The Official Newsletter of The Imaginative Cinema Society
The love of many, the work of a few....

June 2005  #77

 
 
CLUB NEWS  
JUST READ ALL THE CLUB NEWS!

TV NEWS
What is happening with our faves

MOVIE NEWS
The hottest news out on ICS genre films

DANA’s DELVINGS
A Review from the eyes of an ICS member

MUST SEE MOVIES 
Movies for June

FAREWELLS
Old friends, now gone

THE LAST WARD
From ICS member John Ward

ICS CALENDER
Put this up on the Fridge!


Editor-Betsy Childs 
Staff Writers- Regina Vallerani, Andrew Kent John Ward
Dava Sentz, Mike Laird, Joe Plempel, Gary Roberson, Charles Wittig
Taylor Sherblom Woodward, Jim Childs, Jeanne Matcovich, Mike Schilling

 
 
ICSClubnewsClubnews All About Us ClubnewsClubnewsICS
 
THE SKIPPER STRIKES AGAIN!
 The theme for the May meeting began as a catchy title “Is it ICS-Worthy”.  Leave it to Barry Murphy to take that nebulous idea and create an amusing and entertaining presentation.  You may recall Barry’s Poll – the one where you voted for your top 15 ICS films.  The outcome was the top 10 ICS films.  The list consisted of:

ICS-WORTHY MOVIE HALL OF FAME VOTING

POSITION & TITLE       POINTS

1.  THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL     201
2.  REAR WINDOW        138
3.  BATTLE ROYALE        125
     KING KONG        125
4.  THE IRON GIANT        121
5.  SHAUN OF THE DEAD        120
6.  CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON     103
7.  HORROR OF DRACULA       100
8.  CURSE OF THE DEMON       96
9.  EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS      87
10. THE BODY SNATCHER        82

  The top 5 films are now officially in the ICS Hall of Fame.  Next year, at least 12 more films will also be candidates for Hall of Fame inclusion.

 As a corollary, the following films received 0 votes/points:
BATTLE ROYALE II          
DARK INTRUDER        
GENERIC MAN'S NOTEWORTHY EXCURSION   
THE PHANTOM SHIP     
THRILLER: YOURS TRULY, JACK THE RIPPER  
WORLD WITHOUT END 

 Excellent job on the presentation, Barry!  And thanks for taking the time to count and compile 6 and half years of ICS filmic history!!
 
IF YOU LIKED…THEN YOU WILL LOVE…
 In a clever twist, Barry offered companion films to the top 10.   And the voting mirrored the #1 choice as the 50’s sci-fi gem WAR OF THE WORLDS, received top honor.  The good thing about seeing this film now is that it is now fresh in our memories, so we can compare it against the upcoming Spielberg remake.  Thanks (again!) for the great movie offerings, Barry!
 
ICS SEES SITH SHOWING AT SENATOR
 On June 11th, the club is meeting at the Senator Theater to see REVENGE OF THE SITH in the balcony.  We are limited to 40 tickets and still have some remaining.  If you are interested, please email Regina at RVALLER107@HOTMAIL.COM before the 11th to hold a spot.  Guests and family members are also welcome to attend.  
 
REMINDER # 3 - SPECIAL JULY GUEST!  PHD ZOMBIE EXPERT AND AUTHOR!
 In case you haven’t marked July 30th on your calendar – do so now!  We have a special guest presenter - Dr. Peter Dendle, an Associate Professor of English from Penn State’s Mont Alto campus.  Dr. Dendle is the author of the work that’s considered to be the definitive work on undead movies – The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia.  He will discuss zombie films from the early WHITE ZOMBIE days to current films like 28 DAYS LATER and DAWN OF THE DEAD 2004.  (PS. The Annual July Pizza Night is being moved to August).

TSUNAMI RELIEF - $244 IN THE MARCH KITTY!!!  THANKS!!!
We are extending the Tsunami Pledge Drive one more month and will be collecting our final donations at the June meeting.  The ICS is having a pledge drive to collect funds to donate to the Save The Children Tsunami relief charity.  There will be a cigar box at the June meeting where donations may be dropped.  We are accepting checks made out to “Save the Children” (put "Tsunami Relief" in the memo line).  Your cancelled check is your receipt if you want to include it as a 2005 charitable donation.   Save the Children told us that they will also try to send individual receipts to those who send checks.  We are also accepting cash in the cigar box and paypal over the net (to ICSFILM@HOTMAIL.COM).  Regina can provide a receipt for any cash or paypal donations, but we do not know if the IRS will accept an ICS receipt as proof of a charitable donation.   
If you’d like to donate, but cannot attend a meeting, please send checks payable to “Save the Children”/memo line “Tsunami Relief” to:
 Regina Vallerani 
 1 E Chase St Apt 405
 Baltimore, MD 21202
We will hold all donations until after the June meeting.  Then, we will bundle your individual checks and write a check from the ICS checking acct for cash/paypal donations and send them to Save the Children on behalf of ICS.  
Joe Plempel has generously agreed to match up to $1000 of funds donated by club members.  Thanks, Joe!   To date, we have collected $244, make that $488, for the charity.  Thanks Everyone!
 

HORRORFIND
   We are going to participate in the Horrorfind convention from August 19-21. We'll need folks to staff the table. We will be passing out a list to see who’s interested in helping out and who can confirm to a time.  
 We will also be collecting movies to sell at Horrorfind.  No books or collectible figures or toys, please.  Those items are harder to sell and take up more space.  Again, MOVIES ONLY please. 
 Thanks to Dave Henderson for agreeing to store the goods at his home until the convention! 

NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
 Our next meeting will be held on Saturday June 25th at 5:30 P.M. at the church hall behind the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church located at 8848 BelAir Road. Take Baltimore Beltway exit 32 north on Belair Road. Turn left onto Joppa Road. Immediately past the miniature golf course turn left into the parking lot. If you miss it there are ample turn-around opportunities. If you get stuck call 443-570-6455. That's Dave Willard’s cell phone. He'll talk you in.   

A NIGHT WITH JACKIE CHAN
 No, it’s not a dream date.  It’s Andrew Kent’s June meeting presentation.  While most American audiences know Jackie Chan from the RUSH HOUR films, he has quite a significant filmography.  Since Andrew is a big fan of Jackie Chan, we can expect a lot of great information about this talented actor.

REMEMBER TO NAP BEFORE THE MEETING
  …because June has a late night movie!  Our new policy is to bring films the night of the late night show and vote that night.  So, if you have a film that you think the club may enjoy and don’t want to wait until your turn in 2007, bring it in!  It just may win!

tv news tv news tv news the glass teat tv news tv news tv news

RODRIGUEZ GETS LOST FOR REAL
   Michelle Rodriguez will join the regular cast of ABC's hit SF series LOST in its upcoming second season, playing Ana-Lucia Cortez, another passenger on the doomed Oceanic Airlines flight 815. Rodriguez's casting confirms expectations in the wake of her brief appearance in the show's first-season finale, in a flashback involving Jack (Matthew Fox) in a bar at Sydney Airport. 
   LOST is Rodriguez's first regular TV gig, following film performances in the upcoming supernatural thriller film THE BREED, executive produced by Wes Craven, and a voice role in the Hispanic animated feature SIAN KA'AN. 
 
