Asimov Died Of AIDS
rolific SF author Isaac Asimov died of AIDS in 1992, according to a revelation in It's Been a Good Life, Janet Jeppson's upcoming condensation of the writer's three-volume autobiography, the New York Post reported.
Asimov contracted the illness through a blood transfusion while undergoing bypass surgery in 1983 and died from the disease at age 72, the book reported.
Jeppson, Asimov's wife, compiled It's Been a Good Life, which is due later this month, from her late husband's notes and essays. The legendary and award-winning author is best known for the Robot and Foundation series of books.
New Episode II Site Opens
harp-eyed viewers of the new trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IIAttack of the Clones noticed an unusual link at the end of the credits.
The link takes users to a mock news site, Holonet News, that is set in the universe of the prequel films.
The site features news stories about developments in the galaxy at the time of Episode II, including Senator Palpatine's efforts to create a clone army, a central plot point in the new movie. Episode II opens May 16.
Episode II Took A Digital Journey
ick McCallum, producer of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IIAttack of the Clones, told an audience at the ShoWest convention that Lucasfilm formed a coalition between Sony and Panavision in 1998 to begin developing digital cameras and lenses.
"This group of engineers met on average every two months, thrashing out hundreds of system details, which shaped all the products and software that we needed to develop," McCallum said. "It was remarkable: Three companies working side by side without a single contract binding them together."
Sony developed a 24-frame high-definition processive scan camera, for which Panavision designed lenses. Testing of these items began in November 1999 for use in Episode II. "For the next six months we shot dozens of tests in every possible environment," McCallum said. "Eventually we got the final version of the camera one week before the first day of principal photography. We started shooting without any film backup whatsoever. We just went for it. We shot in deserts where the temperatures were over 125 degrees. For weeks we shot in torrential rain. We shot in five different countries throughout the world, all without a single problem. So, after seven years of hard work and phenomenal engineering, here we are." Episode II opens May 16.
Jedi Outcast Goes Gold
ucasArts Entertainment announced that its Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast video game has been approved for manufacture and will hit stores on March 29.
The gamemaker's official Web site has posted a trailer and previews of the upcoming PC title.
Jedi Outcast takes place nearly 10 years after the events of the first Jedi Knight and its Mysteries of the Sith expansion pack. Players assume the identity of Kyle Katarn, a Jedi who has left the order but is called back to deal with a new threat.
Making Book On Spidey
eter David, who is writing the novelization of Sam Raimi's upcoming Spider-Man movie, told the Slush Factory Web site that he needed to flesh out the film's script.
"Keep in mind that the average script is 120 pages long," David told the site. "If you just write 'he said, she said,' you've got a 120-page manuscript, when you need over 300 pages. The main thing that you look for are scenes that can be fleshed out or added and storylines that can be augmented."
David added, "In the case of Spider-Man, I added a framing prologue and wrote an entire sequence detailing a 5-year-old Peter Parker's arrival at Ben and May's home after his parents died. In short, you try and take a movie storywhich is told in very visual termsand try and convert it into the more literary requirements of a novel."
The book will follow the film's story closely, David said. "No differences," he said. "Just additions. Plus some in-jokes for readers. For instance, I have Aunt May and Uncle Ben, upon first learning of the existence of our hero, reacting thusly: May incredulously says, 'Spider-Man? SPIDER-MAN?' And Ben replies with a shrug, 'Apparently he does whatever a spider can.'" Spider-Man hits theaters May 3.
Stan The Man Likes Spidey Film
tan Lee, who co-created Spider-Man at Marvel Comics, told Cinescape Online that he loved the rough cut of Sam Raimi's upcoming Spider-Man movie.
"Boy, it looked great to me," Lee told the site. "It's Spider-Man all right."
Lee added, "As far as his personality, it's incredibly close. I mean, Peter Parker is somewhat shy. He's not incredibly popular with the other kids. We have Aunt May. We have Uncle Ben, who dies. I thought the scene with J. Jonah Jameson is really funny." Spider-Man opens May 3.
Harris, Loeb Voice TV Spidey
eil Patrick Harris (Starship Troopers) and singer Lisa Loeb will voice Peter Parker and Mary Jane in MTV's upcoming animated Spider-Man series, the Comics Continuum reported.
"They nailed the roles, and it really was stiff competition," Spider-Man executive producer Brian Michael Bendis told the site. "We picked our cast from tons of auditions. And I am happy to say that my personal first choices made it for the leads."
Spider-Man producer Audu Paden told the Continuum that, because of MTV's involvement, it's likely that more performers who are prominent in the music business will be involved as guest stars, possibly as villains. "There are some people who came in from the music business who did surprisingly good work as voice actors," Paden told the site.
Recording of the voice parts will begin in Los Angeles this week. The show is targeted for an October debut.
