Saturday, July 15, 2006

Star Wars News

Editor's Note: Not much SW this week. Some tremor in the Force, no doubt.

First up, Big doins at Hallmark Stores this weekend. Some of it Star Wars-related ---

Hallmark Keepsake Ornament Premiere 2006
Saturday, July 15 and Sunday, July 16 are the dates for this year's Hallmark Keepsake Ornament Premiere.

Here's your first opportunity to purchase four new Star Wars Keepsake Ornaments from Hallmark. Editor's Note: And if SW ornaments aren't enough to get you there, you get extra points for any ornaments purchased this weekend. PLUS, my hallmark store serves punch and cookies! (if only they served pizza and BEER.....but that's a different kind of store, I guess).

For the first time ever, the animated Star Wars universe is represented by the Clone Wars versions of Asajj Ventress, Anakin Skywalker, and Yoda. Measuring from 1 1/4" to 2 3/4" high, this set of three minatures will retail for $15 US or $19.99 CDN.

For vehicles this year, a "Magic" (battery-operated) ornament of an Imperial AT-AT and Rebel Snowspeeder from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back plays sounds of the battle of Hoth when you press the button. $28 US, $39.95 CDN. Editor's Note: Cause nothin says "XMAS" like the sounds of a BATTLE!

Tenth in the series, Hallmark has again sculpted Luke and Yoda, also from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. $15 US or $19.99 CDN.

Editor's Note: I could SWEAR we have already had an ornament JUST like this one?

Lastly, from Revenge of the Sith comes the classic duel of Anakin and Obi Wan. Another "Magic" ornament that lights up the sabers and plays sounds and dialogue from the movie. $28 US or $39.99 CDN.

Editor's Note: Ok....THIS one is seriously COOL!

It looks like all four ornaments will be available right away, with none indicated for fall release (as has been done in previous years). See you there!

SDCC Exclusive 501st Trooper Available Online

On July 20th the Hasbro San Diego Comic Con exclusive will be available online to those who cannot make the trek out to San Diego this year.

How many per customer is not yet known, but we do expect Hasbro to set a limit.

Editor's Note: Here's the link for the Hasbro online shop.

Editor's NOte: And speaking of Star Wars and Hasbro ----

Star Wars At Center Of Hasbro Results
According to Hasbro sales have slipped since this time last year.

Here's a brief snippet:

"Hasbro Inc. which reports second-quarter earnings on Monday, July 24, is facing tough comparisons against year-ago results that benefited from strong sales of "Star Wars" merchandise."Star Wars" volume was $51 million in the first quarter, down from $147 million in the second quarter of last year, according to Whitfield.

"Even if the rate of decline remained constant, Hasbro would need to make up $70 million in volume in the second quarter and $247 million for the year," the analyst said in a report.

Whitfield said she believes interest in "Star Wars" waned in the second quarter because of three new movies with related toys -- "Cars," "Superman" and "Pirates of the Caribbean."

Editor's Note: SW Pics for the week ---

Iain McCaig's illustrations of possible Mustafar inhabitants quickly establish it as a very dark place indeed.

This early concept painting by Ralph McQuarrie features the Millennium Falcon held captive in a hangar bay on the Imperial capital planet of Alderaan. Editor's Note: Oh quit your boohoo'ing OddBob! Alderaan is gone. buhbYE!

So glad they found one another.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A Little More Dweebing on a Friday

Editor's Note: I think the BEST way to end the week/kick off the weekend is by pondering Tobey Maguire's chest.....don't YOU?!

New SPIDER-MAN 3 poster hits web

Sony has released a new SPIDER-MAN 3 via

The film stars Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker/"Spider-Man"), Kirsten Dunst (Mary-Jane Watson), Bryce Dallas Howard (Gwen Stacy), Topher Grace, Thomas Haden Church and Theresa Russell.

It hits theaters May 4, 2007.

'Devil's' deed at Sci Fi; USA nabs 'Pirates'
PASADENA -- Sci Fi Channel on Thursday announced a development slate that includes the scripted series "Devil's Advocate" from Mark Burnett and a mini-series titled "Outpost" from Lynda Obst.

The network also said that Emmy nominee Peter Krause (HBO's "Six Feet Under") has been tapped to star in its upcoming limited-series event "The Lost Room."

Separately, USA Network has acquired cable TV rights to the hit sequel "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" from Buena Vista Television.

The an-nouncements were among several made Thursday during the NBC Universal cable networks' portion of the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel.

'Degrees' ensnares Alexander
Jace Alexander has signed on as a producer and director of the upcoming ABC drama "Six Degrees," from Touchstone Television and executive producer J.J. Abrams. Editor's Note: J.J. gooooood.....

"Six Degrees," created by Stu Zicherman and Raven Metzner, revolves around a group of six strangers in New York who are drawn into a mysterious web of coincidence that gradually brings them closer together.

The ensemble cast includes Jay Hernandez, Bridget Moynahan, Hope Davis, Campbell Scott, Dorian Missick and Erika Christensen. Editor's Note: The message here is that only very very ATTRACTIVE strangers hav weird/cool things happen to them. (So no 'mysterious webs' for me, thank heavens)!

sniffle...... (just once, I'd like my very own 'mysterious web'. sniffle some more.....)

The show landed the plum post-"Grey's Anatomy" Thursday 10 p.m. Editor's Note: EST slot on ABC's fall schedule.

Trio heading for 'Bianca' at Lifetime
Rachel Ward, Shirley Jones and Simon Rex have joined Virginia Williams on Lifetime's upcoming primetime soap "Bianca: Journey to Paradise."

Kieran Hutchinson, Stephen Martines, Vanessa Lengies, Samantha Shelton and Matt Funke also have been cast in the series, which has a 20-episode order. Filming on "Bianca" begins next month on the Gold Coast of Australia.

The novela, from FremantleMedia North America, is slated to premiere in October and will air Saturdays at 10 p.m., followed by reruns of ABC's hit "Desperate Housewives."

"We are extremely excited to add this series to Lifetime's Saturday night lineup," Lifetime Entertainment Services president of entertainment Susanne Daniels said. "In adding this sexy new series to our schedule, we are creating a destination for TV viewers looking for a Saturday night escape with 'Bianca: Journey to Paradise' and 'Desperate Housewives' airing back-to-back." Editor's Note: I'm afraid my tv would explode if I actually turned on Lifetime. (just out of PRINCIPLE).

Animated talk from 'South Park' duo
PASADENA -- "South Park" co-creators and executive producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone didn't hold back when expressing their opinions about the decisions to remove the episode poking fun at Scientology and Tom Cruise from the network's repeat schedule or the decision to blank out the image of Muhammad during another episode.

"So there are two things we can't do on Comedy Central: show Muhammad or Tom Cruise," Parker said Thursday during the MTV Networks portion of the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel.

The duo said they had no doubt that the "Trapped in the Closet" episode was yanked as a result of Cruise's starring this summer in "Mission: Impossible III," the movie from Paramount, Comedy Central's sister company. Editor's Note: So the message from Comedy Central is that they will be long as their parent company isn't paying attention? Brave. Bold.

CBS News opens its vault
NEW YORK -- CBS News for the first time is opening its decades of video archives to the public by teaming with CustomFlix and to offer DVDs of classic CBS News programming.

The deal initially will give access to dozens of full-length reports and segments from the "CBS Evening News" and "60 Minutes" that have aired since 2000. But in the future, CBS News will offer more of its video that stretches back to the 1950s and includes all of the big stories of the past 50 years including the Kennedy assassinations, the Apollo space program, presidential elections and the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Up until now it's been closed except to researchers," CBS News senior vp Linda Mason said. "This opens it up to the public. It's a sampling now, but the variety will grow over time." Editor's Note: This is pretty cool. Makes me wish I was working on something that required news clips, just to take advantage of it.

And speaking of cool stuff available at the click of your mouse........

TV Land Will Launch New Broadband Video Player
TV Land will launch a new broadband video player on its Web site late this summer which will allow fans to stream full-length episodes of both classic shows from the network's library along with TV Land originals.

The new broadband player will debut on Aug. 24 as part of a larger overhaul of

Each month, full episodes of a single classic series will be featured, starting with the 1960s western Daniel Boone in September, followed by Star Trek and That Girl later in the year. Editor's Note: Anyone else now have the Daniel Boone theme song stuck in their heads? (arggghhhhh)

In addition, in September, select clips and outtakes from the misunderstanding-filled Three's Company will be highlighted in the new channel.

While a growing number of cable networks have launched branded broadband video channels on the Web over the past year plus, most have focused on repurposing extra footage from original series owned by that particular network--such as MTV Overdrive's Laguna Beach After Show. Networks that rely on a heavy rotation of off network series, such as TNT or TV Land have been limited in their broadband approach, since Web rights have not always been included in such deals.

With the launch, TV Land appears to found the means to address the digital rights issue for specific classic TV shows.

Beyond the older series that are TV Land's staple, the yet-to-be-named broadband channel will showcase a variety of the network's growing slate of originals. Users will be able to stream full episodes and clips from properties like the TV Land Awards, Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg and the new Mr. T reality series I Pity The Fool.

