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A Weekly Digest Of Sci Fi Wire

 Aug. 28, 2000
 Aug. 14, 2000
 Aug. 7, 2000
 July 31, 2000
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The Staff



Nolan: New Logan In 2002

William F. Nolan, co-author of the novel Logan's Run, told the World of Logan's Run Web site that a new feature-film version of his SF classic won't hit screens until at least 2002. But Nolan added that he recently met with writer and director Skip Woods, and they agree that a new film should more closely track the book, unlike the 1976 MGM movie Logan's Run. "Skip Woods brings real passion to this project," Nolan said. "He loves and respects the original novel (having read it 'countless times') and he hopes to dramatize as much of it as possible."

Among other things, Woods' version of the movie will return to the novel's death-at-21 theme. The MGM film changed the death age to 30. Woods will also dramatize the gradual breakdown of this all-youth society, deprived of mature guidance and wisdom, as projected in the novel; he will provide Logan and Jessica with a real Sanctuary; he'll use the novel's nerve-destroying "homer" bullets, which track a runner's body heat; he'll present the character of Box as originally conceived--half-flesh, half-metal--and he'll depict a future city that replaces MGM's domes with a mile-high complex, as described in the book.

The bad news is that Woods has yet to begin his screenplay, and there is no cast or start date. But Nolan said Woods assures that the project is front-and-center with Warner Brothers, and that Joel Silver (The Matrix) will produce it.

Cage In Talks For Spidey

Nicolas Cage has been talking with makers of Sony's upcoming Spider-Man movie about playing the villainous Green Goblin, reported, confirming long-standing rumors. EW quoted Cage's publicist confirming the talks, adding that Cage's schedule is very tight.

"He'd be a great Green Goblin," Spider-Man co-executive producer producer Stan Lee told Lee also co-created the Marvel Comic series of the same name upon which the Sam Raimi-directed movie is based.

Wang Ready For Voyage's End

Garrett Wang, who plays Ensign Harry Kim on Star Trek: Voyager, told fans on the official Trek Web site that he has mixed feelings about next season being the series' last. "I am happy knowing that I will finally get to play a character other than Kim," Wang said in response to fan questions. But, he added, "there is also sadness over the ending of a show that has been such a big influence on my development and maturity as a human being."

Even so, Wang said he'd probably turn down an offer to play his character on another Trek series. "If the next Star Trek series or the following one asked me to cross over, I probably would say no," he said. "I would definitely consider doing a guest-starring role and maybe even a recurring role, as an alien or as Kim, but I would probably prefer doing it as a completely different character."

Wang added that it's way past time that his character received a promotion. "This is something that Garret Wang, as an actor, has always been asking ... everybody in the office, the producers," he said. "I remember one day, it was very funny, I even went up to Kate Mulgrew [Capt. Kathryn Janeway] and asked her the question, 'When am I going to get promoted?' As if Kate really has anything to do with that. That's how desperate it has become. Kim has remained an ensign for so long I think that he is going to be an ensign forever. I used to joke at some of the conventions I've gone to and somebody asks me this question, that they shoot an episode where Kim actually wakes up, he's sleepwalking, he's so distraught about not being promoted that in this time of sleepwalking, he sneaks into everybody's quarters, and he steals their rank pips from the uniforms and he comes into the bridge the next morning completely delirious, he's wearing his Starfleet uniform with 150 other pips, placed all over his uniform. He comes in a uniform made of pips and that is his message to crew that he needs to be promoted."

Contest For B5 Keyboard

The Web site is offering readers a chance to win Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski's Kinesis computer keyboard when they buy Straczynski's new novel, Tribulations. Straczynski used the ergonomic keyboard to write the novel and nearly all of his B5 scripts.

Everyone who pays $24.99 to buy Tribulations, a fantasy novel set in present-day Los Angeles, until spring 2001 will be entered into a drawing for the keyboard. The winner will be announced at an as-yet-undetermined convention next year.

