Log Entries: 07/22/2014

As you no doubt know if you read this blog, Starlogger is an homage to the “Log Entries” column of Starlog magazine, a now defunct publication that originally hit news stands in 1976, and was unfortunately discontinued as a published title in 2009.  Starlog 120And while republication of Starlog magazine in newsstand format seems like a longshot at present — specifically given current competition from the likes of SFX Magazine and Empire Magazine — Starlog has nonetheless fought its way out of retirement, and relaunched as a website, with all new contributors: Ken Hanley, Brittany Vincent, Robert Vaughn, and Josef Luciano.  And the current plan is to have a digital version of the magazine bow, later this year !  Starlog was billed as The Science Fiction Universe, and was the premiere magazine to cover sci-fi entertainment in Television and Film, throughout the 1980’s.  And while Starburst, Fantastic Films, Cinefantastique, and even Famous Monsters of Filmland, regularly offered plenty of meaty competition — Starlog was King.  The magazine would often include some of the most sought after interviews, from personalities working in the various genres associated with Sci-Fi; from Ray Bradbury to Steven Spielberg, and William Gibson to John Carpenter — Starlog interviewed everybody.  Starlog Crystal SkullAnd Starlog was often a magazine ahead of the curve, printing exclusives provided to them by Paramount on the Star Trek films, and letter writing campaigns to keep beloved genre television shows such as Starman and Beauty and the Beast, on the air.  The magazine also included book reviews, comic book reviews, home video reviews, and ever so often, video game and toy reviews.  There were even film reviews by some very notable contributors such as Harlan Ellison and Ben Bova.  Today, Starlog is a product of The Brooklyn Company, LLC, and remains a sibling publication to “Fangoria” magazine.  Different company, different team, but they definitely have the potential, the support, and the financial assets to make that forthcoming digital edition happen.  And Starlog fans are rooting for them.
The new site can be found here: http://www.starlog.com/
And the Twitter page can be found here: https://twitter.com/StarlogMag
Starlogger blog wishes the rebirth of “Starlog” nothing but the best, and has high hopes for the future relaunch of the newsstand edition.  Good Luck, Starlog !!  … JURASSIC WORLD is looking more interesting, with these leaked photos from a brochure designed for guests of the park.  If you click on the second photo for a larger version, you will better discern the various species of dinosaur that will be on display to the public, once the park opens, June 12, next year.
JP brochure 2List of JP DinosPlease also note below a photo of a damaged tour vehicle, provided by an unnamed insurance company for reasons of corporate compliance with laws of transparency, we won’t go into.  Note the damage to the vehicle, reportedly caused by a “minor incident” within a “contained area,” the public will not have access to.  Clearly, these animals are the real deal.  Legal Representatives of Jurassic World have given assurances that this is merely evidence of a common occurrence, wherein their own “animal handling experts” have not followed proper protocols.  They insist that this photographic evidence has been divulged to better advise and educate the public on the purpose of adhering to the park’s strict safety precautions, while visiting the island …
Jurassic World VehicleIN STAR WARS: EPISODE VII NEWS, the production was set back a few weeks due to a severe leg injury suffered by actor Harrison Ford (Han Solo,) when a part of the Millennium Falcon set fell on his lower leg and ankle.  Episode VII Now FilmingAnd while rumors about the film’s supposed plot have been spamming the internet non-stop for many months now (most centering on two key elements: Solo and a small band of youths searching for Luke Skywalker, and additional characters referred to as “Jedi Hunters”) the unforeseen accident, has inherently revealed that Ford’s character will in fact be central to the plot of the film.  Attempts were made by Disney to juggle the schedule, but in the end, the Studio was forced to admit that Ford’s injury put the production of the film behind schedule, and by a substantial margin.  The good news is that Ford is on the mend, and according to various sources, eager to get back to work as soon as possible …
Episode VII clapperboardAND WRITER/DIRECTOR KEVIN SMITH recently paid a visit to the Pinewood Studios set of the film, and afterward gave his own colorful impressions of what he saw.  “So we go to the set, and they’re actually shooting, and they’re shooting — and this is what I can’t tell you, what they were shooting — but what I saw I absolutely loved.  It was tactile, it wasn’t a series of f***ing green and bluescreens in which later on digital characters would be added. It was there, it was happening.  I saw uniforms, I saw artillery that I haven’t seen since I was a kid. I saw them shooting an actual sequence in a set that is real — I walked across the set, there were explosions — and it looked like a shot right out of a f***ing Star Wars movie.” Star Wars Drew StruzanMOVIE POSTER ARTIST DREW STRUZAN has not confirmed this yet, but he is rumored to be the only artist Disney and director Abrams want for the job  … JOSH (CHRONICLE) TRANK will helm a Star Wars spinoff in-between Episodes VIII and IX.  Slated for release in 2018, the focus of the story has not been revealed by Disney at this time.  This announcement comes hot on the heels of director Gareth (Godzilla) Edwards being hired to direct yet another Star Wars spinoff, scheduled to be released in 2016 AND FOR THOSE INTERESTED, Episode VII will include sequences filmed in the IMAX format … IN OTHER STAR WARS NEWS, director Rian (Looper) Johnson was recently hired, then quickly removed from his position as director of the eventual sequel to the forthcoming Episode VII.  Normally, studios choose not to comment on these situations, but in this case, Disney CEO Bob Iger had this to say, “It is with sad regret, we have had to part ways prematurely with Mr. Johnson. Although I am a fan of his work, his current passion to add an unwelcomed character to this future production, cannot happen. There’s too much baggage accompanying it.”  