Thursday, December 17, 2009

News - 12/17/09...

Roy E. Disney Has Passed Away

Roy Edward Disney, son of Disney Studios co-founder Roy O. Disney, and nephew of Walt Disney, passed away today (12/16/09) at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, California, following a year-long battle with stomach cancer. He was 79 years old. Disney was a successful businessman, philanthropist, filmmaker, and award-winning sailor, who played a key role in the revitalization of The Walt Disney Company and Disney's animation legacy. He was associated with the Company over a 56-year period, and from 1984 – 2003, served as vice chairman of the Company's board of directors, and chairman of the Studio's Animation Department. In recent years, he held the title of director emeritus and consultant for the Company.

As head of Disney Animation, Disney helped to guide the Studio to a new golden age of animation with an unprecedented string of artistic and box office successes that included "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin," and "The Lion King." He personally executive produced "Fantasia/2000," a sequel to the 1940 Disney classic, and served in a similar capacity on a number of recent animated shorts, including the 2004 Oscar®-nominated "Destino," based on storyboards and original art by the iconic artist Salvador Dali. In the area of live-action films, Disney and his wife, Leslie DeMeuse Disney, most recently executive produced the 2008 feature documentary, "Morning Light," which followed a group of young sailors as they competed in the grueling Transpac race from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

His philanthropic activities included sponsorship of the Roy E. Disney Center for the Performing Arts at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center, part of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, is scheduled to open in spring, 2010. Commenting on the announcement, Bob Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said, "On behalf of everyone at Disney, we are saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague Roy E. Disney. He was much more than a valued 56-year Company veteran – Roy's true passion and focus were preserving and building upon the amazing legacy of Disney animation that was started by his father and uncle. Roy's commitment to the art of animation was unparalleled and will always remain his personal legacy and one of his greatest contributions to Disney's past, present and future."

John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, added, "I first met Roy when I was still an animation student at CalArts. Not only did I consider him a personal friend, but he was a great man who believed deeply in the art of animation. He put his heart and soul into preserving Disney's legendary past, while helping to move the art of animation into the modern age by embracing new technology. Roy was a visionary and passionate supporter of the art form, and he was all about quality. I was always impressed that he would make time for someone like me when I was fresh out of college, and he continued to support and encourage me throughout my career."

Stanley Gold, president, Shamrock Holdings, said, "Roy and I enjoyed a 35-year friendship and partnership that was simply special. We faced many business challenges together, had fun in the process, and enjoyed a wide variety of professional successes. Roy was a man who was steadfastly loyal to his principles and to his friends. He was a gracious, humble gentleman who could make the tough decisions life sometimes requires. He carried the torch high and proud, and the world is a better place for his tireless efforts. I will miss him greatly."

Roy Edward Disney was born in Los Angeles on January 10, 1930 to Roy O. Disney and Edna Francis Disney. His father and his uncle, Walt Disney, co-founded the Disney entertainment business in 1923.

After attending Harvard School and Pomona College, Disney launched his entertainment industry career in 1952, working as an assistant film editor on the "Dragnet" TV series.

He joined The Walt Disney Studios in 1953 as an assistant film editor, where his credits included the landmark Academy Award®-winning True-Life Adventures features, "The Living Desert" and "The Vanishing Prairie." As a writer and production associate, he received Oscar® nominations for his work on the short subject, "Mysteries of the Deep" in 1959, and in 2003 for his work as executive producer for "Destino."

Disney produced and directed some 35 other TV and theatrical production, including the landmark 1968 documentary, "Varda, the Peregrine Falcon," before leaving in 1977 to become an independent producer and investor.

In 1978, Disney founded Shamrock Holdings, Inc., a wholly-owned family enterprise headquartered in Burbank, California, which specializes in private equity, real estate, and public equities investing. He served as chairman of the company, which has approximately $1.5 billion of capital committed to funds.

An avid competitive sailor, Disney holds several elapsed-time records for offshore races in the Pacific Ocean, including multiple wins in the 2,225-mile Transpac.

