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A Weekly Digest Of Sci Fi Wire

 September 15, 2003
 September 8, 2003
 September 2, 2003
 August 25, 2003
 August 18, 2003
 August 11, 2003
 August 4, 2003
 July 28, 2003
 July 21, 2003
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The Staff



Boreanaz Talks New Angel Babes

David Boreanaz, who returns as the vampire with a soul in The WB's Angel, told SCI FI Wire that two new women will add bite to the show's upcoming fifth season: new office secretary Harmony (Mercedes McNab) and Wolfram & Hart liaison Eve (Sarah Thompson). Boreanaz added in an interview that the women would replace the comatose Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) and beheaded Lilah (Stephanie Romanov), both of whom won't be back. "They're similar in nature, but also quite different," Boreanaz said.

Boreanaz added, "Cordelia's character took off in a direction that was different from what anyone probably expected. Things got very dark with the love interest story between Angel and Cordelia and with the whole Cordelia-Connor [Vincent Kartheiser] storyline. Harmony will be a little bit more like Cordelia was at the beginning of Buffy than Cordelia was on Angel. Harmony is there to spice things up a little."

Boreanaz said that McNab's Harmony—by virtue of being a vampire and having a history with Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer—will bring an "edge" to Angel. Eve, by contrast, will be less harsh and abrasive than Lilah, the star said. "I think we'll get to know Eve a little bit more," Boreanaz said. "She's got many more problems behind her eyes. But you can definitely draw similarities between Cordelia and Harmony and Lilah and Eve. And the most important thing is that all four characters will and have brought such great things to the show." Angel begins its fifth season Oct. 1 and will air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Leick Gets Her Calling

Genre actress Hudson Leick, who played Callisto in Xena: Warrior Princess, returns to the small screen in a guest role in the pilot of Fox's upcoming supernatural drama Tru Calling, TV Guide Online reported. The role marks Leick's comeback after Xena wrapped.

"I quit acting for about two years," Leick told the site. "I just wasn't crazy about the business. When you work, you're so lucky. I mean, only [a small percentage] of the Screen Actors Guild actually makes enough money to support themselves. I just didn't think that was what I wanted to do. But I was wrong."

In Tru Calling, Leick appears with star Eliza Dushku, formerly of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, which Leick is already eyeing for further work. "The same casting agency that hired me for Tru Calling [handles] Angel, and I really want to play a vampire," she said. "So anything is possible." Tru Calling premieres Oct. 30 and will air Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Angel returns Oct. 1 in its regular Wednesday 9 p.m. timeslot.

New Sandman Collection Due

Titan Books announced that it will release Sandman: Endless Nights, an anthology of new stories from author Neil Gaiman, on Oct. 24, the first new graphic novel in the series in seven years. The hardback collection will include tales of the Endless, a family of beings who existed outside the worlds of the gods, the publisher said.

Endless Nights will be illustrated by well-known artists, including Moebius, Milo Manara, P. Craig Russell, Bill Sienkiewicz, Miguelanxo Prado, Liberatore and Barron Storey, the publisher said.

Star Wars DVDs In 2004?

The Digital Bits Web site reported a rumor that Lucasfilm is considering releasing the original Star Wars trilogy of films on DVD late next year. Citing anonymous industry sources, the site added that some work is already underway toward a fourth-quarter 2004 release of the DVDs.

The site added that Lucasfilm is pleased with the format of its upcoming DVD set The Adventures of Indiana Jones and will use the same format for the Star Wars release.

Episode III Wraps

Rick McCallum, producer of Star Wars: Episode III, clapped the final slate on the last take of principal photography for the prequel, which wrapped at Fox Studios Australia at 6:42 p.m. Sept. 17, the official Web site reported. The originally scheduled 12-week shoot wrapped five days ahead of schedule. "It's almost unheard of for a major motion picture to come in under schedule," McCallum told the site. "I have the hard-working and highly skilled crew, as well as our talented cast, to thank for such an achievement."

