Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gaiman get new Option

Interworld Cover Neil GaimanNeil Gaiman wrote on his blog this weekend that things -- particularly things to do with movies -- happen oddly, when they happen, and they never happen in the way you expect.

For example, back in 1996 Michael Reaves was working doing adventure cartoon serials at Dreamworks Animation. He started talking to me about an idea for something that could be a potential animated story, and we began knocking ideas back and forth about what we'd want to see animated and why, and that became an idea about a boy who finds himself in the middle of a war between two equally powerful forces, who joins a super-team consisting of versions of himself from different alternate realities to try and maintain the consmic balance.

We called it Interworld. (It was one of those placeholder names that stuck.)

We pitched it to executives, first at Dreamworks and then elsewhere, and watched them get increasingly confused and grumpy.

Somewhere in the winter of 1998 or 1999, Michael came up to my place, and we wrote it as a novel, doing our best impression of a Heinlein juvenile, because the treatments we did simply confused people and we were sure that if they read the novel they'd understand.

And then we discovered the novel seemed to confuse them too, and we sighed and we put it away and got on with our lives.

Last year, Michael reminded me of the book, and we took it out, dusted it off, sent it out to publishers and were happy when Harper Childrens wanted to publish it. They commissioned a lovely cover for it by James Jean.

The early reviews were very positive. Film and TV people started contacting my agent about it. And now, a decade later, I'm delighted and slightly bemused to report that it's just been optioned by Dreamworks Animation, who want to make it into a movie...

There's a moral there somewhere, you know, but I have no idea what it is.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Vancouver makes 3D film

EarthVancouver's Rainmaker Animation will produce the 3-D stereoscopic digital release comedy Escape From Planet Earth for The Weinstein Company. There are no reports of Curt Russell being involved in the project.

The first theatrical animated feature for the company, is currently in preproduction in their Vancouver facility.

Helmed by Tony Leech and penned by Leech and Cory Edwards, the story follows an alien prison break from Area 51. The pair perviously worked on The Weinstein's Hoodwinked animated feature. The Weinsteins will finance and distribute the film globally.
Area 51

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Stan Lee moves to Disney

Stan LeeGameDAILY got the scoop that Walt Disney Studios has announced that it has entered into an exclusive multi-year "first look" deal with Stan Lee and his production company POW! Entertainment. The creator of Spider-Man and many other popular comic book superheroes will develop and produce all forms of entertainment. Under the terms of the agreement, Disney gets the first shot at films, TV shows, books and video games.

"As the father of such renowned comic book heroes as Spider-Man, The Hulk, X-Men among others, Stan is considered one of the most creative and inventive forces in the industry today. His innate talent of tapping into the human qualities of his super hero characters has certainly struck a chord with generations of audiences and readers around the world," said Dick Cook, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. "We are honored to be working with someone as formidable as Stan and his production company and welcome them to the Disney family."

Lee seemed to be equally excited about the deal, given the pedigree and recognition the Disney name comes with. "It's like the realization of a dream. Ever since I was a young boy, Disney represented the best and most exciting film fare to me. And now, many decades later, with movies such as their incredible Pirates of the Caribbean spectaculars, Disney is still at the forefront of family entertainment, excelling in live action, animation, TV, theme parks—whatever it takes to bring fun and fantasy to audiences everywhere. I look forward with indescribable enthusiasm to being a part of that world and contributing whatever I can to keep the legend alive and growing," said Lee.

According to Cook, as reported by the AP (Associated Press), the deal was designed to create characters and projects that can become franchises for Disney. And after all these years, if you think the 84-year-old Lee will have difficulty coming up with new ideas and characters, think again.

"I've got millions of them," Lee told the AP. "I have file cabinets filled with ideas for movies and television shows and all sorts of things, and I've been waiting to be associated with someone like Disney so I can start tearing into these things."

Of course, there are certain characters that Lee developed at Pow! Entertainment, such as the superhero stripper Stripperella, featuring the voice of Pamela Anderson as Erotica Jones that won't be appropriate for the Disney audience. That said, Lee isn't concerned at all about the "family image" of Disney tarnishing his reputation or his work. "There is such a big difference between action and violence," Lee said. "I have never been a fan of violence, but I love action and so does Disney."

Bob Chapek, president, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, was apparently "instrumental" in bringing this deal to Disney. He will work closely with Lee on many of his projects.

"Stan is not only loved by fans of the genre, but is one of the most respected and admired figures in the entertainment industry. In fact, it's hard to think of another individual who has created as many memorable and appealing characters. We're thrilled that Stan has decided to make Disney his new home, and feel very fortunate to be collaborating with him on a wide range of new projects for all divisions of our company. His track record is impressive by any measure, and Home Entertainment is sure to benefit from his creations," said Chapek.

Monday, June 04, 2007

B5 Trailer

If you haven't already seen it, there is a new trailer online for Babylon 5: The Lost Tales - Voices in the Dark, check around the rest of the B5 site while you're there.

Hulk 2 Synopsis

Grey Hulk"The explosive, action-packed adventure in one of the all-time most popular superhero sagas unfolds with a cure in reach for the world's most primal force of fury: The Incredible Hulk. We find scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) living in shadows, scouring the planet for an antidote. But the warmongers who dream of abusing his powers won't leave him alone, nor will his need to be with the only woman he has ever loved, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler).

"Upon returning to civilization, our brilliant doctor is ruthlessly pursued by The Abomination (Tim Roth) -- a nightmarish beast of pure adrenaline and aggression whose powers match The Hulk's own. A fight of comic-book proportions ensues as Banner must call upon the hero within to rescue New York City from total destruction. And on June 13, 2008, one scientist must make an agonizing final choice -- accept a peaceful life as Bruce Banner or the creature he could permanently become: The Incredible Hulk."

Production of the film -- written by Zak Penn and directed by Louis Leterrier -- is expected to start next month in Toronto.