GOYER CROSSES THRESHOLD
   David Goyer, co-creator of CBS' upcoming SF series THRESHOLD said he was thrilled the show was picked up for the network's fall schedule. Goyer directed the pilot and will executive-produce the show with Brannon Braga (Star Trek) and David Heyman (Harry Potter). 
   "I'm very psyched," Goyer said in an interview while promoting BATMAN BEGINS, which he co-wrote. "We've been given a very rare opportunity. It's a very intelligent show, and I really credit CBS with going for it." 
   THRESHOLD stars Carla Gugino, Brent Spiner, Charles S. Dutton, Peter Dinklage, Brian Van Holt and William Mapother. 
   "It's sort of nominally about an alien invasion, but it's so different from those kinds of shows that once it comes on the air people will realize how different it is," Goyer said. "I can guarantee you that no one has ever seen alien invasion stories like this before."
   Goyer added: "It's very scary. We're really excited. I'm excited about how intelligent it is. It asks a lot of really provocative questions, and it doesn't let the audience off easy. I think people will be surprised by the way that aliens are sort of a MacGuffin, a way to hold a mirror up against society. We're going to be getting into a lot of controversial stuff in the show, and CBS is really letting us go for it. I'm being a little vague, but I have to be, because there are a lot of twists and turns and surprises that will be coming up in the first few episodes and because there's been a little bit of a misdirect in terms of what little bit has been let out about the show." Threshold will air Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. 

CHEKOV TREKS TO THE WEB
   Walter Koenig, who played Ensign Chekov in the original STAR TREK series said that he is planning on starring in a fan-based Internet short film that will give some finality to the character he's been associated with for nearly 40 years. 
   "This is a unique opportunity to give some dimension to my character," Koenig said in an interview at Enigma Con at the University of California, Los Angeles, over the weekend. "I was most unhappy ... that there wasn't a whole lot of dimension to the character. It was push buttons and say 'Warp factor five' with as many inflections as possible—and with an accent." 
   Koenig added that fans have approached him to do an in-depth story about Chekov, and Koenig said he found an actor who looked eerily like himself when he first boarded the ENTERPRISE. "He will play me in my younger days, and I'll play the character as older, of course," Koenig said. "It will be a real gut-wrencher. If I perform properly, it will work." 
   On board to write the script is D.C. Fontana, who wrote some of Koenig's favorite stories in the original series, including "This Side of Paradise," "Friday's Child" and "Journey to Babel" and also worked on the animated series he voiced in 1973. Koenig said that Paramount Studios is on board, allowing the production to take place as long as it is distributed for free on the Internet. He expects it to be available in January. 
   "Indeed it is fan-driven, but there are professionals in this business who are fans and willing to work on it," Koenig said. "It is cathartic for me and an opportunity to reveal to the audience and the fans who this man is. I want there to be some justification for all the attention and acclaim that has been bestowed on us over these four decades." 
   Koenig added: "I'm doing it for fun and a sense of closure. It vindicates something about myself."
 
 
 
 

CHARMED: MORE STORY TO TELL
   The cast members of The WB's CHARMED, which was just renewed for an eighth season said that they feel there's more story to tell. "I think there's more things for the characters to do," Holly Marie Combs (Piper Halliwell) told the site. "There's so much we haven't done yet! I could be dead wrong, and I have been before. But personally, I'm not done yet!. I'm pretty sure that this ending [wouldn't] satisfy our hard-core fans." 
   Alyssa Milano (Phoebe Halliwell) added about the upcoming season finale, "None of it's wrapped up. I think at the end of a series, the most important thing is to take care of what the fans want to see. They've dedicated so much time and energy to find us, no matter what night we are on, and have followed us for seven years. I think the fans would like Phoebe to settle down and find a love like she experienced with Cole, but obviously not with a demon." 
   The WB announced that it renewed CHARMED in its current Sunday night timeslot and will add former rock star Mark McGrath to the cast for a large part of the season. 
 
 
 

SMALLVILLE FLIES TO THURSDAYS 
   The WB will move SMALLVILLE to a new night, Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and will add the SF series SUPERNATURAL to its fall lineup on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. As previously reported, the frog network has also renewed CHARMED for an eighth season.
   The WB made the announcements as part of its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York City on May 17. 
   In its new timeslot, SMALLVILLE will go head to head with ABC's ALIAS, which also moves to Thursdays at 8 in the fall. 
   The new series, SUPERNATURAL, will star Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles  as brothers seeking out evil in dark alleys and small towns all across America. It launches in a timeslot that has proven to be good luck for the network. 
   "Nine o'clock Tuesday for The WB has been by far the most prolific timeslot for launching new hits such as DAWSON’S CREEK, FELECITY and ANGEL and others," WB Entertainment president David Janollari said from the stage at Madison Square Garden. "From the minute [co-executive producers] Eric Kripke  and McG pitched us SUPERNATURAL, we thought it could be our next breakout hit. When David Nutter [Smallville, Dark Angel], the preeminent director in this genre, came on board to direct and executive produce, we knew we had something special." 
   Speaking during a press conference following the announcement of The WB's slate, Janollari said: "I think, obviously, the most important move we've made and the boldest move is moving SMALLVILLE to Thursday night. We feel it truly puts us in business on Thursday night in a bigger way than we've been in a long time, with the combination of EVERWOOD. These are two long-term, [long]-running shows on our network that continue to perform. They have incredibly loyal audiences that we are certain will follow them everywhere." 

 MCKENZIE PREVIEWS THE 4400
   Jacqueline McKenzie, who co-stars as Diana Skouris on USA Network's SF series THE 4400, said that the show's upcoming second season picks up six months after the events of the first-season finale. The series follows Department of Homeland Security agents Skouris and Tom Baldwin as they investigate the 4,400 people who were abducted and suddenly return, some with mysterious mutant abilities, after having been away for periods ranging from weeks to decades. 
   "In terms of the character and where I stand, she's very devoted to her work, and there are a lot of questions that need answering," McKenzie said. "Everybody is just at the start of this huge process of trying to unravel what's going on with the 4,400, where they've been and why they're back and what they're trying to do with us in the present. And we're trying to work out what messages they're sending us." 
   THE 4400 debuted last July on USA Network and was both a critical and ratings success, prompting the network to commission 13 additional hours for season two. McKenzie said that she was not too surprised that the show caught on. "When I read it, I thought it was a very exciting piece," she said “I thought it was very original, and I said, 'This should be a hit.' And it was. So I wasn't so much surprised as I was really pleased." 

