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Wednesday, January 5, 2005

NATALIE PORTMAN IN V FOR VENDETTA

The Wachowski Brothers and Joel Silver, the creators and producer of the Matrix trilogy, are teaming again on the action thriller V For Vendetta for Silver Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, with Natalie Portman set to star.

"Natalie Portman is one of the most gifted actresses working today, and we're thrilled that she is bringing her extraordinary talents and presence to this film," Silver said.

Set in the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, V For Vendetta stars Portman as a young woman who becomes the unlikely ally of a mysterious revolutionary.

"With V For Vendetta, the Wachowski Brothers have created an uncompromising vision of the future driven by a totally original superhero," Silver said.

The screenplay by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski is based on the graphic novel V For Vendetta by author Alan Moore and illustrator David Lloyd, which was originally published by DC Comics as a 10-part series in 1988.

Produced by Silver, and The Wachowski Brothers, V For Vendetta will be directed by James McTeigue, who served as the First Assistant Director on the Matrix trilogy.

V For Vendetta will be filmed on location in Berlin beginning in early March and will be released this fall by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Portman recently was nominated for a Golden Globe for Closer. She will also star in May's Star Wars: Episode III --- Revenge of the Sith.

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EMMANUELLE VAUGIER TO PLAY PAINKILLER JANE

Emmanuelle Vaugier, who was a regular guest star in the second and third seasons of The WB's Smallville, has been cast to star in Sci Fi's Painkiller Jane television movie.

Painkiller Jane is based on the Event Comics character created by Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti.

Vaugier, 28, and a native of Vancouver British, Columbia, played Dr. Helen Bryce in nine episodes of Smallville. Her character eventually married -- and then deceived -- Lex Luthor.

"I am really excited that Emmanuelle Vaugier was picked to play Painkiller Jane," Palmiotti told The Continuum. "She has the right amount of dangerous beauty that the character needs and is a wonderful actress as well. We scored big time with her and I cannot wait to see what she can do with the property. This is the perfect role for an actress on the rise like Emmanuelle."

Vaugier's other television credits include North Shore, One Tree Hill and Charmed.

NBC Universal TV Studios will produce the Painkiller Jane pilot -- which marks Sci Fi's first comic-book adaptation -- in association with MGM TV.

The film is expected to begin production in Vancouver on Jan. 19.

Palmiotti said the movie should appeal to fans of the comic.

"The script is loyal to the character of Jane and the feel of her, but the situation in which she gets her powers is a tiny bit different," he said. "When I finished reading the script, I was very pleased with the job the writers on the project had done, and relieved that the heart and soul of the original character Joe Quesada and I created was still all there. It's a fun take on the character with some really original ideas that take the character into some new places even we didn't think of going. Overall, I am really happy with the final product."

And what will Vaugier look like as the TV Jane?

"Jane's suit presented in the series came out of necessity of the situation, but if you look at the books, there are a lot of times she was wearing other clothes, again, to fit into her surroundings, "Palmiotti said. "That said, I think we will see the bandaged Jane everyone knows and loves from the comics as well as some military gear and sexy street clothes. The character is not like Batman where she runs around with a particular suit...Jane's demeanor has always been to lay low."

Palmiotti said he will be visiting the set during the first week of production.

"It's a really exciting project for everyone and it's especially exciting for me because even though I have many projects in development at this moment with four different studios, this is the first one that is actually going to the next level," he said. "It's going to be a busy year."

Click on the thumbnails below for images of Vaugier from Smallville. Look for more on Painkiller Jane soon here in The Continuum.



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ELEKTRA MOVIE UPDATE

Will Yun Lee returns to familiar territory in the Elektra movie, playing a comic-book character for the second time.

Lee, who starred as Danny Woo in two seasons of TNT's Witchblade television series, plays Kirigi, a key villain in Elektra.

Kirigi is an ambitious member of The Hand, a master swordsman and an adept of Kimagure, the ability to see into the future.

Lee gets to show off his martial arts skills in fight scenes with Jennifer Garner's Elektra. "My father was one of the first Tai Kwan Do masters to come to the United States," Lee said. "So I've been studying martial arts since I was a child."

Kirigi's team is comprised of Tattoo, Typhoid Mary, Stone and Kinkou. Each has unique abilities.

Tattoo, played by Chris Ackerman, derives his magical powers from the animals engraved on his skin. He can command these animals to leave his body, take form in the real world, and do his bidding. The tattoo process, which involved transfers, ink drawing and airbrushed coloration, took the special makeup effects team about six hours to apply.

Typhoid Mary, played by Canadian Natassia Malthe, is the ultimate femme fatale: Whatever she touches dies.

Bob Sapp, who portrays Stone, stands 6-foot-3 tall and weighs 374 pounds. As Stone, his body is rock hard, impervious to Elektra's sais.

Kinkou, played by Edson T. Ribeiro, is a man who can¹t be knocked down. His sense of balance is super-human. Ribeiro, a native of Brazil, is a master of that country's martial art form, Capoiera, a combination of dance and martial art.

In other Elektra news:

* It remains unclear if Garner -- stricken with a viral infection -- will attend Saturday's premiere in Las Vegas.

* 20th Century Fox has released several images from the film. Click on the thumbnails for larger and fuller images.



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MARVEL COMICS FIRST LOOKS

For covers and four-page previews of Marvel Comics titles arriving in stores on Wednesday, Jan. 12, CLICK HERE.

Titles include X-23 #1, Marvel Knights 4 #14, New X-Men #8, New Thunderbolts #4 and Marvel Knights Spider-Man #10.

Look for more Marvel First Looks on Thursday here in The Continuum.

