Thursday, February 4, 2010

News - 02/04/10...

An Honor to be Nominated:
Oscar Hopefuls React to Good News!


It’s been a busy morning for the animation and vfx race nominees. We were lucky enough to get some first-hand reactions from a few of them: Here is a round-up of those and others we found in the trades this morning:

Henry Selick, director, Coraline:
“I’m feeling quite wonderful—it’s a once-in-a-lifetime feeling, especially to be nominated in a year that so many fantastic animated movies were nominated. This morning, I’ve been staying at a motel in Berkeley, Calif., as I’m on the road for business. So I was hovering over my lumpy bed and crossing my fingers as I watched the news on TV. Tonight I’ll celebrate with some friends who worked on Coraline with me and I’ll celebrate with my family on Thursday.
“I really can’t put my finger on why the movie has struck a chord, but I think part of the appeal was that it told a different kind of a story, and had a classic scariness, like the early Disney films. The look of the film, the vocal performances, the blue hair…those were some of the elements that made the film different.”

Wes Anderson, director, Fantastic Mr. Fox:
"I am very honored to have received a an Oscar nomination for Fantastic Mr. Fox. Roald Dahl's classic story has been one of my favorite books since I first learned to read, and it was an amazing experience to work with my many, many very skilled collaborators and bring it to life as a stop-motion film! I would like to congratulate Alexandre Desplat, who wrote our wonderful score, for his nomination as well."

Tomm Moore, director, The Secret of Kells :
" Being nominated was a huge surprise and I want to give big kudos to all the crew and everyone involved , and especially to our friends in America who did so much work as volunteers to spread the good word out there."

Raul Garcia, producer, The Lady and the Reaper:
The Lady and the Reaper is a short film produced by Kandor Moon studios after the success of ·The Missing Lynx". It was part of the program to foster new talent and experiment new animation tools for the studio's next project Goleor. We are very proud to have the short recognized by the Academy. It is the first animated stereoscopic film ever made in Spain. The short was directed by Javier Recio and produced by Antonio Banderas, Manuel Sicilia, Enrique Postner and myself. The challenge for me was recreate the frantic rhythm of the all Tex Avery films with CGI animation and at the same time tell a relevant story through humor. I love the style of the film its very crisp animation. I think, beyond the amazing technical accomplishment of the film, the short has heart and deals with a serious subject.”

Fabrice O. Joubert, director, French Roast:
“I was working in the Paris studio with the rest of the team at Bibo Films on the upcoming movie A Monster in Paris, and we stopped and watched the Internet to see if the short was nominated. It was quite a surprise, and I am so excited to be nominated, especially since this is my first film. Everyone at the studio was cheering. I’m very proud of the whole team and the amazing work they did on the project. I’m not sure why the film has been so popular, perhaps it’s because it’s really an animator’s film. It’s about strong characterizations and using the medium to tell the story with good visual design. I’m also indebted to our character designer Nicolas Marlet who brought so much to the film.”

Pete Docter, writer/director, Up:
"It's pretty groundbreaking and we work so hard on the story. It reflects the way we look at these films -- not as animated or kid films but films. They have the same responsibility or expectation of any other film." [The Hollywood Reporter]

Joe Letteri, vfx supervisor, Avatar:
“It feels great, because it's not just visual effects but nine nominations for the whole film. That really is a validation for the whole process we started four years ago. And all the scientific and technical advancements we had to come up with to make it work." I think there is more of an acceptance of the technology. There is still a lot of confusion about the performance. There are questions that I think a lot of people still have to come to grips with. ... I think you will see a lot more films created with this technique." [Variety, The Hollywood Reporter]

Nicky Phelan, director, Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty:
“Short films are a labor of love and production was fit around everyone’s day job of TV production– a lot of late evenings and weekends went into Granny! Now that the film has done really well at international film festivals, and with the added boost from the Oscar nomination, it’s gratifying to think of audiences all over the world enjoying it.”