Besides episodic fare, the site will also house Retromercials--the network's popular classic TV commercials, as well as on demand, landmark clips from select shows--such as a Happy Days scene featuring The Fonz jumping over shark on water-skis and a Good Times scene showing the Evans family getting hit with the news that family patriarch James had died.

Universal nabs TAG comic

Universal Pictures has snatched up the rights to the horror comic book TAG, published by Boom! Studios.

The comic is set in motion when an average Joe strolls down the street after a fight with his girlfriend when a random stranger tags him, handing off an ancient pagan curse. He begins to literally die, seeing his body begin to decompose every day before his very eyes. Cursed, he must either surrender or find the next victim to tag. Editor's Note: Wow. It seems like a really stinky dilemma, until you think of some people you'd really LIKE to tag with a decomposing curse. Old employers....who, now that I think about it, might already have been tagged, given the smell......government folks, bad dates.......Never mind. No dilemma at all.

No director, writer, or cast has been listed as of yet.

Sheen on 'Talk' radio for Lemmons
Martin Sheen is returning to the Beltway. Television's former "The West Wing" president has landed a role in director Kasi Lemmons ("Eve's Bayou") mid-1960s real-life story "Talk to Me" for Focus Features.

Sheen will play E.G. Sonderling, the owner of a D.C. radio station that employs controversial black on-air personality Ralph Waldo "Petey" Green (Don Cheadle). Editor's Note: Sheen and Cheadle! Great casting! As the radio station's owner, Sonderling gives Green his big break, thereby helping the outspoken commentator become an iconic radio personality in a turbulent era distinguished by vibrant soul music and shifts in social consciousness.

Foxx has the 'Power' with Uni and Platt
Jamie Foxx and his manager Jaime Rucker King have seen "The Power of Duff" and are coming aboard the project as producers, joining Marc Platt, who already has been developing the feature film via his Marc Platt Prods. Foxx and King will help develop the drama, which Foxx is eyeing as a possible starring vehicle. "Power" has been a hot property at Universal, which won the script in a bidding war last year, paying $900,000 against $1.25 million.

The script attracted Russell Crowe and Ron Howard at one point as well as Tom Hanks.

Written by Stephen Belber, "Power" follows a Rochester, N.Y., TV news anchor who after the death of his father begins praying aloud for things to happen while reading the evening news. When his prayers start coming true, it ignites controversy about whether he's a prophet, a pundit or a charlatan.

Hageman brothes will adapt THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA

Variety reports that Warner Brothers has tabbed the Hageman brothers to adapt Scott Lyncy's fantasy epic THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA for the studio.

Locke Lamora, the first of a seven-book series, hit the stands earlier this summer in the United Kingdom and United States to rave reviews. Editor's Note: And I have heard nothing of this. Anyone out there in dweebland know about it?

The story follows the adventure of a likable con artist as he and his band of followers, the Gentlemen Bastards, navigate the Venice-like city of Camorr.

This is the second Warners project for Kevin and Dan Hageman. They recently adapted the book Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom for 1492 Pictures, which is producing for the studio.

Apatow, Rogen hooking up for 'Super Bad' pic
Judd Apatow is reuniting with his "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" star Seth Rogen for the comedy "Super Bad" at Columbia Pictures. Apatow is producing the high school-themed film, while Rogen is penning the screenplay with Evan Goldberg and will co-star. Greg Mottola ("The Daytrippers"), who directed several episodes of Apatow's short-lived TV series "Undeclared," will helm "Super Bad," with Apatow regular Jonah Hill and Michael Cera on board to star. "Saturday Night Live's" Bill Hader is in talks to co-star.

The story revolves around two co-dependent high school seniors (Hill and Cera) who set out to score alcohol for a party, believing that girls will then hook up with them and they will be ready for college. But as the night grows more chaotic, overcoming their separation anxiety becomes a greater challenge than getting the girls. Editor's Note: So it's like the C-student "American Graffiti"?

Spengler back in swing with comic-book lineup

PARIS -- Pierre Spengler, one of the original producers of "Superman," is returning to comic-book adaptations with a 12-picture slate drawn from titles in the catalog of French graphic novel publisher Humanoides Associes.

The first to go into production will be the live-action film "I Am Legion," adapted from the World War II political intrigue penned by Fabien Nury and illustrated by top U.S. graphic artist John Cassaday.

Spengler's company, Clubdeal Ltd., will produce the slate, and he is in discussions with a U.S. distribution partner for a bulk deal on the 12-film package.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Thursday This AND That

Barnard Hughes, veteran theater actor, dies at 90

NEW YORK -- Barnard Hughes, who won a Tony for his portrayal of the curmudgeonly title character in Hugh Leonard's "Da," has died after a brief illness.

He was 90.

Hughes died Tuesday at New York Presbyterian Hospital, said Chris Boneau, a spokesman for Hughes' family.

The actor, along with wife Helen Stenborg, were veterans of the New York stage. Hughes made his Broadway debut in "Herself Mrs. Patrick Crowley" in 1935, but it was "Da," some 43 years later that made him a star and won him the best-actor Tony.

He also starred in the 1988 film version of the Tony-winning play.

Among Hughes' other major Broadway credits were "A Majority of One" (1959), "Advise and Consent" (1960), "Nobody Loves an Albatross' (1963), the Richard Burton revival of "Hamlet" (1964), "How Now, Dow Jones" (1967), "Abelard and Heloise" (1971), "The Good Doctor" (1973), "All Over Town" (1974), "Angels Fall" (1983) and "Prelude to a Kiss" (1990).

Editor's Note: And this one sent in by dweebpal Margaret ----

Red Buttons passes away

Red Buttons, the carrot-topped burlesque comedian who became a top star in early television and then in a dramatic role won the 1957 Oscar as supporting actor in "Sayonara," died Thursday. He was 87.

Buttons died of vascular disease at his home in the Century City area of Los Angeles, publicist Warren Cowan said. He had been ill for some time, and was with family members when he died, Cowan said.

With his eager manner and rapid-fire wit, Buttons excelled in every phase of show business, from the Borscht Belt of the 1930s to celebrity roasts in the 1990s. He was well known at the latter for his "never got a dinner" routine.

Editor's Note: And of course, June Allyson died last week, so I guess that is our "three".....if you believe that sort of thing. (That the famous go in threes?)

Disney said to cut jobs, plan less movies
Report says that movie giant will cut annual film production from 18 movies to eight.

Disney was tight-lipped Wednesday about a report that it plans to slash annual movie production by more than half and eliminate jobs to trim costs and improve shareholder returns.

The plan to sharply cut annual film production from 18 films to eight surfaced in an unsourced report in show business newspaper Variety late Tuesday.

A Disney spokeswoman said the company would not discuss the Variety article or comment on impending job cuts. Editor's Note: The mouse is ALLL chatty until it's bad news. NO bad news in the 'happiest place on earth'?

"We are constantly evaluating our business," Disney spokeswoman Heidi Trotta said Wednesday.

The move comes despite a record weekend box office run of $132 million for Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest." Wall Street analysts this week had begun to review estimates for Disney earnings due to the blockbuster ticket sales.

Variety said all movies would be branded under the Disney logo, diminishing the role of its Touchstone and Miramax film divisions, which produce movies for older and art house audiences. Editor's Note: The freres Weinsttein must be peeved. Disney insists on retaining rights to the Miramax name when they part company with the W's, despite the name being a blend of the Weinstein brothers' parents names, and now they unceremoniously dump the imprimateur? Mice are COLD, huh?

The studio also plans to "substantially" cut its workforce as part of an overhaul planned by Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook, the report said.

Cook has been working for several months on a plan to resurrect the studio division, whose year-over-year revenue comparisons have been down for the last four quarters. Variety said the new overhaul would involve deeper cuts than previously anticipated.

Sanders Morris Harris analyst David Miller said Disney could stand to cut expenses, despite the ticket sales seen from "Pirates" or the animated feature, "Cars."

"The internal rate of return (for the studio division) is not shareholder friendly," Miller said. "Obviously, even though 'Cars' or 'Pirates' were big successes, the internal rate of return was insufficient." Editor's Note: Greed might be good, but it isn't NICE.

But whittling down its movie slate does not necessarily mean the company will change its overall spending on filmed entertainment, he said.

"It really comes down to how do you want to allocate your capital," Miller said. "Do you want to allocate that over 18 films, in which the films cost less, or eight films that cost more? It could be that Disney sees a higher rate of return from tent pole films than from smaller films."

Tom Sherak, a partner at Revolution Studios and former chairman of 20th Century Fox Domestic Film Group, said studios are moving to cut films with "mid-range" budgets.

"The pictures that studios really get hurt on are the middle of the road films, not the big budget pictures," Sherak told Reuters. "The $50 to $60 million pictures that go out and gross $20 million. A big action movie that doesn't ... live up to its potential here, goes out and doubles its take internationally."

Shares of Disney (Charts) fell 1 percent to $29.93 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange

One year until Order of the Phoenix
One year from today, July 13th, fans across the United States and United Kingdom will be cued up and dressed in their Potter robes in anticipation of the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!Editor's Note: LET'S GO STAND IN LINE RIGHT NOW!!!!

