This weekend, THE LUCKY ONE opens in theaters bringing a best selling love story to the Big Screen. We talk to Zac Effron, Taylor Schilling and Blythe Danner on how each one took on their roles in the film. Plus there’s more on the final season of EUREKA with Colin Ferguson and news on DC’s revival of a familiar comic title.
A highly placed source with one of Hollywood’s leading film production companies has revealed to ComicMix that an agent for a Scottish businessman has been offering around to studios and producers the purported feature film rights to Marvelman, the superhero property whose rights status has been in limbo since publisher Eclipse Comics went into bankruptcy in the middle of Neil Gaiman’s iconic run as its writer more than twenty years ago.
Any movement tending to resolve the rights to Marvelman – and to bring it back into print – would be welcome news for fans who have been following the Marvelman saga for more than two decades and been put through a roller coaster ride of ups and downs as a litany of claimants to the rights to Miracleman have continually come out of the woodwork.
When the title was first brought into the United States from England, Eclipse Comics prudently changed Marvelman to Miracleman to avoid obvious potential trademark issues with Marvel Comics, and the series has continued to generate interest in the comics world more than twenty years after it was last published. One top comics editor, speaking not-for-attribution, told ComicMix that “If a publisher could actually be assured that they had the rights to publish the title, and most importantly, if Neil would license the rights to his scripts and would agree to finish the scripts for the story he started but never got to finish, the book sales would be through the roof – we’re talking astronomical. The fact that the title got into the Gaiman/McFarlane litigation has kept it in the spotlight. And Alan Moore wrote issues of the title before Neil, and Alan still has a bit of a following. But Alan isn’t the key to the deal. It’s all about Gaiman.”
Judge Dredd, England’s long-running weekly comic feature, is returning to the screen. At 2000 AD’s website, they had the following short announcement:
“Rebellion and 2000 AD are proud to announce that Judge Dredd is coming to a cinema near you soon!
“Together with DNA Films, the movie production company behind such great sci-fi movies such as Sunshine and 28 Weeks Later, Judge Dredd will go into production in 2009.
“Jason Kingsley, CEO and Creative Director said, ‘We can’t give away too many details at this point, but we’re looking forward to working with DNA Films to bring Judge Dredd back to the big screen’.”
The British-based DNA Films was founded by Duncan Kenworthy and Andrew Macdonald (The Beach). The company has a production partnership with Fox Searchlight Pictures, which owns 50% of DNA Films in addition to backing from the UK Film Council.
Last seen in the ill-timed 1995 release, the Sylvester Stallone movie tanked both commercially and critically. The problem was that the inventive visual world of Mega City One, first seen in 1979, was partially co-opted for the look of Blade Runner and its knockoffs. By the time this original made it to the screen, it looked redundant rather than trendsetting. That the story and performances were lackluster didn’t help either.
Tomoko Ninomiya’s Nodame Cantabile manga is moving to the big screen according to Variety. The story of a pianist and an apprentice conductor who have a torrid romance has already been a television series and the leads, Juri Ueno and Hiroshi Tamaki, will reprise their parts for two feature films according to Variety. Their television director Hideki Takeuchi will join them on the features.
Shooting on the first feature is scheduled to begin in May, taking the couple around Europe for five months. Toho and NTV anticipate releasing the first in December 2009 and the second feature the following spring.
The best-selling manga led to the television series in October 2006 and has been a growing success in Janapan.
NTV has produced a successful series of films based on Death Note and is shooting a trilogy, 20th Century Boys, based on Naoki Urasawa’s manga about “a convenience store clerk who discovers that the disastrous prophecies he wrote as a boy are coming true. The first part, released at the end of August, has earned $42 million.”
It looks like those, like myself, in love with the children’s show Yo Gabba Gabba! will be enjoying your favorite monsters on the big screen. According to producer Charles Rivkin, there is currently a confirmed plan for a feature film. Seeing as how Pee Wee’s Playhouse can stem three films, there’s no reason why a bunch of monsters and a robot can’t.