John Lasseter, exec producer Up, The Princess and the Frog:
"This is a great moment for all of us in the animation community, and we're all so incredibly proud that Up has been nominated by the Academy in three key categories, especially the best picture category. This milestone achievement is a great tribute to the filmmaking talents of director Pete Docter, producer Jonas Rivera and the entire team at Pixar, who worked so hard to create such wonderfully entertaining characters and develop an original story that was filled with emotion, humor, adventure and excitement. We're equally proud that The Princess and the Frog, our latest hand-drawn animated feature from Disney, has been recognized in the best animated feature film and best song categories. With its fantastic animation, original characters, memorable music and beautiful artistry, it ranks along with the studio's very best efforts." [Variety]

Alexandre Desplat, composer, Fantastic Mr. Fox:
"Being nominated three times in four years is unbelievable. Wes [Anderson] is crazy. I think he's more crazy than I am, which seems strange. Fox is such a creative film, from every element to the music. We spent a lot of time working on it. I'm very lucky. [Variety]

Michael Giacchino, composer, Up:
"It's exciting for me to see 'Up' nominated as best picture as well because I think it shows the power of storytelling of that film. I think it says if you tell a great story and that no matter what genre you're in, you'll get recognized. Tonight, I’ll be watching Lost. [He’s also the composer for the TV series!] It's been a very busy awards season, and a quiet night is a good night." [Variety]

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





Trio Joins A Squared Executive Ranks

A Squared Entertainment co-founders Andy Hewyard and Amy Moynihan Heyward have recruited three executives to the company’s ranks.

Joining the company are Gregory Payne as COO and general counsel, Darren Romanelli as creative director and Sidney Iwanter as story editor.

Payne previously was exec VP of legal and business affairs for DIC Entertainment and also ran his own private legal practice.

Romanelli’s career includes launching the Fraggle Rock merchandise and clothing line for the Jim Henson Co., as well as co-founding the marketing agency StreetVirus. He is developing several shows for A Squared, including Secret Millionaire’s Club, Gisele & The Green Team and an animated series about a young Martha Stewart.

Iwanter’s experience includes VP of programming, strategic development and acquisitions for Fox Kids, director of development for Hanna Barbera and co-founder and VP of creative affairs of TMS Entertainment.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





NickToons U.K. Buys Beyblade: Metal Fusion

Nick U.K. has picked up the broadcast rights to 51 episodes of the Nelvana series Beyblade: Metal Fusion.

Nelvana co-produces the series with d-rights and it will begin airing as part of NickToons’ U.K.’s boys action block in September.

Beyblade has always been a favorite with kids and has developed into a truly classic brand,” says Lynn Chadwick, VP of worldwide sales and distribution for Nelvana. “NickToons is a great broadcast platform to drive awareness of the latest iteration of the series, bringing it to the attention of a brand new audience, many experiencing it for the first time.”

“We’re delighted to be bringing Beyblade: Metal Fusion to NickToons,” says Debbie Macdonald, VP programming director of Nickelodeon U.K. “It’s great for our action block which keeps kids entertained with the best animation and we’re sure our young audiences will love this much-loved classic.”

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





Huntik Scores Global Sales for Season 2

The second season of Huntik: Secrets & Seekers will be well traveled, with key markets in Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia picking up the series.

The deals for the 52 half-hour episodes will see the show air this year on Disney XD in Benelux, Network 10 in Australia, Canal Panda in Portugal, Spacetoon in the Middle East, Televix in Latin America, Noga in Israel, MNET in South Africa, Disney XD in India and Zip Zap in Poland.

The series has been aired in more than 40 countries.

Huntik: Secrets & Seekers is produced by Big Bocca Productions and Rainbow Group, in collboration with m4e.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)





HOW-TO: Big Pants Mouse Comic

Gabe Swarr, an animation director at Nick by day, is the creator of the Big Pants Mouse comic strip which appears weekly at DummComics.com. He created this two-part video that documents the process of making one of the strips. It’s interesting to hear him talk about the extensive asset system he’s created for the characters in Flash, which as he hints at in the video, would be transferable to animation should he ever make a Big Pants Mouse animated project in the future.





(Thanks cartoon brew)





Cameron Bitter Because Oscars Snubbed Animated Characters












(Pocatar image by Chad Regan)

An article from today’s Hollywood Reporter says that Avatar producer Jon Landau labeled the Oscars “a disappointment” after none of the film’s animated characters were nominated for an acting award. He also said they need to change the term “motion capture photography” to “emotion capture” to fool people into thinking it’s something else. Meanwhile, Cameron stated recently that, “People confuse what we have done with animation. It’s nothing like animation. The creator here is the actor, not the unseen hand of an animator.” It’s always amusing how indignant mainstream Hollywood becomes whenever they get a taste of what it’s like to be treated as one of the industry’s second-class animation citizens.

SEE ALSO: Two Animated Films Nominated for Best Picture Oscar

(Thanks, Tohoscope)

(Thanks cartoon brew)





Anime Upcoming in North America

MoviesOnline.ca and ScreenRant.com have featured interviews with Laeta Kalogridis, the current screenwriter for Dreamworks and Steven Spielberg's planned live-action adaptation of Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell.

as noted by Anime News Network notes that among his comments are that the movie will feature "a lot of action … lots of action."

"there's still going to be a lot of atmosphere - [The movie] is about vast possibilities - all of this technology, the Internet - it's about the limitless possibilities of this technology."

"I think anime and manga are slowly becoming a big part of our mythos, I think yes, they're sort of a natural fit for films."


*

DC Comics is apparently developing a Young Justice League animated series, featuring characters Martian Girl, Aqualad, Nightwing, Impulse, Arrowette, and Connor Ken





Anime Upcoming in Japan
Promos


Armored Trooper Votoms: Phantom Arc

Saru Lock - the live action adaptation of the locksmith action manga

The Vanishment of Haruhi Suzumiy - theme song for movie

Kokuhaku - from Kamikaze Girls director Tetsuya Nakashima

Eden of The East the Movie II: Paradise Lost - also here



Gundam Unicorn

Gintama: Benizakura Arc - A New Retelling) - upcoming movie

Anime

Ghibli World reports that Suzuki Toshio's radio show Ghibli Asemamire indicated that the studip is making a new 10 minute short from Hayao Miyazaki. Though the short will have no dialogue, Suzuki mentioned it is very interesting, but can't tell about anymore details yet.

Ghibli also indicated that they are considering making their short work available on YouTube.

There's indication that My Neighbors the Yamadas, Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata's adaptation of a family comic strip, may be the next Ghibli movie to recieve a Blu-ray release.

Nausicaa.net reports Ponyo makes its TV debut February 5 at 9:00pm on NTV's Friday Roadshow program.





The Anime Business

Imagi, animators of the Astro Boy movie, have closed their LA office, resulting the layoff of 30 employees. The company is currently seeking approximately $30 million in investment for further productions. The studio's currewnt plans include work a Gatchaman movie.

Imagi International Holdings said it is in exclusive talks with a potential investor that could become its controlling shareholder

Fromer creative director Felix Ip's chart of the studio history

*

Founder and chairman of IMAGI Animation Studios Kao Wai Ho, Francis announced the formation of his new entertainment company, Unicorn Studios ("Unicorn"). Staffed with a team of storytellers, character designers, and computer graphic artists, Unicorn plans to develop transmedia entertainment properties spanning the worlds of graphic novels, comics, video games, and animation. Unicorn's first creative undertaking is based on a series of martial arts novels called Sanger y Acero (Blood and Steel) from Hong Kong author Jozev.

*

Japan's Namco Bandai announced that the company will post a ¥31 billion ($342 million) loss this March. To offset that, 630 employees will be laid off.





Event News

Upcoming, animated NYICFF screenings include








Summer Wars:
Opening Night Film
Japan, Mamoru Hosoda, 2009, 114 min
Recommended Ages: 9 to Adult (Subtitled)
Fri Feb 26 DGA THEATER 6:00

US PREMIERE - NYICFF 2010 opens with the scintillating new feature from emerging anime star Mamoru Hosoda, a film whose "dazzling fluency of motion and untethered brilliance of invention makes the usual fantasy anime look childish and dull." (The Japan Times) Kenji is a teenage math prodigy recruited by his secret crush Natsuki for the ultimate summer job - passing himself off as Natsuki’s boyfriend for four days during her grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration. But when Kenji solves a 2,056 digit math riddle sent to his cell phone, he unwittingly breaches the security barricade protecting Oz, a globe-spanning virtual world where millions of people and governments interact through their avatars, handling everything from online shopping and traffic control to national defense and nuclear launch codes. Now a malicious AI program called the Love Machine is hijacking Oz accounts, growing exponentially more powerful and sowing chaos and destruction in its wake.

