Comic Book Adaptations

With DJ Caruso directing Preacher, it becomes the second cult western literary adaptation to be taken on by an averagely talented, workhorse director (although Caruso doesn’t even come close to Ron Howard’s league). This might be the natural evolution of “geek” properties being co-opted by Hollywood. A decade ago, it was Sam Raimi bringing his Evil Dead prowess to a web-slinging comic of note. Now, the grittier material is getting notice, but middling directors will start earning the paycheck. So it goes. The list of directors who could bring the story of a Texas preacher man whose been imbued with the power of pure goodness and pure evil (and the power to command people to do his bidding) to life is a long one. So is the list of directors better suited than DJ Caruso. Here are just seven of them (ranging from the obvious to the not-so), but feel free to brainstorm more:

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That comic book all the kids seem to love, “Preacher,” has been tied with “Y: The Last Man” for Closest To Becoming a Movie Without Actually Becoming a Movie for what seems like a few years (because it has been). Now, / is reporting that D.J. Caruso might be the man for the job if I Am Number Four does solidly at the box office. Is he the best choice? No. Is he the worst? No. He’s exactly in between. Disturbia was a middling thriller, Eagle Eye was a convoluted mess, so there’s nothing in Caruso’s current body of work to show that he could pull this off. Making Preacher would take brass buttons and would be a harder R than Caruso has probably seen let alone directed. If done right. The other option is for Caruso to take over the helm and water everything down until the story about an ex-Man of the Cloth hunting down God with a vampire and hit-woman because a PG-13 delight that all the kids can enjoy. I suppose this all might mean that Joe Carnahan never worked out. Just like Tank Girl director Rachel Talalay. Just like Sam Mendes. Caruso simply hasn’t shown that he could handle the subject matter which makes him a boring choice. It would be a shame to hand over an explosive property to a director who’s avoided adult situations like avian flu (especially since it would most likely mean neutering a great script from John August and a […]

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As disappointed as some might be that Hugo Weaving won’t be wearing the Halloween costume made for his character Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger, this look seems to be doing him a lot more favors. The only question seems obvious. Why the fake human face? Why can’t you just be comfortable being yourself, Red Skull? You’re cool being a Nazi, but you can’t go out in public with what looks like a wicked case of Rosacea? We’ll accept you the way you are, Skull. Then, we’ll cheer when Captain America puts you in a head luck and shoves his fingers where your nostrils should be. What do you think of Red Skull’s look?

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We announced a year ago that Universal was pushing to get R.I.P.D. off the ground in a major way. If they can close Zach Galifianakis for a co-starring role, that ground is going to be a memory. According to the LA Times, Galifianakis is discussing playing the sidekick role to Ryan Reynolds’s Nick Cruz character – a man murdered who makes a deal to give a century of service to the Rest In Peace Department in exchange for the shot at revenge. Based on the Dark Horse comic by Peter Lenkov, the movie should have an action comedy and feature a lot of souls who don’t want to cross over just yet. This all re-raises some questions about Reynolds’s schedule. He’s said before that he would either do R.I.P.D. or Deadpool, but not both. If this ends up shooting this summer, does it kill Deadpool for Reynolds? Plus, even though David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) isn’t directing R.I.P.D. anymore (Red director Robert Schwentke is), Reynolds is set to work with Dobkin this fall on The Change-Up which features him switching bodies with Jason Batemen so Batemen’s character can score with Olivia Wilde. Regardless of the other projects, R.I.P.D. is a flick I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. It’s a different brand of comic book movie, and it could be darkly comedic like a version of Lethal Weapon done by way of Constantine. Galifianakis makes a great addition.

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We reported yesterday that a Captain Canuck movie might be in the works (according to the creator), and it might ring in for a $15 million budget. Now, the story gets weirder as Richard Comely (said creator) claims that he might change the title for its US release out of fear that Americans won’t want to go see a movie about a Canadian superhero. And you thought female superheroes had it bad. The Hollywood Reporter is right to point out that some overseas markets will change Captain America: The First Avenger to simply The First Avenger, which is fair. This is a similar case, if the movie ever actually gets made. Also if it does, Comely wants to write in a part for Justin Bieber to capitalize on his Canadian-ness and his super stardom. Maybe he can play Bucky. I’m sure Captain America wouldn’t mind sharing with his Great White Northern counterpart. Our countries have always had an open trade agreement. This all comes with an entire rock of salt because the creator of a property slinging press about interest in his property is not the most reliable source for forthcoming productions. This, especially with the Bieber comment reeks of that sort of unreliability. Still, the question remains. If it gets made, would you avoid seeing Captain Canuck because he’s Canadian or because you have no idea who he is?

