Saturday, 5 February 2011

Writing Showcase

Starting today, I have added a Writing Showcase to the right hand menu of the site, where I will post links and share examples of writing that I have done in the past and hopefully some that I will do in the future.
This is a fluid page that will change and grow as it is added to. Please feel free to comment on it and let me know if it should remain as a single page or expand into the main site.

The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel rumourmill continues to churn

Apparently those rumours that MoS won have Lois Lane have already been proven false. LatinoReview have claimed that the female lead up for grabs is that of Kryptonian, Ursa. Synonymous with General Zod, the villainous Ursa has notably featured in SupermanII and a recent run of Action Comics.

Elsewhere, someone has gotten their wires crossed and claimed that Nolan's been scouting out locations for Robin's hideout in TDKR. I can't imagine Nolan introducing Robin, especially with a separate hideout, which leads me to think that the source is confused.
If Nolan were to introduce a Robin, however, I suppose setting him up as a kid who is already trying to fight crime when he meets Batman and Bruce deciding to train him so he doesn't get himself killed, makes more sense than Batman just putting a kid out on the streets.

Batman Chess set [update]

Apparently the Batman chess set that I ordered wasn't the one pictured here, but in fact features the Bat-family VS the Justice League. Was I upset about this? Not at all. Was I annoyed that I only found out because I e-mailled to ask where it was? A bit.

Why Green Lantern was made a pawn, whereas Steel (!) manages to be a Knight, I have no idea. Personally, I would have stuck with Superman, Wonder Woman and the Flash as King, Queen and Bishop, but I would have made the Knights, Rooks and Pawns, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and Aquaman respectively.
I also would've had Huntress, the Cassandra Cain Batgirl or even Barbara Gordon as Oracle rather than Babs as Batgirl.

Anyway, it still looks really cool and I'm looking forward to it arriving next week.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Ghostbusters 3 progress (or lack of)

It looks like GB3 is just waiting for Bill Murray. Basically, no Murray, no movie. I don't know if this is good news or bad news.

This is from ScreenRant:

As each month passes, the hopeful spring start date for Ghostbusters 3 becomes increasingly unlikely.

While Sony Pictures, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd and Ivan Reitman have already signed-off on the much revised Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky screenplay, there still remains one final hurdle to overcome… the Bill Murray factor.Last week, Lee Eisenberg and Ghostbusters 3 producer Joe Medjuck separately discussed the stalled production of the highly-anticipated return of everyone’s favorite parapsychologists. Despite being on opposite sides of the country, both discussions quickly turned to Bill Murray and his reluctancy to sign-off on the Ghostbusters‘ final installment -- or even read the script.

Eisenberg, visiting his alma mater Connecticut College to kick off a series of lectures, talked about the lengthy waiting period they’re in because of Murray:

“Right now, we have a script we haven’t worked on probably in a couple of months, and we’re waiting for Bill Murray to read it. People seem excited about it, and the studio seems high on it. … We’re very proud of it. We worked really hard on it, and I think it’d be a really fun movie.”

Additionally, Eisenberg noted how involved Reitman, Aykroyd and Ramis have been during the writing process, noting that Ramis will now receive a story credit on the film because of it:

“We’ve been working really closely with Ivan Reitman for a couple years on it. Dan Aykroyd has been really involved. Harold Ramis has been very involved -- we’re sharing a story credit on it with him. Then we reworked the script. I mean, that script went through a lot of rewrites, and it kept getting, we think at least, tighter and funnier. It took a little bit to really understand the tone of a movie like Ghostbusters. It’s really scary when you’re writing characters you grew up on. … The last thing you want to do is disappoint.”

On the other side of the country, Ghostbusters 1, 2 & 3 producer (and longtime producing partner of Ivan Reitman) Joe Medjuck attended the Ghostbusters screening at the Arclight Cinema. Following the film’s presentation, Medjuck, along with other members of the Ghostbusters special effects team (including William Atherton), fielded questions from the audience.

Obviously, the first thing that came up was Ghostbusters 3. While Medjuck related similar information regarding Bill Murray, he provided a more in-depth look at the process – or lack there of – that Murray is known for and how Murray didn’t even read the script for the original Ghostbusters until the first day of filming.

“Sony says they’d like to make it, everyone thinks it’s a good script. Bill has heard it’s a good script, but he hasn’t read it. Bill’s like that – he just says he’s busy.

Harold tells a very funny story about the several months it took to get Bill to read the script for Groundhog Day. Every week or so, [Bill] would go up to Harold and say, “You know, I read 10 pages… they’re really good. Is it going to stay this good?”

He hasn’t even read 10 pages [of Ghostbusters 3] yet, to the best of our knowledge.

