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A Weekly Digest Of Sci Fi Wire

 May 14, 2001
 May 7, 2001
 Apr. 30, 2001
 Apr. 23, 2001
 Apr. 16, 2001
 Apr. 9, 2001
 Apr. 2, 2001
 Mar. 26, 2001
 Mar. 19, 2001
 Mar. 12, 2001

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The Staff



Miéville Wins Clarke Award

Perdido Street Station by China Miéville won this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award, given to the best SF novel published for the first time in Britain in 2000. The award, selected by members of the British SF Foundation and the Science Museum of London, included a cash prize of £2,001, donated by legendary SF author Arthur C. Clarke.

According to Locus Online, the judges had a difficult time deciding which book should win the award due to the outstanding quality of this year's contenders. The other novels in the running included Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler, Ash: A Secret History by Mary Gentle, Cosmonaut Keep by Ken MacLeod, Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds and Salt by Adam Roberts.

The award was given out at ceremony held at the Science Museum in London on May 19. Clarke spoke at the ceremony via video from his home in Sri Lanka and announced that next year's award would include a cash prize of £2,002 since it would be given in the year 2002.

Whedon Exults About UPN

Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon exulted over UPN's pickup of his series during UPN's fall schedule presentation to advertisers in New York May 17. "Next year, we are going to explode," Whedon said while pacing the stage at Madison Square Garden. "I'm so excited! I'm so excited, and I hope you are too." Whedon was joined by cast members Anthony Stewart Head, James Marsters, Emma Caulfield and Michelle Trachtenberg.

In an earlier interview with SCI FI Wire, Whedon said things are different as the show faces its sixth season. "It's a little bit harder and a little bit easier, but mostly it's easier," Whedon said of maintaining Buffy quality year after year. The creator of Buffy and its WB spinoff, Angel, said it's easier, because people who get it--who get him and understand what he's after--now surround him. "I've got a whole staff that can actually write the show," he said. "That took me five years. I have a production crew that knows what it's doing. I have actors who have a general sense, who can be left alone sometimes and still nail it. I like to feel I'm still necessary, though. For the most part, it's easier. Of course, I had to go and add that other show."

Though Whedon usually knows well in advance what he wants to do on Buffy and Angel, he's also quick to react--to change things when something either crashes and burns or when something succeeds beyond expectation. The Initiative storyline would be an example of the former, while the addition of Tara (Amber Benson) is indicative of the latter. "You have to be able to turn on a dime," Whedon said. "You have to be able to say, 'This worked' or 'This guy sucked' or 'He wants to leave, and we have to do something.' It's part of the process and, quite frankly, it keeps us on our toes. It almost always makes the show better if we're suddenly blindsided. It keeps it fresh. When Seth Green suddenly left, we had to make him suddenly leave, and it was very emotional. And it brought us Tara, which worked out wonderfully. So you roll with it. Without the rocks, there are no rapids." UPN will premiere Buffy with a special two-hour episode sometime in August, in advance of the regular fall season.

Brendon Talks Buffy And UPN

Nicholas Brendon, who plays Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, told that he's got mixed feelings about the show's move to UPN from The WB next fall. "We had relationships at The WB, so it's kind of weird to leave," Brendon told the site. "But we did get a lovely gift basket from UPN with a Cartier watch and champagne and Beluga caviar. We didn't get much respect from The WB, because they saw the show not as an ensemble, but as Sarah [Michelle Gellar]'s show. When we had our 100th episode celebration, they thanked Sarah, and then 10 minutes later they thanked the rest of the cast, too."

About this season's death-centered storylines, Brendon added, "It's actually rather interesting. After reading the episode where Buffy's mother dies, I thought that show was going to be a really heavy set. But it was exactly the opposite. It was a light mood, and people were laughing. It opened up a topic that we wouldn't have talked about before, because it's kind of a weird question, like, 'Have you ever dealt with death before?' Because if you ask that, then you become that weird morbid guy. People start saying, 'Yeah, Nick's real Goth, what's THAT about?'" Buffy airs its 100th episode and fifth-season finale May 22.

Boreanaz No Angel At WB Fete

Angel star David Boreanaz caused a tense moment at The WB's fall schedule presentation to advertisers on May 15, appearing onstage and saying, "This isn't the UPN," TV Guide Online reported. Boreanaz's crack--a reference to UPN's acquisition of Angel predecessor Buffy the Vampire Slayer from The WB--apparently caught WB co-president Jordan Levin by surprise, the site reported.

"We didn't write that," Levin reportedly told the audience. Later, Levin's partner, Susanne Daniels, told TV Guide, "Buffy will always be a show close to our hearts. But we saw the [show's] teen audience begin to erode, ... and we're confident in our ability to refresh our schedule."

Braga Modest About Voyager

Brannon Braga, executive producer of Star Trek: Voyager, demurred when SCI FI Wire asked him to assess his contributions to the series, which ends its seven-year run on May 23. "That's always a loaded question, because no matter what I say, I probably come off pompous," the veteran Trek writer and producer said in an interview.

Braga has been busy lately. He co-wrote the Voyager series finale, "Endgame," with partner Rick Berman, and co-created and will executive produce the upcoming fifth Trek series, Enterprise, which will debut in the fall on UPN with a two-hour premiere starring Scott Bakula as Capt. Jonathan Archer.

"My first instinct is to say that I tried to tell good stories," Braga said. "If you were to press me on it, I think that Voyager had a certain cinematic quality in its later years. It had more sophisticated storytelling, and I hope that we took some risks with the medium of television and with the Star Trek format.

"Certainly, Seven of Nine is something I'll remember creatively as being a moment of triumph," Braga added, referring to the character played by his girlfriend, actress Jeri Ryan. (Ryan just signed on to play a teacher on the Fox drama Boston Public.) "It was a big moment just in terms of creating a brand new character that was very controversial, but ended up becoming very popular."

UPN Unveils Enterprise

In the first official confirmation of the fifth Star Trek series, UPN unveiled Enterprise on May 17 and offered a brief glimpse of the series, which is described as a "prequel" that bridges today with the time of the original Trek series. Starring Scott Bakula as Capt. Jonathan Archer and Jolene Blalock as the female Vulcan Sub-Commander T'Pol, Enterprise was part of UPN's fall-schedule presentation to advertisers in New York. It carries the tag line "... back to where it all began."

