Producers are planning four different spin-off movies featuring characters from X-Men film trilogy.
X-Men: The Last Stand opened worldwide last week to massive audiences who will be delighted there are more mutant movies coming soon.
Australian actor Hugh Jackman has already signed on for Wolverine, which will begin shooting next year.
And 20th Century Fox's production president Hutch Parker says, "We've also talked about doing something on the kids in (Professor X's) school, focusing on their lives, and less of a global adventure for the team."
The studio is also exploring a movie based on the character of Emma Frost, a sexy mutant telepath who can transform her skin into diamonds.
She is an X-Men comics regular, but does not feature in any of the movies. Another solo project is currently being written called Magneto, which will focus on the character's pre-villain days.
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For a few years in the '60s and '70s producer Gerry Anderson made "supermarionation" all the rage in the world of British children's television. His stop-motion puppets starred in a number of sci-fi adventure series most memorably Thunderbirds which followed the exploits of International Rescue -- a team comprised of ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy and his sons. Based out of their secret fortress on Treasure Island the Tracys (aided by lovely secret agent Lady Penelope) used their amazing rocket-powered vehicles to prevent disasters and save lives around the world. Now 40 years after Thunderbirds' TV debut Star Trek vet Jonathan Frakes has brought Anderson's characters to life on the big screen. Front and center is youngest son Alan Tracy (Brady Corbet) who dreams of the day he too can pilot one of his family's fab ships and lead missions. But first he has to prove himself to his father Jeff (Bill Paxton). That opportunity comes sooner than either expects when mysterious villain The Hood (Ben Kingsley) strands Jeff and the older Tracy boys in space and attacks Treasure Island. With only his friends Tintin (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) and Fermat (Soren Fulton) to help him Alan has to grow up quickly if he wants to save his family ... and the world!
It would be easy to mock several of the performances in Thunderbirds-- to chide Paxton for his earnest seriousness as Tracy patriarch Jeff to dismiss Corbet's angst-tinged eagerness as Alan to roll your eyes at Kingsley's over-the-top mystical fierceness as The Hood and to wince at Fulton and Anthony Edwards' nerdy stuttering as science whizzes Fermat and his dad Brains. But actors are only as good as their script and the one Frakes has given his cast (courtesy of screenwriters William Osborne and Michael McCullers) is weak and clichéd at best filled with after-school-special-worthy lessons for Alan to learn. "You can't save everyone " Jeff tells his son somberly and even Tintin has a moral for her crush when he's feeling selfish and indulging in self-pity: "This is hard on all of us Alan." Talk about insight! What makes it even more frustrating is knowing that the actors are capable of much more even the kids: Both Corbet and Hudgens did well with supporting roles in Thirteen. Thunderbirds' only real bright spot is Sophia Myles as Lady Penelope. A cross between Reese Witherspoon's Elle in Legally Blonde and Jennifer Garner's Sydney on Alias Myles' Lady P doesn't let her pink couture wardrobe prevent her from coolly kicking ass when the situation demands it. Attended by her droll driver/man-of-all-trades Parker (Ron Cook) Lady Penelope is a fresh feisty heroine with all of the film's best lines -- and the coolest car to boot.
Frakes cut his directorial teeth on episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and his first feature film was Star Trek: First Contact so he would seem like a natural choice to bring a cult sci-fi TV show to the big screen. Unfortunately while he does an admirable job re-creating (and improving on) the original Thunderbirds' mod sets cool ships and special effects (which are fine if a bit more TV-sized than summer blockbustery) Frakes can't seem to decide who his audience is. If he was aiming at grown-ups who remember the show fondly from their own childhood he should have embraced the source material's campiness (à la Starsky and Hutch) rather than restricting it to the Tracys' plastic Barbie-like furniture and Lady P's bouffant hairdo. If on the other hand Frakes was hoping to entertain today's kids he should have really reinvented the show for a 21st-century world (à la Stephen Hopkins'1998 Lost in Space) rather than clinging to the '60s references As it is he's stuck somewhere in the middle leaving adults bored during the kids-on-an-adventure bits and children mystified by the handful of jokes aimed at their parents.
Hip-hop guru Russell Simmons said Tuesday he will announce plans this weekend for a boycott against Pepsi, accusing the soft drink giant of applying a double standard, Reuters reports. A few months ago, Pepsi yanked a commercial featuring rapper Ludacris after conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly urged a boycott and accused Pepsi of being "immoral" for using the foul-mouthed rapper to promote their product. Pepsi caved in to the pressure and pulled the 30-second television spot, but recruited potty mouth Ozzy Osbourne for a Super Bowl commercial only months later. A spokeswoman for Simmons said in a statement, "The boycott is being called in response to Pepsi dropping Ludacris as spokesman and subsequently picking up the Osbournes, who are no less vulgar." Meanwhile, a PepsiCo Inc. spokesman told Reuters the Ludacris controversy was an unfortunate experience. "It was our mistake, we learned a lot from it and we've moved on," the spokesman said. "We respect Russell's interest in bringing hip-hop talent to a larger audience and we have worked together to do just that," he added.
Madonna said she has not dyed her hair or started sporting baggy clothes because she is pregnant--and she is striking back at British gossip magazine Heat for saying so. Spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg said Madonna would file a complaint with Britain's Press Complaints Commission, a self-regulatory body set up and run by newspaper and magazines, over inaccurate reports that she is pregnant with her third child. "It's not true ... it's not accurate. She dyed her hair brown instead of blond, that does not confirm somebody's pregnant. And she's been wearing baggy clothes for 20 years, so what else is new?" Rosenberg told Reuters.
Brit mag Hello!, meanwhile, told London's High Court Tuesday that Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones couldn't complain over the use of unauthorized photos of their lavish New York wedding because they actively sought publicity for the event. The stars are suing the mag for an estimated $800,000 in damages for loss of income, stress and damage to their careers because of the poor quality of the shots, taken by gate-crashing photographer Rupert Thorpe. Hello! published the pics three days before rival magazine OK! hit the stands with official shots secured in a $1.65 million deal with the stars, Reuters reports.
A man who helped steal Nicolas Cage's 1989 Porsche 911 was sentenced to five years in prison Monday in Jefferson County Circuit Court, The Associated Press reports. Michael Gramling, 20, of Arnold, Mo., pleaded guilty last year after Missouri Water Patrol divers found the $100,000 car submerged in 12 feet of water at Lake of the Ozarks. It had been stolen a month earlier from a parking lot in Arnold while in a transport trailer on its way from California to Pennsylvania. Another defendant, Scott Air Force Base airman Robert Clerkin, 21, was previously tried on stealing charges in a military court and sentenced to six months in prison. His sentence includes a rank reduction, forfeiture in pay and a letter of reprimand.
Tickets are on sale now for the Santa Monica Film Festival, which runs Feb. 13-16 at the Laemmle Theater in Santa Monica, Calif., and features more than 40 independent and short films including Briar Patch (a dark love story starring Dominique Swain and Henry Thomas), Stevie (a documentary by Hoop Dreams director Steve James) and Lost Junction starring Neve Campbell. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are slated to receive the festival's Maverick Filmmakers award at the Feb. 13 opening night ceremony. Tickets and more information are available at www.smff.com.
Miramax offshoot Dimension Films is on board to co-finance the Warner Bros. action comedy Starsky and Hutch, which is based on the classic 1970s cop series. Originally the film was going to be an updated pic set in modern-day Los Angeles but has since been turned into a period piece. Co-financing was needed to cover the rising cost of costuming and set design expenses. Insiders tell Variety the budget for the pic is already north of $60 million. Directed by Todd Phillips, the film stars Ben Stiller as Det. David Starsky, Owen Wilson as Det. Kenneth Hutchinson and Snoop Dogg as their streetwise informant, Huggy Bear.
Director Mathieu Kassovitz, best known for his 1996 drama Hate, will helm the supernatural thriller Gothika starring Halle Berry and Penelope Cruz, Variety reports. The film revolves around a criminal psychologist (Berry) who awakens to find herself a patient in her own mental institution, unable to remember a murder she supposedly committed, and victimized by a vengeful spirit in the asylum. Cruz plays a fellow inmate. The film begins production in April and is scheduled for release at Halloween.
AP reports the first new Doors concert will take place on Friday in Los Angeles with a tour planned for later this year, despite a looming lawsuit. Original Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger re-formed the group and renamed it The Doors 21st Century, with Ian Astbury of The Cult on vocals and former Police drummer Stewart Copeland. But former Doors drummer John Densmore has now filed a suit seeking a court order prohibiting the band from calling themselves The Doors when they perform without him, and requests that Densmore be paid a share of profits from any shows that have already taken place without him.