ARE MORE GALACTICA DEATHS COMING?
   Will more characters die in the upcoming second season of SCI FI Channel's original series BATTLESTAR GALACTICA?  That's what series creator and executive producer Ronald D. Moore said in an interview at EnigmaCon at the University of California, Los Angeles, on May 28. 
   "Yes, there are a couple of familiar faces that will go down for the count," Moore said cryptically, without identifying the doomed characters. He added: "I would say the events of the end of last season [mark] the beginning of this season." 
   Among other things, Moore said: "Adama's [Edward James Olmos] shot. There's people stranded on Kobol. Kara's [Katee Sackhoff] back on Caprica. Those storylines continue; all those continue. I would say we don't wrap up season one until episode seven. Adama is not back on his feet anytime soon. Commander Tigh is in charge of GALACTICA. Laura is in jail. There's a meteor crisis that follows the cliffhanger, and Tigh kind of steers them through that crisis successfully. But, you know, Tigh, he's probably the guy you don't want in charge." 
   Moore said that cast and crew are in the process of shooting the sixth episode of the second season in Vancouver, B.C. "We have scripts for the first 10 episodes," he added. "The 11th should be in this week, and we have the stories for the first 14." 
   Moore offered additional spoilers for the second season's arc. "Things begin to unravel when Tigh's in charge of the fleet. He declares martial law at a certain point. There is an incident where he sends the troops to get supplies, because the ships are withholding supplies from GALACTICA. He says enough is enough and sends out the troops, and an incident happens, and people get killed. They shoot a bunch of civilians. It's a whole nightmare, and Laura starts an insurrection and the fleet divides. There's a lot of fallout from the events of the last season." 

AMENDOLA FEELS THE FORCE
   Tony Amendola said that latest film, the upcoming SCI FI original movie CRIMSON FORCE, is a timely and allegorical tale. "Primarily, CRIMSON FORCE is about the looking towards space and the natural resources of other planets as a way of serving our needs for power sources or energy sources," Amendola said in an interview. "I think that's the argument that applies to the modern world, in a way." 
   Amendola, a veteran character actor best known to SF&F fans for his long-running recurring role as Bra'tac on STARGATE : SG 1 added, "My character lives on a planet that has been scouted out and has been determined to contain amazing resources. 
   Of course, a government-slash-corporate agency [from Earth] comes over and tries to colonize it, tries to find some way to get the resources off of the planet. You don't really know this going in. My character is a priest, and this planet I'm on is at a pivotal point, because they have to decide how to deal with the outside world. Do they take a militaristic approach? Do they remain isolated and hidden? My wife in the story is of a different mindset. She's of a warrior class, and the notion of this whole marriage was all about reconciling those two factions and creating a kind of peace. So the arrival of the Earth force sets off a real problem." 
Crimson Force also stars C. Thomas Howell and David Chokachi. It will debut on Saturday, June 4, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. 
movienews movienews  Silver Screen  movienews movienews

Swank's Reaping Looks At Faith 
     Carey and Chad Hayes, writers of the upcoming supernatural film The Reaping, said that the movie will deal with a crisis of faith. " The Reaping starts in July," Carey Hayes said while promoting the brothers' current film, House of Wax. "Hilary Swank is starring in it, and we're really excited about it. It's a genre thriller. It's about a woman who starts with real strong faith, and something happens in her life, and she loses her faith." 
      arey Hayes said that Swank's character sets out to investigate claims of the supernatural. "She becomes a miracle debunker, out to prove that God does not exist, because it will make her life easier," he said. "And she comes across something that starts to change her back the other way." 
     Chad Hayes added: "She's always been able to prove scientifically there are no miracles, and [we] tell you why, and then she comes across something she can't [disprove]. But it's a scary journey, really scary, to get her there." 
     Chad Hayes said that Oscar winner Swank's participation inspired them to work harder on the film. "Imagine having a double-Academy-Award-winning actor doing your words," Chad said. "We wrote her the character of Catherine, which is the one she's playing, realizing this, going, 'Oh, my God, a great actress would just make this so great.' And she responded to the material, so it was awesome." 
     Producer Joel Silver said that director Stephen Hopkins (Lost in Space) will begin production on the film this summer, not James Cox, whom Silver had mentioned in an interview in February. Silver (the Matrix films) added that The Reaping will aim for a more mature tone than other horror thrillers produced under the Dark Castle banner, such as the upcoming House of Wax.

Duchovny Keeping The Secret
     David Duchovny (The X-Files) will return to the world of the paranormal in The Secret, the latest Japanese film slated for a remake. Swiss-born actor-filmmaker Vincent Perez will make his English-language directorial debut on the project, which Luc Besson (Unleashed, La Femme Nikita) is executive-producing through his Paris-based label EuropaCorp. Lili Taylor (Six Feet Under, The Haunting) and newcomer Olivia Thirlby also have been cast in the film. 
     The Secret, based on the 1999 Japanese film Himitsu, is set against an emotional triangle among a 16-year-old girl, her mother and her father. After the mother is killed in an accident, her spirit inhabits the daughter's body. Ann Cherkis adapted the English-language screenplay. Principal photography begins this week in Montreal. 

Blair Witch Helmer Ready to Alter Rogue Pictures
     Rogue Pictures, the genre arm of Universal specialty unit Focus Features, has picked up worldwide rights to horror picture Altered, to be helmed by The Blair Witch Project co-creator Eduardo Sanchez.
     The picture, which follows a group of men living a night of terror after their lives were changed 15 years earlier by a strange occurrence, begins filming next month in Florida. Altered further reunites Blair Witch producers Robin Cowie and Gregg Hale and its exec producer Bob Eick. The cast includes Adam Kaufman, Catherine Mangan, Brad William Henke, Mike Williams, Paul McCarthy Boyington and James Gammon. Jamie Nash penned the script from a story he created with Sanchez.
     Rogue's upcoming slate includes the Jet Li vehicle Unleashed.

Cox Flies To Zoom
     Courteney Cox (Friends) has been cast in the Revolution Studios superhero comedy Zoom. Based on Jason Lethcoe's graphic novel Zoom's Academy for the Super Gifted, the film centers around a group of young superheroes under the tutelage of an out-of-shape former superhero known as Captain Zoom. Cox will play a scientist with the secret agency that runs the academy alongside Tim Allen as Zoom. 
     Allen also co-wrote the script along with Adam Rifkin, David Berenbaum and Matt Carroll. Peter Hewitt (GARFIELD) is directing the film, which will begin production in July. Columbia Pictures will release the film next year.

Owen Stars In Children
     Clive Owen has signed a deal to star in Universal's sci-fi movie Children of Men, to be directed by Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.) The movie is set in a future in which people can no longer have children. Strike Entertainment's Marc Abraham and Eric Newman will produce the film, which is based on mystery writer P.D. James' novel of the same title. Owen (Sin City) will play the guardian of the first woman to become pregnant in more than 20 years. 