Among his many professional and philanthropic activities, Disney served on the board of trustees of California Institute of the Arts, the advisory board of St. Joseph Medical Center, and the board of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles, Inc. Additionally, he was an advisory member of the board of directors of the United States Committee for UNICEF, chairman emeritus of the board of directors of the Peregrine Fund, a member of the board of trustees of Ronald McDonald House charities, and a member of the board of trustees of the American Ireland Fund.

In 1993, he received the Winsor McCay Award (a special "Annie Award") from ASIFA-Hollywood (The International Animated Film Society). The McCay Award is for lifetime achievement in animation. In 1997, Disney was awarded the first "Mort Walker Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cartoon Industry," by the Boca Raton International Museum of Cartoon Art.

Disney received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from his alma mater Pomona College in 1998. In 2002, he received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Mercy College in New York. The following year, he was presented with the Trustees' Award and honorary Doctor of the Arts degree from CalArts.

Among his other honors, Disney was named a recipient of the 1999 National Catholic Education Association Elizabeth Ann Seton Award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to children and education. In April 1999, Disney received the Henry Bergh Humane Award from the ASPCA, and in spring 2000, he was awarded the Inaugural Environmental Leadership Award from the Audubon Society.

Disney is survived by his wife, Leslie, and four children from his marriage to Patricia Dailey Disney – Tim Disney, Roy Patrick Disney, Abigail Disney, and Susan Disney Lord. He is also survived by 16 grandchildren.

Funeral services will be private, followed by cremation. His ashes will be scattered at sea. Plans for a Life Celebration will be announced shortly. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to CISA (California International Sailing Association, to benefit youth sailing.

Studio Ghibli’s Next Film Announced

Studio Ghibli, the animation studio co-founded by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Ponyo) has announced its next film, set for release in Japan in the summer of 2010.

The Anime News Network reports that the official website for Karigurashi no Arrietty (The Borrower Arrietty) went live earlier today (December 17th in Japan). However, Miyazaki will not be the director.

Those honors go to 36-year old animator Hiromasa Yonebashi, who had previously worked in various capacities in the production of several Ghibli films.

Karigurashi no Arrietty is an adaptation of the children’s book The Borrowers by the late British author Mary Norton about a race of tiny people who “borrow” things and keep their existence a secret.

The Borrowers series has previously been adapted as a 1973 live-action American television movie, a 1992 BBC series with a 1993 sequel and a 1997 American/British co-production live-action theatrical movie.

Nick Orders More SpongeBob Episodes

SpongeBob SquarePants is about to enter his second decade in style, with Nickelodeon giving the green light to production on 26 new episodes of the popular seres.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the order will bring the total number of episodes in the series to 178 and will reunite the original voice cast of Tom Kenny as SpongeBob, Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick, Rodger Bumpass as Squidward, Clancy Brown as Mr. Krabs and Carolyn Lawrence as Sandy Cheeks.

“After a decade on our air, SpongeBob has emerged as one of the most beloved and popular characters in television history,” said Brown Johnson, president of animation for Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids & Family Group. “Audiences of all ages have fallen in love with this show and we’re delighted to be serving up additional original episodes to our viewers for many years.”

The pickup comes after the tenth anniversary special Truth or Square drew 7.7 million viewers and the release of a new original holiday song “Don’t Be a Jerk (It's Christmas!)” on the SpongeBob’s Greatest Hits album.

SpongeBob SquarePants is a Nicktoons Production and is produced at the Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

zoetifex Gives New Wings Hitchcock Audio

Pittsburgh-based zoetifex Studio has raised the dead. Alfred Hitchcock’s voice has been set against CG-animation in this demo for a potential new TV series. The audio was lifted from a trailer for The Birds, Hitchcock’s 1963 film.

