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Here's a quick burst of this month's stories
Action on the Digital Frontier
Despite their prolonged production schedules, totally computer generated movies are coming thick and fast now. Not only is Pixars Toy Story 2 (illustrated) right around the corner, so is Disneys Dinosaurs (which looks like Jurassic Park meets Armageddon but without humans).
Now 20th Century Fox is joining the fray with Ice Age, a prehistoric comedy directed by Chris Wedge. This is not to be confused with Planet Ice, Foxs feature animation that was going to be all CGI but is now a mixture of CG and traditional animation and now retitled Titan AE. Its also not to be confused with a film called Ice Age that DreamWorks has been developing.
Sony is also getting into all-digital movies. Surprisingly its not Sonys Columbia Tristar division but its Computer Entertainment arm that currently produces PlayStation games. It wants to make digital movies by around 2002 to run on the PlayStation 2 (launching worldwide next year) via the kind of high-speed Internet connections it hopes will be available from 2001. Continued in Starburst #256
Dougray Thrown to the Wolves
The key role of Wolverine in The X-Men film has been recast in a surprise move forced on the film-makers because of a schedule conflict. Director Bryan Singer's choice, Scottish actor Dougray Scott (Ever After) was unable to be released from his work in Mission: Impossible 2, the long-running, snag-hit sequel being directed by John Woo.
Then Hugh Jackman, an Australian actor with as yet little international recognition, screen tested secretly in Toronto on October 7 with co-star Anna Paquin (who plays Rogue). Jackman got the part with lightning speed. Marvel chief and X-Men executive producer Avi Arad said, Sometimes, from adversity comes greatness. He has the voice, he has the physique, he has the face. In the screen test, the chemistry between he and Anna Paquin was just mesmerizing. It just feels right.
Arad also stated his preference recently for the title role in the anticipated new Spider-Man film. He would reportedly prefer Leonardo DiCaprio or Cruel Intentions heart-throb Ryan Phillippe. Whichever actor lands the part is likely to have to sign a multi-picture deal to avoid the kind of recasting that dogged the last Batman film series. This would indicate a rising star of Phillippes status is more probable. The first movie is planned for release in 2001.
Making More Sense
Theres one thing for sure after the uncanny success of The Sixth Sense its youthful writer-director M Night Shyamalan is in big demand. Sixth Sense studio Disney has first refusal (as if it would refuse!) on Shyamalans next project and murky details are now emerging from the ether as to what that might be.
Firstly its supernatural like The Sixth Sense and, yes, it will also star Bruce Willis but, no, its not a sequel. Willis told the LA Times, He [Shyamalan] wont let me see the script until its done but from what hes hinted about it, its got a lot of that power. Furious energy. If all goes to plan, the film, called Unbreakable, will reunite Willis with Samuel L Jackson for the first time since 1995s Die Hard with a Vengeance.
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