Log Entries: 01/30/2012

MONTY PYTHON members John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, and Michael Palin will star in a sci-fi comedy written by Python alum Terry Jones, which follows a group of aliens who choose an earthling, give him the power to do absolutely anything, and then observe what he does with it.  The live action Absolutely Anything (sounding like a cross between Bruce Almighty and the classic Twilight Zone episode, The Monsters are due on Maple Street,) will also co-star Robin Williams in some capacity.  Python alum Eric Idle is said to be the only Python still in negotiations to join the production… THE RUMORS ARE TRUE: executives at 20th Century Fox have confirmed that Matthew Vaughn has been signed to direct the follow-up to X-Men: First Class, and that the script is currently being written by Simon (Sherlock Holmes) Kinberg.  Bryan Singer will again produce … SILVER PICTURES have hired Albert Torres to pen their big budget remake/reimagining/reboot thingy of BEN 10.  Torres previous credits include Henry Pool is Here, and the now defunct AKIRA remake … DUE TO a ballooning budget crisis, Warner Bros. has permanently delayed Arthur & Lancelot, and pushed the release of Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer, into the film’s former release window.  This means that although TV Spots for Jack the Giant Killer had already began airing indicating a release this summer, the film in fact will now be arriving in theaters, March of 2013 … A NEW DIGITAL LOONEY TUNES SHORT will screen before Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. “Daffy’s Rhapsody” will be screened in both 2D and 3D/IMAX where available:

EVEN THOUGH THE HUNGER GAMES movie hasn’t been released as of yet, production has already begun on the sequel, Catching Fire, with the same creative team … SPEAKING OF THE HUNGER GAMES, actor Liam Hemsworth has been cast in director Phillip Noyce’s next, Timeless.  It’s a story about a grieving widower who constructs a time machine in defiance of reality, just so he can be with his wife, again …GEORGE LUCAS has officially announced his retirement from big budget filmmaking.  This is said to have come about as a result of a certain lack of interest on the part of the major studios in Hollywood, when invited to screen his latest effort as producer: Red Tails.  Said Lucas: “I’m retiring; I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff.”  Lucas did concede that Indiana Jones 5 is coming, but is adamant that it will be the very last blockbuster that he is involved in.  In further Indy news, Lucas has denied the claim by Steven Spielberg that “nuking the fridge” was Spielberg’s own idea.  That much hated scene in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, involving Indy escaping certain death at ground zero, by hiding in a lead-lined refrigerator.  “It’s not true,” he said. “He’s trying to protect me.”  According to Lucas, Spielberg “didn’t believe” the scene. So Lucas submitted to his friend a six-inch thick file on the subject, which indicated that if the fridge were lead lined, and if Indy didn’t break his neck from the concussion created by the explosion, or the impact of the refrigerator upon the ground, and if he were able to get the door back open, survival was higher than would be expected. “The odds of surviving that refrigerator — from a lot of scientists — are about 50-50,” Lucas said.  In reference to further Star Wars films, Lucas commented: “Why would I make any more, when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?” … WALT DISNEY are planning an as of yet untitled Space Adventure film. Said to be some sort of a “Journey,” the film is being penned by screenwriter Max (Chronicle) Landis.  Landis is the son of director John (An American Werewolf in London) Landis and costume designer Deborah (Raiders of the Lost Ark) Nadoolman … DOCTOR STRANGE finally has a script from the writers of Sahara.  Marvel are now searching for a director & cast to “package” together.  They hope to begin shooting this year for a 2013 release … IN OTHER MARVEL NEWS, Chronicle director Josh Trank has shot down reports that he is being considered to helm the reboot of The Fantastic Four.  Said Trank: “I know as much as you guys know. I’m totally serious. I know as much as you.” And he added, “I saw that leak online and I was like, ‘Um, okay, I’m trying to finish Chronicle right now.’ This is weird. There’s nothing to say, ‘Chronicle’ is exactly the kind of superhero movie that I wanted to make and, going forward, I want to have some original ideas and different things I’m working on.”  Yep.  Sounds like a rumor … AND IN STILL OTHER MARVEL NEWS, Iron Man 3 is now scheduled to kick off shooting in Wilmington, North Carolina, just a few weeks from now, and under the direction of Shane (Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang) Black.  Thor 2 is scheduled to begin shooting sometime this year as well, and Captain America 2 should begin filming in either December of this year, or January of next … AND IN A BRIEF BIT OF DC NEWS, director David (X-Files, Supernatural) Nutter will helm Arrow, the CW Network’s pilot for that proposed new series that focuses on Green Arrow … BEN AFFLECK has hired a screenwriter for his redux of Stephen King’s epic The Stand, which will be released theatrically this time and by Warner Bros. … KRISTEN WIIG has joined Ben Stiller for his remake of The Secret Life of Walter MittyACTOR/DIRECTOR PETER BERG, Director/Producer Michael Mann, and screenwriter Akiva Goldman, have been talking to Will Smith about a sequel to Hancock.  Says Berg: “… Will Smith actually had the idea — so I think it will happen, it’s just a question of timing.” … PRODUCER MARK (Back to the Future, Buckaroo Banzai) CANTON has teamed with comic book company Platinum Studios, to bring Atlantis Rising to the big screen.  The story: seismic disturbances in the world’s oceans spur an investigation, which leads to the eventual discovery of a civilization that has developed simultaneous to our own, but underwater.  Platinum previously developed the project several years ago with first, Gale Ann Hurd’s company Pacific Western, and then later with Dreamworks.  Development hell was the result the first two times at bat; hopefully they’ll hit a home run this time … UNIVERSAL has gotten a smidgen closer to setting an exact date for the upcoming blu-ray release of E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial: “March” …  Speaking of Blu-ray, Joe Dante first mentioned it and now Warner Bros. have confirmed that Gremlins 2: The New Batch will arrive on blu-ray May 8th — and here’s an advanced look at the artwork for the soon to be released and remastered in Hi-Def, Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season One package:      According to CBS Home Entertainment’s executive VP Ken Ross, the release date for Season One is “late summer or early fall.”  Ross went on to state that Paramount have 20 people working on this restoration project in full time shifts around the clock 24 hrs. a day, and that 2 Seasons of the show will be released per year until the final season arrives in 2015 … RELATIVITY MEDIA have pushed back the release of The Raven, starring John Cusack, to April 27th — and they have also pushed back the release of Mirror, Mirror to March 30th.  That film, a revisionist take on Snow White, will now open opposite Wrath of the Titans, both a week after The Hunger GamesMirror, Mirror will nonetheless still be released several weeks ahead of Snow White and the Huntsman; which arrives on June 1st … A DOCUMENTARY about comic book legend Stan Lee, titled With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, will air later this year on the pay TV cable channel, EPIX.  Soon after, it will be made available on their web-site, EPIXHD.com … NOW FOR THE SAD NEWS: Veteran actor Ian Abercrombie died Thursday in Hollywood, CA.  Abercrombie is particularly memorable as both the old Wizard in Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness, and as John Hammond’s Butler in Lost World: Jurassic Park.  In addition he had a very long career, which included roles in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, The Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica, Twin Peaks, and Star Trek: Voyager.  He also voiced the character of Palpatine/The Emperor in Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  He was 77 years old …VETERAN TELEVISION DIRECTOR John Rich passed away yesterday.  Among his almost fifty year career in directing comedy for television, he helmed two notable episodes of the original Twilight Zone: “A Kind so Stopwatch,” and “A Most Unusual Camera.”  Rich was 86 years old … DIMITRA ARLISS, the actress who played the “hit lady” who was tasked with killing Robert Redford’s character in The Sting, passed away this week after suffering a stroke at the Motion Picture and Television Fund Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.  She made several television and film appearances, including a part in Xanadu, and another as a Russian scientist in Clint Eastwood’s film, Firefox.  She was 79 … ACTOR JAMES FARENTINO died on Tuesday, January the 24’th of heart failure.  Among his many notable appearances: The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, and the ill-fated Blue Thunder TV Series.  In 1980 he turned in a memorable performance in the cult science fiction film, The Final Countdown.  Acting alongside Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen, Farentino played a naval officer aboard an aircraft carrier transported back in time to Pearl Harbor, on December 7th, 1941.  The 73 year old thespian will be missed …  AND VERY SADLY, the voice actor who provided the very memorable voice for the Robot in Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space TV series, also died that day.  Dick Tufeld was, of course, known for: “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger !”  In addition to voicing the robot on the original TV series and in the 1998 movie, Tufeld also did routine voice work for producer Allen on both Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and The Time Tunnel.  And Tufeld’s voice can clearly be recognized as the opening narrator of two of the most beloved cartoon series of the 1980’s: Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, and Thundarr: The Barbarian.  Tufeld was 85 years old, and according to actor Bill Mumy, died peacefully in Los Angeles.  He will be remembered by an entire generation that grew up watching TV in the 1960’s, and almost as many who watched Lost in Space in syndication …

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