Tune in for Cartoon Saloon’s Anam an Amhráin

Ireland’s most prominent animation studio, Cartoon Saloon, recently wrapped up a 4-part mini-series focusing on Irish music. Anam an Amhráin was produced for the Irish network TG4 by Sónta Teo and Cartoon Saloon. Here’s a few clips:

O’Connor Takes Over DreamWorks’ Books

Heather O’Connor has been promoted to the position of chief accounting officer of DreamWorks Animation, replacing Phil Cross who is stepping down.

O’Connor will take over the job in full in February 2010, working until then in transition with Cross on the company’s annual financial close. Her appointment is conditional on the approval of the company’s board of directors.

O'Connor has been with DreamWorks Animation since 2006 and previously held various positions in DreamWorks’ accounting and finance planning & analysis departments. Prior to DreamWorks, O'Connor was an audit senior at Arthur Andersen.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Florin Leaves EA Publishing Post

Gerhard Florin is leaving his post as executive VP of Western world publishing at video game giant Electronic Arts effective in March.

Florin is a 15-year veteran of the company and played a key role in the firm’s growth and dominance in the European markets. He also later extended his role to cover the United States.

According to MCV, Florin’s desire to keep his family in Europe is a factor in his decision.

Jens Uwe Intat will continue to head up EA's European publishing operation.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Autodesk Brings Smoke to the Mac

Autodesk’s Smoke 2010 is coming to the Macintosh.

The new version of the finishing software is the first such product the company has made to run on the Mac platform and its newest version, Snow Leopard.

"The business of post-production is evolving. Post-production and broadcast facilities alike are seeking more affordable, integrated creative tools that can help them stand out from the crowd," said Stig Gruman, Autodesk vice president of digital entertainment. "Smoke 2010 on the Mac has been designed to help editors increase creative output, project quality and turnaround times. It brings production-proven finishing capabilities to the extremely talented community of artists already using the Mac in broadcast and post-production."

Among the top features of Autodesk Smoke 2010 for Mac OS X Feature Highlights are:
• An all-in-one toolset for editorial finishing: editing, conform, 2D and 3D titling, sophisticated color correction, image stabilization, precision tracking and keying, 2D and 3D compositing, paint, rotoscoping, retouch and design
• Autodesk Modular Keyer, Master Keyer and Colour Warper advanced image-processing technologies
• Ability to import entire timelines from Apple Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer using the AAF or XML format and even finish projects using Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD media used in creative cut
• Native support for popular files-based formats: QuickTime, Panasonic P2 HD and Sony XDCam files
• Support for uncompressed DPX, TIFF and OpenEXR workflows

Smoke 2010 for Mac OS X license is available at a suggested retail price in the United States of $14,995. Autodesk Subscription is available for purchase simultaneously with the product license for $1,995 per year. Smoke 2010 on Mac OS X is also available for a free 30-day trial download.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

Parents' group complains to FCC again about "Family Guy"

Once again, the Parents Television Council has gone to the Federal Communications Commission to complain about an allegedly indecent Family Guy episode.

The complaint this time is about Sunday's episode, "Business Guy," which features a scene in which a stripper gives Peter's father-in-law a lap dance.

Here's the council's description of what it found offensive:

"In the episode, loutish Peter takes his father-in-law and friends to a strip club named the Fuzzy Clam. Peter tells a stripper to perform a lap dance on his father-in-law. She bends over and waggles her rear before his face. 'Do I stick the money right inside of her?' he asks. When Peter replies, 'No, you do not,' his father-in-law asks, 'Why? Have you done that before?' Peter giggles nervously. As the woman briefly rubs her rear against the father-in-law's crotch, he asks, 'When do I hit her?' Peter pours beer down his in-law's throat and orders the stripper to 'give this old bastard the ride of his life.' The stripper writhes up and down against the father-in-law's body, shakes her breasts in his face, then straddles his lap and thrusts her groin against his. Lois' father grunts in pleasure, then spasms and collapses to the ground as he has a heart attack."