Jar Jar Phantom MenaceShortly thereafter, director Rian Johnson responded to Iger’s statement during an interview, and it was a response that quite simply astonished a lot of people. “It’s simple, really. I want to bring back Jar Jar Binks. What? You think I’m kidding? He’s actually one of the strongest characters ever created by George Lucas. He had so much potential, but unfortunately George decided that he would give Jar Jar the speech impediment of a bullfrog. I was going to change that! I wanted to redeem Jar Jar’s honor and make him a strong reliable character. Unfortunately the higher ups were heavily opposed to him being written into the story. We had a disagreement, and now here I am – at a sidewalk food cart. One day you’re a director of one of the biggest franchises in movie history, the next, you’re sitting in the middle of New York waiting for your felafel to cook. I guess, MEESA OUTTA DA JOB!”  … DIRECTOR J.J. ABRAMS POSTED A RECENT UPDATE to the “Force for Change” initiative to benefit UNICEF.  The “contest,” ongoing for about two months, grants the winner the chance to participate in the production and be featured in Episode VII.  Abrams’ update was in the form of a video, wherein he stands against a Tie Fighter with a blue stripe.  A revealing set piece to be sure.  Take a look-see:

MARK HAMILL recently attended Star Wars Weekends, and was asked to voice a short exchange between The Joker and Luke Skywalker.  The dialogue produced a hilarious moment.

New Captain AmericaIN MARVEL NEWS: say hello to the new Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man !  New ThorMarvel has made some interesting, if timely changes to the Avengers roster that will soon be appearing within the pages of Marvel Comics.  Thor will now be a woman, the Captain America costume will now be worn by “The Falcon” (a character portrayed in the Winter Soldier by actor Anthony Mackey,) and Iron Man will now be “Superior Iron Man.”  Superior Iron ManWhich appears to involve an extraordinary upgrade in Tony Stark’s armor design, and according to Marvel, this is NOT in fact Tony Stark.  They say comic readers will find this new Superior Iron Man hard to root for.  And so far, no word on the character’s true identity, which could mean that a foe has taken over the role of Iron Man in the comic … THOSE PLANET HULK RUMORS have been denied yet again.  Previously Marvel’s Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Feige, and Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo, both emphatically denied the Planet Hulk rumors.  Planet Hulk Sideshow CollectiblesBut still, the rumors wouldn’t die.  So this time, an unlikely ally has come to their defense: director James (Guardians of the Galaxy) Gunn.   “I can answer that question very easily: it is absolute, 100% bulls**t. It feels like a great relief to finally say this after all the dumb stuff on the Internet. There’s not going to be a ‘”Planet Hulk” movie, there was never going to be a “Planet Hulk” movie, there was never plan for the Hulk to team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy – I wouldn’t want the Hulk to team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy. And it’s all a bunch of complete bulls**t.”  … So there’s that. … SPEAKING OF GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, the film recently had its first press screening, and the responses were reportedly fantastic.  They loved it !  Here’s a look at the theatrical poster:
Guardians of the Galaxy PosterLUCY (B.S.G., XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS) LAWLESS will have a recurring role on Season Two of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  … STAN LEE has revealed that he will have a cameo in the upcoming Avengers: Age of UltronAND VARIOUS OTHER BITS of info have also been revealed by Disney.  As opposed to the comics, “Ultron” is reportedly a robot built by Tony Stark, which goes haywire, and at some point grants “Jarvis,” Stark’s personal sentient computer intelligence, physical form — as The Vision The VisionX-MEN: APOCALYPSE, the direct sequel to X-Men: Days of Future Past, will be, according to screenwriter Simon Kinberg, a disaster epicTHE FANTASTIC FOUR REBOOT will not be utilizing material from the comic books.  It will instead be a total reinvention.  A possibly ironic revelation, given that just a few months ago, Marvel tried to reacquire the film rights to Fantastic Four from 20th Century Fox, and were unsuccessful.  Marvel’s response ?  They pulled all “Fantastic Four” comic book titles from the shelf.  Seriously.  And while reportedly, the characters will be free to make appearances in other titles, there will be no further FF issues on stands.  Marvel even pulled FF signage down from the walls of its offices, until further notice.  Marvel is said to have done this because it doesn’t want to help the production or release of the Fox film in any way WRITER’S ROBERT ORCI AND ALEX KURTZMAN (Amazing Spider-Man 2) recently revealed that the future of Sony’s current Amazing Spider-Man franchise is uncertain.  No doubt due in part to the lower than expected returns and profits of Amazing Spider-Man 2 only earlier this summer.  Amazing Spider-Man 2Rumors have been swirling for some time now that the Marvel/Sony Amazing Spider-Man spinoff, The Sinister Six, may also be in trouble.  Though it should be stated for the record that rumors of that future production’s demise, have been unconfirmed by Studio, or creative sources.  And to be fair, it has been speculated that The Sinister Six will merely be the title of the next Amazing Spider-Man film, and that said film will refocus its attention on the villains, as opposed to Spidey.  Stay tuned, true believers! ANT-MAN has recently received negative publicity for Marvel’s falling out with writer/director Edgar Wright.  When questioned during a press junket for Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel CEO Kevin Feige offered the following explanation:  “We sat round a table and we realized it was not working. A part of me wishes we could have figured that out in the eight years we were working on it. But better for us and for Edgar that we figure it out then, and not move it through production. We said ‘let’s do this together and put out a statement.’ What do we say? ‘Creative differences’. I said: ‘That’s what they always say and no-one ever believes it.’ Edgar said: ‘But in this case it’s true.’  Ant-ManThe Marvel movies are very collaborative, and I think they are more collaborative than what he had been used to. And I totally respect that. [But] the notion that Marvel was scared, the vision was too good, too far out for Marvel is not true. And I don’t want to talk too much about that because I think our movies speak to that.  The biggest disappointment for me is just the relationship, because I like Edgar very, very much and we were very close for many many years. But the perception that the big evil studio was too scared at the outside-the-box creative vision is just not the case.”   AND DOCTOR STRANGE is looking more and more like a soon-to-be Disney release.  Director Scott (Sinister, The Day The Earth Stood Still) Derrickson was recently hired to helm the film.  Several names have been mentioned as being courted to play the lead character, and according to Marvel, none of those names are off the table.  They reportedly include Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Tom Hardy … IN DC NEWS, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may have recently revealed that he has been cast as Captain Marvel (not to be confused with any characters in the Marvel Universe,) otherwise known as Shazam.  Johnson has been negotiating with Warner Bros. for months, and rumors have swirled as to which character he was in discussions to play, with Lobo being the front runner.  Shazam #1However, Johnson himself gave a fairly telling description of the character he’s planning to portray.  “I will say this. There’s a character out there that we’re going to announce very soon that I’m going to play, and I’ll just say this: This character has the power of Superman… and it’s not Green Lantern by the way… he can throw down. Just say the word. That’s all I’m going to say.”  The announcement will reportedly be made at this years San Diego Comic-Con. … BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE — what a awkward mouthful that title is — is well into production, and rumors have spammed the net that actor Ben Affleck is having serious trouble dealing with his constricting and claustrophobic bat-suit.  For reference, please see photos below of both the Man of Steel, and Dark Knight, as featured in the new film.  “Click” for larger.
batmanbatmobilelightlargeBatman Vs. Superman New Cavill Suit
DIRECTOR RIDLEY SCOTT will film The Martian, a script centering on an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars alone.  So Castaway on the Red Planet.  This, according to director Scott, will film “before” the sequel to Prometheus, and “before” the sequel to Blade Runner.  And apparently before any of those projects, he will also shoot his own version of the David and Goliath story.  Ladies and gentlemen, the King of multitasking, Ridley Scott BRSPEAKING OF BLADE RUNNER, actor Harrison Ford was “officially”  offered the role of Rick Deckard in the forthcoming sequel, back in May.  The film is being produced by Alcon Entertainment, and they sent out a press release, reading in part, “We believe that Hampton Fancher and Michael Green have crafted with Ridley Scott an extraordinary sequel to one of the greatest films of all time. We would be honored, and we are hopeful, that Harrison will be part of our project.” … AND SPEAKING OF RIDLEY SCOTT, a new video game based upon the director’s original film, Alien, “Alien: Isolation (Nostromo Missions)” portrays the original cast of the film, and additionally features voiceover work by said actors.  And even though much of the game focuses mainly on Ripley’s daughter searching space for her mother, the exclusive “Nostromo Missions” version of the game, includes specific play levels where players recreate sequences in the film.  The game doesn’t hit shelves until October 7th, but has already amassed a reputation among those who’ve tested it, as “authentically terrifying.”

… SPEAKING OF THE ALIEN FRANCHISE, JAMES CAMERON recently gave an update on the Avatar sequel scripts he has been working on.  And it sounds like a complex procedure, involving multiple writers, aside from just himself.  Said Cameron: “We tried an experiment. We set ourselves a challenge of writing three films at the same time. And I could certainly write any one of them but to write three in some reasonable amount of time – we wanted to shoot them together so we couldn’t start one until all three scripts were done and approved.”  Avatar Concept ArtHe added, “So we put together three teams, one for each script. The teams consist of me and another writer on each one of the three [films]. So I’m across all the films and then each one of them would have their own individual script they were responsible for.  But what we did that was unique was we sat in the writing room for five months, eight hours a day, and we worked out every beat of the story across all three films so it all connects as one, sort of, three film saga. And I didn’t tell them which one was going to be there’s individually to write until the last day. So everyone was equally invested, story wise, in all three films.”  Cameron also commented on the research he did in association with the new Avatar films.  “… the first thing I did was sat for a year and wrote 1500 pages of notes of the world and the cultures and the different clans and different animals and different biomes and so on. And had a lot of loose thematic stuff that ran through that but I didn’t a concrete story.  I wanted to approach it more like, ‘Guys we’re going to adapt a novel or series of novels.’ Because I felt that kind of detail, even if movies can’t ever be that detailed – it can be visually detailed, it can’t be that detailed in terms of character and culture. But you always get this tip of the iceberg kind of thing. You sense it’s there off camera or in the past of the moment that you’re seeing. So I felt that was the way to do it.”

