Friday, January 22, 2010

News - 01/22/10...

Girls Drawin’ Girls: Haiti Relief





Girls Drawin’ Girls is raising money to donate to the American Red Cross to help send relief efforts to Haiti. All proceeds from the sale of their artwork will be donated to the American Red Cross. Click here to contribute. This is one of the best ways you can help.

(Thanks cartoon brew)





Tooth Fairy, Legion Challenge Avatar

Will laughter or screams finally topple Avatar?

That’s the question as the box office juggernaut faces a trio of newcomers all hoping to claim its title this weekend.

Up first is the Fox comedy The Tooth Fairy, aimed squarely at children and family audiences. Starring Dwayne Johnson and Julie Andrews, it opens at more than 3,300 theaters.

On the other end is the horror thriller Legion, which stars Paul Bettany as an angel helping humans to find their way at the biblical end times. The Sony/Screen Gems release hits in some 2,400 cinemas.

Lastly is the CBS Films drama Extraordinary Measures. Starring Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford, this opens on more than 2,500 screens.

Avatar meanwhile had a very strong day on the Martin Luther King holiday, earning $11 million on Monday. Its $512 million domestic gross is closing fast on The Dark Knight, the all-time No. 2 domestic grosser with $533 million. Its $1.1 billion worldwide gross puts its total of $1.68 billion within $200 million of Titanic’s all-time record of $1.84 billion.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





Toon Boom Cuts Software Prices

Software maker Toon Boom Animation has cut the prices on its products to make them affordable to professional animators and students affected by the recession.

The main price changes relate to Toon Boom Studio, Toon Boom Storyboard, Toon Boom Pencil Check Pro and Toon Boom Animate, representing savings of between 17 and 50 percent.

"Always with the interest of animators upper-most in our mind, we re-evaluated our pricing strategy and found that by adjusting our everyday pricing on selected products, we would lower the point of entry to start creating animation for fun or for business", shared Joan Vogelesang, president and CEO of Toon Boom.

Detailed information about the new pricing can be found online at toonboom.com/buy.

Market-leading studios using Montreal-based Toon Boom's products include Nelvana, Warner Bros., Mercury Filmworks, China Central Television, Toonz Animation India, eMation, Rough Draft Korea, Alphanim, BKN, Cromosoma and Enarmonia.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





Adult Swim Orders Two Seasons of Robot Chicken

Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block and the producers of Robot Chicken have agreed on an order for two more seasons of the popular animated comedy series.

The deal with Robot Chicken creators and executive producers Seth Green and Matthew Senreich calls for 40 more episodes of the series that will air as seasons five and six.

"We're very excited," says Green. “We never expected to do a second season, let alone a fifth and sixth, so we are thrilled by the audience response and how the show continues to grow internationally."

"We love Adult Swim. It's really that simple,” says Senreich. “From the get-go, we've always said that Robot Chicken was a show where we play with friends and we look forward to doing that for years to come!"

The series began in 2005 and has earned two Emmy nominations and won four Annie Awards.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





Jason Brubaker’s reMIND






Jason Brubaker, currently at Dreamworks, has been working in the freelance commercial world, art directing, animating and toiling on a graphic novel on the side. His “reMIND” graphic novel was originally going to be animated but, he says:

“I scrapped it after doing 5 minutes because it took way too long. Jim Ballantine suggested I make a graphic novel instead and here I am now. Most of this art is what got me hired at Dreamworks to do visual development, but I still force myself to work on it at nights and weekends. Gotta keep the dream alive. Luckily most of it was finished before I started at Dreamworks so I’m more or less just finishing the coloring now days.

“I’m giving myself the goal of November to finish so that I can have it ready for the next Comic Con. Basically by the time I have most of the pages online, It should be in print. Hopefully. My site features my working pages as well as what I’ve been learning in the process.”


The reMIND blog not only previews Jason’s incredible art and comics, but offers invaluable step-by-step lessons on creating a graphic novel. Well worth exploring.

(Thanks cartoon brew)





Everybody Works For Conglomerates

Sometime back, I got into a discussion (some might call it a debate) with a bright-eyed young artist at one of our fine, non-signator studios. He told me:

"I don't want to work for one of those big studios, Steve. Give me the small place where I don't get the hassles. Where I can be less stressed. I make less money and the health care isn't as good, but I'm just not into being part of some giant company. It's not me."

He was working on a farmed-out show owned by one of the world's biggest entertainment conglomerates, getting short-changed in wages and health and pension benefits. I pointed this out. He shrugged ...

That was then. And this is 2010.

And nothing much is different. As I write, Neighbors From Hell is being jobbed by non-union Bento Box, even though NFH is owned by DreamWorks, Fox, and Turner Broadcasting (you'll note that we have a contract with that first name and the second two -- amazingly enough -- are parts of giant conglomerates.) And the non-union indie studio Wildbrain is busy with Peanuts and other shows controlled by conglomerates. And non-union Rough Draft is doing the Fox show Futurama.

Are we picking up a trend here?

All of this, of course, is perfectly legal, because the monster corporations that rule us have subsidiaries and subsidiaries of subsidiaries, so labor organizations have the challenging job of organizing one sub-group, and then another sub-group. (It's a like pursuing shape shifters on a familiar but slightly alien planet, hoping you'll get close enough with a net to actually trap and tame the damn things.)

