– As “THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS” starts to get serious about entering production, a short list of actresses for up to one or two major female roles has emerged. Heat Vision reports that four actresses are screen testing for the third Chris Nolan Bat-film within a fortnight (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/blogs/heat-vision/shortlist-actresses-vying-batman-film-70529). This list includes Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway, Keira Knightley, Kate Mara, and Charlotte Riley. The website claims that the role they are auditioning for is Talia Al Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul (played by Liam Neeson in “BATMAN BEGINS”). In the comics, she has been both Batman’s lover and enemy, and ultimately has a son with him, Damien, who is the current (and fifth) Robin. Collider (http://collider.com/dark-knight-rises-eva-green-naomi-watts/69587/) also forwards a rumor that the part of Vicki Vale could be cast in “THE DARK KNIGHT RISES” as well, perhaps as a romantic foil for Bruce Wayne rather than Batman. Anne Hathaway seems to be mentioned in virtually every single rumor story involving a female lead for a superhero film (including Sam Raimi’s ultimately canceled “SPIDER-MAN 4”). Jessica Biel has some comic film cred from “BLADE TRINITY”. The character of Vicki Vale has not appeared on film since Kim Basinger portrayed her in Tim Burton’s “BATMAN” from 1989.
– Warner Brothers Home Video has started promotion for their latest DC Universe animated direct to video (DTV), “ALL-STAR SUPERMAN”, which goes on sale at the end of next month. The New York Paley Center for Media is offering free tickets to a screening on Feb. 14th to those who ask for them via email (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30314), which this Examiner has naturally done. To this end, more screenshots and a video sneak peak have been released online (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30325). The all-star cast includes James Denton (“DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES”) as Superman, Christina Hendricks (“MAD MEN”) as Lois Lane, Anthony LaPaglia (“WITHOUT A TRACE”) as Lex Luthor, Ed Asner (“UP”) as Perry White, Frances Conroy (“SIX FEET UNDER”) as Ma Kent, Matthew Grey Gubler (“CRIMINAL MINDS”) as Jimmy Olson and Linda Cardellini (“ER”) as Nasty. The animated film is based on a 12 issue series by Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly that won an Eisner award. This Examiner has scored NY Paley Center advance screening tickets for “PLANET HULK”, “JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS” and “SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE”, and hopefully this will make it a four-peat. If so, look forward to EXCLUSIVE coverage of the event in this column! For the record, this is the second DC animated DTV that is exclusively a Superman story (and not a Justice League or Batman team-up story) as well as the second which uses a plot involving his death – “SUPERMAN: DOOMSDAY” was a loose adaptation of the “Death Of Superman” story of the 90’s. Will DC animation ever release an animated Superman story where the Man Of Steel doesn’t die? Stay tuned!
– As a sign of how much post-production CGI effects that “GREEN LANTERN” requires, as well as what a tight ship that Warner Brothers is running with it, female lead Blake Lively claims that not even she has seen a finished cut of the film yet – which hits theaters June 17th – the month in which Marvel’s Thor and Captain America take a break (http://splashpage.mtv.com/2011/01/12/blake-lively-green-lantern-movie/).
– Despite news last week that David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman TV series was not happening this season, he tells the Hollywood Reporter that he isn’t throwing in the towel yet (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/blogs/live-feed/david-e-kelley-woman-complex-71674). He claims he is “being optimistic” but not “unrealistic” in thinking that it could come together next year. He claimed that the script was written very late in the pitch season and that NBC is undergoing a bit of a reshuffling with their major executives. He thinks NBC would be a good network home for it and he plans to pitch it to Robert Greenblatt, the incoming NBC exec, in 2012 (although a cable channel is a “possibility”). Kelley presents Wonder Woman as “a real complex woman, not just a superhero” and he claims the script is “smart” – which is natural, since he wrote it. In additional Wonder Woman promotional news, MAC Cosmetics has used Wonder Woman to promote their new line of make-up, with artwork by Mike Allred (“X-STATIX”). The Beat has the artwork as well as the line of cosmetics here: http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/01/14/what-looks-fabulous-in-macs-wonder-women-make-up-line/. The image of Wonder Woman, a symbol of female freedom and individuality being used to promote over-priced make-up that women mostly wear to catch men or outdo each other is perhaps the definition of irony. Still, better her than Lady Gaga.
– MTV has an interview with Greg Weisman and Brandom Vietti (http://splashpage.mtv.com/2011/01/14/young-justice-tv-series-comics/) about the “YOUNG JUSTICE” animated TV series that has officially debuted on Cartoon Network two weeks ago, and which will get around to airing an episode that isn’t the pilot this week (Jan. 21st). In addition to writing the series, Weisman will co-write a YOUNG JUSTICE comic book series that hits stores with a zero issue this week (which is co-written by Kevin Hopps and drawn by Mike Norton), which will be in continuity for the show. Weisman doesn’t reveal anything new, other than he likes the positive reactions from fans and that the series, while still fun, will have dark and suspenseful moments, and a real sense of elevated danger. YOUNG JUSTICE #0 also goes on sale this Wednesday. In addition, Toonzone (http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/news.php?action=fullnews&id=943) has listed a slew of additional voice roles that have been noted, and Weisman looks to be reuniting with several of his voice actors from “SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN”, such as Peter MacNicol as Professor Ivo and AMAZO, Vansessa Marshall as Black Canary, and Jeff Bennett as Red Tornado. Khary Pheyton, who was Cyborg in “TEEN TITANS”, will voice Brick, and Arnold Vosloo will be Kobra, with Danny Trejo as Bane.
– DC’s official blog (http://vertigo.blog.dccomics.com/2011/01/14/spaceman-a-real-conversation-between-will-dennis-and-brian-azzarello/) has a sneak peek at the VERTIGO series that is coming out from Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (100 BULLETS), titled SPACEMAN. Cover artists Dave Johnson and colorist Patricia Mulvihill will be along for the ride. Nothing else is known about the series, but the character sketch seems to imply one of them may not be “normal” (http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/01/14/first-look-at-azzarellorisso-spaceman/).
Last Week’s DC Comics News: http://glowbass.com/comic-books-in-new-york/dc-comic-news-for-1-11-11-no-wonder-woman-tv-no-world-s-finest-film-more
This Week’s Indie Comics News: http://glowbass.com/comic-books-in-new-york/indie-comic-news-for-1-17-11-archie-goes-more-digital-judge-dredd-spawn
Last Week’s Marvel Comics News: http://glowbass.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-news-for-1-11-11-new-eic-more-movies-skaar-goes-savage-and-more