Friday, September 29, 2006

MORE Star Wars stuff

Drew Karpyshyn: Blazing the Path of Destruction
Dark Influences

The Sith Lords have grown from shadowy menaces lurking in the peripheries of Star Wars fiction to full-fledged central characters in their own dark dramas.

The latest chapter in Sith lore comes from Drew Karpyshyn, fantasy and science fiction writer, and award-winning writer/designer for the computer game company, BioWare.

Karpyshyn's first entry into the Star Wars expanded universe was the enthralling Knights of the Old Republic video game, which told the captivating tale of Darth Revan from the most intriguing, and surprising, vantage points.

Now, Karpyshyn has written his first Star Wars novel, Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, out today in hardcover from Del Rey Books.

How has your work in computer games influenced your writing?
The most obvious influence comes from my work on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. In researching the game I developed a real appreciation for the extended Star Wars universe; I became fascinated with the sheer depth and volume that existed beyond the movies. Being drawn into this world was the first big step towards writing Path of Destruction.

More generally speaking, I find that working in computer games has helped me better understand the concepts of agency and motivation. In game writing you tend to focus on presenting your story in a way that motivates players to make choices, then allows them to act on those choices. I like to think my non-game writing takes this principle and applies it to my characters, giving them strong motivations and more dynamic personalities. Since story is often about character, strong characters with drive and purpose help deliver a stronger overall story.

What are the differences between writing for games and writing novels? Do you have any preference?
While there are a lot of similarities, I find there are a couple major differences between the two genres. The first is in the final product: games (at least, BioWare games) tend to have a much broader and far-reaching scope than any novel. Take KOTOR: we had nine major characters who could join the party, hundreds of people you could meet and roughly 500,000 words of dialog -- about the equivalent of five full novels.

However, because the player is in control of major sections of the story, a game is forced to deal with things on a more superficial level. We don't know what order players are going to visit our worlds, or which choices they are going to make. Because of this, we sacrifice complexity to maintain control of the story.

Conversely, in a novel the author has complete control. Every move by every character is known well in advance, allowing the author to spin a very complicated, intricate story that digs way, way down into the core of the major characters. In short, games are wide and far reaching but the story tends to stay more on the surface, while novels are much more limited in focus but incredibly deep.

The second difference has to do with the actual creative process. A novel is a very individual effort: the author sinks or swims on his or her own merits alone. I did get a lot of help from my editors, but in the end the book is quite clearly a reflection of my own personal vision. A game involves creative input from hundreds of people: artists, designers, programmers, animators, writers, etc. The end product is a reflection of a group vision, with every person contributing in their own way. In a game, you sacrifice some creative control for the sense of community that comes from sharing and building your ideas with other talented and creative people.

Is Path of Destruction the first of a series? Will we see more of Darth Bane?
I hope so! Without giving anything away, I can honestly say Bane's saga doesn't end with the events of the book. I'd love to spend more time with the character, but that's not really my call. I hope fans feel the same way, and if Path of Destruction generates a demand for more Darth Bane, maybe the powers that be will tap me on the shoulder once again.

The Rule of Two -- talk about putting all your eggs in one basket! How can a system that relies on there being only two Sith in the entire galaxy at any time hope to survive? A single accident would be enough to wipe out the entire order forever, and being adept in the Force doesn't immunize one against accidents.
You have to be careful not to oversimplify the Rule of Two. On the surface it's basic and straightforward, but this is a philosophy that helped to shape the course of galactic history. There are levels below the surface, and a greater depth and complexity than first meets the eye.

I don't want to give too much away, as I do explore this in the book, but one element that is critical to the philosophy but may not be readily apparent is a belief in the power of the Force and its ability to enhance the power of the individual. An accident could wipe you out, but if you are worthy of being a Sith Master you have to believe you are strong enough to shape your destiny through the dark side so that there are no accidents. The fact that this philosophy kept the Sith line alive for over a thousand years is a pretty strong argument that there is some merit to it.

Who is Darth Bane?
Where did you get the idea for Darth Bane?
I think Bane's first appearance was in the Dark Horse comics, but my decision to use him as my central character was based on discussions between me and my editors. The comics introduced this character, but he wasn't the primary focus of that story. I found the character to be intriguing and compelling, but what really sold me was the opportunity to examine how someone evolves into the monster Bane finally becomes.

How involved was LucasBooks in this project?
Obviously they had to be involved on some level to make sure this novel fits in with the rest of the Star Wars intellectual properties. Path of Destruction introduces a new era in the Star Wars universe [for novels], and it was important to maintain the Star Wars "feel" and keep the story in line with existing continuity.