This "intriguingly intelligent" cyberpunk/sci-fi story is a visual tour-de-force, with the amazing world of Oz as the highlight. Like the Internet as conceived by pop artist Haruki Murakami, Oz is a hallucinatory pixel parade of cool avatar designs, kung fu jackrabbits, toothy bears, and a bursting rainbow of colors.




Eleanor’s Secret
France, Dominique Monfery, 2009, 76 min
Recommended Ages: 3 to 8 (In English)
Sun Feb 28 SCHOLASTIC THEATER 12:30
Sat Mar 6 SYMPHONY SPACE 1:30











In The Attic
Czech Republic, Jiri Barta, 2009, 75 min
Recommended Ages: 8 to Adult (Subtitled)
Sat Mar 6 SYMPHONY SPACE 2:30
Sun Mar 14 IFC CENTER 11:30











Mai Mai Miracle
Japan, Sunao Katabuchi, 2009, 95 min
Recommended Ages: 8 to Adult (Subtitled)
Sat Feb 27 CANTOR FILM CENTER 5:30
Sat Mar 6 SYMPHONY SPACE 11:30
US PREMIERE - This sumptuously animated film about friendship and the passing of childhood is as "splendidly colorful and beautifully illustrated as a Monet landscape" (Hollywood Reporter). Shinko spends her days running barefoot among the endless green wheat fields in her small country village, imagining she is playing 1,000 years ago when the area was the local capital and home to a beautiful young princess kept hidden from society. Shinko gets a new partner for her games when she befriends Kiiko, a shy transfer student from Tokyo whose nice clothes and modern luxuries immediately set her apart from the other kids. Together, the two girls spend their afternoons daydreaming, building dams, chasing animals, and living an otherwise simple and idyllic life - until looming adolescent responsibility and harsh grown-up truths begin to encroach on their make-believe world of princesses and castles, and it becomes increasingly difficult to disentangle fantasy from reality. Director Sunao Katabuchi worked with Hayao Miyazaki as assistant director on Kiki’s Delivery Service, and the influences show, from Mai Mai’s stunning animation and exalting focus on nature, to the film’s happy/sad nostalgia for the endless days of summer and the tender portrayal of a young girl at the transition between childhood and adult.











Oblivion Island
Japan, Shinsuke Sato, 2009, 98 min
Recommended Ages: 7 to Adult (Subtitled)
Sat Feb 27 CANTOR FILM CENTER 10:30
Sat Mar 6 SYMPHONY SPACE 4:30
US PREMIERE - The creators of Ghost in the Shell mix exquisitely detailed 2D backgrounds with modern 3D character designs in a dazzling animated adventure that plays like Alice’s fall through the rabbit hole into a world of topsy-turvy, anime dream-logic. When Haruka misplaces a hand-mirror that was a keepsake from her mother, she stumbles upon a portal to the subterranean world of Oblivion Island, a place where strange masked creatures gather up all the childhood trinkets humans abandon as they grow older, and attend Dream Theaters where they can watch and feel the memories locked in these forgotten objects. The land is ruled by an evil overlord, The Baron, who craves the power created by the memories locked in Haruka’s cherished hand-mirror - a power that will allow him to rise beyond his world of discards and take over the world of humans! Aided by Teo, a lowly junk collector, and Cotton, her old stuffed animal brought back to life, Haruka struggles to recapture the mirror from the Baron, and to rediscover the fleeting moments of childhood love and friendship that are among life’s most precious treasures.











