Friday, January 21, 2005

And yet MORE Star Wars items to BUY!

Not Mara, But Real Jade: Lightsaber Pendants
For fans looking to display a bit of Force fashion, offers four new jade and silver lightsaber pendants from Noble Wealth.

Hewn from solid jade, each pendant features a silver lightsaber hilt plated with platinum Electroplate, sturdily suspended from a 24-inch necklace. Lightsabers fashioned distinctly after those carried by Luke (green), Mace (purple), and Darth Vader (red) measure 60mm, while Yoda's is a bit shorter at 48mm. EDITOR'S NOTE: UMM....SIZE MATTERS NOT? SNICKER....


Lending a measure of distinction worthy of their force-wielding skill, the Darth Vader and Yoda versions will feature added gemstones to the hilts -- a pair of red rubies for Vader and a diamond for Yoda.

The Vader lightsaber pendant is scheduled for release in March, with the Luke, Mace, and Yoda versions to follow in April, May, and June. EDITOR'S NOTE: THEY ARE EACH...FYI...$199.99! EVEN YODA'S. SO CLEARLY, AHEM....SIZE DOES NOT MATTER.

Make sure to head on over to to get in your preorders for these Jedi jadeites early!

ROTS, the book covers (First Look)

Final Covers: Episode III Books
April 2nd will see the start of the Episode III publishing program, with several major Revenge of the Sith tie-ins hitting bookshelves well over a month before the theatrical debut of the final Star Wars film. Here are the finished covers for four key Episode III titles.

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
The novelization of the final Star Wars film adapts the story of Anakin's fall to the dark side. Novelist Matthew Stover met with George Lucas to discuss the storyline of the film. As a result, the novel includes all new sequences that won't be found in movie theaters. But more importantly, Stover gets inside the heads of the characters, and depicts these dramatic events from their points of view. This book will be released in hardcover with simultaneous audio release on CD and cassette. The cover design is by Dave Stevenson.

The Making of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Author J.W. Rinzler tracks the entire production of the film, from the earliest Art Department explorations to the evolution of the script, from the start of principal photography in Sydney, Australia, to the additional photography in England as well as the visual effects wizardry of Industrial Light & Magic. Witness the changing face of cinema as detailed from a Lucasfilm insider who has followed Episode III from its earliest days. The cover design is by Dave Stevenson.

The Art of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
This hardcover release collects some of the most stunning pieces of concept and development art created for the film. The artists of Episode III are spotlighted here, alongside their costume, character, and technology designs, storyboards and production paintings, planetary vistas, ILM models and digi-matte paintings, and much more. Text by J.W. Rinzler. Cover design by Dave Stevenson.

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Graphic Novel Adaptation
Dark Horse presents the epic visuals and dramatic story of Episode III in comic book format, with illustrations by Doug Wheatley and a script by Miles Lane. The comic version will be available as four single issues in April, and as a trade paperback graphic novel that same month. Here's a look at the collected version with cover art by Tsuneo Sanda.





LEGO is celebrating 50 years of better building at Toy Fair next month, and VIP attendees have been invited to a special Star Wars gala during the show. This special LEGO figure also gives me a chance to answer a few questions that we've gotten about this figure. The head does in fact rotate, and the light-up feature is activated by pressing down on it. The hair and left hand are removable, but everything else is not. The electronics are hidden within the torso of the figure, and there does not appear to be a way to replace the battery. We'll find out more info on these new minifigures, as well as the rest of the LEGO line, at Toy Fair next month.


Episode III PEZ Display.

Rebelscum reader Ken Beckwith sent in this image of a Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith PEZ display. Be on the lookout for smaller items like this to start hitting soon over the next few months! EDITOR'S NOTE: PEZ GROOVY!

Free Comic Book Day 2005
The fourth annual Free Comic Book Day will take place on Saturday, May 7th this year.

Dark Horse will once again participate with a free issue of a Star Wars comic. Since 2005 is all about Revenge of the Sith, it should come as no surprise that the free comic will be based on the film.

Here is the official description:

by Miles Lane and Nicola Scott
Star Wars Episode III –Revenge of the Sith comes to theaters May 19 but a free sneak peek will be available in comic stores on Free Comic Book Day. This comic ties in with the events of Episode III, as the action of the Clone Wars comes to a dramatic conclusion and events are put in place for A New Hope. Battles rage in space, armies clash on alien worlds, heroes become martyrs, and friends become enemies — all leading up to the biggest, longest, and most incredible lightsaber duel in Star Wars history!

This is the film that answers the questions "How did Anakin succumb to the dark side?" "What happened to Luke and Leia’s mother?" "And why are there no Jedi around in the original Trilogy?" EDITOR'S NOTE: AND WHAT ABOUT NAOMI?! ("ELECTRIC COMPANY" LIVES!!!)

32pgs, FC..........FREE!

head on over to the Free Comic Book Day site for complete details and a listing of all the other comics that will be available from other publishers.*

Paul Myers chimes in . . .
I read the news story on TF.N about Free Comic Book Day. I just wanted to point out that on the message boards Miles Lane described the Free Comic Book Day story as follows:"'s an adventure set right after "Obsession" and features Obi-Wan and Anakin. I'm having a blast with that, too." So what I'm saying is that it may not have as much to do with Revenge of the Sith as the solicitation would make it seem. Then again, Miles Lane is writing the script for the ROTS Comic adaptation as well as this Free Comic, so they will undoubtedlty tie-in in some way. Just not as much as the solicitation would make it appear. EDITOR'S NOTE: I'VE READ THE FIRST TWO INSTALLMENTS OF "OBSESSION" AND IT IS GREAT. AND IT DEFINITELY LEADS INTO ROTS IN TERMS OF WHERE OBI-WAN AND ANAKIN'S RELATIONSHIP IS GOING. I LOVE BACK-STORY. I LOVE THE EU. I AM SO VERY HAPPY RIGHT NOW, I MIGHT NOT EVEN NEED MY MEDS TONIGHT.

Skywalker Ranch Wine Gift Box

Niebaum-Coppola is offering one each of their limited Skywalker Ranch 2002 Merlot and 2002 Chardonnay bottles in a special wooden gift box indicating it's from Skywalker Ranch on their site now. Limited more than usual to one per person, they make a nice gift to your favorite Star Wars fan, even if it's to yourself!Note, they also have individual bottles of the Merlot available as well again.EDITOR'S NOTE: STAR WARS GOOD. WINE GOOD. STAR WARS WINE EXTRASPECIAL GOOD! (ME TALK FUNNY).

Return Of The Collector's Plates
EDITOR'SN OTE: NIFTY KEENO PLATES, WHOOHOO!!!Available this Spring are two series of eight Collector's Plates, priced at £30 RRP (approx $45). So far they have only been offered to the UK specialist market but there has been no indication that they will be a British exclusive. According to their UK distributor, series one will be released in mid March while the second series will hit shelves in early April. EDITOR'S NOTE: THESE ARE REALLY NIFTY KEENO! NOT SURE WHERE I'D PUT THEM, BUT WHY AM I QUIBBLING ABOUT SILLY THINGS LIKE THAT AT THIS LATE DATE?

Get Soaked With The Force
Star Wars has finally reached every corner of the toyshop with the new Space Battle Waterslide. This 16ft inflatable reinterpretation of the classic Slip and Slide summer toy was found by Rebelscum Reader Joe’s wife for $9.99 at a Target in Mansfield, Ohio. Fair warning to any Scummer planning on picking one up that once you slip down the dark slide, forever will it dominate your destiny… EDITOR'S NOTE: OUCH. NOT ONLY WILL THIS BE THE GREATSPENDINGSPRING OF STAR WARS, IT CLEARLY WILL ALSO BE THE GREATPUNNINGSPRING OF STAR WARS. TOO HIGH A PRICE TO PAY FOR ALL THE GOODIES?

Friday OddBob'bing


The Top 10 SF Haiku
10> Our top five haiku: They suck like a rogue black hole, Worse than Vogon poems.

9> Marvin's not happy. Brain the size of a planet. Hates this poem, too.

8> Star Trek fan fiction: Kirk, Spock together naked. Gods, I might vomit.EDITOR'S NOTE: AN IMAGE THAT IS NOW BURNED INTO MY BRAIN FOR ALL ETERNITY. EGAD.