Said PTC president Tim Winter: "Apparently, Fox must believe that because the program is animated, it can air anything it wants on Family Guy, no matter how inappropriate or indecent. Fox hides behind satire and animation as an 'excuse' to air the foulest material imaginable, but Fox needs to learn that broadcast decency laws apply to all broadcast programming aired during the time when children are most likely to be watching, and we urge our members to file indecency complaints with the Federal Communications Commission over this episode."

Fox had no response, said a spokeswoman for the network.

The PTC's last lament about the show was in connection with the March 8 episode "Family Gay," in which (among other things) a horse enters and licks Peter's naked rear as Peter moans in pleasure.

Complaints have even formed the story line of an episode of the show that blasted the FCC and its indecency crackdown, which had been encouraged in part by the council's complaints about Janet Jackson.

Over a million complaints to the FCC are pending. However, the commission also has an indecency standard that is now being reviewed by the courts, according to Broadcasting and Cable, a trade publication.

Actor William Baldwin Discusses "Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths" Animated Feature

Warner Home Video has released a new studio-conducted interview with actor William Baldwin, the voice of Batman in the upcoming direct-to-video Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths animated feature.

The World's Finest presents the latest in a series of studio-conducted interview, provided by Warner Home Video, for the upcoming Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths direct-to-video animated feature. Continue reading below for the latest installment featuring actor William Baldwin.


Dirty Sexy Money star William Baldwin slides easily into the famed cowl as the voice of Batman in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, an all-new DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movie from Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation.

William Baldwin (Dirty Sexy Money) voices the role of Batman in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the next DC Universe animated original movie. The film will be distributed February 23, 2010 by Warner Home Video. (Photo courtesy of Gary Miereanu)

A fan of the super hero genre since his youth when the Baldwin brothers would role play in their backyard, William Baldwin has proudly, enthusiastically undertaken the deep, gravelly vocal tones of the Dark Knight. While Baldwin has crafted a fine career in live-action film and television, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths represents only his second foray into voiceover for animation, having recorded a few episodes on the Nickelodeon series Danny Phantom.

Beyond ABC’s Dirty Sexy Money television series, Baldwin has offered memorable turns in the feature films Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Flatliners, Backdraft and
The Squid and the Whale, the latter of which earned (ironically) a Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is an original story from award-winning animation/comics writer Dwayne McDuffie (Justice League). Bruce Timm (Superman Doomsday) is executive producer, and Lauren Montgomery (Wonder Woman, Green Lantern: First Flight) and Sam Liu (Superman/Batman: Public Enemies) are co-directors. The full-length animated film will be distributed by Warner Home Video as a Special Edition 2-disc version on DVD and Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def, as well as single disc DVD, and On Demand and Download.

Baldwin took time after his recording session to chat about visualization techniques in the sound booth, his children’s influence on his choice of roles, the super hero roughhouse role play by the Baldwin brothers (particularly Alec Baldwin) in their youth, and his very nearly being cast in the live-action role of Batman.

What are your thoughts about joining the list of actors from Adam West and Michael Keaton to Val Kilmer and George Clooney to Kevin Conroy and Christian Bale – that have played Batman?


I almost did join that group – I was one of Joel Schumacher's top choices when Val Kilmer wound up playing Batman. Tim Burton and Michael Keaton had left, so Joel had the luxury of replacing Michael Keaton and he told me that his four choices – which was an eclectic, diverse array – were Daniel Day Lewis, Ralph Feinnes, Val Kilmer and me. I didn’t even know it at the time – he told me when I had a meeting with him later. The next time, when George Clooney did it, (Schumacher) said, “You were on my original short list with those other three actors, but the studio went with Val and this time I'd like to go with you.” And that Friday afternoon, I thought I was playing Batman – and then Monday morning, the headlines in the trades said that George Clooney had gotten the part. So apparently, I did actually come very close.

I was very excited to do this. I wasn't really thinking about any past Batmans, but more of letting the material sort of dictate the choices that I make as an actor. What's happening physically, what's happening emotionally, what's happening in the writing. That’s what really drives your performance.