Of late, we've gotten disgruntled phone calls from staffers at various indie places who, for some reason or other, have grown tired of getting shafted with lower wages and crappy benefits while working on big corporate shows. I tell them I'm happy to assist them with throwing off the shackles of low-ball compensation, but they will have to sign rep cards and do a bit of lifting of the piano from their end. Some are happy to do what it takes, while others are a little hesitant. I always tell everyone I understand the stress they're under, but I remind them:

We're ALL working for multi-national conglomerates. But some of us are doing it under union contracts, and some of us aren't. So some of us are getting screwed worse than others.

But that's the way life is in this fine, corporatist age through which we journey.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)





Mo Willems guesting at KidFilm festival in Dallas

Beloved author and illustrator Mo Willems will be honored this weekend in Dallas at the 26th annual KidFilm -- the oldest and largest children's film festival in the United States -- by presenting several of his books adapted for the screen.

Willems will be the special guest at the fest, to be held Saturday, January 23 and Sunday, January 24 at Angelika Film Center. KidFest is part of the USA Film Festival.

A six-time Emmy winner, Willems began his career as a writer and animator for PBS' Sesame Street, where, during his nine seasons with the show, he simultaneously created Nickelodeon's The Off-Beats and Cartoon Network's Sheep in the Big City.

While no longer working in TV, Willems voices and produces animated cartoons based on his books with Weston Woods Studios. The animated Knuffle Bunny received the Andrew Carnegie Medal in 2007. In addition to working on upcoming children's books, he is currently writing the script and lyrics for Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical, commissioned by the Kennedy Center for its 2010 season.

A "Tribute to Mo Willems" will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, when parents and kids can meet Willems and receive a free book -- signed by the author -- while supplies last. The special one-hour program will feature some of Willems' most beloved works come to life on the movie screen. The lineup will include Knuffle Bunny, Knuffle Bunny Too, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and Leonardo, the Terrible Monster, along with some of his cool work for Sesame Street and Nickelodeon.

And here are the animated offerings for Sunday:

12:30 p.m.: The Secret Of Kells
Destined to become a modern family classic, magic, fantasy and Celtic mythology come together in this breathtaking new film (screened in gorgeous 35mm) about the power of imagination and faith to carry humanity through dark times. Young Brendan lives in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids. But a new life of adventure beckons when a celebrated master illuminator arrives with an ancient but unfinished book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers. In order for Brendan to help complete the book, he embarks on a dangerous quest into an enchanted forest filled with mythical, sinister creatures, and Aisling, a mysterious fairy wolf-girl. With the barbarians closing in, Brendan must overcome his greatest fears in order to save his family, his community, and the mythical Book of Kells. 75 min.; ages 6 and up. (Opening this spring in Dallas.)

Also at 12:30 p.m.: Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey!
The world's most beloved and inquisitive monkey is back! When Curious George meets Kayla, a magician's homesick elephant, he decides to help her visit her brothers and sisters in California, and another great adventure begins! With the magician's security chief Danno Wolfe (voiced by Jamie Kennedy) hot on their heels, Curious George, Kayla and The Man with the Yellow Hat travel by train, truck and even an engineless school bus on a comical cross-country trip to reunite Kayla with her family. Tim Curry, Matt Lauer and Jerry Lewis are among the cast of voices. 90 mins; all ages.

2:30 p.m.: Barbie and the Three Musketeers
Celebrating girl power (and Barbie's 50th anniversary), it’s all for one and one for all as Barbie and her friends work together to become the first female Musketeers! When Barbie (as Corinne), a country girl, decides to go to Paris to follow her big dream, she never imagines finding other girls who also desire a life as a Musketeer. Working together, the girls uncover a plot to get rid of the Prince at his birthday party. Knowing they must foil the plot and thwart the evil-doer, the girls declare "all for one and one for all!" and use their combined skills to save the Prince! All kids attending this screening will receive a Barbie Prize Pack with doll from the upcoming Barbie in a Mermaid Tale, courtesy of Mattel! (While supplies last.) 81 min; all ages.

4:30 p.m.: Aardman Animations tribute
20th anniversary salute!
Just how much trouble can a cheese-loving inventor and his sensible dog get into? Plenty, when they're Wallace and Gromit, whose outrageous adventures have won fans the world over. While co-founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton, along with animator Nick Park and their brilliant team, painstakingly animated the films of Wallace and Gromit using plasticene figures, the comedy and the excitement flies fast and furious. KidFilm is honored to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Aardman Animations with screenings of their newly remastered classics A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers, A Close Shave and the new A Matter of Loaf and Death, plus a new episode of Shaun the Sheep, "Off the Baa!" 120 min; all ages.

Films are just $3 per show. For more information, call (214) 821-3456 or visit www.usafilmfestival.com.





Next Tim Burton Project: Maleficent?

Here’s some interesting news for fans of Tim Burton who can’t wait until his version of Alice in Wonderland hits theaters on March 5. Ain’t It Cool News (aicl.com) is reporting that the imaginative auteur is considering another live-action adaptation of a beloved Disney fairy tale. Harry Knowles believes that Burton is developing a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, told from the perspective of the story’s terrifying villainess, Maleficent.

Burton, who was also said to be developing a features version of TV’s long-time vampire soap Dark Shadows, will be looking at the life of the shunned “Mistress of All Evil,” who developed a long-running hatred for Princess Aurora and her parents after she wasn’t invited to the Royal celebration of the queen’s pregnancy. Considered by many the most interesting character in the 1959 Disney feature, Aurora was animated by Marc Davis and voiced by Eleanor Audley. Is it too early to predict that Burton is envisioning his long-time romantic partner, actress Helena Bonham Carter in the title role?