In the early stages of developing the story I had a lot of help from my editors Shelly Shapiro and Sue Rostoni, from Del Rey and Lucasfilm, respectively. I worked out the original concept of the book and then with their feedback hammered away at it until we all felt it was something really special. When it came to the actual writing, however, I was pleased to see they let me sink or swim on my own.

How did your views of the Force, and especially the dark side, evolve in the course of writing this book?
Much of the groundwork was laid through the work our team did on KOTOR. I think the big breakthrough came when I realized that, in and of itself, the dark side philosophy is not "evil." It's really about the power of the individual rather than the acceptance of collective good.

Understanding this makes you realize how appealing the dark side can really be, and that's where the true danger lies. Nobody starts out wanting to be reviled or a villain, but through the book I hope readers can gain a better understanding of how it could actually happen.

Since light and dark are two sides of a single thing, the Force, and not separate things themselves, why can't Force users balance both disciplines, drawing from each as the situation requires? In other words, why isn't there a third group of Force users, neither Jedi nor Sith but occupying a gray zone between them? I don't know if you can answer that, but it's something I've always wondered about...
I think there are people like this. In KOTOR we touched on this with the character of Jolee Bindoh, but I think there is an inherent flaw in being a "gray" Jedi. For me the key differences in the light and dark comes down to how you perceive the Force. Is it a great, binding energy that we serve by allowing it to act through us? Or is it a tool that we use to serve our own needs? Do you believe in the power of the individual, or the value of teamwork and the group? It's hard to live your life believing that the best answer is to become a strong individual at all costs and be willing to sacrifice yourself for the good of the group. They ideas aren't easily compatible, which is why "gray" Jedi are so rare. Editor's Note: Yes, but this oversimplifies the two choices. Sometimes, a situation calls for very individualistic responses. And sometimes, working with a team is the way to go. And sometimes the TEAM is evil. (My last JOB, for instance.....)

Was it a challenge to write a book featuring a villain as the main character? Did you have to go over to the dark side a bit yourself in order to write it?
It was a challenge, because I didn't want to soften Bane up at all. He is a monster, and I wanted to portray that. At the same time, I wanted the readers to sympathize with and understand him and his motivations. As for going over to the dark side, it wasn't as hard as you think.

Remember: the dark side itself isn't evil. It's more about individualism, which can actually be a very good and desirable thing. Self-improvement, confidence, attaining your goals through your dedication and hard work: these are noble traits. The trick comes in recognizing when this nobility becomes corrupted by greed or hate. Editor's Note: EXACTLY! There's no "I" in team. But spelling is over-rated.

Over 1,500 Customizable Prints Now Available at StarWarsShop
StarWarsShoppers may have noticed a new feature added to the StarWarsShop custom t-shirt shop recently -- custom posters and prints! That's right -- all the images that are available to make into t-shirts are now available in a wide range of print sizes and formats, from standard pin-up posters to matted and framed canvas prints.

If there's a particular image that you think perfectly captures the spirit of Star Wars, chances are the new print shop offers it in a variety of sizes among their current listing of over 1,500 images. Categories include characters, battle scenes, movie titles, posters & art, starships & vehicles, Clone Wars, and locations.

Sizes range from the small portfolio (around 11"x16") to huge (35"x50").

Star Wars art aficionados will be pleased to discover a cache of original concept art pieces that are available for the first time ever in a large size -- early Ralph McQuarrie concept artwork,Editor's Note: McQuarrie's stuff is GORGEOUS. This is VERY cool! rare Italian Papuzza poster illustrations, Doug Chiang production paintings, and unpublished vintage poster art from the classic trilogy years are just a few of the images you'll find available for poster-size reproduction.

One of the great functionalities of the new Star Wars print shop is the wide range of sizes, matting, and framing services available, all of which can be previewed before purchase. The variety of matting and framing styles will boggle the mind, and will likely keep you juggling variations for the best combination of print, single- double- or triple-matte, and frame. You even have a choice of regular, non-glare, or UV-protected acrylic glazing!

There are also options available for the print itself -- poster, matte print, gloss print, matte canvas, or gloss canvas. All selections (except for the "basic" format) are printed in UV-resistant archival inks that preserve the color of the original artwork.

There's even the option to personalize the print with a name and/or phrase when giving as a gift!

StarWarsShop's new print-on-demand feature is a fantastic resource for fans and collectors looking for the perfect presentation of their favorite Star Wars images.

Make sure to stop by StarWarsShop to browse through the hundreds of images now available as prints -- and why not pick up a t-shirt while you're at it!

Editor's NOte: We might have already posted info about this next item. Getting dottier..... But what he heck!? It's so cool, it bears another posting!

Star Wars 30th Anniversary Coin Album Now at StarWarsShop

The first figure featuring the new 2007 design is now available for pre-order from StarWarsShop, and includes a bonus album for the series' all-new set of 30th anniversary collector coins!