NCOS7200THE IMMINENT NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON recently named his choice for the top 10 sc-fi films of all time.  And it’s an interesting, if personal, and highly debatable list.  But there are some great choices here, by a man known for being both an devout intellectual, and self-confessed “science freak.”  He even went so far as to explain his choices.  Take a look.  Day The Earth Stood Still10.  The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951):The story was so strong and compelling that the film did not require heavy special effects or monsters or violence to be simultaneously hopeful and terrifying.”  9.   2001: A Space Odyssey (1968):Perhaps the first film to be all about the discovery of alien intelligence yet not show what it looks like, knowing that our imagination could surely do a better job than Hollywood. In any case, it was a visual orgy of space travel and space exploration that we remain far from achieving, even 13 years after the 33 years-in-the-future it portrayed.”  8.  Planet of the Apes (1968):Saw this again recently and it held up over all these years in many important details. Had not appreciated when I first saw it. The hierarchy of apes that ran the planet, chimps were the academics, baboons were the soldiers, orangutans were the diplomats. An action-adventure movie that was an insightful mirror to our lives and our civilization.”  7.  The Terminator (1984):Deftly woven action, violence, sentient machines, a heroine and time travel. All stitched together in a tight and scarily plausible storyline. And, when you think about it, a perfect acting vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger, as a mostly mute terminator, whom many would rather look at than listen to.”  The Quiet Earth6. The Quiet Earth (1985):Low budget, low distribution. One of many films that imagine for you what life might be like if you were the last person alive on Earth. In this case, the premise, the story, the casual science literacy of the main character, keeps the viewer in suspense the entire time, wondering what the hell happened and why.”  5.  Contact (1997):The second film that I know of that is all about contact with alien intelligence and yet does not offer you a glimpse of what they look like. Perhaps it’s no surprise that Carl Sagan advised Arthur C. Clarke to not show aliens in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and “Contact” itself is Carl Sagan’s Story. A brilliant exploration of how our culturally and religiously pluralistic society might react to the knowledge that we have been contacted by a species more intelligent than we are.”  Deep Impact4.  Deep Impact (1998):There have been many asteroid/comet disaster films. But this one took the time to get most of the physics right, and made sure you cared about all the characters in the film so that their prospect of dying matters to the viewer. And Morgan Freeman’s portrayal of the president of the United States may be the best ever. 3.  The Matrix (1999):My top film in any category. From the opening credits to final scenes, every moment of this film is so fully conceived and so well executed that in spite of the complete fantasy world portrayed, the viewer was there, experiencing it with the characters themselves.”  2.  The Island (2005):Apart from too many minutes of gratuitous chase scenes, I think this movie is profound in its message as well as visually stunning. A rare study of science in the service of vanity, mixed with an exploration of corporate profits, human identity and free will. I’ve always viewed “Gattaca” (1997) as a lower-budget cousin of this film.”  Watchmen1.  Watchmen (2009):I don’t know if I am alone in thinking that “Watchmen” is the best-of-genre among all superhero films. I liked it because the characters had fully expressed, complex personality profiles.  They experience love, hate, revenge, megalomania, moral anguish and trepidation. Nothing polished about them. For this reason, they were all more real to me. If the world really did have superheroes in it, “Watchmen” is the world it would be.”  His fav runner up ?  Blade Runner (1982): “This story was simultaneously deep and scary. But I never warmed to it the way so many lovers of the genre have. Which makes this comment more of a confession than a review.” Six B Man AND NOW FOR SOME GENERAL TIDBITS:  Actor Mark Wahlberg is currently being courted to fill the running shoes of the long in development motion picture remake of The Six Million Dollar Man.  Currently titled The Six Billion Dollar Man, the film is set to be co-produced and directed by Peter (Battleship) Berg UNIVERSAL has scheduled Pacific Rim 2 for release on April 7, 2017, in 3D and IMAX.  Guillermo del Toro is slated to return as director, and Zak Penn will script TERRY BROOKS’ SHANNARA, has lost one director and gained another.  Jon (Iron Man, Cowboys & Aliens) Favreau has been given an Executive Producer credit, while Jonathan (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) Liebesman will now helm the show’s first two episodes for MTV.  The network has high hopes that this show will garner the attention and ratings benefited the enormously successful, Game of Thrones.  The script was adapted by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar of Smallville fame.  Author Brooks’ Shannara fantasy series covers 25 books, and centers on characters inhabiting Earth, thousands of years after our own civilization has died out.  Descendants of the “Shannara” family are gifted with the knowledge of “ancient magic.”  … THAT HALO TV SERIES is still moving forward, despite Microsoft’s “X-Box Entertainment Studios” being shut down.  Halo will probably wind up being co-produced by Showtime SHANE (LETHAL WEAPON, KISS KISS, BANG BANG) BLACK will write a treatment for, and direct a new Predator film.  