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





Neil Patrick Harris Stars in Penguins Special

Neil Patrick Harris is set to guest star in a primetime special edition of DreamWorks Animation’s series The Penguins of Madagascar.

Harris will play Dr. Blowhole, a longtime nemesis of the penguins who is out for his final revenge of conquering the world.

The episode is set to air Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. on Nickelodeon.

Harris currently stars as Barney Stinson in the hit series How I Met Your Mother. His additional credits include the voice of Steve in the animated feature film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, host of the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards and starred in the popular internet series, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

Leading up to the airing of the episode, Nick.com will launch The Penguins of Madagascar: The Rise of Blowhole, a convergent gaming event mirroring the on-air episode themes where fans can go on four missions with the daredevil penguin crew as they battle Dr. Blowhole.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





Up Effects Earn Imagina Nomination

The 3D animation and simulation event Imagina has nominated Up, Watchmen and Where the Wild Things Are for the best special effects honor in its annual awards.

The awards honor the best 3D work in four categories, including media and entertainment, for a total of 11 awards. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony set for Feb. 4, during the festival, in Monaco.

The nominees in the media and entertainment categories are:

Best Commercial
• Kerry LowLow “Mouse” - MPC - United Kingdom
• Perrier "Melting" - LA MAISON - France
• Scrabble "Sumo" - WIZZ - France

Best School & University
• Get Out - ESMA - France
• Inka Bola - GOBELINS - France
• Œdipe - ESMA - France

Best Short Film
• Fard - METRONOMIC - France


• Logorama - AUTOUR DE MINUIT - France


• Lost and Found - STUDIO AKA - United Kingdom

Best Special Effects
• Up - DISNEY - PIXAR - USA
• Watchmen - MPC - USA
• Where the Wild Things Are - FRAMESTORE - USA / United Kingdom

Best Video Clip
• Fuck You / Lily Allen - FRENZY PARIS - France
• Hey / Eatliz - GUY BEN SHETRIT - Israel


• Le clip qui déchire 2 : The King of the World - MIXUS - France

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





DQE Chief Finalist for Business Award

Tapaas Chakravarti, the chairman, managing director and CEO of animation company DQ Entertainment has been named a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in India.

The nominees were chosen from a pool of 310 candidates by a six-member jury. Chakravarti was the sole entertainment executive on the finalist list, which was made up of industrial and business entrepreneurs.

Winners will be announced in several categories, with the main winner representing India at the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year Award ceremony, set for May in Monte Carlo.

DQ has emerged as a prolific producer of intellectual property and co-producer of international iconic brands with high profile partners across Europe, North America and Asia for animation. Among its current projects is a new CGI animated series based on The Jungle Book.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





New DVD Release Set for Bakugan Battle Brawlers

The popular animated series Bakugan Battle Brawlers is coming to DVD on April 13, with more than 5 hours of content.

The two-disc set of the Cartoon Network hit series will feature the first 13 episodes of the series. The series is a co-production of Sega Toys, Spin Master, Nelvana Enterprises, TMS Entertainment, and Sega Corp., with animation by TMS Entertainment.

The series currently is airing its latest season, titled Bakugan Battle Brawlers: New Vestroia, on Cartoon Network Monday through Saturday at 6 a.m. ET/PT, with new episodes airing Saturdays at 7 p.m. (ET/PT).

Since exploding in to the U.S. in February 2008, Bakugan has become and remains one of the hottest children’s properties on the market and the animated television series is currently watched on Cartoon Network by more than 10 million kids 6-11, according to Nielsen Media Research. Along with being the #1 selling boy’s action brand at most major retailers, Bakugan has received both critical acclaim and industry awards, including the 2009 Property and Toy for Boys of the Year awards from the Toy Industry Association.

Cartoon Network will support the release of Bakugan Battle Brawlers, Chapter 1 with a kid-focused marketing campaign using broadcast advertising on Cartoon Network, as well as an online campaign featured on CartoonNetwork.com and Bakugan.com.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





EXCLUSIVE: 'Planet Hulk' Preview - Now With More Roaring, Smashing!

"Planet Hulk" hits shelves soon, bringing one of the Marvel character's most celebrated story arcs to life in an animated feature filled with all the roaring and smashing fans have come to expect from Bruce Banner's alter ego.

Back in October, we gave you a look at the amazing Alex Ross art created for the cover of the feature, and now we have the first, exclusive clip from "Planet Hulk," courtesy of Marvel Animated Features and Lionsgate Home Entertainment.



"Planet Hulk" will be available February 2 as a Two-Disc Special Edition DVD, Special Edition Blu-Ray, Standard DVD, and Digital Download. You can get more info on "Planet Hulk" at www.planethulkdvd.com.

Expect a full "Planet Hulk" review on Splash Page the week it hits shelves, and check out the official box art for "Planet Hulk" below:























"Up" nominated for four British Academy Awards

Pixar-Disney's "Up" received four nominations Thursday for the British Academy Film Awards, Britain's equivalent of the Oscars.

Besides the expected category of animated film (Pete Docter), Up was nominated for original screenplay (Bob Peterson and Docter), music (Michael Giacchino) and sound (Tom Myers, Michael Silvers and Michael Semanick).

Known as the BAFTAs, the British awards are presented two weeks before the Oscars in Hollywood. They're thought to be among the major predictors of possible Oscar material.