Post-production will commence immediately in Marin County, Calif., where director George Lucas, McCallum, editors Roger Barton and Ben Burtt and the visual-effects team at Industrial Light & Magic will work a solid schedule through to the film's release in 2005, the site reported.

"Shooting the film is only a small part of the whole process," McCallum said. "George is enthusiastic about getting back to the ranch and starting the next component. This will enable him to start thinking about what he needs to pick up when we shoot in March 2004. For George and [me], this is only the midway point. We still have 18 months to get through."

Campbell: Spidey's Fit Again

Bruce Campbell, who has a cameo in the upcoming sequel film Spider-Man 2, told syndicated columnists Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith that star Tobey Maguire is back in fine physical form. Maguire reportedly lost up to 20 pounds to play a jockey in Seabiscuit.

"Yeah, actors do all that dumb stuff to their bodies like gaining weight, working out way too much to bulk up for a part. I've done it enough times to be sick of it," Campbell told the columnists. But, he added, Maguire is "a really spry fellow, really wiry and fit. You can really see him growing into the part. Apparently there was a lot of resistance to cast him at first, but you can't cast Tom Cruise in a part like that. I think people are going to like him even better the second time around."

Frakes Talks T-Birds

Jonathan Frakes, the former Star Trek helmer who is now directing a live-action Thunderbirds movie, told the Empire Online Web site that the film will try to please both diehard fans and newcomers to the franchise. "It is part of the blessing and part of the curse," Frakes told the site about adapting the beloved 1960s marionette TV series. "It's the same thing with Star Trek: There is an audience of [fans] who are passionate about the show who would be offended if it was different from the original, and yet there's a huge audience of people who know nothing about Thunderbirds."

But Frakes promised that the film will have some familiar elements. "You have the palm trees folding down, and Thunderbird 2 taking off, and the swimming pool sliding back, so all the good bits are in," he said. He added: "It's big ships and loud music. It's going to be a big movie. It's a prequel. The kids are about 10 years younger than when the show takes place [as] shown in the '60s. So our little heroes are 12, 13, 14 years old."

Frakes, who played Cmdr. Ryker in Star Trek: The Next Generation, also said that he'll appear in Thunderbirds in a cameo role. "If you watch closely, you might [see me]," he said. "That's all I can tell you."

Bratt Signs On To Catwoman

Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order) will play the male lead opposite Halle Berry and Sharon Stone in the upcoming comic-inspired movie Catwoman for Warner Brothers, Variety reported. French helmer Pitof directs the movie, which starts shooting Sept. 29 in Vancouver, B.C.

Bratt will play detective Tom Lone, who falls in love with Patience Price (Berry), a veterinary scientist who takes on the identity of Catwoman in her fight against the evil plots of the cosmetics company for which she works, the trade paper reported. The company is a front for the criminal exploits of the husband-and-wife team (including Stone) that run it.

The Chicago Sun-Times, meanwhile, reported that Oscar winner Frances McDormand will be scheming alongside Stone in a villainess role.

Enterprise's Bakula Speaks

Scott Bakula, star of UPN's Enterprise, told fans in a chat on the official Star Trek Web site that his character, Capt. Jonathan Archer, gets more driven as the third season begins. "I wouldn't say expect a more vengeful captain, but certainly a captain who is more focused, more driven, less willing to compromise," Bakula said. "There's a great sense of purpose that surrounds the whole show right now. It's very energized and very exciting."

Archer is leading the crew of the Enterprise into the Delphic Expanse, a dangerous region of space, in pursuit of the Xindi, a mysterious race of aliens who launched an attack on Earth at the end of last season. Bakula added that it's doubtful Archer will see much romance this season. "[It] doesn't look like Capt. Archer will ever get laid in space," he said, with tongue in cheek. "And I'm OK with that. I just plan on taking it out on the Xindi."

