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 March 15, 1999
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Harsh Realms Cast Set

The casting for the pilot episode of Chris Carter's new SF series Harsh Realms has been finalized, according to Variety. Scott Bairstow of Party of Five will play the lead role, a soldier named Hobbes who is sent into a computer program used by the military to simulate wars.

D.B. Sweeney has been cast as Mike, another soldier who was sent into the same program five years earlier and who now lives in a virtual reality underground. Terry O'Quinn will play the man both Mike and Hobbes are supposed to kill, the supposedly evil leader who created a utopian society inside the simulation.

Rounding out the cast are Samantha Mathis, Max Martini, Rachel Hayward and Sarah Jane Redmond. Fox has ordered 13 episodes of the series--which is based on the comic book of the same name--for a fall premiere.

Bootleg Star Wars Trailers Hit The Net

Outlaw copies of the two theatrical trailers for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace have turned up for sale on the eBay auction Web site, according to Variety. The entertainment trade publication found 25 prints of the trailers for sale during a recent search of the site, including a copy of the second trailer that reportedly came with a "must be returned to Lucasfilm" letter.

Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox both told Variety that they were aware of the problem and were working with eBay to prevent the illegal sales. In the meantime, bids for the trailers have gone as high as $360, although that's not quite as much as the $405 that a copy of the first trailer sold for on eBay back in December 1998.

Gillian Anderson Looks At The Future

Gillian Anderson, the co-star of Fox's hit SF TV series The X-Files, has lent her voice to BBC Video's upcoming release Future Fantastic. Future Fantastic is a two-part video that takes a look at what our world might be like in years to come as we see breakthroughs in areas such as cryogenics, genetic engineering, virtual reality and terraforming.

The show combines the ideas of science fiction writers like H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Arthur C. Clarke with predictions from scientists, astronauts and inventors as it examines topics ranging from extraterrestrial life to immortality. The video is being distributed in the United States by Fox Home Entertainment and will hit stores on April 27 with a suggested retail price of $29.98.

Columbia To Film Astro Boy

Columbia Pictures plans to bring the beloved Japanese comic-strip character Astro Boy to the big screen for a Christmas 2000 release, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The studio is currently negotiating for the rights to the film, which has been described as the story of Pinocchio in the 21st century.

The movie would center around a scientist who builds a robot in the image of his own son, who was tragically killed. The robot is endowed with super powers, which he uses to fight crime.

If the deal goes through, there is a chance that Jim Henson's Creature Shop would design Astro Boy. The film itself will reportedly combine computer-generated effects, animatronics and live action.

Bacon May Play Hollow Man

Wild Things star Kevin Bacon is reportedly close to signing a deal with Columbia Pictures to star in the upcoming SF flick The Hollow Man, according to Variety. The film is being directed by Paul Verhoeven (Starship Troopers) from a script by Andrew Marlowe (Air Force One) and is scheduled to start shooting in April.

Hollow Man tells the story of two scientists and former lovers--played by Bacon and Elisabeth Shue--who discover the secret of invisibility. Bacon serves as the test subject for their experiment, but when he actually turns invisible things start to go wrong.

Anime Comes To The Action Channel

The Encore Media Group said it will debut a new block of anime programming on The Action Channel starting with Tekken: The Motion Picture, which will air at 11:50 p.m. ET/PT on April 3. The new programming block will run every Saturday night starting at around midnight and will feature anime titles such as Battle Angel and Sol Bianca.

Tekken hit the video market in February and reached No. 3 on the Video Business Top Sellers Chart, according to Encore. The movie is based on the popular video game of the same name and features music by bands such as Offspring, Stabbing Westward and Corrosion of Conformity.

New Line Buys Gerritsen's Gravity

New Line purchased the feature film rights to Tess Gerritsen's upcoming SF novel Gravity for $1 million upfront and an additional $500,000 if the picture is made, according to Variety. The studio plans to turn the book into an event film for release in the summer of either 2000 or 2001 and is already lining up top talent to write and star in the movie.

Gravity centers around an ER physician who has always wanted to be an astronaut, and his estranged wife, a doctor who is handling dangerous medical experiments in space. When the experiments go wrong and a deadly organism is released, the two must use all of their skills to fight the epidemic.

The novel version of Gravity will be published by Pocket Books in September. Gerritsen's first novel, an organ transplant thriller called Harvest, spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in both hardcover and paperback.

Paramount To Remake Stepford Wives

Paramount and producer Scott Rubin have picked up the rights to the 1974 film The Stepford Wives and are planning to remake the classic horror/SF flick, according to Variety. The studio is looking to hire a top-name writer to script the picture, which will be similar in tone to The Witches of Eastwick and which will likely feature A-list actors.

The Stepford Wives is based on the book of the same name by Ira Levin and tells the story of a husband and wife who move to what appears to be an idyllic suburb in New York. However, the wife soon discovers that all of the women in town have been replaced by robots so that they can serve their husbands with utter devotion and without complaint.

Amazing To Publish StarCraft Story

The science fiction magazine Amazing Stories plans to publish a short story based on Blizzard Entertainment's best-selling PC game StarCraft in its spring issue. The story is called "Revelations" and was written by StarCraft game designers Chris Metzen and Sam Moore.

"Revelations" focuses on the first contact between Terrans and the two alien species known as the Protoss and the Zerg. In the game, the three races fought it out in an interstellar war for galactic domination.

Amazing said it plans to publish more StarCraft stories in the future in cooperation with Blizzard. StarCraft was released in 1998 and went on to sell more than 1.5 million copies worldwide.

Snow Scores Giants: Citizen Kabuto

Mark Snow, the man who creates the music for The X-Files, has signed a deal to compose the score to Interplay's upcoming SF game Giants: Citizen Kabuto. Snow is well known in Hollywood circles, having worked on more than 70 TV shows and miniseries as well as numerous motion pictures, but this will be his first foray into the world of interactive entertainment.

Giants: Citizen Kabuto is a real-time 3-D game that takes place on a massive fragment of a shattered world. Gamers can play the side of either the Sea Reapers, the Meccaryn or the giant Kabuta as they battle for control of the world.

Giants: Citizen Kabuto is expected to be released this summer.

  • ABC has canceled the poorly performing SF series Strange World after airing just three episodes.

  • David Duchovny will reportedly direct an upcoming episode of The X-Files that will star Darren McGavin (Kolchak) in his third appearance as Agent Arthur Dales.

  • Neil Gaiman has confirmed that Miramax optioned the feature film rights to his latest book, Stardust. As part of the deal, Gaiman will script the picture and will also serve as executive producer.

  • Charisma Carpenter, who plays Cordelia on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, will star in the same role on the WB Network's Buffy spin-off Angel. WB has ordered 13 episodes of the new show.

  • The Fox Family Channel has picked up 22 episodes of the Alliance Atlantis kids' SF series I Was a Sixth Grade Alien.

  • The WB Network has picked up Buffy The Vampire Slayer for the 1999-2000 season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

  • Fox has picked up The Unreliables, a comedy TV pilot about a group of retired superheroes living in small town. The show was created by Men in Black writer Ed Solomon.

  • TNT bought the premiere commercial TV rights to the two-hour movie Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, which recently made its debut on DirecTV. TNT will air the show at 8 p.m. on April 4.

  • As part of its Theater of Doom promotion, the Sci-Fi Channel store is offering a free copy of The Undertaker #1 comic book with any purchase of $25 or more.

  • Universal is reportedly at work on Seed of Chucky, the fifth picture in the Child's Play film franchise. The movie will supposedly be a spoof of Rosemary's Baby.


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