With the completely and utterly sold-out Comic-Con starting mid-week, Hollywood publicists seem to be working overtime to fulfill your no doubt insatiable need for geek news. I could probably write seven or eight posts catering to nerd proclivities. But you’re getting just one today, (and, with the help of few snafus, this one took much longer than it should have). A few highlights
* Leonardo DiCaprio’s company has signed writer Rand Ravich (“The Astronaut’s Wife,” the TV series “Life”) to do a new film somehow tied to Rod Serling’s classic anthology science-fiction/fantasy TV series, “The Twilight Zone.” Many of you will remember the 1983 film, which utilized multiple writers and directors and consisted of three adaptations of well known episodes from the original series, one tale loosely drawn from a pair of episodes (sadly infamous due to the accident which killed actor Vic Morrow and two illegally hired children, very nearly ending the career of director John Landis), and a framing story featuring Albert Brooks and Dan Aykroyd. No word on what form this new film would take — a single tale would be missing the entire point of “The Twilight Zone,” IMO — and I’m unfamiliar with Ravich’s work. So, it’ll be interesting to watch this one move further along the pipeline.
[Update: Apparently, one year ago at least, the idea was to make a single film drawn from an episode of the series. Why, I have no idea. I learned this via Monika Bartyzel, you can read her post and my messed up comments here.
* The word on the overseas grosses for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” are in and they’re a new worldwide five day record of $297 million. Blimey.
* Will Dr. Who’s most recent incarnation’s next voyage on the Tardis take him to Middle Earth? All I can say is that I can’t imagine any of the guys whose names are being bandied about turning into Ian Holm in their later years, but then I just watched the 1939 version of “Beau Geste” in which rangy Gary Cooper as a child is played by future sprightly “Singin’ in the Rain” song and dance man Donald O’Connor. Movies haven’t really changed much.
* Seth Rogen‘s no-doubt unconventional vision of “The Green Hornet” is still alive, with modern-day surrealist comedy specialist Michel Gondry at the helm. However, I have to alert you that it is not, strictly speaking, a comic book adaptation. The character was originally created for radio — though no doubt with comics and movie serials in mind — by Fran Striker, who also brought us the not-dissimilar Lone Ranger character
* Anne Thompson says the Peter Biskind Vanity Fair article now available online about the late Heath Ledger is “must-read” material. She also mentions that scenes from Ledger’s final film, Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” will be screened at Comic-Con this week.
* Which brings us back to the week’s big event. The entire schedule is viewable and searchable online, but who’s got time for that? Critic, actor, and full-time fellow geek Luke Y. Thompson has an outstanding rundown of the more filmic aspects of the fanboy mishegas in San Diego over at Nikki “I don’t do geek” Finke’s place.
Luke and I had a great time chatting and doing our film fanboy thing at the Los Angeles Film Festival a couple of times, but does he really think Dracula author Bram Stoker wrote more believable dialogue than Joss Whedon? I understand but strongly disagree with those who find Whedon’s stylized, witticism heavy quasi-Hawksian dialogue annoyingly arch to the point of causing their brain to hurt — but it seems to me that’s doubly true of the humor-free Stoker, which is kind of a strange comparison in any case Stoker was all melodrama and Whedon’s a genre-blender par excellance. It’s been some time since I read the book, but all I can remember in terms of dialogue is everyone constantly reminding each other in high flown Victorian terms how much they loved each other and hated Drac.