X-Men Stars Talk Sequel

X -Men stars Anna Paquin and Famke Janssen told the Popcorn U.K. Web site that they have ideas for their respective characters in the expected sequel to the hit movie. Paquin, who played Rogue, said, "I am going to put the word out that I want to wear the leather suits and jump around and fight and fly and do all that stuff. ... I think it looked like so much fun--everyone else was running around on their harnesses and looking like superheroes, but I looked very much more like a civilian."

Paquin added that she'd love Rogue to hook up with Gambit, as in the Marvel Comics series on which the movie is based. "Rogue's traditional love interest in the comic book is this very suave guy on a motorbike called Gambit. I'd love to see Gambit in the sequel. He's very attractive and I think it could be fun, although they always have a strange relationship in the comic book--they're like the tragic couple who can never be together."

For her part, Janssen told Popcorn that she isn't sure what's going to happen with her character, the telekinetic Dr. Jean Grey. "I don't know if Jean Grey is going to even get a screen kiss, but in the comic book she does get married to Cyclops and they have a child. But then all this other stuff happens, and she turns into Phoenix and then Dark Phoenix, so I don't know where they're going to go with it."

Potter Star Speaks To Press

Daniel Radcliffe, the 11-year-old British actor who will play Harry in the upcoming feature film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, met the press Aug. 23 and declared himself thrilled to have won the coveted role, the Associated Press reported. In his coming out in London, Radcliffe said, "I cried and I was just really excited" to play the boy wizard based on J.K. Rowling's best-selling Harry Potter series of children's novels, the AP reported.

Radcliffe also confessed he abandoned the books after reading only the first two. "I have, since then, completely forgotten everything about it, so my dad has just started reading me the first book again, and after that I am going to read the second, third and fourth,'' he said.

Director Chris Columbus said he hoped his movie version of Rowling's first Potter book will be only the first in a series covering all seven planned Potter novels. He added that Rowling would oversee the screenplays. "Obviously, the complexity of the books in terms of the special effects makes it a little difficult to do one of these films a year, so obviously there will be a point when the children outgrow their roles," Columbus said, according to the AP.

Columbus also said he plans to shoot parallel versions of the first film--one for the U.S. market and one for Britain. His plan is to shoot two or three alternate sequences for each film and to give the British film the first novel's original title, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Emma Watson, 10, and Rupert Grint, 11, who will play Harry's best friends, also appeared at the London press conference.

Meanwhile, Columbus confirmed reports of other Potter casting: Dame Maggie Smith will play Professor McGonagall, Robbie Coltrane will play Hagrid, Richard Griffiths will play Uncle Vernon, Fiona Shaw will play Aunt Petunia, and Ian Hart will play Professor Quirrell, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Columbia Signs With Square

Columbia Pictures has agreed to co-finance the next three movies from Japanese gamemaker Square's U.S. film production company, Variety reported. Columbia and Square Pictures are currently producing Final Fantasy, a computer-animated movie based on Square's videogame series of the same name.

Square said that it would use the technology developed in making Final Fantasy in the three movies it co-produces with Columbia, which will be 100 percent computer-generated. Final Fantasy is slated to premiere next summer.

Besson To Develop

Luc Besson (director of The Fifth Element) will produce the cyberthriller movie for Fox, Variety reported. Jon Bokenkamp (Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows) is in talks to rewrite the script by David Marconi (Enemy of the State), the trade paper reported.

No director has signed on yet for the film, which Fox is slating for the summer of 2002. Based on John Carlin's 1997 Wired magazine article "A Farewell to Arms," the movie reportedly tells the story of cyber-terrorists who have declared war on the United States.

In Search Of Returns To TV

Fox and USA Network have partnered up to revive the 1970s paranormal non-fiction television series In Search Of and will air eight new episodes in the fall on both networks. The episodes will deal with such topics as ancient astronauts, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster and voodoo, according to an announcement on the show's official Web site.

Producers of the series are also inviting viewers to suggest topics for future episodes. On the Web site, viewers may also talk with In Search Of researchers and ask questions of series creator Alan Landsburg. It's unclear whether the series' original host, Leonard Nimoy, will take part in the new episodes.

Dark Angel Premiere Set

The two-hour pilot of James Cameron's upcoming SF television series Dark Angel will premiere on Fox at 9 p.m. on Oct. 3, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The unusual scheduling will mean that Fox affiliates will have to push back their normal 10 p.m. newscasts an hour.

Fox agreed to Cameron's request for the later air time to give Dark Angel the season-premiere lead-in of two successful comedies, That '70s Show and Titus, at 8 p.m. Both comedies had been originally slated to premiere a week later, on Oct. 10. The trade paper reported that Fox's efforts to accommodate Dark Angel's scheduling reflected Cameron's clout at the Fox studio.

More Nikita Actors Tapped

Fans of the canceled USA Network series La Femme Nikita are reporting rumors that other cast members have been asked about their availability to return if the series can be revived. USA and Warner Brothers, which produces the show, have reportedly been in talks about resurrecting the series for a fifth season.

Members of the Save LFN campaign have posted reports on their Web site message board that Don Francks (Walter) will return and that talks are underway with Eugene Glazer (Operations). Peta Wilson (Nikita), Roy Dupuis (Michael) and Alberta Watson (Madeleine) have reportedly already been asked to return. The status of Matthew Ferguson (Birkoff/Jason) was unclear.

The last original episode of the series will air on USA Aug. 27. USA canceled Nikita after a contract dispute with Warner, but talks resumed when the series' last new episodes won good ratings.

Pokemon 3 Coming In 2001

Warner Brothers will release a third Pokemon feature film in the spring, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The third installment in the popular animated children's movie franchise is currently in theaters in Japan, where it is called Pocket Monsters 3 and has earned $6 million so far.

The movie will be redubbed and rescored for North American release. The second movie in the franchise, Pokemon the Movie 2000, has earned $41 million in North America since its July 23 release. Pokemon: The First Movie is currently on home video.

SCI FI To Revive Outer Limits?

The SCI FI Channel is in talks with MGM TV Entertainment to air new episodes of Showtime's The Outer Limits, which is otherwise scheduled to end its run of original episodes on Sept. 3. SCI FI currently airs four reruns of The Outer Limits every Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

In an interview with SCI FI Wire, Kat Stein, a spokeswoman for SCI FI, confirmed the discussions with MGM, but declined to offer details. Alliance Atlantis Entertainment and Trilogy Entertainment produce The Outer Limits.

On Sept. 3, Showtime will air a marathon of eight previously aired Outer Limits episodes starting at 2 p.m., culminating at 8 p.m. with a new, two-hour episode, "Final Appeal," about a time traveler who is sentenced to death for violating laws against technology. The series finale will star Charlton Heston, Amanda Plummer, Cicely Tyson, Swoosie Kurtz, Kelly McGillis, Robert Loggia, Wallace Langham, Michael Moriarty and Hal Holbrook.

No CGI Actress For Simone

E! Online is disputing a report this month in The Hollywood Reporter that suggested writer and director Andrew Niccol would cast a computer-generated actress in his upcoming film Simone. The trade paper apparently mixed up reality with the plot of the film, in which a desperate director (played by Al Pacino) casts a digital actress in his movie-within-a-movie. In the film, the computer-generated star gets taken for the real thing and goes on to become a sensation, E! reported.

But partly in response to complaints from the Screen Actors Guild based on the trade paper report, Niccol assured the union that he will indeed hire a flesh-and-blood actress to star in Simone. E! also reported that Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore) has signed on to the film, while Oscar nominee Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich) is in talks to play the role of Pacino's ex-wife.

Cage Mulling Adaptation

Nicolas Cage is in serious talks to star in Adaptation, a Columbia Pictures fantasy movie that reunites Being John Malkovich writer Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze, Variety reported. The film is loosely based on New Yorker contributor Susan Orlean's story "The Orchid Thief" and is about a sexually frustrated screenwriter who enlists his imaginary twin brother, Donald, to collaborate on what becomes a box-office hit.

Meryl Streep is supposedly interested in co-starring, but no negotiations have commenced, Variety reported.

Trek Actors Honored

Several Star Trek actors are being honored in separate events recognizing their charitable contributions or other work, according to the official Star Trek Web site. Kate Mulgrew (Capt. Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager) will deliver a keynote address at the California Governor's Conference for Women on Oct. 12 in Long Beach, Calif., in recognition of Mulgrew's role as the first female lead in a Trek series.

William Shatner (Capt. James T. Kirk on the original Trek series), meanwhile, will be honored by Covenant House California for his support of the organization's efforts to improve the lives of children who are disabled, blind, abused, terminally ill or homeless. Shatner will receive the Distinguished Achievement Award in a ceremony Sept. 15 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock on the original Trek) will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree this fall from Antioch University's McGregor School in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Nimoy is being honored because of his efforts to refute those who argue that the Holocaust of World War II did not happen, school president Barbara Gellman-Danley told the Trek Web site. Nimoy, who is Jewish, starred in the 1991 TNT film Never Forget, based on the true story of Holocaust survivor Mel Mermelstein's fight with the neo-Nazi Institute for Historical Review to prove that the Holocaust actually occurred.

WB Preps New Looney Tunes Movie

Quincy Jones is developing a live-action/animated movie that will bring back Warner Brothers' popular Looney Tunes characters, Variety reported. The last such film was 1996's Space Jam, which featured basketball star Michael Jordan with Looney Tunes characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig.

Space Cowboys co-writer Ken Kaufman will write the script for the movie, whose storyline is being kept secret.

Travis Headlines King's Rose

Nancy Travis (So I Married an Axe Murderer) will star in the upcoming original ABC miniseries Stephen King's Rose Red, which is expected to air during the February 2002 sweeps, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Travis will be joined by Judith Ivey, Kimberly Brown, Julian Sands and Matt Keeslar.

King wrote the miniseries following a June 1999 accident in which he suffered severe injuries after being hit by a van near his home in Lewiston, Maine. The three-part miniseries tells the story of Rose Red, a dormant haunted mansion built in 1907 by a Seattle oil magnate. Travis will play an obsessed psychology professor, Joyce Reardon, who commissions a team of psychics and a gifted 15-year-old autistic girl (Brown) to wake the ghosts, Variety reported.

King and Mark Carliner (Stephen King's The Shining) have reteamed as executive producers. Craig Baxley (Storm of the Century) will direct the miniseries, which began production in Seattle this month.

Rhymer Is Game For Jumanji II

Don Rhymer (Big Momma's House) will write the script for Jumanji II, the sequel to Columbia's 1995 hit film Jumanji, Variety reported. The first effects-heavy film, which starred Robin Williams, featured characters bedeviled by an enchanted board game.

The sequel reportedly picks up the story when the vice president of the United States fishes the game out of the ocean. Rhymer is only the latest writer to work on the long-awaited sequel, joining Chris Van Allsburg, Adam Rifkin, Jonathan Hensligh, Steve Odekerk and David Ward, Variety reported.

New Writers Board Destination 2

Jonathan Gruber and Erik Bress will write the script for Final Destination 2, the proposed sequel to New Line's hit supernatural movie Final Destination, Variety reported. The original film, written by Glen Morgan and directed by James Wong, told the story of a boy who foresees a plane crash and warns his friends not to take the flight.

Wong--who, with Morgan, wrote for and produced such TV series as Millennium and Space: Above and Beyond--previously told SCI FI Wire that he and Morgan were not interested in taking part in any sequel.

Sonzero To Helm Deader

Commercial director Jim Sonzero will make his feature-film directorial debut with the supernatural thriller Deader, which is scheduled to begin preproduction this fall for Dimension Films, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film tells the story of an investigative reporter who gets caught up in the bizarre supernatural world she covers, the trade paper reported.

Neal Marshall Stevens wrote the script, which Academy Award-winning makeup and visual effects artist Stan Winston and David Greathouse will produce. Winston will also create the creature effects for the movie.

Bradbury Celebrates 80th Birthday

Legendary SF author Ray Bradbury celebrated his 80th birthday before a packed Burbank, Calif., theater on Aug. 19, the Los Angeles Times reported. Bradbury's birthday celebration took place at the Burbank Center Stage, the new home of the Colony Theatre Company, which will open its new season with a revival of Bradbury's musical Dandelion Wine.

"I've been labeled a science fiction writer, but that's not what I am," Bradbury told the Times. "I'm a mythologist, a collector of metaphors. I grew up reading mythology. And when myths collide with the memories of one's own experiences, then a new metaphor is born."

Norman Corwin, Stan Freburg, Charlton Heston and William Schallert were among the performers from Bradbury's past who attended the fete. The theater company performed scenes from Bradbury's works, including theatrical versions of The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451.

More Oz Actors In Episode II

More Australian actors have joined the cast of Star Wars: Episode II, casting director Robin Gurland announced on the official Star Wars Web site. "I always describe the smaller roles in Star Wars as a series of stand-alone vignettes," Gurland said.

"The actors must impart their contribution in one or two scenes--set the mood, introduce their character and concisely convey what they're about," Gurland added. "For that, I obviously want the strongest actor possible."

Jack Thompson will play a modest farmer in Episode II. The Australian actor has appeared in such films as The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The Man From Snowy River and Breaker Morant, for which he won the Cannes Film Festival award for best supporting actor and the Australian Film Institute award for best actor.

Australian actors Graeme Blundell, Trisha Noble, Claudia Karvan and young newcomers Keira Wingate and Hayley Mooy will join the cast in undisclosed roles. Blundell is an icon of 1970s Australian television, the Star Wars Web site reported. Noble is a well-known Australian singer, dancer, stage and television performer and motion picture actress. Karvan has appeared in Australian films and television series. Five-year-old Wingate and three-year-old Mooy will both make their big-screen debuts in Episode II.

In addition, Australian TV and film actor Christopher Truswell will lend his voice to Episode II in an undisclosed capacity, the Star Wars site reported.

Holland Preps Nightingale

Television director and producer Todd Holland (Malcolm in the Middle) is developing Nightingale, an hour-long supernatural TV series, Variety columnist Michael Fleming reported. Holland described Nightingale as "a female-driven idea I came up with, in which a woman is given a terrible gift, on the order of [Stephen King's] The Dead Zone, which is a story I always loved," Fleming reported.

Holland directed the pilot for Fox's upcoming paranormal television series Freakylinks for Greg Hale (co-creator of The Blair Witch Project).

Student SF Winners Announced

Chicon announced the winners of the Student Science Fiction Contest. The contest recognizes the best short story and artwork with a science fiction or fantasy theme and the best science essay by students in elementary, middle or high school.

Winners will receive awards at a ceremony during Chicon 2000, the 58th World Science Fiction Convention, Aug. 31 to Sept. 4 in Chicago. A full list of winners follows.

Art Winners

Dragon's Cove of Magic by Kelsey Floyd, 10, fourth grade, Quest Academy, Palatine, Ill.
The Bird-Man "Zen" by Justin Rick Pichetrungsi, 13, eighth grade, The Viewpoint School, Calabasas, Calif.
The Zoo by Val Lucas, 16, 11th grade, Mount Hebron High School, Ellicott City, Md.

Story Winners

•"Saving Loch Ness" by Chantel Marie Paige Donnan, 11, fifth grade, Cleveland Elementary School, Lakewood, Calif.
•"The Doll's House" by Chelsea Farley, 11, sixth grade, Bond Mill Elementary School, Laurel, Md.
•"Out of Context" by Dagmara Ariana Kalnins, 13, seventh grade, Robert Frost Middle School, Fairfax, Va.
•"The Summoners' Tale" by Rachel Turtledove, 13, eighth grade, Chaminade Middle School, Chatsworth, Calif.
•"Apes and Angels" by Joe Howley, 16, 10th grade, Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring, Md.

Science Essay Winners

•"A Career in Chemistry" by Devereux Smith, 10, Lycee Rochambeau French International School, Chevy Chase, Md.
•"Nanotechnology: Our Future" by Stephanie Schlitter, 14, eighth grade, Carleton Washburne Middle School, Winnetka, Ill.
•"Aurora, the Secret of the Skies" by Jennifer Tung, 17, 11th grade, Thomas Wootton High School, Rockville, Md.

Natalie-Hayden Sparks Flying?

The New York Post reported gossip that Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen--who play on-screen paramours Queen Amidala and Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode II--are an off-screen item as well. The newspaper cited unnamed sources saying the two 19-year-old stars are "crazy about each other."

But Christensen's manager, Robbie Kass, disputed the report. "I was on the set and heard those rumors too, but I didn't see anything," Kass told the Post. "I can't substantiate that at all. I don't think it's happening." Episode II is shooting in Australia before moving to Italy and Tunisia; the movie's due in 2002.

Blair Witch Game Demo Posted

The File Planet Web site has posted a playable demo of the upcoming game The Blair Witch Project Volume 1: Rustin Parr, the FGN Web site reported. Mike Wilson, a spokesman for Gathering of Developers, told FGN that the demo represents an early version of the game.

The demo features about 10 minutes of gameplay from the video game, which is being released by Terminal Reality. The game is based on the mythology behind the 1999 hit movie The Blair Witch Project.

Deadman Walks At TNT

TNT will develop a television movie--the pilot for a possible series--based on the DC Comics series Deadman, Variety reported. Deadman tells the story of a stunt man who is murdered but allowed to return to Earth as a spirit who can occupy the body of his nerdy brother, the trade paper reported.

Jason Pomerance, who writes the comic series, will also write the movie script. TNT previously developed a television movie based on the Top Cow comic series Witchblade, which is also being considered as a potential TV series.

Snipes Hones In On Blade 2

Wesley Snipes told TV Guide Online that the upcoming vampire movie Blade 2 will touch on themes of urban vigilantism and world domination. "The basic premise is that there's been some genetic engineering between humans and vampires," Snipes told the site. Snipes will star as the titular superhuman vampire slayer.

Snipes added, "A supervampire is created. This supervampire feeds off other vampires. So the vampires want to call a peace treaty with Blade, because they need his help to get these other supervampires out of the way. So now his enemies become his allies."

Snipes added that Blade 2--the sequel to his 1998 hit movie Blade--will surpass the original, which was based on the Marvel Comics series Blade the Vampire Hunter. "The original Blade is going to look like child's play compared to the sequel," Snipes said.

X-Files Closure Unlikely

Whether Fox's long-running hit series The X-Files ends at the end of next season or has a life beyond, the show's ultimate finale is bound to disappoint, executive producer Frank Spotnitz told "I believe that when we do wrap up the series, whether it's this year or next, there are going to be a lot of people who are going to get to the end and go, 'That's it?'" Spotnitz said. "They're going to be disappointed, because there are so many expectations about what the ending should be and what answers they're going to get."

Spotnitz added, "What I don't think most people are really aware of is how many answers have already been given. We've spread them over the last two years, especially since the movie. We've answered a lot more questions than we've raised, and there are a lot of smaller questions where there will never be a definitive answer." The eighth season of The X-Files, with new regular Robert Patrick, premieres Nov. 5.

Kilmer, Sizemore Deny Red Rift

Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore, stars of Warner Brothers' upcoming SF epic Mars movie Red Planet, told Cinescape Online that reports of their on-set bickering were exaggerated. Tabloid and other rumors suggested that tensions ran so high between the two volatile stars that Sizemore took out a restraining order against Kilmer.

Not so, the stars told Cinescape. "There were things going on with Tom that were personal that I got attached to," Kilmer said. "Like this [rumor], which is crazy, [about] a restraining order. As you know, it's just impossible for an actor to do that to another actor on a movie set. ... He and I did a lot of stuff together to make this movie not just good but great, and it's a real shame that things got interpreted in a negative light. Because the movie doesn't deserve it. It doesn't have anything to do with what the experience was or what people are going to see."

Sizemore called reports of the stars' bickering "total bulls--t." He added, "If you're a public figure, which I have become and which Val has been for the better part of 15 years, all you need is 'a source said,' and you can print it in the tabloid press. Now we could sue, but that distracts from our movie. It makes it about something that never happened." Red Planet opens Nov. 3.

Hayter To Pen Pitch Black 2

David Hayter (X-Men) will write Pitch Black 2 and rewrite The Hulk, both for Universal Pictures, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The sequel to this year's hit SF movie Pitch Black will tell the continuing adventures of Riddick, the outlaw hero played by Vin Diesel. Diesel will reprise the role.

The Hulk, based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name, will be produced by Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator). Michael Tolkin (Deep Impact) and Mike France (Cliffhanger) wrote early drafts of the script, which Hayter will merge.

Lambert: Best Highlander Yet

Christopher Lambert, star of the upcoming Highlander: Endgame, told fans that the fourth installment of the popular film franchise will harken back to the original 1986 movie, Highlander. "The story is obviously different, but the construction of the film is close to No. 1, as I said before, because we are giving lots of thoughts about the joys and the pains of immortality," Lambert said in a chat on his official Web site.

Lambert added that the film will have little to do with the popular Highlander television series, even though Lambert appears in Endgame with the series' star, Adrian Paul. "This is a feature," Lambert said. "We are not taking anything from the TV show. But I would say that Endgame has the best story so far since Highlander. ... The movie is about redemption. It's also about a strong reflection on immortality ... a romantic movie combined with lots of action, opticals and special effects."

The film, which was shot in Romania, London, New York and Scotland, will feature a new villain, Kell, played by Bruce Payne. "Kell ... is very edgy. ... Very funny, but highly dangerous. He is the only bad guy in [the] Highlander [series] that I would definitely compare to the Kurgan [from the original film]."

Wizards Selling Amazing Stories

Wizards of the Coast said that it is negotiating to sell Amazing Stories magazine and may have an announcement by the World Science Fiction Convention in early September, according to a report on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Web site. Wizards did not reveal the potential buyer, but Locus Online reported that the buyer was, which would turn the magazine into an online publication under editor-in-chief Ben Bova.

SFWA reported that Wizards group publisher Johnny Wilson said only that "major personalities" in the science fiction community have approached the company with an offer. He said that day-to-day operations for the publishing of Amazing Stories have been suspended in order to expedite the sale; the current issue is Summer 2000.

Amazing Stories, founded in 1926 by Hugo Gernsback, closed in 1995 when previous publisher TSR failed to find a buyer. Wizards relaunched the magazine in 1998 with a significant media tie-in, the SFWA reported.

WB To Return Early

The WB will open its new season a little early, starting Sept. 22 with Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, newly imported from ABC, Variety reported. On Sept. 26, The WB will bring back new episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, opposite the Olympics on NBC.

The network's official premiere week starts the following week, Oct. 2-8, with Roswell on Oct. 2 and Charmed on Oct. 5.

Stuart Little II In Works

Rob Minkoff is in talks with Columbia to direct a sequel to his hit Stuart Little, Variety reported. Minkoff also co-directed Disney's 1994 hit The Lion King with Roger Allers.

Minkoff is expected to sign a deal soon for Stuart Little II, the sequel to the live-action and computer-animated movie about a talking mouse and his adoptive family. The original Stuart Little, which was voiced by Michael J. Fox, has grossed $280 million worldwide since its release last December.

Variety reported that Stuart II's storyline will introduce new faces and expand the list of computer-animated characters to include an unnamed bird, a new best friend for Stuart.

Live Batman Beyond Due?

Taul Dini, producer of the Batman Beyond animated television series, told the Comics Continuum Web site that he's writing the script for a live-action movie version of the series with fellow producer Alan Burnett. Batman Beyond tells the story of Terry McGinnis, a teen-age Batman in the future who has learned his moves from an elderly Bruce Wayne.

"There will be an official announcement from 'the powers that be'--i.e., Warner Brothers [and] our respective agents--very soon, probably the end of next week," Dini told the site. He added that Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans) will direct the movie. "Boaz is co-writing the script with us as well as directing," Dini said.

The Cell Tops Box Office

The SF thriller movie The Cell premiered in the No. 1 box-office slot on the weekend of Aug. 18, taking in an estimated $17.2 million, according to the Hollywood trade papers. The movie was star Jennifer Lopez's biggest opening ever, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Space Cowboys took the No. 3 slot in its third weekend of release, earning an estimated $9.9 million, for a total so far of $54.2 million. What Lies Beneath rose a spot, from sixth to fifth place, taking in an estimated $7.1 million for a total of $123.7 million after five weeks in release. But Hollow Man was fading fast, dropping to No. 7 with $6.1 million for the weekend, or a total of $61.7 million after three weeks of release.

Godzilla 2000 opened in the 11th slot with an estimated $4.6 million. Chicken Run and The Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps finished out of the top 10 and became the latest movies this year to surpass $100 million in total box office earnings.

Briefly Noted

  • Paul Donovan, creator of The SCI FI Channel's original series Lexx, has asked fans to support a campaign to keep the show on the air, IGN reported. Donovan entreated fans to write to their local television critics and reporters to seek coverage for the show, which just began its third season on SCI FI.

  • The French Cinebobine Web site posted new images from Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy, now in production in New Zealand.

  • Angus Macfadyen (Braveheart) will play the lead villain in the upcoming Kurt Wimmer-directed and -scripted SF thriller movie Librium, joining Christian Bale, Emily Watson and Taye Diggs, Variety reported.

  • Syndicated columnists Marilyn Beck, Stacy Jenel Smith and Stephanie DuBois speculated that Linda Hamilton may change her mind and agree to appear in Terminator 3 even though her ex-husband James Cameron won't direct the sequel, according to Cinescape Online. Hamilton has previously said she's not interested in the movie without Cameron's involvement.

  • New Line has licensed the toy rights for its upcoming Dungeons & Dragons feature film to Hasbro, according to a report on the Raving Toy Maniac Web site. The film is based on the venerable Wizards of the Coast role-playing game of the same name.

  • A new CD release Tales From the Crypt: Monsters of Metal will combine heavy metal rock songs with commentary by the Crypt Keeper character (voiced by John Kassir) from the HBO original horror television series that now airs on The SCI FI Channel.

  • John de Lancie (Q on Star Trek: The Next Generation) will guest star on an episode of the upcoming syndicated television series Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, according to the SlipstreamWeb fan site.

  • Boy band The Backstreet Boys will become comic-book superheroes under the aegis of writer Stan Lee, E! Online reported. The series kicks off Feb. 19 with comic books sold exclusively at Backstreet Boys concerts and online.

  • Lobo Sebastian will join Pam Grier, Natasha Henstridge and Ice Cube in the cast of the upcoming SF movie John Carpenter's Ghost of Mars, Variety reported. The feature is currently shooting in New Mexico and is slated to bow next summer.

  • Julian McMahon (Profiler) has joined the cast of The WB's Charmed, Variety reported. McMahon will play an assistant district attorney who forms an alliance with the main characters, who are witches.

  • ABC has bought the first broadcast rights to DreamWorks' thriller film What Lies Beneath, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The movie will air on ABC in 2003.

  • New trailers and music from the upcoming Robocop: Prime Directives series of television movies have gone up on the films' official Web site.

  • Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) and Dwight Schultz (Reg Barclay) will reprise their Star Trek: The Next Generation roles in "Inside Man," an upcoming episode of Star Trek: Voyager now shooting, according to the official Trek Web site. The episode will also feature the character of Admiral Paris (Richard Herd), father of Tom Paris.

  • Emil Petaja, an SF and fantasy writer whose career spanned seven decades, died at his San Francisco home on Aug. 17, Locus Online reported. He was 85. Petaja, who was of Finnish descent, was best known for several novels based on the Kalevala, the Finnish epic poem.

  • The Ain't It Cool News Web site reported a rumor that Robin Williams will narrate Steven Spielberg's SF thriller movie A.I.

  • Music by The Rock Bottom Remainders, the rock band consisting of horror author Stephen King and other best-selling writers, has been posted to

  • Brendan Gleeson (The General) will join the cast of A.I., director Steven Spielberg's SF thriller film.

  • The British Mail on Sunday newspaper reported that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling tops the list of Britain's highest-paid women. Rowling earned $30.6 million in the past year from her best-selling children's novel series.


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