Darth Vader, as he appeared in Revenge of the Sith, launches the first wave of 2007 figures in the stunning new packaging unveiled earlier on Even better, collectors will be able to start displaying the exclusive collector coins bundled with each figure right away, since Darth Vader comes with a five-panel coin collecting album which holds 60 coins and features a brilliant full-color mural showcasing the many characters of the Star Wars saga. Editor's Note: Sigh....what if I just want the coins and not all those duplicate figures?


Start celebrating 30 years of Star Wars early with this fantastic figure and collector album pack, which brings the fun of Star Wars coin collecting back to action figure collectors!

Pre-order yours now at StarWarsShop!

Editor's Note: And here's more of what's coming in this 30th anniversary line ---
30th Anniversary Collection
Here's the first batch of new figures for 2007's 30th Anniversary Collection for your viewing pleasure.

Note that Figure #01 will be Darth Vader who will come with the Coin Album.

Figure #02 - Galactic Marine You wanted're getting him. Call him what you will ("Clone Commander"?), but you are going to need a few of these guys.

Figure #03 - Mace Windu Mace Windu FINALLY gets the SA treatment. 'Nuff said.

Figure #04 - R2-D2 Might this be the repaint of R4-G9 that we've all been waiting for? Could be....but this figure also comes with a blast effect seen from the Battle of Coruscant.

Figure #05 - Obi-Wan Kenobi An updated version of Obi-Wan Kenobi III-55 with new accessories based on his appearance on Utapau.

Figure #06 - Mustafar Lava Miner An all-new figure of the mysterious character glimpsed briefly on Mustafar.

Figure #07 - Airborne Trooper Another often-requested clone trooper, this time from Utapau. A repaint of the figure from Mace Windu's Attack Battalion, or is THAT figure a repaint of this one?

Figure #08 - Concept Stormtrooper A retooled figure based on the Mcquarrie Concept Stormtrooper, which was Fan's Choice Figure #4, and it the first in the Ralph McQuarrie Signature Series.

Figure #09 - Super Battle Droid This army builder figure has seen better days...because now he has a fiery mess all over his body! Looks like he's sporting new arms at least.

Kurt S. Adler's New Darth Vader Fabriche Figurine
Editor's Note: I'm not normally an Adler fan....but I might have to make an exception for THIS one. TOO funny!!!

Kurt S. Adler, Inc. Introduces Star Wars Darth Vader Fabriche Figurine to celebrate the release of the first three Star Wars films on DVD.

NEW YORK CITY--- To celebrate the release of new Star Wars DVDs, Kurt S. Adler, Inc. introduces the Star Wars Darth Vader Fabriche Figurine. Kurt S. Adler, a leading designer and supplier of holiday ornaments and accessories, unveils these holiday designs in conjunction with the upcoming release of a two-disc DVDs of Star Wars (since retitled as Episode IV: A New Hope), The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi that include the films as they first appeared in theaters, as well as the recent DVD release of new, restored versions in the four-disc Star Wars Trilogy.

Kurt Adler's collection features the 7-inch Darth Vader with Death Star Fabriche figurine.

Handcrafted with a mixed media technique, Fabriche combines modern methods and materials, resulting in the effect of movement and lifelike expressions.

Also new are blown-glass ornaments featured in Kurt Adler's award-winning Polonaise Collection.

Darth Vader's bust has been precision-cut into a spectacular Polonaise Heirloom Egg ornament in Poland. Darth Vader and Yoda debut as blown-glass Polonaise ball ornaments.

Kurt Adler's Fabriche Collection introduces porcelain ornaments, standing 3.5 inches, depict Leia, Luke, Amidala, Emperor and the Storm Trooper.

A porcelain five-pack mini ornament set includes a Darth Vader head, Yoda head, Boba Fett head, C3PO head, and Storm Trooper.

A variety of stockings, including vinyl, felt and styles with plush character heads, are offered. Editor's Note: More info and pics on the rest of all these....oh goody/oh joy!....when they become available.


Another 2007 Sneak Pic. Crawling in Style. These Jawas have used their innate mechanical skills to truly trick out their treaded ride.

Just Call Him Shaggy. The Podracer pilot Boles Roor was first known as Shaggy, for reasons made obvious in this illustration by Terryl Whitlatch.

Inside the Falcon. The floorplans for the Falcon in Empire (by Nilo Rodis-Jamero)present a unique view of the ship's interior, including a lateral corridor that bisects the ship, and an angled forward compartment with the chessboard as its vertex.

Early Mustafarian. Even before the world of Mustafar had been given its final name, Episode II concept artist Dermot Power was asked to think ahead and imagine its inhabitants.