The Secret of Kells: Filmmaker Event
Ireland, Tomm Moore, 2009, 75 min
Recommended Ages: All Ages (In English)
Sat Feb 27 CANTOR FILM CENTER 1:00
Q&A With Director Tomm Moore After Screening









Amuse-Bouche:
French Short Animation
France, Various, 2010, 80 min
Recommended Ages: 8 to Adult
Sat Feb 27 CANTOR FILM CENTER 2:00
Sat Mar 13 IFC CENTER 10:30
Sun Mar 21 IFC CENTER 10:30











Fantastic Planet
France, René Laloux, 1973, 72 min
Recommended Ages: 11 to Adult (Subtitled)
Sun Feb 28 IFC CENTER 11:00
Sat Mar 13 SYMPHONY SPACE 4:30











Gwen and the Book of Sand
France, Jean-François Laguionie, 1984, 72 min
Recommended Ages: 11 to Adult (Subtitled)
Sat Feb 27 IFC CENTER 11:00
Sat Mar 20 IFC CENTER 11:30











Kirikou and the Sorceress
France, Michel Ocelot, 1998, 74 min
Recommended Ages: 5 to Adult (In English)
Sat Feb 27 CANTOR FILM CENTER 3:30
Sun Mar 21 IFC CENTER 11:00











Raining Cats and Frogs
France, Jacques-Rémy Girerd, 2003, 90 min
Recommended Ages: 7 to 14 (Subtitled)
Sun Mar 7 IFC CENTER 11:00
Sat Mar 20 IFC CENTER 11:00











Shorts for Tots
Various, Various, 2010, 65 min
Recommended Ages: 3 to 6
Sat Feb 27 CANTOR FILM CENTER 10:45
Sun Feb 28 SCHOLASTIC THEATER 10:30
Sat Mar 6 SCHOLASTIC THEATER 10:30
Sat Mar 13 SYMPHONY SPACE 11:00
Sun Mar 21 SCHOLASTIC THEATER 10:30











Short Films One
Various, Various, 2010, 75 min
Recommended Ages: 5 to 10
Sat Feb 27 CANTOR FILM CENTER 12:30
Sun Feb 28 SCHOLASTIC THEATER 2:30
Sat Mar 6 SYMPHONY SPACE 11:00
Sat Mar 13 IFC CENTER 11:30
Sat Mar 20 SCHOLASTIC THEATER 2:30
Sun Mar 21 SCHOLASTIC THEATER 4:30
Short Films Two
Various, Various, 2010, 80 min
Recommended Ages: 8 to 14
Sat Feb 27 CANTOR FILM CENTER 11:30
Sun Feb 28 SCHOLASTIC THEATER 4:30
Sat Mar 6 SCHOLASTIC THEATER 12:30
Sun Mar 14 IFC CENTER 11:00
Sun Mar 21 SCHOLASTIC THEATER 2:30

Flicker Lounge:
For Teens & Adults Only...
Various, Various, 2010, 80 min
Recommended Ages: 12 to Adult
Sat Feb 27 CANTOR FILM CENTER 4:30
Sat Mar 13 SYMPHONY SPACE 2:00

includes
Time of Eve
Japan - US PREMIERE
Animated, Yasuhiro Yoshiura, 2008, 15 min












Heebie Jeebies:
Spooky, Freaky & Bizarre...
Various, Various, 2010, 80 min
Recommended Ages: 10 to Adult
Sat Feb 27 CANTOR FILM CENTER 3:00
Sat Mar 13 SYMPHONY SPACE 7:00











Girls' POV Shorts
Various, Various, 2010, 80 min
Recommended Ages: 10 to Adult
Sat Feb 27 CANTOR FILM CENTER 5:00
Sat Mar 13 SYMPHONY SPACE 12:00





Worth Checking Out...
Insight...

