Liquid Comics announced today a new partnership with horror auteur Wes Craven (Scream, The Thing) and producer Arnold Rifkin (Live Free or Die Hard) for Craven to write and create new graphic novel story to be adapted into a movie.
"I'm thrilled to be working with Liquid Comics and Cheyenne Enterprises on the development of an original idea for both a comic book and for a subsequent film based on it," said Craven. "It's an idea I've been dying to get out there, and working in collaboration with Sharad Devarajan and Arnold Rifkin will be the ideal win/win way to do it."
Although there are not yet any details about Craven's anticipated story, the director is already in talks with several leading minds in the comic book industry to help him develop his project. If all goes to plan, Craven's graphic novel will be released as a four-issue comic book series beginning early next year.
"Wes Craven has continuously been at the forefront of redefining the horror and thriller genres," said Liquid Comics CEO Sharad Devarajan. "We are honored to be able to work with him to bring his creativity and genius to graphic novels for the first time."
While many comic books are now being created with the express purpose of being adapted to film, Craven and Liquid Comics' partnership may well mark the first time the industry has abandoned the pretense of making comics just for the comic medium altogether. Whether this represents a new level of honesty about the increasingly visible comic-movie industry complex or a new low for graphic novels remains to be seen.
Top Story: "Love Doctor" Luther Vandross Suffers Stroke
R&B singer-songwriter Luther Vandross suffered a stroke Wednesday, just days before his 52nd birthday, his label J Records said on Thursday. The singer, who has battled weight and health problems for years, is undergoing medical treatment at an undisclosed hospital. "Vandross is under medical care, and his family and friends are hopeful for a speedy recovery," Carmen Romano, the entertainer's business manager, told Reuters. The five-time Grammy winner became a frequent fixture on the urban music charts, but mainstream success eluded him until 1989, when he enjoyed his first Top 10 pop hit with "Here and Now," from the compilation album, "The Best of Luther Vandross ... The Best of Love. " The song has since become a classic wedding ballad.
Couric and Leno Trade Places for a Day
NBC's Today show co-host Katie Couric and Tonight Show host Jay Leno will switch jobs for a day on May 12, Reuters reports. "People like her, she has an infectious personality, and she's so cute that if she bombs, she can get away with it because she's cute," Leno told Access Hollywood. Leno will interview U.S. officials on the reconstruction of Iraq while Couric will talk to Joan Rivers about the comedian's latest plastic surgery.
"Friends" Stars Design Recliners for Charity
Friends stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer have teamed up with La-Z-Boy to design six unique versions of the popular reclining chair, a spokesman for the company said. The recliners will be auctioned on eBay from May 12- 22, with proceeds going to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
Pam Grier's "Wilder" Gets DVD Release
Wilder, a never-released action film starring Pam Grier as a tough single-mom cop, will come out on video on May 13. Produced by Canadian-based Cinequest Films three years ago, the film will be distributed on DVD and VHS by Florida-based firm MTI. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company has come on strong in the home video market during the past year by digging up little-known pics with popular stars and developing a brand of twisted B-horror films with outrageous plots that border on comedic insanity.
HBO Pulls Oliver Stone's Castro Documentary
HBO has pulled director Oliver Stone's documentary about Cuban President Fidel Castro from its May schedule because of Cuba's recent crackdown on dissidents. "In light of recent events, we felt unless Oliver Stone can return to Cuba and interview Castro...it was somewhat dated and incomplete," an HBO spokeswoman told Reuters Thursday. Comandante was made in February 2002 with Stone and his crew taping some 30 hours of conversations with Castro over a three-day period.
Dr. Robert Atkins Dies
Dr. Robert C. Atkins, who endured decades of criticism over his low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet, died Thursday at the New York Weill-Cornell Medical Center after suffering a severe head injury during a fall, The Associated Press reports. He was 72. Atkins' book, Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution, was dismissed as nutritional folly by the American Medical Association when it was first published in 1972, but his approach was finally vindicated earlier this year when a half-dozen studies showed people on the Atkins diet lost weight without compromising their health.
Detroit Preps for Hip-Hop Summit
Eminem and hip-hop veterans Rev. Run (Run D.M.C.) and Doug E. Fresh are among those who will take part in the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network's (HSAN) April 26 Detroit summit, Billboard.com reports. The event, which will take place at the city's 13,000-capacity Cobo Hall, will focus on youth empowerment and will operate under the theme "Remix: Rebuilding, Refocusing, Reinvesting, Resurgence." Tickets, which are free of charge, are available on a first come, first served basis.
Role Call: Willis Forgets Amnesia Pic
Bruce Willis has dropped out of the amnesia thriller Me Again two months before it was set to shoot. According to Variety, producer-distributor Intermedia, which recently laid off employees and slashed production deals, could no longer afford Willis' $25 million price tag and the actor did not want to renegotiate his salary. Willis was also due to collect nearly $5 million more for the producing efforts of his partner in Cheyenne Enterprises, Arnold Rifkin, and his brother, producer David Willis. Diane Lane remains in the pic's female lead.
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.
Being a big movie star just isn't enough for Bruce Willis. The "Die Hard" guy and his former agent turned business partner Arnold Rifkin have launched their own production company, Daily Variety reports today.
Christened Cheyenne Enterprises, the company -- based in Santa Monica, Calif. -- is financed with the two starters' own money. It boasts first-look deals with both 20th Century Fox TV and Hearst Entertainment Prods.
The production company is currently shooting "Bandits," with Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett in the starring roles and is in pre-production on "Hart's War," a WWII flick with Willis and Colin Farrell ("Tigerland").
"Cheyenne Enterprises was born out of the 17-year association that Bruce and I have enjoyed," Rifkin told Variety. "Our goal in this partnership is to establish a creative environment which will allow us to use our relationships in the entertainment community to seek out, develop and produce film and television projects that reflect our tastes and sensibilities."
Willis is next in theaters in M. Night Shyamalan's "Unbreakable."