Bakula also said he's not interested in directing any episodes of the Trek prequel series. "I haven't directed any yet," he said. "They've offered me from the beginning the opportunity. But I've found my time has been better spent focusing on scripts and my work and working with each director that comes through. We're very lucky to have a great group of talented directors; they all add to each episode. So far the only cast member who speaks about directing on a daily basis would be Lord Dominic Keating, the tyrant," he added, referring to fellow castmate Keating. Enterprise is airing new episodes Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Salva Winds Up The Watch

Victor Salva (Jeepers Creepers 2) has been tapped by New Line Cinema to write and direct the World War II supernatural thriller film The Watch, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Based on an original script by John Claflin and Daniel Zelman, The Watch revolves around a team of inexperienced soldiers who are sent to blow up a critical Nazi bridge, only to discover that they are being hunted by Abaddon, a spirit of the devil, the trade paper reported.

Verna Harrah and John Goldstone are producing. Salva is best known as the creative force behind the successful Jeepers Creepers movies, both of which he wrote and directed. He also wrote and directed the 1995 Buena Vista drama Powder.

Wendkos Rings The Belle

Gina Wendkos (The Princess Diaries) has been hired to write the live-action feature adaptation of the holiday-themed graphic novel Jingle Belle for Revolution Studios, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Paul Dini (the animated Batman Beyond TV series) wrote the graphic novel, which deals with the precocious teenage daughter of Santa Claus.

Happy Madison principals Jack Giarraputo and Adam Sandler will executive produce the movie, along with Dini. Dini is also known as a writer and producer of Batman: The Animated Series and Superman.

WetWorks Develops Genre Films

WetWorks, which has the Matt Helm action franchise in development at DreamWorks Pictures, has acquired three genre properties to develop into feature films, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The company has picked up Midway Games' video game Freaky Flyers, Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime book series and Joseph Badal's just-released novel The Pythagorean Solution, the trade paper reported.

Flyers, a 3-D animated race around the world, features more than 12 characters on airplane adventures in such locales as Haunted Transylvania, Roaring Chicago and Exotic Danger Island, the trade paper reported. Freaky Flyers was released Aug. 4 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube.

Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime is a six-book series written by Paul Preuss and centering on the superhuman Sparta, the first product of biotech engineering, whose memory has been erased, the trade paper reported. The series was published by ibooks and distributed by Simon & Schuster.

Solution, penned by first-time novelist Badal, is based on historical events from World War II and centers on an American tourist unwittingly drawn into the intrigue and violence surrounding the discovery of a 60-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Samos, the trade paper reported.

Gans Scales Silent Hill

French director Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf) will adapt Konami's Silent Hill horror video-game franchise into a feature film, Cinescape Online reported. Samuel Hadida will produce through his Davis Films production company.

The Japanese video-game maker will be involved in the design of the movie and the production of the screenplay, the site reported.

The three Silent Hill games take place within the same foggy town, to which gamers return to discover horrors lurking within. The third game was released last month for the PlayStation 2.

Platforms Added For Scooby Game

THQ announced that it is developing Scooby-Doo! Mystery Mayhem, a video game based on the classic animated TV series, to be released this winter for the Xbox, GameCube and PlayStation 2 gaming platforms. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Mayhem is already available for GameBoy Advance throughout North America.

In the game, Scooby, Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy start out on a routine case in search of ghosts, but instead stumble upon a scheming business tycoon who will stop at nothing to grow his empire.

Mya Sings On 007 Game

Electronic Arts announced that singer Mya will provide the theme song for its upcoming spy video game James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing. The Grammy-winning performer will also appear in the game as the sultry Bond girl "Mya Starling," the company said.

Emmy-nominated composer Sean Callery (La Femme Nikita, 24) will provide the score for the game. Everything or Nothing will ship in 2004 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and GameBoy Advance.

Disney Back To Fairy Roots

Disney will be returning to its fairy-tale roots with a slate of fantasy-themed movies, USA Today reported. "I noticed that for an organization known for fairy tales, we hadn't done one since Beauty and the Beast," David Stainton, the studio's recently appointed chief of feature animation, told the newspaper. "It's something that the audience wants and we can uniquely present. What makes fairy tales significant are the very deep themes that resonate through them and touch everybody."