Dare to be Cute. Joe Johnston illustrates an adorable Ewok feeding a pet bordok. Editor's Note: AWWWWWWW. I mean, SERIOUSLY.....awwwwwwwww!!!

THIS one on the other hand, is just FRIGHTENING!!

Night On the Town. This Doug Chiang painting of Coruscant's glittering entertainment district hints at inspiration from similar work done by Ralph McQuarrie.
Editor's Note: Is this not a GORGEOUS pic!!!???

Disney P.S.

Editor's Note: Look at that first picture, below. What do you think Jodi Benson is thinking?
1. Oh, listen.... I can hear the ocean!
2. And wouldn't you be swell....with a little TARTar sauce?
Other ideas? Submit them!
ttfn and mtfbwy ker

Splish Splash


A flash of red hair, a flick of translucent fin - children and dreamers everywhere immediately recognize her as Ariel, the little mermaid. Since 1989, "The Little Mermaid" has enchanted audiences with its lovely songs and lively retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale. Editor's Note: And when we say 'retelling' we mean, really, completely rewriting. But he's dead, and the songs are good, so what the heck!

Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel, meets her onscreen alter ego at the El Capitan Theatre. Photo by Alberto Rodriguez©Berliner Studio/BEImages

On October 3, "The Little Mermaid" will be available in a two-disc Platinum DVD edition Editor's Note: Huzzah Huzzah!!!! I never saw this one in English, only in FRENCH. Can't wait to see it and understand what Ursula is saying. (Since she was speaking some sort of weird-ass guttural country French)., and we thought it would be a fun time to take a look at how it was created.

Did you know that toymakers assumed before the movie was finished that Ariel would be blonde, and had do redo their prototype dolls and toys when they learned the truth? Do you know what Disney film inspired Ursula's distinctive way of moving? Read on to get an inside look from "The Little Mermaid" directors Ron Clements and John Musker, who had joined Jodi Benson (the voice of Ariel), composer Alan Menken, and other luminaries at El Capitan Theatre to celebrate the DVD release.

First of all, anyone who meets the directors will not be surprised that Ariel ended up with flaming red tresses.

"We're both redheaded - or were! - and red hair just seemed to fit Ariel's personality," laughs Ron.

It's easy to see why the two men made such a great creative team -- they have an easy rapport that leads them to speak almost in unison as they answer questions about the film, trading words effortlessly, and laughing over shared reminiscences.

The movie that they've created together looks better than ever, with a crisp new look and brilliant colors courtesy of an excellent restoration. Editor's Note: Here they are restoring something less than 10 years old! It makes you wonder how all those REALLY old ones lasted at ALL! But it's the same "The Little Mermaid" they remember.

"We probably hadn't seen it in nine years, since it was re-released theatrically in '97. It's fun to see again," says John.

Especially fun was reteaming to do the commentary track on the DVD, they both tell us - remembering how it was in the late '80s, when they were working on the film with their close partners, composers Howard Ashman and Alan Menken.

John explains that Howard and Alan "Actually wrote the score in the animation building. There was a room set up with a synthesizer and all that. Howard and Alan came out from New York and relocated for the whole process. And in a room next door, storybook artists were starting to work on ideas for 'Under the Sea' and some of the songs. I think that was what it was like in the early days of Disney animation -- how it was done for 'Snow White' and 'Cinderella.' The composers were right there."

Ron adds "In the old days, the room the director was in was always called the music room, because it had a piano and so much of the early work, like the "Silly Symphonies" and 'Snow White' was so music-driven. Over the years they got away from that, so 'Little Mermaid' was a throwback." Editor's NOte: More like a RE-Discovery....of what made the movies (and the studio) shine to BEGIN with.

Still flipping her fins -- the Little Mermaid hasn't aged a day. Editor's Note: Umm....yeah. CAUSE SHE'S A CARTOON! (duh). Photo by Alberto Rodriguez©Berliner Studio/BEImages

Another piece of Disney history that went into the creation of the "The Little Mermaid" was a True-Life Adventures film called "Mysteries of the Deep." Made in 1959, the film took viewers into a beautiful underwater world - and it became a key resource for Ron and John, both landlocked Midwestern boys.

"It had some great footage of an octopus walking along the ocean floor," recalls John. "We were working on Ursula at the time, and Ruben Aquino, the lead animator on Ursula, took that footage and used it for a basis for her walk, with her tentacles kind of slapping and slithering along. They took some of the film and had Photostats made of it, and drew on top of them."

Another underwater resource was motion model Sheri Stoner. They filmed her underwater so they could capture the motion of her hair.

"People don't think about this, but underwater is much more complicated to animate because hair always has to move, and any kind of fabric has to float, and the ripples and bubbles under the water ... gravity is different," says John.