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DC COMICS FIRST LOOKS

For covers and four-page previews of DC Comics titles arriving in stores on Wednesday, Jan. 12, CLICK HERE.

Titles include 100 Bullets #57, Action Comics #823, Angeltown #3, Fables #33, Green Arrow #46, JLA #110, JSA #69, Majestic #1 and Nightwing #101.

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FRANK MILLER, JIM LEE ON ALL-STAR: BATMAN AND ROBIN

Artist Jim Lee will be joined by writer and Batman visionary Frank Miller on DC Comics' upcoming All-Star: Batman and Robin. The series, scheduled to make its debut later this year, marks Miller's first work on Batman since 2001's The Dark Knight Strikes Again and Lee's return to Batman following 2002's "Hush" storyline in Batman.

"If there was one creator I wanted to work with when I was a fan, it would have been Frank Miller," Lee said, "so after this project, I think I'm going to be ready to retire! Seriously, it will be the pinnacle of my career so far, and I can't wait to get started. Frank and I have had a couple of meetings about the story, and it s going to rock!"

Miller said, "This is Dick Grayson's initiation and he's dealing with a very stern teacher. Batman is a hard teacher -- unforgiving. Brutal. At the same time, Grayson is watching Batman come into his full power. Me and Jim Lee get to play with all of DC's toys. It'll be a romp. It'll be a lot of fun. I plan on raiding DC's treasury of characters. There won' t be a Black Canary or a Wonder Woman unused."

"This is quite an honor and, needless to say, a fairly daunting task that DC has bestowed upon me by handing me the helm of ALL-STARS," said Group Editor Bob Schreck. "Being able to help these incredibly talented creators bring their amazing tales to life on the comics page is going to be one heck of a ride, no doubt. I can't wait until the readers get to see what's in store for them."

"Frank was instrumental in redefining Batman for a new generation, and I, for one, can't wait to see him bring that same level of clarity and interpretation to Dick Grayson and Robin," said Dan DiDio, VP -- Executive Editor, DCU. "With the teams now set for the two All-Star books, Batman and Robin and Superman, everyone should agree that they meet the expectations set for these series: All-Star creators working on iconic versions of our All-Star characters -- it doesn' t get much better than this."

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STEVE ENGLEHART'S DARK DETECTIVE

Steve Englehart told The Continuum that he is teaming with Marshall Rogers, Terry Austin and John Workman on Dark Detective, a six-issue, bi-weekly Batman mini-series this spring that he described as a "Volume 2" to the team's previous run on the character.

"It features the long-awaited return of Silver St Cloud, and the Joker, with first appearances -- by us -- of Two-Face, the Scarecrow, and, uh, Dr Double X," Englehart said. "Silver's moved on, and the last thing she wants to do is meet Bruce Wayne again, but fate, you know...

"And the Joker is running for governor with a simple slogan: 'Vote for me or I'll kill you.'"

Englehart said that, based on in-house reaction to Dark Detective, he has been asked to do "a similar project with some other heroes I've had some success with there."



BRIEFLY

  • Dynamic Forces, has announced that a deal between creators Mark Millar, JG Jones, Top Cow Productions and Dynamic Forces to produce merchandise from the Wanted comic-book series.

    The deal will allow the company to produce signed and unsigned lithographs and statues, with the company continuing to offer alternate and variant editions of the Wanted series under a previous arrangement with Top Cow Productions.

    The first-ever Wanted statue, featuring Wesley, will be offered in the coming months. Click on the thumbnail at the right to get four views of the statue.

  • Al Barrionuevo, artist of Batman: Gotham Knights, has signed a 2-year exclusive contract with DC Comics.

    "It's clear that Batman is one of the best characters in American comic books. A lot of very important artists have given us their vision of the bat, with styles as different as Enrique Breccia, Jorge Zaffino, Jordi Bernet, Katsuhiro Otomo, Brian Bolland, Paul Pope, Jim Lee and a thousand more," Barrionuevo said. "I'm extremely lucky to join that long list of creators and to be a part of the DC family, thanks to übersmench Dan DiDio (VP ‹ Executive Editor, DCU), Senior Editor extraordinaire Matt Idelson, Associate Editor Nachie Castro, and the rest of the crew! DC is the best place to be, and moreso penciling a Batman book!"

  • According to Kids' WB!, fourth quarter 2004 ratings revealed it was the top 4th broadcast network among the Saturday morning competition in Kids 2-11, Kids 6-11, Boys 2-11, Boys 6-11 and Tweens 9-14. The network's lineup includes The Batman and Teen Titans.

  • Coming Thursday: Marvel news -- and much more!!!

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    COMICS CONTINUUM BACK ISSUES

    In case you missed The Continuum's recent coverage, here are some links:

    * For Tuesday, Dec. 28, including Justice League Unlimited animated news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Monday, Dec. 27, including Teen Titans animated news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Friday, Dec. 24, including Marvel Comics news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Thursday, Dec. 23, including Marvel Comics' solicitations for March, CLICK HERE.

    * For Wednesday, Dec. 22, including DC and Image news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Tuesday, Dec. 21, including Elektra movie news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Saturday, Dec. 18, including Devil's Due Publishing's solicitations for March, CLICK HERE.

    * For Friday, Dec. 17, including David Goyer writing and directing a Flash movie, CLICK HERE.

    * For Thursday, Dec. 16, including Fantastic Four movie news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Wednesday, Dec. 15, including Elektra movie news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Tuesday, Dec. 14, including Fantastic Four movie news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Monday, Dec. 13, including DC Comics' solicitations for March, CLICK HERE.




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