7> None of this is real. It's all in Philip Dick's head. He liked to use drugs.

6> Total rewrite of "Battlestar Galactica"? I liked the first one.EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS ONE'S FOR BECKY.

5> Easier it is When imitating Yoda To write a haiku.EDITOR'S NOTE: LOL!!!

4> Soon I leave the Earth, The stars my destination. But first, a brothel.


2> Chekov reports in, "Klingons off the starboard bow!" Same as last week's show.

and the Number 1 SF Haiku...

1> Palpatine, a Sith? Blind have the Jedi become! Screwed, we are now, hmmmm?EDITOR'S NOTE: FUNNY, AND ALSO DWEEBISHLY TRUE. GENIUS!

The Top 8 Hollywood Excuses to Get Out of Speeding Tickets
8> "I'm a celebrity, your laws don't apply to me."

7> "I'm running for my life from the Vibe Awards!"

6> "I don't want to be late for the Eisner lynching."

5> "But I'm Ben Affleck-- wait! PLEASE DON'T SHOOT!!!"

4> "I thought you were Stallone trying to get me to finance 'Tango & Cash 2.'"

3> "It's a medical emergency! Michael Moore needs a chili dog, and he needs one now!"

2> "Will someone please escort this officer off the set of 'The Fast and the Furious III'??"

and the Number 1 Hollywood Excuse to Get Out of a Speeding Ticket...

1> "Not now, officer, my fifteen minutes are nearly up!"

Thursday, January 20, 2005

STAR WARS: ROTS Trailer Info!

Revenge of the Sith Trailer Description
A reliable source sent in this description of the next Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith trailer:

The trailer begins with the following exchange:

Palpatine: "The Dark Side of the Force is the pathway to many abilities some consider to be

Anakin: "Is it possible to learn this power?"

"Palpatine: "Not from a Jedi."

We are then introduced to the political maneuvering of Palpatine, Obi-Wan and Mace Windu.

All of them actually want to use Anakin as a pawn in their game (Palpatine makes Anakin his "personal representative on the Jedi Council" while Obi-Wan wants him to "report on all the Chancellor's dealings").

The first minute or so is surprisingly heavy on dialogue and consists mostly of shots of various characters speaking to each other (intercut with short glimpses of evil droids, space battles etc.).

We even see how Mace Windu and three other Jedi attempt to arrest Palpatine (he grabs the lightsaber and confronts them).

When Mace Windu tells Anakin "You are on this council but we do not grant you the rank of Master", Anakin loses it and joins the Dark Side

(Sidious: "Every single Jedi is now an enemy of the Republic").

At least that's how the trailer makes it look.

Then the more "visual" half starts with some very neat scenes like a low angle shot of Anakin marching in front of a Clone trooper army. We see Wookiees on some kind of war machine, the duel in the volcano field, gigantic 10-wheel military transports and actual destruction of the Senate chamber. Everything is very dramatic, several deaths are implied, Padme is seen crying loudly and music from the Emperor duel (ROTJ) is heard.

Overall, the first half of the trailer is surprisingly specific, making no sense whatsoever to people who don't know Star Wars well.

The second half is very dark and dramatic, but with lots of action. Bad guys (apart from Sidious) only appear for a fraction of a second and have no lines.

The final seconds consist of Obi-Wan shouting "You were the chosen one!", fighting Anakin while both dangle from some ropes/wires. After the closing titles, there is a bonus shot of Vader and Sidious standing side by side, accompanied by Vader's breathing.

This is a preliminary version with effects and sound not quite finalized.

One part of the trailer is actually without music (either for dramatic effect or John Williams' new score will be inserted here?).

The length is little under 2:30.

When further questioned about the "evil droid", our source confirmed that it wasn't General Grievous but one of the bodyguards:There is some evil-looking humanoid droid with a cape around his head and torso, flanked by two classic battledroids (from Episode I). He seems to hold a lance in his hand.

Later, Obi-Wan is seen swordfighting with a humanoid droid but he's only seen from back and moving quickly. Anyway, both of these shots are VERY brief (about half second).EDITOR'S NOTE: RAISE YOUR HAND IF ALL OF THIS....MUDDY DESCRIPTIONS AND ALL...DOESN'T JUST GIVE YOU GOOSE-BUMPS ALL OVER YOUR DARN BODY!!!???


It's official! BUFFY alum Alyson Hannigan will guest star in an upcoming epsiode of UPN's slick teen mystery series VERONICA MARS, with a possibility of the role becoming recurring.

Hannigan will play Trina Echolls, the struggling-actress daughter of movie star Aaron Echolls (Harry Hamlin), and half-sister of Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring). In "Russkie Business," Trina after the memorial service for Logan's mother (who apparently committed suicide by leaping off a bridge) appears, raising new questions about what exactly happened to her stepmotherEDITOR'S NOTE: I'M ONLY ONE EPISODE BEHIND; WHEN DID LISA RINNA JUMP OFF A BRIDGE? AND SINCE WHEN DOES LOGAN HAVE A SISTER? I HATE IT WHEN I GET LOST SO COMPLETELY AND SO QUICKLY.

Series premiere delivers solid ratings for Sci Fi Channel

The results are in for last week's series premiere of the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, and it's good news for the show's creators and the Sci Fi Channel: GALACTICA's two-hour programming block delivered the network's best ratings ever for a January program. As a Sci Fi Channel series, the first episode of GALACTICA turned out to bring in the second-highest ratings series telecast numbers ever (right behind the series premiere of STARGATE: ATLANTIS.)

Overall the show earned a 2.6 household rating, which works out to 3.1 million TV sets being tuned in to watch the series debut. Stacked up against UPN's ENTERPRISE (which broadcast a new episode against GALACTICA), BATTLESTAR outperformed ENTERPRISE with viewers aged 18-49 (1.9 million versus 1.5 million) and viewers aged 25-54 (2.2 million versus 1.7 million), no small feat for a cable show up against a network show.

GALACTICA's strong domestic bow matches the program's opening figures for the show's broadcast on England's Sky One channel last fall. EDITOR'S NOTE: HELLO SCIFICHANNEL DOLTS-IN-CHARGE! HOW ABOUT RE-THINKING YOUR LAME NON-PROGRAMMING STRATEGY, EH? WHO KNOWS, YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY ATTRACT SCIFI FANS. JUST A SUGGESTION....

NIGHT STALKER pilot gets go-ahead
ABC orders a pilot to be made

According to a story appearing in today's Variety, ABC has ordered a pilot be made for a 21st century NIGHT STALKER TV show. As first reported last October, the proposed new STALKER series will be executive produced by ex-X-FILES producer/writer Frank Spotnitz. In a strange twist of fate, it was the original 1970s NIGHT STALKER show which inspired Chris Carter to make THE X-FILES in the 1990s.

The original NIGHT STALKER starred Darrin McGavin as a Chicago-based journalist named Carl Kolchak who always seemed to be assigned to stories that had a supernatural twist to them. During his brief run on television, Kolchak faced zombies, vampires, werewolves, swamp monsters, unseen entities and even a prehistoric man. EDITOR'S NOTE: BUT THE SCARIEST CREATURE OF ALL WAS A SCIFI CHANNEL VP! Currently new Kolchak adventures are being created by Moonstone, a comic book publisher.

Four more join PAINKILLER JANE
Four more have been cast in the Sci Fi Channel pilot PAINKILLER JANE
First off, Tate Donovan (THE O.C.) will play a professor that helps the superpowered heroine discover her newfound abilities. Next, Richard Roundtree (DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) will play the title character's commanding officer and her mentor in her new life. Eric Dane and Walker Howard have also received roles in the two-hour show, the latter actor playing a street thief.

The show is based on the Event Comics character created by Joe Quesada (now Editor-in-Chief for Marvel Comics) and Jimmy Palmiotti. Emmanuelle Vaugier has already been cast as Jane, a Marine officer that receives miraculous healing powers after being exposed to a bioweapon. The pilot will set up the premise for the series, should Sci Fi order it, which would see Jane on the run from various groups that want to exploit her and her powers. EDITOR'S NOTE: OR DATE HER?