Team Blade Sharpens Third Film
avid Goyer, who wrote the vampire-action film Blade and its upcoming sequel, told SCI FI Wire that plans are already in the works for a third installment in the comics-to-film franchise.
"When I originally came in and sat down with New Line, I pitched a trilogy of films," Goyer said in an interview while promoting Blade II. "Let's just say in the first two films the vampires keep on trying all these James Bondian ways of taking over the world, and I just thought for the third one, f-ck it. They should just do it. We should just cut forward X amount of years, and they've won. And now they are the status quo. And what would the world be like, and what does Blade do then?"
Blade II director Guillermo del Toro said in an interview that he would return to helm the third filmon the condition that the original premise remains intact. "If we agree on the take that David and I are proposing, yes," del Toro said. "Which is, the vampires have won, and the whole world is basically a milking factory of humans feeding vampires. It's like a concentration camp for humans. And if that is the world, I would love it, because then you can take it to a new level of nightmarish visuals that the movie will need, that the franchise will need."
Goyer said that he hopes that the creative team behind the second film will be reassembled once again for Blade III. Star and producer Wesley Snipes has already committed to the project, he added. Co-star Kris Kristofferson has also indicated that he would reprise his role as the curmudgeonly watcher Whistler. "I said to [Kristofferson], 'Are you going to come back for Blade III?'" Goyer said. "And he said, 'I have to, because my kids would never let me live it down. They love the Blade movies.' So I said, 'Okay, you'll be back in Blade III.'"
Goyer added, "It's unusual to be in a situation where you get a whole trilogy to do.
It's not that often you can do that. Which is one of the reasons why I knew I wanted come back. It's fun writing a sequel to your own movie." Blade II opens March 22.
Snipes Prowls On Black Panther
lade II star Wesley Snipes told SCI FI Wire that his next comic-book related project will likely be a live-action adaptation of Marvel Comics' Black Panther series.
"To be real honest, we wanted to do Black Panther before Blade came along," Snipes said in an interview while promoting Blade II. "The agenda was to do Black Panther, and then it got caught up in some title and rights issues. And then Blade was substituted for Black Panther. I mean, me and [director] John Singleton were talking about doing Black Panther in '93, '92. So we've been on this a while."
Although the two characters both originated from the world of comics, Snipes said that he will strive to make Black Panther as distinct from Blade as possible. "[It] will be another challenge, because now I've got two comic-book superheroes. What's the fighting style? What's the look? Their backgrounds are completely different. Black
Panther may lend itself to have more doubles, because he wears a cowl and the whole body suit. Maybe more CGI."
Black Panther centers around T'Challa, a costumed crimefighter whose real identity is leader of a fictional and scientifically advanced nation called Wakanda. When asked why he wanted to play the role, Snipes responded in a booming, regal voice: "He's a king! He's a king, man! What say you? He's a king!"
Romano Warms Ice Age
omedian Ray Romano, star of the computer-animated film Ice Age, told SCI FI Wire that his character, Manny the mammoth, makes an emotional journey as well as a physical quest through a prehistoric world.
"In the beginning his motivation is simply to get away from it all, get away from everybody, to be alone and to wallow," Romano said in an interview. "He changes at the end. He realizes other peopleand when I say people I mean animals... [are] not such a bad thing. And he realizes he can get along with somebody and just becomes a nicer person. He still has his edge, but we see the kind heart underneath all that hair and noise."
Ice Age is Romano's first feature film, and the actor said that he found it challenging to record lines in a studio, with no immediate feedback from an audience. "The audience, sometimes, when they're good and a scene is going well, it energizes you," Romano said. "You've rehearsed it 20 times during the week, and now you're cranking it up a notch because your adrenaline is going because of the energy in the room. I wonder if that's there, even when you're doing a [live-action] film." Ice Age opens March 15.
Wedge Colors The Ice Age
hris Wedge, director of the upcoming computer-animated fantasy film Ice Age, told SCI FI Wire that he spent time in upstate New York to get a sense of the color schemes he could use to depict snow and ice.
"You might think that snow is just white, and our characters are just going to be on white all the time," Wedge said in an interview. "I come from a part of the country where it snows a lot, and I know how much the time of day and the time of year influence the way things look and the colors that come through the light. Even sequence by sequence in our movie, the color changes considerably. When it's stormy, the sky is green. When it's mellow, the sky is yellow. It just changes a lot."
Wedge achieved the unique look of the computer animation by employing the technique of "ray tracing," using a program that simulates the way light sources reflect or refract in a setting. This allowed the film's producers to create realistic elements, such as water. "Ray tracing does a scientifically accurate job of mimicking the way light rays work in the world," Wedge said. "It works especially well when you have materials that interact because of what they reflect or refract, and water is one of them. All we did for the water was set up a volume of water and move it down through that channel, making sure that the bottom of the riverbed was the right color, put a sky in there, and the software pretty much takes care of it." Ice Age opens March 15.