A look at biblical anime Super Book

Let's Anime on Nippon Animation Company's 1975 Sindbad The Sailor - talks about the fans


Media
Yamato live action media

Taiwanese Optimus Prime
























More Gurren Lagann key animation

The monsters of Guyver

The opening for Fullmetal Alchemist with key animators annotated


a look at Dragon Ball animator Tomekichi Takeuchi's work

FX animation by Masakatsu Sasaki

With Apologies to Osamu Tezuka

Yoshitaka Amano on Gatchaman

via Otaku Magazine's Blog




FUNimation products currently available at 7-Eleven

Top 6 'Giant Robots' Japanese Attractions

Sasuke vs Killer Bee is the first episode of Naruto I've watched in years - recommended to all. great escalating fight - it can be seen online here

The Ghibli Asemamire radio show featured an interview with Evangelion creator and Nausicca animator Hideaki Anno - including talking of plans for two additional parts of the Nausicaa anime.





Warner Home Video Releases New "Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths" Video Clip

Warner Home Video has released a new video clip from the upcoming Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths direct-to-video animated feature.

Made available by Warner Home Video, new Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths media has been released by the studio. To view the new clip from the upcoming Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths direct-to-video animated feature in the Quicktime format, please click HERE.












A co-production of Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation, the direct-to-video Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths animated feature debuts February 23rd, 2010 on DVD and Blu-ray disc.





Hibon and Goldmann Team Up For Zombie Project – A.D.

One of the producers of 300, Bernie Goldmann, is behind a new CG feature effort helmed by Ben Hibon. It’s a zombie story, titled simply A.D.

You may recall Hibon’s Codehunters short, and below you can see a teaser for this project, which isn’t set-up as a feature… yet. More about the project over at Zombieinfo.com.







Dante’s Inferno Super Bowl Spot: CBS Tells EA to Go To Hell

Blocking access to Super Bowl viewers, CBS has apparently rejected this new TV spot for EA’s upcoming game Dante’s Inferno. But today I read that EA will get it’s way – after changing the tag line at the end to “Hell Awaits.” Blur Studio animated the ad.



It’s not dissimilar from the TV spot Psyop did for the game about a year ago:



In related news, Film Roman is releasing a 2D-animated DVD based on the game in a few weeks. You can see a trailer for Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic here.






Parasite – An Animated War Short From Iran

Iranian animator Omid Khoshnazar is getting set to release a new CG short, titled Parasite. The 9-minute film is a war story about a soldier confronted by an imaginary enemy. Here’s a trailer:







'Young Justice League' Animated Series In The Works?

Could a "Young Justice League" animated series be on the horizon? A report that hit the 'Net and was removed a short time later seems to indicate that's the case.

"I am beyond thrilled to announce that I was recently cast in the new animated series, 'Young Justice League', based on the famous (and awesome!?) DC Comics," wrote actress Stephanie Lemelin in a statement on her website that was snagged by Mania.com before being removed. "I seriously could not be more excited about being welcomed into this amazing family… what a fantastic way to start the new year! I will be voicing the character of Arrowette (see ridiculously hot avatar below!!! um, could I love her anymore?) as well as several supporting cast members."

"Due to the extreme popularity of this series, however, that’s about all I can say… for now," continued Lemelin. "[I am] so excited, this is really a dream come true for me, I have always wanted to be a Saturday morning cartoon!"

Lemelin is perhaps best known for role in the short lived "Cavemen" sitcom on ABC and was also the voice of Mei Ling in "Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five." Shortly after this story broke, the statement was removed from her website.

"Young Justice" was originally published in 1998 as an ongoing series written by Peter David (with art by Todd DeZago and Todd Nauck) that featured Robin, Superboy, Impulse, Wonder Girl and two new super-heroines, Secret and Arrowette. The series was often noted for its lighter touch on superheroes and ran until 2003 when the majority of the cast was folded into a new "Teen Titans" title.

If a "Young Justice League" television series is going forward, it will presumably be used to create a brand outside of the "Teen Titans" franchise, which ran for several years as a popular animated series.



















(Thanks Splash Page)





Hasbro Gets Animated

Hasbro wades into the cartoon game.

Kathy Page is joining Hasbro Studios as VP of production following stints at Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros. Television Animation.

Page will oversee the physical production of programming from Hasbro Studios, which will be developing content for broadcast on the Discovery/Hasbro joint venture The Hub that takes the place of Discovery Kids this fall. Page joins Hasbro from Sony Pictures Television where she served as VP of animation.