The next 365 days will be, without a doubt, one of the busiest times for the Potter fandom. Between the pending seventh book and the fifth film, news will run rampant across the globe. Editor's Note: I still think the book is more than a year away....just from where JKR appears to be in the process. But still....dweeb life IS good.

Field tapped matriarch in ABC drama

Sally Field has joined the cast of ABC's upcoming drama series "Brothers & Sisters."

The Touchstone Television show is a family drama centering on five adult siblings, played by Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths, Balthazar Getty, Dave Annable and Matthew Rhys.

Field will play Nora, the mother of the siblings. The role has been recast as Betty Buckley portrayed the family matriarch in the pilot. Editor's Note: Good news for Field fans. (including moi). But poor Ms. Buckley. Wonder what happened?

The series -- from executive producers Ken Olin, Jon Robin Baitz and Marti Noxon -- also stars Patricia Wettig, Ron Rifkin, Sarah Jane Morris and John Pyper-Ferguson. Editor's Note: FABulous cast and wonderful producing credentials. (I wonder if Patricia Wettig will also still play the evil VP-turned-Pres on "Prison Break? And yes, the Ken Olin spousely hiring thing is working well for her, but since she is great in everything she does, who's complaining!)

The one-hour drama is set to air at 10 p.m. Editor's Note: EST Sundays during the 2006-07 season.

Field has won two Oscars, for her performances in "Places in the Heart" and "Norma Rae." She also received an Emmy for the 1976 NBC miniseries "Sybil," playing the title role as a young woman with multiple personalities.

More recently, she reprised her Emmy-winning role on NBC's "ER," which earned her the award for guest actress in a drama series in 2001. She also recently appeared in "The Glass Menangerie" at the Kennedy Center and in the feature film "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde."

Her credits also include the films "Forrest Gump," "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Steel Magnolias," while her TV credits include appearances on CBS' "Murphy Brown" and Fox's "King of the Hill."

MacNicol among '24' numbers
Peter MacNicol's schedule is about to become even busier as the "Numbers" cast member is joining Fox's "24" next season as a series regular.

The actor will portray a high-ranking government official in the real-time drama from 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television that kicks off its sixth year at midseason.

MacNicol has been a cast member on CBS' "Numbers" since the drama from CBS Paramount Network Television and Scott Free Prods. premiered in January 2005.

He will shoot "24" and "Numbers," which is heading into its third season in the fall, simultaneously. Editor's Note: Phew. Glad to see they're working it so he can do both, because he's GREAT on "Numbers", and his chemistry with the other leads on that would be sorely missed. (By ME, at any rate).

Aaron Ashmore is the new Jimmy Olsen

Editor's Note: Ok, so now it makes some sense that Chloe.....umm......'became a woman' in the arms of Jimmy (during a summer intership at the Daily Planet a season or two ago). He's a cutie, and well worthy of our Chloe.

Aaron Ashmore, best known for locking lips with Veronica Mars in the show’s early days, has been cast as young Jimmy Olsen in TVs “Smallville”, according to the king of everything knobs and dials, Mike Ausiello.

Jimmy will apparently be a love interest for young Chloe (Allison Mack), entering her life - or I’m thinking, he’s the same Jimmy that apparently took Chloe’s virginity in an earlier episode, referred to only by name? - in the season premiere “Zod”. He’s apparently an importunate little charmer that nags the cub reporter into a date.

“Veronica Mars” fans will remember Aaron for his role as the blonde spunkrat’s ex-boyfriend, Troy, in the first season (he recently returned for an episode). Ironically, Ashmore also tested for the role of Jimmy Olsen – the role that ultimately went to scene stealing Sam Huntington – in “Superman Returns”.

Speaking of everything Kent, Executive producer Alfred Gough says he’s hoping that we’ll get to see “Aquaman” – the series that wasn’t picked up, sadly – one day, telling WizardUniverse – via KrytonSite - that he may even tie it in with “Smallville” next season. Somehow.

We’re working on a way to get the pilot out there. That’s sort of all I can say at the moment. Whether it’s some sort of addition on season six of “Smallville” or not—we’re really proud of the pilot. We’d love for the fans to get a chance to see it. The implication when a network doesn’t pick up a show is that the pilot sucks and that’s not the case. It’s not a perfect pilot by any stretch of the imagination. There are other reasons—which are a mystery to us—as to why The CW didn’t pick it up. I think it definitely puts Aquaman in a modern context and he’s not lame. It’s a shame because it would have been a really fun series." Editor's Note: This was a different Aquadude than guest-starred on "Smallville" though, right? Cause that guy was a stiff. (and not in any sort of GOOD way...ahem.....)

Casting Call: Johnson gets on CBS' 'Case'
Kenny Johnson is set to do a four-episode arc on CBS' crime drama "Cold Case" at the beginning of next season.

Johnson, who guest starred on the show's Season 3 finale, will reprise his character of Joseph, a drug counselor who was believed to be dead for a year before resurfacing. While working on his case, Lilly Rush (Kathryn Morris) finds herself having feelings for him.

Johnson, who co-stars on FX's "The Shield," is repped by the Kohner Agency and manager Danielle Allman-Del.

NBC 'Team' player with comedy
NBC O&Os and affiliates are set to air a sports comedy series dubbed "Sports Action Team" following the network's Sunday night telecasts of NFL games starting in the fall.

The original half-hour show is a semi-scripted series featuring improv actors and comedians as a hapless team of sports reporters. Every week, they will interact with real-world professional and amateur athletes, managers, fans and celebrities. Editor's Note: Not only is it any IMPROV show...of which I'm not a fan...but it's a SPORTS Improv show. I'm thinking this will be a good time to watch something else. ANYthing else.

"Team" stars Kevin Fleming, Steven Fleming, Niki Lindgren, Antoine McKay, Katie Nahnsen and Al Samuels. Chicago-based production company Towers Productions Inc., which developed the show in association with NBC owned-and-operated WMAQ in Chicago and its president and general manager Larry Wert, said Friday that it will produce 17 episodes of "Team."

The company said the show will air via NBC's West Coast and Rocky Mountain feeds as well as on other NBC O&Os and affiliates.

Keys to the kingdom
DW's 'Shrek' sequel boosts cast

Amy Sedaris

DreamWorks Animation has cast a small medieval kingdom's worth of fairy tale characters to appear in "Shrek the Third."

The next installment of the smelly ogre's saga, set for release next year, will star an elite, ninja-like strike force of fairy tale princesses voiced by Amy Sedaris as Cinderella, Amy Poehler as Snow White, Maya Rudolph as Rapunzel and Cheri Oteri as Sleeping Beauty.

Organized by Princess Fiona, the ladies underground resistance movement fends off a coup d'etat by Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) in the land of Far, Far Away.

Also joining the hit animated comedy's cast are Ian McShane as Captain Hook, John Krasinski as Sir Lancelot and Monty Python veteran Eric Idle as Merlin the magician. Editor's Note: Would you feel terribly bereft if you HADN't been asked to be in this film? I mean, almost EVERYbody is in it.

The film's main roles again will be voiced by Mike Myers (Shrek), Cameron Diaz (Princess Fiona), Eddie Murphy (Donkey) and Antonio Banderas (Puss in Boots).

Justin Timberlake will voice King Arthur, aka Artie.

"Shrek the Third" finds the green ogre married to Princess Fiona, but becoming the next King and Queen of Far, Far Away wasn't part of his plan. When his father-in-law, King Harold (John Cleese), falls ill, it is up to Shrek to find a suitable heir or he will be forced to give up his beloved swamp for the throne. Recruiting Donkey and Puss, Shrek sets out to bring back the rightful heir to the throne, Fiona's rebellious cousin Artie.

Back in Far, Far Away, Fiona's jilted Prince Charming storms the city with an army of fairy tale villains to seize the throne. But they have a surprise because Fiona, together with her mother, Queen Lillian (Julie Andrews), has drafted her fellow fairy tale heroines to defend their "happily ever afters."

As Shrek, Donkey and Puss work on changing Artie from a royal pain into a future king, Fiona and her band of princesses must stop Prince Charming to ensure that there will be a kingdom left to rule.

The DWA comedy will be distributed by Paramount Pictures and is set for release May 18. Editor's Note: Well it sounds like they haven't run out of cleverness plot-wise.

PRODIGY heading to big screen

Intrepid Pictures has purchased the rights to Dave Kalstein's novel PRODIGY. They have hired Kalstein to adapt it into a screenplay and production should begin next year.

PRODIGY is set in the near future and centers on an elite prep school that promises to turn teenagers into geniuses through a drug and diet regimen for a hefty half-million-dollar tuition. When several alumni turn up dead, the school's impoverished valedictorian, on scholarship, is assigned to investigate the murders, leading him to a fellow student who might be the victim of a cover-up.

Intrepid will likely make the $20 million project with Rogue Pictures as part of the five-year first-look deal they have in place.

Warner Bros. pick up FIRESTORM

Warner Bros. Pictures has purchased the rights to David Klass' young-adult novel Firestorm, the first in the planned Caretaker Trilogy. The contract gives Warner Bros. the right to option the two additional books in the series.

The sci-fi action-adventure FIRESTORM follows a seemingly normal high school senior who finds himself at the center of an epic battle that's being fought both now and a thousand years in the future. The fate of Earth hangs in the balance. Editor's Note: oh for pete's sake, when DOESN'T the fate of Earth hang in the balance! So finish your homework, and then we can talk about saving the future, blah blah blah.