Jovovich Conjures Evil
illa Jovovich, star of the SF horror movie Resident Evil, told SCI FI Wire that the film is quite different from her one previous genre outing, The Fifth Element.
"The characters are so different," Jovovich said in an interview.
Jovovich plays zombie eradicator Alice in Paul Anderson's Resident Evil movie, which is based on the Capcom video game series of the same name. In Fifth Element,
directed by her ex-husband Luc Besson, she played Leeloo. "Alice has so much more going on inside her, because she doesn't know if she is good or bad, and we as the audience don't
know if she's good or bad," Jovovich said. "So there's a tension that Leeloo didn't have, because we knew she was good."
Jovovich added, "Resident Evil has a lot more action, a lot more of everything, I think. The Fifth Element was this bright, happy movie. Resident Evil is very somber, dark and a little depressing, but it leaves you feeling really good and ready to watch the next one. I'm totally psyched. I can't even explain it. It's so great. I cannot wait for the fans of this game to see this movie."
The next one? Is Jovovich up for more Resident Evil? "Hell, yes!" she shouted. "Not only am I up for more, but we've already got ideas for the next script. Hopefully we'll be able to make it." Resident Evil opens March 15.
Evil Features Familiar Faces
aul W.S. Andersonwho wrote, directed and produced the upcoming Resident Evil filmtold SCI FI Wire that the movie will act as a prequel to the Capcom video-game series on which the film is based, but will nevertheless feature creatures familiar to game fans.
"We kept the signature creatures, absolutely," Anderson said in an interview. "I talked to a lot of fans before I started on the script and also on the movie. It became obvious that some of the creatures, like the zombie dogs, were, like, everyone's favorite. You can't make Resident Evil without the zombie dogs. And you can't make Resident Evil without the Licker."
Andersona big game fan himselfadded, "So you find, like, everyone's favorite creatures from the games are in the movie. ... But it also has one special one that we've designed just for the movie. Because the idea is, for the games' players, it's like added value. You see things in the movie that you don't see in the games. You know, you see a reflection of the games, but you also see something bigger and better."
Anderson said he was pleased that he was able to push the envelope with the film's visual effects. "We have things that people have never really attempted before," he said. "The whole scene with the zombie dogs is something that no one's every done before. And we know that, because we used the top dog trainers in America, and ... [when] I told them what I wanted to do with these dogs, they went, 'Well, no one's never done that before.' ... For me, that's one of the best things in the movie, this dog scene. That was really pushing the boundaries. It was working with dogs that had to have a huge amount of makeup applied to them, that then had to be put into a really major action scene. It's not just dogs snarling at somebody, which is what it usually is in action movies. There are dogs leaping through the air, actors leaping to meet them. I'm very proud of it." Resident Evil, starring Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez, opens March 15.
Cameron In Wings For Angel
ark Angel co-creator James Cameron will direct the Fox series' second-season finalethe first time the Oscar-winning director has helmed an episode of a television series, Variety reported.
The report confirmed an earlier SCI FI Wire story.
Cameron's finale is slated to air at 9 p.m. ET/PT on May 3. "I believe in our show and think it is one of the coolest things on network television," Cameron told the trade paper. "I have wanted to direct an episode for some time, so when our director for the season finale dropped out just as I was completing photography on another project, I seized the moment."
Cameron added, "It will be good discipline for me to direct one hour on a TV-size budget, when my last project was three hours for $200 million," Cameron said. "Wish me luck. This should be interesting." The finale's script is still being written; shooting will begin later this month, the trade paper reported.
Cameron Up For Alien 5?
idley Scott told Total Film magazine that James Cameron may be involved in a proposed fifth Alien movie, according to the Coming Attractions Web site.
Scott added that he's moving away from doing Alien 5.
The site also wondered if Cameron might be involved in an Aliens vs. Predator movie.
Arnold Goes Westworld
rnold Schwarzenegger has signed on to star in and produce a remake of the Michael Crichton SF action thriller Westworld, Variety columnist Michael Fleming reported.
Schwarzenegger (Terminator 3) is set to play the killer robot cowboy original played by Yul Brynner in the 1973 movie, Fleming reported.
"I am very excited to be working on Westworld," Schwarzenegger told Fleming. "I loved the original film when I saw it in 1973 and have wanted to remake it for several years. After following the project for some time, I am really thrilled it has finally come together at Warner Brothers." The film is on a fast track, the trade paper reported.
Fleming also reported that Schwarzenegger is solidifying plans to reprise his role in the new Conan the Barbarian film, which is currently being written by John Milius, who wrote the 1982 original Conan film with Oliver Stone. The rights came to Warner Brothers in a deal put together by producers Jon Jashni, Irving Azoff and Richard Alexander with Stan Lee Media, which controlled the rights to the Robert E. Howard-created character, Fleming reported. Lee is executive producing the movie, which will pair Schwarzenegger with a younger swordsman.