Neeson, Spielberg eye an honest Abe film
Actor in talks to play President Lincoln in biopic

Liam Neeson is in talks to reunite with his SCHINDLER'S LIST directing friend Steven Spielberg in a movie about Abraham Lincoln set during the Civil War.

According to trade magazine Variety, the Lincoln flick will be based on a forthcoming biography about the former President penned by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, which will hit store shelves in fall 2005.

Spielberg won't be ready to start filming the Lincoln film until after he's finished with WAR OF THE WORLDS. That film won't even finish its principal photography phase until late March, and then Spielberg will be knee-deep in post-production right up until the film's bow in theaters on June 29. After then the Oscar-winning helmer had stated that he was intent on making his next film to be about the aftermath of the terrorist attack upon Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic games. It is possible that the Lincoln film could supercede the Olympics film, pushing the latter's start of production further back once again. EDITOR'S NOTE: NEESON IS CERTAINLY TALL ENOUGH TO PLAY LINCOLN. BUT IT SEEMS A TAD WASTEFUL TO TAKE A REALLY HANDSOME MAN AND MAKE HIM INTO A FREAKY DEAD PRESIDENT.

Condon sings a song for DREAMGIRLS
KINSEY director has a new project

KINSEY director/writer Bill Condon will move on to make DREAMGIRLS as his next picture. According to a story appearing in today's Variety, the Oscar-winning screenwriter has already penned his first draft of the story, based on the book by Tom Eyen. The film will also include the music of Henry Krieger.

DREAMGIRLS was first a Broadway musical about a trio of young black female singers starting out with their careers in the early 1960s. If that story rings a bell in your memory it's because the musical was an homage to the rise of Diana Ross and the Supremes. EDITOR'S NOTE: SURELY ALL THE GOOD MUSICALS HAVEN'T YET BEEN MADE INTO MOVIES.

Condon will make the film for DreamWorks, and shooting could start in the late summer or early fall.

Bright lights, bright Wolverine
Hugh Jackman wants to sing and dance some more

Wolverine is now a producer.

In an article printed inside today's Variety, X-MEN star Hugh Jackman has signed a deal to create musical films for Walt Disney Pictures. Jackman and John Palermo, who was Bryan Singer's assistant on the two X-MEN films, have created their own producing company to bring about these films. Joining them on the Disney projects will be Craig Nadan and Neil Meron, executive producers of CHICAGO and are working on the musical version of HAIRSPRAY.

Disney could be making as many as three musicals for Jackman and his producing partners, which the X-MEN star hopes are all original works (although a remake or two could be in the cards.) As he is an experienced professional when it comes to the stage, Jackman may also star in the films. EDITOR'S NOTE: WELL I WOULD SURELY HOPE SO. I MEAN, MUCH AS I'M ALL FOR MR. JACKMAN TO BE A BIGSHOT EMPOWERED PRODUCER, HE IS WAY TOO PRETTY TO BE LOCKED AWAY IN THE BACK ROOM WHILE LESSER LIGHTS DO THE SINGIN AND DANCIN.

Variety also revealed an interesting and previously unrevealed fact about the X-MEN 3 and WOLVERINE films in development at 20th Century Fox: Jackman and Palermo will be involved in both films as producers. A GRATUITOUS HUGH JACKMAN PIC....JUST FOR YOU, JERRY!

J.J. ships with THE GOOD SAILOR
LOST creator attaches himself to Universal movie

ALIAS and LOST creator J.J. Abrams is now attached to direct a new movie project called THE GOOD SAILOR, in development at Universal Pictures. The film's screenplay is being written by Brent Hanley and it's based on a pair of real world events separated by more than half a century of time.

On July 30, 1945 the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis was sunk by a Japanese submarine while returning from a top secret mission delivering the atomic bomb that would eventually help bring an end to the Second World War. According to the reports from survivors, over 900 of the ship's crew survived the sinking and were plunged into the shark-infested waters of the Pacific Ocean. As it was on a classified mission, the ship was not reported missing; it wasn't until five days after the sinking of the Indianapolis that the survivors were spotted by accident.

By the time rescue vessels arrived, two-thirds of the Indianapolis survivors had died as the result of shark attacks. The ship's captain, Charles McVay III, was later court martialed for losing his ship.

Five decades afterward, a school project by a 12-year-old boy on the sinking of the Indianapolis brought an unexpected wave of publicity towards the incident. As a result of the newfound public interest, Captain McVay was exonerated of the court martial charges in 2001. Hanley's screenplay will use this angle as a means to tell the story of the Indianapolis' sinking, as a survivor of the incident recalls the events.
Abrams won't be able to move on to THE GOOD SOLDIER until after completing his next mission that he's accepted, the job to helm MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3. EDITOR'S NOTE: MI3...WHAT A WASTE OF JJ'S TALENTS. I MEAN, IT'S TOM CRUISE, SO GOOD WRITING IS SUPERFLUOUS, ISN'T IT?

McConaughey leaves nest to try for 'Failure'
Matthew McConaughey has signed on to star in "Failure to Launch" for Scott Rudin Prods. and Paramount Pictures.

McConaughey will play a thirtysomething guy whose parents trick him into meeting the love of his life in a bid to get him to finally leave home. "Shanghai Noon" helmer Tom Dey signed on to direct the comedy in October, three months after the studio acquired the spec script from showrunners Tom Astle and Matt Ember. Other projects in the works at Rudin Prods. include adaptations of Jonathan Franzen's "The Corrections," Cormac McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men," David Schickler's "The Smoker," Michael Cunningham's "Specimen Days" and Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn." Scott Rudin also is working on a remake of the B movie "The Blob."

Eight 'Jump' for Rydell's indie drama
Danny DeVito, Kim Basinger, Nick Cannon, Forest Whitaker, Carla Gugino, Jay Mohr, Kelsey Grammer and Ray Liotta are about to jump to attention for helmer Mark Rydell on the indie ensemble drama "Jump Shot," which begins shooting Jan. 18 in Los Angeles. Robert Tannen penned the script, which is a series of intertwining stories on how gambling and drugs destroy people's lives.EDITOR'S NOTE: WE NEED A MOVIE TO TELL US THIS?

Helgeland, Uni in 'Freak' show
Universal Pictures has acquired the film rights to the best-selling children's series "Cirque Du Freak" by Irish author Darren Shan and has hired Brian Helgeland to adapt it. Lauren Shuler Donner will produce the project for Universal, with Jack Leslie, president of production at the Donners' Co., overseeing development alongside Shuler Donner. Helgeland will adapt the first three books of the series for the feature and also will executive produce. Helgeland won an Oscar for writing the screenplay to "L.A. Confidential," and also was nominated for writing "Mystic River." He also wrote and directed "A Knight's Tale." Helgeland's long-standing relationship with the Donners' Co. led to the pairing on "Freak."

'Breaking' news for Minghella
Anthony Minghella is returning to the director's chair with "Breaking and Entering," a London-set drama that he also will write and produce with his Mirage Enterprises partner Sydney Pollack for Miramax Films.

"Breaking" is a contemporary story about theft, both emotional and criminal. The story follows an encounter between a yuppie architect and a young Muslim thief who breaks into his office. A series of related incidents leads the architect to re-evaluate his life. EDITOR'S NOTE: HE COULD JUST WORK AT MY RECENTLY-DEPARTED JOB IF NAVEL-LINT EVALUATION WAS WHAT HE HAD IN MIND.Miramax and Mirage entered into a three-year producing agreement at the start of last year. Most recently, the two set Minghella to adapt and direct the screen version of "The Ninth Life of Louis Drax," a novel by British author Liz Fox, Regency vote 'Sentinel' "The Sentinel," a political thriller to star Michael Douglas, has landed at 20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises with Clark Johnson attached to direct. Kim Basinger and Kiefer Sutherland are in negotiations to star alongside Douglas, who is producing with his Furthur Films topper Marcy Drogin. Outlook Films, an equity-based film financing company formed last year by former CAA agent Adam Krentzman and Francois Lesterlin, is co-financing with Fox and Regency. Krentzman and Lesterlin are executive producing.

