Strange Happenings  
Grant Kempster checks out the fantastic world of entertainment. Oh, and he does the artwork too
Choice morsels from our news section, covering the world of the fantastic selected from Xposé #46

New Anakin Christensened!

have you seen this Jedi? Artist's impression of Anakin Pt. 2A short time ago, in a ranch far, far away, four young actors assembled for the chance to play Anakin Skywalker in the next two episodes of Star Wars. Of course, when the day was over, only one actor stood out in the minds of all involved, and his name was… “I was just waking up and my roommate walked in and handed me the phone and it was my agent and manager, and they were pretty excited...” says the latest actor to take on the infamous role. So who is this man? Is it Leonardo? Is it TV’s Billy from Neighbours? Nope, it’s a young guy called Hayden Christensen.

So who is this lucky young man who pipped some of Hollywood’s premier talent to the post? Well, Hayden is best known for his TV work: he's perhaps best known as Scott in Higher Ground. As far as movies go, well, he’s only been in three, bless him, the latest being The Virgin Suicides, where he co-starred with a colleague and friend from Higher Ground, actress AJ Cook. She told the Toronto Sun: “I’ve wanted to scream it from the rooftops because I’m so proud of him. I watch the show sometimes and I’m just kind of in awe with what he does.”

So with the Australian production crew pretty much ready to roll (shooting on Episode II is confirmed as starting Monday June 26th), Anthony Daniels and Ian McDiarmid both signed on and a plethora of rumors about Boba Fett’s inclusion, we look all set for the ride of our lives. Yeah, I know, feels like we’ve been here before!

The Slay After

So, still reeling from the finale of this season’s Buffy? Want more? Well, who better than creator Joss Whedon to tell us what’s in store. “Basically, in terms of Buffy, this year has been about getting scattered and getting distracted, changing and wondering if the old gang still exists, plus the freedom that college causes.” Whedon told Fandom.com.

“Next year is pretty much about bringing it back, taking a step back and bringing it closer to home. It will be the whole Scooby Gang very involved with each other, and the idea of them as a family. Yes, you get freedoms when you first go to college, but life doesn’t stop happening. We want to ground them again."

Superhero Resurgence?

As well as the sudden resurgence of interest in the bigger comic heroes from Marvel and DC halls of fame, other characters from smaller independent publications seem to be doing equally as well. After a mixed reaction to his first outing, Spawn seems to be edging closer to a sequel. At least, he will be if creator Todd McFarlane can knock $6 million off the budget!

“I got a call two days ago where they said that if you can cut about $6 million off the budget, that puts us closer to doing a go on this thing. Then, if not, I can trigger in my contract that I get the rights back later this year and I’ve got other studios that have told me, ‘The day after you get those rights back, come and let’s talk about doing it.’”

Emerging a lot sooner than that is Witchblade, who will be appearing in her own TV movie on TNT in late August. The story revolves around tough New York cop Sara Pezzini getting her hands on a sentient object called the Witchblade which attaches itself to a female host, thus turning her into a blood-lusting crime-fighter. It could be lined up for a series if it is well-received.

Image © Grant Kempster/Visual Imagination
Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction.

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