Frenchman To Helm Catwoman?
he IGN FilmForce Web site reported a rumor that French director Pitof (born Jean-Christophe Comar) is the frontrunner to helm Warner Brothers' upcoming Catwoman film.
IGN cited anonymous sources for its story. Catwoman is based on the character from DC Comics' Batman series.
Pitof made his feature-film directing debut on the recently released Vidocq, a French period piece starring GÈrard Depardieu, the site reported. Pitof served as the digital effects supervisor on The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc and The Visitors and was a second unit director on Alien: Resurrection.
UPN Cries Wolf
lex Gansa, executive producer of CBS' canceled werewolf series Wolf Lake, told Zap2it.com that he's in the dark about CBS sister network UPN's plans to resurrect the show.
"They're to show the pilot, then they're going to do a 60-second recap for the second week, before they air episode six, to catch everybody up on the four episodes they're not going to show," Gansa told the site.
Gansa added, "What I've been doing is working on that 60-second thing, to try to make it as sensible as I possibly can, to catch people up on four hours of television in 60 seconds. So that's all I know."
As yet, no formal announcement has been made about whether the series might join the UPN schedule in the fall. "I think that [possibility is] implicit in the idea of putting us back on the air," Gansa said. "I don't know. I haven't heard. The cynic in me believes that there are advertising dollars to be made, but the idealist in me hopes that the show will spark and catch an audience on UPN, and we'll come back." Wolf Lake returns to the air starting at 9 p.m. ET/PT on April 3, following Enterprise.
New Line Develops Witch
ew Line Cinema has acquired the movie rights to Rebecca Reisert's novel The Third Witch, a retelling of William Shakespeare's Macbeth through the eyes of one of the witches, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
New Line bought the option on the novel from Solaris Entertainment, whose Greg and Gavin O'Connor will produce the film, the trade paper reported.
Lynn Harris, New Line executive vice president for production, and Meredith Finn, Fine Line director of East Coast acquisitions, will oversee the project for the studio, the trade paper reported.
Nickelodeon Readies Friend
ickelodeon Movies has teamed with director Gary Ross and his Larger Than Life Productions for a fantasy film tentatively titled Imaginary Friend, about a boy whose imaginary friend takes him out of the real world into an animated universe of a child's imagination, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Anne Spielberg wrote Friend, based on her and Ross' short story.
Spielberg and Ross previously worked together on 1988's fantasy film Big, which earned an Oscar nomination for best screenplay.
Italia Winners Announced
he 2002 Italia Awards for best SF published in Italy were presented on March 9 at ITALCON 28/Deepcon 3 in Fiuggi, Italy, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Web site reported.
The winners were chosen by a jury of fans and members of World SF Italia. A list of winners follows.
Il Castello di Eymerich by Valerio Evangelisti
Best International Novel
Miliardi di tappeti di capelli (Die Haarteppichkn¸pfer) by Andreas Eschbach
Best Short Story
"La discesa interrotta dal rosa e dal blue" by Enrica Zunic
"Da '2001' al 2001" by G.F. Pizzo, R. Chiavini and M. Tetro
Best Short Essay
"Fantascienza e politica: il binomio negato" by Vittorio Catani
Best Book Collection
Delos Science Fiction
Ginevra Report by Mariano Equizzi
Best Graphic Novel
I Custodi del Maser by Massimiliano Frezzato
Best Fan Short Story
"I battitori del crepuscolo" by Domenico Gallo
Best Fan Short Essay
"Personaggi della fantascienza italiana" by A. Jarok and L. Kremo
Potter Tops Saturn Nominees
arry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone topped the nominations for the 28th annual Saturn Awards, honoring excellence in genre television and film. Potter received nine nominations, including best fantasy film.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring tied with Brotherhood of the Wolf for the next-highest number of nominations, with eight each, organizers announced. The nominations were announced March 13 by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.
The Saturns will be presented in June in Los Angeles. A full list of nominees follows.
Best Science Fiction Film
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Jurassic Park III
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Planet of the Apes
Best Fantasy Film
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Mummy Returns
Best Horror Film
The Devil's Backbone
Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film
Black Hawk Down
Brotherhood of the Wolf
The Man Who Wasn't There
Tom Cruise, Vanilla Sky
Johnny Depp, From Hell
Anthony Hopkins, Hannibal
Guy Pearce, Memento
Kevin Spacey, K-Pax
Billy Bob Thornton, The Man Who Wasn't There
Kate Beckinsale, Serendipity
Nicole Kidman, The Others
Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Julianne Moore, Hannibal
Frances O'Connor, A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive
Best Supporting Actor
Robbie Coltrane, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Mark Decascos, Brotherhood of the Wolf
Ian McKellen, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Eddie Murphy, Shrek
Jeremy Piven, Serendipity
Tim Roth, Planet of the Apes
Best Supporting Actress
Monica Bellucci, Brotherhood of the Wolf
Helena Bonham Carter, Planet of the Apes
Cameron Diaz, Vanilla Sky
Fionnula Flanagan, The Others
Frances McDormand, The Man Who Wasn't There
Maggie Smith, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Best Performance by a Younger Actor
Freddie Boath, The Mummy Returns
Justin Long, Jeepers Creepers
Alakina Mann, The Others
Haley Joel Osment, A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Emma Watson, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Alejandro Amenabar, The Others
Chris Columbus, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Christophe Gans, Brotherhood of the Wolf
Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
David Lynch, Mulholland Drive
Steven Spielberg, A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Alejandro Amenabar, The Others
Andrew Stanton and Dan Gerson, Monsters, Inc.