Reno cops to 'Da Vinci' role
French film star Jean Reno has joined Tom Hanks in Columbia Pictures' upcoming film adaptation of Dan Brown's best-selling thriller "The Da Vinci Code." Reno will play gruff detective Bezu Fache to Hanks' famed symbologist Robert Langdon in the film version of the novel that has dominated the best seller list for almost two years. Scheduled to begin production in 2005 for a May 19, 2006 release, "The Da Vinci Code" will be directed by Ron Howard from a screenplay by Akiva Goldsman. Reno, who stars opposite Steve Martin in the soon-to-be-released remake of "The Pink Panther," has appeared in numerous Hollywood films including "Mission: Impossible," "Ronin," the 1998 remake of "Godzilla" and such French films as "Subway," "The Big Blue," "La Femme Nikita" and "Les Visiteurs.

Edward Norton plays a turn-of-the-century magician

Edward Norton has been tapped as THE ILLUSIONIST, reports today's issue of Variety. Based on a short story titled "Eisenhein the Illusionist" written by Steven Millhauser, the film is now scheduled to start filming in April in Prague.

Norton will play a magician living in early 20th century Vienna that falls in love with a beautiful woman. However, because his love is from a higher social standing than he himself is in, the magician cannot marry her. When the woman becomes engaged to a prince, the magician uses the tricks at his disposal to make the royal look bad in an attempt to win the woman back. EDITOR'S NOTE: I AM GLAD NORTON IS PLAYING MORE THE PROTAGONIST. I LOVE WATCHING HIM, BUT HE'S BEEN SUCH A BAD GUY SO OFTEN LATELY. IT'LL BE NICE TO SEE HIM PLAYING A MORE SYMPATHETIC CHARACTER.

Laurie and Marsden fly with SUPERMAN
Two actors firm up the cast

Hugh Laurie and James Marsden have joined the cast of Bryan Singer's SUPERMAN movie, with the first actor ending speculation as to who will get to play Clark Kent's boss in the film.

Laurie, who can currently be seen headlining the Fox drama series HOUSE (which is also executive produced by Singer), is in final discussions to play Daily Planet Editor-in-Chief Perry White. Marsden, who worked for Singer before playing Cyclops in the two X-MEN films, has been cast as the love interest for Lois Lane, a fellow named Richard White. EDITOR'S NOTE: WELL, THAT SHOULD BE A SLAM DUNK FOR LOIS. LET ME THINK, A HUNKY MACHO SUPERHERO, OR A WIMPY EFFEMINATE GUY? TOUGH CHOICE. Did you notice that both Laurie and Marsden's characters share the same last name?

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the two Whites are indeed blood relations but Warner Bros. isn't talking as to their exact family connection with each other.

With the addition of these two gentlemen to the game, and Brandon Routh (Superman/Clark Kent), Kevin Spacey (Lex Luthor) and Kate Bosworth (Lois Lane) to the team, all the major roles seem to be filled -- except for the rumored parts of General Zod and Superman's father, Jor-El.

TRON gets a reboot
Remake of 1982 film now in the works

According to a story appearing in today's Variety, Walt Disney Pictures has changed its mind about making a sequel to the 1982 sci-fi film TRON and now wants to pursue a remake. The studio has hired screenwriters Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal to begin working on an update of the TRON story which followed the adventures of a computer video game programmer that was sucked into a digital world and forced to play games with his life on the line.

According to the magazine, the new TRON will be updated to reflect the advancements seen in the role of computers in everyday life, such as the explosive growth of the internet. EDITOR'S NOTE: WASN'T THERE A GREAT EPISODE OF THE XFILES WITH JUST THIS PLOT? JUST ASKIN....."We are contemporizing it, taking these ideas that were ahead of the curve and applying them to the present, and we feel the film now has a chance to resonate with a young audience," said Klugman to Variety. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND WHILE YOU'RE AT IT,COULD YOU ADD A FEW LITTLE ITEMS....LIKE PLOT AND CHARACTERIZATION, PERCHANCE? OR IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?

The screenwriting duo just completed a draft of the action film WARRIOR for Icon Productions and are finishing up work on the screenplay for BLACK CAT, based on the Harvey comic book character. Chuck Russell (ERASER) is attached to direct that film.

The latest on Millar`s most WANTED
Comic book scribe updates fans on movie in development

In anticipation of next week's release of the sixth and final issue of Top Cow's WANTED comic book series, Newsarama interviewed creator/writer Mark Millar and found out his thoughts on the book's conclusion. During the course of the
article, Millar updated readers on the latest with the WANTED movie, in development at Universal Pictures:

"THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 2 guys - I know, I laughed too - were paid an insane amount of money -- as in a million dollars or so -- to write the screenplay and it's supposed to be good, although I've yet to see a word," explained Millar to Newsarama. "Apparently, this means Universal has a lot of confidence in it and are fast-tracking the thing so fingers crossed it's out sometime in ‘06 as was originally mooted."

Millar also explained that he wants to stay removed from the movie process and instead focus on his writing for comics, although he would like to see someone like 28 DAYS LATER helmer Danny Boyle behind the lens for the WANTED movie. Millar also mentioned there's more Hollywood interest in another one of his recent titles: "Chris Columbus really liked CHOSEN and - given his HARRY POTTER background - I think he'll capture the atmosphere of the movie pretty perfectly."

A six-issue mini-series, WANTED is set in a world very much like our own except that behind the scenes supervillains won control over the machinations of the world. The story centers on a young twentysomething man named Wesley Gibson who discovers one day that he has inherited his father's business, standing and superpowers as the world's greatest killer. With the world his oyster and Wesley above the law, the choices Wesley makes in his new life prove to be shocking. EDITOR'S NOTE: HE BECOMES A HARE KRISHNA AND SELLS FLOWERS AT THE AIRPORT? I MEAN...THE GUY SAID 'SHOCKING'.......

Fincher and the ZODIAK
Director may make movie about notorious serial killer

FIGHT CLUB and SEVEN director David Fincher is in talks to helm a movie about the ZODIAC killer. Both Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures are working on a deal that would see the two studios finance and make the film a reality.

Based on the true crime books ZODIAC and ZODIAC UNMASKED: THE IDENTITY OF AMERICA'S MOST ELUSIVE SERIAL KILLER REVEALED (both written by Robert Graysmith), the screenplay for the proposed film has been written by Jamie Vanderbilt (BASIC). Graysmith researched the chilling events concerning the real-life serial killer who called himself Zodiac, who made the San Francisco Bay area his killing ground between the years of 1966 to 1978. Eyewitnesses that survived their encounters with the Zodiac killer described their attacker as covered in a dark robe and hood, with strange symbols adorning the front of the costume. The killer taunted authorities for years by mailing cryptic letters to the San Francisco newspapers warning of his upcoming attacks, claiming to have eventually murdered 37 people during his spree of terror.
The movie's storyline will focus on a trio of investigators determined to try and capture the killer and unravel the identity of the Zodiac. However, the efforts of the sleuths take a profound toll on the personal lives.

To this date the Zodiac killer remains at large

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Newspaper breaks word on home video release

In an article published today in USA Today, Disney will bring THE INCREDIBLES to home video on March 15, 2005 for a retail price of $29.99. The USA piece talks a bit about what kind of special features fans can expect on the DVD, such as fleshing out what really happened between baby Jack-Jack and his babysitter Kari. As well, there will be an alternate opening sequence; deleted scenes; an audio commentary track featuring director Brad Bird, Craig T. Nelson and Samuel L. Jackson; behind-the-scenes featurettes; and in the tradition of earlier Pixar films such as MONSTERS INC. and TOY STORY, a "blooper" reel featuring flubs and practical jokes by the INCREDIBLES "actors". EDITOR'S NOTE: AND THE SHEEP PRE-FILM SHORT?????!!!

A DESPERATE DVD comes this summer
First season of DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES to hit DVD

For those of you that can't get enough of your DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, there's good news to report: the first season of the smash ABC comedy/drama is coming to DVD later this year.

During last night's Golden Globe Awards ceremony, TV Guide Insider columnist Michael Ausiello informed readers of his Awards night blog that the DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES DVD will hit store shelves come August.

The series won the coveted Best Comedy Show Golden Globe at last night's awards ceremony, while star Teri Hatcher won for Best Actress (Comedy).