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It’s 1993, Canada has become the most powerful country in the world, and their fair land is protected by the red and white spandex of Captain Canuck. It’s a world far different from our own, but the good Captain might be coming to save us from the repetition of the same superheroes getting reboots and more movies. Creator of the popular indie comic Richard Comely is claiming that he’s in talks with a Canadian production company to film a $15 million movie featuring the eh-grade super hero. Toronto-based Sinking Ship (which is a foreboding name if there ever was one) had the option up until last year, but according to the LA Times, it’s unclear which production company Comely is in talks with. The prospect of seeing Captain Canuck anytime soon is a slim one, but it seems logical to assume that the character’s continued appeal, coupled with the Captain America movie might have stoked the fires a bit. This news at least means that the character is one step closer (again) to hitting the big screen with his alien-granted powers. Although, it’s important to note that the comic book creator sharing the news is the worst possible source, so until a production company comes out and waves their intentions proudly, it might just be Millar-style bluster. On the bright side, it would be nice to see a hero being extra polite while kicking ass.

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Wake The Dead has had a moderately long road to production (and it’s not there yet) which is why news of a new company taking it over should be taken with a pinch of bittersweet salt. Steve Niles’s comic book pass at the Frankenstein story that features med students fooling around with the dead was at Dimension for a while, then Jay Russell (Ladder 49) was going to direct it, and now it’s landed in the lap of Slash. Yes, the guitarist from Guns N Roses. The awesomely talented one with the top hat. According to Hero Complex, the axeman has started his started his own production company called Slasher Films, and Wake The Dead will be one of the first productions. This is great news. An adaptation of the comic could be like Flatliners and Dawn of the Dead met somewhere in the middle of the operating table, but Niles is quoted in the piece as wanting to evoke the tone of the 1970s horror flicks. Maybe he should call up Ti West. Slasher will be partnering with Scout Productions (Session 9) to make the movie.

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From the moment Marvel announced The Avengers and their vision for it, we knew it would be massive. There’s a baker’s dozen of major actors involved, and a healthy stockade of them will have super powers (or super suits they invented in a cave). There is also a lot of ground to cover to bring all those heroes together. Now, Chris Hemsworth has spoken to MTV and revealed his thoughts on the script, getting used to his co-stars, and the two characters that spoiler-ily get their Irish up against each other.

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Two WWII-era characters, glistening with Americana, fighting for truth and justice. One is getting a big screen adaptation by way of Marvel. The other is languishing in the development hell unable to even secure a television show. What’s the difference between Captain America and Wonder Woman? Charlie Jane Anders over at io9 asks and answers the question with a sharp editorial highlighting the things catapulting one character and dragging down the other. All of her points are strong and valid – there’s no natural bridge for Wonder Woman from WII to present day; she’s too steeped in the Greek mythology of Gods and Goddesses; she has a questionable reason for going to America and dressing like she founded the country. All great points (which should be celebrated for not pulling the sexism card), but the situation boils down to a simpler (also completely non-sexist) fact. Captain America is a great character, and Wonder Woman is stupid.

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Marvel is moving forward with their plan to continue dominating the comic book movie world, and that means looking ahead to the future. That future, just got a little bit more royalty in it. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has hired documentary writer Mark Bailey – who has tackled subjects like AIDS and Abu Ghraib – to write a screenplay for a forthcoming Black Panther movie. The character is the first black superhero in mainstream comics, and the first fictionally African hero as well. The alter ego of Black Panther is, of course, T’Challa – the chief of the Panther Tribe in Wakanda. It’s a bold character that’s ferocious and unafraid to spill a little vein juice. Plus, if a screenwriter is cracking the whip on it now, that means the possibility of a Black Panther cameo/reveal in The Avengers.

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With the casting announcement of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle and Tom Hardy as Bane, the speculation begins on how these two pieces of the Batman universe will come together to create the puzzle that Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan have brewing in their minds. It’s a puzzle now confined to paper, but it’s a puzzle that demands solving nonetheless. The way to solve it? Pure speculation. The intriguing element to the casting has nothing to do with the actors or the fact that the characters have shown up in previous Batman movies. It has to do with the comic book history of Catwoman and Bane – and the minimal interaction they’ve had over the years. Catwoman is a classic villain, created in 1940. Bane is a modern creation born in 1993. So which comic book storylines will the Nolans draw from to bring them together?