The Birds To Fly Again
     Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes production label is in negotiations with producer Peter Guber and Mandalay Pictures to develop a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1963 horror film The Birds. Like the original, the new version would be based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier about a series of mysterious bird attacks which terrorize the inhabitants of a small town. 
     Universal, which owns the rights to the story and the original film, previously produced the 1998 shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock's Psycho by director Gus Van Sant and, later that same year, A Perfect Murder, based on the play which inspired Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder. Warner Brothers also recently joined in the Hitchcock revival, announcing an updated version of Strangers on a Train for release in 2006.

Clark Takes Back His Dead Things
     After years and years away from the genre, veteran Bob Clark is all set up to make a return in a big way. The man is getting ready to head back to the director’s chair. Who better to handle a remake of his 1973 zombie film Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things than Clark himself?
     No one, that’s who, since that’s the way Clark had his name first recognized, it only makes sense his comeback should start there, too. Together with Canadian producer Victor Solnicki (the man behind such films as Cronenberg’s The Brood and Scanners), Clark has written and will direct the remake of his own film, currently budgeted at $12 million. 
     The original story is about some kids who dig up a corpse named Orville, which they use in a ritual to bring the dead back to life. Things get messy to say the least. On an interesting side note did you know that Clark’s classic 1982 comedy Porky’s is still the top-grossing Canadian film of all time? Amazing.

Iron Man Delayed
     Nick Cassavetes, who was reportedly in line to direct the film version of Iron Man, has still not signed a deal to helm the Marvel Comics adaptation, leading New Line to delay its expected release to 2007 from 2006. Last November, New Line and Marvel announced that he was on board, but Cassavetes (The Notebook) has not held talks to direct the film for several months. 
     Cassavetes is still working on a rewrite of the script by Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, with David Hayter. Cassavetes is still in the running to direct, and New Line remains committed to making the film. But with no director on board and casting yet to begin, New Line has delayed the movie's planned release. 

Horror Gets Animated
     Platinum Studios has announced that Spawn and Wrong Turn writer Alan McElroy is being brought aboard to adapt the upcoming graphic novel Bonesaw, to be the first CGI (computer generated imagery - such as the animated style of FINAL FANTASY) horror feature. The story behind Bonesaw deals with a writer who discovers that her hit novels are about to release the titular character as well as other hellish creatures she’s come up with.
     "Bonesaw will do for animation what Sin City has done for live action: set a new paradigm for visual style. This represents another chance for us to redefine what CGI storytelling is all about and to show the world how far you can go," said Ian Pearson, co-founder of the specialty production house known as The Shop who are working with Platinum to bring the story to life.

FX artist talks LAND OF THE DEAD re-shoots
     Canadian makeup FX artist Allan Cooke, part of the team who worked on the recent Toronto re-shoots for George A. Romero’s LAND OF THE DEAD, recently chatted about the movie. "We did two days of gore and zombie inserts," Cooke said. " The first day was a big one—we had about 80 zombies—and the second day we had around 25."
     Cooke notes that the additional filming didn’t involve adding entire scenes to LAND. "We were just filling in gaps," he says. "The movie was pretty much done, and there were little pieces they wanted to fill in and sequences to flesh out.” Cooke continued, “When you finish a movie, you know, there are always places you want to fill in. I don’t believe there were whole scenes they had to redo, it was just bits and pieces—some of which may not make into the film, because they worked too well," he laughs.
     Cooke is speaking, of course, about moments that would be too intense for the R-rated theatrical version. "That was an issue," he notes, "and there was some discussion about having to wipe somebody in front of the camera when an effect happens, or just before it. There were a few effects we filmed twice [during the original shoot]—one with somebody walking in front of the camera when the gag happens, and then one clear. And then there’s always the option to put someone in with CGI. There was one thing we shot silhouetted in smoke or fog, so it was not quite as visceral. But for the most part," he adds, "we shot what George wanted to shoot. At worst, it’ll all be on the unrated DVD."
     Cooke first joined the LAND team just after another gig creating the undead, Fever Dreams’ zombies-in-a-women’s-prison epic SHADOW: DEAD RIOT. "Just after I finished SHADOW last October, I went back up to Toronto," he recalls. "LAND OF THE DEAD was halfway through principal photography, and I started with them about three days after I got home. So I was on that for about two and a half or three weeks." The artist has high praise for Romero’s working methods: "He’s very focused; he’s easygoing, but he directs; there’s not a lot of chatting with the crew and that sort of thing. He’s there to do his job, and he’s very centered on that. On the re-shoots, there were three units working, and George went from one to the other, approving it all before we shot it. Everything we did really mattered to him; this was the last-of-the-last kind of thing where you could see somebody being dismissive and saying, ‘Yeah, that’s good,’ but George made sure he checked everything out first."
     Cooke hasn’t yet seen a full cut of the movie, but nonetheless has strong impressions of the fourth in Romero’s DEAD quartet. "It certainly has the Romero grittiness and intensity that most other stereotypical zombie films don’t have. It has that real ’70s documentary edge that we expect from Romero films. That’s what I saw on the set, and the clips I’ve seen reflect that too. And probably the most important part was to be able to contribute in some way to one of George’s DEAD films. It’s the fourth in Romero’s series, and to people my age, that means a lot—to get into that part of horror film history which NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD really started."

Leguizamo Handles a CRISIS
     John Leguizamo (Moulin Rouge, Assault on Precinct 13) will star as the lead character, Bruce Lombardo, in an adaptation of the graphic novel Crisis by Star Wars artist Matt Busch. The project is currently in development at Rebel Films.
     In Crisis, the city of Detroit is filled with terror, as it appears the Zodiac serial killer has returned with a new prophecy after years of silence. Bruce Lombardo, special ops for the Macomb County Sheriff Department, follows the Zodiac's encrypted puzzles though a series of tight situations. 
     However, Lombardo's action-paced world turns upside down when he tragically loses his legs. Forced to use classic methods of logic and deduction, Lombardo has a newfound passion to catch the vicious killer, leading him to many levels of cliffhanging excitement.
     You can read more at the artist’s web page: http://www.mattbusch.com/newcrisisa.html