BREAKING Movie News with a Kiwi slant

RINGS` Jackson to work on LOVELY BONES

THE LORD OF THE RINGS director Peter Jackson and his longtime partner Fran Walsh have optioned the film rights to Alice Sebold's THE LOVELY BONES. In an unusual move, Jackson and Walsh ponied up the cash themselves for the option and will develop the screenplay to the film outside of the interference of any studio. Once the duo have completed the script to BONES to their satisfaction, they then will seek a studio partner. EDITOR'S NOTE: THANK YOU UNCLE GEORGE FOR PAVING THE WAY....YET AGAIN.

Jackson and Walsh will once again work alongside their RINGS teammate Philippa Boyens on the LOVELY BONES screenplay, with the idea to begin work on the script in January 2006. The film will most likely not be ready for screening until the fall of 2007. The British production company FilmFour will serve as a producer on the movie.

Sebold's story mixes high emotional drama and the supernatural; her novel tells the story of a little girl that is raped and killed by a stranger, then observes the effects of her death upon her family as well as her killer. The book once attracted the interest of Steven Spielberg as a possible directing project.

Never say NEVER (Dennis Haysbert returns to "24")

President Palmer returns to 24
Dennis Haysbert to star in final six episodes of this year's 24

Dennis Haysbert will be returning as ex-President David Palmer in the final six episodes of 24 this season. While Haysbert was an important part of the cast for the show's first three seasons, his character decided to not pursue another term at the Presidency last year, paving the way for the exit of the character. It's presently unknown how Haysbert's Palmer will re-enter the picture.

The actor has also been cast in a role for Sam Mendes' military movie JARHEAD, now filming.


David Yates on Harry Potter(We hear from the director-elect himself)
Filmmaker David Yates is set to direct the fifth Harry Potter movie - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. He previously received funding through a Film London production scheme. He tells us about the experience of directing short film Rank, his current big budget project and what he has planned for the future…

Do you have any formal film qualifications?
I trained at the National Film and Television School, but for a number of years before starting at the school I’d been making films and videos in my spare time – in fact I started when I was 14 years old with a little super 8mm camera that my mum bought me. EDITOR'S NOTE: SO IF HE ISN'T ANY GOOD, IT'S HIS MUM'S FAULT! It was around that time I saw Jaws in the cinema and that completely inspired me to want to direct. EDITOR'S NOTE: OR SPIELBERG'S. I grew up in St.Helens on Merseyside, had no idea how you became a director, but just got on and did my own thing, hauling in friends and family to star in the little films I made. And I just kept at it. And as important as film school was as I developed as a filmmaker, there is no better way than just getting on and doing it – even if what you are doing might be no budget films and videos, you are still having a go at developing your craft.

Did you always want to be a director?
Yes, from pretty early on. Everyone thought I was a bit mad, quite rightly, but I just couldn’t get that ambition out of my head.

Who is your favourite director?
I’ve got a few. In terms of heroes, Martin Scorsese, and I love the big films of David Lean – but I’m also a huge admirer of other British directors like Ken Loach, who has always been incredibly honest with his work.

What is your favourite film?
Too many to mention!

How did you break into the media industries?
I made a short film, for a few thousand pounds, with grants from Southern Arts and the BBC bought it, because it won various awards at Film Festivals. On the back of that I got offered my first professional directing gig, doing a short called Oranges and Lemons, again for the BBC.

How do you feel film and TV differ in regards to production?
For me, we should focus on what is similar rather than different. People who work in television often don’t think they can trust film makers because they are suppose to be a bit more arty and self indulgent, and people in film might think anyone who works in television is a hack. The fact is that we don’t need this divide, it does our collective industry no favours what so ever, and if we had more film makers working in television, and more television writers and directors working in film, we’d have a much healthier and more vital industry. At the end of the day, what ever medium you work in, it is about story telling and holding your audience. There are big differences of course, between film and television. In my television work I’ve had to move a lot faster than in the film work I’ve done, which is no bad thing. But the attention to craft, to acting, to telling the story as vitally and as interestingly and surprisingly as possible, is the same. And there are some stories that are better suited for television, because of the complexity or the need to spread them over a number of weeks, for example. To me, at the end of the day, however, whether it is a short film, a piece of television or a movie, I approach it in the same way. How do I take the audience with me, in the most compelling way possible.

You worked with the London Production Fund on a short film called Rank, how was that experience? Did it change anything for you?
I had a great time making Rank. We made it for very little money in Glasgow. The Production Fund was fantastic, because it allowed us to make something that it would have been incredibly difficult to finance in any other way, because I wanted to use non actors to tell the story, to create a reality. It was also a big break for our writer, Robbie – because it was essentially his first film, and for all the kids we cast in it in Glasgow who had never done a film before. I’d just finished a period drama called The Way We Live Now, which had taken me a year, and which was a very big production, enormous fun to do and with a great cast, but fairly formal in many ways as a piece of work – for all the right reasons, and this was an opportunity to just shake all of that off and get back to my roots.

Did the experience of working with street kids and using improvisation techniques influence the way you work today?
It’s one of the things I like to do. Improvisation has always been a part of the work I do. Even with very tightly scripted material, you always find an opportunity with an actor to spin in an idea and try something in addition to what you already have. I think it’s a healthy approach to the work. But attempting to try and reach a sense of truth is what intrigues me – even when you have pretty heightened and larger than life characters. EDITOR'S NOTE: OH NO. IMPROV! SHUDDER.....

Working with friends has always been important to you, are these relationships likely to continue with your new found feature film fame?
Yes, for sure. I’m planning to take a couple of key people with me onto Potter, because they are super talented and I couldn’t have done the work I’ve done without there help, and I see Potter as a continuation of much of the work we’ve been doing together.

Were you surprised to be asked to direct the latest Harry Potter installment?
I was really thrilled, and excited by the prospect. It’s the kind of scale of film I’ve wanted to make since I was 14. Since The Way We live Now I’d been getting film offers coming through, but none of them were that interesting, though I had done a lot of work getting a film version of Brideshead Revisited ready – though we just fell short of our budget.

How do you feel about this project?
I’m really looking forward to it, and am working my way through all of the books, and starting to get a bit addicted to the world which is fantastic and wonderfully realised.

The whole of the UK was gripped with Harry Potter fever when the books were first released, did you rush to the bookshops with the masses?
I hadn’t read a Potter book until earlier this year, because I was so busy making stuff or reading other scripts, so it has been a real pleasure to catch up with everyone else over the past weeks and months.

Do you have any other future projects in the pipeline?
A movie version of Sex Traffic, a biopic of a 50’s comedian called Frank Randle, and lots of other interesting stuff which I’m hoping will still be around when I come off Potter in about two years time!

What is your biggest film ambition?
To stay true to the best stories I can find. And to make big movies next to much smaller more intimate films – but to give both everything I’ve got. EDITOR'S NOTE: WELL...THEY HAVEN'T GONE WRONG YET, SO WE SHOULD BE HOPEFUL THAT THIS GUY IS AS GOOD AS THE PREVIOUS ONES, RIGHT?

Director for HARRY POTTER 5 revealed
David Yates gets the job

Director David Yates has been officially selected to helm the fifth HARRY POTTER film by Warner Bros.

In a release issued by the studio earlier today, Warner Bros. President of Production Jeff Robinov made the announcement, stating that filming on HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX is now scheduled to commence in England in early January 2006, two months after the fourth film, HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, arrives in theaters. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND THE KIDS? THE KIDS???!!!!

"We've been fortunate to have worked with very talented directors on the first four HARRY POTTER films," stated Robinov, "all of whom have brought these extraordinary stories to life with their own unique creative vision. We're looking forward to continuing that tradition with David Yates on HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX."

"I am thrilled that David Yates is going to direct HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX," said producer David Heyman. "Not only does he have tremendous passion for the world of Harry Potter, but he is a great director with a keen visual sense who fills every frame with humanity and compassion for his characters."

Yates has become an in-demand television director, shooting episodes of such British shows as STATE OF PLAY, THE WAY WE LIVE NOW and THE SINS. He earned a 2002 BAFTA nomination for his short film RANK.

Warner Bros. will release HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX theatrically sometime in June 2007. EDITOR'S NOTE: NOT NEARLY SOON ENOUGH, DARNIT!