In a video preview, UPN said Enterprise will take place in the 22nd century, about 150 years before the events in the original series and about 100 years from now. The show will focus "on the history of the galactic upheaval that leads to the formation of the Federation," UPN announced.

Enterprise will introduce viewers to the pioneering days of space exploration, when interstellar travel is in its infancy. The titular starship will be more hands-on for the crew, with tactile controls; the preview included no clips of the show, but featured views of the show's still-under-construction tan-colored sets, which include mechanical switches and toggles.

The crew--John Billingsley (NBC's The Others) as the alien Dr. Phlox, Dominic Keating as Lt. Cmdr. Malcolm Reed, Anthony Montgomery as Lt. Joe Mayweather and Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato--represents humanity's first venture into interstellar space. Vulcans are the principal source of information to humans about other spacefaring societies. Warp drive has been around for a while, but not very long, and transporter technology is fairly new and proven, but not everyone trusts it.

"Star Trek has been sort of embedded in people's minds," executive producer Rick Berman said in the video preview. "It's been around for 35 years now. There's nobody out there who hasn't heard of a photon torpedo or a Klingon or 'Beam me up Scotty' or warp speed. It's part of our culture. And I think the familiarity of it is something that is very comfortable to people." UPN has scheduled Enterprise on Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

UPN Beams Up Enterprise

UPN has sealed a deal to air the fifth Star Trek series, Enterprise, in the fall, Variety reported. The show, whose pilot is currently in production, was expected to land on the network that has been the home of Star Trek: Voyager for the last seven years, but earlier reports had suggested Enterprise might end up on Fox, on NBC, in syndication or on another network.

The series, starring Scott Bakula as Capt. Jonathan Archer, is widely believed to be set in the 22nd century and to concern the early days of the Federation. Paramount, which produces the series, has offered no details about the upcoming series, but UPN is expected to unveil it officially during its fall schedule presentation to advertisers on May 17 in New York.

Enterprise Spoilers Revealed

The first episode of Enterprise, the upcoming fifth Star Trek series, will be entitled "Broken Bow," sources told SCI FI Wire. The episode--which will shoot on the Paramount lot until June 19--will be directed by longtime Star Trek helmer James L. Conway, the sources said. The story concerns the crew's first encounter with Klingons.

SCI FI Wire also confirmed a report on the TrekWeb fan site that the character of T'Pau has been renamed, to T'Pol. The character had been thought to be the same as the Vulcan woman in the original series episode "Amok Time," but the renaming suggests that the character will be new. T'Pol is to be played by Jolene Blalock (Jason and the Argonauts), TrekWeb reported.

Enterprise Uniforms Described

Some crew members on the upcoming fifth Star Trek series, Enterprise, will wear blue jumpsuit uniforms emblazoned with a starship shoulder patch, sources told SCI FI Wire. The Voyager-like jumpsuits are solid navy-colored with contrasting yoke and shoulder piping in colors designating status or ship's functions, and are completed with a black mock turtleneck, the sources said.

The left shoulder patches will feature a white-on-blue image of the titular starship, which resembles the original Enterprise, the sources said.

On May 14, construction crews were busy building sets on the Paramount Pictures lot in Los Angeles. The show was scheduled to begin shooting that day. The sources said some elements from the old Star Trek: Voyager sets may be incorporated in the new sets, but will likely be unrecognizable.

Bakula Leaps Into Trek

Scott Bakula, the newly cast lead in the upcoming fifth Star Trek series, Enterprise, told the Zap2it Web site that he has an idea for the middle name of his character, Capt. Jonathan Archer. "The best way to please everybody would be to make my middle name Beckett and just let everybody put it together," Bakula told the site, referring to his Quantum Leap character, Sam Beckett. "I threw it out there. It wasn't met with a lot of response. It's a possibility. It would certainly get people to talking. Who more logical, right? You would think that's where the Beckett genes would land at some point."

Bakula's Archer is described as a "physical and intensely curious captain with a bold personality" and a "bit of a renegade." Bakula won't say much about the new series, which is expected to land on UPN in the fall. But he said he has seen his uniform. "I have had fittings," he said. "I look like a guy in a uniform. I look pretty darn good."

And Bakula said he's also mulled a possible Enterprise guest star--his Quantum Leap co-star, Dean Stockwell. "I thought about that," Bakula said. "Wouldn't that be fun?"

Northwest Fan Wins B5 Contest

Babylon 5 fan Bart Gregg of Moses Lake, Wash., won SCIFI.COM's B5: Be in the Movie Contest to have a character named after him in The SCI FI Channel's upcoming original television movie Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers. A starship captain will carry Gregg's name.

Gregg was one of more than 15,500 fans who entered the contest for a chance to be immortalized in the upcoming movie, which began production in Vancouver, B.C., on May 14.

B5: The Legend of the Rangers comes from the original creative team behind B5. Douglas Netter and creator J. Michael Straczynski will executive produce the movie, which Straczynski wrote and Michael Vejar will direct. Rangers picks up the story of the Ranger fleet as it attempts to restore order to hundreds of civilizations devastated by the Shadow War. Rangers will serve as the pilot for a potential SCI FI Channel series.

X-Files Returning For Year 9

Fox is expected to announce that it has sealed a deal for a ninth season of The X-Files, though it's unclear what role creator Chris Carter will play, Variety reported. Sources told the trade paper that the show will definitely return, as had been hoped. Fox unveils its fall schedule on May 17 to advertisers in New York.

While Fox negotiates with Carter, the trade paper reported that the network is prepared to promote producers Frank Spotnitz and Vince Gilligan to run the show if Carter does not return.

The Reuters news service, meanwhile, reported that X-Files star David Duchovny, who curtailed his role as Fox Mulder this season, won't return next year, except for an occasional cameo.

The 11th-hour negotiations mirror those last year, when uncertainty over Duchovny's involvement in the series raised doubts about its future. The eighth-season finale airs May 20.

Patrick: Let Doggett Loose

The X-Files' new agent Robert Patrick told the Zap2it Web site that he hopes his character, Agent John Doggett, has a chance to get mad if the series is picked up for a ninth season. "They haven't let me get mean yet, when Doggett starts to get mean. ... I can't wait," Patrick told the site. "I want to pull a little Copland action in there. I want to start getting mad."