For those who have yet to experience then madness which is Yo Gabba Gabba, a children’s show on Nickelodeon airing in the time that people over 20 probably aren’t watching television, let me explain. Imagine Sesame Street meets Electric Company meets Pee Wee’s Playhouse but done by pop culture nerds and filled with bizarre celebrity cameos. The show is about DJ Lance Rock, a man in a bright orange jumpsuit with a boom box full of action figures that come to life. Each of these action figures are colorful monsters (and a robot) with the intellect of toddlers who learn a lesson or two throughout each episode.
If you are thinking to yourself "Why would I care about a kid’s show?" Well, its not just a show for kids, folks. Right off the bat with the name; it’s taken from the Ramone’s chant "Gabba Gabba Hey", which itself pays tribute to the 1932 film Freaks. The show is produced and created by lead singer of The Aquabats Christian Jacobs and his partner Scott Schultz. The show also has some pretty mind-blowing cameos for a children’s show. Hosting the segment "Mark’s Magic Pictures" is Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo, while Biz Markie stops by for the "Beat Box of the Day". Season one had some impressive cameos as well from Tony Hawk, to The Shins, to Elijah Wood and kicking off season two, other names like Jack Black, Amy Sedaris and 30 Rock‘s Jack McBrayer are scheduled to make an appearance. Catch or DVR the show weekdays at 11:30am EST on Nickelodeon.
The Muppets will be first returning to television before the Big Screen. NBC has announced the production of Letters to Santa — A Muppets Christmas for this holiday season. This will be the third holiday themed special following a 1970s hour with John Denver and a 1980s effort. They also adapted Charles Dickens’ immortal tale in A Muppet Christmas Carol in 1992.
This one will be set once again on Christmas Eve as Kermit and company discover three errant letters to Santa. They take it upon themselves to handle the requests so the writers don’t have a spoiled Christmas. Joining in on the fun will be Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Sirico and Steve Schirripa from The Sopranos, Richard Griffiths and Madison Pettis.
As for their feature film careers, Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller are at work on a script which Stoller would direct. Their story has the Muppets rally to save an old theatre from a greedy oilman. While announced in March, no further details have emerged.
Tarzan is returning to the Big Screen but not as an animated musical sequel from Disney but a played-for-straight adventure from Warner Bros, and director Stephen Sommers (The Mummy). Variety reports this morning that Sommers and Stuart Beattie will be co-writing the screenplay. The duo last worked together on 2009’s G.I. Joe film for Paramount, which recently completed lensing.
Producer Jerry Weintraub has been trying to mount a new live-action version of Tarzan since 2003, working from a screenplay by John August (Shazam!) and at one point Guillermo del Toro was in talks to direct the film.
Ever since Edgar Rice Burroughs first wrote about his man raised by the apes in 1912, it has been repeatedly interpreted for serials, movies, radio, television and comic books. Burroughs penned some 23 books featuring his character in addition to creating other fantastic realms and characters including John carter, Warlord of Mars and Pellucidar. While Johnny Weismuller’s performance informed the image in the minds of a generation or two of moviegoers, today more people probably know him from the 1999 Disney animated feature.
This will be Warner’s second go-round with the Lord of the Jungle after 1984’s underrated Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes from Hugh Hudson. The film introduced us to actor Christopher Lambert later known for Highlander. Warner’s television network, the CW, had a disastrous version of Tarzan in 2003.
News of the World reports that two of the four Doctor Who specials for 2010 will be shot in the United States. An unnamed BBC source was quoted a saying, “But two specials in America, with a US setting and a US assistant, will take it to another level. David Tennant is already gaining a huge following and this will make him really hot property.” No actress has been cast as the assistant.
These will mark the final four episodes from Russell T. Davies before turning the beloved franchise over to Stephen Moffat and, according to rumor, a new incarnation of the Doctor in season five.
Moffatt, meantime, is said to be at work on a feature film version of The Doctor. "It would be good to see it in the cinema so long as it is great and fantastic," he told an Edinburgh audience this weekend.
"I’m not against it … so long as it never gets in the way of the TV show. If it got in the way of the show that would be appalling."
Why should Marvel and DC be the only comic book companies making serious bank at the box office? Top Cow Productions has officially begun work on a live-action feature adaptation of their popular Witchblade comic book series.
The series already spawned a live-action television show on TNT that lasted for two seasons. Plus, half naked women beating up bad guys with an awesome glove is the type of can’t miss concept that Hollywood craves.
The producers hope to start production of the film in September.