Fantastic Mr. Fox was nominated for both animated film (Wes Anderson) and music (Alexandre Desplat).

Rounding out the nominations for animated film was Coraline (Henry Selick).

For original screenplay, Up is running against the live-action The Hangover, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds and A Serious Man. It's competing in the sound category against Avatar, District 9, The Hurt Locker and Star Trek.

The other three nominees for music are Avatar, Crazy Heart and Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.

Up for a BAFTA in the short animation category are The Gruffalo (Michael Rose, Martin Pope, Jakob Schuh and Max Lang), The Happy Duckling (Gili Dolev) and Mother of Many (Sally Arthur and Emma Lazenby).

Leading the BAFTA nominations are Avatar, The Hurt Locker and An Education, in a three-way race with eight apiece.

Officially known as the Orange British Academy Film Awards, the honors will be presented February 21 during a ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London.





Voice actors nominated for Canada's ACTRA Awards

Voice actors from four animated TV series are among the five voice performance nominees for ACTRA Awards, presented by Canada's actors union.

Nominees in the category include Juan Chioran (Lance Boil in Nelvana's Grossology), Julie Lemieux (of Nelvana and Teletoon's Spliced), Ron Pardo (Rupert in Animax Entertainment's Bob & Doug) and Carolyn Scott, of 9 Story Entertainment's toddler show Best Ed.

The other nominee is Paul Fauteux, who portrays Pte. Dean (The Machine) Donaldson in Afghanada, a long-running radio drama about Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.

Geri Hall will host the ACTRA Awards gala February 19 in Toronto. This year, ACTRA Toronto's 2010 Award of Excellence will be given to Colin Mochrie of Whose Line is it Anyway?, Getting Along Famously and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's TV show This Hour has 22 Minutes.

ACTRA is short for the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, similar to the Screen Actors Guild in the United States.






Word Balloon Interviews James Tucker & Michael Jelenic on "Batman: Brave & the Bold"

The Word Balloon podcast has interviewed James Tucker and Michael Jelenic, producers of Batman: The Brave and the Bold on Cartoon Network. Among other topics, the pair discuss their different backgrounds and approaches to comic book superheroes and briefly discuss some upcoming guest stars and plot lines on the show.





Animation Directors

A couple clicks down in comments, the prolific Mr. Anonymous writes:

We don't even have animation directors in our ranks. ?!?!?! That's just the facts. So Social Darwinism reigns ...

A word about the survival of the most powerful and fittest:

In 1952, after an industry-wide jurisdictional vote, TAG was emerging from the wombs of The International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employes and Walt Disney Productions. And in our first contract, Feature Animation Directors were deemed to be "management," because they had the power to make hiring and firing decisions, and so were excluded from the union bargaining unit. (They pretty much had to be, since the law of the land -- the Fair Labor Standards Act -- required it.)

Ever since, Feature Animation Directors have been outside the union contract.

So why, might you ask, are live-action feature directors inside the Directors Guild of America?

Simple. At the time of the DGA's founding (the mid 1930s), live-action feature directors were studio employees, taking orders from the front office like everybody else. And getting memos like this:

I have talked to you about four thousand times, until I am blue in the face, about the wardrobe in this picture. I also sat up here with you one night, and with everybody else connected with the company, and we discussed each costume in detail, and also discussed the fact that when the men get to be pirates that we would not have "Blood" dressed up.

Yet tonight, in the dailies, in the division of the spoils sequence, here is Captain Blood with a nice velvet coat, with lace cuffs out of the bottom, with a nice lace stock collar, and just dressed exactly opposite to what I asked you to do.

I distinctly remember telling you, I don't know how many times, that I did not want you to use lace collars or cuffs on Errol Flynn. What in the hell is the matter with you, and why do you insist on crossing me on everything that I asked you not to do? What do I have to do to get you to do things my way? I want the man to look like a pirate, not a molly-coddle. You have him standing up here dealing with a lot of hard-boiled characters, and you've got him dressed up like a God damned faggot...


Etcetera. In those far-off days of yore, live-action directors did what they were told, like the janitors. Today, because those same directors are in the unit, and the DGA has the muscle to keep them there (and that all hell would break loose if management tried to pry them out) the guild to which Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Cameron belong retains jurisdiction.

Bully for them.

And yes, Social Darwinism reigns. Like every other labor organization in the movie biz, we suffer the indignities of "project to project" employment. We live in a corporatist age, friends and neighbors, one that's similar to the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century. As there was ferocious Social Darwinism then, there is robust S.D. now. I live with that reality like everyone else, but I keep pushing back against it.

I'm stubborn that way.

Add On: As Mr. Anon said, Sito and I tried to get the feature animation directors into the DGA. (I made multiple phone calls to the Directors Guild before I got anybody's attention.) Nothing happened. It's difficult to change the status quo.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)





Petrov Plants an Animated Seed

Bulgarian freelance artist/animator Asparuh Petrov produced this thoughtful short in 2009. Accompanyed by his own music, Seed follows the imagined resuls of a character’s actions, and I’m reading this as a comment on man’s impact on the Earth. I’m still shaken up by The Cove, the powerful documentary about Japanese dolphins, so perhaps I’m projecting my own psyche onto this. What’s your take?







Psyop Gives Flight to Woodpecker for Nurofen

The gang at Psyop created this new spot for the pain releiver Nurofen. It’s titled Woodpecker, and the campaign was led by Mother London.







