Things to Come
Dax Return
Young Canadian actress Nicole deBoer is the new Dax on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine following Terry Farrell’s departure at the end of Season Six. DeBoer is introduced as the unwilling emergency Trill host of the Dax symbiont after Jadzia’s death. As a result, she is known as Ezri Dax. DeBoer’s extensive genre credits include a regular role on the Sci-Fi Channel’s Mission Genesis (aka DeepWater Black), a role in the ingenious Sci-Fi/Horror movie Cube (which goes on UK release in September – see Starburst #237), Poltergeist: The Legacy, Psi Factor, Forever Knight and The Outer Limits.
DSN’s producer Ron Moore has been chatting away on America On-Line describing a few details of the seventh and final season. ‘We know how we want the show to end,’ he said, ‘but we’re leaving ourselves room to find things along the way as the season develops.’ He added that Nicole deBoer is ‘wonderful’ as the new Dax. ‘We couldn’t be happier with her and I think she’s going to bring a fresh new quality to the show in its final season.’ He continued, ‘We will definitely be dealing with Worf and his reaction to Jadzia’s death in the opening two-parter and other episodes during the year. Worf will not simply forget about her.
‘We felt very strongly that we needed another female regular on the show so that it didn’t become “the boys and Major Kira”. We also felt excited by the possibilities of exploring the next Dax host and how our characters would deal with her. However, we’re very aware of this being our last season and we’re not going to let this new element swamp everything else.’

A Rocky Ride
A fierce debate is raging over Armageddon among critics and industry observers. First there were the overwhelmingly negative reviews in the US, then there were the opening weekend figures, described by many as a disappointment for such an expensive epic and seen as part of a continuing malaise affecting this year’s largely lacklustre 'Event Movies'. Armageddon opened with around $55m in takings for its first five days, but it had soon totalled $149m domestically after just 26 days. Disney expects eventual US takings of $175m, and maintains that it is not under-performing. The $150m-budgeted film certainly seems to be defying the doom-sayers as it continues to rake in money at the box-office.
The movie itself is exactly what you would expect: The Rock meets Crimson Tide in Space, a commercially-orientated rollercoaster that pushes action and spectacle about as far as celluloid can hold (the film was probably coated with testosterone and developed in adrenaline). But for those who are fed up with Jerry Bruckheimer productions (i.e. most critics, for some reason) it’s unbearable. It was one of those rare times when a phrase like ‘Con Air in Space’, used in a negative review (Variety’s) could also sound like a recommendation, depending on the reader. In the New York Times, Bruckheimer retorted: “If critics don’t like popular entertainment, they shouldn’t be reviewing it. Critics who review classical music and opera don’t review popular music, do they? I made a different picture than the one they saw. I made a real entertaining popcorn movie, and they didn’t get that.”

Hollow Victory
Things are looking good for Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (see Starburst #240). Filming is set to begin in Tarrytown, New York in October. Johnny Depp (star of Burton’s very best films – Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood) is close to signing as the main character, tormented teacher Ichabod Crane, with Christina Ricci in line to star as Katrina Van Tassel (Ricci’s dark child roles as featured in The Addams Family movies and The Ice Storm make her an ideal successor for Winona Ryder – in fact it’s a wonder she’s not worked for Burton already). Previous candidates for the Crane role were reportedly Liam Neeson, Daniel Day-Lewis and (shudder) Brad Pitt.
Based on Washington Irving’s classic ‘Headless Horseman’ Horror story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Burton’s version will be typically more morbid and probably quite gory (the screenwriter is Se7en’s Andrew Kevin Walker, which should give some clues) – certainly quirkier and darker than the animated Disney version of the story in 1949, and the 1980 TV movie starring Jeff Goldblum.

The End is Nigh
The End of Days, a ‘Satan comes to Manhattan’ $100m epic starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, will be directed by a début feature director, Marcus Nispel (known for work on music videos and TV commercials). On the Beach, the post-apocalyptic novel by Neville Shute that was adapted into a film in 1959, is to become a four-hour mini-series directed by Simon Wincer (The Phantom). It will start shooting in Australia next year.

One Fine Slay
Details have emerged of Angel, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off starring David Boreanaz, débuting this Autumn in the US. Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia) will join Boreanaz as his “gal Friday”, and a crossover with other Buffy characters is likely, especially the evil vampire duo Spike and Drucilla (James Marsters and Juliet Landau). Boreanaz also revealed that he will be seen for some of Buffy’s third season before he transfers out.

Being There
The weirdest-sounding mainstream film of the moment is Being John Malkovich, in which a puppeteer (John Cusack) finds a portal allowing him to directly control the brain of actor Malkovich (as himself). Cameron Diaz has joined the cast as the puppeteer’s wife. Spike Jonze, yet another MTV/ads-trained director, will make his feature début on the project. And another commercials director, Kinka Usher, is behind Mystery Men – based on the offbeat superhero comic-book by Bob Burden. The Oscar-winning Geoffrey Rush (Shine) is lined up to appear as Cassanova Frankenstein, the film’s evil criminal mastermind.

Armageddon 'pushes action and spectacle about as far as celluloid can hold - the film was probably coated with testosterone and developed in adrenaline'
 
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