Wednesday, November 18, 2009

News - 11/18/09...

Call of Duty Sequel Has $310 Million Debut

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 appeared well on its way to challenging for the title of the biggest entertainment debut in history, selling a record estimated 4.7 million copies and earning $310 million in its first day of release, Variety reports.

The Activision game is taking on Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV, which set the industry standard in 2008 by moving 3.7 million units on its first day. GTA IV went on to sell 6 million copies and earn more than $500 million by the end of its first week of release.

The game’s success couldn’t come at a better time for the video game industry, which reported today that overall sales were down 19 percent in October.

The game also is leading a wave of high-profile holiday video game releases such as New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Assassin’s Creed 2. Those releases could help the industry recover from a year in which sales are down 13 percent for the year.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Connery, Bassey Reunite; Corddry in Two Toons

Shirley Bassey and Sean Connery are teaming up again for an animated feature, while actor Nick Corddry has signed on to a pair of toon projects, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Bassey and Connery will both be heard in the independent CG-animated feature, Sir Billi. Connery is voicing the main character — a retired veterinarian in a remote Scottish town who rescues a fugitive beaver — while Bassey will sing the title song. It’s the first project the pair both have worked on since the 1964 James Bond classic Goldfinger.

Connery has been involved with Sir Billi as an executive producer. The film, created by Sascha and Tessa Hartmann, has been in the works for five years and is currently in post-production with completion set for 2010, the trade reports.

Alan Cumming, Miriam Margolyes, Ruby Wax, Alex Norton, Ford Kiernan, Greg Hempill, Barbara Rafferty, John Amabile, Larry Sullivan and U.S.-based newcomer Chris Jai Alex also play voice parts in the film.

Corddry’s voice acting projects include the lead in Horrorbots, an animated series for Cartoon Network, and a part in the CG-live action feature adaptation of Yogi Bear.

Horrorbots, created by Michael Buckley, is about outsider teenage droids attending high school on the planet Killglobe.

His role in Yogi Bear is as Chief of Staff.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Screenings to Celebrate Mr. Magoo Holiday Special Book

The animated holiday classic Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol will get a rare screening at a pair of events celebrating the release of a new book on its making.

The special events will be held Dec. 1 at the Paley Center for Media in New York and Dec. 19 at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.

Each screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Darrel Van Citters, author of the new book Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol: The Making of the First Animated Christmas Special, with special guests including original cast members and production crew. Van Citters also will sign copies of the book at each event.

For information on attending the New York event, go online to Details on the Santa Monica event can be found online at

Van Citters also will appear at book signings Dec. 8 at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco and Dec. 9 at The Art Institute of Portland in Portland, Ore.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Well Go, Toei Plan Second Digimon Data Squad DVD Set

Toei Animation has gone back to Well Go USA, signing a deal for the company to distribute in the United States and Canada a second DVD collection of the animated series Digimon Data Squad.

Digimon Data Squad Collection 2 will feature 13 episodes of the series and follows the first collection of the show, put out earlier this year.

The show is currently in its fifth season and has aired in more than 40 countries.

“We are pleased to be working again with Toei Animation on the next Digimon Data Squad Collection 2 DVD set”, said Tony Vandeveerdonk, executive VP of Well Go USA. “We are thrilled to be able to bring fans more action packed episodes from the iconic Digimon entertainment brand.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Abrams’ Star Trek Set to Boldly Beam Into Your Home

The future comes home this week, which will go down as an important one in the lives of Trekkers everywhere.

This week sees the release of J.J. Abrams’ hit revamp of the classic sci-fi series in Star Trek (Paramount, DVD $30.99, special edition DVD $37.99, Blu-ray $40.99). The film grossed more than a quarter billion dollars in the U.S. alone. Fans of older versions of Trek can reminisce with The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series, Vol. 2 (Paramount, $14.99) and The Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Vol. 2 (Paramount, $14.99).

But that’s not all sci-fi TV fans have to look forward to, with the release of Farscape: The Complete Season Four (A&E, $49.95) and Farscape: The Complete Series (A&E, $149.95).

Animation fans can get real with the medium’s first “reality show” format by digging into Drawn Together: Complete Series, Party In Your Box (Paramount, $56.99).

Also out this week for fans of more current animation is Ben 10: Alien Force, Vol. 5 (Warner Bros., $14.98) and The Spectacular Spider-Man: Vol. 5 (Sony, $19.94)

Classic cartoons are represented this week by the release of The Smurfs: World of Wonders (Warner Bros., $14.97) and Smurfs: Vols. 1-3 (Warner Bros., $60.43).