Archer Brings Diversity to FX

FX’s new series Archer opened to a big audience last week, delivering the network’s “highest rated comedy series premiere in delivery of Adults 18-34.” The series returns tonight with a new episode, titled Diversity Hire. Here’s a clip from the new episode, which is animated at Radical Axis.







Favreau on Iron Man Having No Secret Identity

Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau talked to the Los Angeles Times about the fact that Iron Man will not have a secret identity in the sequel:

"It allowed us to draw upon our experiences and certainly Robert's experiences," the filmmaker said. "Robert had strong points of view on these things. He was propelled quite publicly to a much more successful station and we were able to draw upon that. We were able to comment on the phenomena of celebrity as we know it today."

You can read more of the interview here. Iron Man 2 hits theaters and IMAX on May 7.





A rebooted Questor could be bigger than Star Trek














Star Trek fans know that creator Gene Roddenberry had lots of ideas for other sci-fi shows, including one called The Questor Tapes, about an android who searches for his creator to fill in the gaps in his memory tapes.

The proposed series never made it to TV except as a 1974 television movie/pilot co-written by original Trek producer Gene L. Coon and starring Robert Foxworth, but it was widely believed to have been the inspiration for the character of Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Well, now comes news that Brian Grazer and Ron Howard's Imagine Television is partnering with the company run by Roddenberry's son, Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry Jr., to develop Questor again as a TV show, with Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Firefly/Dollhouse producer Tim Minear.

"My father always felt that Questor was the one that got away," Rod Roddenberry said in the official announcement. "He believed that the show had the potential to be bigger than Star Trek."

Following is the official announcement. And check out the image above of Majel and Gene Roddenberry on the set of the original Questor.

What do you think of this? Could it be the next Star Trek?

Roddenberry Productions in Development with Imagine Entertainment on Classic Gene Roddenberry Pilot "The Questor Tapes"

Roddenberry Believed Questor could have been Bigger than Star Trek

(Los Angeles, CA: January 20, 2010) - CEO of Roddenberry Productions Rod Roddenberry announced today that Roddenberry Productions has entered into a deal with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard's Imagine Television to develop the Gene Roddenberry pilot "The Questor Tapes." The announcement was made at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame induction ceremony where Rod Roddenberry accepted the posthumous honor, presented by Seth MacFarlane, on his father's behalf.

"The Questor Tapes" was originally conceived as a television series pilot about an android with incomplete memory tapes who searches for his creator and his purpose. The pilot ultimately aired as a 1974 television movie.

"My father always felt that Questor was the one that got away," said Rod Roddenberry. "He believed that the show had the potential to be bigger than Star Trek."

Rod Roddenberry will develop the project along with Roddenberry Productions COO Trevor Roth and Imagine Television's President David Nevins and EVP of Development Robin Gurney. The team is currently in negotiations with writer, producer and show runner Tim Minear (Lois & Clark, The X-Files, Angel, Dollhouse) to produce.

More information regarding Questor, including a photo of Gene and Majel Roddenberry on the original set as well as an excerpt from Gene's initial description of the Questor character, can be found at www.roddenberry.com. For upcoming news, follow Roddenberry Productions on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RoddenberryProd and friend "Roddenberry Prod" on Facebook.

About Roddenberry Productions

Roddenberry Productions is a science-fiction leader with a tradition of groundbreaking entertainment and quality merchandise. Originally founded in 1967 by Gene Roddenberry, the company has since led a steady stable of science fiction successes including Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda and, most notably, the Star Trek brand. Roddenberry Productions continues to produce entertainment for all audiences, employing a viewer-centric creative process and resulting in insightful visions of humanity.

Its merchandising business is based on quality and authenticity providing memorabilia for fans in today's new multimedia generation. Roddenberry Productions has set itself apart by creating content that surpasses mere entertainment; it acknowledges the intelligence of audiences by challenging them to think, question and explore the world, and those potentially beyond. Recent Roddenberry comic book series Days Missing will be released as a graphic novel in February 2010.

About Imagine Entertainment

Imagine Television was founded by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard and is run by Imagine Television President, David Nevins. The company's television programs have been honored with more than 50 prestigious awards including 36 Emmy® awards.

Current programming includes Fox's hit Golden Globe and Emmy® award winning Best Drama Series 24; NBC's Peabody Award winning series Friday Night Lights; Fox's Lie To Me; and NBC's new drama Parenthood which premieres March 2010.

Other television programs include Fox's Emmy® award winning Best Comedy Arrested Development; CBS's Shark; NBC's Miss Match; WB's Felicity; ABC's SportsNight; and HBO's From the Earth to the Moon, which won the Emmy® for Outstanding Mini-Series.





7 Futuristic Movies That Got It Right

These SciFi Movies Called It Long Before It Existed

Science fiction has been trying to predict what the future will look like and how it will come to be, since the days of Jules Verne. We still aren't wearing silver jumpsuits or flying around on jetpacks like some movies have suggested, nevertheless, sci-fi can sometimes give us a glimpse of the world of tomorrow--and, occasionally, help to shape that world. For example:









7. Total Recall (1990) - Whole-Body Scanning
Total Recall, an Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle set in the year 2084, features an X-ray-style walk-through security scanner that displays the skeletons of the commuters who pass through it as well as the contents of their bags on a large screen. In reality, this type of whole-body scanning technology began to appear in airports in 2007. Modern body scanning can take the form of "backscatter" units, which use X-rays, and millimeter wave screening, which uses electromagnetic waves. However, both of these types of scanners show passengers not as skeletons but as nudes, leading to privacy objections from organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union. As of December 2009 there were 19 US airports that used millimeter wave screening, and the Transportation Security Administration had purchased 150 backscatter units to be installed in 2010.