The book's plot teaser goes: His mother is not his mother. His father is not his father. But if Jack hadn't broken the high school rushing record that night, he never would have known and nothing would have changed. He'd just be going out for pizza, playing football, trying yet again to score with his girlfriend, P.J. But he did break the record. He appeared on the news. And now they've found him. Jack plunges into a space-time - bending game of survival with no way out. The rules are shrouded in secrets. But one thing he learns fast: Trust no one.

After centuries of abuse, the earth is dying, and it's up to Jack to reverse the decline before the Turning Point, when nothing will ever be the same again. Beaten into shape by a ninja babe and a huge telepathic man's best friend, Jack hurtles across the ocean to save the future from the present and to solve the mystery of his purpose. Exactly who, or what, is Firestorm, and what does it have to do with Jack? And what comes next when everything you have ever known turns out to be wrong?

The second installment in the series is titled WHIRLWIND and focuses on rain forests, while the third is titled TIMELOCK and deals with global warming.

Jessica Alba in THE EYE
Lionsgate is in talks to have Jessica Alba star in the upcoming remake of THE EYE. David Moreau and Xavier Palud are set to direct the film which will begin filming this coming winter.

THE EYE follows a cornea transplant recipient who sees disturbing images in the mirror that send her on a quest to find out what happened to the eye's previous owner.

Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner persuaded Paramount to buy the remake rights in 2002 and got close to making it there with Renée Zellweger. When Zellweger dropped out, the project lost its momentum and the studio put it into turnaround where Lionsgate snatched the rights.

The original film was made in Hong Kong by Thai directing brothers Danny and Oxide Pang.

If Alba signs on, THE EYE would be her next film following the FANTASTIC FOUR sequel.

Zeta-Jones going to New York, New York?

Catherine Zeta-Jones is up for giving her lungs another workout.

According to Sky News, the “Chicago” fox is keen on doing another musical, and is said to have met with producers about possibly headlining a redo of a Liza Minnelli classic.

"I have been in talks about a remake of New York, New York and it's one of my all time favourite musicals. I love that forties period”, she tells the site. Editor's Note: And of course, the movie did so well the FIRST time....ahem......

The original film, starring Minnelli and Robert De Niro, told of a smooth-talking musician, and a lounge singer, respectively, who meet on the last day of the war, and unhurriedly fall for each other.

Busy year for Zeta-Jones next year though – she’s in the “Stompanato” biopic, is doing a comedy called “Rachel’s Holiday”, stars opposite Guy Pearce in “Death Defying Acts”, and is attached to Joel Zwick’s “Coming Out” – don’t see how she can fit it in.

Her husband, Michael Douglas, is apparently also keen for her to play a role (possibly as the heroine to his villain) in his “Romancing the Stone” style adventure, “Racing the Monsoon”. Choices, Choices…

Kate Walsh and John Cusak in 1408

Kate Walsh (Grey's Anatomy) has signed on the dotted line and will join John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson in the Dimension Films' big screen Stephen King adaptation 1408.

Cusack will play a debunker of paranormal occurrences who encounters real terror when he checks into the notorious Room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel. Walsh plays his ex-wife and the mother of his young daughter. Editor's Note: Have you ever notice how King's stories usually involve broken relationship people getting terrorized by beasties? Stay single! (just to be safe......)

The film is set to be filmed this summer in the U.K. via director Mikael Hafstrom (Derailed).

Jim Broadbent Is A Father Figure
Starring in Blake Morrison's memoir

Jim Broadbent is set to star alongside Colin Firth Editor's Note: Please note, that despite the fact that the delicious Mr. Firth is in this movie, we are being egalitarian in showing the somewhat less-visibly-delicious Mr. Broadbent's picture. Sigh.... in When Did You Last See Your Father?, which is based on Blake Morrison’s memoir of life with his dad.

Firth will play the grown poet, while Jim Broadbent stars as his father between the ages of 35 and 70. Anand Tucker – who dropped out of directing The Golden Compass (AKA the first His Dark Materials entry) – will step behind the camera to helm a script adapted by Simpatico writer David Nicholls.

Good Evening for Toni Collette

The perpetually active Toni Collette (next seen – looking suitably uncultivated – in the Robin Williams thriller, “The Night Listener”) has agreed to star in “Evening”, based on Susan Minot's best-selling novel of the same name.

Co-starring screen queen Vanessa Redgrave and screen spunk Claire Forlani, it centers on 65-year-old cancer patient Ann Grant Lord, who reflects on a weekend in her youth when she met the love of her life, as her two daughters try to come to terms with her impending death while struggling with their own issues.

Redgrave is set to star as Lord, with Danes and Collette respectively co-starring as daughters Ann and Nina.

Hungarian cinematographer turned filmmaker Lajos Koltai (“The Emperor’s Club”, “Fateless”) is calling the shots.

Denzel Washington is Master Chief?
IGN and Dark Horizons have reported a rumor floating around regarding the possibility of Denzel Washington playing Master Chief in the upcoming film HALO.

According to the rumor, Washington is apparently the favorite for the part, no official word has been given.

The AP reported earlier this month that Washington had met with Peter Jackson in New Zealand to discuss working on an undisclosed film. Jackson is serving as executive producer on the upcoming HALO film.

Guillermo Del Toro's name has been floated as a possible director for the film, though Washington could theoretically serve that capacity as well.

Time will tell.

Whitford doing American Crime
Former “West Wing” star Bradley Whitford is ready to attack the big screen again.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Whitford, who will soon be seen on TVs “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”, has joined the cast of "An American Crime," a gritty true-crime drama being directed by Tommy O'Haver.

The film, written by O'Haver and Irene Turner, tells the story of Sylvia Likens, a 16-year-old who died in 1965 while under the care of a woman named Gertrude Baniszewski. Whitford plays the prosecuting attorney in the trial of Baniszewski v. the state of Indiana.

Prior to his role as Josh Lyman on TV hit “The West Wing”, Whitford was one of the busiest supporting film actors around – appearing in everything from “My Life”, “The Client”, “Young Guns II”, “Philadelphia”, “Billy Madison” and “Robocop 3”.

Nala enrolls for 'Burnout' class
Nala Films has picked up Eric Gravning's comedy spec "Mr. Burnout," about a bitter English teacher who accepts a bet and renews his faith in teaching. The spec sale represents the first for Gravning, who was awarded the James A. Michener fellowship from University of Texas, where he received his master's degree in fine arts.

John Woo Plans Comic
Hires Garth Ennis for Seven Brothers

While John Woo appears to have turned his back on Hollywood, he’s obviously still interested in comic books. The freshly formed Virgin Comics company has wrapped a deal with the director for him to oversee a title called Seven Brothers, which will be written by Preacher’s Garth Ennis.

Brothers follows seven siblings who are sent out on Chinese explorer ships and end up on different continents. Five hundred years later, their descendants must battle a huge evil intent on destroying the world.

"We see this franchise as a great way for filmmakers to flesh out their ideas and it helps set up a great template to continue developing the projects for film or other mediums," Virgin's co-founder Gotham Chopra told Variety. "And starting with John Woo and Terence Chang, we have paved the road with gold so far." Editor's Note: 10 points subtracted for misusing the word "medium" as a plural. (the you wise dweebpals all MEDIA).

That ends my word pet peeve session for the day. Moving on.....

Angelina Jolie In Daniel Pearl Memoir
Playing his widow

The tragic fate of journalist Daniel Pearl – murdered by his kidnappers in – has provided material for two books and now two films.

While the freshly fictionalised version – Who Killed Daniel Pearl? – is trundling into production with Josh Lucas playing a man investigating Pearl’s death, the real-life tale is getting some heftier star wattage and a top-notch director to boot.

Mariane Pearl’s memoir A Mighty Heart will see Angelina Jolie playing Pearl’s widow, while Michael Winterbottom will direct and has co-written the film with Laurence Coriat. He’s scheduled to start shooting in the next five weeks.

"I am delighted that Angelina Jolie will be playing my role in the adaptation of my book," Pearl told Variety. "I deeply admire her work and what she is committed to. I am also happy that Michael Winterbottom a versatile and talented director who genuinely loves truth will be working on this project as well."

It should be no surprise that Brad Pitt’s Plan B company is behind the film, with this scheduled as Jolie and Pitt’s first co-production since, well, their daughter Shiloh.

Focus, RHF plan 'Attack' with Doueiri
NEW YORK -- Random House Films and Focus Features have nabbed their first behind-the-scenes talent for one of their first two films. Ziad Doueiri is attached to direct and, with Joelle Touma, signed to adapt "The Attack," a French novel about an Arab surgeon in Tel Aviv who learns a devastating secret about his wife's involvement in a suicide bombing.

The project, produced by John Wells, is based on the book by Yasmina Khadra. Khadra is the pseudonym for Mohammed Moulessehoul, a former Algerian army officer who adopted a woman's pen name to avoid military censorship.

