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selected from Shivers #81

Escape to the Television
Kurt Russell escapes to the producer's chairKurt Russell, who played the eye-patched mercenary hero Snake Plissken in Escape from New York (1981) and Escape from L A (1996) is joining its writer/director John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill to make a spin-off television series. One hundred hour-long episodes of the as-yet untitled show will be syndicated next year. “It’s exciting to reinvent a movie for a whole new generation of people”, says Hill. “It’s exciting to try to figure out a way to keep that story line going for 100 episodes.” Russell will not be acting in the series, however, he’ll just be producing, and the search is on for a new Snake.

Despite rumours, Kevin (Hercules) Sorbo is not in the running – I called him to find out the truth. The small-screen version will still be set in a 21st century decimated by man-made catastrophes and surrounded by hardened criminals. This time Snake won’t be running around saving politicians or their daughters from sinister plots. Instead, he’ll have a more permanent job working for the President as a roving agent for the United Nations... If the new Snake catches on, Hill says she and Carpenter would consider shooting another feature with Russell in the lead. and Escape from Earth has already been mooted as the possible title.

Mummy Knows Best
British writer Jonathan Hales, currently in Australia working with George Lucas on the new Star Wars movie, will write the third instalment of The Mummy Fantasy action-adventure franchise. Titled The Scorpion King, the film is expected to be a prequel to last year’s surprise hit and the sequel The Mummy Returns currently shooting in London.

Hales, who broke into the business as a theatre director in his native England, has written several episodes of Young Indiana Jones along with Jason and the Golden Fleece for Disney. The prequel will be top-lined by pro wrestling star The Rock who portrays the Scorpion King character in The Mummy Returns. The Rock, who played college football as Dwayne Johnson before becoming an attraction of the World Wrestling Federation, entered serious talks about the third instalment after studio executives were so impressed by rushes shot during production of the latest sequel.

Christopher Lee
Legendary master of the macabre Christopher Lee has joined the Force. But the question everyone is asking is will he be on the dark side?

Following in the footsteps of fellow British Horror icon Peter Cushing (who played evil Grand Moff Tarkin in the original Star Wars), Lee is set to join the cast of George Lucas’ Star Wars: Episode II alongside the also recently-announced Jimmy Smits and Gabriel Byrne. The 78 year-old Hammer mainstay will play a “charismatic separatist” in the prequel and said, “[The Star Wars films] created a whole new era in the cinema. The scale of imagination and the scale of production and the impact that it had on the entire world was a first. It created an impact in the cinema that was unique. This particular series of film will be a mythic saga on a vast scale.” ‘Fun’ is a word you don’t hear very often in the film industry these days, sadly. It’s increasingly rare. One of the things that George Lucas said to me was ‘We’ll have a lot of fun’. And that, believe me, is very good to hear.”

Lee once collaborated with Lucas on an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chroniclesin the role of an Austrian Count who tries to prevent Young Indy from secretly negotiating a peaceful end to World War I. His Star Wars role means Lee will be seen in two high profile 2001 releases as he also plays Saruman the White in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction