Things to Come by Ian Calcutt Starburst always has the latest Sci-Fi news. Here's a quick burst of this month's stories
Compiled by Ian Calcutt Taken from Starburst #267

Batman's Big Screen Future

With no solid progress to report on a fifth Batman movie, attention has shifted to Batman Beyond (aka Batman of the Future).

Batman Beyond Warner Bros has tapped the popular, classy animated TV series’ creators Paul Dini and Alan Burnett to write a live action version. Set 40 years in the future, the premise features an aged Bruce Wayne who becomes the mentor for a new, teenaged Batman, real name Terry McGinnis.

Boaz Yakin (who made a splash with the Samuel L Jackson drama Fresh and went on to make A Price Above Rubies and current US hit Remember the Titans) will direct and co-write. Cyberpunk author Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon) is in talks to join as a consultant.

Niccol shoots synthespian satire

Another of Niccol's god-like creator - Ed Harris in The Truman ShowAl Pacino is to star in Simone, a new film from the gifted Andrew Niccol (writer-director of Gattaca and writer of The Truman Show). This latest satirical Fantasy involves Pacino as a movie producer who opts to computer generate the leading actress of a new project after his flesh-and-blood performer walks out just before filming.

Niccol reportedly looked at footage for the all-CGI Final Fantasy movie to see how feasible photo-realistic humans could be, but due to budget reasons will actually use a real actress in the role, probably an unknown. A widely distributed story from the usually trustworthy Hollywood Reporter mixed up Simone’s fictional plot with Niccol’s intentions (ie that he couldn’t find an actress and chose to create her).

In the film, the digital protagonist becomes an overnight sensation – and even gets a record deal – as people don’t believe she’s an artificial creation. Pacino must somehow keep up the pretence.

Monster casting

Director Hal Hartley (The Unbelievable Truth, Simple Men) has assembled an impressive cast for his ‘modern-day beauty and the beast’ movie, Monster . Leading the cast are Sarah Polley (eXistenZ, The Sweet Hereafter, Go) in the lead role as a young journalist, Julie Christie, Helen Mirren and Robert John Burke (Dust Devil, Thinner, RoboCop 3 - and a Hartley regular) as the mythical monster Polley encounters in Iceland.

Shorts

Besson decalres war
Fifth Element director Luc Besson is to return to the genre after the disappointing Joan of Arc with WW3.com, a big-budget thriller involving cyber-terrorists who launch a high-tech strike on the USA.

Not be be confused with the above is the TV movie World War III (directed by Bob Mandel – who made the X-Files pilot). This cautionary tale based on an article by Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone, features an outbreak of deadly flu which threatens to wipe out a quarter of the population in hours. Timothy Hutton (The Dark Half) and Vanessa Williams star.

El Phantasma
TV and commercials director Breck Eisner (who made the pilot of the US Sci-Fi Channel’s recent Invisible Man hit series) will make his feature début with El Phantasma, described as a cross between The Matrix, Mexican wrestling and Aztec mythology.

Goldman catches more King
Misery screenwriter William Goldman is to adapt another Stephen King novel, this time it’s one that’s not even published yet, The Dreamcatcher, due to hit bookshops in mid-2001.

Frequent King movie outfit, Castle Rock, has gained the screen rights to this tale about four four friends who each acquired a mysterious ability as children.

There's much more news in every issue.
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Feature © Visual Imagination 2000. Not for reproduction

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