"Attack" was published domestically in May by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, an imprint of Random House's Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group. Doueiri and his girlfriend Touma co-wrote the screenplay for Doueiri's last film, the 2004 French language drama "Lila Said" (Lila dit ca). He also wrote and directed the 1998 drama "West Beruit"

Piper Perabo and Lou Pucci join Pastor Bros. film

Lou Taylor Pucci is in talks and Piper Perabo has signed on to star in an untitled Pastor brothers film. They will join Chris Pine in the cast.

The post-apocalyptic thriller follows four friends trying to escape a viral pandemic that has infected the American West. In doing so they find out that they are more dangerous to one another than the virus. Editor's Note: Don't that just sound like a lot of people you know!? Bring on the virus!

Written by Alex and David Pastor, the film is being produced by This Is That and distributed by Paramount Vantage.

Wesley Snipes to play the GALLOWWALKER

Editor's Note: My my my Mr. S....buff, ain't we!?

Wesley Snipes has signed on as the lead in Andrew Goth's film GALLOWWALKER, written by Joanne Reay.

Snipes part will be that of a mysterious gunman Kaos, the son of a nun who breaks her covenant with God to ensure his survival. Editor's Note: Sounds like that wasn't the very FIRST time she acted out? (ahem....) This act brings a curse upon Kaos - all those that die by his gun will return. Hunted by a gang of his undead former victims, led by the vicious Kansa, Kaos enlists Fabulos, a new young warrior to fight by his side. Editor's Note: Got all that? Cause there will be a quiz.

Filming is set to being next month in Namibia, South Africa.

Editor's Note: It's summer. And that means what? SUPERHEROES, natch. So go to this website and take this fun quiz "What Superhero are You?",,724258,00.html

FYI, I was Spider(wo)man. WooHoo!


Editor's Note: A mere whippersnapper!
Editor's Note: Was anyone ever handsomer than this?
Editor's Note: The middle, still handsome but getting craggy, era,
Editor's Note: Yep. Geezer. HANDSOME Geezer. But still...geezer.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tuesday Movie Dweebing

Editor's Note: This first item is either HUGE BREAKING NEWS.....or complete rumor-mongering. Fun, either way -----
Natalie Portman is INDIANA JONES' daughter?
Rumors are floating around saying that Natalie Portman may have been cast in yet another Lucas film, this time as Indiana Jones' daughter.

Karen Allen let the following slip in a Q&A session following a RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK screening: "Oh, and I just heard Natalie Portman was cast as Indy's daughter."

Allen would not clarify and no official word has been given, so take it for what it is, yet another INDIANA JONES rumor.

Depp And Zwigoff Have Happy Days
Adapting French novel
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Given how high he’s riding with the Pirates sequel, our guess is Johnny Depp could get any old idea he jots down on a post-it note greenlit with a blockbuster production budget attached in seconds.

Fortunately for all of us, he's being a little more careful than that.

While part of us is wishing he’d use that power to resurrect Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, we can’t help but applaud as he reaffirms his indie credentials by seeking out Bad Santa’s Terry Zwigoff for an adaptation of French Novel Happy Days.

It’s an entirely Fonz-free tale of a Thirtysomething bloke who decides to ditch his cosy family life and check into a rest home for the elderly. There he meets an old terminal cancer patient, strikes up a close bond and spirits her away for a special journey to fulfil her final wish.

"Johnny Depp asked me to do the film," Zwigoff blabbed to Variety. "He said he chose me because I'm very Hal Ashby-like. I took that as a compliment. It's a very quaint, fantastical story."

Jerry Stahl, best known for Permanent Midnight, will co-write the script.

Tim Story gives a FANTASTIC FOUR update
Tim Story posted a new entry in his myspace blog and it deals with the upcoming FANTASTIC FOUR film.
Story writes:

Sorry guys,
I've been going crazy prepping this thing. Just got back from Vancouver, which is of course where we will be filming the movie, and things are shaping up. It's the hard part of the phase where I have to make the ..'s work. Even with 100+ mil, there's never enough money. Editor's Note: Raise your hand if you think that people who say things like this need a spanking? (Of course it's not HIS money, and at this point, he probably doesn't even realize those numbers represent CASH). Looking at the plan for the new Baxter Building interior and it's going to be hot. We're going more high tech and we're giving Reed Richards and the gang more gadgets this time around. The "4" logo will be everywhere as we are used to seeing it. They are a corporation now.

I'm going to use some looks that have been inspired from more recent comics, like in "The Ulimate Exstinction" and a little from the "Ultimate Fan Four" series. I know what you're thinking "Kirby, Kirby, Kirby!" There will be much props given to Kirby throughout the movie.

What I'm really excited about is the Fantasticar. It's coming guys in all it's glory. Wait until you see it. It's going to split in pieces and all that. Johnny and Ben fight over who should fly it. All the fun you expect.

Anyway, I'm jumping off. My kid's bday is today and I gotta set up a jumper and blow up balloons. Can't get in trouble. Sorry I haven't been giving you guys more info on a regular basis. I will. Understand there's always so much secrecy with this stuff but I'm going to continue to share in every way I can. Hopefully I'll be able to show some pictures in the near future. I want to keep you guys close to this process. It's going to be fun.

Until next time.

P.S. I'm typing so fast, so if anything's misspelled, forgive me.

Hopefully a picture of the Fantasticar will be leaked shortly! Editor's Note: Yeah. Cause I don't think I'll be able to SLEEP till I see.......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Angelina Jolie lends voice to KUNG FU PANDA

According to the USA TODAY, Angelina Jolie will be providing her voice to the animated film KUNG FU PANDA for DreamWorks. Jolie will voice Tigress, a martial-arts master. Editor's Note: Playing herself, yet again! (giggle)

The film follows Po the Panda, voiced by Jack Black, who slings noodles in a restaurant and loves kung fu but doesn't have the body for it. When Po is revealed as the Chosen One to save the animals, Tigress must get the slacker panda into fighting form. Editor's Note: When lumpy shlubs get chosen do they ever question that hand-o-fate that is doing the chosing? Maybe hand-o-fate doesn't have the Panda's (or OUR) best interests at heart?

Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu and Ian McShane also voice characters for the film.

Intermedia moves on THE DROWNING MAN
Intermedia has optioned Adam Alleca's sci-fi action-thriller film THE DROWNING MAN reports The Hollywood Reporter.

THE DROWNING MAN is based on Hideshi Hino's manga Living Corpse and centers on a man who wakes up without a pulse and soon discovers that he is at the center of a macabre government experiment. Editor's Note: Plus, he's President! (no...wait...if he woke up without BRAIN activity, THEN he would be President. Without a pulse would be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? Minority Whip?)

No release date or cast info is available as of yet.

Vaughn is on 'Enemies' list
Paul Haggis wants to appoint Vince Vaughn to the post of treasury secretary in his hot-button political drama "Against All Enemies," the film version of Richard Clarke's inside-Washington memoir.

While no offer has been made to the "Wedding Crashers" star because Columbia Pictures is fine-tuning the film's budget, the helmer has had discussions with Vaughn about filling the role of former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.

Sean Penn, who recently cast Vaughn in his drama "Into the Wild," has been widely reported to be on board to play Clarke.

"Enemies" chronicles how the Bush administration handled the al-Qaida threat both before and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The former U.S. terrorism czar's story offers an insider's account into the nation's security apparatus, featuring a cast of Washington power brokers.

While Clarke's book has been criticized by the Bush administration, his version of the administration's security failures and its decision to go to war with Iraq has been backed up by testimony from O'Neill.

Haggis is supervising scribe James Vanderbilt as he pens the second draft of the screenplay based on the book published by Free Press in 2004. Vaughn is onscreen in "The Break-Up," which has grossed more than $114 million domestically. Editor's Note: Between Haggis and Clooney and Michael Moore, (and VP Gore), we're fighting movie at a time!

The Hills Have Weisz
German born-director Martin Weisz, whose latest film is “Rohtenburg” starring Keri Russell, will be heading to “The Hills”.

The filmmaker has been tapped to direct the sequel to Wes Craven’s “Hills Have Eyes”, says Fangoria. Weisz stepped in to direct when the studio’s original choice, Michael J. Bassett, passed due to a scheduling conflict.

The site also reports that actor Michael Bailey Smith, who played Pluto in the first film, has been reenlisted to star in the sequel. He’ll play a new character in this one – obviously, since Pluto bit the dust in the last one – the leader of the mutants. Editor's Note: Well shucks, you gave away the big ending. Guess I won't go see it then.....(snicker)

“The Hills Have Eyes 2” – or whatever the heck it’s called – hits cinemas next March.

LL Cool J, the Superhero?
LL Cool J could be starring in a film version of the comic “Panther” – if Jamie Foxx gets his way.
"I said, 'My man, you the only cat that can really pull this off. There's this black superhero called Panther”, Contact Music quoted Foxx as saying.

I assume he’s referring to ‘The Black Panther’, a fiercely proud warrior-ruler of his people, and former member of ‘The Avengers’.

The “Ray” star has been enlisted to help fellow musician LL (his co-star from 1999’s “Any Given Sunday”) get a film based on the Marvel comic, off the ground.

"We're trying to get this Panther production set up, because I think he'll smash that."

