing might actually occur.

Why Bryan Fuller thinks Heroes is back, and what about Star Trek?

Bryan Fuller believes there's going to be "a new spirit" in the fourth season on NBC's sci-fi series Heroes when it comes to "Volume Five: Redemption." "Everybody has gotten really invested in the show, and we're going back to the basics of the characters," Fuller told SCI FI Wire in an exclusive interview. (Spoilers ahead!)

The season-three finale left Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar) dead and the shape-shifting Sylar (Zachary Quinto) believing he was Nathan. The final moments of the finale finished with the opening of "Volume Five: Redemption," which hinted that the Sylar/Nathan situation might offer some challenges in the future for our heroes.

"That's going to prove really interesting for a lot of the characters," Fuller said. "I'm just excited about getting back to the basics and getting back to the real world and seeing what it's like for HRG [Jack Coleman] to try to re-create a company when every version of it has failed in the past. And not only doing that, but going through a divorce and trying to hold his family together. And for every plot conceit that we have for a character, we have even more conceits for what's going on in their personal lives that makes their plot story so much more complicated, because their emotional, personal story is so intrinsically tied with what's happening with them. I like the balance of the personal lives that we're telling this season."

The cast will return, including Pasdar and Quinto. "We love the cast. That's the thing. ... We just sort of have to find better uses for them," Fuller said. They will also be adding some new characters who will be introduced later in the season.

Fuller wrote and co-executive-produced Heroes in its first year, and then left to work on his own creation, ABC's Pushing Daisies. When that show was canceled last season, he returned to Heroes as a writer and consulting producer.

He believes every volume of the superhero series "has been valid, and every one has been a slightly different style, which I think is interesting. I love how the show is continuing to grow. It is evolving, and I do think there is a lot of good stuff in 'Fugitives' and 'Redemption,'" Fuller said.

In "Fugitives," "we saw the characters in situations we hadn't seen them in before and got to find out interesting things about those characters," Fuller added. "So what I'm excited about with season four is getting everybody back to the basic principle of ordinary people in an extraordinary world and how these characters are relatable to us and what we would do if we were in their situations, and really grounding it in that conceit."

This fall Heroes moves to Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT. While the number of total episodes ordered for Heroes has changed, it looks like NBC has settled on 19 episodes, which will run consecutively with the season ending just before the Winter Olympics in February. After the Olympics in March, NBC's Chuck will take over the Monday-night timeslot.

For most writer/producers, working on one television series would be enough. But the busy Fuller can't help himself. Beyond digging into season four of Heroes, he's creating a comic-book series for his canceled ABC series, Pushing Daisies, and dreaming about how much he'd like to be a part of doing a new Star Trek series. "Oh, my God, I would love to do a Star Trek series! I would love it," he said.

"I think Star Trek, since it did so well in the theaters and the movie's wonderful, I think that a Star Trek TV series is probably a couple years away, just to let the feature franchise breathe," Fuller added.

While Fuller is happily committed to Heroes, he does hope things might work out just right if and when Star Trek returns in some form to the small screen. "I'm hoping that by the time they're ready to do a television series that I am available and can participate, because, I mean, even if it's J.J. Abrams' team, I would love to join that team for a new Star Trek series. I think it would be a ball," Fuller said.

And what would a new Star Trek series look like? "I love the aesthetics of the new movie," Fuller said. "I think it has to be set in that world, ... but I think it has to be a different ship than the Enterprise. I think the Enterprise has to be sailing on the silver screen, and I think we need a new ship with a new crew and an entirely new adventure that is in the timeline and the aesthetic of the movie, but it's telling a different story."

New G.I. Joe Poster Debuts. Now With More Baroness Booty

Coming Soon has the first look at the new G.I. Joe poster that I swear is the exact same one as an international poster I saw a couple of weeks ago somewhere on the internet.

The poster has the bad guys on top, and the good guys on the bottom. But the real focus of the poster is Sienna Miller's ass. I'm not sure how much of it is airbrushed but I don't think a girl with an ass like that would be bothering with world domination. She'd be laying out on some 50 year old hairy chested Persian's boat getting tan while her girlfriends pretend they like hanging out with her for her personality, and not for her connections. Actually, world domination sounds less stressful. Maybe that's why she's doing it.

I'm also wondering how these guys are going to fight if the bad guys are hanging out at SeaWorld and the good guys are hot air ballooning.

Anyway, here's the poster promoting Sienna Miller. I think Channing Tatum and some others are in this movie too but I have yet to locate them on the poster. One thing that does bug me, has Storm Shadow always fought with his sword left handed? And what the hell is he looking at? The camera is over here!!!

(Thanks Latino Review)

Wolverine's Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins journey to John Carter of Mars

Taylor Kitsch as Gambit

X-Men Origins: Wolverine star Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins will star in John Carter of Mars, the adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs sci-fi book series that Andrew Stanton is directing for Disney, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Kitsch, who was last seen as Gambit in Wolverine, will play the title character, Carter, a Civil War veteran who finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars, where his involvement with warring races of the dying planet force him to rediscover his humanity.

Collins (HBO's True Blood) is playing Dejah Thoris, the heir to the throne of Mars' Helium kingdom. She appeared with Kitsch in Wolverine as Kayla Silverfox, the love interest of Hugh Jackman's Logan.

Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E) takes on Mars as his first live-action feature. Stanton wrote the screenplay with Mark Andrews.

Disney has spent months meeting and testing a wide swath of names from Jon Hamm to Josh Duhamel during its search.

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