And the anime aisle of the DVD store will welcome Bleach Vol. 22 (VIZ, $24.92) and Evangelion: 1.01 (FUNimation, $29.98).

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

My Little Pony On Track for New Series

Hasbro Studios is betting big on My Little Pony, putting the classic toy property on the fast track for development as a TV series.

If it goes to series, My Little Pony would become the first Hasbro property to get on the air with the new joint-venture cable outlet between the toymaker and Discovery, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

My Little Pony broke out of the pack following strong ratings for the My Little Pony: Twinkle Wish Adventure special Nov. 6 on Disney Channel.

“The runaway success of My Little Pony on the Disney Channel affirms our belief in the long-term value of this project,” Hasbro Studios president Stephen Davis told the trade publication.

The project will be developed for multiple platforms, including video games.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Fans to Animate DC Universe Online on Facebook

Sony Online Entertainment and Mass Animation are teaming up for a new contest in which users will use a Facebook application to animate characters from the upcoming DC Universe Online massive multiplayer online video game for use in a trailer and in-game animations.

The contest begins Dec. 7 and calls on fans to use Mass Animation’s Facebook application to create, view, upload, share and vote on submissions. A panel of judges and user votes will determine the best entries on a weekly basis, with winners receiving prizes.

“The DCUO/Mass Animation contest takes a part of the game out of the development studio and puts it in the hands of fans, an empowering opportunity for our community,” said John Smedley, president of SOE. “Players will have a chance through qualified contest submissions to be involved with the game’s development at a deeper level than ever before by animating actions for in-game heroes and villains.”

Mass Animation’s application, which includes a special edition of Autodesk Maya 3D as well as storyboards, designs and fully-rigged 3-D models, can be access on the DC Universe Online Facebook fan page.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Press Named Exec Producer at Zoic

Visual effects and production company Zoic Studios has hired veteran VFX producer Erik Press as an executive producer.

Press previously was executive producer of CBS Digital, producing effects for various TV projects, including ESPN’s The Bronx is Burning and the remastered episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series.

Press also has worked as an executive producer at Beau Studio, overseeing commercials work for Sobe, Gatorade and Dove Chocolate. In feature films, he produced sequences for last summer’s hit Wanted and for the upcoming movie Mad Cow.

"Zoic Studios has always focused on creating content for various platforms and areas and, as such, has anticipated the blend of productions blossoming today," says Press. "To be a part of this group of forward-thinking creatives is exciting, and offers unlimited possibilities for us and for our clients."

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Adult Swim Offers Custom DVDs On Demand

Cartoon Network Enterprises has unveiled a custom DVD-on-demand programs that lets users create fully customizable discs featuring their choice of some 100 episodes from the network’s Adult Swim series.

The program, called Adult Swim’s Build a Custom DVD, will let users pick their favorite episodes and design the cover and disc art. The custom DVDs are priced at a flat rate of $20 and are shipped to the buyer within 48 hours.

About 100 episodes are now available to the program from such series as Robot Chicken, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Venture. Bros., Sealab 2021, Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, The Drinky Crow Show and Lucy, Daughter of the Devil.

“Since the network’s launch, Adult Swim has been synonymous with creating highly unique, innovative content that pushes boundaries and engages our fans, who are among the earliest of early adopters, eager for the next great idea or technology available to them,” said Christina Miller, senior vice president, CNE. “This program gives fans an opportunity to showcase their individual creativity in a first-of-its-kind program that offers an unprecedented level of customization and content that is truly unique Adult Swim and our fans.”

The shop is now open and can be accessed online at

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

REMINDER - A Day For Hand Drawn Animation - 2009

"A Day For Hand-Drawn Animation -2009"
(click on image to view it larger)

I posted about this last year , here:

with a follow-up post , here:

This annual "Day for Hand Drawn Animation" is sponsored by Tahsin and Lâle Özgür at Maltepe University in Istanbul .

All devotees of hand drawn animation are invited to mark the day , regardless of their geographical location. (the internet creates such a small world).

This year Tash and Lâle write:

November 18th, a Day for Hand-Drawn Animation

A universe of dreams and fantasy that opened up with
Steamboat Willie on November 18th, 1928, or even earlier, with Little Nemo in 1911. A universe wonderful for the spectator, and even more so for the artists and craftsmen.

The tradition is alive and well in 2009.

May we all celebrate, those of us who insist on keeping it alive, and those of us who never tire of watching!

