Death of The Hulk
HOPES for the new big-screen version of The Hulk have been smashed by the studio for now. The Universal Studios movie was in development with genre veteran Gale Anne Hurd producing and her husband, Jonathan Hensleigh, writing and directing. Hensleigh (who wrote The Rock and Armageddon) intended to make The Hulk his directorial début.
The large, green Marvel superhero was due to be reborn through computer graphics imagery, and early tests by Industrial Light and Magic were said to be "awesome". However, despite having spent $20m on the production so far, Universal has reportedly balked at the $100m price tag the movie has adopted. Budgets have been spiralling in Hollywood, and to give such a budget to a first-time director was seen to be too great a risk. The studio was also after a big-name actor, like Johnny Depp, to play Dr Banner, but no one had been signed.
Close attention has been paid to the allegedly inadequate scripts for Superman Reborn/Superman Lives, but it looks like this production is finally getting camera-ready under director Tim Burton and star Nic Cage. Movie industry 'bible' Variety recently reported what gossip-mongers have been whispering for months - that Usual Suspects, Se7en and LA Confidential star Kevin Spacey is to have second billing as the movie's villain - currently believed to be Lex Luthor, Brainiac or some kind of combination of the two that occurs later in the plot. Purists may be up in arms about such fast-and-loose tinkering, but if the film does indeed get Spacey's stamp of approval, then a certain amount of quality is assured.
Another victim of spiralling budgets is Ridley Scott's epic version of I Am Legend. The Warner Bros project has been scrapped altogether after initially being put on hold while attempts were made to trim the expected budget down to $80m from $100m. Neal Jimenez (of Tim Hunter's River's Edge) was rewriting the script. This remake of Richard Matheson's acclaimed post-apocalyptic vampire story was to be a star vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger (who will now battle the Devil himself in a new epic thriller, The End of Days).
The Voyage Home?
A change of crew - behind the scenes - has taken place on Star Trek: Voyager. Executive Producer and co-creator Jeri Taylor has quit the series, leaving Brannon Braga with a greater role in Voyager's direction. Braga paid tribute to Taylor's input, saying, "We all owe a great deal to her." It is believed she will still write occasional Voyager scripts. Braga (who revitalized the show by creating the popular Borg 'refugee' Seven of Nine) hinted that the USS Voyager may make it back home in the '98-'99 season, leading onto a new set of adventures in the Next Generation mould.
"There's a strong possibility we may return to Earth next year," said Braga. "It's got to be exciting and big in scope."
Dark Skies star JT Walsh died of a heart attack on February 27 near San Diego. He was just 54. Walsh had appeared in around 50 films in the last 15 years, mainly as disquietingly charming bad guys. His credits included Wired, Misery, Backdraft, Needful Things, National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, The Last Seduction, Sling Blade and the recent superior thriller Breakdown. As well as his celebrated TV role as Dark Skies' shadowy Frank Bach, Walsh also starred in The X-Files episode The List.
The Lexx Files
The world may not quite be ready for it, but Lexx: The Dark Zone Stories is coming back with a full 20-episode series. Full production of Lexx - which attracted a strong cult following with its blend of Sci-Fi and Horror when the first series was broadcast as a set of four telefilms - began on April 1.
"It looks like production [of Superman Reborn/Superman Lives] is finally getting camera-ready under director Tim Burton and star Nic Cage."