Batman stands tall in the face of danger – brought on by the powerful Superwoman – in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the next DC Universe animated original movie. The film will be distributed February 23, 2010 by Warner Home Video. William Baldwin (Dirty Sexy Money) provides the voice of Batman.

How did you choose to interpret the character? And was there anything you wanted to do differently than what had preceded you?


I was mostly influenced by whom I perceive Batman to be, with the possible exception that I think sometimes I allow a certain sensitivity or an emotional dynamic to give (the character) maybe a likeability or an accessibility. That's almost an insecurity of mine as an actor – to want to breathe a little bit of those types of emotions into characters. I think I find them more appealing and more likeable and more human. What I didn't choose to do is to go towards the darkness of the way the original Batman series was intended. Because Batman, in the original comic series, was a lot darker than the character that was brought to life in television.

Are there any personal attachments to Batman that make voicing this role special for you?


It’s a number of things – certainly the history of the character. The people that have been lucky enough to portray Batman on screen, or provide his voice, is a short list and it's pretty cool. I'm in good company. I enjoyed it as a child, and the character still resonates for me. And I'm a father of an 8-year-old, a 7-year-old, and a 4-year-old – my boy is sandwiched between his sisters, and he just loves the super heroes. We watch Justice League together. I try not to let him overdo it too much with television, but there's great, wholesome messages that come out of that series. When I told him that I was playing Batman, his jaw dropped. I almost took him out of school today to have him come down here (for the recording session).

How many times have you said “I'm Batman” in the past week?


Probably about a half a dozen, usually just joking with my kids and my wife. I was in the studio about a 9-iron from here, where my wife (Chynna Phillips) was recording, and all the band members were giving me different lines to say as Batman. Or having me improvise some lines. And we were having some wicked, twisted fun with it (he laughs).

It seemed you were quite focused in the booth, conveying all the physical and emotional traits as Batman. How immersed in the role did you feel?


I take it seriously. And I enjoy it, especially recreating the sound effects of the fight sequences and stuff like that. One thing that was interesting to me was how clean they need the lines and, thus, how specific I had to keep my relationship to the microphone, and making sure there weren't any other sort of ancillary sounds. When I'm doing looping for a film, I guess it's sort of a method approach. I'll put things inside my mouth and try to recreate the circumstances or the emotions that existed while I was performing. There's nothing better than when you're grunting from lifting something to try and create that sensation. I do a lot of visualization, too. So when you’re having the confrontation with Lex Luthor or Superwoman, sometimes I'll look through the mike into the booth to somebody in the room. I'll look at them and just sort of imagine it in my mind, to just pick somebody and lock into that, giving off this energy to them. It's very helpful for me to have that specificity to lock into.

Did the Baldwin brothers play super hero games growing up?


You’ll have to get my brother Alec in here sometime – he's got the scars to prove it. Back in the early ‘60s, he tied a bathroom towel around his neck as a cape and was doing his Superman (impression), and he went through a plate glass sliding door. He ran right through it. He has these big V-shaped scars under his bicep and his forearm from all the stitches that he took when he was five or six years old.

So yeah, we did play super hero games. And my family was pretty rough. I mean, when we were playing super heroes, if there was a cartoon where somebody got thrown off the roof and they landed on the ground with a thud, then Stephen or I got thrown off the roof – into a pile of leaves, or into somebody's swimming pool.

Batman ponders the misguided plot of Owlman – and formulates his move to foil Owlman’s plan – in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the next DC Universe animated original movie. The film will be distributed February 23, 2010 by Warner Home Video. William Baldwin (Dirty Sexy Money) provides the voice of Batman.

You rode along with the Chicago Fire Department to prepare for Backdraft. What kind of research went into this performance?