-Tash & Lâle Özgür

I thought the point that Tash made last year about the distinction of "hand drawn animation" is important to repeat:

"We call it, in our quaint Oriental tongue, Çizgi Film Bayrami, which clumsily translates as "Line-Film Holiday" or something ... "Line-Film" being what we call this kind of film. English lacks a direct equivalent, and the more generic term "animation" might have even facilitated the CG takeover ("it's all animation, isn't it?")

Think of our concept of "line film" as closer to the French "dessin animé" ("animated drawing") - it's French, language of culture, so it probably has more weight in the argument. Which argument? Why, that
hand drawn animation is a distinct art form, and not simply a step on the way towards something else. "

(Thanks David Nethery)

Frog gets red carpet treatment at premiere

Disney’s The Princess and the Frog got a celebrity-filled red carpet premiere in Burbank Sunday, according to Variety. has a gallery of photos from the event.

New Princess and the Frog images

A number of new images and cast photos from Disney’s anticipated The Princess and the Frog can now be found at The studio’s return to hand-drawn animation opens in limited release on November 25th before going wide on December 11th.

Planet Hulk coming in February

Marvel Entertainment's newest animated movie, Planet Hulk, will be released on DVD and Blu Ray on February 2nd, 2010. The movie's storyline will involve the Hulk, being seen as too dangerous to be kept on earth, getting exiled into outer space. DVD Active has details on the extras, which will include a commentary, a Making of Planet Hulk featurette, and more.

"Do Not Feed the Alligators" wins Nickelodeon fest

Henrique Jardim's "Do Not Feed the Alligators" has won the "15 Seconds to Fame" award (Grand Prize) at the Nickelodeon Animation Festival, the first and only multiplatform festival in North America.

General category winners were chosen by the producers at Nickelodeon and announced Monday. The "15 Seconds to Fame" winner was selected by the Nickelodeon Development team. Jardim will receive the grand prize of $5,000 for the creation of a new original animated short in conjunction with and commissioned by Nickelodeon.

Select entries will be showcased on Nicktoons every half hour between 4 and 7 p.m. (ET) from Monday, November 16 through Friday, November 20, and will be featured on

The Grand Jury Award ($10,000) went to Bianca Beneduci Assad for Popped, while the Producers' Choice Prize ($5,000) went to Paris Marroidis for Divers. Bang Yao Liu won the Student Prize in partnership with mtvU ($2,000) for Deadline.

This year's celebrity judge, Jamie Kennedy (Ghost Whisperer), selected the 2009 Grand Jury Award winner along with industry judges Roland Poindexter (Vice-President, Current Series-Animation, Nickelodeon), Paul Vester (Co-Director of CalArt's Experimental Animation Program), Melissa Cobb (Producer, DreamWorks Animation) and Sung Eun Kim (last year's "Grand Jury" and "Student" award winner).

The Viewer's Choice Award of $5,000 will be determined while the shorts are showcased online from November 16 through Sunday, November 29. Viewers can vote for their favorite entry at Votes will be tallied and announced online Monday, November 30.

The Nickelodeon Animation Festival, the largest of its kind, showcases animators from around the world who submit their original animation, ideas and characters. This year, the festival received submissions from such countries as Jamaica, Argentina, Romania, Indonesia, Australia, South Africa, India, Scotland and Holland. General category submissions could be in any style of animation, but could not exceed 10 minutes in length.

Submissions for the "15 Seconds to Fame" award required 15 seconds of an outstanding and funny character animated in any style.

Golden Globes expands toon feature category to 5

There will be five contenders for the Best Animated Feature category when the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards nominations are announced at 5 a.m. (PT) Tuesday, December 15, Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk announced Tuesday.

HFPA members voted last week to expand this year's number of nominations for Best Animated Feature to five from three.

The amended rule now reads: "Eligible films must be feature-length (70 minutes or longer) with no more than 25% live action. If less than eight animated films qualify, the award will not be given, in which case the films would be eligible for Best Picture. If less than 12 animated films qualify, the category will be limited to three nominations per year."

The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards, hosted by Ricky Gervais, will be broadcast live on NBC coast to coast Sunday, January 17 (5 to 8 p.m. PT, 8 to 11 p.m. ET) from The Beverly Hilton.

Mr. Lawrence

The artwork above was from a presentation I created when I was an exec at Nickelodeon 13 years ago. It was (and still is) my mission in life to revive Viacom’s Terrytoon characters, then under Nickelodeon. This Heckle and Jeckle piece was drawn and designed by my friend “Mr. Lawrence” - and I’ve always loved it, as it retains their classic look, yet feels updated in a smart, slick way.

