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: 08/27/2013

Supes Vs. BatsIN MAN OF STEEL SEQUEL NEWS, the sequel is Superman Vs. Batman.  And yes, that is the title.  And actor Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame, has reportedly been cast as Superman’s arch nemesis, Lex Luthor.  Walter((As of 09/01, Cranston is currently denying this report.))  Cranston reportedly signed a deal that includes up to 6 appearances as the character, with the intention of him appearing in a variety of films, such as Justice League.  Warner Bros. is reportedly waiting until the finale of Breaking Bad airs to make a formal announcement.  In other surprising casting news, the role of Batman was recently filled by Warner Bros. Execs. with none other than Ben Affleck. Affleck Bats In a prepared statement, Warner Bros. Studios President Greg Silverman said, “We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some.”  Director Zak Snyder released the following statement:  “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne.” And Snyder added, “I can’t wait to work with him.”  In any case, as soon as Affleck was cast, the internet EXPLODED with commentary.  Most of it negative.  The most amusing being petitions to stop Warners from using Affleck in the role.  One at Change.org topped 40,000 signatures.  And another went up on the White House website, asking President Obama to “denounce the selection of Ben Affleck.”  That petition has since been pulled from the site, due to violating the White House web-site’s moderation policy.  Very amusing.  The film, slated to be released in the Summer of 2015, takes inspiration from the match-up between the two powerful superheroes within the pages of Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns.”  How, you might ask, can Batman fight Superman.  Well simple, in Miller’s story, Batman has a special suit that increases his strength to the approximate level of Superman.  Dark Knight ReturnsUnder those terms, seems like it could make for a good match.  David S. Goyer is currently co-writing the story with director Zack Snyder, and production is expected to start sometime next year.  All principals from Man of Steel are expected to return. …  AND WARNER BROS. HAVE REPLACED BEN AFFLECK as the director of the remake of Stephen King’s The Stand.  Scott (Crazy Heart) Cooper will now re-write and direct the post-apocalyptic story.  Warner Bros. has teamed up with CBS Films on this project, produced by Roy Lee and Mosaic. … IN JURASSIC PARK SEQUEL NEWS, strange as it may seem given a prior statement by Universal Pictures that the fourth installment of the franchise would be delayed, according to multiple sources, this now doesn’t seem to be the case.  Those sources are reporting that Jurassic Park 4, or whatever it will be titled, is now scheduled to begin production next year.   JP4isComingDirector Colin Trevorrow recently participated in a podcast, wherein he discussed some of the rumors spamming the internet.  Said Trevorrow, “I saw some of the rumors on the internet and I would have all kinds of red flags going off if I heard they were going to muzzle a T-Rex. So I would say don’t believe everything you read, there are way more insiders on the internet than there are in real life.”   Trevorrow also stated, “It’s important to make a movie for the fans but I also have to remember that there’s a lot of people who just couldn’t care less and need me to make a solid case for why the hell there’s a ‘Jurassic Park 4’ in the first place and I want to make a movie for them too.”Steven Spielberg & Sam NeillIN OTHER JURASSIC NEWS, the original Jurassic Park, recently re-released in 3D, has made approximately $90 Million around the world.  In China alone, the 3D version of the film has taken in almost thirty million dollars.  This brings the film’s total lifetime box office gross to just over one billion dollars … ANNNND THE TITLE OF THE NEXT PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN FILM IS … Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.  The title will be familiar to those who’ve been lucky enough to enjoy the ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.  Heard here at the 4:16 mark:

It is the first echoing statement heard, and possibly voiced by a ghost, as the boat makes its way into the underground river tunnel.  The film has been written by Jeff (Catch Me If You Can, Rush Hour 2, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) Nathanson, and will be directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg.  The film is scheduled to begin production in January of 2014 for a July 10, 2015 release. …  Sean Young in Blade RunnerRESPONDING TO QUESTIONS ABOUT HER FEELINGS ON THE FORTHCOMING BLADE RUNNER SEQUEL, actress Sean Young has stated, “Mmm, let’s see. Alcon –  they’re the ones that own it and apparently they have Ridley to direct it — and when I met with them they didn’t make any offer-plans to include me. And when I called Ridley Scott’s office, he doesn’t call me back. So I guess they’re going to go, like, prequel or…I don’t know what they’re going to do. But my official opinion is that, if they don’t include me in it, everybody should boycott it. Because it’s stupid not to have me in it. It’s really stupid. That’s my opinion! I mean, you try to tell people something sensible in Hollywood and sometimes they just don’t listen, you know. And they usually pay the price too, because everybody’s an expert.”  … IN STAR WARS NEWS, Mission: Impossible III and Star Trek cinematographer Dan Mindel, will lense Star Wars Episode VII for director J.J. Abram.  And although it is good to hear that the movie will in fact be shot on film (Kodak 35mm stock 5219,) and not digital tape, it nonetheless appears that Kathleen Kennedy’s promise that J.J.’s customary lens flares and other photographic effects, will in fact come into play.  Mindel’s next film to be released in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, due in theaters next May.  And while the new Star Wars film is rumored to have been pushed back to a Christmas of 2015 release date, as opposed to a summer release, it has been revealed that shooting will begin on Tuesday, January 21st, of next year. … HALLELUJAH AND REJOICE, WE GOTS THE WILLIAMS !  John Williams recently confirmed that he has signed to score the next Star Wars film.  At the recent Star Wars Celebration Event, Producer and Executive for Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy commented, “I had breakfast with someone very important to the Star Wars family on Friday, and has committed to being involved in the next three films, and that is Mr. John Williams.”  Williams discusses further in the interview recently released to the internet below:

IN CASTING NEWS, THE EMPEROR HIMSELF, actor Ian McDiarmid is currently rumored to be returning for a brief role in the film.  EmperorAnd though the nature of his role or confirmation of the existence of the role, have not been confirmed, speculation is rampant that McDiarmid will reprise the role of the Emperor in the guise of one of the Emperor’s clones.  A scene originally written and storyboarded for Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones, but later excised before shooting.  Confirmed by an illustration in the book “The Art of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.” … ObiWanGhost1A SECOND RUMOR involves actor Ewan McGregor returning to possibly play Obi-Wan Kenobi in ghost form, seeing as how Alec Guiness is not available.  ObiWanGhost2The rumor expands upon itself to suggest McGregor will be wearing a partial make-up appliance to help him better resemble Guiness … KATHLEEN KENNEDY RECENTLY ATTENDED STAR WARS CELEBRATION, a convention for all things Star Wars regularly frequented by more than 20,000 people, and she had plenty to say on the progression of the project and the general tools being used to make the film.  Said Kennedy, “The story and characters are all we’re talking about right now,” said Kennedy. “We have an amazing team at ILM, who can create fantastic effects, but if we don’t have a great story and characters, the effects mean nothing. I do think making huge popular culture – and I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of a lot of it – is really hard to do and get right. And if you don’t spend the time you need on developing characters, and finding stories, complicated stories, the audience gets tired because they think they’re seeing the same thing again and again.” STAR WARS CELEBRATION EUROPE Kennedy also stated that the new film will in fact involve real locations, as well as special effects.  “It’s a conversation we’re having all the time in the development of ‘Episode VII.’ Looking at all the Star Wars movies and getting a feel for what even some of the early films did, combining real locations and special effects – that’s something we’re looking very seriously at. So we’re going to find some very cool locations that we’re going to use in support of ‘Episode VII.’ And I think we’re probably going to end up using every single tool in the toolbox to create the look of these movies.” Kathy1Kennedy also affirmed Abrams use of model makers, real droids, and things that the actors can touch and feel, and that she is currently dividing her time between Lucasfilm and Abram’s company, Bad Robot, where she’s having story meetings with the director and writing team.  Please note she did state writers plural. Kathy2 It now appears that Michael Arnt is no longer writing the script alone. The final bit of news from Star Wars Celebration was that Celebration VII will be held in Anaheim, California, April 16 through the 18th, in 2015. …  AND WHILE HE REMAINS MUM ON THE FATE OF HAN SOLO, as far as Harrison Ford is concerned, Indiana Jones ain’t dead yet.  The fifth film, originally expected to be fast tracked after the fourth was so financially successful, has lingered in development hell for several years now.  Reportedly waiting for George Lucas to find a story.  Indiana Jones 4

But Ford isn’t giving up that easy.  “We’ve seen the character develop and grow over a period of time and it’s perfectly appropriate and okay for him to come back again with a great movie around him where he doesn’t necessarily have to kick as much ass,” Ford said “To me, what was interesting about the character was that he prevailed, that he had courage, that he had wit, that he had intelligence, that he was frightened and that he still managed to survive. That I can do.”  SPEAKING OF HARRISON FORD, although this blog doesn’t normally report on straight action films, without a science fiction or fantasy slant, this is of intriguing interest to fans of actors Harrison Ford and/or Bruce Willis.  Actor/director Sylvester Stallone recently tweeted the following in respect to Expendables 3:  “WILLIS OUT… HARRISON FORD IN !!!! GREAT NEWS !!!!! Been waiting years for this!!!!”  Expendables 3 will be directed by Patrick Hughes and will arrive in theaters, August of next year. … IN JAMES BOND NEWS, Daniel Craig has commented on the nature of the next film, mainly it’s similarity to some of the older Connery films.  GQ-UKSaid Craig, “Hopefully we’ll reclaim some of the old irony, and make sure it doesn’t become pastiche. I can’t do shtick, I’m not very good at it. Unless it kind of suddenly makes sense. Does that make sense? I sometimes wish I hammed it up more, but I just can’t do it very well, so I don’t do it.”  Skyfall director Sam Mendes has been signed to helm the next film, now being written by John (Gladiator) Logan.  The film is scheduled to be released in the U.S. in November of 2015. …  THE UPCOMING LEGEND ON CONAN, which plans to sequelize the initial outings starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is, according to the Chief Executive Officer of the company producing the film, Paradox Entertainment’s Fredrik Malmberg, just the tip of the iceberg.  And apparently the highly popular cable fantasy show, Game of Thrones, had a big impact on that decision.  Said Malmberg,  “We have a great story.  Everyone loves it. This is a role that’s perfect for [Arnold] and he’s very involved with the whole Universal team. Arnold has been very instrumental to bringing this together saying, ‘We gotta make a good Conan!’ I think if we do this right, we can do two more Conan movies right after.  GofTI think Game Of Thrones also shows a huge interest in fantasy. I’m psyched about it.”  