On the other hand, the directors claim that animals are always easier to create in animation than people - so the Little Mermaid was in many ways more challenging to animate as a "real girl" than she was when half-fish.

Alan Menken and Jodi Benson performed "Part of Your World"at the El Capitan. Photo by Alberto Rodriguez©Berliner Studio/BEImages

The unveiling of the restored "The Little Mermaid" at the El Capitan reunited many of the key players from the making of the film - composer Alan Menken and "Ariel" voice Jodi Benson (who performed a showstopping rendition of "Part of Your World" together), along with Ron and John, Sheri Stoner, and the moderation, animation legend Don Hahn. They talked as if the film were made just yesterday - and the sparkling color and lively songs make us realize that "The Little Mermaid" will truly never grow old.

Just a few more Dweeb Tidbits

Robert Downey Jr. is IRON MAN

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Robert Downey Jr. has signed on to star in Jon Favreau's adaptation of the comic IRON MAN.

Downey will portray Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Using his intelligence and ingenuity, Stark instead builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. Upon his return to the U.S., he uncovers a plot with global implications and must don his armor and protect the world. Editor's Note: Wow....just like Bill Gates!

Various names have been previously rumored to play Tony Stark including Tom Cruise.

The movie will be distributed by Paramount Pictures and produced independently via Marvel Entertainment. Jon Favreau is directing.

David Strathairn in SPIDERWICK then BOURNE

According to Variety, David Strathairn will play the lead role in Paramount Pictures THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES and will then shoot for the third installment of the BOURNE IDENTITY franchise.

THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES centers on three children who move to their great uncle's ancient mansion only to discover a magical book which opens up a new world. The film will be directed by Mark Waters.

THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM is set to be directed by Paul Greengrass and will again star Matt Damon as Jason Bourne who is on the run, hoping to solve the mystery of his past. Strathairn will play the leader of a secret operation which is hunting Damon's character. Editor's NOte: I think there are more people HUNTING Bourne than not. (Of course, SOME of us hunt him for.....ahem.....never mind.....)

Fonda, Mol and Roberts join 3:10 TO YUMA

According to Variety, Peter Fonda, Gretchen Mol, Dallas Roberts, Ben Foster and Vinessa Shaw have all signed on to play roles in the upcoming film 3:10 TO YUMA.

3:10 TO YUMA is based on the 1957 film that starred Glenn Ford as captured outlaw Ben Wade, who finds himself in the custody of small-time rancher Dan Evans. The rancher is secretly trying to take the outlaw to a railway station to catch a train to Yuma for the outlaw's court date. A battle of wills ensues.

Christian Bale will play the rancher, while Russell Crowe will play the outlaw. James Mangold is set to direct the film which will be financed by Relativity Media.

Relativity has taken hold of the film, it is now on track for a fall shoot.

Brewster fits profile for CBS' 'Minds'

Paget Brewster has joined the cast of CBS' hot sophomore drama "Criminal Minds" as a regular. She will play a new profiler joining the elite team of FBI profilers led by Special Agent Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin) that is at the center of the show. Editor's Note: I seem to recall hearing a rumor that the Elle character was leaving somewhere during this season. So maybe this is a segue?

"Criminal Minds," from Touchstone TV and CBS Paramount Network TV, got off to a strong start this season. Its second episode Wednesday hit series highs in total viewers and all key demographics.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A couple more HARRY POTTER 5 pics!

A little Catching up on This...AND That

Editor's Note: It's amazing, dweebpals, how little dweebing you get done, when you are actually doing your JOB at your JOB. (Sheesh...who KNEW?!) But I am determined (NOT being of sound mind or body) to keep up with the dweebing as best as I can.

So here's a smidge of random catching up. (We really haven't missed much; it's been VERY slow in dweebland).

First up, some very sad news ---
Actor Edward Albert dies
Edward Albert, who starred opposite Goldie Hawn in the 1972 comedy "Butterflies Are Free" and was the son of "Green Acres" actor Eddie Albert, has died. He was 55.

Albert died Friday from lung cancer at his home in Malibu, said Alan Silberberg, a family friend.

Born in Los Angeles in 1951, Albert's middle name was Laurence -- named after family friend and acting legend Laurence Olivier, who was his godfather. Albert made his film debut at age 14. He played a runaway who comes across a disturbed Civil War veteran, played by Anthony Perkins, in the 1965 drama "The Fool Killer."

Albert attended Oxford University and studied psychology at UCLA. Editor's Note: His dad lived to be almost 100. So sad. He was a lovely actor. RIP, Mr. Albert.....

Sam Raimi has Archenemies reports that “Spider-Man” helmer Sam Raimi has inked a deal to produce the film adaptation of the Dark Horse comic series, “Archenemies”.