In an interview with Dateline on NBC Tuesday, comedian Paula Poundstone said she never hit or sexually abused anyone, but had been "colossally stupid." While Poundstone admitted she had a drinking problem, she said there was no worse punishment than returning from rehab to an empty house. "There are kids in orphanages in the Balkans that the state of California believes are better off there than with me," she told Dateline. "It's not a very good feeling."
Bruce Willis is set to star in a thriller about a man who has lost his memory and has to figure out whether he's a hitman or a hitman's target. Me Again, produced by Willis' partner Arnold Rifkin and Beryl Vertue, will begin production some time later this year, Variety reports. No director is attached to the project.
Billy Bob Thornton, Johnny Depp and Hugh Grant have been added to the spring lineup for Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio. According to Variety, the episodes will air from Jan. 28 to March 11. Telecasts for this month's interviews with Bruce Willis, Debra Winger, Sarah Jessica Parkerand Sissy Spacek have yet to be scheduled.
Denzel Washington, who plays a financially strapped man who holds a hospital emergency room hostage to get a heart transplant for his son in John Q, does not necessarily agree with his character's tactics. "What he's saying basically is that my son's life is more important than anyone else's in that emergency room, " he told reporters over the weekend. "The bottom line is he could have gone to a county hospital."
British talent apparently does not impress Minnie Driver. Driver commented in an interview with a Los Angeles newspaper that some of England's greatest actresses are also some of the plainest. Sky News reports that Driver said, "Maybe it is because theatre is the great love of England, but you can have Judi Dench, a very small, round, middle-aged, lovely, mothering type, playing Cleopatra." Dench was 52-and menopausal-when she played the Queen of the Nile in London for director Peter Hall.
Janet Jackson said on Tuesday that she may never tour again. In an interview with the syndicated TV news show Extra, Jackson said she would only tour again if she could hit every place she needed to go within a month or two. "Touring is very grueling. It's very taxing on the body and living out of your suitcase, going from city to city, night after night. It's a tough job," she told Extra, which provided a partial transcript of the interview to Reuters. The entire interview will air on Wednesday.
CBS, Fox and NBC have greenlighted more pilots for fall 2002. According to Variety, the former producer of Homicide: Life on the Streets will head R.U.S.H., a CBS pilot about an elite unit of the LAPD, while Fox has given the final OK for Fast Lane, an action series described as a cross between Starsky and Hutch and Miami Vice. NBC meanwhile has agreed to push the comedy Mr. Ambassador starring Rupert Everett to midseason.
Veteran broadcast journalist Connie Chung is leaving ABC News to join CNN, where she is expected to host a primetime show, Reuters reports. Chung's move intensifies the rivalry between CNN and the Fox News Channel in the all-news cable television category. Last month Fox stole CNN's Greta Van Susteren to anchor a primetime news show, while CNN lured away Fox News Channel's anchor Paula Zahn.
Moulin Rouge took home eight prizes at the International Press Academy's sixth annual Golden Satellite Awards, including best director and best film, Variety reports. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring followed with four nods, In the Bedroom earned three wins and A Beautiful Mind nabbed two prizes. The International Press Academy is a breakaway group from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that organizes the Golden Globe Awards.
Pat Summerall announced Tuesday that he will leave John Madden, his NFL broadcasting partner of 21 years, after they call the Super Bowl for Fox Sports, the Associated Press reports. Summerall, 71, said he was not retiring and still wants to do games and work with the NFL.
AP reports that John Mellencamp is satisfied with the four-year suspended sentence and $10,000 fine given to homebuilder Timothy O. Eldredge, who pled guilty to a felony charge of theft of $137,471 by falsifying billing invoices in an effort to bilk the singer and his wife, Elaine Irwin. The couple had hired The Eldredge Group of Indianapolis to build a $2.5 million home near Lake Monroe south of Bloomington.
The WB has decided to halt production on the second season of the comedy Nikki, which star Nikki Cox as a Las Vegas showgirl and Nick von Esmarch as her wrestler husband. A total of 41 episodes will have been produced when the show wraps.
ABC and ESPN have won broadcast rights from NBC for the National Basketball Association games. The six-year deal starts next season, but the league said it would also create a new network with AOL Time Warner Inc. broadcast games. According to Reuters, the new deals will feature more than twice the number of regular season broadcasts as the current one.