Patrick added, "He's going to go one of these days. [He'll go] ballistic on somebody. I keep saying that to [producer Frank Spotnitz] and the guys: 'When are you going to let me loose?' They keep going, 'It's just better to keep it in check.'"

The X-Files airs its season finale May 20. Fox unveils its fall schedule on May 17 to advertisers in New York.

Davis Lights Up About CSM

William B. Davis, the villainous Cigarette-Smoking Man on The X-Files, told TV Guide Online that his character may not be dead, though he took a header down the stairs in last year's season finale. "[My fate] was left deliberately ambiguous," Davis told the site. "At the end of the season, they really didn't know if the series would be continuing. Once they found that it was, they didn't want to engage the new character [Doggett] in the old stories, ... so they've gone in a different direction."

But does that mean CSM will return? "I don't know what their thoughts are now on those loose ends, including me at the bottom of the stairs!" Davis said. "Even if I am dead, most of the dead ones come back for some kind of haunting story in somebody's mind. God knows, Deep Throat's been back several times, X has. ... It's certainly doable."

Fox To Drop Gunmen

Fox is expected to drop The Lone Gunmen in the fall, but keep its progenitor, The X-Files, and move its new SF hit, Dark Angel, to Fridays, the Hollywood trade papers reported. Fox, which will unveil its fall schedule to advertisers in New York on May 17, will also likely premiere its live-action superhero satire, The Tick.

The network's schedule depends in part on working out a deal with Chris Carter for a ninth season of X-Files, Variety reported. Carter also co-created Gunmen, which saw its ratings plunge after a strong mid-season premiere this year.

Fox is expected to shift Dark Angel to an 8 p.m. Friday slot from its current Tuesday berth. The half-hour Tick will likely earn a slot at 8:30 p.m. Thursdays. It is based on Ben Edlund's comic book series and animated show of the same name, and was originally slated to debut at mid-season this year, reported.

Absent from the expected schedule is the supernatural anthology series Night Visions.

WB Announces Schedule

As expected, The WB unveiled its fall schedule, dropping Roswell, shifting Angel to Mondays at 9 p.m. and adding Smallville in Angel's old timeslot, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. The network made the announcement to advertisers on May 15, according to the Hollywood trade papers and the Reuters news service.

Charmed, minus Shannen Doherty, remains on Thursday nights. The network is reportedly searching for Doherty's replacement. Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, remains on Fridays.

This summer, the network will try out a new hour-long supernatural drama, Dead Last, about an up-and-coming rock band that can communicate with ghosts, Reuters reported.

As for the future of Roswell, executive producer Kevin Brown told the New York Post that it hopes to be picked up by UPN, which earlier acquired The WB's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "I know that UPN has been seriously interested in Roswell for several weeks," Brown told the Post. "We very much appreciate that UPN is interested in the show. We think, now that UPN has taken this step in enlarging their audience with Buffy, I don't think anyone can imagine a more killer night than putting Buffy and Roswell together. To me that has got home run written all over it." UPN unveils its schedule on May 17.

Roswell Fans Beam To NY

Roswell fans will gather in New York May 21 at the second annual Roswell Season Finale Gathering, a charity fund-raiser and fan party at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. Fans will watch the final episode of the season, celebrate UPN's pickup of the series that The WB canceled and raise money for emergency medical care for people in dangerous areas of the world.

A silent auction, raffle and book sale will raise funds for Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières), a private, non-profit group that brings medical care to victims of armed conflict, epidemics and disasters where such aid is otherwise unavailable. William Sadler, who plays Sheriff Valenti, is a vocal supporter of the organization. Greg Cox, author of the Roswell tie-in novel, Loose Ends, will sign autographs.

Roswell executive producer Kevin Kelly Brown and Melinda Metz--author of the Roswell High books, on which the series is based--are planning to attend.

UPN Picking Up Roswell

UPN is expected to announce May 17 that it has picked up the teen alien series Roswell, which The WB canceled on May 15, Variety reported. UPN sealed an 11th-hour deal on May 16, the afternoon before it unveils its fall schedule to advertisers in New York, Variety reported. Avid fans had sent more than 12,000 bottles of Tabasco sauce--the teen aliens' favorite condiment--to UPN in recent days to urge the network to rescue the show for a third season.

UPN will pick up 22 episodes of Roswell from the show's producers, 20th Century Fox TV and Regency TV, the trade paper reported. Roswell joins its former WB teammate Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which UPN earlier picked up from The WB for two seasons.

UPN is expected to announce that it will air Buffy Tuesdays at 8 p.m. and Roswell at 9 p.m.

UPN is also expected to announce that it is the new home for the fifth Star Trek series, Enterprise, and will air that show on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Special Unit 2, which UPN premiered at midseason this year, will air at 9 p.m. The Dead Zone, based on Stephen King's novel of the same name, is expected to be held as a mid-season replacement. UPN is expected to drop 7 Days, All Souls, Celebrity Deathmatch, Level 9 and Freedom.

Roswell Fans Take On UPN

Fans of The WB's canceled teen alien series Roswell have mailed more than 12,000 bottles of Tabasco--the aliens' favorite condiment--to UPN in hopes of persuading them to pick the show up for a third season. On May 15, The WB dropped Roswell from its fall schedule; a similar letter-writing and petition campaign was instrumental in The WB's renewing Roswell for a second season last year.

The "Spice Up Your Lineup--Add Roswell to UPN" campaign is organized in part by denizens of the Roswell 2 fan Web site. The campaign started about a month ago.

The New York Post, meanwhile, reported that Roswell executives went to UPN and dropped off an online petition to save the show that was signed by about 30,000 fans. "Aren't these the kind of fans that networks pray for?" executive producer Kevin Brown told the Post. UPN unveils its fall schedule on May 17. UPN has already acquired The WB's Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

UPN To Enter Dead Zone

UPN offered a first glimpse at its upcoming midseason replacement series Stephen King's The Dead Zone, starring Anthony Michael Hall, during its May 17 schedule presentation to advertisers in New York. The new series, based on King's best-selling novel and the 1983 film of the same name, comes from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine producer Michael Piller; his son, Shawn; Kevin Beggs; and Lloyd Segan.