Carpenter Relinquishes The Fog
     John Carpenter, who is executive-producing a remake of his 1980 film The Fog, said that after his difficult experience making the original, he had no desire to direct the updated version of the film. "I don't want to [direct] this," Carpenter said on the Vancouver, B.C., set. "I mean, I did it once. This was not my favorite experience of my own career, making The Fog. It was a difficult movie. We had to go back and fix it once we shot it. I've done this once. Let some younger person do it." 
     Rupert Wainwright (Stigmata) is directing the new film, which stars Tom Welling (Smallville), Selma Blair (Hellboy) and Maggie Grace (Lost). Carpenter said that Wainwright brought a high level of energy to the project and a directing style in sharp contrast to his own. "My whole philosophy is, it's the director's film," he said. "It's not my film. I made my film back then when I was young and happy. This is a new director. And he's bringing his point of view and his sensibility to this film. And I have a real hard time telling anybody else what to do, or interfering with their vision. It's his movie now. ... His style is vastly different from mine. He uses inserts and close-ups to add texture and energy to his movies, which is totally different from the way I work. I thought that would be an interesting try on this film." 
     Carpenter's script for the original film centered on a small island town with a tragic history that literally comes back to haunt its present-day residents. He said that the new film will preserve the premise, but will have a more modern twist. "It's a pretty fireproof idea in terms of what happens," he said. "It's an old ghost story. The idea in this case is to freshen it up. And there's a cultural mindset that says anything that's more than 15 years or older is old-fashioned and old-school. But we've sort of heard of it. The audience has maybe heard of it. So the thing to do is to take it out and prop it up, put a fresh coat of paint on it [and] see if it goes." The Fog is scheduled for release on Oct. 13.

Schrader Unveils His Exorcist
     Paul Schrader on May 4 unveiled Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist at a press screening in Los Angeles, saying that he wasn't sure it would be released right up until last week. "As little as a few weeks ago, there was talk of destroying the film," Schrader (Auto Focus) was overheard saying before the screening. "But it's too late now. I think the horse is officially out of the barn." 
     Warner Brothers and Morgan Creek are taking the unprecedented step of releasing Dominion in theaters on May 20 in a few cities. This is the film that was shot in 2003, then shelved after Morgan Creek reportedly decided it wanted a more visceral movie, ordering up a second version from Renny Harlin. Brian Robinson, senior vice president of Morgan Creek and son of the producer that originally rejected the film, explained: 
     "The Renny Harlin version was a much more commercially shot horror film, and this one is much more cerebral. The masses that want to see these Alien vs. Predator movies want to see much more graphic violence. Paul's version is much more about the terror that resides in your own mind."
     The Renny Harlin film, Exorcist: The Beginning, opened in August 2004 and promptly tanked at the box office. It's now on DVD. After Schrader's film garnered a positive response at a Belgian film festival in March, the studio and production company apparently had a change of heart. 
     "I didn't think I'd ever see this day," Schrader said May 4. "It's sort of amazing." Schrader said that Dominion, from a script by William Wisher and Caleb Carr, is pretty much the movie he set out to make, with a "few corners cut" in post-production. "Those things are minor, compared to the fact that the film exists," Schrader added. "I think it is now committed to film history." 
     Dominion stars Stellan Skarsgard, Gabriel Mann, Clara Bellar and Billy Crawford.
     On another interesting note, Exorcist author William Peter Blatty shared his thoughts on Harlin’s version upon his initial viewing of it:
     "After a slam-bang opening sequence, Harlin's prequel deteriorated into what was surely the most humiliating professional experience of my life, particularly the finale. I don't blame Renny Harlin, for he gave Morgan Creek, I promise you, precisely what Morgan Creek demanded: not shocking obscenity, but shocking vulgarity."
     Blatty knows of what he speaks, having dealt with Morgan Creek back when he directed the film adaptation of his book Legion into the very well-made Exorcist III.

Aghdashloo Driven To Science Fiction & Fantasy
     Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog) said that she'll next be seen in the fantastical film Il Mare, one of several sci-fi or fantasy films that she's worked on recently. Il Mare is a love story in which Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock communicate across the years via a mysterious mailbox. 
     The Iranian-born Aghdashloo, who recently appeared on Fox's 24, said that she's surprised that her blossoming career has transported her toward such science fiction related films in the same way that Oscar winners Halle Berry (X-MEN) and Charlize Theron (Aeon Flux) were. 
     "It's a bit of a surprise, but I don't mind it," Aghdashloo said. "I love science fiction. In this science fiction love story Il Mare, I play a doctor, and my friends say it's my first non-stereotypical role." 
     In Il Mare, Reeves and Bullock find themselves in the same house, but at different times, and fall in love by exchanging love letters through a mailbox that transcends a two-year time difference. 
     Aghdashloo said that she also has a cameo role in the upcoming sci-fi film Serenity, based on Fox's canceled TV series Firefly. "I love the director [Firefly creator Joss Whedon]," she said. "I love the story. But I can't say much about it, except that, no, I'm not an alien." 
     Aghdashloo will also appear in The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which is loosely based on a true story about a priest who performs a deadly exorcism on a young woman. "In that I play a key witness," she said. "I come from an old country [Iran] that's 5,000 years old, and as you can imagine ghosts are everywhere. I knew a lot of people who had experience with exorcisms. Personally, I believe in angels, I don't believe in devils. I have many [angels] looking out for me." Il Mare is eyeing a 2006 release date.

Assorted details on Rodriguez’s CURANDERO
     Dimension will release a new horror film called CURANDERO (which roughly means THE HEALER in Spanish), for which FROM DUSK TILL DAWN’s Robert Rodriguez wrote the script. CURANDERO was originally set to be directed by and star Carlos Gallardo, who played the title role in Rodriguez’s debut feature EL MARIACHI. "He’s a Mexican witch doctor," Rodriguez said back in 2001. "It goes into the bowels of black magic in Mexico City. Anything goes there—it's so cool." Since then, Venezuelan Eduardo Rodriguez (no relation to Robert) wound up taking the helm of the Spanish-language feature, with Sergio Acosta and Gizeht Galatea in the cast. FX veteran of the UNDERWORLD movies and THE CAVE was responsible for the creature FX design. No more details are available at this time.

ATTACK OF THE KILLER SHEEP
     Though the film is still apparently in pre-production, Jonathan King’s debut, Black Sheep, has already generated enough interest to have it's distribution secured throughout Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. 
     King, based out of New Zealand, has promised the film will "go for the jugular" in it’s telling of genetic experiments on sheep gone horribly wrong. The sheep get nasty and the people start bleating, so you know that can’t be good. 
    Obviously it’d be difficult to make something with a plot like that too serious, which is why it’s being sold as a horror/comedy.  Icon Distribution will be throwing it out across the aforementioned countries, though nothing’s been said about any wider release as of yet. Maybe once the film is actually done there will be more interest. WETA Workshop is handling the effects. Check out their official site for more.
     WETA: http://www.wetaworkshop.co.nz/projects/filmography/film/black_sheep

VAUGHN TALKS X-MEN 3
     Out promoting Layer Cake in the US, Director Matthew Vaughn spoke about his next gig - the third X-Men which is currently slated for an August 1st start of shooting in Canada.
     "We're trying to see if we can get it off the ground at the moment. There's just a hell of a lot. We're meant to be filming in August. We're working on it at the moment. As far as I know, Halle's doing the film. In the script, she's got a lot to do. I've got a lot of experience in dealing with a lot of character in a film, so multi-character movies don't intimidate me at all. I think I know how to get that balance" said Vaughn. 
     In terms of his plans for the film - "I have plans to put my stamp on it. I thought when I pitched them [Fox] the way I wanted to make the movie, they'd run a mile. But I think they understand. I think the X-Men are pretty much movies of the '90s and I think it's time for them to toughen up a bit. X-Men was pretty good because you saw the flaws and the conflict that they're going through, but I think that conflict needs to be expanded on. I wanted the villains to be less [cartoony]. At the moment, I think a lot of moustache twirling happened in the last films. I want to get rid of that and make the villains really scary and more realistic." He cites Buffy creator Joss Whedon's work as an inspiration.
    Among his plans is to use as little CGI as possible - "I hate CGI. I'm trying to do everything in camera. Listen, there are times you have to use CGI, but I want to do as much in camera as possible". His only real concern is the time factor with the pressure to get it done by next May. He's also only signed on for this film, no further. 

