Plenty of actors have lent their voices to prime time animated series like The Simpsons or movies like The Croods and Toy Story. But it’s hard to imagine Saturday Morning Cartoons with huge stars. A lot of people are shocked to find out that the original voice of Shredder on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star James Avery, or to recall which Star Wars veteran was behind The Joker. Perhaps you weren't aware of the big names behind some of these childhood favorites...
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
A group of teenagers use magic rings to harness the elements and to summon Captain Planet, an environmental superhero. Each episode, they battle villains trying to pollute the environment. Whoopi Goldberg voices Gaia, the spirit of the Earth and their boss. What a lot of children at the time didn’t realize is the show’s villains are all played by major celebrities. Meg Ryan is Dr. Blight, a disfigured doctor who works with a sarcastic British computer. Jeff Goldblum plays Verminous Skumm, a mutated rat creature with a fondness for toxic waste. Sting even appears on the show as the creatively named Zarm. Other villains are played by Hollywood veterans Martin Sheen, James Coburn, Malcolm McDowell, and Ed Asner. Major celebs also stop by for guest appearances including Danny Glover, Louis Gossett Jr., and even Elizabeth Taylor.
This Disney cartoon creates a mythology where stone gargoyles come to life when the sun sets. It also has a bizarre Star Trek connection. Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis play series villains David Xanatos and Demona. There are also performance by other The Next Generation stars Michael Dorn, Brett Spiner, LeVar Burton, and Colm Meany. The captains of Deep Space Nine, Avery Brooks, and Voyager, Kate Mulgrew, appear on the cartoon. Nichelle Nichols even makes an appearance.
Batman: The Animated Series
Batman is probably the most star-studded cartoon in television history. The series features appearances by stars from the 1970s to today. 1970s icons like Adrienne Barbeau, Michael York, and Marilu Henner pop by the series. Bewitched actress Elizabeth McGovern plays her last role ever on the cartoon. Mark Hamill, a.k.a. Luke Skywalker, finds a career resurgence playing The Joker. Night Court’s Richard Moll, The Beastmaster Marc Singer, and Melissa Gilbert all bring 1980s nostalgia playing major characters. Bruce Wayne’s various love interests include Heather Locklear, comedian Julie Brown, and Supergirl Helen Slater. There are also appearances by future celebrities like Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss and Megan Mullally.
Similarly, this Man of Steel cartoon has a ton of television actors lending their voices. Superman is voiced by Wings star Tim Daly and Lois Lane is Desperate Housewives star Dana Delany. Sitcom stars Peri Gilpin, Brad Garett, and Joely Fisher all appear on the show.
Two of TV's famous families, The Simpsons and the Griffins, are finally going meet. The Simpsons and Family Guy are planning their first crossover episode, which will air in 2014. The two Fox animated comedies will combine in an episode of Family Guy titled "The Simpsons Guy." Peter takes his family on a roadtrip to Springfield, where they run into Homer and the gang.
The families get to know each other and soon become friends. Homer and Peter drink beers together, Stewie learns some tricks from Bart, and Marge and Lois become BFFs. Sounds like a good time for everyone!
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After a battle that would leave even the Man of Steel in need of good herbal bath soak, a Los Angeles judge announced Wednesday that the family of Superman co-creator Joseph Shuster would walk away empty handed in their fight to reclaim their 50% interest of the character, now owned by Warner Bros. Studio.
Particular elements of Superman were set to revert to the Shuster family in 2013, putting Warner Bros. in a sticky situation with their upcoming blockbuster Man of Steel. A loss would have stripped the movie studio of its rights to utilize many of Superman's trademarks, from super strength to the Lois Lane and Lex Luthor characters to the mere mention of the term "Kryptonite."
In 2008, a court ruled in favor of the family of Jerry Siegel who owned the other 50% of the Superman rights. If the lawyers defending the Shuster estate had won the case, the character could then be shopped to other studios — and the WB's in-motion projects would be DOA.
But a document from 1992 (via Hollywood Reporter), approved to be used in the court case in April, was the nail in the coffin for the Shuster estate. In the official wording from the verdict:
"The Court finds that the 1992 Agreement, which represented the Shuster heirs’ opportunity to renegotiate the prior grants of Joe Shuster’s copyrights, superseded and replaced all prior grants of the Superman copyrights."
