All Trekkies eyes may be on Las Vegas, but the rest of the world of sci-fi continues to move on and this week we have lots of news on Cameron’s Avatar, the Governator on Terminator 4, Star Wars in 3D, and more, including new trailers and pics. With the fall TV season looming we have lots of news on new and returning genre including some previews, so lets get started.
Avatar To Contain Several Technological Advances
When the sci-fi epic "Avatar", James Cameron’s first big-screen film since 1997’s "Titanic", hits theaters on December 18, 2009, it will come packed with several new and exciting advances in filmmaking. Cameron calls the movie "the most challenging film [he’s] ever made." Here are some highlights of the film’s tech from THR:
Performance Capture Workflow: "The way we developed the performance capture workflow on ‘Avatar" is we have our virtual camera, which allows me to, in real time, hold a camera — it’s really a monitor — in my hands and point it at the actors and see them as their CG characters," Cameron said.
Head Rig: The actors wear leotards and a "head rig" with a tiny standard-definition camera that takes an image of an actor’s face. "That is going though facial algorithms and going back into the camera as a real-time CG face of the character," the helmer said. "You see it talk; you see the eyes move. It is pretty phenomenal."
Facial Performance Replacement: Cameron likens this film technique to ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement). "We changed the words and he redid the dialogue. We didn’t have to recapture (his body performance) and he didn’t have to put the performance capture suit on again. We were just creating new words, and we were creating a new face."
Simulcam: In order to create "one movie where the aesthetics of physical production and the aesthetics of virtual production are, to the extent that we could do it, pretty much it identical, " they created the ‘Simulcam’, which treats a real camera like a virtual camera, helping eliminate guesswork: "We’re taking our virtual production toolset and superimposing it on physical production," Cameron said. "We turned the set on the soundstage into a capture volume and turned the physical camera into a capture virtual camera, so we were able to integrate CG characters and environments into our live action." Much more at THR.
Schwarzenegger Not Sold on “Terminator Salvation” + Carter Talks Her Character
Arnold Schwarzenegger told the Los Angeles Times that he’s still not sold on McG’s "Terminator Salvation". The current California governor was recently given a private screening of the comic-con reel by the movie’s producers, but says he was somewhat confused by it:
"I’ve seen very little footage so I don’t really have a feel for it. I hope they do well, and I hope it is a huge hit. I do hope it creates a spectacle on the screen. That is what James Cameron created,” Arnold said. “I still don’t know how it will play out with this one. They showed me some footage, but I don’t have a feel for the movie. I didn’t see enough. I wasn’t sure who the Terminator was. I don’t know if there is one or if he’s the star or the hero. These are the things that determine the success and how the strong the movie will be."
In other T4 news, actress Helena Bonham Carter, who just joined the cast (replacing Tilda Swinton), told SCI FI Wire that she plays a villain in the film:
"I kind of play a baddie, definitely a baddie," Bonham Carter told SCI FI Wire. "I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say, but I’m a very bad person."
And rounding out the T4 news, Pause.com reported a rumor that had Linda Hamilton returning to make appearances in all three planned Terminator movies in flashback scenes with Christina Bale (John Connor) remembering the days with his mother. Pause.com was later contacted by Hamilton’s people that she hadn’t been approached for a role in "Terminator Salvation", but would be interested in appearing: "I can tell you that Linda is a big fan of T1 and T2 and would be very interested in hearing about participating in the new film," the rep said.
LaBeouf’s Injury Causes 1-Month Hiatus for Transformers 2 + Some Spoilers
Shia LaBeouf’s recent hand injury, which could cost him his pinky, has put production on "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" on a one-month hiatus, that according to a report at TFW2005. The site reports that the first unit production crew has been put on a four week hiatus, and that the second unit team will continue on without Shia. For his part, director Michael Bay told Access Hollywood that they’re "figuring out a way to shoot around [LaBeouf’s injury], kind of write it in the story." [SPOILERS] Despite writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman insisting that Megatron would not be a part of ‘Transformers 2’, CHUD is reporting that he’ll indeed show up in the sequel, but as a Tank. The site notes, however, that the villain appeared in a previous incarnation of the script, and are unclear if the current script includes the character (which will be brought back by the Autobots to help fend off a new menace).
McFarlane Offers His Thoughts on Possible Venom Spin-Off
Venom creator, Todd McFarlane spoke with Newsarama about the recently announced "Venom" movie spin-off:
He should be creepier than what he was in Spider-Man 3… You don’t want to scare the kids, because the kids love the character… But I think you could add a little bit of a creep factor. I mean, it never bugged me to watch Frankenstein as a kid, so you could have a little bit of it, as long as you have a good story backing it up.
While McFarlane is interested in seeing the character on the big-screen in his own movie, he remains slightly concerned if the writers can pull off the story correctly:
I’m thinking about how they want to make anti-heroes nowadays… Those don’t work. The reason they’re so cool as a bad guy is because they’re bad. And as soon as you try to give too much humanity to them, then you go, no! Now they’re not as good as a bad guy because you’re trying to redeem them.
Goyer Talks Batman 3 Rumors + Freeman Released from Hospital and Dark Knight Box Office
Rumors are circulating on the internet about who will be the villain for the next Batman film (some named include Catwoman and The Riddler), but writer David S. Goyer (story credit for "The Dark Knight", co-writer of "Batman Begins") told SCI_FI Wire that it’s more possible that the villain in the next film will be someone we haven’t heard of:
"There’s no reason why we necessarily have to use the same three or four that are still around," Goyer said. "I mean, Batman’s got a wide variety, [a] rogues’ gallery. Certainly we used two in the first movie that hadn’t been in the films before."
Goyer also reiterated that no decision has been made on moving forward with a third Batman, though it’s likely one will come together: "It’s really up to Chris to decide, and he has not decided whether or not he wants to go back to the well again," Goyer said. "And if he does, I, you know, would be honored to work with him." In other Batman-related news, Morgan Freeman (who plays Lucius Fox) was released from the hospital yesterday after his August 3rd car accident. Also, "The Dark Knight" continues its amazing run at the box office, looking to take another first place this weekend, which would be its 4th consecutive at the top of the box office. According to estimates, the film was second on Friday with $7.6M, just behind the $7.9M grossed by first place "Pineapple Express" (which opened on Wednesday), but is expected to surpass the stoner-comedy on Saturday and Sunday. Through just 22 days of release, the film has taken in an extraordinary $423.1M and stands at #7 on the all-time domestic list and should be within the top five by the end of the weekend, likely passing #4 ‘E.T.’ ($435.1M) and perhaps even #3 "Shrek 2" ($441.2M).
Technology to Convert Star Wars Into 3D Not There Yet + More of Lucas on Indy 5
Just last week we relayed the news on the potential for George Lucas to convert his "Star Wars" movie franchise to 3D, now comes news straight from Lucas himself that while he’s looking into converting the movies, the technology isn’t quite there yet:
“We’re trying to do that,” Lucas told the AP. “We worked on some, with a company that was developing the technology a few years ago to convert films into 3-D, we worked with them. But the system works great. It’s just not very practical. So what we’ve been working on since then is to develop a sort of practical way to do it. And we will get there. It’s just a technological challenge.”
Lucas also once again talked about another "Indy" film, telling the AP that a fifth installment wouldn’t be focused on Shia LaBeouf’s Mutt Williams character:
"He is Indiana Jones," Lucas said of Ford. "If Indiana Jones wasn’t in it, you’d have to call it ‘Mutt Williams and the search for Elvis.’ … "Yeah, it’s ‘Mutt Williams and the Search for Elvis.’"
Lucas added: "The franchise really depends on me coming up with a good idea. And that series is very research-intensive. So we’re doing research now to see if we can’t come up with another object for him to chase … hopefully we’ll come up with something." Read more from Lucas on Indy 5 at SCI FI Wire And in other Lucas-related news, the "Star Wars" creator sat down alongside "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" (August 15th) director Dave Filoni to discuss the upcoming Lucasfilm animated movie. Read the interview at this link. And read another interview with Lucas about the at this link.
Day the Earth Stood Still Gort Details Revealed
"The Day the Earth Stood Still" director Scott Derrickson told SCI FI Wire that the upcoming remake of the classic 1951 Sci-Fi film will feature a new version of Gort and that Gort will appear early in the film, just as he did in the original. Additionally, the director noted that Gort’s role in the new film will be a bit more enhanced than the original in that he won’t just be "a universal cop. He’s still the heavy", Derrickson said. Derrickson said that when conceptualizing how Gort would look, the team mulled over "10, 20, 40 other conceptualizations of Gort, and what we realized was that retaining an essentially human form was necessary, because retaining the relationship between Gort and Klaatu was a necessity." The film hits theaters on December 12, 2008.
1951 Gort on the left, 2008 Gort on the right
Mignola Talks Hellboy 3
Director Guillermo del Toro has talked about the Hellboy movies being a trilogy, with the first about his birth, the second about the choices he makes, and the third about becoming an adult and facing the consequences of those choices. On that point, MTV asked Hellboy creator Mike Mignola to clarify what the final installment would be about:
"The problem is, what del Toro’s talked about to me is that ‘Hellboy III’ would be the end of Hellboy," Mignola said. "And here’s where we have the big conflict. My version of Hellboy in the comics is a finite story, but it’s going to take me 15 years to get to the ending. If he makes ‘Hellboy III’ and it’s the death of Hellboy, I’m left doing the comic going, ‘But I’m not done yet.’"
Mignola added: "My Hellboy is not going to have kids,’ Mignola added. "My Hellboy is going to die, but I want to be the one who does that. And if del Toro does my ending, there won’t be a lot of surprise when I get to the end of the comic." But Mignola says that he and Del Toro are still early on in discussing how the third movie would unfold:
"We haven’t spent a lot of time talking about what his version of the story would be," Mignola said, "and I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about that one." But the worry is still there in Mignola’s mind: "I can’t help but think he’s coming to the conclusion of the story."
City of Ember (more at this link)
The Dark Knight (Early Concept Art of the Joker from "The Art of the Dark Knight"–more at this link)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (more at this link)
Gatchaman (CG Rendered Concept Art–more at this link)
Halo: The Fall of Reach (Concept Art: Week 1 of 5–details at this link)
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
G.I. Joe Resolute (Test Footage)
Mirrors (click here for a new featurette)
Monsters vs. Aliens
Repo! The Genetic Opera
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Videogame (Featurette)
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Watchmen ("Production Journal: The Owlship")
- The "Justice League" movie is back on track, that according to director George Miller. Miller told The Courier-Mail that the film will begin filming early next year in a new location, after the original plan to shoot in Australia fell through due to canceled tax incentives. [The Courier-Mail]
- "Green Hornet" co-writer and star Seth Rogen told MTV that he likens the film to "True Lies" in tone: "I think it’s somewhere in a ‘True Lies’ type world almost, with big exciting action but the relationships are all very personal, and that’s where a lot of the comedy comes from." [Splash Page MTV]
- Corey Feldman sat down with /Film during Comic-Con 2008 to talk about the release of "The Lost Boys 2: The Tribe". Read it at this link. Also, Movie Hole is reporting that WB is moving forward with a third installment. The final events of "The Tribe" sets up the next film.
- "American Gladiators" star Titan (Mike O’Hearn) told a radio program that he was auditioning for the role of Captain America. [/Film]
- 20th Century Fox has launched the official website for the Vin Diesel Sci-Fi action-thriller "Babylon A.D.".
- Jason Statham ("Death Race", "Crank") wants to be Daredevil in a new big screen reboot of the Marvel character and Frank Miller gave his approval for the star: "I think he should be Daredevil too." [LA Times]
- "The Mummy: Curse of the Dragon Emperor" director Rob Cohen tells MTV that if there’s a fourth installment in the franchise, its geographic location would likely be located in either Mexico or Peru. [MTV]
- Id Software chief executive Todd Hollenshead told Eurogamer that Roger Avary ("Beowulf") is still working on a script for a movie based on the "Return to Castle Wolfenstein" video game. "I think that from a progress standpoint, it’s probably gone a little bit slower than what we would have expected–you can’t control these strikes and so on," Hollenshead said. [Eurogamer]
- 20th Century Fox has announced "Planet of the Apes: 40-Year Evolution" Blu-Ray Hi-Def set. It’ll be released on November 4th. Click here for details.
- Just a few months after securing the rights to "Flash Gordon", Sony has signed writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless to write a script for the studio’s new take on the franchise. The writing duo are also writing "Dracula Year Zero" and Zack Snyder’s "Cobalt 60". [THR]
- The latest issue of "Production Weekly" lists "The Green Lantern" as being in active development. No director is attached. [/Film]
- Latino Review has a very positive script review of "V: The Movie". The proposed movie, from creator Kenneth Johnson, ends with a cliff-hanger, which gets resolved in a sequel (also written). LR will review the sequel script at a later date. [Latino Review]
- Paramount has announced the details for the September 30th DVD/Blu-ray Hi-Def release of "Iron Man". The movie will be released as a single disc, 2-Disc Ultimate Edition and Blu-ray Ultimate Edition. Click here for the details.
New Battlestar Galactica TV Movie to Air in 2009
The SCI FI Channel has announced that an all-new "Battlestar Galactica" TV Movie will air in 2009 following the conclusion of the series and will then be released on DVD. The movie will be directed by star Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adama) and will be written by Jane Espenson. Shooting begins at the end of the month and the cast includes Michael Trucco, Aaron Douglas and Dean Stockwell, with more to be announced in the coming weeks. Here’s the Synopsis:
Starting before the events of the miniseries, our story focuses on familiar characters including Cylon Number One, known as Cavil (Stockwell), Resistance Leader Sam T. Anders (Trucco) and Chief Galen Tyrol (Douglas). In the beginning, the Cylons had a plan, but it didn’t account for one thing: survivors. During the chaotic aftermath of the destruction, two powerful Cylon agents struggle with plots and priorities on the human ships that got away, and among the resistance fighters who were left behind.
The success of "Razor" which aired last November, was a successful test for the BSG DVD market: "Not only did it do well on the air, it did phenomenally well in the international and DVD market," Mark Stern, executive vice president of original programming for SCI FI, told the LA Times. Stern, who is a co-head of the newly-formed Universal Cable Productions which will produce the movie says that there is also "a disproportionately larger amount of money from foreign and DVD money," more than would be devoted to an average pilot, he said. "I think it is the Holy Grail for us, in which we get high-quality programming for a lower license fee," Stern said. He declined to reveal the budget, but did say it was "expensive" and "very healthy," and that they were at first "skeptical" that the studio could get it.
Stargate Atlantis Returning in the Fall + Other SCI FI Programming Notes
Unlike in past seasons where SCI FI shows went on a several month hiatus, SCI FI appears to be eschewing that practice for this season of "Stargate Atlantis". The Futon Critic is reporting that after the show completes its first 10-episode run on September 26th, it will return on the schedule October 10th at a new time: 9pm. The show will lead into Amanda Tapping’s new series "Sanctuary" (which has a two-hour premiere on October 3rd–9-11pm). Here’s the schedule rundown:
- Fridays (August 15-September 26) *
9:00/8:00c – "Stargate Atlantis" (Repeats)
10:00/9:00c – "Stargate Atlantis"
* Lineup pre-empted on August 29th for a "Star Trek: Enterprise" marathon due to the Labor Day holiday.
- Friday, October 3
9:00/8:00c – "Sanctuary" (Two-Hour Series Premiere)
- Fridays (as of October 10)
9:00/8:00c – "Stargate Atlantis" (New Time Period)
10:00/9:00c – "Sanctuary" (Regular Time Period)
TFC also notes that SCI FI will air its annual six-hour "Ghost Hunters Live" event on Friday, October 31st starting at 7pm (pre-empting its usual lineup in the process) and "Destination Truth" will wrap the back half of its second season on Wednesday, October 15 at 10pm. Lastly, the previously delayed original movie "NYC: Tornado Terror" will air on Saturday, October 4 at 9:00pm.
Goodkind Reassures Fans of Legend of the Seeker
Terry Goodkind, author of "The Sword of Truth", the best-selling fantasy series of which the syndicated series "Legend of the Seeker" is based upon, wants to assure fans of the original books that the series will not disappoint:
"I’m sure there’s always going to be dissatisfied [people]," Goodkind told SCI FI Wire. "But I think the vast majority of fans, their greatest hope and desire is to see the hero and heroine they love brought to life on screen."
Goodkind added that when he writes his books, his focus is squarely on the characters, and that will be the key to this series’ success:
"I think what readers read the story for is because they want to watch and follow characters that they love and hate," Goodkind said. "They want to be with those characters and follow that story and know what’s going to happen. Exactly what those characters do isn’t as important."
"If the characters are great characters and you want to journey with them, the story is secondary," Goodkind said. "Every time I do a new book–that’s like saying a new book couldn’t possibly work because the readers read the previous book, and why would they read more stories about the characters? It’s the characters that are important."
Lost Season Five Adds Two New Characters
Two new characters are set to join the cast of ABC’s "Lost" this season. [Entertainment Weekly]:
- Caesar: a dangerous, physical and extremely intelligent male between the ages of 35 and 45. His intentions are unclear, he’s as skillful at charming people as he is at killing them.
- Ilanna: a European female in her late 20s to early 30s who possesses great intelligence, but who’s also dangerous. She’s "alluring and apparently used to getting her own way".
- SCI FI Wire has put together a "Top 10 Brilliant But Canceled" List of Sci-Fi shows. Some highlights: #1 "Firefly", #2 "Wonderfalls" and #5 "Space: Above and Beyond". [SCI FI Wire]
- Sony Pictures has announced that the wacky short-lived sci-fi spoof series "Quark" is hitting DVD in October. "Quark: The Complete Series" includes all eight episodes of the 1977-78 series and will be released on October 14th. [TV Shows on DVD]
- TV Squad has a short interview with Joss Whedon where he talks about ‘Dr. Horrible’, "Dollhouse" and more. Read it at this link.
- Fox will replay the first season of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" beginning this Sunday, August 10th at 9pm. The network will air subsequent episodes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and follow the same schedule the following Sunday (8/17) and then again the week after (8/24). [TV Guide]
- Jane Espenson tells MikeJozic.com that she’d be interested in re-visiting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Animated Series". Watch a promo clip of the series below and read the interview (which also includes Eric Wright who worked on the development of the animated series) at this link.
TV PICS and VIDS
Battlestar Galactica (Wrap set photos–more at this link)
Stargate Atlantis ("Whisper" Set Photos–more at this link)
Battlestar Galactica (Click the image below to watch two wrap videos)
Heroes (A visit to Dr. Mohinder Suresh’s laboratory)
Homemade Batman Tumbler
Bob Dullam, says he spent around $50-70k to assemble a homemade replica of the Tumbler from "Batman Begins"/"The Dark Knight". The vehicle was built from scratch, using only references that he could find on the internet. Check out some photos below. Dullam says his next project will be the Batpod and completing his own personal bat suit. [SuperHeroHype.com].
- Pre-orders for "The Tales of Beedle the Bard", the children’s book mentioned in ‘The Deathly Hallows’ have gone live. Amazon.com has the standard hard-cover up for $7.59, while the Amazon.com Exclusive Collector’s edition will cost you $100. The book releases on December 4, 2008.
- "Breaking Dawn", the final book in Stephanie Meyer’s "Twilight" series of vampire novels, sold 1.3 million copies in its first 24 hours after its August 2nd midnight release. The publisher has announced that they’ve added 500,000 more copies to its production, bringing its total print run to 3.7 million. Though high, the number doesn’t compare to "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" which sold 8.3 million copies in the US alone. [SCI FI Wire]
- Nominees for this year’s World Fantasy Awards have been announced. The annual show awards the best in fantasy art and literature. Winners will be announced at the 2008 World Fantasy Convention (Oct. 30-Nov. 2) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Click here to read the list of nominees.
Star Wars (Steampunk Action Figures–more at this link)
|Top 10 SF&F Broadcast Shows||HH Rating/Share|
Ghost Whisperer (R)
|3) Eli Stone (R)||1.5/3|
|4) Smallville (R)||1.1/2|
|5) Supernatural (R)||1.0/2 (1.54M)|
|6) Reaper (R)||1.0/2 (1.53M)|
7/20/2008 – Source: Nielsen Media Research
|Top 10 SF&F Syndicated Shows||Rating|
|1) Stargate SG-1||0.9|
|2) Star Trek||0.9|
|3) The Dead Zone||0.7|
|4) Stargate Atlantis||0.6|
7/14/2008 to 7/20/2008 – Source: Nielsen Galaxy Report via SCI FI Wire
|Top 10 SCI FI CHANNEL Shows||Rating|
|1) Ghost Hunters International||1.7|
Langoliers, Part Two
6) Scare Tactics
7) Stargate Atlantis
|8) Langoliers, Part One||1.0|
|9) Falcon Down||1.0|
|10) Dawn of the Dead||0.9|
7/20/2008 – Source: Nielsen Galaxy Report via SCI FI Wire