Stephane Cabel and Christophe Gans, Brotherhood of the Wolf
Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Joe Stillman and Roger S.H. Schulman, Shrek
Steven Spielberg, A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Angelo Badalamenti, Mulholland Drive
Joseph LoDuca, Brotherhood of the Wolf
John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams, Shrek
Howard Shore, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
John Williams, A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Nancy Wilson, Vanilla Sky
Colleen Atwood, Planet of the Apes
Kym Barrett, From Hell
Dominique Borg, Brotherhood of the Wolf
Ngila Dickson and Richard Taylor, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Judianna Makovsky, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Catherine Martin and Angus Strathie, Moulin Rouge
Greg Cannom and Wesley Wofford, Hannibal
Nick Dudman, Mark Coulier and John Lambert, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Peter Owen and Richard Taylor, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Aileen Seaton, Nick Dudman and Jane Walker, The Mummy Returns
Rick Baker and John Blake, Planet of the Apes
Michele Burke and Camille Calvert, Vanilla Sky
Best Special Effects
Dennis Muren, Scott Farrar, Stan Winston and Michael Lantieri, A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Rob Legato, Nick Davis, Roger Guyett and John Richardson, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Jim Mitchell, Dan Taylor, Donald R. Elliott and John Rosengrant, Jurassic Park III
Jim Rygiel, Randall William Cook, Richard Taylor and Mark Stetson, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
John Andrew Berton Jr., Daniel Jeannette, Neil Corbould and Tom Rosseter, The Mummy Returns
Arthur Windus, Val Wardlaw, Hal Bertram, Nick Drew and Seb Caudron, Brotherhood of the Wolf
Best Network Television Series
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series
The Invisible Man
Best Single Television Presentation
Earth vs. the Spider
Jack and the BeanstalkThe Real Story
The Lost Empire
The Mists of Avalon
Best Actor in a Television Series
Richard Dean Anderson, Stargate SG-1
Scott Bakula, Enterprise
David Boreanaz, Angel
Ben Browder, Farscape
Robert Patrick, The X-Files
Tom Welling, Smallville
Best Actress in a Television Series
Jessica Alba, Dark Angel
Gillian Anderson, The X-Files
Claudia Black, Farscape
Yancy Butler, Witchblade
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Kristin Kreuk, Smallville
Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series
Christopher Judge, Stargate SG-1
James Marsters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Michael Rosenbaum, Smallville
Anthony Simcoe, Farscape
Connor Trinneer, Enterprise
Michael Weatherly, Dark Angel
Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series
Jolene Blalock, Enterprise
Gigi Edgley, Farscape
Annabeth Gish, The X-Files
Alyson Hannigan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Amanda Tapping, Stargate SG-1
Michelle Trachtenberg, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Best DVD Release
Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp's Adventure
With a Friend Like Harry
Best DVD Special Edition Release
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Planet of the Apes
Best DVD Classic Film Release
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Director's Edition)
Star Wars: Episode IThe Phantom Menace
Superman: The Movie
Special Award Recipients
The Dr. Donald A. Reed Award
The Life Career Award
Special Achievement Award
Anchor Bay Entertainment
The George Pal Memorial Award
Samuel Z. Arkoff (posthumously)
Outer Limits Film Coming
riter Gerald DiPego and his sons Justin and Zachary have signed a deal with MGM to write a film based on the long-running SF TV series The Outer Limits in what could become a film franchise, Variety reported.
Mark Victor and Michael Grais of Victor/Grais and Pen Densham, Guy McElwaine and John Watson of Trilogy Entertainment Group will produce the movie, the trade paper reported.
The original Outer Limits series ran in the mid-1960s. MGM TV and Trilogy revived the franchise three decades later, first on Showtime and then on the SCI FI Channel. After seven seasons, it is cable's longest-running SF anthology series.
Alias Looks To Year Two
BC has picked up SF spy series Alias for a second season, and creator J.J. Abrams told an audience that he's already brimming with new ideas for next year and beyond, the Zap2it Web site reported.
"We have ideas for year three," Abrams said during a panel at the Museum of Television and Radio's William S. Paley Television Festival in Los Angeles.
Abrams promised that Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) will get involved with someone. But will it be her CIA handler Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan) or reporter buddy Will Tippin (Bradley Cooper)? "It's a good time to re-enter the dating world," Abrams said, but added that it won't be with either Vaughn or Tippin. "It's very hard to find two people who cannot be together," Abrams said of Vaughn and Sydney. "It's not the kind of thing you jump into too quickly." Alias airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Fox Perfect For Little 2
roducer Doug Wick told SCI FI Wire that voice actor Michael J. Fox was the only person who could have made Stuart Little and its upcoming sequel, Stuart Little 2, work.
"Sometimes when you're watching the movie, close your eyes, and it works almost as well," Wick said at a press conference. "His voice is so evocative, and he has so much of what Stuart is supposed to be in terms of compassion, strength and can-do-ness."
Finding the right voice for E.B. White's talking mouse was a challenge that Wick felt Fox met. "We actually looked for a long time to find the voice for Stuart, and I think if it weren't for Michael, the [first] movie never would have been as successful as it is," Wick said. Stuart Little 2 opens July 19.
Ninja To Be Adapted
roducer Larry Kasanoff (Mortal Kombat) has bought rights to the 1994 Japanese anime Ninja Scroll and intends to turn it into an effects-driven live-action movie, Variety reported.
Kasanoff is also looking at television, live-stage, video-game and music spinoffs.
Kawajiri Yoshiaki's Ninja Scroll is a samurai sword-and-sorcery epic in which a masterless ninja-for-hire joins forces with a powerful female ninja after her team is destroyed by a monster, the trade paper reported.
Kasanoff is chairman and chief executive of Threshold Entertainment, whose digital animation and effects subsidiary will supervise visual effects for Ninja Scroll, while another unit will create and manage the online presence of the brand.
Smith Got Jiggier With MIB II
ill Smith told SCI FI Wire that his upcoming sequel film Men in Black II furthered the comedic relationship between him and co-star Tommy Lee Jones, resulting in more humor this time around.
"The first film was sort of a warm-up time," Smith said at a press conference. "With this film, we found really interesting, warm and funny comedic moments more quickly than we were able to do in the first film."
Where much of the original Men in Black explored the developing relationship between Agents J and K, that relationship was already in place at the beginning of MIB II. "Tommy Lee Jones and I really hit the ground running comedically," Smith said. "[Director] Barry Sonnenfeld referred to us as an old married couple." Men in Black II opens July 3.
Bond To Die Another Day
he upcoming 20th James Bond movie finally has a name: Die Another Day, the Reuters news service reported.
"Die Another Day carries on the tradition of the Ian Fleming stories and reflects the excitement and mystery of our latest script," producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions told Reuters in a statement.
The announcement ends months of speculation about the film's ultimate title. The movie, which is currently in production, is set for a Nov. 22 release.
Rutherford Gets Witchy On Fox
elly Rutherford (The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.) will play a witch in Eastwick, a Fox drama pilot based on the movie The Witches of Eastwick, Variety reported.
Chris Evans and Jonathan Bennett have also been cast as sons-of-witches in the show, the trade paper added.
In other Fox casting news, Rebecca Gayheart, who was previously cast in Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon's upcoming SF series Firefly, has dropped out of the two-hour pilot, the trade paper reported. The search is on for a replacement.
Radar Picks Up SF Books
adar Pictures (Pitch Black II: The Chronicles of Riddick) has optioned the film rights to Poul Anderson's SF novel Brain Wave, about a cosmic phenomenon that elevates the intelligence of all Earth life forms, Variety reported.
The company has also optioned the rights to William Tenn's SF book Child's Play, about a man who mistakenly receives a Christmas gift from 500 years in the future.
Ralph Vicinanza and Vince Gerardis will produce the projects, along with Radar's Scott Kroopf and Tom Engelman, with Ted Field executive producing, the trade paper reported.
Clockstoppers Goes Low-Tech
ale Anne Hurd, producer of Jonathan Frakes' upcoming teen SF movie Clockstoppers, told SCI FI Wire that the movie's "hypertime" sequences relied on state-of-the-art computer effectsand one very old technique.
"I think the idea of actually using mimes, going back to the very low-tech approach in this, was pretty novel," Hurd said in an interview. "Don't just throw a lot of money at something if you don't have to."
Hurd said that director Frakes employed up to 20 or so mimes as extras in scenes where the film's heroesplayed by Jesse Bradford and Paula Garcesfreeze time with a high-tech watch. Mimes were used "because they're really good at holding still," Hurd said. "We're equal-opportunity mime employers. It's hard. ... Mimes are very good at somehow not needing to blink." Clockstoppers opens March 29.
Clockstoppers Blitz Planned
iacom's 13 cable networksincluding MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1will break into regular programming at 8 p.m. March 26 for a live two-minute promotion and prize giveaway to hype Clockstoppers, the teen SF movie from Viacom companies Paramount and Nickelodeon, Variety reported.