Surf's Up For Silver Surfer
     Marvel and Fox executives said that a planned Silver Surfer movie is in serious development as a project to be started after Fantastic Four and the next X-Men film, which begins production later this summer. 
     "We're just starting, and we are very excited," Marvel film chief Avi Arad said in an interview at the Saturn Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. "We are finishing Fantastic Four, and the next thing we'll go on our way to Silver Surfer." 
     Silver Surfer is based on the character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966: a metallic being who travels through space on a sleek board. 
     Fox Filmed Entertainment Co-Chairman Tom Rothman said that one crucial element remains to be worked out: how to portray the silvery alien. "I think the tricky thing on Silver Surfer, which hasn't been resolved yet, is the nature of the Surfer and to what extent digital work is used and to what extent it isn't," Rothman said in a separate interview. "And that's the fundamental difficult decision. Obviously, in The Hulk, they went one way -a computer-generated character. And in the question of Fantastic Four's The Thing, we went a different way putting actor Michael Chiklis in a rubber suit]. ... The digital component is the fundamental component that needs to be resolved, but it's a project that we're very, very high on."

Raimi Mulls Many More Spideys
     Spider-Man director Sam Raimi said that Sony Pictures plans to make six of the comic-inspired films, and that he'd consider helming them if he feels as strongly about them as he does about the upcoming third installment. "I've heard Amy Pascal [chairman of Sony's motion picture group] say she wants to make six Spider-Man pictures," Raimi said in an interview at the Saturn Awards in Los Angeles. "So I think she's a woman of her word. And if she says there'll be six, there'll be six. ... If they were to ask me, and if I felt as passionate as I feel now about the character and had this great hunger and desire to tell the story, which I really do now, you couldn't keep me away from it." 
     Raimi said the upcoming third Spider-Man film will in part chart Peter Parker's (Tobey Maguire) interior journey as he deals with his feelings about the death of his beloved Uncle Ben. 
     "The task that I had was to try and understand where he was when we last left him ... at the end of Spider-Man 2, trying to figure out what he lacked as a human being, as far as where he was immature and what he had not learned," Raimi said. "And certainly there's so much for that kid to learn. He really has been denied a social life. He's just been focused on being this do-gooder. And never really even dealing with the death of his uncle, just paying down his guilt with every criminal he brings to justice, never really addressing his own guilt that he feels in his heart and coming to terms with it. He's never really looked inside himself. So I think this picture ... he's going to have [to] look a little more inside himself and recognize and deal with some of the deficiencies that he has as a human being." 
     Thomas Haden Church (Sideways) will play a new as-yet-unidentified villain who is appropriate to that emotional journey, Raimi added. "We had to choose a villain that represented a proper obstacle in the path of that growth," Raimi said. "And so, though I'd rather not say who Thomas Haden Church is playing just yet—because Sony likes to make a proper presentation to the fans along with Avi Arad from Marvel Comic books—he was chosen because he represented that proper obstacle to ... Peter Parker's growth." Spider-Man 3 is in pre-production now.

Raimi's Back Home With Dead
     Director Sam Raimi, who is producing a remake of his ghost movie Evil Dead, stated that he wanted to use the original backwoods cabin from the 1981 film. "I was sad to find out that the house where we shot the original burned down, unfortunately," Raimi said in a recent interview. 
     Raimi is mounting a remake of Evil Dead, which marked the beginning of his career, created a cult hit and introduced Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams. The film dealt with four friends who find an evil book, the Necronomicon, which unleashes bizarre flesh-eating creatures. 
     Raimi said he won't direct the remake himself, but rather is seeking a new director, male or female, to develop the characters he created and retell his campfire story. He added that he won't be very hands-on when the film gets retold. 
     Raimi also said that the remake won't feature Campbell. The director said he'd rather put Campbell in a new Evil Dead sequel, which would continue the story from the last movie, Army of Darkness. 
     As for that cabin? The original 16mm Evil Dead was shot in a real abandoned cabin in the hills of Morristown, Tenn. Raimi denied rumors that he ordered the cabin burned down to keep fans from spending the night there. "It would have been great to use it again," Raimi said with a sigh.

ECHOES TO STIR AGAIN
     Pretty much ignored after the release of Sixth Sense, Artisan's Stir of Echoes has found an audience on home video. A sequel to the film will now begin shooting in New York on July 19th. The script was written by Harris Wilkinson and Adam Green of the upcoming film Hatchet cleaned it up. 
     “I did a polish on a script written by a very talented writer named Jennifer Todhunter,” said Green. “The story is centered around Tom Witzky's son (Jake), who is starting to deal with disturbing visions very similar to his father's now that he is a senior in High School. Lions Gate brought me on last October to do a character and ‘scare’ polish to the existing script, however I would imagine that the script has changed even more now that there is an official director attached and they are moving into production. I can't wait to see how it all turns out as when I last had my eyes on it- there were some moments that were genuinely creepy as hell. But I've been neck deep in my own blood, guts, and gore finishing HATCHET- so I've been out of the loop for awhile.”

The Dark is Rising at Walden Media 
     Phillip Anschutz's Walden Media has bought film rights to Susan Cooper's five-book The Dark is Rising fantasy-adventure series. The first film in the series will be based on the second book, The Dark is Rising, centering on a modern-day boy who learns on his 11th birthday that he's the Sign Seeker -- the last of a group of immortals who have dedicated their lives to fighting forces of the Dark. As he uncovers a series of clues, some dating back to biblical times, the boy also discovers the future of the world rests in his hands.
     The Dark is Rising was first published in 1973. The other books in the series are Over Sea, Under Stone; Greenwitch; The Grey King; and Silver on the Tree.
     The deal marks Walden's second franchise acquisition, four years after buying C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia series. Disney is releasing the first film of the series, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, in December.