Bruce has landed the role of Captain Duvall, the head of the King's Musketeers in "Young Blades", a $20 million series from producers Kirk Shaw and James Shavick ("The (new) Addams Family"). The action/adventure series follows the exploits of The Three Musketeers
as sword-fighters-in training who will take on the Establishment and a mystical, evil society as they come of age in 17th century France. Well known Canadian actor Michael Ironside who has made most of his career playing heavies has been cast in the role of the evil Cardinal Mazarin.

The series will premiere on January 23 on PAX TV.

Variety indicates that both UPN and CBS have given the green light to SF-themed pilots.

UPN has given the go-ahead to TRIANGLE, from executive producers John Sakmar and Kerry Lenhart, which begins when the wife of a young doctor mysteriously disappears while they're on their honeymoon. In order to find out what happened, he stays on the island and begins to treat the residents and visitors.EDITOR'S NOTE: SOUNDS LIKE IT MIGHT BE TRYING TO CAPITALIZE ON THE SUCCESS OF "LOST", BUT HERE'S TO A GOOD ATTEMPT.

CBS has put out a pilot commitment to Paramount's THRESHOLD, about a female government agent who leads a team of military and scientific officers to respond to an alien threat. Bragi Schut wrote the pilot and will serve as co-executive producer, while David Goyer (BATMAN BEGINS) will executive produce and direct. David Heyman (Harry Potter) will also executive produce, with Mark Rosen on board as co- executive producer.

INVASION:According to Variety, ABC has placed orders for three new dramas to their pilot mix, including an alien-themed project from producer Shaun Cassidy and another hour from Alias creator J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company. EDITOR'S NOTE: J.J.ABRAMS ROCKS! Cassidy's Warner Brothers TV-produced hour, INVASION, looks at what happens in a small Florida town after a hurricane. Details are being kept under wraps, but the show's title hints an alien invasion could be involved. Cassidy (American Gothic) wrote the pilot and will executive produce.

SCI FI Channel announced that it was developing a slate of new shows, EDITOR'S NOTE: YAWN....ARE THEY STILL ON THE AIR? SNORE.....including several that build on the success of its hit series GHOST HUNTERS and SCARE TACTICS, and stretch the boundaries of reality TV. The following project was given the green light for production:

-Master Blasters, a half-hour weekly documentary-style show produced by First Television, pits teams of amateur rocket scientists against each other in a race to design, build and launch some bizarre things into orbit, from rocket-bolstered La-Z-Boys to fuel-injected Mini Coopers.

The following alternative series are in development:
-Gordian, a half-hour weekly animated series from First Television, depicts a futuristic world where humans and robots live side by side. It centers on ex-video jockey Jake Gordian and his band of laser-cowboys, robots, animal freaks and talking body parts.

-Mind Game, an hour long weekly series produced by Hallock-Healey Entertainment (Scare Tactics), is a reality competition series in which contestants must rely on their powers of observation, recall, judgment and intuition to collect clues and be the first to claim the grand prize. The Mastermind, a mysterious unseen figure, will guide contestants through a series of situations that offer signs to advance them toward their goal.

-The Gauntlet, a weekly reality competition produced by Reveille and Hoegl/Singer, in association with Princess Productions, challenges contestants to navigate an elaborate, futuristic maze over a 24-hour period, with no sunlight, no rest and, seemingly, no way out.

-Dallas in Wonderland, a weekly half-hour reality series executive produced by R.J. Cutler, from Actual Reality Pictures, is hosted by Dallas Campbell, who undergoes a bizarre set of challenges, from applying to NASA to become an astronaut to asking the Raelians to clone him.

-Still in Search of (working title), a half-hour documentary spoof of the original series In Search of ... , from FremantleMedia North America, is hosted by Jonathan Frankle, who investigates paranormal phenomena on a shoestring budget, but instead finds trouble with his
producer and crew.

Previously announced alternative series in development include Monster Smash, which puts a SCI FI spin on competitive wrestling by introducing fictitious, genetically engineered monsters into the sport, and Amazing Screw On Head, an animated series about a robot secret agent charged with defending President Lincoln against a band of evil villains. The series is written by Bryan Fuller (Dead Like Me) and Mike Mignola (Hellboy), based on his comic. EDITOR'S NOTE: DO ANY OF THOSE...ANY OF THEM....SOUND LIKE A REASON TO WATCH THE SO-CALLED SCIFI CHANNEL? DO ANY OF THEM EVEN SOUND LIKE SCIFI? LIKE THE REASON WE ARE ALL DWEEBS? SHEESH....

Star Wars and Valentine's Day, Together Again

Use the Force this Valentine's Day
Show the special scruffy-looking nerf-herders in your life how much you care courtesy of The Paper Magic Group's assortment of Star Wars Valentines. The Paper Magic Group has produced a set of 34 "Flashy Foil" (foil fold and seal cards with seals) featuring original trilogy-based imagery and fun messages.

Sample messages include "We make superb counterparts!" from C-3PO, Chewbacca's "You've got me howling!" and Boba Fett's heartfelt "You're worth a lot to me."

With this set available from The Paper Magic Group, you should have enough Star Wars-themed messages for everyone on your list this year, whether they be fellow Padawans, Jedi Masters, or even a grumpy Sith Lord. EDITOR'S NOTE: YEAH....I ALWAYS FALL FOR THE SITH TYPES. (OR IS THAT THE SISSY TYPES? SO CONFUSING SOMETIMES).


Darth Tater: The dark side of Mr. Potato Head

PAWTUCKET, Rhode Island (AP) -- A spud on the dark side.

That's how toy maker Hasbro Inc. is promoting its latest Mr. Potato Head figure, Darth Tater.

The toy spud will be available next month, ahead of the May release of "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," the latest installment in that film series.

Darth Tater will come with a light saber, cape and helmet, in addition to the regular Mr. Potato Head accessories such as eyes, mouth and nose.

The Pawtucket-based toy maker says children will be able to "have all kinds of mix n' match, Mr. Potato Head fun with this wacky spud dressed as the infamous `Star Wars' villain, Darth Vader."EDITOR'S NOTE: THE FIRST, AND I'M GUESSING LAST, TIME DARTH VADER IS REFERRED TO AS 'THIS WACKY SPUD'. (UNLIKE, SAY, ODDBOB, WHO GETS CALLED THAT ALMOST DAILY).

The toy will retail in the United States for $7.99.EDITOR'S NOTE: MUST BUY, MUST BUY MUST BUY!!!

"Star Wars: Episode III," starring Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman, will open in U.S. theaters on May 19.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Am I the only one who really likes "Veronica Mars" (the only one over 30, I mean?)

Interview With Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Article written by Craig Byrne - NeptuneSite

Kristen Bell is the incredibly talented lead actress in UPN's Veronica Mars, which airs on Tuesdays at 9PM on the UPN television network. The show is building a bit of a following, particularly on the Internet, and Neptunesite was fortunate enough to be included on a conference call press junket involving Ms. Bell.

So what is it like being on a show that has started off slowly in the ratings and is now growing and establishing itself as a cult hit?

"To be totally honest, I think that's the best way to start out of the gate. I think that we knew what we were going into, having it aired on UPN. But they have been phenomenally supportive as a network, and I think they've really done right by the show," she says. "It's kind of a cooler way to come in like an indie film and come under the radar, and then all of the sudden have a lot of people realize 'Oh, this is like a great show that I haven't been watching? I'll check it out.' You know. It's kind of like a cool indie film comes in, as opposed to like a huge blockbuster that is advertised everywhere, and everyone knows about."

"I would really have to say that there's not much like it on TV right now," Kristen says. "I would put it in the category of teen drama, but I would say that it's much smarter and much darker than anything I've ever seen on television. Rob Thomas [the creator] once says it was like if Twin Peaks were to meet The O.C. and Dawson's Creek and sort of roll it all into one."

The show has begun to achieve a growing cult following, which, coupled with its female lead and appearance on one of the smaller television networks, has brought in comparisons to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What does Kristen think of these comparisons?

"I'm really flattered. I think that's something that Rob intended for it to do, and it has, which is fabulous. I think that it's definitely in that vein of that strong female heroine of both Buffy or Alias, or, you know, I hope that we're in that category. The great thing about Veronica is that there's much more reality involved, so for people watching there's less to suspend. You know, she's not fighting vampires. She's just sort of fighting cruel kids in high school." EDITOR'S NOTE: YES, BUT SHE DOES IT WITH SUCH SPUNK, AND INTELLIGENCE, AND WIT. IT'S QUITE ENJOYABLE. AND THERE'S SO MUCH MORE GOING ON THAN JUST ANY ONE GENRE OF SHOW.