Hall stars as Johnny Smith, "a young man who awakens from a coma to discover that he has the power to see the past and foretell the future," UPN entertainment president Tom Nunan told the audience. "But with this power comes a price. Johnny now sees more and knows more than he every wanted."

A video preview of the show contained scenes borrowed from the 1983 film, as well as new ones reminiscent of early X-Files episodes. Hall is paired with DS9 alumna Nicole deBoer, who plays Smith's fiancee, Sarah Bracknell. The cast also includes Michael Moriarty as televangelist the Rev. Gene Purdy, Smith's stepfather and beneficiary of his deceased mother's sizable estate.

Lawless Caught In Spidey's Web

Xena: Warrior Princess star Lucy Lawless told SCI FI Wire that, in a perfect world, she'd act in two films a year now that the show is nearing the end of its run. Xena's final episodes, "Friend in Need, Parts I and II," will air in syndication the weeks of June 11 and 18.

The New Zealand-born actress will waste no time making good on her plan: She'll put in a cameo appearance in the upcoming Spider-Man movie.

"I went to New York for a fleeting thing, and Sam Raimi, who is Rob's partner, is shooting Spider-Man," says Lawless, referring to Rob Tapert, her husband and Xena executive producer. "So I ran up to St. Marks Place with some of the wardrobe women/stylists on the movie, and we bought all this punk-rocker stuff. So I had studs in my nose, a short spiky wig and lots of earrings. I'm dragging on cigarettes. So I do this tiny little blink-and-you-miss-it cameo, but it was such fun. It was all fun and no responsibility. It was fun to wear these clothes, these punk pants and a ripped stocking shirt and great big black boots. It looked like I'd stomped on a couple of hedgehogs. And I wore it all the way home, because I wanted Rob to see my new look."

Of course, things got a little awkward when Lawless arrived at the airport. "It was very interesting to me, the reception I got from people," she recalled. "Some people looked away from me immediately. I guess they were a little afraid of me. Other people looked at me with absolute disdain. And some people were tremendously nice."

New V In Works?

Kenneth Johnson, creator of the campy alien invasion TV series V, told SFX magazine that he's talking with about reviving the show, Cinescape Online reported. "It's come up over and over again, and I'm talking to a couple of guys at Warners," Johnson reportedly said. "I have a notion of a way to do the second generation."

Johnson added, "I think the way the story would have to play out is that, at the end of the original miniseries, we send a signal for help out to another alien race that is supposedly the Visitors' enemies. This story would pick up from there. The sea levels have dropped 50 feet, and Faye Grant and Marc Singer are the matriarch and patriarch of the resistance. There's a whole generation of young people who have grown up not knowing anything except occupation. Suddenly there is a new group of people who are saying, 'Hey, we got your message and we're here to help.' But are they here to help? That's the question: are we trading Hitler for Mussolini or vice versa?"

Andromeda Found Footing

Kevin Sorbo, star of the syndicated SF TV series Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, told the TV Zone Web site that he feels the show found its footing in its first season, which recently wrapped. "It's amazing how fast the cast and crew all slid into their respective places on the show, and to tell you the truth, it's just gotten better and better," Sorbo told the site.

Added Sorbo, who plays Capt. Dylan Hunt, "There are some episodes in the second half of the season, such as 'The Mathematics of Tears,' 'Harper 2.0' and the season's finale, that are unbelievable. That's when I think the writers really started to get a comfort level with what they were doing, as did the actors, myself included. If you look at the first year of any TV show, though, you'll see hiccups here and there. It takes time for people to find their footing and get used to their characters."

Mythopoeic Finalists Named

The Mythopoeic Society announced the finalists for its 2001 Mythopoeic Award, honoring fantasy works published in 2000. The society is a non-profit international literary and educational organization for the study, discussion, and enjoyment of fantasy and mythic literature.

Winners will be announced at Mythcon XXXII, taking place in Berkeley, Calif., Aug. 3-6. A full list of finalists follows.

Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, Adult Literature

ravenShadow by Win Blevins
Forests of the Heart by Charles de Lint
The Sarantine Mosaic (Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors) by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Innamorati by Midori Snyder

Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, Children's Literature

Aria of the Sea by Dia Calhoun
Night Flying by Rita Murphy
Beast by Donna Jo Napoli
Growing Wings by Laurel Winter
Boots and the Seven Leaguers by Jane Yolen

Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inklings Studies

C.S. Lewis: Writer, Dreamer & Mentor by Lionel Adey
J.R.R. Tolkien and His Literary Resonances, George Clark and Daniel Timmons, eds.
The Crisis and the Quest: A Kierkegaardian Reading of Charles Williams by Stephen N. Dunning
Tolkien's Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth, Verlyn Flieger and Carl F. Hostetter, eds.
J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century by T.A. (Tom) Shippey

Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies

King Arthur in America by Alan Lupack and Barbara Tepa Lupack
The Fantasy Literature of England by C.N. Manlove
The Quest for the Grail: Arthurian Legend in British Art 1840-1920 by Christine Poulson
The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, Jack Zipes, ed.

Dragon Wars Due From 3DO

The 3DO Co. announced the fall release of Dragon Wars of Might and Magic, a game for the PlayStation 2 gaming platform. Dragon Wars is the first aerial-based adventure game in the Might and Magic universe.

Dragon Wars will introduce gamers to a new dragon character, Cael, who seeks vengeance against the villainous Orcs who have enslaved the dragon race to extract Zeenium, the element that allows dragons to breathe fire, the company said.

Kasdan To Helm Dreamcatcher

Lawrence Kasdan will direct and produce the movie version of Stephen King's supernatural novel Dreamcatcher for Warner Brothers-based Castle Rock Entertainment, according to The Hollywood Reporter. There is no start date yet.

William Goldman will adapt Dreamcatcher, which tells the story of four childhood friends who reunite to save the Earth from a mysterious force, the trade paper reported.

John Edward Chats At SCIFI.COM

John Edward, host of The SCI FI Channel's original series Crossing Over with John Edward, will chat with fans on SCIFI.COM on May 31. Edward's chat will begin at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET.

On his talk show, Edward uses his abilities to help connect people with loved ones who have passed on.