Dead Casting
Say what you will about the man – I admit, he’s the king of cheese – but I like Steve Miner’s stuff. I think he did some nice work on “Dawson’s Creek” and he put a nice polish on “Halloween H20”, and did a wonderful job on the highly underrated “Lake Placid”. In fact, I think the only film I really loathed of his was the lacklustre “Texas Rangers” – a film that put people, as in the hottest young stars at the time, before plot.

Now, according to Bloody Disgusting, Miner is attached to direct “Day of the Dead”, a remake of the classic 1985 Zombie film about a world overrun by flesh hungry zombies and the small group of survivors, holed up in an underground military bunk, who go up against them.

According to the abovementioned site, Ving Rhames - who starred in the recent “Dawn of the Dead” remake – will also be starring in this one. He’ll be joined by spunkrat, Mira Sorvino, who’s no stranger to monster-mashing movies, having starred in the giant-bug thriller “Mimic”.

The remake will film – like so many other horror movies of late – in Bulgaria.

Liu, Murphy are lead 'Detectives'
Lucy Liu and Cillian Murphy are set to star in "Watching the Detectives," a romantic comedy from Toronto-based Peace Arch Entertainment and New York-based Plum Pictures. Paul Soter of Broken Lizard fame wrote the script and is making his directorial debut on the movie.

"Detectives" centers on a film noir buff (Murphy) whose world is turned upside down when a beautiful, unpredictable femme fatale (Liu) provides far more adventure than he ever experienced -- and possibly more than he can handle.

Shooting is due to start this week in New York.

Uni bites into 'Dracula' spec for De Luca
Universal Pictures has sunk its teeth into "Dracula Year Zero," a spec written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. Michael De Luca is producing.

The script chronicles the epic origin of Dracula, weaving vampire mythology with the true history of Prince Vlad the Impaler. It depicts Dracula as a flawed hero in a tragic love story set in a dark age of magic and war, repositioning him more as a vengeful hero than the monster seen in Bram Stoker's classic novel. Editor's Note: Blah blah blah...ALL the bad guys are not really bad, they're just misunderSTOOD.


Upcoming Film Spotlight: THE INSATIABLE
A vampire film you can sink your teeth into
Editor's Note: I'd snark that no one has ever used THAT lame joke before, but since this movie stars my sweetie, Sean Patrick Flanery, I think we really CAN sink our teeth...ahem.....well....YOU know......

Editor's Note: Mine! Mine! Mine!

What if you met the girl of your dreams … but she was evil? Editor's Note: Well, then you'd be dweebpal Samantha! (giggle)

Writer-directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman explore this conundrum in their recently wrapped vampire film THE INSATIABLE.

The duo’s directorial debut, a twisted love story with horror, comedy and action elements, follows a drab guy named Harry (Sean Patrick Flanery)Editor's Note: Yummyyummyyummy. whose dull life becomes more interesting when he witnesses a female vampire (Charlotte Ayanna) feast on a homeless guy in an alley. Harry hatches a plan to trap her in his basement to stop her from killing ... falling in love with her in the process.

Produced by Lawrence Mortoff, Tony Cinciripini, and Javier Chapa, among others, the cast of THE INSATIABLE also includes Josh Hopkins (L.A. CONFIDENTIAL), Boyd Kestner (BLACK HAWK DOWN), and Jon Huertas ("Sabrina, The Teenage Witch”).

Shot in Austin, Texas, THE INSATIABLE boasts a technological milestone being the first film shot with a special converter that makes it possible to record a CinemaScope size (aspect ratio 2.35:1) image with an HD camera. This enables HD films to be shown in theaters without having to crop the image and avoiding vertical resolution loss. Editor's Note: yeah, but did they remember to have a SCRIPT. (I always worry when they tout the tech stuff)

Solomon and Konzelman are veterans in the screenwriting world with numerous studio and TV network sales as writers, producers and now directors. Some of their notable projects include INFERNO at Warner Bros., TOKYO GHOST STORY at Fox, DEAD AGAIN at CBS and the duo were the creators of THE IMMORTAL TV series starring Lorenzo Lamas.

THE INSATIABLE is currently in post-production and will be screened at film festivals early this fall.

Jackson hops on 'Jumper'
Samuel L. Jackson is teleporting into a starring role for Regency Enterprises' "Jumper." Doug Liman is directing the sci-fi thriller, making it his first feature helming gig since "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."

Based on the Steven Gould novel, "Jumper" follows a kid from a broken home who discovers that he has the ability to teleport. In his quest for the man he believes is responsible for the death of his mother, the kid draws the attention of the National Security Agency and another youth with the same abilities.

Jackson will play the NSA agent tracking the jumper, and may have ulterior motives for finding him. Tom Sturridge, Jamie Bell and Teresa Palmer already have been cast.

Magnolia lines up 'Cocaine' rights
NEW YORK -- Magnolia Pictures has nabbed all English-language territory rights to Billy Corben's "Cocaine Cowboys," which chronicles the Miami-based drug trade explosion of the 1980s and its impact on society.

The documentary hits theaters in the fall. Jan Hammer, who composed the music for the "Miami Vice" TV series and the upcoming film version, scored "Cocaine," which features interviews with top cops who sniffed out offenders, along with criminals up and down the cocaine food chain, from drug kingpins to dealers and killers.

"It's 'Miami Vice' stripped of its cool pretension and peopled by characters that make Al Pacino's Scarface look like a wimp," Magnolia Pictures president Eamonn Bowles said. " 'Cocaine Cowboys' is a visually imaginative, fantastically constructed and too-strange-not-to-be-true account of how the Miami of today was built."

Leguizamo, Gibson, join 'The Take'
John Leguizamo, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Perez, Bobby Cannavale, RZA and Meagan Good will star in the Los Angeles-set indie "The Take." Ithaka Films is producing, and Hatchet Films is financing. Music video helmer Brad Furman will make his feature directorial debut on the film, which was written by Josh and Jonas Pate (creators of NBC series "Surface").

"Take" revolves around an armored-truck driver (Leguizamo) who is shot during a heist in East Los Angeles and chronicles the lengths he goes to after rehabilitation to track down the criminal (Gibson) who shattered his life. The low-budget film will be shot guerilla-style without sets in predominantly Latino neighborhoods.

Shooting is set to begin in September.

Ian McShane joins CASE 39
Ian McShane (Deadwood) has signed on to star with Renee Zellweger in CASE 39 for Paramount Pictures. McShane will play a cop who helps Zellweger investigate the case.

The script is by Ray Wright and centers around an idealistic social worker (Zellweger) who saves a 10-year-old girl from her abusive parents. She later discovers that the girl is not quite as innocent as she thought.

Also cast in the film are Kirsten Storms and Alexis Thorpe. German director Christian Alvart will direct the Paramount Pictures horror film which is due to start shooting later this summer in Vancouver.

Hogan leads WB's chase for 'Vermeer'
P.J. Hogan has signed on to direct "Chasing Vermeer," Warner Bros. Pictures' adaptation of Blue Balliett's best-selling children's book. Plan B is producing.

Described as a "Da Vinci Code" for tweens, "Vermeer" is a mystery adventure that revolves around a boy and girl who attend the University of Chicago's Laboratory Schools, a school for the gifted. The two sixth graders team to solve the theft of a painting by 17th century painter Johannes Vermeer.

The book, published by Scholastic, features codes and clues in the illustrations by Brett Helquist, artist of "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events."

A Smidge of DISNEY Dweebing

Editor's Note: Just a couple of Disney items on this Fine Tuesday.

Old Disney magic in new animated logo
Moviegoers who saw Walt Disney Pictures' "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" over the weekend also discovered an unexpected bit of treasure. Buried beneath the usual movie trailers, just as "Dead Man's Chest" started, Disney unveiled a new, computer-animated logo that the Burbank-based studio spent a year designing.

In just 30 seconds, Disney's digitally revamped curtain-raiser travels from a star high above the clouds to reveal a jewel-colored landscape at dusk. The animated camera glides over a glistening lake to arrive at a glowing Disney castle where the studio's classic logo is spelled out in a silvery new 3-D typeface. Editor's Note: It's lovely. Not sure what took a whole YEAR to do, but it is lovely.

Dis heads back to 'Clubhouse'
Disney Channel has greenlighted a half-hour version of the short-form series "Johnny & the Sprites" and ordered a second season of "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" for Playhouse Disney, the network's learning-focused daily programming block aimed at preschoolers.

In addition, the network has set a premiere date of Sept. 16 for the block's new animated show "Handy Manny," starring Wilmer Valderrama.

Disney Channel Worldwide president of entertainment Gary Marsh is expected to make these announcements today at the Television Critics Assn. press tour at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Some PIRATES Wrap-Up

Editor's Note: Well the pirates have hijacked the cineplex. (And I helped!) I thought P2 was GREAT fun. And by the by, dweebpals......if you are not normally a credit watcher at the movies (and shame on you if you're not; it's part of the film), this is one time you would really be advised to STAY TILL THE VERY VERY END OF THE CREDITS!

Here's a little more piratical stuff in honor of a big box office weekend for Depp/Bloom/Knightley et al ----

Interview : Jerry Bruckheimer


Uber producer Jerry Bruckheimer remains one of Hollywood’s most successful producers, from TV to film, and this summer he’s back again with a new "Pirates" adventure.