Among the upcoming films: a comedic animated Rapunzel, due around 2007; Pretty Ugly, an adult-aimed comedy about a womanizing jerk who loses his looks and must earn a kiss from the girl he scorned to regain them; Uncle Stiltskin, a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin; and The Frog Prince, the newspaper reported.

Also in the pipeline: Miramax's Ella Enchanted, opening next April, starting Anne Hathaway as a young girl living in olden days who must use her wits to foil a curse of obedience, and Dimension Films' Brothers Grimm, starring Heath Ledger and Matt Damon as the fairy-tale creators.

Cardinal Blesses Passion

A top Vatican cardinal praised Mel Gibson's controversial film The Passion on Sept. 18, calling it "a triumph of art" and rejecting fears it could spark a wave of anti-Semitism, the Reuters news service reported. The story confirmed an earlier rumor by the Drudge Report.

"I would gladly trade some of the homilies that I have given about the passion of Christ for even a few of the scenes of his film," said Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, head of the Vatican department in charge of priests, Reuters reported. Castrillon Hoyos, who saw an unfinished version of the film, told Catholic news agency Aciprensa that he would "like all our Catholic priests throughout the world to see it."

Last month, the Anti-Defamation League said the film portrayed Jewish authorities and the Jewish mob as responsible for the decision to crucify Jesus and could provoke hatred of Jews, the news service reported.

Asked about fears of anti-Semitism, Castrillon Hoyos said: "Anti-Semitism, like all forms of racism, distorts the truth in order to put a whole race of people in a bad light. This film does nothing of the sort." During the 1962-'65 Second Vatican Council, the Roman Catholic Church officially repudiated the concept of collective Jewish guilt for Christ's death and began dialogue with Jews, the news service reported.

Vatican Official Praises Passion

A senior Vatican official who watched clips from Mel Gibson's controversial film The Passion offered enthusiastic praise for what he saw, despite concerns from Jewish groups that the movie will promote anti-Semitism, the Associated Press reported. U.S. Archbishop John P. Foley of the church's social-communications office said he hoped to show the film in the Vatican and said he doubted whether criticisms of the film were valid, the AP reported.

"From what I could see of the trailers, it seemed to be an excellent film," Foley told the wire service. "I don't think they would be well-founded criticisms, because all the material in the film comes directly from the Gospel accounts. There's nothing in the film that doesn't come from the Gospel accounts. So, if they're critical of the film, they would be critical of the Gospel."

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of several Jewish groups and leaders to speak out against The Passion, the wire service reported. Last month, the organization, which works to bring Nazis to justice, urged Gibson to make changes to his film.

Seed Of Chucky A Go

Director Eli Roth (Cabin Fever) told the Ain't It Cool News Web site that the success of his horror movie has spurred development of a new Chucky movie. "I got a very nice phone call from [producer] Don Mancini, who said he loved Cabin Fever and said our strong opening helped him get the new Chucky film off the ground," Roth wrote the site.

Roth added, "He said between Ronny Yu [Freddy vs. Jason], Victor Salva [Jeepers Creepers 2] and now Cabin Fever, the financiers have kicked into high gear, and he's now in prep." The new movie may be called Seed of Chucky.

Transylvania Pilot Ordered

In what may be the first example of synergy from their proposed merger, NBC and Universal have agreed to develop a dramatic TV series, Transylvania, inspired by director Stephen Sommers' upcoming Van Helsing movie, based on Universal's classic monsters, Variety reported. NBC has given Universal Network Television a pilot commitment for a drama that, while not a spinoff or sequel, will be set in the same universe as Van Helsing, the trade paper reported.

The deal marks the first major project linkup between NBC and Universal since NBC parent General Electric announced plans to buy Vivendi Universal Entertainment. The deal was valued at around $3 million, the trade paper reported.