Barker Gets Demonik
     Clive Barker is set to share his unique brand of horror with movie and video game audiences in the form of Demonik. The feature film has John Woo and Barker attached as producers. Barker has the option to write, having begun a treatment that is being shopped to studios by Woo's Tiger Hill Entertainment. 
     The video game already is under way from Tiger Hill, game developer Terminal Reality and game publisher Majesco, with the goal of shipping next year for next-generation consoles. Barker is set to oversee the story, character designs and voice talent for the next-generation horror game as well as direct the in-game cinematics.
     In addition, there have been discussions about a graphic novel and limited-edition statue to coincide with the game launch, said Tiger Hill co-founder and producer Brad Foxhoven. 

Chow Yun-Fat's Deadly Deception
     Chow Yun-Fat will star in the gritty action thriller Deadly Deception. James Fargo, veteran director of such Clint Eastwood films as The Enforcer and Every Which Way But Loose, wrote the script and will also direct.
     The film follows Philip Chase (Yun-Fat), a highly skilled Hong Kong detective who travels to Los Angeles to solve his sister's murder. Phillip matches wits and trades punches with the greedy, devious Jonathan Beardsley (John Leguizamo), who is the mastermind behind a conspiracy much larger than Philip can fathom. Roselyn Sanchez (Rush Hour 2) plays a tough Los Angeles Police officer who teams up with Chase. Deadly Deception is budgeted at $20 million and will begin shooting mid-May in Hong Kong, Argentina and Los Angeles.
     He will also play the lead in Andrew Goth's The Wretched, an original fusion of gothic western and classic horror. Yun-Fat plays Rellik, a bounty hunter of zombies. He introduces his apprentice, Twenty-One, to a dangerous world where zombie outlaws roam the earth, avoiding capture and incarceration in the prisoner catacombs for the Undead. When a wagon train of misguided travelers stumble upon the Monastery and unwittingly release the Undead locked within, Rellik and Twenty-One find themselves facing a jailbreak like no other. Production is scheduled to begin on location in New Mexico this June.

Wo-Ping Unleashed
     Louis Leterrier, director of the upcoming action film Unleashed, said that he unleashed legendary martial-arts choreographer Yuen Wo Ping (the Matrix trilogy) after bringing him on board to work with star Jet Li (The One). Li plays Danny, a man raised like a dog and trained to kill on command, who finds himself torn between his brutal owner (Bob Hoskins) and his new friend, a blind and wise piano tuner (Morgan Freeman). "I got more involved in the beginning and less at the end," Leterrier (The Transporter) said in an interview. "I know his style. I love his work, and we were lucky to have him right off Kill Bill." 
     Leterrier added: "Wo Ping's crew is about 10 people, and they are really Chinese. One guy has a shaved head and a long pointy white goatee, and he stares at you. You know they can kill you, and none of them speak English. I planned out scenes with Star Wars action figures, because I really wanted the fights to be really vicious, stripped-down street fighting. They don't sound like Indiana Jones fights, where you wait for people to hit you. The first thing we shot was the vicious fight in the opening sequence. I looked [at] and supervised and co-choreographed the fights. I wanted the tearing of the hair and the banging of the heads, which I [oversaw] for a bit. Then, afterwards, I let them do what they want and have fun. I was asked to walk away, because they pay him a lot." Unleashed is in theaters.

Cronenberg Back With Painkillers
     David Cronenberg, who is currently in Cannes with his film A History of Violence, will next direct Painkillers, a futuristic thriller that re-teams him with producer Robert Lantos. The producer and director on May 13 confirmed the project, which has been in development for several years. Based on Cronenberg's first original screenplay in eight years, Painkillers is budgeted at $35 million and is being readied for release in late 2006.
     Painkillers explores a society where mankind has taken a wrong turn, embracing perversions and practices that were once considered unacceptable. In the film, surgery, which is performed in public and on camera, is the new sex, and pain, which has been all but eliminated, is the new forbidden pleasure. The plotline focuses on a police detective who is sent undercover to save humanity.

STAR WARS Soldiers Attack Serial-Killer Genre
     Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson, seen on opposite sides of the Force in STAR WARS: EPISODE III, will re-team for a serial-killer movie called WISDOM AND HINDSIGHT, set to roll this fall. 
      Described as being "a chiller in the vein of SEVEN" (and aren’t they all?), the film will be directed by another STAR WARS veteran, Nick Gillard, making his debut at the helm after directing stunts on the most recent three chapters in George Lucas’ space saga, as well as SLEEPY HOLLOW and INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE (where he doubled Tom Cruise), and heading the 2nd unit on REIGN OF FIRE

John Carpenter to guide THE 13TH APOSTLE
     John Carpenter’s next feature will be THE 13TH APOSTLE for Inferno Distribution. It’s about a Pittsburgh detective who discovers that a series of horrible murders are the work of an Internet-based serial killers’ club, and joins forces with a stockbroker (?) to stop them. The script was written by Paul Margolis, who got it to the director through the latter’s “John Carpenter Presents” program, in which Carpenter mentors up-and-coming writers and directors. Carpenter’s wife/longtime producer Sandy King will produce APOSTLE along with Elizabeth Wang-Lee, Oliver Hengst and William J. Johnson. It’ll be Carpenter’s first feature in the four years since GHOSTS OF MARS, though he’s also currently working on an entry in Showtime/Anchor Bay’s MASTERS OF HORROR series. 

NIGHT SKIES begins shooting
     SOTA FX chief turned director Roy Knyrim (CEMETERY GATES) began filming his latest film, the sci-fi thriller NIGHT SKIES, this past Tuesday in the San Fernando Valley and Valencia, CA. 
     The indie film draws inspiration from the notorious Phoenix Lights UFO phenomenon that took place over Nevada and Arizona on March 13, 1997. Witnessed by thousands, the incident was later investigated by Arizona senator John McCain. 
      The movie is reportedly adapted from hypnosis-therapy transcripts with an observer to the UFO event. NIGHT SKIES stars Jason Connery (URBAN GHOST STORY), A.J. Cook (FINAL DESTINATION 2) and George (7TH HEAVEN) Stults. Eric Miller (DOG SOLDIERS 2: DEAD MEAT) wrote the script, and FX are being handled by Monster FX’s Mark Villalobos and Ron Karkoska.

20th Century Fox to release PERFECT CREATURE
     20th Century Fox has picked up PERFECT CREATURE, the second fright film from New Zealand writer/director Glenn Standring following THE IRREFUTABLE TRUTH ABOUT DEMONS, and may release it Stateside as early as this fall. The movie, which stars Dougray Scott, Saffron Burrows, Stuart Wilson, Scott Wills and Leo Gregory, is set in a retro-futuristic world populated by both humans and vampires, and centers on the species' combined attempts to stop a villainous bloodsucker. This marks the first time that a major U.S. studio has acquired a movie from the New Zealand market (though CREATURE is officially a NZ/British co-production). 