The project, described as a “sequel” to the original, as opposed to a reboot or remake, will be scripted by Fred (Star Trek Enterprise) Dekker   Demon with a glass handHARLAN ELLISON’S DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND gets a makeover with the forthcoming Outer Limits movie.  Sinister writers, Scott Derrickson and Robert Cargill will work out the script.  And screenwriter Mark (Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Cool World) Victor will make his directorial debut GET READY FOR MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.  This image was recently released giving fans of the original Max films a general idea of the visual grittiness of George Miller’s new film.  *Click for Larger.   Mad Max  Fury RoadCONTRARY TO PUBLISHED REPORTS stating otherwise, Max (Chronicle) Landis has not written Ghostbusters III for Sony Pictures.  Too bad, really.  Take a look at his idea for how he would open the film:  “My Ghostbusters III began in the 1920s with Ivo Shandor murdering a gluttonous associate to protect his cult after he has a moral objection. Shandor tells the overweight man that nothing can stop the coming of Gozer; first, the gate will open in 1984, then again twenty years later.  The fat man, who now has all the details of Shandor’s plans, threatens to go to the police, and Shandor poisons him. It’s scary, but… As Shandor escapes, we see that we’re in the Sedgewick Hotel, and that the guy we just saw die…Is Slimer. Cue theme. Show title.”  But, according to Max Landis, his association with the Ghostbusters franchise never materialized beyond discussions with Sony …  JUPITER ASCENDING, which was been pulled from it’s July 18th release date, has been re-scheduled for release in February of next year EMPIRE MAGAZINE recently polled 250,000 film fans to vote on the greatest movies ever made.  And what was #1, you ask ?  *drumroll, please*  The Empire Strikes Back She-Hulk #2SCREENWRITER DAVID S. GOYER (Dark City, Man of Steel) faced some bad publicity recently when he referred to Marvel’s “She-Hulk” as a “Green Porn Star.”  You can read a full description of Marvel’s response here: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/david-goyer-calls-marvels-she-706383 SCREENWRITER ROBERTO (COWBOYS & ALIENS, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS) ORCI recently commented that while he has been in talks with Paramount, he has not been officially hired to direct the third Star Trek film, as sequalized from J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek, and Star Trek Into Darkness.  This is said by other sources to be due to concerns about diminishing returns of the current incarnation of the franchise.  Rumors started circling on business blogs immediately (and it should be stressed that this is pure conjecture) that Paramount will either A) wait until Abrams is available again, B) choose to hire a director outside of Abrams influence, or C) reboot Star Trek, yet again Westworld Japanese Release posterTHAT REMAKE OF MICHAEL CRICHTON’S MOVIE WESTWORLD you’ve been reading about for several years now, has been re-purposed for cable Television.  It slipped right by a lot of people that a particular J.J. Abrams sci-fi television production (does this guy ever take a day off?) announced a few months back, concerning robots in the future that don’t realize they’re robots — would actually turn out to be a reinvention of Crichton’s story.  But that’s okay, sounds interesting.  This new project has been described as Jurassic Park, but with robots instead of dinosaurs, and they’re fighting their way out of slavery.  Shades of Blade Runner.  Actors Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, and James Marsden have reportedly been offered roles.  The forthcoming show will air on HBO COMEDIAN WILL FERRELL and director Adam (Anchorman) McKay will remake the 1983 action adventure show, ManimalManimalThe original NBC show centered on a man who possesses the ability to shape shift into any animal he chooses.  I know what you’re thinking, ‘This must be a joke?’  No, it isn’t.  All indications are that Manimal will be an animated film, produced through Sony Pictures Animation ACTOR MICHAEL CAINE has been cast opposite Vin Diesel in that long in development witch hunter film, The Last Witch Hunter.  This was a project that originally went into development at the same time as Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.  Diesel recently had this to say on the project:  “I’m about to do a movie with Breck Eisner called The Last Witch Hunter where I play a 700-year-old New Yorker, which should be a lot of fun.  Working opposite Michael Caine will be a blast. I’ve always wanted to work with Michael Caine so it’ll be the first time I get to work with Michael Caine.  Rose Leslie is also gonna be opposite me, she’s amazing in Game of Thrones.” Space Invaders 1978AKIVA (DAVINCI CODE) GOLDMAN will co-produce Space Invaders for Warner Bros.  Based upon the 1978 arcade game, Space Invaders was a classic joystick game which involved shooting at colorful aliens as they advanced to the bottom of the screen … DARREN (NOAH) ARONOFSKY’S NEXT PROJECT will most likely be Moonfall.  The story is described as a quirky murder mystery on, you guessed it, the moon THE TELEVISION SHOW HEROES is coming back.  Apparently some of the original characters will participate, and some will not.  The thirteen episode miniseries will air on NBC sometime in 2015 … WITH THE MASSIVE SUCCESS OF THE 4TH TRANSFORMERS film, director Michael Bay is now expected to return for a 5th …  A REBOOT/REMAKE OF STARGATE is on the way from producer Dean Devlin and director Roland Emmerich.  Apparently, the 1994 film was only the first in a planned trilogy, but it didn’t work out that way.  Said Devlin: “Twenty years later, we can’t really do part two. We have to start over from the beginning. So let’s reboot the series, put in all the things we couldn’t the first time, and set it up properly. Doc SavageACTOR CHRIS (THOR) HEMSWORTH is being courted to play Doc Savage in Shane Black’s eventual pulp-action film.  However, the project is currently having “budgetary issues,” and therefore, is in limbo … MICHAEL (STAR TREK, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES) GIACCHINO has been contracted to score Jurassic World for Universal and director Colin Treverrow … AND NOW FOR SOME REALLY BAD NEWS. Sixteen individuals — all of which — made a noticeable contribution to the mediums of Science Fiction and Fantasy, have passed away, since I last updated this blog, back in April.  Most recently, “JIM ROCKFORD” HIMSELF, JAMES GARNER.  GarnerGarner was originally from Oklahoma, had a terrible childhood, and busted his butt to make something of his life from there.  As a young teen, and before he had even graduated high school, Garner joined the Merchant Marines at the end of the Second World War.  Great EBut he suffered from bouts of seasickness and wound up attending Hollywood High School.  While there he became a model, and was voted most popular student.  He went on to join the National Guard and served in the U.S. Army’s 5th Regimental Combat Team, during the Korean War.  He was described by other servicemen as a “Scrounger.”  A role he would be later typecast in, for John Sturges blockbuster, The Great Escape.  He took a non-speaking role in the stage production of “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial,” and studied Henry Fonda’s performances, night after night. Space From there, he segued into commercials, and then appearances in various scripted television shows, until Maverick came along.  And with Maverick, came great success and notoriety.  He became an instant celebrity, and from that point on, starred in numerous television and film productions.  Superman-ShazamNotably, The Americanization of Emily, Grand Prix, Marlowe, Support Your Local Sheriff, Murphy’s Romance, Victor Victoria, Sunset, Streets of Laredo, Maverick [1994], Space Cowboys, The Notebook  … and The Rockford FilesFire in the SkyOne of the most popular television programs of the 1970’s.  Among his notable roles in science fiction related areas were the 13 hour CBS miniseries Space (designed to dramatize the American side of the space race, but based upon a flimsy novel by James A. Michener,)  Fire in the Sky (a 1993 film portraying a supposed extraterrestrial encounter, based in part upon the book, ‘The Walton Experience,’ by Travis Walton,) Atlantis: The Lost Empire (a 2001 animated Disney film,) and Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam (a more recent animated short.)  space CowboysThe loveable “Jim Rockford,” also known as James Garner, died of natural causes, on July 19th at his home in Los Angeles, California.  He was 86 years old Fred OrdwayFRED ORDWAY (Frederick Ira Ordway III) was born in New York in 1927, and grew up in Maine reading science fiction pulp magazines.  Academically, he studied geosciences and engineering at Harvard, before matriculating abroad, and wound up a scientific consultant to director Stanley Kubrick on the film, 2001: A Space OdysseyFred Ordway with KubrickHe authored at least 30 books and contributed to over 350 scientific articles, almost all concerning space travel.  He was also the longest-serving member of the American Rocket Society, having joined in 1939 as its youngest member.  While at NASA, he worked alongside Dr. Wernher von Braun, and remained active in the Space/Science community until the time of his death, having won numerous awards for his various achievements.  The 87 year old Ordway died on July 1st in Huntsville, Alabama Dave LegenoHARRY POTTER VILLAIN DAVE LEGENO, who played werewolf “Fenrir Greyback,” in three of the popular films, died of heatstroke earlier this month, while hiking alone in Death Valley, CA.  Legeno was a mixed martial artist born in London, who had roles in a handful of high profile films, including Batman Begins and Snow White and the Huntsman.  He was 50 years old, and is survived by his daughter Dave Legeno 2AND OSCAR WINNING COMPOSER KEN THORNE has passed away.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThorne was an accomplished pianist, having started his lessons at the age of 5, later playing with big bands in the 1940’s, and eventually serving as a conductor for singer Andy Williams when he toured in 1972.  As a composer, and orchestrator, he often wrote incidental music for television shows and films, such as The Beatles Help!  In the early 1980’s, he would take over for John Williams re-orchestrating previous music, and writing bridge music for both Superman II, and Superman III.  Then there were original scores British television such as The Persuaders!  And film productions, such as the Tom Selleck 1930’s cat burglar flick, Lassiter,  and the Charles Bronson revenge thriller, The Evil That Men Do.  But in 1966, Thorne won an Academy Award for his score to the musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ForumSuperman IIAnd according to his wife, it was his most difficult, yet rewarding gig.  Work for which he remained proud of for the remainder of his life.  Said his wife, Linda: “There were no computers. Nothing was digital. Everything was recorded,” she said. “It was huge orchestras and days and days of recording, maybe weeks of recording.”  Ken Thorne, born in East Dereham, Norfolk, England, and died in West Hills, Los Angeles, at the age of 90   AND SADLY, ACTOR BOB HOSKINS died back on April 29th, of Pneumonia, shortly after announcing his retirement from acting due to being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  Bob Hoskins 1Robert William “Bob” Hoskins was born in October of 1942 in Bury St. Edmunds, West Suffolk to a bookkeeper and nursery school teacher.  He started in theater productions in 1969, and eventually moved into television for the BBC, in 1975.  Long Good FridayPerformances in The Long Good Friday in 1980, and Mona Lisa, in 1986, garnered him unanimous critical praise, and multiple awards. In the world of S/F and Fantasy, he had a small role in Pink Floyd The Wall, and in 1985, an equally small role in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, and played the character “Smee,” in Steven Spielberg’s HookMona LisaBut it was really 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit that brought him fully, and permanently into pop culture.  Hoskins played Eddie Valiant, a private dick and former circus performer, who despises “toons,” because one murdered his brother.  Needless to say, when the title character. Roger, comes to him seeking help in clearing his name, Valiant is not amused.  The film was known for being a brain-teaser to shoot, and according to interviews printed in “Starlog” issues #132 and #134, Hoskins didn’t exactly shy away from admitting that he was himself thoroughly unamused by the process.  However, director Robert Zemeckis had nothing but praise for his actor.  “It wasn’t a simple casting decision, but it was simple to know what I needed after getting into that project.  Above and beyond anything, I needed a great actor, because this was only going to work if someone was able to act as if the rabbit was there — the only way I can describe it is that if he believes that the rabbit was there, through his acting ability, you, as the audience, would believe it, too.  RogerThen, of course, when you put the rabbit in there, it is there.”  Zemeckis went further.  “We needed a great actor.  I had seen Bob Hoskins in The Cotton Club and Mona Lisa, and then I saw him do comedy in Sweet Liberty.  He had the perfect look.  I always felt that Bob was someone who could play down-and-out and still be very attractive and likeable.  We knew we had to have an absolutely brilliant actor to pull it off, who could actually work and act with nothing.”  Fully content with Hoskins’ contribution to what has now become a modern classic, Zemeckis offered this final comment.  “Bob is better than perfect, better than I had ever anticipated.  The thing that makes these characters really exist is the fact that he makes them be there.  He believes he’s talking to Roger Rabbit, and so Roger Rabbit’s there.”  And in the end, Hoskins was pleased with the experience he had as part of the production of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  “This was the toughest job I’ve ever done.  It’s a job that I wouldn’t have missed for the world. In fact, I would have paid money to do this movie.”  Bob Hoskins last film was Snow White and the Huntsmen.  He is survived by his wife, Linda Banwell, and four children.  He was 71 years old.Hook… ACTOR DON MATHESON died of lung cancer on June 29, in Woodland Hills, California.  Matheson served during the Korean War, and even won the bronze star, before returning to his home state of Michigan, joining the Detroit Police Department, and eventually attaining the position of narcotics officer.  Six years later, while investigating a crime in a local theater, he happened to notice that the people who worked there looked happy.  So he spoke with the theater director and got an audition, which led to him joining the troupe.  This began his career as an actor.  Land of the Giants Don MathesonThroughout the 1960’s, he kept busy with roles on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Land of the Giants.  And his resume didn’t end there.  His last appearance was on the WB’s 7th Heaven, in 1999.  Don Matheson passed away peacefully in his sleep, at the age of 84  WE ALSO LOST MESHACH TALOR, back in June, to cancer.  The actor was well known for his role in the film Mannequin.  A role that he recreated to a small degree on the sitcom, Designing WomenMannequinBut he also made numerous other television and film appearances, including: Dave’s World, The Drew Carey Show, In The Heat of the Night, Hill Street Blues, The Incredible Hulk, The Unit, Hannah Montana, and Criminal Minds.  Other films he is notable for include, Damien: Omen II, and two Joe Dante films: The Howling, and ExplorersMeshach TaylorFollowing some theater work in college, Taylor worked in AM radio, before joining the national tour of Hair.  But he also spent a lot of time in repertory theater in Chicago, alongside Joe Mantegna, Dennis Franz, and director Stuart (Re-Animator) Gordon.  Taylor made his Broadway debut in 1998, opposite Toni Braxton, in “Beauty and the Beast.”  He is survived by his wife and four children … STUNTMAN TERRY RICHARDS has also passed away.  David Terence “Terry” Richards had a career that spanned five decades, and in that time he sparred with four separate incarnations of James Bond, Luke Skywalker, Flash Gordon, Red Sonja, Rambo, Indiana Jones, Young Indiana Jones, Zorro, and MacGyver.  Terry RichardsAnd he even had time to make appearances on multiple television shows on The BBC.  But his true claim to fame, is as the Arab Swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Originally, as scene in behind-the-scenes footage from the Indiana Jones films blu-ray set, the Arab Swordsman was intended to have a lengthy sword vs. whip battle with Professor Indiana Jones.  But due to actor Harrison Ford’s illness, the full sequence could not be shot.  Arab SwordsmanSo the decision was made to simply shoot the swordsman before the fight could commence, because logically, that made more sense anyway.  This compromise produced a brilliant piece of comedy.  Terry Richards, a great stuntman, was 81 years old Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.EFREM ZIMBALIST JR, an actor who had a distinguished career in television for many, many years, before turning to voiceover work, has died.  Born in 1918, in New York, New York, Zimbalist attended Yale in the late 30’s, worked as an NBC page, and served in the military during WWII.  Returning from abroad, he made his Broadway debut and segued into Television for several decades, in shows like 77 Sunset Strip, The F.B.I., Remington Steele, and Hotel.  In the 1990’s, the switched to voice over work in Batman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man: The Animated Series, and others.  He died on May 2nd of natural causes.  He was 95 AND JIM NELSON,  (a.k.a. James M. Falkinburg) died on June 18th.  Look's like the lead singer of Cake, doesn't heNelson was a sound effects editor on a number of films, including Rock Around the Clock, The Exorcist, Badlands, The China Syndrome, The Last Picture Show, and  American Graffiti, before George Lucas made him a liaison for ILM, during the production of Star Wars.  Functioning as an uncredited “associate producer” on the film, the very nature of his position over the administration of management of Industrial Light & Magic made him essential to the very birth of ILM.  This from John Dykstra: “George (Lucas) brought in people meant to crack the whip. Whether they felt like they succeeded or not, I don’t know. They wanted to go from zero to 60 in 1.2 seconds, and that wasn’t in the cards. Jim Nelson buffered the whip cracking, and we all thank him for that.” ILM In fact, it has been said that Jim Nelson quite simply helped build ILM from scratch in a warehouse near the Van Nuys Airport.  Nelson had this to say about ILM’s beginnings: “There was no ILM.  There were four walls, no rooms even. We had to build rooms, buy equipment, make equipment, because the equipment that made the film didn’t exist.”  Nelson would later help Richard Edlund found Boss Films in 1984.  Boss Films, 1989 StaffA company that did effects for multiple features, simultaneously, and often got results mirroring those of ILM.  He served Edlund as a Vice President, and general consultant for many years.  Rest in peace, Jim Nelson.  You’re contributions have great posterity …  FAMED AUTHOR DANIEL KEYES passed away in June, from complications of pneumonia, at his home in Florida.  Keyes was born in New York in 1927.  Daniel KeyesAt 17, he had joined the United States Maritime Service, and later received a bachelor’s in psychology from Brooklyn College.  Only weeks later, he went to work as a pulp magazine editor, and simultaneously wrote comic books for Atlas Comics.  When the pulp magazine department folded, Keyes found himself in the role of associate editor of Atlas Comics, under then editor-in-chief Stan Lee.  Eventually, Keyes also wrote for E.C. Comics.  CharlyKeyes first published his story “Flowers for Algernon” in 1959, then rewrote the story as a novel in 1966.  It won a Nebula Award, and sold 5 million copies.  Then came the movie version, Charly.  While most movies based upon books fail, spectacularly in every way, Charly is a clear winner for one of the best book to film adaptations ever attempted.  It won an Oscar in 1968 … AND FRANCIS MATTHEWS, perennial Hammer co-star and voice of “Captain Scarlet,” died in May after a short illness.  Francis MatthewsBorn in York in 1927, he began acting in repertory theater before joining the Royal Navy.  For Hammer Studios, he took on roles in Revenge of Frankenstein, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, and The Mad Monk.  And he was the voice of the Supermarionated Captain Scarlet for the series, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.  Another Hammer veteran gone, so very sad.  But he will be remembered … Dracula Prince of Darkness Francis Matthews Christopher LeeACTRESS CARLA LAEMMLE, niece of uncle Carl Laemmle, who co-founded Universal Studios, died in June.   Carla Laemmle 3Born in Chicago in 1909, she moved to Los Angeles in 1921 after the death of her father and lived in Universal City near New York Street, until 1936.  During that time, she was audience to the making of several motion pictures, before becoming an actress herself.  Miss Laemmle was one of the only surviving actors of the silent film era.  She had roles in The Phantom of the Opera in 1925, and Dracula in 1931.  Referring to her brief role at the beginning of Dracula, Miss Laemmle had this to say: “I had the privilege of speaking the first lines of dialogue in the first talking supernatural thriller.”  She worked in film from 1925 to 1939, only returning in 2001.  In the 40’s and 50’s she reportedly worked in dance clubs.  She lived to be 104 years old.  Way to go, lady … Carla Laemmle 4AND LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, the creator of the most frightening, vile, cool looking “Alien ever imaged … has died.  Giger was born in Switzerland in 1940.  Against his father’s stern advice, he attended the School of Applied Arts in Zurich, studying architecture and industrial design.  The surrealist artwork he is known for began as small ink drawings, progressed to oil paintings, and eventually became sculpture.  He claimed Salvador Dali and Ernst Fuchs as his main influences.  Giger 3But a sleep disorder really drove his artwork, which was intended as therapy.  He directed a handful of films in the 1970’s, and began making furniture for the original production of Dune.  Today, his artwork, in each of its forms, has in turn greatly influenced many young artists, worldwide.  But Giger’s initial stardom as a surrealist began when Dan O’Bannon discovered his work, while doing research for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s aborted adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune.  When that project fell apart, O’Bannon remembered Giger’s work and brought it to the attention of Ridley Scott during pre-production meetings for the motion picture, AlienGiger 1And Giger would eventually share an Oscar for best special effects in the film.  Giger would go on to contribute to other films in the franchise, as well as the sequel to Poltergeist, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Species, Batman Forever, and Prometheus, along with various art work for the now defunct “Omni Magazine,” and numerous music albums.  Hans Rudolf “Ruedi” Giger, artist, finally at rest, died in May from injuries suffered in a fall.  He was 74 years old …               

Log Entries: 07/20/2014

Forty-Five Years ago, on July, 20, 1969 …
“Science Fiction” became reality.
To all those who worked to get us there — on behalf of all dreamed of it — Thank You!