Sommers will write the pilot script and executive produce the series with partner and longtime editor Bob Ducsay, the trade paper reported. The potential series will likely be shot on the same 19th-century village set that Universal built in Prague and used for Van Helsing.

Van Helsing, which Sommers (The Mummy) also wrote, features some of Universal's most famous monsters, such as Dr. Jekyll, the Wolf Man, Frankenstein's monster and Dracula, Variety reported. Hugh Jackman (X-Men) stars as a youthful version of the vampire hunter Van Helsing.

Transylvania will not feature the character of Van Helsing, but instead will center on a young cowboy from Texas who's pressed into duty and becomes the sheriff in a town where oddities abound, the trade paper reported.

Van Helsing is due for release on May 7, 2004. Vivendi Universal also owns SCIFI.COM.

Author Illuminates Soon

Jerry Jenkins—author of Soon, the penultimate volume in the best-selling Left Behind series of Christian-themed novels—said that the book takes place after a global war. "This story is set in the future, when religion has been outlawed in an attempt to put an end to all wars," Jenkins said in a press release. "But people of faith cannot be eradicated. They are merely pushed underground. And history shows they can't be held down for long."

Soon focuses on Paul Stepola, an agent working for the National Peace Organization (NPO), who has been assigned to enforce compliance with the world government's prohibition on religion in the aftermath of World War III. Soon is now on sale and will be followed by Glorious Appearing, the last book in the series, which imagines the final days as envisioned by fundamentalist Christians.

CBS Eyes Practical Magic

CBS and Warner Brothers TV are developing an hourlong drama series based on Sandra Bullock's 1998 fantasy movie Practical Magic, Variety reported. The two companies are working with producer Denise Di Novi, writer Becky Hartman-Edwards and Bullock's Fortis Films, the trade paper reported.

As in the movie, the series will center on two sisters who struggle with the blessing/curse of magical abilities. Hartman-Edwards (American Dreams) will executive produce and write the pilot, which will be based on the Alice Hoffman novel that served as the inspiration for the movie. Bullock and Di Novi will also executive produce the CBS show. The film starred Bullock and Nicole Kidman as Sally and Gillian Owens, the trade paper reported.

Sony Unveils PS2 Slate

Sony Computer Entertainment America on Sept. 16 unveiled its upcoming lineup of online-enabled video games for its PlayStation 2 platform, which will be released starting this holiday season. The company also announced its new hard disk drive, which will provide PlayStation 2 customers the ability to load expanded applications and downloadable content. The hard disk drive, available in March 2004 for a suggested retail price of $99, will also come pre-installed with Square Enix's upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game Final Fantasy XI, allowing cross-platform play between the PlayStation 2 and a personal computer, the company said.

Soon-to-be-released PlayStation 2 titles SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs and Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain, published by Sony Computer Entertainment America, will be among the first to utilize the hard disk drive with new content for consumers to download, the company said.

A partial list of upcoming PlayStation 2 titles follows.

Amplitude (available now)
Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain (available February 2004)
Twisted Metal: Black Online (available now)
EverQuest Online Adventures (available now)
EverQuest Online Adventures: Frontiers (Nov. 17, 2003)
Resident Evil Outbreak (available March 2003)
SSX 3 (available this October)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (available this fall)
Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior (available this fall)

Platinum Signs With Disney

Comic-book entertainment company Platinum Studios has reached a deal with Walt Disney TV Animation to develop projects based on the company's characters, Variety reported. The company has also signed a development deal with veteran kids producer Kaaren Lee Brown, the trade paper reported.

Platinum has a library of more than 1,000 characters. Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, who created the company in 1997, first published the Men in Black series while at Malibu Comics and helped deliver it to Sony, the trade paper reported.

The deal with Disney is for one-year, non-exclusive first look for projects for ABC Family and the Disney Channel.