The 13 networks have already begun teasers for the giveaway, which includes a grand-prize trip or $10,000 in cash, the trade paper reported.
The networks include BET, CMT, MTV2, Nickelodeon's Games & Sports, Noggin, TNN, TV Land, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul and VH1 Country, Variety reported. Viacom will also air the two-minute promo on 180 of its Infinity radio stations and on seven different Web sites. Clockstoppers opens March 29.
Fox Catches DragonBall
wentieth Century Fox has acquired the movie rights to the Japanese anime DragonBall, which the studio's Fox 2000 unit will develop as a live-action film franchise, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Japanese writer Akira Toriyama created DragonBall as a graphic novel, and it has been adapted as an animated television series, video games and straight-to-video releases, the trade paper reported.
DragonBall tells the story of Goku and his friends, who battle against the evil Saiyan with the Namekian DragonBalls. The franchise is the basis of Cartoon Network's DragonBall Z series.
DUFF Nominees Sought
rganizers are accepting nominations for the 2002 Down Under Fan Fund (DUFF) to send an Australian or New Zealand fan to the 60th World Science Fiction Convention, or ConJose, in San Jose, Calif., according to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Web site.
Candidates must have three Australasian nominators and two North American nominators and must be nominated by April 2.
Nominations must be made in writing and must include a 100-word statement and a $25 pledge to attend the convention.
Gamemakers Team Up For TV
bandon Entertainment and online game producer Mythic Entertainment have established a joint venture to acquire and produce genre television shows, Variety reported.
Abandon and Mythic co-published Dark Age of Camelot, an online multiplayer fantasy video game. Abandon and Mythic previously partnered with Dimension Films to develop, produce and co-finance a TV series based on the game, the trade paper reported.
Mythic has developed 12 online games, including Spellbinder: The Nexus Conflict, Aliens Online, Starship Troopers: Battlespace, Silent Death Online, Rolemaster: Magestorm, Darkness Falls and Dragon's Gate.
Hulk To Start Shooting
ale Anne Hurd, who is producing The Hulk, told SCI FI Wire that production begins March 18 in Los Angeles on director Ang Lee's adaptation of the Marvel Comics series.
"It'll be both [adult and action]," Hurd said while promoting her new teen SF movie Clockstoppers. "It'll have the complexity of character that will keep audiences over 18 interested, but with great action sequences that the whole family will love."
Hurd added, "We're thrillled to have Ang Lee [Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon]. ... Ang Lee doesn't do anything typically. There's so many layers when Ang Lee approaches things. It's about the dramatic underpinnings of the character, the dramatic underpinnings about every scene. And his mind really works on so many levels, and I think that's why his films resonate the way they do, regardless of what genre he's directing. And so he's bringing all that."
One thing the movie won't have is star Eric Bana in a giant, green rubber suit, Hurd added. "No," she said. "I can categorically say no." The Hulk, which also stars Jennifer Connelly, is slated for a June 2003 release.
Hurd's TV Adventure Set To Lens
ongtime film producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator) told SCI FI Wire that she's entering the TV business with Ultimate Adventure Company, an upcoming syndicated supernatural series that she described as "kind of a Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Mission: Impossible."
The series, for Tribune Entertainment and Fireworks, has received a 22-episode order and begins production in June in Toronto; Marseilles, France; and the United Kingdom, Hurd said while promoting her upcoming teen SF movie Clockstoppers.
"It's actually inspired by a friend of mine, who's a treasure hunter, and he's the kind of person who can find anything," Hurd said. "Because treasure hunting is one of those things where you raise a lot of money, and sometimes you find the treasure, and sometimes you don't, you actually have to take paying gigs in between. It's that kind of thing." The series will also flirt with the supernatural, she added. "Of course! It's got my name on it. There has to be a supernatural element. It's kind of a Twilight Zone supernatural [element]."
McDonough Travels To Timeline
eal McDonough, an actor becoming well known to genre fans, has joined the cast of the upcoming time-travel film Timeline, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The flim, directed by Richard Donner and based on Michael Crichton's novel of the same name, begins shooting April 8, the trade paper reported.
McDonough will play John Gordon, a retired Army general who travels back in time to 14th-century France with a group of archaeology students trying to rescue their professor. Paul Walker, Gerard Butler and Frances O'Connor also star.
McDonough next appears opposite Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell as a member of an elite police squad in Steven Spielberg's upcoming SF thriller Minority Report, based on a Philip K. Dick short story. McDonough also appeared in Star Trek: First Contact and in a recent episode of The X-Files.
Kelly In The Knowing
ichard Kelly (Donnie Darko) will rewrite and direct Knowing, a fantasy thriller for Columbia Pictures and Escape Artists, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Originally written by Ryne Pearson, Knowing tells the story of a man who unearths a 1950s time capsule with a child's drawings predicting horrible events that have come trueexcept for one, the trade paper reported.