Tomb Raider Spoilers Hinted

The Dark Horizons Web site reported spoilers for the upcoming Tomb Raider movie. The film, starring Angelina Jolie, is based on the Eidos video game series of the same name.

According to the site, the film--like the game--centers on Lara Croft (Jolie), daughter of British aristocrat Lord Henshingly Croft. On her way home from a skiing trip at the age of 21, Croft and her plane crashed in the Himalayas, where she was forced to rely on her wits to stay alive until rescued, the site reported.

The incident had a profound effect on Croft. Disowned by her family, she has spent the last eight years traveling the globe and exploring tombs, temples and archaeological sites of ancient civilizations, financing her travels by writing and selling the occasional item of historical importance. One buyer, a man named Powell, is after the Clock of Ages, a device that supposedly gives its user the powers of the tribe it once belonged to, Dark Horizons reported. Tomb Raider opens June 15.

Revell Completes Tomb Score

Screen composer Graeme Revell (Frank Herbert's Dune, Red Planet), who replaced Michael Kamen halfway through the scoring of the upcoming Tomb Raider movie, has completed the score, according to the Music from the Movies Web site. Revell composed more than 60 minutes of music in just 10 days, the site reported.

Though the score will use a 65-piece orchestra and 50-voice chorus, "the only way I could write so much music in 10 days was to weight the approach in favor of electronics, rather than orchestra," Revell told Music from the Movies. "But this was as much a creative decision as anything, because the style of the film does not support a big bombastic orchestral score."

Revell remained in Los Angeles to complete the score while his music-editor brother, Ashley, and engineer John Jurlander supervised the orchestral and choral sessions in London, the site reported.

Revell is the third and final composer on the project, after game music composer Nathan McCree and Kamen, the site reported. Tomb Raider--starring Angelina Jolie and based on the Eidos video game series of the same name--opens June 15.

Score Includes Rings Texts

Composer Howard Shore will incorporate texts from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy in the score for the films based on the books, the Ain't It Cool News Web site reported. The score will feature a 300-member all-male Maori choir singing Dwarvish-language versions of the Tolkien texts, as well as choruses in other Tolkien languages, the site reported.

Choral music backed the Mines of Moria chase sequence that was part of the Rings preview screened at the Cannes Film Festival, AICN reported. The first of Peter Jackson's Rings movies, The Fellowship of the Ring, opens Dec. 19.

Rings Previewed At Cannes

New Line screened nearly half an hour of film and behind-the-scenes footage from Peter Jackson's upcoming Lord of the Rings trilogy during a special preview over the weekend at the Cannes Film Festival. The preview was part of a three-day media event that included a party and press conference at the Chateau de Castellaras near the town of Mougins, E! Online reported.

"It's also kind of scary, too, showing what we're showing here," director Peter Jackson told the Associated Press. "It's weird, because it's not the movie. ... Lord of the Rings is such a rich book with great plot machinations and characters. It's a little bit painful to just show a seven-minute kind of sketchy montage of the story."

The footage included scenes of Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood); a 14-minute excerpt of a chase sequence in the Mines of Moria; and previews of the second and third installments of the trilogy, due in December 2002 and 2003, E! reported. The scenes also included battles with Orcs, a computer-animated cave troll and a Balrog fire demon, Empire Online reported. The audience reportedly thrilled at the heretofore unseen footage. The first Rings film, The Fellowship of the Ring, premieres Dec. 19.

Mummy Unhorses Knight

In their first head-to-head joust, The Mummy Returns bested A Knight's Tale to remain the box-office champion the weekend of May 11, taking in about $32.2 million, the Hollywood trade papers reported. That raised the blockbuster's total box-office take to $116.5 million after just 10 days in release.

The anachronistic Knight's Tale debuted in the No. 2 slot, taking in about $17 million, the trades reported. Knight exceeded estimates of its first-weekend earnings.

The only other genre film in the top 10, Spy Kids, dropped to No. 6, with an estimated $2.5 million in ticket sales, which was enough to raise the hit children's film's total take above the $100 million mark.

Rock Up For Duke Nukem?

The Coming Attractions Web site reported a rumor that pro-wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (The Scorpion King) has been offered the lead role in a proposed Duke Nukem movie. Citing a story on Computer Games Online, the site reported that Johnson was asked to play the title role in the film, which is based on the Apogee video game of the same name.

"They want to make that a huge franchise, and from what I hear, they want me," Johnson told Computer Games. Johnson reportedly added that he wanted to work with someone on the script to ensure realistic action. "I'm not going to be running up a tree or anything, like in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," he said.

Apes Swag License Awarded

Collectible Concepts Group has signed a license with Fox to create merchandise linked to Tim Burton's upcoming Planet of the Apes movie, the company announced. Apes, starring Mark Wahlberg and Helena Bonham Carter, opens July 27.

Collectible Concepts Group will create and market wall scrolls, desktop collectibles, collector pins and window clings.

Neill Thought Twice About JP III

Sam Neill, who reprises his Jurassic Park role of Alan Grant in the upcoming sequel, Jurassic Park III, told syndicated columnists Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith that he was reluctant at first to sign up for the movie. "I had to give it a bit of thought," he told the columnists. "You don't necessarily want to repeat yourself. But then, you have to bear in mind, you never really get a character right the first time. I thought maybe I could do a little more with him."

Neill is the star of the Joe-Johnston-directed film, which also features William H. Macy and Téa Leoni. Jurassic III premieres July 20.

Majestic Heads To Web, TV

Electronic Arts is partnering with the William Morris Agency to develop a television series based on its upcoming online electronic game, Majestic, the companies announced. EA will launch Majestic this spring.

William Morris will work with EA to package the project with television production partners, develop a marketing strategy for selling the project and service it with writers, directors and on-air talent, the companies said in a press release.

Majestic is an episodic game that will roll out monthly as part of the EA Platinum Service. The first season will feature nine episodes, including a free pilot episode available to anyone who has an Internet connection. After playing the pilot, players will subscribe for $9.99 a month for subsequent episodes. Majestic gamers play on the Web and receive telephone and fax communications, instant messages and e-mail with information to proceed.

Majestic sets gamers in a world of conspiracy and unfolds its mystery through real and fictional experiences in real-time. The game is tailored specifically for each player.