Malmberg also commented on the new film’s storyline, “The idea is that this takes place “after” Conan has been king. But this is the legend of Conan where he has been gone and people say, ‘do you remember the good ol’ days when Conan was around?’ And now it’s time for him to come back. In the stories — and you can also see it when he’s sitting on the thrown and the narration on that last scene of the movie…’with a troubled brow’ …you can tell he’s not really happy being king. So, it’s time for him to go out and do battle.”  Malmberg also expressed the team’s interest in what they can now do with today’s technology that could not be done in the early 80’s, during production of the original film.  “With today’s production values, we can probably do a lot more with what they were doing way back then. I mean we have seen what Peter Jackson has done. I think of course this is probably more grounded and less fantastical with less creatures and CG monsters. Conan, BarbarianWe want to have some of that fantastical world but we don’t want it to become a complete fantasy because what really set Conan the Barbarian apart from all the other fantasy movies is that this feels like our prehistoric earth. Still, we want to make it full of splendor … It’s on the table and it’s a big studio picture and a big event movie. I wouldn’t rule it out but right now, all we’re concentrating on is the story. It’s a working machine with everyone and marketing people. The president over there at Universal Pictures is Jeffery Kirschenbaum, and he’s one of the top two executive producers and he has a huge position there at Universal and he’s always been a huge Conan fan. ‘I want to make Conan,’ he’s said many times. And it was Universal who launched the first film with Arnold. Now the constellation is aligning.”  Malmberg further commented on the creative team involved in bring the film to life.  “We’re doing the script and it’s by the whole ‘Fast and the Furious’ team, which is great for a power position of the studio because they’re extremely successful – it was the biggest movie and if anyone knows how to build a franchise, it is that team. It’s Chris Morgan and Jeffery Kirschenbaum, the head of Universal. Arnold is very excited. It’s just in the phase where it takes a lot of work to get the script just right …” … TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HELD A 20 YEAR ANNIVERSARY PANEL FOR X-FILES at the San Diego Comic-Con this year.  The Pilot episode of the first season premiered this years, that’s right twenty – years – ago.  Don’t feel bad, you’re not the only one that snuck up on.  In attendance were, of course, series creator Chris Carter, actor David Duchovny, actress Gillian Anderson, and former writer Vince (Breaking Bad) Gilligan.  Two questions were the elephants in the room.  1. will there be a new TV series ?  Scully herself shot that one down, quickly, by stating that she would not reprise her role for a new series.  2. will there be a third X-Files film ?  And the answer …?  Duchovny and Anderson both voiced positive interest in making another film. Said Anderson, “A film would be great.”  While Carter had the following to say, “You need a reason for going on and getting excited,” he said, then adding that the crowd’s response was, “very inspirational.” 2013 Comic-Con International Day 1- X-Files 20th anniversary Anderson later auctioned off one of those cardboard cutouts of herself and Duchovny as their characters.  Whilst doing so, Duchovny deadpanned, “This is how we’re going to get the movie made by the way!”  Anderson quickly added, “This is our Kickstarter.”  A few weeks later, Carter had this to say when again asked about the possibility of another X-Files film.  “I think all of us are interested in putting the band back together. I have an idea for a third movie in my head. The colonization date has passed and that is something we wouldn’t ignore. For the second movie, we only had the budget for a standalone story, but we want to go back to the mythology.”  Carter also commented that he wishes to make an addition to the cast.  Gillian [Anderson] worked with Simon Pegg on a movie and told me that he was a big fan. We actually thought about putting him in the second movie, but there was no part for him. I certainly would think about him if we were to go forward in any way.” … SPEAKING OF X-FILES CREATOR CHRIS CARTER, his new show The After will soon be seen on the small screen — or rather the computer screen.  Amazon picked up the pilot, a post-apocalyptic drama that takes place the moment after the apocalypse.  Carter will write and direct the pilot, which joins several other shows which will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime … IN AVATAR NEWS, James Cameron has hired author Steven Charles Gould (he wrote the book the teleportation sci-fi film, Jumper was based upon) to write four stand-alone novels based upon and expanding Cameron’s Avatar world.Pandora Writer/Director Cameron made an official statement, reading in part, “Steven Gould is one of the shining lights in contemporary science fiction, and I’ve long admired the worlds and characters he’s created in his books and stories. We’re very fortunate to have Steven bring his formidable talents to the ‘Avatar’ universe. He is already working closely with me and the screenwriters to flesh out the expanding world of ‘Avatar.‘”  Cameron himself is currently co-writing not one, not two, but THREE new Avatar movies, with screenwriters Josh (War of the Worlds) Friedman, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Shane Salemo (Oliver Stone’s Savages.)  And Cameron had this to say on his abrupt turnabout from initially announcing two Avatar sequels, then scaling down to only one film, then scaling back up again to THREE films.  Said Cameron: “Building upon the world we created with Avatar has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience. In writing the new films, I’ve come to realize that Avatar’s world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen.”   The three sequels are planned to be shot back-to-back, starting sometime next year.  The first will be released December of 2016, the second December 2017, and the third December 2018. … AND WHAT ABOUT BATTLE ANGEL?  Cameron’s long in gestation adaptation of “Battle Angel Alita.”  