6. Minority Report (2002) - Multi-Touch Interfaces
During pre-production for this neo-noir film, director Steven Spielberg and production designer Alex McDowell gathered together a group of prestigious intellectuals to come up with a plausible, coherent vision of what life might look like in the year 2054. One member of that team, computer scientist John Underkoffler, was tasked with designing a theoretical large-screen computer interface that could be controlled using hand gestures. In the movie, Tom Cruise memorably uses this interface to shuffle through video clips of psychic premonitions.

Today, existing multi-touch technology--such as that used in Microsoft's Surface or Perceptive Pixel's Media Wall--allows users to access data, transfer files and manipulate images and videos by intuitively moving one's fingertips along a screen. The Surface and the Media Wall are still fairly exclusive and uncommon, but Apple's iPhone has already made multi-touch available to the masses, albeit on a small scale.










5. Real Life (1979) The Running Man (1987) The Truman Show (1998) - Reality TV
Though these three films differ in terms of genre and tone, they all provided prescient commentary on the reality television genre, which would explode into popularity in the early 2000s. Albert Brooks' satire Real Life follows a group of documentarians who film the everyday life of an American family and are frustrated by how dull the results are. Though this entry isn't futuristic per se, it pointed out TV's tendency to exaggerate drama long before any Real World shouting match. The Running Man, set in the year 2019, casts Arnold Schwarzenegger as a contestant on a popular TV game show in which convicted criminals are released into Los Angeles and hunted down by professional "stalkers." The human suffering put on display is more extreme than that found in a Survivor elimination or botched American Idol audition, but there's a kinship there nonetheless. Finally, The Truman Show imagines a program in which one man (Jim Carrey) has his day-to-day life broadcast nationally, à la The Real World or Big Brother.










4. The Terminator (1984) - Unmanned, Intelligent Hunter-Killer Aircraft
They were only glimpsed briefly in the first Terminator film, but they were there: Robotic planes that rained fiery death onto a human resistance movement. The scene featuring these machines took place in the year 2029. In real life, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are already an integral part of the US military's arsenal. The first combat-capable UAV, the MQ-1 Predator, was first used in 1995 during the Bosnian conflict, but is mainly designed for reconnaissance. It has since been joined by the MQ-9 Reaper, a drone designed especially for bombing runs. (And yes, it is actually referred to as a "hunter-killer" aircraft.) The American military has been using the Reaper in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2007.










3. Americathon (1979) - The Geopolitical Milieu
It's a little surprising that this broad satire is out of print and nearly impossible to find, given that its cast includes such notable comedic actors as John Ritter, Fred Willard, George Carlin and Jay Leno. It takes place in 1998 and depicts an American government so financially insolvent that it has to stage a telethon in order to put the national coffers in the black. Besides skyrocketing US debt, the film also made several other accurate predictions, including the collapse of the USSR, China's turn towards capitalism and superpower status, adultery in the White House and the rise of Nike as a powerful corporation. There's even a jab at exploitative reality television when the telethon features a "mother-son boxing match." (Anyone remember Celebrity Boxing?) To be fair, though, Americathon also predicted that Jimmy Carter would be assassinated, that the White House would be relocated to California and that Arabs and Jews would join forces to create a United Hebrab Republic. Can't win 'em all.










2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Private Spaceflight, Voiceprint ID
No, we still haven't achieved the casual, routine style of space commuting depicted in Stanley Kubrick's sci-fi opus, but companies like Virgin Galactic are currently working to make sub-orbital and orbital travel available to private citizens. The film's depiction of spaceflight even included some advances that would only later be incorporated into conventional air transportation, including personal in-flight entertainment (which would appear in the ’80s) and flat-screen television displays. 2001 also featured voiceprint identification technology, which would actually be developed in the mid-’70s, and videophones, which have in fact existed since the ’20s but never came into widespread use until recently (in the form of video-capable cell phones and internet programs like Skype). It's true that people generally prefer not to use videophones for everyday purposes.However, people today do use videophones to communicate with faraway family members, just as the character of Heywood Floyd uses the technology in 2001.










1. The Star Trek series (1966-present) - Modern Technology
The Star Trek TV programs and films have prefigured or inspired so many of today's technological achievements that it would be nearly impossible to list every instance. One of the most obvious examples is the ubiquity of computers--which at the time of the show's inception were large, inefficient and uncommon--in the series' 22nd-24th-century setting. Less obviously, the design of real-life flip (or "clamshell") phones is directly based on that of Starfleet communicators. A company called Sakhr Software has created an Arabic-English speech translation app for the iPhone that functions similarly to Trek's universal translators. Also, NASA recently developed a device which can be plugged into an iPhone and used to detect the presence of deadly gases in its environment, much like the fictional tricorder.

This isn't to say that everything in the Star Trek universe has already come to pass. For example, we're obviously a long way from galactic scouting expeditions or contact with alien life forms. Nonetheless, a lot can happen in a century or two. In a way, it's comforting to know that some parts of "the future" may still be yet to come.





EXCLUSIVE: 'Incredible Hulk' Director Says Making Hulk The 'Avengers' Villain Is 'Too Simplistic'

"Clash of the Titans" director Louis Leterrier is probably best known to comics fans for his 2008 take on Marvel's green goliath, "The Incredible Hulk." Starring Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, the film was well-received by fans and critics alike — due in no small part to the presence of several shout-outs to the wider Marvel movie continuity.