[Regarding the original Ghostbusters] Bill just committed to it… he just said yes. He went to India to make The Razor’s Edge. I don’t think he even read the script [for Ghostbusters] until he arrived back, [and] the day he came back, we shot with him.”

New TDKR fan posters

Now that the villians have been announced, fans have been busy Photoshopping new posters for The Dark Knight Rises.
I think that the Catwoman one is a little too simple and cliched; almost as if it was the first idea they thought of.
However, the Bane poster is quite cool. It would have been better with a Venom pump wired into the back of his skull, perhaps with some dark veins showing through the skin around it, but it is still quite cool.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Star Wars Careers Guidance

I've been feeling a little fed up with work recently, so I was forced to smile when I saw this today.
I would be a Jedi Knight, apparently. Which is exactly what I would have hoped for!

Back to real life.

Wonder Woman TV Show Details Revealed

The following could either mean that Wonder Woman is going to be the superhero version of Ally McBeal or it could simply be biased misinterpretation of portions of the script. Judge for yourselves, but I am dialing my hopes down for this project (so that I will, hopefully, be pleasantly surprised).

NBC and David E. Kelley have been extremely secretive about the upcoming Wonder Woman TV show. Our friends over at BleedingCool got their hands on a draft of the pilot script and have shared some details. No worries, the following information is spoiler-free!

Fans of the comic books will be happy to know that the new show features a lot of elements and characters from the comics:
■Myndi Mayer is a part of the show, herein portrayed as Diana’s best friend.
■It has a scene featuring comic character Etta Candy. The script is written as an open-invitation for Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly).
■The series will focus on the relationship between Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman. Long ago government man Trevor crashed onto Wonder Woman’s island and brought her back to New York, and now they’ve split up, but she still has feelings.
■There may not be an invisible jet, but Diana has a whole rainbow’s worth of over colored aircraft.
■She still has her lasso, and her bullet-deflecting bracelets.
■Her nemesis is Veronica Cale, who in this series will be an evil scientist and rival businesswoman with an evil plan that audiences will be easy to guess ahead of time.

This reboot will be a lot different too. In addition to her Diana Prince alter ego, this time Wonder Woman will have a day job as Diana Themyscyra, the head of Themiscyra industries. The series will be very similar to Iron Man and the Tony Stark character where everyone will know that Ms. T and Wonder W are the same.

Apparently Diana has a trendy crew of 20 something techie and science geeks that live in her basement and help her solve crimes in further episodes.

Here are some details on who her character is and what motivates her emotionally. This new Wonder Woman:
■Relates to ET the Extra Terrestrial when his movie comes on TV.
■Loves planes.
■Loves Steve and wishes they could be together.
■Yearns to belong and be “among” people, not just “with” them.
■Sings along to the radio in multiple scenes.
■Hates being “marketed, commercialized, merchandised”, though she is – there’s a joke about Wonder Woman tie-in dolls having their costumes redesigned that seems to reference the recent makeover for the comics.
■As Diana Prince she’s a mousey Miley Stewart, when she’s Diana Themiscyra she’s the Hanna Montana of businesswomen, and she will only be Wonder Woman twice in the pilot episode.
■Is a capitalist.

It looks like we are in for a goofy comedy-drama about an aggressive business woman by day and a super heroine by night. In more groan inducing news, the show will be full of Girl Power pop-songs and the phrase “You go, girl” is used.
BleedingCool reports that some of the jokes are good, but the overall drama elements are lacking. The character relationships are nothing new, audiences have seen them before, and there’s nothing in the plot that is amazing or unexpected.
The script features songs like Beyonce's Single Ladies. It also has the following songs: One Way or Another by Blondie; Wonder of You by Jeffrey McDonald; Golddigger by Kanye West; Bad Romance by Lady Gaga; Last of the American Girls and Extraordinary Girl by Green Day; Pepinot by Les Choristes; I Only Know How to Love by Christina Aguilera.


TDKR will be phenomenal

GeekTyrant have written up an interview with Nolan's Bat-cinematographer, Wally Pfister. The DoP (Director of Photography) has said that he has been blown away by the script and that he was impressed by how it ties the first two films into a trilogy.
Personally, I'm thrilled because Chris Nolan could have just done another film in the series, but to tie everything that he has done up into a whole package is just sublime. I cannot wait to see this at IMAX. Chris Nolan has very quickly become my Scorcese, my Hitchcock and my Spielberg all rolled into one. He could direct a My Little Pony movie and I'd watch it.