Sam Raimi, Josh Donen and Mike Richardson will produce the film, currently set up at Paramount, which is based on the comics penned by Drew Melbourne.

Says Wikipedia : The 4-part comic series focuses on the superhero Star Fighter and his archenemy Underlord, as well as roommates Ethan and Vincent. They just happen to be the same people, though neither Ethan (Star Fighter) nor Vincent (Underlord) are aware of that fact. Editor's Note: This is SO real! I mean, raise your hands if you've had a roommate situation JUST like this! (In fact, I'm pretty sure my DOG has a dual identity as a nefarious villain from another time/space dimension. I think his NV (nefarious villain) name is Ralph).

Ethan and Vincent are each horrible roommates, though they are unable to give up their apartment in order to escape the other. Ethan's a slob who likes throwing parties simply to annoy Vincent. Vincent is creepy. Vincent most likely hates Ethan more than he ever could hate Star Fighter.

At the same time as they're fighting between each other (in both their identities), Vincent is attempting to become a member of the The Masked Circle, a secret society of supervillains that both his father and brother already belong to.
Editor's Note: Of course, now we KNOW about it, so I guess it AIN'T SO SECRET, Huh?!

Spike in Love

Former "Buffy" biter James Marsters - most recently seen as Braniac on TVs "Smallville" - will join Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler in "P.S, I Love You".

Based on the best-selling Cecelia Ahern, the Warner Bros. release centers on a grieving young widow who discovers her late husband has left her a list of tasks revealed in 10 monthly messages that are intended to ease her out of grief and transition her to a new life. Marsters will play the late husband's best friend. Editor's Note: If it didn't have such a cool cast, I think I'd go into a diabetic coma just READING that synopsis.

Shooting is set to start in mid-October in New York and Ireland. Richard LaGravenese ("Living Out Loud") directs, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Passion of the Outlander
Jim Caviezel has signed to star in a sci-fi pic called "Outlander," for director Howard McCain. New Zealand actor Karl Urban (“Doom”) was the original choice for the lead.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story centres on a man from another galaxy who crash-lands on Earth during the time of the Vikings. By accident, he brings with him an alien predator that he must destroy with the help of a Viking tribe. Editor's Note: Right. And there's no doubt a nubile Viking chick who teaches the space guy about luuuuuv?

McCain wrote the screenplay with Dirk Blackman.

Sophia Myles and Jack Huston are in negotiations to join the cast of the film, Editor's Note: Unless their agents can get them OUT of it? which will start Oct. 15 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Long and Q aboard Die Hard sequel
After weeks and weeks of back-and-forward rumblings, Justin Long has finally been confirmed for the new “Die Hard” film.

Maggie Q (“Mission : Impossible 3”) has also been added to the cast of the pic, titled “Live Free or Die Hard”.

Interestingly enough, Variety doesn’t say anything about Long’s character being the son of John McClane (Bruce Willis) – as was originally planned. Seems now he’ll just be a token computer expert – no relation to the NYC copper - who helps McClane take on a terrorist organization around the July Fourth holiday. Editor's Note: Just so we can have Bruce Willis in a Tank shirt and all sweaty?

Q will play a world-class hacker at odds with McClane.

Jones and Theron bite into Haggis
Oscar winners Charlize Theron and Tommy Lee Jones are in discussions to topline Paul Haggis' next feature film, an untitled mystery thriller that is serving as his directorial follow-up to his Academy Award-winning hit "Crash."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Independent Pictures is co-financing and will distribute domestically.

The story follows a veteran father in search of his son, an exemplary soldier who recently returned from Iraq and has mysteriously gone AWOL.

The story is based on an investigative article by Mark Boal in Playboy titled "Death and Dishonor," which told the true story about an officer-father who rejected the Army's claim of AWOL status for his son and discovered a murder.

Haggis fictionalized the elements and will direct from his original screenplay based on a story he wrote with Boal. Haggis is producing with Larry Becsey. Editor's Note: Good casting. And anything by Paul Haggis is going to be interesting and well-written.

Jackman Picks A Plumm Summer
Hugh tracks a puppet kidnapping

Hugh Jackman doesn’t always want to go on bezerker rages or seek eternal youth across time and space. Sometimes he just wants to help investigate a puppet-knapping case. Editor's Note: ???????

He’s signed on to the cast of A Plumm Summer, Caroline Zelder’s indie drama about two kids trying to crack the case of Froggy Doo, a beloved, famous children’s entertainer who’s snatched in 1968. Their competition? The FBI, which clearly had so little to do back then that they investigated a puppet kidnapping. Editor's Note: Hugh Jackman. So there's a puppet and some kids? HUGH JACKMAN.

William Baldwin, Lisa Guerrero and Henry Winkler are also on the case for the movie, which is shooting right now.