Mr. Lawrence is one of the true multi-hyphenates working in the animation industry today. He’s been a stand up comedian and actor, he’s made live action short films and created comedy series (Lost on Earth). He’s also written and directed TV cartoons - and is the voice of such Nickelodeon characters as Filbert on Rocko’s Modern Life and Plankton on Spongebob Squarepants. What’s he up to now? In addition to his continuing role on Spongebob, Lawrence is developing for Nick a new series The Kumquat Kwadruplets and, in his spare time, boarding his own independent animated horror-comedy feature.

One of the best pilots I’d ever seen was one he created for Film Roman about ten years ago, Hairballs. It’s co-directed by Lawrence and Craig Kellman, with character layouts by Kellman, Carey Yost and Marc Colengelo, and timing by Genndy Tartakovsky. The rights to this show have since reverted to Mr. Lawrence and I’m still hoping someone (Fox? Adult Swim? Comedy Central?) will pick this gem up.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

The Princess and the Frog: Drawing Prince Naveen

This past weekend at the Walt Disney Studios Theater in Burbank, the 2D animated feature The Princess and the Frog premiered. At an earlier event, Supervising Animator Randy Haycock (animated Pocahontas in Pocahontas) showed a crowd of animation fans how he draws Prince Naveen… as a frog.

… and here’s an interview with directors John Musker and Ron Clements at the premiere:

1+3+5=The Making of 9

CTN-X (the CTN Animation Expo) kicks off this Friday in Burbank, and runs through to Sunday, November 22nd. There’s heaps of great panels and speakers over the 3-day event, and Lineboil's Aaron Simpson was lucky enough to be invited to participate. He's hosting a panel titled 1 + 3 + 5 = The Making of 9, where he’ll be quizzing a number of crew members about this feature film. Shane Acker, the creator and director of the CG-project will be on stage, and afterwards the team will be available for Q&A.

Just Eat Orders Some Blue Zoo Animation

Blue Zoo Animation recently completed work on a series of TV spots for Just Eat, the UK-based take out (or “take away”) service. They feature the CG characters Belly and Brain, and the spots were directed by the Rebel Rebel team comprised of Adam Shaw and Chris Rais. The agency on the job was Hooper Galton. Here’s the first one, titled Attention Please:

Down & Up

DC Direct To Release Maquette Based On "Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths" Feature

DC Comics has provided official details on an upcoming DC Direct maquettes based on the highly-anticipated Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths animated feature.

Official details on the upcoming Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths maquette, based on artwork from the highly-anticipated direct-to-video animated feature scheduled for an early Spring 2010 release, have been made available by DC Comics.

Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths DVD Owlman Maquette

Sculpted by:
Derek Miller

“You people are my world’s last hope.” — President Lex Luthor

In a parallel universe, the lone survivor of Earth’s Justice League – Lex Luthor – travels through other-world dimensions to join forces with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and J’onn J’onzz in a desperate attempt to save his world and his people. But the villainous Crime Syndicate controlled by Ultraman, Owlman and Superwoman will stop at nothing to maintain their domination. It will take wits, might and a sacrifice to defeat these unforgiving enemies in the spectacular DC Universe Original Animated Movie. Two Earths, two Leagues and one epic battle collide for a thrilling experience that will leave viewers breathless!

This hand-painted cold-cast porcelain maquette of Owlman is based on art from the highly anticipated Warner Home Video made-for-DVD animated original movie,
Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths!

Measuring approximately 9.2” tall x 5.5” wide x 8.75” deep (including the base), the maquette includes a 4-color Certificate of Authenticity and is packaged in a 4-color box.

Limited edition of 4000. Quantities may be allocated.

On sale
February 24, 2010. Price is $99.99 US

In further Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths news, Vanessa Marshall will be providing the voice of Wonder Woman for the upcoming animated feature.

A co-production of Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation, the direct-to-video Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths animated feature will debut early Spring 2010 on Blu-ray and DVD. Stay tuned for further Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths updates, including artwork and official release details.

'Thor' Casting: Are Ray Stevenson, Stuart Townsend And Tadanobu Asano The Warriors Three?

The Warriors Three, a trio of Asgardians that join the God of Thunder's cause in "Thor," have officially been cast — depending on where you get your news, that is.

Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano and Stuart Townsend have reportedly landed the roles of Volstagg the Valiant, Hogun the Grim and Fandral the Dashing in "Thor," Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of the classic Marvel character. But some are already doubting the news, given the fact that the initial Variety report has been removed from the website.

[UPDATE: has confirmed the casting of Stevenson, Asano and Townsend.]

Whether Variety pulled the article due to factual inaccuracies, jumping the gun too early or any other number of reasons is unclear, but my hunch is that these are the actors we'll see alongside Chris Hemsworth's Thor — especially considering that several Marvel officials including Brian Michael Bendis, who is consulting on "Thor," linked to the Variety news on their Twitter feeds.

Assuming that the casting news is legitimate, it's certainly an intriguing round-up. I'm not familiar with Asano's work, but I think that Townsend and Stevenson are great picks for Fandral and Volstagg — though I'm not sure that they're better choices than the previously rumored Zachary Levi and Brian Blessed.

Also, I've got to admit that I'm holding out some hope that the wrong Ray has been named for Volstagg. My knee-jerk reaction upon reading the initial report was that Ray Winstone, not Stevenson, should play Volstagg — he's a much better match physically and personality-wise, but my only link to go on is the shared first name. It's a stretch, but a blogger can dream, can't he?

If Stevenson, Townsend and Asano are in fact lining up for "Thor," they join an already impressive cast that includes Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Anthony Hopkins as Odin and Colm Feore in an unspecified role.

Rachel McAdams Debunks 'Spider-Man 4' Black Cat Rumor

The rumor of "Spider-Man 4" sporting Black Cat as the film's nemesis might have nine lives, but it looks like luck has ran out for supporters of Rachel McAdams, the alleged frontrunner for the role.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, McAdams flat-out denied last week's wide-spread "Spider-Man 4" rumors that she was not only a contender for the role of Felicia Hardy in the "Spider-Man" sequel, but that she was nearly a lock for the part. According to McAdams herself, those reports are entirely unfounded.

"That's a total rumor, I have to say," said McAdams. "I was hanging out in Toronto the other day and someone came up to me and said, 'I just heard you're doing Spider-Man 4.' And I said, 'Really? No one told me! It's not true."

First Look At 'Smallville' Hawkman, New Details About Justice Society's Debut

As the highly anticipated Justice Society two-part episode of “Smallville” gets ready to go in front of the cameras, newly cast Hawkman actor Michael Shanks has revealed the first look at his character, some intriguing details about his origin and this incarnation of the JSA.

“When we first meet Carter Hall, he’s in his museum," Shanks told TV Guide. "We’ll learn he’s a reincarnated prince from a thousand years ago. There is a reference to The Justice Society’s time in the ‘70s, but we have since disbanded.”

“When we first see him, he is a shell of his former self with [an air] of cynicism,” continued Shanks. “He wears a lot of grief and guilt and pain over what happened to his friends and the society as a whole and his failures in letting that happen.”

Shanks also hinted that Hawkgirl may play a part in the story as well.

“There’s a lot of referencing to Shayera/ Hawkgirl throughout as his one true love,” Shanks explained. “Given the fact that these two have a tremendous history as thousand year-old reincarnated beings who continue to find each other lifetime after lifetime. And we will learn where she is now.”

Earlier this month, Shanks hinted that Hawkman could potentially return as a mentor for Clark Kent. According to Shanks, Hawkman’s relationship to Clark would be deeper than simply teaching him how to fly.

“There’s a reference given to him flying, but it’s more of a metaphor to his own personal growth,” Shanks explained. “Clark and his friends are figuring out what their destinies will be, so there is a ripe opportunity for the Justice Society who had been there done that to offer some tough love teaching.”

“The way things land at the end of it all, there’s an open door for Carter Hall to be revisited and possibly be part of further mentoring Clark down the road.”

The two-part Justice Society episode will air on February 5, 2010 as a “TV movie.” Comic scribe Geoff Johns wrote both parts and “Smallville” star Tom Welling will direct the second part. In addition to Justice Society members Dr. Fate and Stargirl, the episode will also feature the Martian Manhunter and Amanda Waller.

'Alien Legion' Movie Advances With Disney And Jerry Bruckheimer

The classic military sci-fi comic “Alien Legion” is moving forward as a film adaptation over at Disney with producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

"Alien Legion has been optioned for some time," confirmed “Alien Legion” co-creator Carl Potts in an interview with USA Today. "The script is currently in its third rewrite."

"Bruckheimer's never done a science-fiction [movie] before,” Potts continued. “So that challenge, I think, is something that would hold his interest. The success they've had with blending CGI and live-action characters in ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ series could translate easily to an ‘Alien Legion’ film."