He's Tarzan, She's Jane

Sarah Wayne Callies, who plays NYPD detective Jane Porter in The WB's upcoming new series Tarzan, told SCI FI Wire that her character bears some resemblance to her jungle-dwelling forebear in Edgar Rice Burroughs' original Tarzan stories. "Burroughs' original ... was published in 1914 and was about something that happened, I think, in 1881," Callies said in an interview. "And she's updated appropriately. Jane was a woman who was very forthright and sharp-minded for the time she was in. And she's retained that same relationship to the time she was in, even though it's now."

In the WB's contemporized Tarzan, Callies' Jane is a New York cop who finds herself caught up in events surrounding a mysterious young man, John Clayton Jr. (Travis Fimmel), who was discovered living in the jungle and has been brought back to New York by his rich relatives. One other thing is different about this new Jane, Callies added. "She's wearing more clothes," she said. "I'm not kidding. She's probably got more clothing on than if you stitched together every square inch of fabric every [movie] Jane has ever worn. ... When I first heard about Jane, I said, 'No way! I'm not going to walk around in a leather bikini.' And I said that, of course, with my head full of judgments that were wrong about the original Jane in the book and about this script."

But, Callies added, "I'm proud as a feminist to play Jane, because she's a woman who, I think, is an incredible role model, particularly for the demographic of women that are likely to be watching. She's very strong, very courageous. And not just in a sort of I'm-going-to-go-fight-the-world way, but in a way that reflects her willingness to examine honestly what her head and her heart are telling her. And if the answers that she gets from that examination change her life, then as terrified as she is of that change, I think she is courageous and that she at least takes the steps to negotiate it." Tarzan premieres Oct. 5 and will air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Children Of Dune Wins Emmy

The SCI FI Channel's sequel miniseries Frank Herbert's Children of Dune won an Emmy for visual effects during a Sept. 13 ceremony in Los Angeles. The miniseries took home the award for outstanding special visual effects for a miniseries, movie or special at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' 2002-'03 Creative Arts Prime Time Emmys, part of the 55th Annual Emmy Awards, at the Shrine Auditorium.

ABC's Alias, meanwhile, won two awards: one for outstanding makeup for a series (non-prosthetic) for the episode "The Counteragent" and one for outstanding stunt coordination for the season finale "The Telling."

Fox's canceled SF western series Firefly won the Emmy for outstanding special visual effects for a series, for its pilot episode, "Serenity."

The rest of the prime-time Emmy Awards were presented in ceremonies broadcasted on Fox on Sept. 21.

Streep, Law In Lemony

Meryl Streep and Jude Law are joining Jim Carrey in the film version of the Lemony Snicket children's book series, Variety reported. Streep will play Aunt Josephine, and Law is being recruited by director Brad Silberling to play narrator Lemony Snicket in the Paramount/DreamWorks adaptation of Daniel Handler's series Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, the trade paper reported.

Liam Aiken and Emily Browning have also been set to play Klaus and Violet Baudelaire, two of the three orphans who are the central protagonists of the series, the trade paper reported. The film will begin production in November, for a holiday 2004 release.

First Bionicle Film On DVD

Miramax is introducing Bionicle: Mask of Light, a DVD release based on the Lego toy line, which it hopes will be the start of a franchise, Variety reported. The computer-animated movie was produced exclusively for home video, based on the toys and comics that have been purchased by 40 million people worldwide, the trade paper reported.

Miramax is already planning a second Bionicle movie for production in 2004 and a computer-animated theatrical release for 2005.

Atwood On Booker Short List

Margaret Atwood's SF novel Oryx and Crake was the favorite on the short list announced Sept. 16 for the coveted Booker Prize, the Reuters news service reported. Canadian author Atwood won the Booker three years ago.

Atwood is vying with first-time novelist Monica Ali's Brick Lane to land the 50,000 pound ($8,000) prize on Oct. 14, the news service reported. The others on the short list include British columnist Zoe Heller (Notes on a Scandal), Clare Morrall (Astonishing Splashes of Color), D.B.C. Pierre (Vernon God Little) and Damon Galgut (The Good Doctor).