With 50% of the character, Warner Bros. can now continue with their plans to release Man of Steel and further develop the character for other projects (including the proposed Justice League film.
While the Shuster camp will likely appeal the ruling (as Warner Bros. is currently in the process of doing to the Siegel case, in hopes of holding 100% of the rights), the studio win is another mark on the timeline of creators losing ownership of ther characters — ones that have helped make big companies millions. Recent examples include a fight by the heirs of famed comic artist Jack Kirby, who brought characters like X-Men, Iron Man, and The Incredible Hulk to life for the first time, but was deemed an artist for hire by Marvel, who was then able to keep their hold on the roster. Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich had a similar spat with Marvel, which ended with the comic company demanding Friedrich no longer appear at conventions with Ghost Rider merchandise, sketches or even the title "creator of Ghost Rider."
Fans live on the outskirt of the issue: for any Man of Steel fan, a new big screen adventure is a dream come true and the creator legal battles only stand in the way of that blockbuster treatment. But do the public struggles of creatives in the industry affect the enjoyment of the films? Is someone in the wrong, or is it all the price of doing business?
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures; DC Comics]
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The My Cousin Vinny star passed away on Monday (11Jun12) at his home in Los Angeles, his wife Debbie Benedict Smith tells the Associated Press.
Smith, who studied at the famed Actors Studio in New York with Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino, is best known for playing U.S. President Richard Nixon in TV movie The Final Days, a role which earned him a Golden Globe award nomination.
He also racked up a credit playing newspaper editor Perry White in TV series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, as well as roles in films including The Legend of Bagger Vance and The Mighty Ducks.
Batman vs. Superman. The Hulk vs. Professor Xavier. Spider-Man vs. Iron Man. Any superhero super fan has wondered what would happen if their favorite comic protagonists faced off against one another. But debating those battles is almost too easy. Instead, what if each superhero in battle was to suffer a significant mental disadvantage? How would Superman fare against Thor if he were distracted by Daily Planet layoffs? How would Spider-Man fare against Batman after eating bad Chinese food? Today, to continue Hollywood.com's Superhero Week, we wonder what would happen if Thor (Chris Hemsworth) was distracted still thinking about that killer Cabin in the Woods ending and had to face off against Superman (Brandon Routh) whose brain is preoccupied with Daily Planet layoffs.
Battle: Superman vs. Thor
In the Right Corner: Superman, who is worried about the impending layoffs at his daytime employer The Daily Planet. (I mean, just look at him being all pensive and wearing glasses.)
In the Left Corner: Thor, distracted because he still thinking about how awesome the ending of The Cabin in the Woods is despite –– SPOILER ALERT! –– the fact that that super handsome character Curt didn't survive to see it.
Inside Superman’s Day: Because leading a double life isn't exhausting enough, Superman/Clark Kent still works at a newspaper. And not the online section of the newspaper. The newspaper newspaper. (Google it, kids.) Entering the office at The Daily Planet building in midtown Metropolis at 7 a.m., Clark is there long before everyone else. The interns will stroll in around 10 or 11 because they're busy Pinteresting or something else that is terrible. But that's just fine because that allows Clark to get all the hot news scoops! Today's biggest story? "Mass Layoffs Expected at The Daily Planet Because It's a Newspaper and It's 2012." So not only is his job at the newspaper his only actual income (turns out, fighting crime doesn't really pay either), but talk about having a major blow to his superhero ego. Here's a guy who can leap tall buildings in a single bound, is faster than a speeding bullet, and more powerful than a locomotive train, but can't rescue his beloved paper and its seasoned employees like himself and Lois and Jimmy from sinking ad sales? How long can he feasibly make a living as a freelancer/superhero? Will print media be gone for good, forever halting the spinning newspaper of news? By the time the interns roll in at noon talking to each other over Red Bulls about whatever the hell One Direction is, Clark decides has to get out and clear his head and find a distraction for a few hours. He checks the paper thankyouverymuch for movie listings and heads to downtown Metropolis for a 1 PM showing of The Cabin in the Woods.
Inside Thor’s Day: Being a hammer-wielding ancient Asgardian warrior living in modern times had proved to be quite the challenge for Thor. Where does a guy who fancies himself as a God with the natural inclination to smash things and say things like "I require sustenance!" go in this day in age? Why, the Internet of course! Needing an outlet for his superhero rage when there's no battles to be fought for the S.H.I.E.L.D., Thor heads to the web and contributes to his movie review blog ByTheHammerOfThor.com. The previous night Thor finally got around to seeing The Cabin in the Woods and woke up first thing today to write a post about the movie which earned his highest grade. (Four Thor Hammers!) Thor can't believe that, in this day and age of Internet spoilers, no one ruined the inspired ending for him. He also can't believe that no one told him how much that handsome, albeit doomed, jock Curt looked like a younger, more clean-cut version of himself. It's uncanny. Thor hops online around 9 a.m. to share his thoughts on that wild finale with his readers: Those monsters as they emerge from the elevator! That Sigourney Weaver cameo! That hilarious twist that mankind completely ends by the hand of an ancient God! Thor's readers had better have seen the movie by now, otherwise he's totally ruining it for them.
The (Cerebral) Battle: After settling into his seat at a surprisingly crowded matinee (doesn't anybody have a job these days?!), Clark accidentally glances over at someone reading something on their iPad. In fact, they're reading a post on some site the interns are always talking about called ByTheHammerOfThor.com about Cabin in the Woods and about how... oh, well that's just GREAT. All Clark wanted was a relaxing, stress-free afternoon and once again the Internet ruined that. But then, an idea! He could write an op-ed piece about how the Internet has forever ruined the movie-going experience. An op-ed so good it could single-handedly save The Daily Planet from going under. Clark went right back to the office and wrote a thoughtful and funny piece about how the Internet and one anonymous blogger who has the nerve to go by Thor told him what happened in The Cabin in the Woods before he even had the chance to see it for himself. The article was so good that his editor decided to, in the ultimate twist of irony, put it up online before the morning paper went out. Thor read the article as soon as it went up (Thor is always on his Google Alerts, after all) and wrote a snarky, lightning-fast reaction on his blog about how out-of-touch Clark Kent (who does he think he is, Superman?) and The Daily Planet is that immediately blew up the Twittersphere. The interns loved it.
The Winner: Thor, despite a noble effort by Superman. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but it's definitely not mightier than a giant ass hammer.
Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran
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Even though recent reports stated that Metallo and Lois Lane's militant father would be the villains in Warner Bros. anticipated Superman reboot, it's now official: General Zod will make his triumphant return to theaters in December 2012 as Michael Shannon has been cast as the fan favorite character today. He takes over the role from Terence Stamp, who played the Kryptonian baddie in the 1978 original and its 1981 sequel, and joins Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane in the new production, which is set to begin this summer.
Zack Snyder is directing Superman: The Man of Steel for the studio while Christopher Nolan acts as producer/creative godfather to the new franchise, joined by his partner/wife Emma Thomas, Charles Roven (who worked with Nolan on his billion dollar Batman franchise) and Snyder's wife/partner Deborah. Thomas Tull and Lloyd Phillips of Legendary Pictures will executive produce. David S. Goyer wrote the screenplay based on his and Nolan's story.
The plan is to shoot this summer, though there's still more casting to get done. We need to know who will play second-tier characters like Jimmy Olsen and Perry White from The Daily Planet as well as who will appear as Ursa and Non, Zod's right-hand man and left-hand woman (both gave the Last Son of Krypton one hell of a battle in Superman II). While those characters may or may not be in the script, one thing is for sure: Snyder and co. have hired perhaps the perfect actor to play Zod. Shannon has a tremendous presence on screen, as anyone who's seen his work in Revolutionary Road, Boardwalk Empire or Take Shelter (his most recent film credit which Sony Pictures Classics will release sometime this year) can attest to. He should prove to be a formidable foe for The Man of Steel as well as a great on-set collaborator for Cavill.
Multiple reports suggest the movie star is no longer attached to Snow White & The Huntsman and is now free to play a villain in Zack Snyder's new Superman film, opposite Henry Cavill.
News broke that Amy Adams had landed the coveted role of Superman’s girlfriend Lois Lane in the film over the weekend (27Mar11), while Diane Lane and Kevin Costner have already been confirmed as the Man of Steel's earthbound parents Martha and Jonathan Kent.