Butler Travels To Timeline

Scottish-born Gerard Butler (Dracula 2000) will star in Timeline, a Paramount movie based on the time-travel novel of the same name by Michael Crichton, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Richard Donner will direct the movie, which is slated to begin shooting in March. Donner is producing with his wife, Lauren Shuler-Donner. George Nolfi wrote the latest draft of the script.

Timeline tells the story of a group of archaeology students who travel back to 14th-century France to rescue their professor. Butler will play the lead role of Andre Marek, the site manager on an archaeological dig in France, the trade paper reported.

Butler is currently shooting the SF dragon movie Reign of Fire.

Fleeting Fan Nods In I-Man

Eagle-eyed fans of The SCI FI Channel's original series The Invisible Man may catch references to themselves sprinkled throughout the show as a kind of tribute, associate producer Paul Leonard told SCI FI Wire. "We pay attention to what they say," Leonard said in an interview. "We pay attention to their chats and their comments on episodes that they like and don't like, and I know Vincent Ventresca and Paul Ben Victor are aware of comments, and they've talked to me about it in the past."

It was Leonard's idea to include scrolling lists of words in the show's main title sequence that include initials of crew members and at least two Internet nicknames of Invisible Man fans: "R2" and "VVSB," which refers to the "Vincent Ventresca Shirtless Brigade" fan group. At one point in the title sequence, the name of the series also morphs briefly into the fans' favorite nickname for the show: I-Man, Leonard said.

Leonard added that Ventresca has been known to ad-lib fan names in the show's dialogue, including using a fan name as that of Darien Fawkes' old girlfriend. Invisible Man airs Fridays at 8 p.m.

Samsung Funds SF Animation

Korean conglomerate Samsung will finance the SF animated movie Skyquest, which is likely to become the most expensive Korean film ever made, Variety reported. Moon S. Kim will direct the film in English and hopes to complete it by early 2002, the trade paper reported.

The overall budget of the film, which has been in production for some time, is likely to start at $20 million and could go higher, the trade paper reported. Skyquest tells the story of a future policewoman, whose job is to defend a planetary protection zone, and her romance with a man who is leading a rebellion from outside.

Earthfall Set On Mars

Wing Commander director and video-game creator Chris Roberts has opened his own production company, Point of No Return, in Los Angeles, and will develop Earthfall, an SF movie set on Mars, Variety reported. Point of No Return aims to produce 12 films over five years, as well as TV series and interactive projects, the trade paper reported.

Earthfall is a thriller set on a Mars colony in the year 2812 and will be budgeted at $40 million-$60 million, Variety reported.

Witchblade Shoots No. 8

TNT's upcoming Witchblade television series is filming "Thanatopsis," the eighth of 11 original episodes, and is close to wrapping the premiere show, which will air June 12, the Comics Continuum Web site reported. The show shoots in Toronto.

Star Yancy Butler told the site, "It's been a very ambitious show in terms of schedule and content, but the shows are just looking wonderful, so I couldn't be happier. Things are going great. We're having a blast. But it's been grueling. Again, with it being so intellectually dense, I find myself either being completely physically exhausted and/or just mentally completely exhausted. But it's so fulfilling. The great thing is that I've worked as hard on other shows that I didn't back as much. I couldn't be prouder of this thing. It's so weird, and it's so great. The fact that it's still so based in reality made the fantastic situations that much more odd and poignant and powerful. It's really cool."

The 11 episodes make up "one big arc," said Butler, who plays NYPD Detective Sara Pezzini. "We have different ... episodic crimes, but all of them tend to be pretty much related to the others, which is pretty cool. 'Everything is connected,' as Danny Woo says, and it seems to turn out that way for [Pezzini]." Witchblade is based on the Top Cow comic series of the same name.

CBS Turning To Wolf

Wolf Lake, a werewolf drama series, will probably be on CBS' fall schedule when the network announces it to advertisers on May 16, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The paranormal thriller will star Lou Diamond Phillips.

Wolf Lake, from CBS Productions, focuses on investigators who probe mysterious activities among wolves in the Pacific Northwest, according to the trade paper.

Brits Back Water Warriors

The British Film Council will invest $709,000 in Water Warriors, an upcoming computer-animated SF film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The movie, written and directed by Graham Ralph from his own original story, will tell the story of aliens who decide to invade Earth, but underestimate the planet's size.

The invaders end up fighting frogs in a pond of water. Star Trek's Patrick Stewart and Stephen Fry will voice parts, the trade paper reported. Warriors will be made in London and is set to start this year.

Genre Toons Win Emmys

Animated genre shows were among the winners of creative daytime Emmy awards, which were presented over the weekend in Los Angeles. Batman Beyond took an award for best music direction and composition.

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command won an Emmy for sound editing, and X-Men Evolution took home an award for sound mixing.

WB To Re-Air Shows On TNT

The WB's witch series, Charmed, and its rookie teen-Superman show, Smallville, could also end up on sister channel TNT this fall, Variety reported. TNT is talking with The WB to share episodes of both shows within seven days of their initial WB airings, the trade paper reported.

TNT would screen them at 10 p.m., which puts them within prime time, but after the WB goes off the air, Variety reported. The WB is unveiling its fall schedule today to advertisers in New York.

Writer Adapting Barker's Game

Writer John Heffernan has signed on to adapt Clive Barker's supernatural novel Damnation Game for Phoenix Pictures, Variety reported. Game tells the story of a jailed gambler and thief who gains early release at the behest of a wealthy industrialist.

In exchange, the felon agrees to serve as bodyguard and security specialist to the capitalist--a task that proves perilous and morally ambiguous when he discovers that the devil is coming to collect the soul of his employer, the trade paper reported.

Spectrum Finalists Announced

The Gaylactic Network--an organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered fans of SF--announced the finalists for its 2001 Gaylactic Network Spectrum Awards. The juried awards honor works in science fiction, fantasy and horror that deal positively with gay characters, themes and issues. Regular awards honor works released in 2000. The Hall of Fame Award honors works released prior to 1998.

The awards will be presented at the World Science Fiction Convention in Philadelphia, or Millennium Philcon, Aug. 30-Sept. 3. A full list of finalists follows.