First of all, some parts lend them self to that type of research and preparation more than others. Secondly, I had a fairly deep understanding of this character because I've been watching the shows and films and the character for 40 years. So if I felt like I didn't have enough of an understanding, I probably would have postponed (the recording session). But when I was looking at the script on a plane a few days ago, I felt it was kind of a piece of cake based on my understanding of the character, and really fueled my attraction to the character and the piece. There's a lot of two- and three-line exchanges rather than two- and three-paragraph exchanges. There weren't a lot of monologues that required a lot of line memorization, or anything incredibly challenging emotionally. I just had to get into the rhythm of how the character speaks. Batman’s spectrum of emotion is fairly narrow – for a number of reasons. He's always in command, he's always in control, he's always holding it together, and he's pretty tough relative to the rest of us in this room.

Does the Gotham City/New York connection hold anything special for a lifelong New Yorker?


There's always been something cool about (Gotham City) being based on New York – it’s where I'm from, where I grew up, and I’ve spent my whole career there. I remember referring to it as Gotham – not Gotham City, either – more often than I called it Manhattan or New York. I'd be on the West Coast finishing a meeting, and somebody would ask, “Where you going?” And I’d always say “Back to Gotham.”

Did having children that enjoy the genre influence your desire to give voice to an animated character at this point in your career?


That definitely motivates a lot of the choices that I make as an actor now. I'm looking to be involved with projects that are family oriented. Not exclusively, but I'd like to do some things that my children can see. My brother Alec has done a series of films over the last couple years – Madagascar and Thomas (the Train) and things like that – and the kids got really, really excited about that. And we're good friends with Chazz Palminteri, and Chazz does a lot of animated voiceover work. When they hear his voice, they really get excited.

I was doing a television series for two seasons, so we would watch that together as a family. Sometimes I would let the kids stay up, and they really got a kick out of it. I did a film last year with Henry Winkler called A Plumm Summer that won a couple of family film festival audience awards. So yes, I'm definitely looking for some choices. Because the films in my past, like Flatliners and Internal Affairs, Three Of Hearts and Backdraft and Sliver, Fair Game and The Squid And The Whale and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, these are all films that my kids aren't quite ready to see.

You've tackled this legendary comic character. What other roles would you like to fill?


I'd like to surprise some people maybe and do the voice of something that's much more charactery. It could be much more ethnic. Jewish or Irish or a New Yorker. I have a lot of fun with that stuff. I'd even like to sing. I wouldn't want to sing in the way that you would need Mariah Carey to sing, but just have a character sing and have fun with that, too.

What were your impressions of this animation experience versus some of your previous experiences?


I'm getting better at it. I'm very tough on myself, so I'm never quick to say that I felt like it was great when it wasn't. I usually have my own sort of standards that I set for myself. It felt like I was able to achieve my objectives more quickly. I think that comes with maturity as a performer and, uh, it's nice to know. Because there's been times where I've done voiceover work where they would normally allot two hours for someone who can bang it out, and they would have to allot three or three and a half or four hours. It’s not that I couldn't do it quickly, it's just that I'm such a perfectionist. I tend to be saying “Let me try that again. Let's do one more … one more … one more.” I think I said, “Let me do one more” about 10 times today, which wasn't a lot. Sometimes I say it 100 times. I think everybody thought that it felt right, it felt good, it sounded great. It’s always fun, but I want to get it right.

Is it difficult acting alone in the booth?


It forces you to hone in and focus on the performance aspects and the emotional aspects of what you're trying, and visual them in your head. Acting is not acting, it's reacting. You're reacting to what somebody's saying and how they're saying it. That was great about the television show that I just did (Dirty Sexy Money) because the props department would tie me in when we would do something like a telephone conversation. When I had one with Donald Sutherland, I didn't have to come into the studio to do it. They would just have me call on my cell phone from my home in Santa Barbara, and I would call in when the camera was rolling and I would literally have the conversation with him. In the old days, sometimes you would have the other actor come in on his off day just to read that telephone conversation off camera. Then that changed and you would wind up reading this telephone conversation with the script supervisor who (A) is not an actor, and (B) does not know what the choices of the actor are going to be when they shoot his side of the telephone conversation in two weeks. That can be very difficult and very stilted when they cut that telephone conversation together – sometimes you can tell by the way someone's reacting to a line that they weren't hearing the actor do it on that day. They just interpreted what they thought the actor was going to do on that day, and they were wrong. I'm talking about stuff that's very subtle, like someone raising their voice a little bit in the reaction
to the other person. Little things. But that’s acting. You’re not just reacting to the words, you're reacting to the way the words were said. Was it threatening? Was it menacing? Was it intimidating? Was it submissive? It's all based on little layers and subtleties.