A lot of the phone calls I've gotten in the last several weeks have been: What' up with Hasbro? I hear they're doing cartoon shows. Where are they going to be happening?"

Here's the whole chronology as I know it.

1) TAG animation writers, working on Hasbro animated shows, help us secure a contract with the company.

2) Hasbro begins to develop new shows out of its temporary Beverly Hills offices.

3) Hasbro looks for studio space; considers the Imagi offices in Sherman Oaks, but decides to move to Burbank's Media Center North next to the fabled Bob Hope Airport.

4) Film Roman employees tell me:
"Hasbro is moving into the second floor of the building and redoing a lot of the space. We hear that the animation employees are going to be there on the floor with the executives."

So the hiring of Kathy Page to boost Hasbro into the cartoon biz, that's a good thing The more animation work in Southern California, the better I like it.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)





EXCLUSIVE: 'Thor: Tales Of Asgard' Preview - Get Your First Look At Marvel's Next Animated Feature!

"Planet Hulk," the latest animated feature from Marvel Studios and Lionsgate Home Entertainment, hit shelves this week. We posted our "Planet Hulk" review yesterday, and today we have a bonus for you: an exclusive first look at "Thor: Tales Of Asgard," Marvel's next animated feature.



This "Thor: Tales of Asgard" preview is a special feature on the "Planet Hulk" DVD and Blu-Ray, available now.

"Thor: Tales Of Asgard" arrives on shelves in 2011 — probably around the same time Kenneth Branagh's live-action "Thor" hits theaters.





No 'War Machine' Solo Movie, Says 'Iron Man 2' Actor Don Cheadle

"Iron Man 2" star Don Cheadle has ruled out the idea of staring in a "War Machine" spin-off film featuring Jim Rhodes.

When asked about the possibility of War Machine going solo in the latest issue of Wizard Magazine (via the Coventry Telegraph), Cheadle replied, "People have asked, but no one [in authority] has mentioned it as something that's happening. Hopefully, if this one does well, there'll be another ['Iron Man' movie] with the same people. But there won't be a ['War Machine'] spin-off."

Back in January, Bob Layton — the co-creator of Jim Rhodes with David Michelinie — told MTV News that he believed War Machine was well situated for a possible spin-off film.

“I think there are a variety of reasons to have the War Machine character in there,” said Layton. “If they’re doing the ‘Avengers’ film, they always have the option of using War Machine instead of Iron Man depending upon what happens contractually. I’m just speculating, I have no idea… But there’s always the possibility that if it does well, it can spinoff. Because obviously there’s a different character and a different motivation with War Machine than there is with Tony Stark.”

Cheadle also said he spoke with Terrence Howard before taking the opportunity to step into his role in "Iron Man 2."

"My first and only hesitation was about Terrence, because he is a friend," revealed Cheadle. "I wasn't going to do it until after he said he wasn't taking it. But, y'know, it's a short list. If you're on it, and you say no, they're on to the next guy."

"Iron Man 2" is scheduled to hit theaters May 7, 2010.





'Green Lantern' Director Describes The 'Constructs' Created By Hal Jordan

We've discovered how much of Hal Jordan's upcoming, big-screen adventure will occur in space, asked Ryan Reynolds to recite the Green Lantern oath, brought you the exclusive news of Mark Strong playing Sinestro, and even showed off some concept art from the film over the last few months — so what's missing from our coverage of Martin Campbell's "Green Lantern" movie?

How about a giant, green fist?



Asked about the objects the Green Lantern(s) will create during the film, Campbell took time out of the "Edge of Darkness" junket to drop some information about the powers DC's ringbearer will wield.

"They're called constructs," explained Campbell. "One of the nice things is, we'll all sit down and say, 'Well, what are we going to do here? ... Really, it's as much as your imagination can go to make the constructs."

However, Campbell wouldn't reveal which constructs are on their must-have list at this point, and added that it's a bit too early in production to have nailed down any of them for sure.

"Because I haven't started filming, we've locked off quite a few, but beyond that, no," he said. "They'll all be done in post-[production], so we'll have a reasonable amount of time to be thinking."




Captain America casting coming soon!! Who'll be Cap??