Best Novel

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
The Chosen by Ricardo Pinto
A Face Without a Heart by Rick Reed
The Jazz by Melissa Scott
Jumping Off the Planet by David Gerrold
Kirith Kirin by Jim Grimsley
Teranesia by Greg Egan

Best Other Work

The Authority: Under New Management (comic book)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (television series)
A Distant Soil by Colleen Doran (comic book)
•"Oracle" by Greg Egan (short story)
Queer Fear, ed. by Michael Rowe (anthology)

Hall of Fame

•The Blood series by Tanya Huff
•The Darkover series by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Imperial Earth by Arthur C. Clarke
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
The Sparrow/Children of God by Mary Doria Russell
•The Weetzie Bat series (Dangerous Angels) by Francesca Lia Block

VH1 Casts Strange Frequency

VH1 is casting guest stars for its upcoming Strange Frequency, a Twilight-Zone-like half-hour anthology series premiering in September, Variety reported. The supernatural series will air on Saturdays at 10 p.m.

Guest stars will include Ally Sheedy, Stuart Margolin, Peter Strauss, Wendie Malick, Patsy Kensit and Roger Daltrey, the trade paper reported.

Blade 2 Turns Things Around

Blade 2, the upcoming sequel to Wesley Snipes' hit vampire movie, Blade, turns things around a little, writer and executive producer David Goyer told the Wizard World Web site. "If you consider [Terminator 2: Judgment Day] and Aliens two of the best sequels, what they both did in some ways was they kind of turned the first movie on its head," Goyer told the site. "They didn't just do 'OK, it's an alien again.' We tried to do something similar. OK, what would be the last thing you would expect Blade to do? That is to have him to team up with the vampires."

In Blade 2, Snipes as Blade faces a threat greater than vampires: the Reapers, the site reported. To conquer them, he joins forces with his sworn enemies. "This film has more action, more humor--but it also has a whole level of suspense and tragedy that was missing from the first film," Goyer said.

Goyer added, "Also with this film, we've already dealt with Blade's backstory. He's made peace with who he is. In the first movie, we learned that there's this whole vampire subculture. In this movie, we delve even deeper into that, the way the vampires get their money and their language. There's barely any humans in the second movie, because the vampires are the ones being hunted -- and not just by Blade. The Reapers are hunting the vampires in the second film."

Director Guillermo del Toro is shooting Blade 2 in Prague, and production on second-unit material is expected to last into July. New Line is aiming at a spring or summer 2002 release, the site reported.

MechWarrior In Development

Longtime Star Trek writer D.C. Fontana is helping to develop a television series based on the MechWarrior game franchise. Foundation Imaging, in conjunction with Tribune Entertainment, Microsoft and Fasa Corp., announced a deal to develop and produce the one-hour action-adventure series, also known as Battletech.

The MechWarrior universe has been adapted in video games, board games, books and other entertainment, the companies said. The MechWarrior series will chronicle the lives of two intergalactic princes as they are forced to work together to repel banished marauders at the edge of the galaxy.

Foundation, a computer visual-effects house, is best known for its Emmy-winning work for Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Voyager.

CGI Human Is Shrek First

The upcoming computer-animated fantasy movie Shrek marks a milestone: It will have the first completely computer-animated human character in a lead role in a major movie, the film's co-directors Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson told SCI FI Wire. The character is Princess Fiona, voiced by Cameron Diaz.

"It's always been considered sort of the Holy Grail, the human form in [computer graphics, or CG]," Jenson said in an interview. "And it was something that was part of our story; it was right there. We needed a princess."

Ironically, animators managed to make Fiona so realistic that they had to scale back their efforts for the movie to work, Jenson said. "We did actually achieve even more realism with her, but it didn't really suit what we needed in our film. ... We did need a princess that fit into the stylized world that we created of the fairy tale, the book that you walked into. So any more realism on her would have looked like we took someone from the audience and popped her into the movie. And we wanted the audience to connect to her as a princess and a human, but she had to be part of that world. So we did end up stylizing her more. We'd actually gone a little further in the pendulum swing, as far as making her cartoony at one point, and that didn't quite work either. It was an interesting thing to find that balance for her between Shrek and Farquaad and reality versus realism."

Adamson said animators took special care with Fiona's face, and those of the other characters, including the ogre Shrek and the diminutive Lord Farquaad. "From an animation point of view, [Fiona] was pretty challenging, because we're all used to looking at humans on a daily basis. So even though she was stylized, if she ... moved in a way that was too inhuman, it immediately revealed itself," Adamson said. "You can get away with a lot with a talking donkey, because no one's seen one talk before. The lip-synch is easier. ... Early on, we weren't as kind of detailed around the eyelids, and hadn't paid as much attention to simple things like eye darts. It's amazing how, when you're watching someone or conversing with someone, they're looking around. They're looking at one eye, and then the other eye. They're looking at something in the room. They're looking back at you. ... And that sort of reveals their thoughts. So I think the animators really examined how to use the eyes in a big way."

Shrek, featuring the voices of Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy, opens May 16 in Los Angeles and New York and May 18 everywhere.

Time And Again Heads To Film

Universal Pictures has hired Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me) to adapt Jack Finney's 1970 time-travel novel Time and Again for the big screen, Variety reported. Robert Redford has been developing the project since at least 1994 and remains attached to direct and produce, the trade paper reported.

Time and Again tells the story of a man who travels back to New York City in 1882 as part of a mysterious government experiment, only to fall in love while he is there.

It's Hammer Time Again

The legendary British horror studio Hammer Films will return to film production in a partnership with FirstSight Films, Variety reported. FirstSight and Hammer--home of the U.K.'s Dracula and Frankenstein franchises--will develop and produce six horror movies budgeted at $10 million-$20 million, the trade paper reported.

Hammer was acquired last year by a group of investors intent on reviving the most venerable brand in British horror. They hope to shoot two films a year, starting in 2002. Some may be drawn from Hammer's gallery of traditional horror characters, but most will be original stories, Variety reported.

Superman Anchors JLA

Shaun McLaughlin, associate producer of the upcoming Justice League animated series on Cartoon Network, told the Comics Continuum Web site that Superman will be "a little more mature" than he was his earlier animated series. "He's the center of the group, I believe," McLaughlin told the site. "He's the one that everyone else can connect with, because he's Superman. He's the first hero, the greatest of them, for want of a better phrase and not to get too fanboy."