Escape Artists partners Steve Tisch, Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and David Alper will produce.
Fans Can Vote For Trek Eps
NN will let fans pick their favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, which the network will then air in a marathon on April 14.
Fans will be able to vote for the top five greatest episodes of the series on TNN's official Web site from April 1-6, the network announced. The marathon will air April 14 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Viewers will also be able to enter a sweepstakes to win Trek prizes from April 1 to May 4. The grand prize is a trip for two to Hollywood for a tour of Paramount Studios, Capt. Jean-Luc Picard's uniform from the upcoming Star Trek: Nemesis film and a copy of the new Activision Star Trek: Bridge Commander video game.
It's Muniz. Frankie Muniz.
rankie Muniz is in talks to star in Agent Cody Banks, a teen take on the James Bond genre, Variety reported.
Muniz would star in the movie, written by Jeffrey Jurgensen, during the hiatus from Muniz's Fox TV series Malcolm in the Middle; production is set to start June 1, the trade paper reported.
MGM was near a deal for the project, following an auction that involved five studios, the trade paper reported.
E! Online columnist Anderson Jones reported a rumor that Shane West (Dracula 2000) is in line to play a grown-up John Connor opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in the upcoming Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
Andrea Thompson (Babylon 5's Talia Winters) has resigned as the primary news anchor of CNN Headline News after seven months on the job, Variety reported. In a press release, CNN quoted Thompson as saying that she has "decided that it is time for me to make a change in my daily professional life."
French Stewart (Clockstoppers) is in talks to star in The Big Fix, a fantasy pilot about a dead man who gets the chance to go back to fix the problems in his life, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Coming Attractions Web site has posted a report of a visit to the Vancouver set of the upcoming supernatural thriller sequel film Final Destination 2.
Rena Sofer, star of the SCI FI Channel's original series The Chronicle, will guest-star in an upcoming episode of NBC's Friends, playing a salesgirl who falls for Ross, the Zap2it.com Web site reported. The episode is slated to air in May.
I Was a Rat, a U.K./Canadian fantasy film directed by Laurie Lynd, will premiere as the opening movie of the fifth Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children, April 12-21, Variety reported. The film tells the story of a boy who may have been a rat and is based on the best-selling book by Whitbread Award-winning author Philip Pullman.
The official Star Wars Web site has posted an image of the release poster for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IIAttack of the Clones, which opens May 16.
USA Today has posted news about the aliens in the upcoming sequel film Men in Black II. MIB II opens July 3.
San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions Inc., the parent organization of ConJose, has asked Kevin Standlee to co-chair the convention. Standlee and Tom Whitmore will share the duties of bringing a successful World Science Fiction Convention to San Jose on Labor Day weekend.
Yahoo has posted Chris Wedge's Oscar-winning computer-animated short, Bunny, on the Web. Wedge is the director of the upcoming computer-animated feature film Ice Age, which opens March 15.
Knightscove Entertainment is developing Blizzard, a fantasy movie starring Brenda Blethyn, Kevin Pollak, LeVar Burton and Whoopi Goldberg, about a girl and her aunt who develop a friendship with eccentric reindeer, Dark Horizons reported.
The Fox network will broadcast three Star Wars films at 8 p.m. on successive Thursdays starting April 25, in anticipation of the May 16 theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode IIAttack of the Clones, the official Star Wars Web site reported. Fox will air Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Episode I; each airing will also feature footage from Episode II.
Anna Faris (Scary Movie) will play the title role in the upcoming Rob Schneider fantasy comedy The Hot Chick, the Eastside Journal Online reported.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings took home the Cinema Audio Society's top film award on March 9, Variety reported. Audio mixers Christopher Boyes, Michael Semanick, Gethin Creagh and Hammond Peek accepted the award.
Ian McKellen won the award for best supporting actor at the eighth annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on March 10 for his performance as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the Hollywood trade papers reported.
Steven Spielberg received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Organization of Theater Owners at its annual ShoWest convention in Las Vegas, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "I don't feel like the old guy I think you see me as," Spielberg joked. "I'd like to see this as a Mid-Lifetime Achievement Award."
"Clone Wars," the final trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IIAttack of the Clones, has posted to the official Star Wars Web site, following its world premiere March 10 on the Fox TV network. The trailer will also hit movie theaters attached to prints of Fox's computer-animated movie Ice Age, starting March 15.
Mia Sara will co-star in The WB's pilot Lost in Oz, which will also feature Australian actors Melissa George and Colin Egglesfield, Variety reported. The proposed series offers a new take on L. Frank Baum's classic Wizard of Oz books.
Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire will be a presenter at the upcoming 74th Academy Awards presentation on March 24, Variety reported. Enya, who wrote the Oscar-nominated song "May It Be" for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, will perform it on the Oscar broadcast, the trade paper added.
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