We've got more about the upcoming The First Avenger: Captain America from director Joe Johnston, who now says that he'll be announcing a star very soon.

"We need to cast it soon," Johnston said. "We have a very short list, but we're still juggling actors here. I'd say within the next couple of weeks we'll have ourselves a Captain America, I hope."

As for who will actually play Cap, Johnston either ain't saying or can't yet say. Rumored actors include everyone from Will Smith to Aaron Eckhart to John Barrowman.

As for when the movie will shoot? Johnston said the movier is still "fairly early" in preproduction. Shooting won't start until the end of June, he said, "but we're getting ready to go to the U.K., it looks like."

As for the story: "It's the kind of thing where, while I'm not necessarily a comic-book fan, I think the interesting thing about this guy is that he's a superhero without any superpowers, basically," the director told us exclusively while promoting his current film, The Wolfman. "He is the epitome of human perfection. He can't fly and throw tanks around and see through walls and things like that, but he's strong and runs fast."

Johnston added, "And the interesting thing about this guy is that he starts out as a 98-pound weakling and he becomes this Adonis. How does that affect his arc in the story? How does that affect where he goes and what happens to him and everything? I think that's the part of the story that was fascinating for me. And, of course, being a Marvel movie, there's fantastic action scenes in it and all kinds of great stuff. But there's an interesting story there as well."

Captain America is due in theaters on July 22, 2011.





The Thor actor who wants to play God. Literally













"I hope I look like God."

Those are the words of Anthony Hopkins, speaking a couple of weeks ago about Thor, the big-budget comic book-based movie in which he'll play Odin, the Norse god-like ruler of Asgard, as well as the father of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and stepfather of Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

Production is underway now on the superhero adventure, which also stars Natalie Portman, Jaimie Alexander, Ray Stevenson and Rene Russo and is being directed by Kenneth Branagh (Mary Shelley's Frankenstein).

"That's a really big one, a really big movie," Oscar winner Hopkins said a couple of weeks ago while promoting The Wolfman. "I'm a big Ken Branagh [fan]. I think he's an extraordinary guy, a wonderful actor and a terrific director. He's one of the easiest guys to be with. He doesn't shout or scream. He just is very gentle with everyone. He believes in his actors. He needs them to act, and he'll direct in a strong way, but he leaves it to you. Whatever you want, he gives it to you."

Hopkins didn't know Branagh well before signing on for Thor. But the two men had met previously as Hopkins had worked, twice, with Branagh's ex-wife, Emma Thompson, and they'd all gone out to dinner years ago. Hopkins got a better feeling for Branagh a few months back, over conversation and coffee in Santa Monica, Calif.

"He said, 'Would you take the [Thor] script and read it and see what you think? And if you'd like to play Odin,'" Hopkins recalled, adding: "I felt he was a very, very smart man, very bright and compassionate and well rounded."

Thor is in production now, with an eye toward a May 6, 2011, release.









Anthony Hopkins in The Wolfman





Avatar now bigger than Titanic in N. America










The records keep falling for James Cameron's Avatar: It has officially become the highest-grossing film domestically of all time, surpassing Cameron's own Titanic.

As of yesterday, Avatar's domestic gross was $601.1 million, higher than Titanic's $600.8 million, Variety reported.

Avatar earlier topped Titanic's global total with $2.05 billion worldwide, compared with the boat movie's $1.84 billion.

(Adjusted for inflation, Avatar ranks 21st domestically: Check out the full chart at BoxOfficeMojo.)





Darth Vader Beats Cancer!












Good news, Star Wars fans: David Prowse, the 74-year-old actor who played Darth Vader in the first three films, is officially clear of cancer.

That's the news reported by the British Daily Mirror newspaper:

Star Wars actor David, 74, who played the 6ft 6in villain in the first three films, got the all-clear last month.

The former body-builder—and TV's Green Cross Code—stunned doctors by making a full recovery after intensive radiotherapy at London's Royal Marsden Hospital.

Speaking from his home in Croydon, Surrey, David said: "I've won the fight and I'm feeling better than ever. Everyone was shocked by how well it all went."


We're glad the Force was with him this time!

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