McLaughlin added that Rich Fogel and Stan Berkowitz are heading the writers for the show, and that Paul Dini, Kevin Hopps and Joseph Kuhr will write scripts. Michael Rosenbaum, who provides the voice of Flash, will also play Lex Luthor in The WB's upcoming live-action Smallville series.

Aldiss Talks A.I. On Web

SF author Brian Aldiss reads his short story "Super Toys Last All Summer Long!" and discusses the upcoming film loosely based on it, Steven Spielberg's A.I., on the PBS radio series The Infinite Mind. Lichtenstein Creative Media, which produces the show, has posted an audio feed of the show on its official Web site.

Aldiss tells the program that he believes science fiction pushes science forward--as soon as some new discovery is made, writers seize upon it, and suddenly the possibilities seem much closer and more likely. A.I., which is also based on a treatment by the late Stanley Kubrick, opens June 29.

Craft 2 In Development

An independent company with ties to Columbia's catalog of titles is working on a sequel to 1996's The Craft, to be produced for the straight-to-video market. One of the film's screenwriters--who asked to be identified only by his pseudonym, "Gary Murphy"--told SCI FI Wire the proposed story for the sequel, which follows the villain, Nancy, after she was institutionalized at the end of the first film.

"Nancy will not be played by Fairuza Balk, but she'll be in the sequel," Murphy said. "She's going to be out of the institution. She's cured, and now she's in college, but she's still a little kooky. She is the loner, she's on the outside, she's had a scary past, she's leaning towards lesbianism, and she happens to have supernatural powers."

The supernatural will probably take a back seat to the opportunities for girl-on-girl erotica, Murphy said. Craft 2 is still in development, with no anticipated production start, stars or director attached.

Briefly Noted

  • As expected, Fox announced a fall schedule May 17 with a ninth season of The X-Files, a second season of Dark Angel, the premiere of The Tick and no Lone Gunmen, the Hollywood trade papers reported. Dark Angel moves to Fridays at 8 p.m.; The Tick airs Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.

  • Alan Cumming told journalists at the Cannes Film Festival that he will appear in director Robert Rodriguez's expected sequel to the hit Spy Kids, the Popcorn U.K. Web site reported. Cumming is unlikely to make more than a cameo appearance, as the new movie will send the kids on a new mission against a new nemesis, the site reported.

  • Dimension Films has signed a film production deal with video-game impresario American McGee, the creator of Doom, Quake and Alice, a gory Gothic version of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, Variety reported. Dimension obtained feature rights to Alice, with Wes Craven attached to direct.

  • Craig J. Nevius and various cast members from The SCI FI Channel's original series Black Scorpion will appear at the Ray Cort Autograph Show at the Beverly Garland Hotel in North Hollywood, Calif., June 23 and 24.

  • To commemorate the end of Star Trek: Voyager, the Web site is offering visitors free downloads of up to 100 tracks of Trek music in MP3 format. Emusic has scores from the original series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, as well as from the movies. Visitors will have to sign up for a monthly subscription, but can cancel after the free trial period.

  • New Line has posted an Acrobat version of the illustrated media book distributed to journalists who attended the Cannes Film Festival preview of its upcoming Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The first Rings film opens Dec. 19.

  • The Dark Horizons Web site reported that Trans World Entertainment will release the DVD edition of Star Wars: Episode I Oct. 16 in the United States.

  • MTV is developing a half-hour animated SF show, Time Boys, about three youths who live with their parents and tinker with a time machine in the garage, the Zap2it Web site reported.

  • The Exorcist co-star Jason Miller (Father Damien Karras), who was also an award-winning playwright, died of a heart attack May 13 at his home in Scranton, Pa., the Los Angeles Times reported. He was 62. Miller received a supporting-actor Oscar nomination for his role in the 1973 film, which came out the same year Miller's play That Championship Season won a Tony and a Pulitzer Prize as the best play of the year.

  • The official Web site for Warner Brothers' upcoming Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone movie has added new features, allowing visitors to select a wand from Ollivander's Wand Shop and to practice Quidditch.

  • U2's music video for Elevation, the first single off the Tomb Raider soundtrack, has been posted to the Web. Tomb Raider, based on the Eidos video game series of the same name, opens June 15.

  • The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum will host "A Conversation with Sir Arthur C. Clarke" as the 2001 Wernher von Braun Memorial Lecture on June 6, at 8 p.m. in the museum's Langley IMAX Theater. Clarke will speak from his home in Sri Lanka with a panel of guests assembled in the museum's theater.

  • New Line will develop The Watch, a supernatural World-War-II movie based on a pitch by John Claflin and Daniel Zelman (The Tomb), Variety reported. The movie tells the story of a team of soldiers on a mission to blow up a bridge to help end the war, when they realize they're also fighting an entity sent by the devil, who doesn't want the war to end.

  • F. Murray Abraham and Giancarlo Giannini (Frank Herbert's Dune) have joined the cast of Joshua, a film based on a novel by Joseph F. Girzone's novel of the same name, about the second coming of Christ, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The movie begins filming this week in Chicago before moving to Rome.

  • Hallmark Entertainment is developing Romeo & Julie-Cat, an animated movie based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet that will be retold using cats and dogs, Variety reported.

  • Dark Horizons reported that X-Men star Famke Janssen is getting ready to play the villain in the upcoming sequel movie Men in Black 2. Janssen is reportedly being fitted for her costumes in Los Angeles. The sequel starts shooting in June.

  • The Comics2Film Web site has posted conceptual art for the proposed Ghost Rider movie, now in development. The film is based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name.

  • Pioneer Entertainment announced that it will release the classic anime film Akira as a two-disc, special-edition DVD, standard DVD and VHS on July 24. First released theatrically in Japan in 1988, Akira has garnered legions of fans around the world and is still considered a masterpiece of traditional animation, Pioneer said. The special-edition DVD has a suggested retail price of $39.98.

  • Disney has optioned Stoneflight, an out-of-print children's book by Georgess McHargue, for development as an animated feature film, Variety reported. The book tells the story of a lonely girl who seeks refuge from her squabbling parents by befriending a lonely gargoyle.

  • SF author Michael A. Burstein was elected to the Brookline, Mass., office of Town Meeting Member on May 8. Burstein fills a seat vacated by state Rep. Frank Israel Smizik.

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