Batman launches a batarang attack on Owlman during a brutal battle between equally-matched (and equipped) foes in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the next DC Universe animated original movie. The film will be distributed February 23, 2010 by Warner Home Video. William Baldwin (Dirty Sexy Money) provides the voice of Batman

Can you compare acting on camera to acting in the booth, and how Andrea Romano was able to guide you through those differences?


It's sort of a mixed bag. On camera, you’re usually acting to another actor who you're looking at, who's in the room with you. Today, I was in the sound room and Andrea was behind the glass. And she’s not an actor. But for a director, from a performance standpoint, she was giving me more than enough. What really helped was the specificity of her notes. When something wasn't right, she would give me a note that would 180 it, or she would give me a little subtle note. That was great. “You're forgetting to add in this layer” or “Give me a little bit more urgency.” At one point, I throw a punch and Superwoman catches my fist and starts to squeeze my fist. And I said, “Do you want me to wince and scream in pain when she's crushing my fist? And am I supposed to fight the temptation of revealing to a woman – because wouldn't Batman wouldn't want to give away that power that a woman is causing the pain.” I mean, it would be different if Lex Luthor or Superman were doing this, right? So we sort of hashed that out and found those sort of things as we were going along.

CBS Visits SuperNews! Animation Studio’s Shira Lazar recently visited the SuperNews! headquarters in Los Angeles, where they’re in the middle of making 8 half-hour episodes. They discuss the now famous Twitter episode, and we meet series creator Josh Faure Brac, and Steven K.L. Olson, who are both “here to fix the news.”

Here’s one of the latest segments from the show, titled TMZ: Jesus Gossip!

Loogaroo Launches Space Knights

The team at Canadaian studio Loogaroo, which is run by ex-Fatkat kingpin Gene Fowler, is hoping you’ll like Space Knights, a 22-minute, Flash-animated pilot for Detour, the adult block on Canada’s TELETOON network. The project is part of an animated contest that pits 10 series against eachother in a vote-a-thon. So far, Nerdland and Dunce Bucket have proved the most popular amongst viewers, but the recently-released Space Knights is already hurtling to the top. Here’s a short intersticial clip featuring the Green Knight:

[watch Space Knights]

Baman Piderman Celebrate Happy Winter Friends

Most animated holiday stories included the basics – Santa, presents, snow, reindeer and candy canes. Then there’s Alex Butera and Lindsay Small’s Baman Piderman holiday episode. There’s presents, but that’s about the only thing that’ll keep your brain from oozing out your ears. Begin Baman Piderman’s journey of Happy Winter Friends

Simon’s Cat Plays in Snow Business

We all know that cats don’t like water, but snow… that’s another story. Here’s the latest episode of the wildly-popular, Flash-animated Simon’s Cat series, Snow Business.

Fizzy’s Lunch Lab Bakes Holiday Track

Dave Schlafman and Evan Sussman’s PBS KIDS GO! project, Fizzy’s Lunch Lab, is helping kids navigate the piles of unhealthy food typically encountered during the holidays. This upbeat track, titled Don’t Get Carried Away for the Holidays, is by Freezer Burn, the show’s “house band,” who are comprised of various refrigerator dwelling musicians.

Hoodwinked sequel no longer coming out in January

Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil, the sequel to 2006's surprise animated hit, is apparently without a release date now, according to Box Office Mojo. The movie was originally set for release on Friday, January 15th, which would've put it against the Denzel Washington thriller The Book of Eli and the Jackie Chan family comedy The Spy Next Door. It is still planning on a 2010 release. Meanwhile, Hit Fix--while still listing the old release date in their database--has what appears to be a first image from the film.