Well according to Cameron, he plans to begin development on the project in 2017, and says that the themes of trans-human exploration have haunted him for years.  So for those waiting for Battle Angel, don’t hold your breath. …  DIRECTOR JON M. CHU (G.I. Joe Retaliation) recently commented further on his forthcoming Masters of the Universe movie for Mattel and Sony.  “I think that what helps us is knowing what we do in ‘Joe’ (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and knowing that ‘Masters’ has to be very different and has to feel very different, but the script for ‘Masters of the Universe’ is what really hooked me,” said Chu, “I love ‘Masters of the Universe,’ but I didn’t know necessarily how to make it into a movie until I read the script and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I totally see it. I get how this is going to shake it up, I get how this is different from any other thing,’ and it got me really really excited. We’re still working on that one and ‘Joe’ has momentum right now. He-Man and BattlecatThe audience has been great and they want another one, so we’re rushing to get that done and Dwayne has a certain time period so it may end up that ‘Joe’ goes first in all those things and I don’t know if ‘Masters of the Universe’ will wait for me or where that’s going to end up. But right now it’s been great. We’ve been designing a ton of stuff for ‘Masters of the Universe’ as a really beautiful, grounded, honest world – that’s the best way I can describe it. It’s everything you want ‘Masters of the Universe’ to be in terms of the fantasy but not in a way theatrical crazy way. It is actually a gorgeous world that we’re doing in the initial visual concepts that we’ve been making.” … IN MARVEL NEWS, actor Bradley (The Hangover, Silver Linings Playbook) Cooper has been hired to voice Rocket Racoon for Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film.  And actor Vin Diesel has been recruited to voice the character of Groot.  Racoon & GrootShooting on the film has been well underway for a couple of months now, and the big budget science fiction comic book spectacular is scheduled for release on August 1st of next year. Composer Tyler Bates (Watchmen, 300) has been hired to score the film, written and directed by James (Slither, Super) Gunn. … MARVEL’S CREATIVE CONSULTANT, and comic book writer, and general guru, Mark Millar, recently made an interesting statement regarding the possibility of a future X-Men film featuring The Fantastic Four. Said Millar, “Without question I think you have to see some of these guys showing up in each others movies. Fantastic Four #28 I think the most exciting thing in superhero movies, until The Avengers came along, was when Nick Fury showed up in Iron Man. Even though it was a guy with an eye patch it was really cool – and I expect we will see more of that.”  X-Men: Days of Future Past unveils its wonders May of next year, and the Fantastic Four reboot is currently targeted for release in March of 2015. … WRITER/DIRECTOR JOSS WHEDON has been talking a lot about Avengers: Age of Ultron lately.  Regarding the film’s tone, he had the following to say, “It’s a little bit darker than the other film, because Ultron is in the house there’s a science fiction element that I think is a little bit stronger than the other film. Getting the team together was so rousing, but seriously, keeping the team together is a completely different problem.”  Avengers Age of UltronThe film’s writer/director also added, “It’s very much a global Avengers film, a lot of the movie has to do with their place not only in America but in the world.”  Whedon has also commented on Black Widow, and how she fits into the ensemble of the Avengers sequel.  Said Whedon, “Natasha (Black Widow) is a huge part of the sequel because you do want to concentrate on the people who don’t have their own franchises. Although she is in ‘Cap 2,’ [and] she’s great. She was the most fun for me because she’s not a hero, you know, and it’s something that I read—and I feel bad that I can’t remember who wrote the book—but it’s in one of the books explaining, ‘These guys are heroes, you are a spy. It’s a different thing—it’s a different skill set—and you don’t have their moral high ground or any of that good stuff.’ And that just makes her so interesting to me. So yeah, the stuff I’ve got going on with her in the second one is killer.”  BWidBlack Widow can next be seen in the upcoming Captain America: Winter Soldier, due April 4, 2014.   Regarding Scarlett Witch (rumored to be played by Elizabeth Olsen,) Whedon had this to say about making the character’s awkward costume work on screen: “She might wear a headband or something that might echo it. The guys at Marvel, the conceptual artists, are phenomenal, and they are so good at taking the essence of what works and interpreting it for the actual human body, and when they paint something you can not only tell how it’s gonna work on a person, you can even tell what fabric it’ll be. They are very specific, very talented. So I’m excited to see the designs. Obviously we want to echo the look that people know, but there’s the classic look and the Ultimates look, but you have to do it in a way that will work. But it can’t be too old school… she can’t wear a leotard.”  Scarlett WitchAnd regarding Agent Phil Coulson, who died in the The Avengers, and yet lives on in a new TV Series soon to be seen on ABC, Whedon had this to say: “He could (return). Right now it’s not something I’m pursuing because I have so much going on in ‘Avengers 2.’ Finding out that Coulson is alive would be an entire B story. And I already have too much movie. That’s better than the other thing.”  In the end, Whedon left the return of Coulson up to Marvel Studios and their new show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Where Coulson’s return will undoubtedly be explained on ABC, Tuesday, September 24 at 8 p.m.   And according to Whedon, Avengers: Age of Ultron begins shooting, “End of February, beginning of March. We’ll be shooting in London, London will be the base for Avengers 2.”  The film is scheduled to open in theaters, May 1st, 2015. … Cap AmCAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER CO-DIRECTOR JOE RUSSO spoke about how the new film fits into Marvel’s Phase 2, and leads right into Avengers: Age of Ultron“There’s a very strong connection in the narrative between the events of the end of “Avengers” that drive this film — and there’s a very strong hand off to “Avengers 2″ at the end of this movie. And Kevin Feige’s whole thing is that this is the biggest bridge of all of Phase 2 movies; it really is. It does involve the most amount of Avengers of any of the films in Phase 2, and it has sort of a, you know, there’s a very big shift in the universe at the end of this movie.”  Co-directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Captain America: Winter Soldier arrives on April 4th of next year. … AND SAMUEL L. JACKSON spoke recently about Nick Fury’s place in the new Captain America film. “You see Nick Fury the office guy, him going about the day-to-day work of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the politics as opposed to that other stuff. It’s great to have him dealing with Captain America in terms of being able to speak to him soldier to soldier and try to explain to him how the world has changed in another way while he was frozen in time.  Nick Mutherf---in FurySome of the people who used to be our enemies are now our allies — him trying to figure out, “Well, how do we trust those guys?” or “How do we trus the guys that you didn’t trust who don’t trust you? And explaining to him that the black and white of good guys/bad guys has now turned into this gray area. Nick lies to him all the time, too. But he’s trying to help him navigate the waters of the new sharks that he doesn’t know anything about.”  Jackson also commented on Robert Redford’s character in the sequel. “He’s part of that World Security Council I was talking to in (The Avengers), just he wasn’t there. We also know each other because we’ve been comrades for a very long time. There’s some stuff that’s said that gives you an idea of how he’s been part of that environment for a long time and the kind of guy he was.” … BRYAN SINGER sought to clear the air on where his upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past really fits within the timeline established by previous films.  Said Singer, “It takes place about ten years, give or take, after X-Men 3; and in the past it takes place about ten years after First Class.  I’d say it’s not a sequel to one of the others. It’s an inbetwequel — that’s what I call it, for lack of a better word.”    Singer added that the film, “…takes place in the future and the past and then all over the world, from Russia to China, then France, and Washington, New York.  It’s got scope, but most of the scope is in the breadth of the story.”  The film opens May 23, next summer.  By the way, Singer also tweeted an image of Trask Industries initial Sentinel design.  Which in the comics gets bigger in iterations over the years, until the massive 50 foot versions are sent back through time to wreak havoc.  Whether or not that aspect of the Sentinels, that larger version of the robots that comic fans have been familiar with since the 1960’s, will factor into Singer’s film is still unknown.  However, here is the Sentinel as Bryan Singer sees it.  In all its majesty.

AND SPEAKING OF MARVEL, Stan Lee will soon be appearing on his own Mars Attacks! card, courtesy of The Topps Company and Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo.  Only available at Comikaze in Los Angeles, the card, painted by Joe Jusko and titled, “Stan Strikes!” will be given out free on a first come, first serve basis.  They are limited to 2,500 and I’m sure they’ll go fast, so get there early.  Topps will actually be on hand to promote “Mars Attacks: Invasion.”  A revival of the classic card series, featuring an all-new story, based on the original card series.  Mars Attacks !  Stan Lee Fights Back !The new set will be on sale at the Topps booth, along with a limited edition print of Joe Jusko’s Stan Lee card.  As Stan would say, “Get ’em while the gettin’s good, Marvelites!”  For more info on Comikaze in Los Angeles: www.comikazeexpo.com.  For additional info on the new Mars Attacks card series: www.facebook.com/MarsAttacks…. WELL GODZILLA IS COMING … AGAIN.  And director Garth (Monsters) Edwards had this to say in a recent interview about the film, written by Frank (The Shawshank Redemption, The Myst) Darabount.  “Not many people have seen Monsters, but if anyone who did see it and liked it and came to see Godzilla, I hope when they left they’d say, I can tell it’s the same filmmaker.  When we did Monsters, I was doing all of the visual FX myself so there was a limit to how many creatures I can show, to the benefit of the film.  Godzilla, I don’t have that limitation and will be a lot more epic.  But it was really important to me, at the heart of this film, there were characters we cared about. Godzilla“We tried to find the right story and path through this Godzilla universe where the characters were connected to the events in the movie where it didn’t feel forced and would also get you to the places in the story you wanted to experience.  They were tagged on but embedded in the journey of the movie.  I’m really pleased with what we came up with.  A lot of the actors, I think, got on board because they had an emotional connection with the people which was one of the goals when we set out to do this.” …avengelyne #3COMIC BOOK ARTIST ROB LIEFELD’S AVENGELYNE is steadily headed toward a big screen adaptation.  And Haywire star Gina Carano has singed on for a series of films based upon the character.  The film is being developed into a franchise similar to the Underworld films, featuring Carano as a fallen angel fighting off demons and monsters.  Agengelyne made her first appearance in Image Comics in 1995. … AND LIEFELD HAS ONE OTHER PROJECT IN DEVELOPMENT.  A little something called X-Force.  Oh, yea, you read that right — Cable is coming to the big screen.  Jeff (Kick-Ass 2) Wadlow is attached to write and direct the film.  X-Force #1Part of the Marvel universe, the militant group was designed as a distant future version of the X-Men in the early 1990’s by Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, and quickly became very popular.  The roster included: Cable, Cannonball, Domino, Warpath, and Deadpool, etc.  On a recent publicity tour for Kick-Ass 2, director Wadlow had this to say about X-Force: “Tonally it will fit in, quite well with all the other movies… but then I think the other movies cover a wide range of tones. It’s certainly not going to be tonally similar to Kick-Ass…I hope it will have what fans of X-Force will expect. I think it will be a little edgier, I think you’ll see some characters with different takes on what it means to be a mutant. There will be some grey areas that the movies haven’t yet been explored. It won’t be as “overt.” This movie is more about the grey areas in between. I’m going to take some big ideas from the X-universe and flip them, I think in an interesting way.” JOSEPH (TRON: LEGACY, OBLIVION) KOSINSKI will next helm a feature film based upon Rod Serling’s The Twilight ZoneTwilight ZoneLeonardo DiCaprio, who controls the rights, will co-produce along with Davisson Killoran, under the banner of their Appian Way production company, based on the Warner Bros. lot.  Scott Bloom will executive produce the film.  A screenplay by Anthony (Sherlock Holmes) Peckham, has been discarded in favor of re-developing the project from scratch.  However, this is after Kosinski finishes work on his remake of Disney’s 1979 sci-fi flick, The Black HoleThe Black HoleAnd possibly even Tron 3.  Kosinsky had this to say on the subject of these projects: “Both projects are being written right now by two really talented writers. Jon (original draft of Prometheus) Spaihts is writing Black Hole and Jesse Wigutow is writing TRON 3. Both scripts are in progress, I’m really excited about both. The fundamental ideas of both are really interesting. The TRON sequel kind of takes where we left off with ‘Legacy,’ that idea presented in the last few minutes of the film and really expands on it in a really exciting way.”  Kosinski also stated that The Black Hole is not a remake as they are only using the “fundamental concept,” and then taking the film in their own direction. … YET ANOTHER VERSION OF FRANKENSTEIN is headed your way.  That’s right, in addition to all previous versions, notably the classic 1931 Frankenstein, Hammer’s Curse of Frankenstein, Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound, Kenneth Branaugh’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and even the soon to be released I, Frankenstein, someone has decided to make yet another Frankenstein.  James McAvoy is slated to play Victor Frankenstein in 20th Century Fox’s upcoming film.  doc and igorHe will join Daniel Radcliffe, who fills the role of Igor.  And no, I’m not kidding.  Paul (Wicker Park) McGuigan is attached to direct, and the script was written by Max (Chronicle) Landis, as a direct adaptation of Shelley’s 1818 novel.  Said Landis, “I began to pick apart our knowledge of ‘Frankenstein’ and discovered that the public’s idea of this myth comes from a million different places … I became committed to recontextualizing it all so it all worked in one story. By the end of the day, it’s a period piece and yes, it’s from Igor’s perspective, but man it’s cool. It’s the best thing I’ve written.” … IN ADDITION TO OBLIVION, AND EDGE OF TOMORROW — formerly known as All You Need Is Kill — Tom Cruise has now joined the production of yet another Sci-Fi film.  Yukikaze, based upon Japanese author Chohei Kambayashi’s novel documenting the day-to-day duties of a soldier in a war against an alien race that attempted to invade Earth, is being written by Dan (Wrath of the Titans) Mazeau.  Yukikaze was published in serial form, starting in 1979, and tells a story of a hyper-dimensional passageway, that suddenly appeared over the continent of Antarctica, over 30 years ago.  Fighters from a mysterious alien force known only as the JAM exited the passage in wave.  That wave attempted terrestrial invasion.  Humanity united and forced the invaders back through the passageway to a very bizarre planet nicknamed, Fairy.  YukikazeA newly commissioned combat force called FAF is now tasked with traveling through the passageway and eliminating the JAM bases.  The battle is ongoing, and Second Lieutenant Rei Fukai carries out missions in the skies above planet Fairy.  He’s attacked to a tactical combat and surveillance unit of the Special Air Force, and is tasked with gathering intel.  His only companion is his sentient fighter plane, call sign: Yukikaze.  A previous anime series also adapted the story.  Erwin Stoff and Tom Lassally will produce this American version. … THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN may soon be coming to television in a form closer to the original source material than the 2003 film starring Sean Connery.  The one hour drama, based on Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s graphic series will feature the same characters and scenario as the former film, but with more of what made the source material work.  League of Extra GentsMichael Green will serve as Executive Producer and Showrunner for Twentieth Century Fox, with Erwin Stoff also listed as an Executive Producer.  Hopes are high that the series can capture some of the spirit of other popular fantasy shows, and eventually generate a fan base large enough to keep the show on the air for multiple seasons.  There have been to date, several sequels and companion books to the original “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” graphic novel.  All very popular with readers. … UNDERWORLD DIRECTOR LEN WISEMAN has dropped out of Universal’s reboot of The Mummy.  Producers Sean Daniels, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci are searching for a replacement director, still hoping to get the film in theaters sometime next year.  The script was written by the original writer of Prometheus, Jon Spaihts.  The producers are going for a darker scarier take on this project, and have drawn inspiration from the work of Michael Crichton.  Interesting mix. … THAT POLTERGEIST REMAKE IS GOING INTO PRODUCTION WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.  Actress Rosemarie DeWitt has been cast as the female lead in the MGM/Fox 2000 film directed by Gil (Monster House) Kenan, and written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Lindsay-Abaire.  Abaire most recently typed up Oz the Great and Powerful for director Sam Raimi, who is a producer on this project, along with Rob Tapert, Roy Lee, and Nathan Kahane.  This revisionist take on the classic horror film, focuses on a family struggling to make ends meet that relocates to an outdated suburban home and is confronted by an angry spirit who kidnaps their youngest daughter and challenges them to band together to rescue her from the clutches of evil.  You see what I mean ?  Another pointless remake. … IN TV NEWS, THE SYFY CHANNEL (formerly the Sci-Fi Channel) has a television film coming up called High Moon.  The movie will take place in a future where the Earth’s countries have each established colonies to mine the Moon’s resources.  But chaos erupts when new forms of life are discovered.  The script was based on a novel by author John Christopher called, “The Lotus Caves.”  ruth about its existence.  Production reportedly began on August 26th, in Vancouver, British Columbia. … AND SYFY ARE ALSO WORKING ON A SERIES BASED UPON Terry Gilliam’s 1995 film, 12 Monkeys, which is itself based upon a foreign short titled, La Jetee.  Like the film, the television pilot will focus on a time traveler from a post-apocalyptic future who appears in the now on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a plague that will eventually destroy most of humanity.  Production begins this November from a script by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett (Terra Nova, Nikita). … IN HOME VIDEO NEWS, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and MGM have officially announced that Extended Edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD, November the 5th.  The new cut of Peter Jackson’s first film in The Hobbit trilogy, will include 13 minutes of extra footage, and nine hours of new bonus features.  There will be a 5-disc 3D set, which will retail for $54.98, a 3-Disc Blu-ray standard set, which will sell for $35.99, and a 5-disc DVD only set, which will go for only a dollar less at $34.99.  The Blu-ray sets will include an UltraViolet download option to watch the film on your computer, tablet device, phone, or internet connected TV

Hobbit ExtendedAND NOW FOR THE SAD NEWS …  Gail Kobe Pulicity shotFilm and TV actress Gail Kobe has died at the age of 82.  She starred in Cecil B. DeMille’s epic The Ten Commandments in 1956, before moving into television, appearing in the likes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Twilight Zone, Bewitched, Mission Impossible, Tarzan, and The Outer Limits, along with many, many more.  Gail Kobe Keeper of the Purple TwilightBorn in 1931 as Gabriella Kieliszewski in Hamtramck, Michigan, Kobe moved to Los Angeles, changed her name, landed a small walk on role in East of Eden, and eventually found herself with a promising career as a Television actress.  Then, in the mid 1970’s her journey led her behind the camera, and into a lucrative career producing daytime Television.  But her work will live on forever in the form of excellent episodes of both the original Twilight Zone and the original Outer LimitsAND ACTRESS KAREN BLACK has also died.  Black was nominated for an Oscar for her work in Five Easy Peaces, but as well as being an actress, she was also a screenwriter, singer and songwriter.  Born Karen Blanche Ziegler in a suburb of Chicago, she moved to New York and trained at the Actor’s Studio under Lee Strassberg, before making her debut in Off-Broadway shows, and thereafter, Francis Ford Coppola’s 1966 romantic dramedy, You’re a Big Boy Now.  Karen Black Capricorn OneThree years later, she had a role in Easy Rider that led to a role in Five Easy Peaces, and her performance in that film garnered her widespread acclaim, and shot her to stardom.  Black went on to star in numerous films, including Airport 1975 (she got to fly the plane,) The Day of the Locust, Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot, and Peter Hyam’s Capricorn OneFamily Plot posterIn 1986 she appeared on screen with her son, Hunter Carson, in Tobe Hooper’s remake of Invaders From Mars, and both mother and son reportedly had fond memories of working together.  Black died after a two year battle with pancreatic cancer.  And even a successful Kickstarter-like crowdsourcing campaign to save her life (which brought in almost $62,000, by the way,) couldn’t save her.  But the money did help place her in the Motion Picture and Television Fund facility in Woodland Hills, California, which notably eased her suffering.  Actress Juliette Lewis paid tribute, saying “Karen Black was my mentor and a second mother to me. She inspired everyone she came in contact with.”   Karen Black was 74 years old.Karen Black publicity stillVETERAN TV ACTOR HENRY POLIC has also passed away.  Polic had a long career on camera as a game show host, actor, and also doing voiceover work.  In addition to appearances on The Bionic Woman, Mork & Mindy, The Incredible Hulk, Fantasy Island, and Sheena, Polic also did a vast amount of work in voice-over for animation. Polic as DraculaHis role as Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a. The Scarecrow on Batman: The Animated Series, was one of his last well known roles, along with playing the live action part of Dracula on the 1976 TV series, The Monster Squad.  And he did plenty of other work in animation as well, including The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show, The Dukes, The Smurfs, Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, Disney’s Tail Spin, and many more.  Polic was also a frequent celebrity auctioneer for the Adam Walsh Foundation, Concern Foundation for Cancer Research, American Diabetes Association and the Leukemia Foundation and taught acting and performance at the Emerson College Los Angeles Center and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  He was 68 years old. Henry Polic publicity still AND VETERAN ACTOR OF NUMEROUS SCI-FI TV ROLES, MICHAEL ANSARA has died.  Ansara played Klingon warrior and commander Kang on three separate Star Trek TV series, the Blue Djinn who originally imprisoned Jeannie in her bottle on I Dream of Jeannie, Kane in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and he also provided the voice of Mr. Freeze on Batman: The Animated Series1146482_790317400984767_1684444045_nBorn in a village in Syria, Ansara’s parents immigrated to the U.S. when he was two, and lived in Massachusetts until Ansara was 12.  After moving to California, Ansara initially chose the profession of physician before getting the acting bug.  He studied at the Pasadena Playhouse with Charles Bronson, Carolyn Jones, and Aaron Spelling.  And later, after obtaining an Associates of Arts Degree from Los Angeles City College, he got work in the 1950’s on multiple television shows, starting with Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Outer Limits, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, Bewitched, Land of the Giants, Star Trek, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Babylon 5, and many more.  He appeared as Qarlo Clobregnny in the episode of The Outer Limits, “Soldier.”Ansara Solder  The episode, featuring two soldiers who appear in 1964 still fighting a battle they were in the midst of one hundred years into the future, would many years later be the partial subject of a lawsuit brought by writer Harlan Ellison against Hemdale films, Orion Pictures, and director James Cameron, for plagiarism, i.e. appropriating material from said episode for Cameron’s film, The Terminator.  In between his television appearances, Ansara also had major roles in films such as 1953’s Julius Caesar and The Robe (as Judas); 1961’s Voyage to the Bottom of the SeaThe Comancheros (1961) with John Wayne; The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965); Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969); The Bears and I (1974); The Message (1977); and It’s Alive (1974). Michael Ansara Hollywood Walk of Fame Ansara was so well known, and did so much, he garnered a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Michael Ansara, who was once married to the beautiful Barbara Eden, died July 31 at his home in Calabasas, Calif., after a prolonged bout with Alzheimer’s disease.  He was 91 years old. Ansara, Eden, & SonVERY SADLY, FILM DIRECTOR TED POST has also died.  Remembered most prominently for his work with Clint Eastwood on the films Hang ‘Em High and Magnum Force, Post worked rather prolifically in both television and film for several decades before retiring.    Beneath the Planet of the ApesScience Fiction fans will recognize his name for having helmed Beneath the Planet of the Apes, as well as several episodes of the original Twilight Zone, and the Saturday Morning live action Filmation production, Ark II.  Born in Brooklyn in 1918, Post first job was as a theater usher at Loew’s Pitkin Theater in 1938.  Then he dabbed in training to be an actor, before directing summer theater plays. In 1950 he found himself teaching Acting and Drama at New York’s High School for Performing Arts.  And his success there led to Post directing television in the early 1950’s.Ark II  A World of Difference 1He started with westerns, helming episodes of Gunsmoke, Rawhide, and Wagon Train, but over time, he branched out into directing everything from Peyton Place to Columbo.  And he did enough good work to last a long time in pop culture.  n 1996, in his late seventies, Post formed Pro Bono Productions to showcase the talent and expertise of older union and guild members in Hollywood.  “Today we’re living in an era where it’s a sin to be old,” said Post.  “It wasn’t true years ago. They were looking for people with experience to guide them. But, these days, you’re discarded like Kleenex. It’s a very serious problem.”  Ted Post, director, passed away at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California.  He was 95.PBDTEPO EC001AND THE LENSMAN OF THE ORIGINAL STAR WARS, HAS DIED.
Cinematographer Gilbert Taylor had an amazing career as a director of photography/lighting technician/all around cameraman guru.  A Hard Day's Night 2And he worked on several notable films, Including The Bedford Incident, Dr. Strangelove, A Hard Day’s Night, Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy, Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, The Omen, John Badham’s Dracula, Flash Gordon, Lassiter.  And even though “Gil” Taylor was one of the most expensive cameramen in the business, he frequently worked in television on shows like The Avengers.  But as George Lucas himself has stated in previous interviews, Taylor and Lucas did not get along.  Gil Taylor on Star Wars setGeorge avoided all meetings and contact with me from day one, so I read the extra-long script many times and made my own decisions as to how I would shoot the picture.  I took it upon myself to experiment with photographing the lightsabers and other things onstage before we moved on to our two weeks of location work in Tunisia.”  Once they got to the location in Tunisia, the weather was horrible, and according to Taylor, “You couldn’t really see where the land ended and the sky began, it was all a gray mess, and the robots were just a blur.”  Then, when Lucas requested Taylor use a diffusion technique, Gilbert balked.  “I thought the look of the film should be absolutely clean; also, I was mindful that there was an enormous amount of process work to be done in America after we finished shooting in England, and I knew a crisp result would help. But George saw it a differently, so we tried using nets and other diffusion. He asked to set up one shot on the robots with a 300mm, and the sand and sky just mushed together. I told him it wouldn’t work, but he said that was the way he wanted to do the entire film, all diffused.”  Taylor started out in 1929 as a cameraman’s assistant, and later spent six years during the Second World War as an officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.  His job?  A cameraman in an Avro Lancanster, shooting the damage caused by night-time raids over Germany.  Later, he would become a founding member of the British Society of Cinematographers.   Taylor was 99 years old when he died.

“Gil” Taylor, a name that will be remembered well along with Geoffrey Unsworth, Robert Krasker, Oswald Morris, Stanley Cortez, Charles Rosher, Gordon Willis, Freddie Young, James Wong Howe, Gregg Toland, and Jack Cardiff, and that’s just to name a few, off-hand.  Yes, the great Gilbert Taylor was and remains a legend in the art of motion picture cinematography.  Rest well, Sir, you earned it.Strangelove