Here's what he had to say:

"I read the script two weeks ago, and he's done it. Plain and simple — he's done it. It's a phenomenal script. He's still in the process of cutting it back because it's a very long script right now, but it's really phenomenal. And he actually had me go back and wanted me to watch, in IMAX, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight again. When I watched those I had read the script for The Dark Knight Rises and was like, 'dude, it is a perfect trilogy.' I think that was his intent, to work of those two pictures — and they are very different pictures. And it's funny, we all had different opinions about which picture we like better.

Our goal is to shoot as much in IMAX as we can. We're going to put in on the screen, and put it on the screen big. And I really encourage everyone to see it in IMAX if they can because we're really going for it this time. In terms of the action, we are all scratching our heads right now trying to figure out how we're going to do it; how we're going to do it in the amount of time we're going to do it in. The opening scene of the movie will blow your mind."

Joseph Gordon-Levitt cast in Batman3

Cast? But as who? Could Nolan add a third villian? Will we see him as a cop working against Gordon?
Curiouser and curiouser...

After all the rumors about Joseph Gordon-Levitt possibly being cast in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, it looks like his casting is becoming a reality. The actor is currently in talks to reunite with Nolan for a second time. There's no information on who he will play in the film, but Deadline reports that he'll be in the movie when Nolan starts production in the spring. Levitt's schedule will be wide open once he's finished shooting Rian Johnson's Looper with Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt.

When the rumors of Levitt's involvement were going around everyone was speculating that he would be taking on the role of the Riddler, but from what it's sounding like The Riddler wont be involved with this movie. Bane and Selina Kyle (Catwoman) have already been confirmed, so I doubt Nolan will throw in a third villain.

The big question is... who do you think Levitt will play in the film?


Sunday, 30 January 2011

Superman is cast for Christmas 2012

LA Times


Zak Synder's Superman has been cast and he's British - Nolan's influence?

Respect for Robin

If you are under 10, then you are already aware of what only a relative handful of your elders know: Robin can be really cool.
Kids love Robin for two reasons:
1- He is more relatable to them than Batman. They can find it easier to imagine themselves going on adventures with Batman than actually being him.
2- They aren't embarrassed about liking Robin. By the time teenagerism kicks in most people become so self-conscious that they would claim to dislike oxygen if the other kids at school thought it was lame. So how are they going to react when Robin is treated as a joke by sitcoms, magazines and the general public? Unfortunately this attitude sticks with them, probably until they have kids themselves.

Robin & me: a brief history
My first experience of Robin was Burt Ward in the 1960s Batman TV series. At three or four years old I was hooked on Batman and Robin. Every day at play group (nursery/pre school) my friend and I would play as Batman and Robin. This is one of my earliest memories - watching the show, playing the game, getting in a scuffle because some kid took the 'batmobile' from us.
I saw the Burton movies probably far too young (got turned away at the cinema for Returns, but saw it on VHS as soon as it was out).
I can still get upset when I think of how my little sister sat on and broke the leg off a Batman figure.
The Animated Series had me glued to the TV for half an hour each week. Here Robin is shown as a young college student who is smart and capable. The episode that highlights his origins was excellent (Robin's Reckoning).
I collected the Batman Returns action figures (including Tim Drake Robin!) and dipped into the Animated Series figures for the villians. My sister and I would spend hours making up stories with these figures, often with Robin as the hero, as an essential part of Batman's arsenal.
By this time I was living in the states (for a year) and would stand in the supermarkets and pharmacies reading comics (something that we never had in the UK stores) and Robin had his own comic! My prized possession book was the junior novelisation of Knightfall and the issue of TV Guide that had a Batman run down (must have been 55 year anniversary), including a whole page devoted to the three Robins (4 with Carrie Kelly).
We moved back to the UK and Batman Forever came out, again showing Robin. Even at 11 though, I knew that this version of Robin wasn't quite what I wanted, needed or expected.
Then, in 1997, came Batman & Robin. Following this farse I had a couple of years in which I didn't look for new Batman. I still watched the Burton movies, but that was it. Until 1999ish when I picked up Batman vs Predator III. Wow. This is what I'd been missing. Not a fully grown Chris O'Donnell, not a Holy-tights Burt Ward, not a child, but a competent, a strong, smart, independant teenager who was an apprentice to the Batman. This triggered my love of comics and I soon grew my collection. As I went to university and had my own income, this collection grew exponentially as I started buying the single issues each month as well as catching up on collected editions. Robin has also been featured on Teen Titans, The Batman and Young Justice TV shows and the awful video game Batman: Dark Tomorrow.