So the question now becomes, will Hulk find his way into the "Avengers" movie? And if so, will he be a villain, as "Iron Man" writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby hinted to MTV News way back in October 2008?

We posed that very question to Leterrier himself during our recent "10 For 2010" interview, which named him one of the filmmakers to watch this year.

"He's not really a villain," said the filmmaker. "If Hulk is a villain, that's too simplistic."

"What's great about Marvel is that it's never good guy and bad guy, hero and villain — it's more complex than that," he explained. "Hulk could be in trouble and chased by Iron Man, no problem. But I don't think he would end up the villain, killing people and being villainous of his own free will."

Of course, as most comics are well aware, Hulk was indeed the destructive force that originally prompted Iron Man, Thor and the rest of the Avengers to unite. (Captain America didn't join until "Avengers" #4.)

"In the Avengers stories when he was the villain, he was always controlled by Loki or someone else, and it was never of his own doing," said Leterrier.

However, as the filmmaker pointed out, the challenge of bringing together all of Marvel's various heroes and villains is not only likely to find answers to the Hulk-as-villain question, but it should also provide one of the greatest melting pots in movie history.

"That's what fantastic," he said of the looming superhero team-up. "The next step in superhero movies is the clash of cultures. That's what's going to be so fun. 'Iron Man' was great, but you don't remember 'Iron Man' for the fantastic action sequences — though they were great — it's the human interaction and how great the human actors were."

"When you put Thor in Tony Stark's universe, it's fantastic," he continued. "Then you add the anti-superhero that is Hulk, who's like, 'Leave me alone, I don't want to be a superhero,' and you tell him, 'You have to come with us or you have to fight us,' and then on top of all this you have Captain America, a gung-ho super-soldier who starts doubting himself and his system... and that's fantastic. You have all these interactions, and that's just the beginning. Then you have the villains and the enormous potential of these action pieces."

"I'm first in line to see that stuff," he laughed.





SECRET IDENTITY: Who Should Play Kilowog In The 'Green Lantern' Movie?

Casting for the roles of Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, Hector Hammond and Sinestro is already finished on the "Green Lantern" front, but there's still no word on who will play Kilowog.

Director Martin Campbell already confirmed that Kilowog, the hulking pink alien Green Lantern Corps member, would have a role in the upcoming DC Comics adaptation. While he's not likely to have the same amount of screen time as the aforementioned main characters, Kilowog nonetheless needs an excellent actor behind that brutish mug.



As is the Secret Identity tradition, here are five actors that would do a tremendous job bringing Kilowog to life in "Green Lantern."

CLANCY BROWN: Already a DC Universe veteran in the voice acting department, Brown's got more than enough street cred to slip on a power ring as Kilowog in "Green Lantern." Applying his gravely voice to the character's presumably digitally enhanced body would result in an incredibly intimidating presence on the big screen.

BRUCE CAMPBELL: In a previous Secret Identity column, I listed Campbell as a solid choice for Kilowog in the upcoming "Green Lantern" movie. Sure, he's a touch on the older side and yes, he's perhaps too goofy. But if computerized effects can address the former issue and the rest of the cast's dramatic demeanor can curb the latter, there might be no one better for Kilowog than The Chinned One.

MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN: When it comes to the ideal pairing of an intimidating physique and voice, Duncan has everything you could ask for. The former Kingpin and "Sin City" star can exude an enormous threat level as easily as he can pull off the gentle giant persona, which is a necessary duality for whoever ends up playing Kilowog.

KEVIN DURAND: The "Lost" actor is known for his take-no-nonsense attitude and his muscular physique, both of which would be well-suited for a make-up and computerized Kilowog. Additionally, the fact that Durand isn't exactly a household name would help audiences focus more on the character than on the actor.

JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN: With an impressive comic book resume that already includes "Watchmen," "The Losers" and a rumored connection to "Lobo," what's the harm in adding "Green Lantern" to the mix? Besides, even with his extensive comics credits, Morgan's physique and attitude are a perfect match for the character. Who wouldn't want to see the former Comedian calling Hal Jordan a poozer?





More of the woman with epic crying fits over sci-fi films (video)










Remember that video of the woman who had an epic crying fit after watching the Star Wars movies?

Her husband—who apparently really isn't a douchebag for posting it—has turned her into a cottage industry with a new Web site and several new videos of her crying after watching several sci-fi movies, including The Lord of the Rings and 2012, below.

In his defense, here's what the husband says:

With the success of the first video, I got her to watch Back to the Future and Lord of the Rings. Like clockwork, the tears began to flow along with her hard-to-understand commentary. Those of course went on YouTube immediately :)

The next step that seemed to be most appropriate was to create a website. Thus, cryingwife.com was born! Come here to get the latest videos, suggest movies, and vote on the next movie to which her tears will pour like Niagara Falls.

Just keep in mind that Hollie, my wife, thinks this is funny. The tears and emotions are real, but she's able to laugh at herself afterwards. Before you go off on a rant about exploitation or emotional issues, please read the faq.


So, what do you think? Exploitation? Serious emotional issues? Should this woman be put in a padded cell?







TNT partners with Spielberg for alien-invasion TV series










Steven Spielberg (right) with George Lucas

Basic cable network TNT is going into the sci-fi business with Steven Spielberg and ER's Noah Wyle in an as-yet-untitled alien-invasion series set for 2011.