Scarlett Is Mary Queen Of Scots/Johansson stars in another period piece

Scarlett Johansson must like living in the past. Editor's Note: It's just that she LOOKS so good doing it! She’s currently playing Mary Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl and has now signed up for Mary Queen Of Scots.

The story follows the antagonistic (read: bitchy) relationship between Mary (Johansson) and England’s Queen Elizabeth I, who did everything she could to undermine her rule. Cracker creator Jimmy McGovern wrote the script, but there’s no director or other cast attached yet.

While we know she’s just filmed Elizabeth sequel The Golden Age, there’s some part of our psyche that wants the producers to back a truckload of money up to Cate Blanchett’s house and let her Elizabeth duke it out with Johansson.

The plan is to crank the cameras next summer.

Chevy Chase as Mel Gibson?
Chevy Chase mightn’t be attending too many dinners at Mel Gibson’s place in the future.
The comic legend is out to take the Mickey out of Gibson’s infamous DUI incident in an episode of “Law and Order”.

In the episode, which started filming this week, Chase guest stars as a television celebrity who is pulled over for drunk driving while wearing blood-soaked clothes, and whose religious prejudice comes out after his arrest. The episode titled "In Vino Veritas" is slated to air on Friday, November 3, 10-11 p.m ET/PT.

Chase seems to be on the trail of a comeback. He also recently appeared in the big-screen release “Zoom” opposite Tim Allen, and next appears in the family comedy “Goose on the Loose”. The actor is also rumoured to appear in a cameo in the forthcoming “Fletch Won”, from director Bill Lawrence.

Editor's Note: And let's close with something fun for the whole family! (Well....the whole family if you're a bunch of DRUNKS).

Studio 60′ Drinking Game
Aaron Sorkin’s new NBC show STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP already has it’s own drinking game!

Studio 60 Drinking Game Rules ---

Take a sip when:
Someone makes a thinly veiled reference to an actual NBC show.

A cast member of either West Wing or SportsNight guest stars or cameos. (Bradley Whitford does NOT count.)

The camera completely circles any characters talking to each other.

Amanda Peet calls someone by the wrong name.

Anyone carrying a clipboard gives exposition.

The “director” yells some technical jargon to a flunkie.

Any character starts to drink an alcoholic beverage but puts it back down.

There is a TV on in the background showing something else happening.

Anyone makes snide cracks about bloggers or the internet.

Drink the whole bottle if:
A real cast member, past or present, of Saturday Night Live is name-checked.

Anyone says “bing” in any context.

A major religion or a political figure is ridiculed.

And check into rehab whenever:
A character struggling with a substance abuse problem falls off the wagon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Woohoo!!! Harry Potter Pics!!! Woohoo!!!

Editor's Note: And did I mention WOOOHOOOO????!!!

HP5 Photos hit the net
The first shows Harry crouching in Wisteria Lane brandishing his wand (it's the scene in which Harry and Dudley are attacked by dementors). Editor's Note: I don't know if Daniel Radcliffe is making it through his teen years sans angst, but his HAIR appears to be having some troubles, huh?

The second shows Umbridge in a pink tweed poncho, McGonagall clasping Trelawney, and Filch - all at Hogwarts. This looks to be the scene where Umbridge fires Trelawney and tries to make her leave the school.

And lest we not have quite enough of Umbridge to last a lifetime..... (by the by, she isn't nearly as gruesome looking or froglike as the books, huh? It's almost...and this is even scarier now that I think about if NANCY REAGAN were running Hogwarts. Not toady, but very very SCARY).

Not sure what scene this is from. Maybe when Umbridge and Snape corner them in the office (towards the very end)?

And here's LUNA! (ALSO much prettier and more normal looking than in the book).

Editor's Note: And a smidge of Emma Watson....just for Miss Samantha.

Emma Watson on Her Future
‘I’ll just have to go with the flow and see what happens.’
By Sean Smith

Sept. 24, 2006 - Emma Watson, 16, plays scholarly Hermione Granger, gal pal to Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) in the “Harry Potter” movies. She sat down with NEWSWEEK on the set of the fifth film, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” at Leavesden Studios, north of London. Watson recently learned that she had aced her national school exams, which are an infamous cause of anxiety for British students.

NEWSWEEK: Congrats on your exams. You knocked it out of the park.
Emma Watson: Oh, thank you. I’m so happy. I couldn’t believe it.

Are you still enjoying making these movies after all these years?
Umm, I am. It’s nice having a new director each time. I keep getting pushed and challenged, and that’s really nice.