King Wins Book Medal

The National Book Foundation awarded horror writer Stephen King its 2003 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the Reuters news service reported. King joins a list of previous winners that includes John Updike, Philip Roth, Saul Bellow and Toni Morrison, the wire service reported.

The 55-year-old King has more than 300 million copies of his books in print, including The Shining (1977), Pet Sematary (1983) and Misery (1987), all of which were made into popular films, the news service reported.

The award, given by the organizers of the National Book Award, carries a $10,000 prize (which King said he would return to the foundation for charitable purposes) and will be bestowed at the annual National Book Awards ceremony on Nov. 19, Reuters reported.

Teen Titans Bought

New Line has bought the fantasy movie pitch Titans and set Michael France (Hulk) to write the script, Variety reported. The film is a coming-of-age story about a group of teens who just happen to be the future gods of Mount Olympus, the trade paper reported.

The central figures are Zeus, Hera, Hades and Poseidon, and the teens must embrace their powers soon, because the planet is being ransacked by the Titans, who consist of unsavory figures such as Kronos and Lucifer, the trade paper reported. Gary Foster is producing with his Horseshoe Bay Productions partner Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil).

Eryl Cochran, who was acting temporarily as Foster's assistant, suggested the idea.

Halloween Redux In Works?

The Creature-Corner Web site reported a rumor that Dimension Films is trying to develop a ninth Halloween movie, with franchise creator John Carpenter writing and directing. Citing anonymous sources, the site reported that Dimension wants Carpenter to update his original 1978 Halloween, which turned Jamie Lee Curtis into a star.

The site reported that it's unclear whether Carpenter will sign on.

Fox Readies Iguana Toon

Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios are finalizing a deal to bring the children's book The Iguana Brothers: A Tale of Two Lizards to the big screen as an animated feature, with John Leguizamo voicing and producing, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Academy Award nominee Jeremy Pikser (Bulworth) is adapting the screenplay, which will also be produced by director Robert Luketic and Fonda Snyder, the trade paper reported.

Iguana, based on writer Tony Johnson and illustrator Mark Teague's book, tells the story of Dom and Tom, two laid-back iguana brothers living in Mexico, who embark on adventures.

SF Rhysling Winners Named

The Science Fiction Poetry Association has chosen the winners of the 2003 Rhysling Awards, honoring achievement in speculative poetry, according to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Web site. The membership voted on nominees in two categories: short poem (up to 49 lines long) and long poem (50 lines and over).

The Science Fiction Poetry Association was founded in 1978 as a forum for poets whose work includes elements of science, science fiction, surrealism, horror or fantasy. The organization has about 100 members. A list of winners follows.

Short Poem

•First Place: "Potherb Gardening" by Ruth Berman
•Second Place: "A Ghost Story" by Mike Allen
•Third Place: "meteor shower" by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Long Poem

•First Place (tie): "Epochs in Exile: A Fantasy Trilogy" by Charles Saplak and Mike Allen
"Matlacihuatl's Gift" by Sonya Taaffe
•Second Place: "Medusa's Tale" by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
•Third Place: "Not One of Us" by Tyree Campbell

Mission: Impossible Game Due

Atari will release Mission: Impossible—Operation Surma, a new video game based on the spy-movie franchise, in November for the Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube and GameBoy Advance, the company said. Atari's Paradigm Entertainment will develop the title.

Mission: Impossible—Operation Surma allows players to become IMF agent Ethan Hunt as he travels the globe uncovering the mysteries behind the malevolent Surma Corp. and its newly developed virus, ICEWorm, which allows Surma to break into any computer system in the world.

Briefly Noted

  • has posted a new trailer for Disney's upcoming Haunted Mansion movie, which haunts theaters on Nov. 26.

  • The Web site reported a spoiler rumor that Star Wars: Episode III will feature a classic Star Wars character: a young Grand Moff Tarkin, played in the original movie by Peter Cushing. The site posted two images of a different actor who will supposedly play the character and who bears a striking resemblance to Cushing.