The network has given the green light to 10 episodes of the new show, which will star Wyle, who has made a mark on TNT in the fantasy Librarian series of movies.

Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) wrote the pilot from an idea he co-conceived with Spielberg (Syfy's Taken), and it was directed by Carl Franklin (One False Move).

Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) also stars.

The series takes place after an apocalyptic invasion of Earth and focuses on a ragtag group of survivors; Wyle plays a former teacher who finds himself caught up in the rebellion.

Following ABC's V, NBC's Day One and the canceled Invasion among similarly themed series, the TNT show will have a lot to live up to. Do you think it will?

(Ed. note: Didn't he do an animated version of something similar to this back in the 80's called "Invasion America"?)



(Read more in the edited version of TNT's announcement, below.)

Release Date: 1/21/2010

TNT Aggressively Expands Original Programming Slate by Greenlighting Three New Original Series

Alien Invasion Series Stars Noah Wyle, Produced by DreamWorks Television and Executive-Produced by Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank and Robert Rodat ...

As part of a continuing strategy to expand its slate of original programming, TNT has given the greenlight to three new original series: a bold alien-invasion series from DreamWorks Television and Steven Spielberg that stars Noah Wyle (ER, TNT's The Librarian movies); DELTA BLUES (working title), an offbeat series starring Jason Lee(My Name Is Earl) and Alfre Woodard (Three Rivers) and produced for TNT by George Clooney and Grant Heslov's Smokehouse Pictures and Warner Horizon Television; and RIZZOLI & ISLES (working title), a crime drama starring Angie Harmon (Law & Order, Women's Murder Club) and Sasha Alexander (NCIS), based on Tess Gerritsen's popular mystery novels and produced for TNT by Warner Horizon Television and Ostar Productions.

TNT's announcement brings to 10 the total number of original series currently on the TNT slate. "We're very happy with the quality and performance of our original programming, and we're excited to be expanding our horizons with these excellent new shows," said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). "These three series - ranging from science-fiction to a quirky drama to a gripping crime procedural - are wide ranging in their appeal and subject matter. They're rich in character, with great performances and engaging stories. And with their emphasis on relatable, everyday heroes, they're a great fit with our lineup."

TNT has ordered 10 episodes of each of the three new series, with plans to have DELTA BLUES and RIZZOLI & ISLES premiere in 2010 and the untitled alien-invasion series debut in 2011. TNT's announcement comes on the heels of the network ordering a second season of its acclaimed hit series MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE. Also returning are THE CLOSER, starring Kyra Sedgwick, which will be enjoying its sixth season, and SAVING GRACE, starring Holly Hunter, which will wrap up its third season this year with nine final episodes. HAWTHORNE, starring Jada Pinkett Smith, and DARK BLUE, starring Dylan McDermott, both return for their second seasons. TNT has also ordered a third season of LEVERAGE, starring Timothy Hutton. The network is currently airing SOUTHLAND, with new episodes set to begin in March.

The following are details for each of the three newly greenlit series:

Untitled Alien-Invasion Series

In this series from DreamWorks Television, Noah Wyle will star as the leader of a rag-tag group of soldiers and civilians struggling against an occupying alien force. The project is being executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, along with DreamWorks Television heads Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank and screenwriter Robert Rodat. Rodat, who earned an Oscar® nomination for his screenplay for Saving Private Ryan, wrote the pilot from an idea he co-conceived with Spielberg. The pilot was directed by Carl Franklin (One False Move, Out of Time).

"This series has the potential to be one of the most exciting and provocative shows on television," Wright said. "It grabs your heart and mind from the start and doesn't let go. It combines personal human drama with dynamic action to create the kind of series people will be talking about the morning after. We are especially thrilled to be working once again with Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Television, as well as Noah Wyle and the extremely talented cast of veterans and newcomers around him."

The series opens shortly after aliens have wiped out most of the human population. The aliens are now rounding up the few people left, but they are met with strong resistance from a group of soldiers and civilians who fight for their survival - all while struggling to maintain their humanity.

Wyle plays Tom Mason, a former college history professor who becomes the reluctant leader of one of the resistance groups. Also starring in the series are Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) as Anne Glass, a therapist who works with the surviving children to help them cope with the traumatic situation; Drew Roy (Lincoln Heights) as Hal and Maxim Knight (Brothers & Sisters) as Matt, Tom's two sons; Jessy Schram (Crash) as Karen, who is one of the survivors' motorcycle scouts; and Seychelle Gabriel (Weeds) as Lourdes, an orphaned teenager who helps run the group's commissary.

This project marks Wyle's fifth venture with TNT, following three popular Librarian action-adventure movies and the acclaimed movie Pirates of Silicon Valley. TNT previously worked with DreamWorks Television on 2005's award-winning limited series Into the West. ...

TNT, one of cable's top-rated networks, is television's destination for drama and home to such original series as the acclaimed and highly popular detective drama The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick; Men of a Certain Age, with Ray Romano, Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula; Saving Grace, starring Holly Hunter; HawthoRNe, with Jada Pinkett Smith; Leverage, starring Timothy Hutton; and Dark Blue, starring Dylan McDermott; as well as the newly acquired Southland, from Emmy®-winning producer John Wells (ER). TNT also presents such powerful dramas as Bones, CSI: NY and Numb3rs; broadcast premiere movies; compelling primetime specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards®; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA. TNT is available in high-definition.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.


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