Where does the hate come from?
The problem is that for most people, my first experience of Robin is their only experience of Robin. As I grew and matured, I found other sources to feed my love of the characters, but most people have only ever seen the Adam West show and the (currently) 6 movies released since 1989 (of which Robin only featured in the worst two). Thus their view of Robin is somewhat skewed toward the camp and the buffoonish. The whole 'Robin is gay' joke that has been strung along in sitcoms like Friends, is one that has become cliche, but still damages public perception of the character. This of course stems from the 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent by American psychiatrist Fredric Wertham. Here he, essentially, suggests that all modern media is being created to warp children's mind and that violent and sexual themes have been hidden within the pages of comics and storybooks. He has created an idea that Batman & Robin are in a gay relationship and that Wonder Woman is a lesbian. His own pre-occupation with homosexuality in a time of repression aside, this is exactly the type of thinking that leads to claims of Marilyn Manson causing the Columbine shootings or Grand Theft Auto being responisble for car crime. Ill-informed, extremist scape-goating, yes, but damaging nonetheless.

More recently, I have been on message boards where people say that the love Batman, but hate Robin. How can you possibly hate a character that has been part of the mythos for nearly the entire publication history? Batman was first published in 1939. Robin was introduced in 1940. This is like saying you love Reggie Jeeves, but hate Bertie Wooster. You love Sherlock Holmes, but hate John Watson. To say that you find him uninteresting or irrating, fine, but hate? I think you might have only watched Burt Ward and Chris O'Donnell, little troll. Try reading some actual source material.
To use a very British comparison; to say that you hate Robin after only watching the '60s TV show or The Schumacher Batman movies is like saying you hate Miss Marple after only watching the new ITV series. You need to watch Joan Hickson or actually read some Christie to appreciate it.

Tim Drake
To my mind, Tim Drake has revolutionalised Robin. Don't get me wrong, in the 1970s and 80s Dick Grayson was doing alot of good things as Robin, but he didn't really flurish until he became Nightwing. Since 1989, when, at 13, he first revealed that he had deduced the identity of the batman, Tim Drake has grown as a character. He was never reckless like Jason, nor a dare-devil like Dick. Tim has been something else, rather than contrast Batman, Tim's Robin compliments him. He is happier to hold back and use the shadows to pick his moment, he is first and foremost a detective and we have seen that he doesn't mind getting his hands a little dirty to acheive his goals. Over the last few years, he has undergone personal tragedies that have forced him to become more serious about his chosen vocation. His evolution has taken him from a self-concious Peter Parker to a chess grandmaster crossed with Batman. Tim started out as the kid who played Dungeons and Dragons in his friend's basement and couldn't talk to a girl without going a bit funny. Now he is the teenager who struggles to maintain friendships because 110% of his time is dedicated to 'the job'. This is a character who has starred in his own ongoing series and mini-series for over 200 issues. Who has supported, not just in Batman and Detective Comics, but in Young Justice and Teen Titans as well as the whole host of Bat-books.

The Future
Now we have real opportunites in significant media to promote this 'new' style of Robin (that has been developing since the 1970s).
Arkham City and The Dark Knight Rises are coming out in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Both have rumours of a Robin inclusion. I doubt that we will see Robin feature in the main story for either of these, but as a side-line? Easily.
Could we see a turn from Robin in a co-op mulitplayer for Arkham City?
Just a glance at some of the websites devoted to videogames and you can tell thatthere is a buzz question. Will we see Robin? If there is co-op multiplayer for the Challenge Rooms, it seems obvious that Robin would be included, doesn't it?
UPDATE (21.06.2011): It has just been announced that Tim Drake's Robin and Red Robin costumes will be playable in Batman: Arkham City's Challenge Mode. He will have his own gadgets and combat moves. The first image is on the right. This is definitely a step in the right direction. Now everyone who plays Arkham City (and that'll be a lot) will know how cool Robin can be.
Could we have a visit to Haley's Circus to see the Flying Graysons as the epilogue to The Dark Knight Rises?
After all, Nolan apparently put the Joker card at the end of Batman Begins, simply as a way to raise excitement at the end of the movie and to hint that it really was just the beginning of his career as Batman. This was before he knew that he was going to make the sequel. He could very well do the same with the end of his swan song. As Bruce and Alfred settle down in the Batcave at the end of the movie the latter could hand an invitation to a charity bash at Haley's Circus starring the Flying Graysons to the former. What would get people more excited, what would symbolise the next step in the Batman's career more, than a hint at Robin?

Can we start getting some respect for Robin from the general public, will he stop being seen as a joke? I hope so, because, Goddamn, is some respect due his way.

Recommended reading:
Dick Grayson
Batman: Dark Victory, Batman: The Gauntlet, Robin: Year One

Tim Drake
Robin: A Hero Reborn, Robin: Flying Solo, Robin #116-120, Robin: Search for a Hero