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That Joe Johnston and Marvel are making a completely un-ironic, classic superhero take on Captain America is a thrilling prospect that will hopefully return a little old fashioned comic book style to movie screens that could definitely use them. But even if I’m excited and you’re excited about seeing the film this summer, Joe Johnston seems even more pleased with it. He celebrated the movie in a talk with the LA Times, where he praised the entertainment value of the movie after catching his first viewing of the current cut. What do his statements mean? Absolutely nothing. Still, they’re fun to read:

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Combing through movie news and trivium all day is enough to make someone jaded. Thus, it’s important to remember when a piece of fluff marketing like this comes out, to keep a level head about what it really means. Does it say anything about the movie itself? Not really. Does it say something about the photoshop skills of whoever made it. Certainly. With that in mind, here’s the first official cast picture from X-Men: First Class, showing off a little midriff on January Jones, a little stone cold stare from everyone else, and a whole lot of cheese.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Mark Walters stops by to discuss the host of Big Fan Boy news and the future (or lack thereof) of the comic book movie. Of course, one night after discussing the need for originality and the weariness of even looking out on seeing yet another Spider-Man origin story…news breaks that a famous director wants his shot at Batman. Of course. Plus, we manage to find time to grow beards and review The Green Hornet. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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Imagine that there’s a book, just a binding and blank pages, that has the power to kill someone if you write their name in it and think of their face. What would you use that power for? That’s the central question of “Death Note,” the manga which will see a big screen adaptation from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director (and writer of many great movies) Shane Black. According to Deadline Hyattsville, Warners Bros will oversee production on Death Note, and Black will get to work shepherding a script from Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry. The manga is an absolute masterpiece of storytelling – focusing on Light, a character who finds the book and chooses to use its powers to rid the world of evil. It’s exciting to see it go into production, not only because of the source material, but to see Black back in action again.

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He’s already got some scars on his cheek and some tears in his spandex. The reboot of Spider-Man has a lot to prove. It’s a continuation of a franchise with none of the previous players, a restart for something still fresh in the minds of fans. Still, this first picture of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man goes a long way to help out. Normally, flat pictures don’t do much to help the look of a grown man in a goofy outfit, but here, Peter Parker not only looks ready to scrap – he looks like he just did.

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The greatest thing about the possible Ant-Man movie is that no one on the planet has any idea how anyone could pull it off, but since Edgar Wright is in the creative driver’s seat, that normally debilitating fear vanishes like a superhero who gets so tiny you can’t see him. Wright told the LA Times that he’s had a casual meeting with Marvel head Kevin Feige, and that he’s sitting down to take another pass at his Ant-Man script with Joe Cornish. The same small-budget elements seem to be in place, and Wright claimed that, “this one’s not about about the urgency of summer tentpoles and things going into production without a script.” Magical golden words for fans that like their spectacle with a little meat to it. If that script doesn’t keep him busy enough, he has a new idea for a project that will have him partner up with Simon Pegg again. It could very well be the third film of the Cornetto Trilogy that that every single human on earth has been waiting for.

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Hope springs eternal. As we round the bases of another year, it’s important to let the average and outright crappy slough off and realize that we’re all standing on the precipice of another year of movies. The future stretches out before us full of possibilities. That cheesy trailer you saw last week could end up producing your favorite film of the year. That epic blockbuster you’ve been waiting for could be bigger than you ever imagined. There’s hope for everything, but there’s also expectation, which is why Rob Hunter, Neil Miller and Cole Abaius painstakingly put together our list of the 30 Most Anticipated Films of 2011. It’s the stuff we’re most looking forward to this year, put together when our hope and optimism is at its peak.

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If you thought we were meta enough with our list of best editorials, you were wrong. You were also wrong about that pub quiz question you missed last night but kept claiming, “the wording was confusing.” That’s okay. Soothe your second place loss to the “Long Beach Pub All Stars” by digging in deep to this list of lists. What criteria did we use to pick them? Simple. The key was finding those lists which acted as a catalyst for discussion, for reverie, for passion, and for self-reflection. The subjects might seem ridiculous, but there’s nothing like looking back on the year and seeing where movies took our minds. Time to get meta and do our part to bring about that ETEWAF Patton Oswalt keeps talking about.

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The above headline probably looks like it’s written in Aramaic if you aren’t into comic books (or if you’re into comic books, but not specifically into the Avengers universe). Fortunately, it’s not Aramaic. It’s alien. The Albuquerque Journal (via AICN) is reporting (right next to a headline that reads “Drunken Driver Finds Loopholes”) that The Avengers will film there in New Mexico in the spring and summer of 2011 and that the film will focus on the heroes facing off against the Skrull and the Kree – two alien races that use Earth as their theater of war. Whoever wins, we win. Or lose. Something like that. And, hold on a second, why would two enemies just agree to pick a neutral ground like someone else’s planet? The true revelation here, if the newspaper has heard that incredible piece of information correctly, is that Marvel is shooting for the moon on The Avengers. They were always aiming for a huge production, but shoving their stars in the middle of a huge war storyline ensures that the film will be large, and a lot of property damage will ensue. That might be the best news possible considering how many main characters they’re seeking to accommodate and the lack of time to develop them. Less talking, more bombing. It might just be the right way to go about a massive tent pole event like this.

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published: 12.23.2014
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