  • Michael Pitt, Cherry Jones, Jayne Atkinson, Celia Weston and Brendan Gleeson have joined the ensemble cast of director M. Night Shyamalan's supernatural thriller film The Woods, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The new cast members will join stars Adrien Brody, Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard, William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver.

  • Former Buffy the Vampire Slayer actor Danny Strong (Jonathan) is seeking fan support for his bid to run the New Orleans Marathon in February to raise money to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles. Strong, who plans to log nearly 500 miles running over the next six months, is aiming to raise at least $5,000 before Dec. 3 as part of the National AIDS Marathon Training Program.

  • The second third-season episode of UPN's Enterprise, which aired on Sept. 17, saw double-digit ratings growth over last week's season premiere in all key adult, male and female demographics, the network announced. The revamped Star Trek prequel remains ahead of its performance last season by 9 percent in total viewers.

  • Fox has launched a new Web site for the upcoming "director's cut" release of Ridley Scott's 1979 SF classic Alien this Halloween.

  • The Ghosts of Albion novella "Astray," written by former Buffy the Vampire Slayer player Amber Benson and Christopher Golden, is available online as an audio book, read by actress Jasmine Hyde. Text and RealMedia audio versions will be launched at the same time, with one new chapter a week.

  • Sheb Wooley, whose novelty song Purple People Eater was a number-one hit in 1958, died Sept. 16 after a five-year battle with leukemia, the Reuters news service reported. He was 82.

  • has posted new images from George Lucas' upcoming Star Wars: Episode III, which was scheduled to wrap principal photography in Sydney, Australia, on Sept. 17.

  • World Wrestling Entertainment star Triple H (aka Michael Paul LeVesque) will battle Wesley Snipes in New Line Cinema's upcomng Blade: Trinity, the third movie in the vampire hunter franchise, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

  • TV Guide Online has posted spoilers for the current third season of UPN's Enterprise, which airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

  • The Sept. 14 series premiere of HBO's supernatural drama Carnivàle drew 5.3 million viewers, the best-ever debut for an HBO original series, Variety reported.

  • Showtime has ordered 15 new episodes of its supernatural drama Dead Like Me for a second season, Variety reported. No premiere date has been set for the new episodes, but production on season two will begin in early 2004.

  • The Lamb, a $20 million biblical epic, is scheduled to start shooting in South Africa in December, directed by Regardt van den Bergh, Variety reported. The Lamb depicts a journey of faith by Mattias and his son, Joel, intertwined with encounters with Jesus.

  • The London Science Museum's exhibition featuring the special effects technology of the Lord of the Rings movies is already the most successful show in the museum's history, with 14,000 advance tickets sold before its opening to the public on Sept. 16, the Reuters news service reported.

  • Entertainment Tonight reported that Mark Wahlberg is interested in starring in a sequel to Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes movie.

  • Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson denied to SCI FI Wire a persistent rumor that he is going to star in a proposed third Predator movie, taking over the character of Dutch, which was originated by Arnold Schwarzenegger. "I think somebody on the Internet started that [rumor]," Johnson said in an interview. "I think probably the writer."

  • The Matrix Reloaded star Carrie-Anne Moss gave birth to her first child with husband Steven Roy, sources close to the actress told E! Online. There's no word on the child's date of birth, sex, measurements or name, the site reported.

  • The H.P.Lovecraft Film Festival 2003, dedicated to the works of the legendary author, takes place at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Ore., Oct. 9-12, organizers said. This year's guests include Jeffrey Combs, director Brian Yuzna, author S.T. Joshi and actor Jack Donner.

  • New Line has put up the official poster for its upcoming holiday fantasy film Elf, which opens Nov. 7.

  • Warner Brothers made it official that it has parted ways with Paul Schrader, director of the upcoming prequel film Exorcist: The Beginning, according to a report on the CaptainHowdy Web site. Schrader will no longer continue as director of the movie "due to creative differences," the studio said.

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