In a recent interview over at HeyUguys, Derek Haas (“Wanted”) revealed that he and his writing partner Michael Brandt (“3:10 to Yuma”) are rewriting the current draft of “Alien Legion” for Bruckheimer and Disney.

Created in 1984 by Potts, Alan Zelenetz and Frank Cirocco, “Alien Legion” was published through Marvel’s Epic imprint and followed the members of an intergalactic military unit called Force Nomad — which was similar to the French Foreign Legion. “Alien Legion” was the longest running Epic comic series and featured numerous comic creators including Chuck Dixon, Larry Stroman, Terry Austin, Whilce Portacio, Chris Warner and Scott Hanna.

On the comics front, “Alien Legion” is also poised for a come back. Warner is currently overseeing an “Alien Legion” omnibus series for Dark Horse Comics. The first volume will be released this week. Additionally, Dixon, Stroman and Potts will also return to “Alien Legion” with a new four issue miniseries from Dark Horse that is scheduled to come out in 2010.

“Alien Legion” was previously developed as a potential CGI animated series in 2003 by Mainframe Entertainment — the company behind “ReBoot” and “Transformers: Beast Wars” — before the project fell apart when Mainframe was sold to another studio.

Photo Gallery: Tim Burton Exhibit At The Museum Of Modern Art

Think about the career of Tim Burton for a little while, and it makes a lot of sense for his work to receive a special exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art. From "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" and "Batman" to "The Nightmare Before Christmas," Burton's projects have always had a certain flair — and it's that unique element of his work that's receiving the spotlight in this new exhibit.

You can get an early peek at some highlights from the Tim Burton exhibit at MoMA (including some great, behind-the-scenes art from "Batman") by clicking HERE:

For more on the exhibit, be sure to head over to for their interview with Tim Burton at MoMA.

The Avatar action and creatures you still haven't seen

Zoe Saldana voices Neytiri

James Cameron has been showing a lot of Avatar: He's screened footage at Comic-Con and on "Avatar Day," revealing action scenes, and there was a teaser trailer, then an extended trailer. But there are still plenty of action scenes and creatures awaiting viewers when the film opens, we learned in interviews on Monday.

Zoe Saldana, who plays the Na'vi alien named Neytiri in the film, described some of the action she performed that the trailers have not yet spoiled. "Just so you know, I fell off of horses, had a horse step on me," Saldana said in a group interview on Monday in Los Angeles, where she was promoting the DVD/Blu-ray release of Star Trek. "I made bets with my bow and my arrow that Jim lost at times, and then I lost at times. Sam [Worthington] almost broke a pinky. It was a lot of action. Jim is just saving it for the screen, trust me. He's saving the best for last, Dec. 18."

Worthington plays Jake Sully, a paralyzed marine assigned to infiltrate the Na'vi, the inhabitants of the planet Pandora. He does this by accessing an avatar, his Na'vi form, which he can control, with full use of the avatar's body. The Na'vi pursue an adventure that spans the wild forests of Pandora, wrestling with dragon-like banshees on the cliffs and fighting off high-tech military forces.

Saldana added that, as with the marketing campaign for Star Trek, the promotion of Avatar is slowly unveiling its best stuff. "Stay tuned," she said. "What I'm saying is they keep releasing it, the trailers keep getting better and better, the same as with Star Trek. There's definitely a lot of action, and we were pushed. Sam and I were pushed beyond what we thought was our limit as human beings, physically. I can honestly say I left that set as a different person, a different actor."

Zoe Saldana at Monday's Star Trek DVD/Blu-ray party

Neville Page, who worked as a creature designer with Cameron, said there are many more fantastic creatures on the planet of Pandora. So far, we've seen only the banshee and some forest beasts.

"So much more, there really is," Page said in a separate interview. "There're some great, great surprise moments with creatures. For me, that's what the whole production was about, was three years of designing animals in the forest. Oh, there's so much left. Five years of design development in the works, so there's tons of stuff left."

If you really home in on the trailer, watching it frame by frame, maybe you'll glimpse some creatures in the background. They'll get their close-ups in the final film. "There's a lot of stuff going on in the background, that's for sure," Page added.

Page was working as recently as July, after the screening of footage at Comic-Con, to complete work on Avatar's creatures. "I did some final touches," he said. "There was just final color passes on some of the flying creatures, but I think they're done now. I have nothing left to do on it except wait, like everyone else anxious to see it."

Avatar opens Dec. 18.

No comments: