features a special guest star very near and dear to the hearts of all of the CXM boyz. His appearance is also fortuitous, as it relates to the theme of my newspost today:
Comic book movie adaptations.
There've been a number of these over the years, from the horrible evils inflicted on the character of Batman to the superb treatment of last summer's X-Men. With the success of the latter, movie studios have been snapping up opportunities for turning some of our favorite superheroes from pulp-paged protagonists to stars of the silver screen. Some of these films are destined to hit the theatres near us fairly soon, others are a long way off in development, but most of them will probably be interesting. Here's an update of some of the major properties currently in the works.
The Fantastic Four, that illustrious quartet featuring Reed Richards, Sue Richards, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm (or, as they are better known: Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, The Human Torch, and The Thing) is currently property of Fox. Just recently, it was announced that director Peyton Reed (Bring It On) had been brought aboard to helm the film. Reed will ditch the previous drafts, which tended to envision the FF as more of a "sit-com". The film will repeatedly feature the FF origin story, and their main nemesis, Dr. Doom. No word yet on casting.
Recent news on the front of Daredevil, Man Without Fear. The acrobatic lawyer by day, vigilante by night, Matt Murdock is also property of Fox. A draft of the script has been read by Harry Knowles at AICN, and he proclaims it excellent. Just the other day, Ed Norton (Fight Club, American History X) reportedly turned down the roll of DD, citing an interest in working on his own writing and directing projects. Current favorite is supposedly Matt Damon (who looks the part, in my opinion).
The Incredible Hulk is currently being developed at Universal. Directing is none other than the Oscar-nominated Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), who wants to really get into the psychology of the mild-mannered scientist Bruce Banner, who, having been exposed to gamma radiation, becomes the green smashing machine. Expected release date is 2003, but no word as of yet on who will play Dr. Banner (is Chow Yun-Fat too much to hope?)
And now onto, in my opinion, the "big three" superheroes of comic book legend. First up, the wise-cracking web-spinning wallcrawler.
If you haven't heard anything about Spider-Man, you have definitely been living in a cave. The movie is expected to be released in the spring of 2002, and is currently shooting in full swing in L.A. and New York. The cast includes Tobey Maguire (Wonder Boys) as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Kirsten Dunst (Bring It On) as Mary-Jane Watson, and Willem Dafoe (Shadow of the Vampire) as Spidey villain Norman Osborne/The Green Goblin. Visit the the official site for the teaser trailer and some cool special effects test footage.
And, while I don't have the verbatim news for the next installment in the Batman franchise, I do have some interesting details. The director currently attached is Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream), and previously the movie was said to center around the Batman: Year One storyline by esteemed comic author Frank Miller. Recent news suggests something to the contrary: according to Aronofsky himself, George Clooney will reprise his role as Batman. Hmmm....so Year One seems to be out immediately. Also look forward to a live action version of the popular Batman Beyond animated series.
Finally, the big guns and today's special guest star, the Man of Steel himself. Now, of course, we all know the great Christopher Reeve film, just recently re-released on DVD, and many of you will have heard of various scripts that had been in development, including some well known comic afficianados like Kevin Smith. Previous storylines dealt with Superman's death and rebirth and his battle with extra-terrestrial bounty hunter Lobo. Formerly rumored to star was none other than Nicolas Cage (The Rock), but he has dropped affiliation with the project. For a while, it seemed that a new Supes movie was dead in the water, but just a week or two ago, news came that scribe Paul Attanasio (Quiz Show) was going to be the next in the long line. We'll have to wait and see what he comes up with...
One other project that I'd like to mention. It doesn't fit into the superhero genre, but it is a comic. An adaptation of graphic novel The Road to Perdition is currently being filmed under the watchful eye of Sam Mendes (American Beauty). It involves a prohibition age hitman, part of whose family is killed by mobsters. The hitman and his remaining son team up to take down Al Capone. An all-star cast, headlined by Tom Hanks as the hitman also includes Jude Law (Enemy at the Gates), Paul Newman (The Sting), Stanley Tucci (The Imposters), and Alfred Molina (Chocolat) as Al Capone. The prospect of seeing Hanks as a paid assassin alone has me ready to see this movie.
As well, sequels to previous comic book films, such as Blade, and of course, X-Men are in the works. The future of films such as these will set the way for the comic book films of the next few years. Let's hope they do well.
See you on Monday.
Dan Moren would go so far as to wear spandex if it meant he could be a superhero.
Quote of the Day: "Quick, to the Bat Bed!"