Daniel Radcliffe said that David Yates, the series’ latest director, is really stretching him as an actor. Is that true for you, too?
Yeah, definitely. David won’t settle for anything that looks like acting [laughs]. What keeps coming up a lot is his search for truth in the characters and the performances. He really wants it to be real. The fourth film [“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”] was sort of about all the tasks, fighting dragons, and all of that. This film is about Harry fighting his inner demons more than dragons. It’s about the emotional journey. So I think David is the perfect director for that. Also, his previous work has all been quite politically based, like “Sex Traffic” and “The Girl in the Café,” and with this film you see much more of the world outside of Hogwarts. [The book and film deal, in part, with how the Ministry of Magic begins to restrict personal freedoms and civil liberties following a wave of attacks.] I think this film will be quite relevant to what we’re all experiencing at the moment with all of the terrorist attacks. The film eerily coincides with all of that.

When I interviewed you on the first film six years ago, Daniel and Rupert were teasing you quite a bit.
[Laughs.] Yeah.

What are things like between the three of you these days?
They just keep me laughing really. They don’t tease me quite as much as they used to, which is nice. It is a very nice, crazy friendship.

Do they feel like brothers to you?
Kind of, yeah. It’s funny. It’s been an intense and very long friendship. We’ve known each other for six years now, and have seen each other almost every day. I mean, they’ve seen me in every single state. They have seen me at my most glamorous and they have seen me at six in the morning with no makeup on. They do feel like my brothers. And we’ve been through all the ups and downs of this mad experience together. Yeah, it’s nice.

Do you think you want to be an actress for the rest of your career?
I really don’t know. Daniel and Rupert seem so sure. I don’t know. I wouldn’t want “Harry Potter” to be the last thing I do. Nothing is ever going to be quite on the scale of this. I appreciate that. And also I’ve come into acting in such a funny way. Most people who want to act have to sit through hours of auditioning and work their way up, whereas I seemed to have come straight in at the top, having had no experience at all. That’s quite a strange position to be in, but amazing at the same time because it has given me so many options and choices. I definitely would like to try other films to see what it’s like. I’d really like to try some theater, actually, because I think I would really enjoy that immediate response from an audience. I love making people laugh. I love to perform, but there are so many things I love doing. [Pauses.] Maybe that seems ungrateful. I have been given such an amazing opportunity, but I’ll just have to go with the flow and see what happens.

Well, you’re not supposed to have all the answers at 16.
Yeah, but people keep asking me, so I keep thinking I should know. [Laughs.] Everyone’s just like, “So what do you want to do with your life?” And I’m like, [sighs], ‘Right.’

Do you like the glamour aspects of this job?
The glamour aspects?

The premieres and the gowns and the hair and makeup
It feels like I’m famous for about two weeks of the year. [Laughs.] I know it sounds strange, but it does. That glamorous part, it feels a bit like a mad surreal dream. But, yeah, I suppose I enjoy it. When you get to a city [for a premiere] you feel a bit hazy because you’ve got jet lag, and people are screaming at you, and you’re being rushed from one place to another and suddenly you’re in all these beautiful dresses. It’s a bit mad, but it’s good fun. I think what I love most is that I’ve been able to travel. If it weren’t for the “Harry Potter” movies I never would have gone to America or Europe and everything—well, not until I was older, anyway. I’ve been able to see New York. I’ve been to China, Tokyo, L.A., Chicago, all these amazing places. So that’s been really great. And flying first class, that’s an experience.

It’s the best, isn’t it?
Oh, my god, you have no idea! I love little things like the airplane bags you get with all of the moisturizer and the little toothbrush. And the reclining seats! For me that has to be a highlight.

Well, Emma, it’s pretty certain you’ll never have to fly coach again.

[Laughs.] Thank you.

And how are things with dating and boys? Do you get a lot of attention from them?
People say to me, “Oh it must be so easy for you. They must be lining up for you.” It’s really not easy. It’s really not. I suppose guys are either kind of intimidated by me and have their defenses up, or they like to take the piss out of me. [Long pause, then sighs.] It’s a minefield, to be quite honest with you. Really. Ugh. It’s stressful.

It’s stressful even if you’re not famous.
I know! And then adding that into it is an interesting like extra dimension. I really like guys as friends, actually. I have about as many guy friends as girlfriends, which is kind of unusual, I suppose. But because I’m in these films, there tend to be more guys around than girls. Plus, you know, I spend so much time here. I’m here for 11 months of the year, and in the free time that I have, I feel like I’m running around between family members and trying to see the friends that I already have. So, yeah. I will just have to wait. Maybe someone will find me. We’ll see.

Well, there are a lot of cute guys working on the crew here. But I guess they’re too old for you.
Yeah. That’s my problem. I think, “Yeah, he’s really good looking, but he’s like, 25! Come on, help me out here!” So, no, that’s not really happening. [Laughs.]

Monday, September 25, 2006

Another BigBig Day!