A celebrity basketball game in California on Saturday (08May10) became a battle of the action men - SUPERMAN RETURNS star BRANDON ROUTH played alongside DEAN CAIN, who starred as the hero in TV show LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN.
Britney makes marriage official, drops manager
Pop princess Britney Spears formalized her union with dancer Kevin Federline on Thursday, filing for a marriage license, Reuters reports. As Spears, 22, and Federline, 26, exchanged vows in a secret wedding ceremony in Los Angeles last month, rival tabloid magazines reported the marriage may have been fake. Spears acknowledged then that the couple had yet to file a marriage license--as California law requires within 90 days of the ceremony--but insisted their wedding was real. "All the proper paperwork was dealt with [Thursday], filed, done. It's all legal," Spears' publicist, Leslie Sloane, told Reuters. At the same time she finalized her nuptials, Spears also split with her longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, who announced Thursday that he and the singer had "mutually agreed not to renew their nine-year management relationship." Rudolph is credited with discovering the Louisiana native when she was just 13 years old, helping guide her early career and building her into one of the most successful recording stars in recent years. In a statement, Rudolph said, "Britney and I simply realized what we have done all we can do together."
Stewart reports to jail
Homemaking guru Martha Stewart arrived at a minimum-security prison in Alderson, West Virginia, known as "Camp Cupcake" in the wee hours of the morning Friday to begin her five-month sentence, Reuters reports. Stewart told her fans through her Web site, "By the time you read this, I will have reported to…begin serving my five-month sentence." The former chief executive of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, who vows to make a comeback, was found guilty in March of conspiracy, making false statements and obstruction of justice--all stemming from her suspicious sale of stock in biotech firm ImClone Systems Inc. on Dec. 27, 2001.
Etheridge diagnosed with cancer
Rocker Melissa Etheridge has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has canceled upcoming tour dates to undergo treatment, The Associated Press reports. Etheridge, 43, will undergo surgery and her doctor expects a "speedy and complete recovery," publicist Marcel Pariseau said in a statement, after detecting the cancer early. "I am fortunate to be under a wonderful doctor's care and thankful that this was caught early," Etheridge said in the statement. "I am looking forward to a quick and full recovery."
Kidman causes a stir at Paris fashion show
Chaos erupted on the Paris catwalk on Friday as Nicole Kidman arrived to launch her promotional campaign for Chanel's legendary No 5 perfume, AP reports. Kidman was there to shoot a two-minute film, directed by her good friend Baz Luhrmann, in which she plays an actress who flees photographers at a movie premiere and ends up romancing a handsome stranger, played by Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro. Designer Karl Lagerfeld created a red-carpeted runway for Friday's show to mimic the campaign, and life promptly imitated art as photographers swarmed in to get a shot of Kidman. "I thought he made it really fun and vibrant," Kidman said backstage after the show. Chanel is hoping the advertising blitz will help it win the battle for the all-important Christmas perfume market.
Thornton gets star on Walk of Fame
Oscar-winner Billy Bob Thornton got his very own star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame Thursday, AP reports, as well as a special message from ex-wife Angelina Jolie in a full-page Variety ad: "Billy, I love your brilliant mind…Congratulations! With love and respect always, Angie." Joked Thornton to AP Television News: "You know, it's funny….I've only met Angie Dickinson once." But the 49-year-old actor was modest about the honor. "You can try to be humble about this kind of thing and say, 'Oh well, it's fine or whatever,'" Thornton told the crowd. "But the fact of the matter is it's a huge honor and I appreciate it so much."
Incubus singer detained at NY airport
Brandon Boyd, the lead singer of the rock band Incubus, was arrested Wednesday at LaGuardia Airport after carrying a switchblade in his bag, AP reports. Boyd, who was on his way to a concert gig in North Carolina, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon but was able to continue his travels in time for the concert, a spokeswoman for the band's label, Epic Records, told AP. Boyd admitted he accidentally left the knife in his bag and called the incident "my bad," spokeswoman Lois Najarian said. "I totally forgot it was at the bottom of my bag, and when the security person pulled it out, I thought, 'Oh, no,'" Boyd said in a statement Thursday.