Via Aint It Cool

Bryan Singer is returning to helm X-MEN: FIRST CLASS!!!

Hey folks, Harry here... From the AVATAR world premiere press line, Eric Goldman of IGN chatted with Bryan Singer and learned that after Bryan directs JACK THE GIANT KILLER, he'll direct X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. Which has been described as an "origin film" - whatever that may mean.

New Iron Man 2 trailer is kick-ass!

Paramount has released the newest trailer for Jon Favreau's upcoming Iron Man 2, and you can view it at Needless to say, it's awesome.

We get lots of Robert Downey Jr.'s trademark humor (they should call him Tony Snark), Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts, a new look at War Machine, a lot of Mickey Rourke's cool new villain Whiplash and a bit of Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow bringing the smackdown.

The sequel features the continuing adventures of billionaire industrialist Tony Stark and his alter ego, Iron Man. It opens May 7, 2010.

(And check out this kick-ass new poster, featuring Rourke.)

New Trailer for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland!

The brand new trailer for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland can also be found online at The preview is also rumored to be playing before 3-D prints of Avatar this Friday. Alice in Wonderland opens in theaters and IMAX on March 5th.

Tobey Maguire Pleads The Fifth On 'Spider-Man 4' Vulture/Vulturess Rumors

Last week, one of the wild "Spider-Man 4" casting rumors flying around the 'Net had John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway playing the Vulture and "The Vulturess," respectively, in the web-slinger's next big-screen adventure. Sure, it seemed pretty ridiculous (not so much the Malkovich/Vulture part, but the idea of having a character named Felicia Hardy become "The Vulturess," as the site claimed), but we had to check in with "Spider-Man" franchise star Tobey Maguire to get some feedback on the rumor.

"In terms of 'Spidey 4,' I will plead the Fifth and not say anything," said Maguire when asked if there was any truth to the rumor. Pressed to address whether he's a fan of Malkovich and Hathaway, and whether he'd like to see either actor/actress in the film, Maguire dodged. "Who knows, who knows..." he smirked.

First Footage Of War Machine In 'Iron Man 2' Hits The 'Net!

A pair of "Iron Man 2"-themed promo spots for tonight's episode of "Entertainment Tonight" have hit the 'Net, and the ads offer up quite a bit of new footage from the much-anticipated sequel to the 2008 blockbuster — including the first official footage of War Machine!

Official clips of War Machine in action had previously been seen during the "Iron Man 2" panel at Comic-Con International, but those who weren't able to check out that footage got their first peek at War Machine last week, courtesy of a new "Iron Man 2" poster. Now, the world finally gets a good look at the other man in the armor suit in action in the two promo spots now posted on YouTube (and embedded below).

Star Wars kid is the decade's top Internet 'meme'

The Star Wars kid was picked as the top "Internet meme" of the decade by the Washington Post's Web Hostess Monica Hesse, and you can view the original video below.

Here's why Hesse picked it:

What I like about Star Wars kid is that he represents so much of what currently makes the YouTube side of the Internet great. He was an average kid, doing an average thing that somehow became hilarious and transcendent. He immediately became a cultural reference point, and he couldn't escape his own fame. We got a rise and fall, and something very mesmerizing and pure.

The video, as we all know by now, depicts a 14-year-old French-Canadian high-school student, who filmed himself wielding a golf-ball retriever like a lightsaber. The video was one of the most popular videos on the Internet in 2003 and has more than 15 million views. And counting.

FWIW, here's the rest of Hesse's list:

2. LOL Cats
3. Rickrolling
4. Chocolate Rain
5. Evolution of Dance
6. LonelyGirl15
7. All Your Base Are Belong to Us
8. Leave Brittney Alone
9. Obama Girl
10. Chris Brown Wedding Entrance Dance
11. Hitler's Downfall

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