She has seen how the ratings for the show are still not what they could be, but she also sees the positive response the show has received from the fans. "If you believe the good reviews, you have to believe the bad, and I sort of feel the same way about the ratings, but it is nice to go on the fan sites and see how much effort, and the comments, and how into it people are, 'cause that's in a way the same thing."

The show's growing number of fan-made websites has also caught Kristen Bell's attention. "I'm just amazed at how much effort people have put into the sites. I think that they are so phenomenal. I mean, the stuff is on within hours of it airing or of me doing a TV appearance or something. I'm really, really amazed by that."

Veronica is a teen slueth for the 21st century, but the actress that plays her actually didn't read the books about one of her literary predecessors.

"I didn't read all the Nancy Drew novels," Kristen reveals. "I wish I did, now that I look back on it, 'cause this is so like it, but when I see a mystery, like a movie of a TV show, I'm certainly into it just 'cause I want to know the details. And so I figured when I got cast, that I would be able to have all the inside info and know what's going on, and I really don't. They don't tell me anything. So it's just as frustrating as being a viewer, being on the show, 'cause I really only know details like two weeks ahead of everyone else. So I have no idea who killed Lilly. It's really just as frustrating."

Another mystery Veronica has to tackle this season involves the possibility of Jake Kane being her father. If Kane is her father, that may imply that the relationship between Veronica and her ex-boyfriend Duncan Kane was actually involving a brother and sister. "This issue will be dealt with either way," she reveals. "So however the outcome comes out, it will be dealt with, let me leave it at that. It will definitely be addressed more." And will the reveal be sooner rather than later? "Yes, they'll get more into it soon. The whole episode doesn't revolve around it, but there's the next few episodes that will help you out."

For the information the fans of course would want to know, does Kristen Bell have a favorite episode of Veronica Mars?

"I have two. I really liked the episode, I think it was 3 - the episode where we saw the flashback of where Duncan and Lilly and Logan and Veronica went to prom. ["The Wrath of Con"]. It was the first time that they really delved into the history behind all of those characters, and I thought that that was really cool and very moving to see how they all used to be so close, and how the sort of shattered lives that they live now. And I also - I really liked the purity test one. I thought it was so much fun. And we all ended up printing out the purity test, among the crew and stuff, and we all took it, and just giggled the whole week about our scores and stuff. So we were making jokes and posting letters on peoples' chairs and stuff."

"The Wrath Of Con" also featured one of the most memorable scenes in filming the series for Ms. Bell.

"Memorable sounds like a nice word, but I'm going to have to go the opposite route on this. My most memorable moment would have to be when it was about 4 in the morning. We were on the last scene of the night. We were all waist deep in a ice cold ocean, and I was having to dive in for that skinny-dipping scene that happened at the end of "Wrath of Con," because that will never be erased from my memory. It was so cold. But the shot ended up being really, really cool, and once I saw it, it was worth it. But, like half our crew was in the water and, for one little snippet, it's just a gorgeous shot at the end of the episode. Throughout the episode you hear that Lilly keeps saying you've never gone skinny dipping, you don't let loose, all this stuff. So at the end, sort of as a tribute, Veronica just jumps in."

That water and those settings actually are not in Los Angeles, where you would find most TV series. Veronica Mars, instead, is shot near and around San Diego, California.

"San Diego has such a different look than L.A.," she says. "It's got such a specific aesthetic to it. It's got such a different look. I mean, even in the pilot, you'll notice the motel scene that we shot where I saw Jake Kane go up to the motel. Just a lot of the street scenes. It's just a totally different look in San Diego, and I think it creates a different tone for the show, that they really wanted. To get a show that all the L.A. people couldn't say 'Oh, I know where that is'. You know?" EDITOR'S NOTE: SO OUR SAN DIEGO DWEEBPAL MARGARET SHOULD CHECK IT OUT AND TELL US IF SHE RECOGNIZES ANY LANDMARKS!

Although Kristen is a trained singer, don't look for a showcase on the show, where Veronica will be participating in some karaoke in an upcoming episode.

"It's not necessarily a song that shows off the voice, let me just say that," she says. "It's a little more 80's rock than it is something that necessarily shows off the fact that I trained as a singer, but it was a lot of fun to shoot."

As for the actress herself, what does she prefer to sing at karaoke?

"Oh, I've got a million," she says. "I can rock out anything. I mean, I can rock out a little Time After Time. I can do a little Greased Lightning. It depends on the mood, but we do go karaoke, my friends and I in Los Angeles, and it's a lot of fun."

Kristen also seems to really enjoy her castmates, though she is not shy in picking out a favorite - Enrico Colantoni, who plays dad Keith, takes that honor.

"Rico is probably by far my favorite, just because we have a lot of stuff together every episode, more so than I do with any of the boys, but he is one of the most generous individuals I've ever met, and has really like taken on the role of father in my life. Like, he's super-concerned for me about things, and he's just always asking how I am, and if I'm okay, and you know, you just feel like someone has that watchful eye on you of, like, comfort and security. He really has that, and we also get along really well. Our sense of humor's the same, so we just laugh all day long on the set. I just think he's a wonderful, wonderful man. And the boys - - we're really lucky to have such a good group of people, 'cause they're all fun. I mean, Percy is hysterical, and Teddy's the same way. Teddy is so sweet, and Jason - - I love watching Jason act, because he's so - - he's such a good actor, and there's so much coming up for him in the series, and I've really as an actor learned a lot from him, 'cause I've just been able to watch and he's so intense. And Francis is awesome and hysterical. I think we're lucky, 'cause there's not a bad egg."

When asked about working with Paris Hilton for the show's second episode, Kristen didn't seem to treat it differently from any other guest stars from the show.

"It was great. It was, you know, like anyone else who's been on the show. We've had a lot of really namey guest stars, which has been awesome for the show. Like having Tina Majorino, and Harry Hamlin, and Lisa Rinna," Kristen began. But what did Kristen think of Paris? "She was great. She's so busy. I mean, she wrote a book, and she has a CD, and she has like all this stuff going on, so she was kind of like zoomed in and zoomed out, and it was very fast. We didn't get to spend a lot of time together like other guest stars 'cause she only did a few scenes, but it was fun."

Kristen hints that a really cool guest star will be coming up on the series, but the show's publicist informed her that the announcement won't come until later this month.

The incredibly busy schedule (their first day back after the holiday break went 19 hours, and nights going as late as 4am are not uncommon) means Kristen rarely gets the time to catch anything on TV anymore, but she does admit to enjoying Extreme Home Makeover.

"I love Ty Pennington," she reveals. EDITOR'S NOTE: NO ACCOUNTING FOR TASTE, HUH? (WELL, SHE'S YOUNG). And although she has never actually seen the series, she wouldn't mind seeing Veronica in another very 09-er like district.

"I've never seen it, so I may be speaking out of turn, but just from what I've heard, I might have her go on The OC and maybe knock a little reality around. Go on, you know, a very like 90210 like show."

Kristen also reveals who she looks up to in the entertainment field. "I look up to actors that choose their projects wisely," she says. "I look up to a lot of female comedians, like Catherine O'Hara, or Toni Collette, or Jennifer Coolidge. That whole Christopher Guest crew, I really adore, 'cause I think that comedy is just so hard. So much harder than drama, good comedy is. Like the Gilda Radners and the Madeline Kahns. I really admire female comedians, 'cause I think that it takes so much charisma and so much to grab an audience, and keep them involved, and keep them respecting you when you're a female and a comedian. I just think that's the coolest thing to be."

Kristen, who still says "there's nothing like theatre," will soon be seen in Showtime's film version of "Reefer Madness," playing the character of Mary. She first played the same role on the stage. When asked what her alter ego of Veronica would think of Mary, she had this to say: "Veronica would have zero tolerance for Mary. Zero. Because Mary is vomitously perky, and Veronica would not tolerate that for a second."EDITOR'S NOTE: ANYONE WHO USES THE WORD 'VOMITOUSLY' IN A SENTENCE IS ACES IN MY BOOK.

Fans who started to "get a clue" a little late might want to catch up on what they've missed of the series, Kristen was also asked if a DVD release for Veronica Mars might be planned after the first season is complete.

"I can't imagine that they wouldn't," she says. "I would assume so, and I would assume that they'd put a ton of perks on the DVD." [No formal announcement of a Veronica Mars DVD has been made].

Those who have been watching since the beginning, however, will notice that the Veronica character has been evolving. "I think she's closer to discovering what will satisfy her, and I think that she knows it," Kristen says. "In the beginning she was sort of blindly determined, and now she's focused, which I think helps her on the inside a lot, knowing that now she's out for one thing and one thing only, which is finding out who killed Lilly, and before, there were a whole bunch of possibilities, and now she's homing in on 'em which I think is changing her and allowing her to get stronger, because she's more focused."

And about those names - Mars living in Neptune, and such - was that purposeful? "Rob [Thomas, creator of Veronica Mars] has said no, which I think is a little fishy sometimes. There's some freaky synchronicity. Like the last name of Lilly Kane, and Abel Koontz is in jail for killing her, so it's a Kane and Abel thing. And then you have the Neptune and Mars, but he says it was all an accident, so I've gotta believe him."

In parting, Kristen has a few words for the fans of the show who may be reading this. "Thank you for supporting, and for watching, and for giving it a chance to begin with, and for continuing to watch, and for getting the word out there. 'Cause I know there have been a lot of fans who have helped us word of mouth wise, and that's made a big difference."

A THEATER Dweebing Moment

The Knights of Spamalot Begin the Procession to Broadway in Chicago
Monty Python's Spamalot, the highly anticipated new musical by Eric Idle and John Du Prez, began it's official pre-Broadway try-out at Chicago's Shubert Theatre on Dec. 21, 2004.

By Feb. 14, it will have arrived for previews at the New York theatre of the same name for its Broadway debut.

Fans of the British comedy troupe Monty Python have been waiting for this live adaptation of the group's popular film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" for months.

Monty Python's Spamalot is directed by Mike Nichols.

The production is scheduled to begin previews at New York's Shubert Theatre on Feb. 14 for a March 7 opening night. EDITOR'S NOTE: LEST ANYONE THINK IT WAS SAFE TO ATTEND LIVE THEATER.......



Duchovny slips loose some X-FILES 2 news
There will be no aliens in the next X-FILES movie

While attending the Critics' Choice Awards held two days ago, actor David Duchovny spilled to USA Today some new secrets about the storyline for the second X-FILES movie. The dark-haired actor told the paper that the sequel will be a stand-alone story not connected to the UFO mythology prevalent in the series and FIGHT THE FUTURE, the first X-FILES film. EDITOR'S NOTE: I WONDER HOW THEY'RE GOING TO DEAL WITH THAT. JUST IGNORE IT, I GUESS? I MEAN, THE SERIES ENDED WITH SOME PRETTY HEAVY STUFF....INCLUDING RELATIONSHIP STUFF. I WOULD THINK THOSE ISSUES WOULD BE KINDA HARD TO IGNORE? "Mulder and Scully investigate one particular case that has nothing to do with alien life," said Duchovny. "It has to do with supernatural stuff." EDITOR'S NOTE: AS LONG AS IT'S ANYWHERE NEAR AS GOOD AS THE FIRST MOVIE, AND AS LONG AS THAT OLD MULDER/SCULLY CHEMISTRY IS STILL WORKIN, I'M HAPPY. (NOT THAT IT TAKES ALL THAT MUCH TO MAKE ME HAPPY, I'LL GRANT YOU).

Duchovny added that he had spoken with X-FILES creator Chris Carter earlier that same day, and that the plan was to start filming on the sequel in late 2005 or early '06. EDITOR'S NOTE: THEY DON'T EVEN START FILMING TILL THEN? JEEZ....THIS IS TAKING WAY TOO LONG!

Writer webbed for SPIDER-MAN 3
Alvin Sargeant returns for big bucks
Alvin Sargeant will earn a seven-figure paycheck for writing the screenplay for SPIDER-MAN 3. Columbia Pictures has closed a contract with the writer, who had sole screenwriting credit for SPIDER-MAN 2 and also contributed (but received no on-screen credit) to the first film's script. EDITOR'S NOTE: SPIDEY DEUX ROCKED. HERE'S TO SARGEANT WORKING THAT SAME SCRIPTING MAGIC YET AGAIN.

Sargeant will now shape the story concept idea for SM3 that director Sam Raimi and his brother Ivan have come up with into a working screenplay. So far no details concerning the third movie's storyline or even who the main villain will be have surfaced.


A LOVELY new photo from GOBLET OF FIRE

In the fourth HARRY POTTER film Hogwarts plays host to an international Quidditch tournament while young Harry finds his thoughts filled with the beautiful Cho Chang.

The film slips into theaters on November 18, 2005.



AD&D, or Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, is an extremely popular role-playing game produced by TSR. It can be extremely complex, and be played for hours or days on end by true enthusiasts.

The Top 10 Signs You're Playing Too Much AD&D
10> You haven't gone to the bathroom for two days because you can't roll enough initiative.

9> You like to sleep with your Balroggedy Ann doll.EDITOR'S NOTE: WELL DOESN'T EVERYONE?!

8> The fame and fortune you've earned with your advanced gaming skills are attracting too many lust-crazed supermodels.

7> Your response to an Orc attack is the same as losing an important client: "Krogan mighty! Krogan smash puny foes!"

6> Your kitchen table collapses from the accumulated weight of the lead figurines comprising the Battle of Duggs Kich'ynn.

5> You can't understand how the school bully beat you up right after you scored a direct hit with a lightning spell.

4> Your version of the events: "My famous wall-climbing ability was thwarted by the orc's use of a powerful mage spell from Gandalf himself." The police version: "We plucked this weirdo, screaming like a little girl, off the top of a six-foot ladder!"

3> For the last time, your boss is not the "Dungeon Master" and you are not one of his "minions."EDITOR'S NOTE: WHO SAYS?!

2> Your conversation with the hottie at the bar ends when you start explaining how you killed all the other competitors with your impossible dungeon.

and the Number 1 Sign You're Playing Too Much AD&D...

For most TV shows, the producers provide guidebooks for those who write the episodes. These are not public documents under normal circumstances, but are used internally to keep story and plots consistent through the run of the series. Here are a few of our suggestions for writers of science fiction shows:

The Top 9 Little-known Script Guidelines for TV Science Fiction Writers
9> Star Trek: Voyager: Written in crayon on a coloring book page, glued to the front of the writer's bible with paste: "My nam is Tommy. I lik dinosors and robot. Wen I gro up I wanto be The Rock. Star track is good like cokkies. My mommy is 7 and 9. Do what I say!"

8> The "laws" of physics are actually just rough guidelines -- ignore them at your convenience.

7> There's no secret decoder in the One Ring.

6> Regardless of race, alien delegations must have females attractive to male humans.EDITOR'S NOTE: SSSSHHH....DON'T TELL. IT'S A KEY WAY NASA RECRUITS.

5> Battlestar Galactica (1978): Please remember, we only have three Viper vs. Cylon clips available, so please construct all dogfights using the following elements: Viper peels out of formation. Cylon fires and misses. Viper fires and hits.

4> All fantasy stories must contain at least one of the following: invisibility cloak, flying spell, bumbling wizard or buxom warrior babe.

3> Every original production from the Sci-Fi Channel: "We believe that the fundamental element of good original science fiction is simple: giant versions of normal animals, rendered poorly on computers we find at yard sales, chasing bad actors we also find at yard sales."EDITOR'S NOTE: FUNNY....AND AT THE SAME TIME, SADLY TRUE.

2> Babylon 5: "We'll keep these notes short and informal, since there's no way in hell we can possibly stretch this lame-ass premise for more than one season."EDITOR'S NOTE: GRRRR....(TRACY SCROGGINS IS NOT ANYONE'S FAULT, REALLY, IS SHE?)

and the Number 1 Little-known Script Guideline for TV Science Fiction Writers...
1> Our demographic target group is aging and their eyesight is fading. Thus enhanced images are required. So make her boobs bigger.