As the man himself confesses to Paul Fischer, he consistently retains his passion for movies.

Q- How did it feel to see it last night?
BRUCKHEIMER: It’s always nice to see it, you know, with an audience. It’s much better. Cause people laugh and react. It’s much nicer.

Q – How does it feel to have a “sure thing?”
BRUCKHEIMER: Nothing’s a sure thing, other than death and taxes. That’s about it. They’re the only sure things that I know.

Q – People are going to see it no matter what we say.
BRUCKHEIMER: I’m not so sure. We’ll see. You’ll get a weekend, but the movie’s got to live up to the hype. It’s gotta be good.

Q – Why did you decide to do another one?
BRUCKHEIMER: First of all, the first movie entertained so many people. Editor's Note: ie, made a gazillian bucks! Disney and myself, and some of the other people involved felt that we should do another one and try to entertain them again. And Johnny wanted to continue his character. Orlando and Kiera were excited about coming back, and I think the hardest part was getting everybody together at the same time period. That’s why we made two movies. To get Gore, Elliot and Rossio, the three lead actors – that’s the hard part. Scheduling is really difficult. Then making the deal, especially when you come off a successful picture everybody deserves more money, and of course Disney always wants to make it for less. So you have a real problem.

Q – And you insisted that you get the same creative team?
BRUCKHEIMER: Yes. That’s right. They were very supportive.

Q – What is Gore’s biggest strength?
BRUCKHEIMER: Gore’s biggest strength – his intelligence. His ability as a filmmaker, ‘cause he’s a brilliant filmmaker. He’s exceedingly smart, and, I mean, you see how clever he is, how creative he is by watching the movie. You see all the kind of nuances he does. That’s the kind of movie you’ve got to see again. There’s so many things going on on the screen you can’t really take in in the first time. I’m still seeing things that are fresh to me and I’ve seen the picture 50, 60 times.

Q – You have about 70 more days of shooting to do for #3. What stretched it out?
BRUCKHEIMER: Storms, hurricanes, sick actors. Little things that – some mechanical problems that we had stretched it out, so we had to cut our shooting short a little bit, which in a way was good because it gave us more time to prepare and edit the second movie.

Q – Was sickness a problem?
BRUCKHEIMER: We had an actor that was stuck in England because he couldn’t fly, so we had to try to scramble and figure out something else to shoot.

Q – Are we going to see you do more action/adventure and sci-fi stuff on television?
BRUCKHEIMER: I think we’ll stick to the formula that has been working by giving you good strong dramas, and hopefully drift into some comedies too. So I think it’s hard to do the big action/adventure stuff for television ‘cause you just don’t have the budgets to do it.

Q – What kind of comedies do you think you’ll be doing?
BRUCKHEIMER: Don’t know yet but will look for any good ideas. Editor's Note: 'good' ideas? THERE's a fresh idea!

Q – Do you feel differently between your film projects and your TV projects?
BRUCKHEIMER: No. Good entertainment’s good entertainment. You try to, um, we call it our television division feature television so we try to put the same kind of creative talent behind the cameras that we do on our big features, so you get, hopefully, something unique and fresh and something different for television.

Q – Can you be specific about the technical problems?
BRUCKHEIMER: Weather. Weather. Constant weather problems. We built this tank in the Bahamas and we had to dredge out to 25 feet so we could get the Black Pearl in there, and next morning we’d dredge out to 25 feet and the next morning it was back to 5 feet. The storm had pushed all the sand back in.Editor's Note: It's not NICE to fool Mother Nature, eh?! Then they put up a sea wall to stop the sand from coming in. You know, you get those things and you have to roll with the punches.

Q – How do you account for the success of the first movie?
BRUCKHEIMER: I think it’s a combination of what Terry and Ted wrote, Gore’s vision, and the fact that you had three, four phenomenal actors. So I think the combination of Johnny, Kiera, Orlando, Geoffrey Rush, the creativity of the way Gore did it, the way they constructed the story, and the entertainment value. It’s just great entertainment, and that’s what people look for.

Q – Can you give us an update on Déjà Vu?
BRUCKHEIMER: Sure. We finished filming. It’s with Denzel Washington. It’ll come out in November, and Tony Scott directed it. And it’s kind of a love story, crime procedural.

Q – Were you able to shoot it in New Orleans?
BRUCKHEIMER: Yes. We were I think one of the first films to come back and went back in February to open arms. They were thrilled we were there and they had tears in their eyes that we gave them the ability to make a living - the film community there. – ‘cause they hadn’t worked since the storm hit.

Q- Is Without a Trace moving out of its Thursday slot?
BRUCKHEIMER: It is. That’s correct.

Q – Do you like that juxtaposition with Cold Case?
BRUCKHEIMER: I have no say in it, unfortunately. It’s really the network that makes those decisions, and hopefully they’re making the right decision. They made the right decision by moving CSI to Thursday night, so let’s hope that their wisdom holds for Without a Trace.

Q- Did you see any growth in Orlando and Johnny as actors from 1 to 2?
BRUCKHEIMER: I think we all grow. As we get older hopefully we learn and pick up things along the way. You certainly can see it in Kiera. She’s a woman now. She was much younger the first time. I think she was 18 years old or 19 years old when we first filmed her. So you can certainly see it in her. And Orlando too. He’s maturing very nicely. And Johnny’s just brilliant. He always does wonderful things.

Q- What are you working on?
BRUCKHEIMER: I love Déjà vu, and I’m excited about Pirates 3 which we start filming again in August, so those are the ones that are happening. And we’re trying to put together another National Treasure starting in January. Editor's Note: Oh...goodie!

Q – How’s that going?
BRUCKHEIMER: We have a screenplay that we’re still working on and Nic of course is interested in doing it and how good the screenplay’s going to be. Editor's Note: yes please, check the script first. No sucky sequels! (that's all we ask).

Q- Is there a mystery with an equal component of true American history?
BRUCKHEIMER: Yes. Same thing. We found phenomenal facts about American history and we’re going to try to incorporate it into the story.

Q – Who was the first person to say “let’s do pirates 2?”
BRUCKHEIMER: I don’t know if it came from me, from Disney. It was either Dick Cook or myself who said maybe we should do 2.

Q – Did you ever play cheerleader for Gore?
BRUCKHEIMER: No. I think he’s – Gore gets in the trenches and just fights you know. He just puts one foot in front of the other and just keeps going. It’s really hard to push him off. He’s very study, very even. I’ve never seen him raise his voice or get too excited. He just gets it done. You’re on the set with him and everything could be falling apart and he just stays very calm.

Q – How do you stay calm?
BRUCKHEIMER: I’m churning inside, but I’m calm on the outside.

Q – Johnny said he would keep going on with these movies. Is there a point where you just say that’s enough?BRUCKHEIMER: As long as Terry and Ted come up with interesting plots and themes, we’ll continue to make them. And Disney wants to finance them, we’d love to do it. He loves the character, we love the movies, we love working with all the creative talent that’s involved. It’s been a lot of fun.

Q – Memorial Day is the opening for 3?
BRUCKHEIMER: Yes. Editor's Note: Ok. 1 and 2 at my house, then 3 at the theater. Next May. BOOK it!

Q – (couldn’t hear all the question) Are you concerned about coming up with something special
BRUCKHEIMER: No, I think good ideas will rise to the top – fresh, unique ideas. And those are the ones that are the most dangerous. This was a dangerous movie to make. When I sat here with you 3 years ago when the first one came out, before you’d seen it everyone was very skeptical about it and about its commercial potential. On paper you’re looking at a movie about a theme park ride to follow The Country Bears. So I mean, it was daunting to try to convince the press that we had something that we thought was real special. Editor's NOte: And I confess I was one of the sceptics. But, come on....a movie about a park ride! Who knew!?

Q – Gore said he hasn’t thought about what’s going to be on the DVD. Do you have DVD plans?
BRUCKHEIMER: Oh yeah. There’s a lot of phenomenal stuff that we filmed that is not in the movie. That dice game. There’s some additional footage on that dice game that’s fantastic that will be in the DVD. There’s a lot of stuff like that. Editor's Note: Woohoo!! EXTRAS! I love having EXTRAS. (and sometimes, I even get around to watching them!)

Q – Does this require more to complete the effects?
A - They’re already completed. Gore getting time to go into the editing room and kind of go through all that material and start putting it together. And some wonderful stuff on Cannibal Island with Johnny. Some very funny things that you just couldn’t put everything in.

Q – What about trailers for the third one?
BRUCKHEIMER: In the DVD? Yeah, I would imagine we would. I would think so.

Q – How about behind the scenes?
BRUCKHEIMER: Tons of it. We had a guy there most of the time. I think we gave the assistant cameramen some video cameras or digital cameras that they were filming stuff. So there’s a lot of material available. There was a documentarian that was following Gore around during the pre-production and the script phase of it, which has got some wonderful stuff. And decisions that were made on building the ships, not building the ships, where to build things, what to do, the twists and turns in the script.

Q – Did you have input into the theme park ride?
BRUCKHEIMER: Yeah. Disney did it and they showed us the kind of things they were doing and I know Johnny gave them quite a bit of input on what he felt was appropriate for his character, and even changed some of the dialogue that they wanted him to record, and made it more form the point of view of Captain Jack.

Q – Do you still remain impassioned as a film producer as you were in the beginning?
BRUCKHEIMER: Oh yeah. I love it. I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t care about it or had other things that I felt were more important, but I love what we do. I love the work. I love the ability to be able to talk to you and answer questions and promote our movies. Editor's Note: Ok, I almost believed him until that last bit. SURRRRReeee he loves having inane conversations with online reporters. SUrrrre he does. Making them is one thing but you’ve got to go out and sell them too.

Q – Back to Déjà Vu. Did you have Terry (Russio) on set a lot?
BRUCKHEIMER: He did some, but his partner Bill did some rewrites as we went along. But that script was in fairly good shape when we started.

Q – How different is it to have this franchise with everyone together?
BRUCKHEIMER: They’re such great writers and inventors that we love having them around on all our stuff. They worked on National Treasure for us, they came up with new ideas for National Treasure 2. They’re a creative team that we want to keep in our family.

Q- You said Nic wants to do National Treasure 2. What’s the supporting cast? Jon Voight, Sean Bean?BRUCKHEIMER: No, I think we’re past Sean Bean but hopefully we’ll have the same group back together again. Editor's Note: Was this a slam on the actor, or did the character die in the first one? (memory lapse. AGAIN)

Q- Jon Voight, Diane?
BRUCKHEIMER: That’s what we’re looking at right now.

Q – How do you choose what projects you oversee and take on?
BRUCKHEIMER: Do I want to see it. It’s real simple. I don’t know what you like. I know what I like. And that’s all I can judge it on. I have no idea what the audience wants to go see. And some day it will pass me by. I won’t be here and somebody else will be sitting in this chair. But right now my tastes are very similar to what movie goers want. I’m a passionate moviegoer. I’ll be at the mall on the weekend or in Santa Monica watching films when I’m not working. So I love going to movies. It inspires me to see terrific film.

Q- What did you like this year?
BRUCKHEIMER: That’s a tough question. We’ll talk about the summer movies. Da Vinci Code I enjoyed The Da Vinci Code. I thought it was a really well made, well acted film and an intriguing concept, it’s a great concept. I saw X-Men which I really liked. What else came out? The Break Up. I loved that. I thought it was great, a fantastic comedy. Cars, I haven’t seen Cars yet. Mission Impossible was exciting. It had great action in it and Tom was great. Just really good filmmakers.

Q- Could you compare the anxiety level on the day before the first Pirates opened and this one?BRUCKHEIMER: This one’s harder, only because the first movie we put in front of a real audience and we previewed it and we saw what worked and what needed work and made adjustments. This one we’ve never put in front of an audience, other than 20 people, some friends and stuff like that. Never a real audience. You’re the first audience, and you’re avid filmgoers so you’re not the public. So it’s still frightening because we’ve never seen it with people who pay money to go to the movies.

Q- Is there time to adjust Pirates 3 if you discover something with this one?
A –Yeah. Of course. There are plenty of things we can adjust in the third one, but this one’s done. It’s finished. It’s out there. What you saw is the movie.

Q – What can we see with comic book transformations?
BRUCKHEIMER: We’re working on Prince of Persia, which is a big video game. Hopefully we’ll get that made.

Q – On the rare occasion when a Jerry Bruckheimer movie doesn’t connect with hundreds of millions of people, how do you account for that?
BRUCKHEIMER: I screwed up somewhere.

Q – One time when you had a more unusual taste?
BRUCKHEIMER: I think just sometimes we made mistakes in telling a story. We make errors in story telling and characterizations. Those are the things that don’t drive people to the movie theaters. You’ve got to make things fresh and unique, and what I love about this movie is it’s unique. It’s fresh. It takes you on a real ride. And it’s unexpected.

Q- You knew you were taking a risk with King Arthur but you wanted to go ahead with it.
BRUCKHEIMER: I still loved the movie. It was a success. It did 150 million foreign. It’s a big DVD seller. It just didn’t expand 50 million dollars here. But that happens. Look at The Da Vinci Code, which I can’t compare those two movies, but they’re 450 or something foreign and 200 here, so you can see the difference with what a foreign audience likes and a domestic audience. Sometimes it’ll work overseas and you won’t even know about it and it will be a successful film and yet you look at it here and you say ‘ah, it’s mediocre.’

Q – Is there anything you don’t like to see?
BRUCKHEIMER: Yeah. I’m not a horror fan. I’m really not. I don’t go to horror pictures. It doesn’t excite me. That’s about it.

Q – You brought up King Arthur. Do you think the rated R version would have done better stateside?BRUCKHEIMER: I think in retrospect - it’s easy to look in retrospect because you have 20-20 vision – I think if we had released it in the fall and gone with an R rated version we would have done better, but that’s in retrospect, so. Editor's Note: It sitll would have been a great cast and story in search of a much better script.

And now a little pirates-in-the-classroom moment. There WILL be a quiz following this short symposium ----

'Pirates' 101: Separating fact and fiction
July 7, 2006

Was Tortuga an actual pirate city? What does one do when told to "avast"? And did pirates really apply such thick eyeliner?

These and other pressing questions may be occupying viewers' minds, methinks, now that the charmingly wacky Captain Jack has sashayed into our theaters again in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

Thanks to Johnny Depp, pirates are cool again. For the curious of mind, here lie some valuable nuggets of information about pirates (or "buccaneers," to sound chic) that you can use to impress your kids after the first -- or fifth -- viewing of the film.

Q. Were there pirates in the Caribbean?
A. Quite a lot of them, actually. The 17th century has been called "The Golden Age of Piracy" in the Caribbean. Villainous pirates plied those waters, pillaging, plundering and pilfering. Even Tortuga -- the pirate city depicted in the first film -- existed, founded by buccaneers in 1630 on an island off Haiti.

Q. Was Port Royal a real place?
A. Yes, and it served as the capital of the British community in Jamaica in the 17th century. But ironically, the Brits in Port Royal welcomed pirates initially, in part because of the money they spent (the lure of tourist dollars is ever strong, apparently) but also in hopes that the pirates' fearsome reputation would keep the Spanish and French from attempting to capture Jamaica. It worked.

Q. So, the British government encouraged piracy?
A. Yes and no. In some cases, the British government actually commissioned seamen to commit acts of piracy. With one catch. They were charged to prey only upon Spaniards, British rivals on the high seas and in the New World. Sir Francis Drake was one such privateer. In the 16th century, he plundered countless Spanish ships and ports around the Caribbean, stealing the equivalent of millions of dollars in today's money, all in the name of the British crown. To the English, Drake was a national hero. To the Spanish he was, well, a pirate.

But unlike Drake, most pirates were scruffy free agents, and these found precious little welcome in the Caribbean by the early 18th century. Fed up with their thievery (though it's unclear what else they had expected from pirates), the British authorities in Port Royal shifted from welcoming them to hanging every pirate they could catch. Their corpses were then displayed as a warning, like the three whom Jack Sparrow salutes early in the first "Pirates" film.

Q. How about the "Pirates' Code"? Any truth to that?
A. The first film makes much of the "Pirates' Code." When Elizabeth is about to be seized in the first film, she asks for a parley, invoking the "Code of the Brethren, set down by the pirates Morgan and Bartholomew."

Clever film fiction, right? Wrong. Turns out Sir Henry Morgan and Bartholomew Roberts were actual pirates, members of a loose confederation of buccaneers called "The Brethren of the Coast," centered on the island of Tortuga in the 1600s.

Even the "Code" existed as an historical fact and, as in the movie, involved issues of fairness among the pirates. "No prey, no pay" was a common principle, but equal shares in the plunder was also valued. So, perhaps there existed some honor amongst thieves.

Q. Did pirates make their prisoners walk the plank?
A. It makes for great film drama, but pirates didn't actually do this. Though not because of gentlemanly qualms. In fact, real pirates tended toward even nastier behavior -- like gruesome tortures (holding lighted matches to a victim's eyes was a favorite) or hacking their prisoners to death with swords.

So, where did the notion of walking the plank come from? The best guess is that novelists invented it, like Robert Louis Stevenson, who included it in his adventure story Treasure Island.

Q. Did pirates look like Captain Jack Sparrow?
A. Probably not the eyeliner, though they could be pretty colorful characters. Many pirate captains wore rich velvet waistcoats and foppish big hats with feathers. The legendary Blackbeard sported dreadlocks and liked to braid his long beard and tie it in ribbons. But lest you get a girlish image here, you should know that when attacking, he was famous for sticking lighted matches under his hat and in his beard, which set off his wild-eyed gaze and thoroughly terrified his victims.

Q. What does "avast" mean?
A. It's a 17th century pirate's way to say, "Stop!" or "Stand still!" Try it on your kids sometime.

If these piratical facts whet your appetite for more pirate lore, check out the fascinating book Under the Black Flag: The Romance and Reality of Life Among the Pirates by the historian David Cordingly.

And if your kids remain unimpressed by your buccaneering knowledge, try some pirate insults on them. "Scabrous dog" and "scurvy blaggard" might do for starters. Editor's Note: ooooo....EXCellent!

Cathy Schultz, Ph.D. is a history professor at the University of St. Francis in Illinois. You can reach her through her Web site,