TCA Summer Press Tour: HBO’s Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo Talk AMERICAN GODS

by     Posted 3 years, 93 days ago

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Since it was announced that Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone Company was working with HBO to develop American Gods as a six-season series of 10 to 12 episodes, possibly premiering in 2013, fans of the best-selling Neil Gaiman novel have been all abuzz.  So, when I had a few minutes to chat with HBO Co-President Richard Plepler and President of Programming Michael Lombardo, following the executive session for the network at the TCA Press Tour, of course I asked them to update the status of that development and confirm whether or not they were actually going ahead with what seems like such a huge commitment.  While they clearly haven’t made any promises, they both said that it is in the very early stages of development and that they haven’t even seen a script yet. Check out what they had to say after the jump:

TOP 5: Thomas Jane Interview, 1990′s CAPTAIN AMERICA, PARTY DOWN Marathon, Neil Gaiman, FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

by     Posted 3 years, 120 days ago

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We’re now in the sixth week of the “Top 5″ feature and I’m glad to report that it’s becoming popular enough that it looks as if I’m going to get to keep my job. Briefly, I’d like to thank the Academy (that doesn’t know I exist), my agent (that I don’t have), family and friends (luckily I have those), and the readers for making me a little less disposable than I was six weeks ago. Now, onto the important stuff.

In this week’s installment, you can find our exclusive Saturn Awards interview with Thomas Jane, a hilariously bizarre trailer for the 1990 Captain America film, our report from the Alamo Drafthouse’s Party Down marathon, Neil Gaiman talking American Gods on a book appearance celebrating the release of its 10th anniversary special hardcover edition, and our inaugural hosting of the For Your Consideration weekly video and audio podcast. Hit the jump for brief recaps and links to each.

Neil Gaiman Talks AMERICAN GODS, DOCTOR WHO, Writing a Musical, Ray Bradbury, China and More

by     Posted 3 years, 122 days ago

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Neil Gaiman is a brilliant storyteller, whether it’s in books, graphic novels, scripts or just in speaking to an audience. He has been one of my favorite writers from the moment I was first introduced to his work, and he has been a huge inspiration on my own writing and life, in general. So, when it was announced earlier this month that Tom Hanks’ Playtone Productions was set to produce an open-ended series of American Gods, based on Gaiman’s award-winning novel, for the fearless cable network HBO (to debut in 2013 at the earliest), and that Gaiman himself was on board as an executive producer and writer, I certainly got very excited.

Now in its 10th anniversary, a special hardcover edition of American Gods has been released and Gaiman is currently on tour promoting it. Instead of the typical book signing, where fans wait in line for hours and barely have time to say more than a passing greeting, the acclaimed and much-loved writer instead sells pre-signed books and uses the time to chat about everything from where his ideas come from to his writing process to what he’s currently working on. Hosted by Patton Oswalt, who is a self-admitted Gaiman fanboy, and including a reading with him, the author and actress Zelda Williams (daughter of Robin Williams), the conversation included the things that Gaiman wants to make sure are in the television adaptation of American Gods, what supplemental material he would like to include with the series, the story he’s looking to write for a Ray Bradbury tribute, how much it meant to him to be able to write an episode of Doctor Who, how China has inspired him to do some projects related to the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, his next children’s book, Chu’s Day, and his latest venture, writing his first musical with Stephin Merritt. Check out the highlights from his June 28th book appearance in Los Angeles after the jump.

Playtone Promises Six-Season Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS on HBO in 2013

by     Posted 3 years, 141 days ago

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HBO started kicking the tires of Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods back in April as a possible series to be produced by Playtone’s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, with Gaiman on board as writer and executive producer.  Goetzman revealed details this weekend to THR: Playtone is planning six season of 10-12 hourlong episodes with a budget of $35-40 million each season.  American Gods will premiere in 2013 at the earliest.

That’s a lot of money for a weekly series — minimally $3 million per episode, more than most broadcast shows.  Playtone is used to the Daddy Warbucks treatment from HBO — the network reportedly budgeted The Pacific around $225 million (over $20 million per hour).  But Goetzman promises they’ll put the money to good use:

“There are some crazy things in [American Gods]. We’ll probably be doing more effects in there than it’s been done on a television series.”

Hit the jump for a synopsis of the crazy things in Gaiman’s novel after the break.

HBO May Develop Neil Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS

by     Posted 3 years, 199 days ago

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Looking to build on the slate of compelling original programming they already have at their disposal, HBO is currently in talks to acquire Neil Gaiman’s 2002 novel American Gods. Deadline reports that HBO would like to develop the fantasy tome into a series after having been presented with the material by Playtone’s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Word has it that Hanks and Goetzman were initially made aware of the property by Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson (The Aviator) who, as it were, will most likely co-write the pilot alongside Gaiman.

Briefly, American Gods documents the struggle between two sets of gods: the mythological ones who have garnered their power via society’s willingness to believe in them and a contemporary set made up of technology, celebrities, drugs, and the like. For more on the project, hit the jump to read a full synopsis of Gaiman’s novel.

Neil Gaiman Talks DOCTOR WHO at WonderCon; Plus an Update on His Future Directing Plans

by     Posted 3 years, 209 days ago

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Before this weekend’s Doctor Who panel at WonderCon, I got to speak with Neil Gaiman.  The reason Gaiman was on the press line is that he wrote next season’s fourth episode called “The Doctor’s Wife.”  While I didn’t ask him for any specifics about the story, he did talk about how he got involved in writing the episode, what he wanted to have happen, and he said his favorite line.  In addition, Gaiman talked about how much he tweaked the script and we ended the interview talking about his future directing plans.  Hit the jump to watch:

TV Series Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s THE SANDMAN News [UPDATED]

by     Posted 3 years, 229 days ago

Though a film adaptation never came to fruition, last September brought news that Neil Gaiman’s seminal comic book series The Sandman may head to television in the form of a series from Warner Bros. and Supernatural creator Eric Kripke. However, at a PaleyFest red carpet event, Kripke had some disappointing news, telling The Live Feed “Unfortunately, for a lot of varying reasons, Sandman is not in the works, at least for this season.” He elaborated that the potential adaptation “just didn’t quite happen this season through nobody’s fault, and hopefully we can do it again in the future.”

So it sounds like there is still hope for those looking to see Gaiman’s favorite comic book get its due diligence on some sort of screen whether it’s big or small. But for now the project won’t be getting off the ground anytime soon. I guess it’s not surprising since a film adaptation was attempted several times since the 90s with no success. Neil Gaiman fans will just have to be a little more patient. Hit the jump for a synopsis of The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes.

Update: DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns has tweeted a status update on the project.  Johns tweets that Gaiman is on board and that development on the series continues.  It’s possible that the development simply now continues without Kripke’s participation.  Here’s Johns’ tweet:

Correction to world: The Sandman is AWAKE! :) Psyched to be working with @neilhimself on developing one of the greatest series ever!

Neil Gaiman to Write Big-Budget Adaptation of Chinese Novel JOURNEY TO THE WEST

by     Posted 3 years, 234 days ago

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Acclaimed writer Neil Gaiman (The Sandman) has signed on to write the script for a trilogy of 3D big-budget films based on the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. The story centers on the misadventures of a Buddhist monk as he makes a pilgrimage from China to India.  Gaiman and producer Zhang Jizhong recently consulted with James Cameron on how to translate the 2,000 page novel into a trilogy.  Said Gaiman:

“We have to do what Peter Jackson did with Lord of The Rings. We have to make it filmic, non-episodic. This story is in the DNA of 1.5 billion people.”

According to THR, Gaiman will write “an outline over the next month that will attract enough investment to enable Zhang to hire the right director, the right Western and Chinese cast and the right team of computer animators to give the project a flight round the world.”  Hit the jump for more on the project.

Neil Gaiman Says DEATH Is Dead (At Least for the Time Being)

by     Posted 4 years, 12 days ago

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Neil Gaiman says than an adaptation of his graphic novel Death: The High Cost of Living is currently dead, but that doesn’t mean it won’t come back to life.  For those who don’t know, Death is a spin-off of Gaiman’s Sandman comics.  In the story, Death takes human form for one day every century in order to better understand humanity.  Here’s what Gaiman told Vulture about the status of the movie:

We just set it up again at a Warner-related company and everything was all ready. It was weird, though. If you had asked me in March of this year about Death, I would have told you that I thought it was pretty definitely dead. And if you’d asked me in April, I would have been thrilled and happy and said, “No, no, no, it’s absolutely on. And then in June, July, the new powers that be at DC and Warner basically closed everything down.

Of course, that’s no reason to be discouraged.  Hit the jump for what Gaiman told us about the project last year.

Spike TV Announces Nominees for SCREAM 2010

by     Posted 4 years, 59 days ago

The nominees for Spike TV’s “Scream 2010” have been announced and Christopher Nolan’s Inception leads all films with fourteen nominations.  While there are certainly more prestigious awards that films (especially Inception) would like to be honored with, the award show always looks like a good time from my couch and I imagine it’s nice to be recognized for your work regardless of the outlet.  Moreover, while fans may vote for the winners, the nominees themselves are chosen by an advisory board made up of industry professionals including: Tim Burton, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Neil Gaiman, Eli Roth, Quentin Tarantino, and Joss Whedon.  In short, it’s not like the kind people at Spike are calling me up asking for my opinion on who deserves a “Scream” nod (Note: I am available just in case though).

Officially, the “Scream Awards” honor “the best in sci-fi, fantasy, comics, and horror” and will air on Spike on October 19th.  In addition, they are responsible for one of the few times a year that I feel compelled to watch Spike TV (I’ll admit to occasionally indulging in an episode or five of Pros vs. Joes).  To check out the press release which includes a full list of this year’s nominees, hit the jump.

Neil Gaiman’s Comic Book THE SANDMAN Now Headed to Television

by     Posted 4 years, 59 days ago

Though there had been talk about a film adaptation about the seminal comic book series The Sandman from Neil Gaiman (who also wrote the source material for such adaptations as Coraline and Stardust), but now Heat Vision reports the property is now in the early stages of being developed into a TV show over at Warner Bros. The studio is currently acquiring the rights from DC Entertainment and have already begun talks with various writers and producers for the TV adaptation. Apparently the top choice right now is Eric Kripke, most well known for creating Supernatural, but at the moment author Neil Gaiman is currently not involved with these developments which could create problems down the road. For those unfamiliar with the property you can find story details are after the jump.

1492 Pictures and CJ Entertainment to Produce THE GRAVEYARD BOOK and Other Projects

by     Posted 4 years, 155 days ago

Last December, we reported that Neil Jordan (The Brave One) would be adapting Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.  It’s been quiet since then, but today Heat Vision reports that Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures and South Korean company CJ Entertainment are coming on board to help produce the film.  They’ll join producers Wayfare Entertainment, Framestore, and Gaiman.

Graveyard Book is like Ruyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” except the boy (named “Nobody Owens”) is raised by ghosts in a cemetery instead of animals in a jungle.  He has a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy – an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.  Also, if he leaves the graveyard, he will be attacked by a man named Jack has already killed Nobody’s family.  It won the 2009 Newberry Medel and spent over 50 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List.  An adaptation of Gaiman’s book Coraline managed to grab $124 million worldwide last year along with an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Film.  I’d say 1492 and CJ Entertainment have made a wise investment.  Hit the jump for two other projects they’re investing in.

Watch Neil Gaiman’s Short Film STATUESQUE Starring Bill Nighy and Amanda Palmer

by     Posted 4 years, 301 days ago

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If you happened to find yourself in the UK on Christmas Day you may have caught the premiere broadcast of the short film Statuesque, written and directed by legendary graphic novelist Neil Gaiman. If not, don’t fret. The eight minute silent film – an homage to the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea – is now available for American perusal through the wonders of YouTube. Hit the jump to see Statuesque star Bill Nighy and Amanda Palmer demonstrate the proper way to make a jam sandwich.

Henry Selick Exclusive Video Interview. Talks Future Projects, CORALINE UNFIXED, Why He Left Laika Studios, More

by     Posted 4 years, 362 days ago

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A few days ago I sat down with director Henry Selick (“Coraline”, “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, “James and the Giant Peach”) for a very extensive interview.  While I spoke to him earlier this year before “Coraline” got released, with Focus Features trying to get “Coraline” nominated for Best Animated Feature (it absolutely deserves a nomination!) Selick has been talking to journalists and I was lucky enough to land a spot.  While we touched on “Coraline”, most of the interview covered other subjects.  Since most of you might not have the time to watch the entire interview, here are some highlights.  But if you’re a fan of Henry Selick, you definitely want to watch the interview after the jump as it was great.

  • Says his next project might be another collaboration with Gaiman. If it’s not the next one, it’s the project after the next one.  Says there are some issues to deal with before production could start.
  • I ask what might be his next project if it’s not with Gaiman. Says he wrote an original treatment years ago (it’s 84 pages) and that might be the next project. Says it’s tonally another scary film for kids.  Calls it a cousin of Coraline.
  • In the next two weeks a lot is going to be known about his next project.  He is working out a deal with a studio right now. Says he is unsure if they will announce one project or 3 or 4 projects as a lot is coming together right now
  • Talks about why he left Laika Studios
  • Reveals he was going to work with Wes Anderson on Fantastic Mr. Fox but when financing came in for Coraline, he had to drop out.  Says when they worked together on The Life Aquatic they talked about it.
  • Wants to do a midnight re-release of Coraline and call it “Coraline Unfixed”. In this edition you wouldn’t see any of the digital fixes.  He explains what the edition would entail in the interview. It sounds awesome.
  • They have spoken to him about the James and the Giant Peach Blu-ray
  • Talks about a sequence that was never used in Nightmare Before Christmas and how it’s gone and may never be seen. It’s a head credit sequence that was animated candy corn.
  • Wants to remaster all his short films and his MTV work and release it on DVD/Blu-ray.  Says all the elements have been assembled and he just has to find the time to do it.

Again, if you’re a fan, you definitely want to watch this interview:

CORALINE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 5 years, 93 days ago

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We’re at a point where CGI, where computers in general are taking over cinema. It’s a quick fix for a lot of problems. Want to change the sky, want to have kites flying, want to have a hummingbird or flies do exactly what you want? Get a computer and add it that way. Alas, what happens is that the ability to invest in the story is somewhat compromised if the seams are visible in ways that weren’t as troubling when the seams were literally visible. Being able to deny the reality of what is presented makes everything palatable. There is no danger, no truth.

My review of Coraline after the jump.

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