RAIN Director to SCREAM
     Once you make a movie like 1984’s Purple Rain, where else can your career go but down? I mean really, it doesn’t get much better than trying to make the 5 foot nothing Minnesotan Prince look like a badass, does it? 
     Well, Rain director Albert Magnoli is back after a decade-long hiatus (previously he did some Nash Bridges episodes and the film Dark Planet) to direct a horror pic called Primal Scream. The flick is said to be about five "young adults" being forced to fight for their lives against a mallet-wielding psychopath in a 15-hour rampage. I'm not sure if the actual time span of said rampage is important, but the trade made a point of it so I shall too. 
     PRIMAL Scream, which will feature Sex and the City star Victor Webster and Shall We Dance’s Stark Sands. Filming kicks into gear next month in New Brunswick, so let's hope for Magnoli’s sake that there is a directorial way up from Purple Rain...

Hudson Unlocks Skeleton Key
     Kate Hudson, star of the upcoming supernatural film The Skeleton Key, said that she unlocked the action-heroine part of her by performing most of her own stunts. "I've never had so many bruises in my life," Hudson said in an interview. "[I do] stuff like fights, climbing a broken trellis, breaking windows, that kind of stuff. Fight stuff, throwing things." 
     In The Skeleton Key, Hudson plays Caroline, a hospice worker, who observes strange events after taking a job as caregiver to an ailing Louisiana man (John Hurt). Hudson (Almost Famous) said that the role was significantly different from her previous characters, because of the combined physical and emotional challenges. "Every movie I do, every character I've ever played, it's always different," she said. "This movie, I never have to smile. It's really nice. And that's been fun. And I've gotten to do a lot of stunts in this movie, which have been really fun for me. That's been my favorite part so far, all the stunts I've gotten to do. I haven't used a stunt double. It's been really fun.” 
     Hudson said that the location shooting in Louisiana left her especially tender, but ultimately the film is designed to build to more than just a physical climax between her character and otherworldly forces. "When we were shooting in New Orleans, and I was doing all this outside stuff, all my legs, my entire shins and stuff are all banged up," she said. "[But] this is not a screaming movie. This is not a 'Watch Kate scream' movie. It's a spinning movie. It's the spin. It's the sounds. It's a sound movie. It's a jump-out-of-bed movie." The Skeleton Key opens Aug. 12.

Kung Fu Hustle Sequel in the Works 
     Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group is developing a sequel to Stephen Chow's Kung Fu Hustle. Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia managing director Barbara Robinson said Chow and his writing team from Hustle, including Tsang Kan Cheong, have been writing a draft in the evenings while on the road for the 30-country Sony Pictures Releasing International rollout of the film. The studio plans to begin shooting the Hustle sequel before the end of the year somewhere in China.

Genre actors under a VOODOO MOON
     IDT Entertainment, the company behind the MASTERS OF HORROR series and numerous other current genre projects, has rolled a new genre feature called VOODOO MOON. The movie is set in a Midwestern town where a personification of the devil kills the entire population except a young boy named Cole and his sister. Twenty years later, the grown-up Cole (RESIDENT EVIL’s Eric Mabius), who has been pursuing the devil, prepares for a final confrontation, while his sister (ANGEL’s Charisma Carpenter) has developed the ability to sense disasters and death, and expresses them in her artwork. Cole calls on those he has helped over the years to assist him in his showdown with Satan, including a cop (Jeffrey Combs) and a biker (John Amos); the cast also includes Geoffrey Lewis (DEVIL’S REJECTS), Jayne Heitmeyer, Kim Hawthorne, Rik Young and Rey Gallegos.

Grammer Is Beast In X-Men 3
     Marvel entertainment chief Avi Arad said that Kelsey Grammer will plays Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy/Beast in the upcoming third X-Men film and also confirmed earlier reports that Vinnie Jones has signed to play the villainous Juggernaut. Grammer, best known to audiences as TV's Frasier Crane, will play the blue-furred biochemist, whose strength and agility are matched by his genius intellect. Beast will play a prominent role in the third X-Men film, whose story is being kept under wraps. 
     Arad said that director Matthew Vaughn and the filmmakers were seeking to avoid a British actor to play Beast when Grammer read for the part. "We've been looking around for actors that are American," he said. "We didn't want to resort to ... if someone is intelligent, [he] has to sound like a Brit. ... [Grammer] has this delivery and the voice. You close your eyes, and you hear Hank McCoy. And there is this innate intelligence, the warmth, the strength there. He read—here is this big star—and he just knocked it out of the park. And the rule in our movies is, you go with the actor. It's not about lookalikes. ... It's about someone who brings a special tone, a special feeling, to the character." 
     As for Jones' role, Arad said: "Juggernaut is an interesting guy. He's like, once he's in motion, he cannot be stopped, like a bullet. And he [has] an interesting affiliation: He's actually Xavier's [Professor X, played by Patrick Stewart,] half-brother. And, again, I cannot obviously get into the plot, but he's going to be [a] very interesting villain." 
     Arad said the X-Men 3 is gearing up to begin shooting in Vancouver, B.C., in July, with an eye to a release on Memorial Day 2006. The film will bring back the main cast from the previous two films, including Halle Berry, James Marsden, Famke Janssen, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, Arad said. "Everybody's coming back," he said, adding: "And Matthew Vaughn [Layer Cake] brings a lot of fresh air to the table. Very, very smart filmmaker. He's working on the script with the screenwriters, with Zak [Penn] and Simon [Kinberg], and all of us are very involved in it. This is, I'm telling you, ... huge. ... It's better than one and two combined. That's a big statement. ... The main concept, the theme of the movie, it's just scary, brilliant and thought-provoking." 

007 Defecting to Prague?
     The next James Bond movie, Casino Royale, will begin production likely in summer 2006 in Prague, according to reports. The defection to eastern Europe from 007's longtime home at Pinewood Studios near London has sent shock waves through the U.K. film industry, still reeling from Paramount's decision to pull Watchmen from Pinewood. 
     An Eon spokesperson in London was tight-lipped about the move to Barrandov Studios in Prague, saying only: "We haven't confirmed any of our locations for Casino Royale." Barrandov Studios did not wish to comment on the reports.

Thai Chiller SHUTTER Up For Remaking By Regency
     Regency Enterprises has acquired the remake rights to the OMEN-esque Thai supernatural chiller SHUTTER. The original film, which recently played New York’s Tribeca Film Festival and is one of the highest grossers ever in its home country, was directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom, and is about a photographer who discovers strange shadows in his pictures in the wake of his involvement in a hit-and-run accident. Soon, their friends are being haunted as well. No talent has yet been attached to the remake

Grace Caught In Spidey's Web
     Topher Grace is joining the cast of Sony's Spider-Man 3, alongside returning stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco. Thomas Haden Church has also been cast as an as-yet-unnamed villain. Spider-Man 3 is slated to open May 4, 2007, with production beginning early next year. 
     Grace (That '70s Show) will also play a Spidey nemesis, though his character is being kept under tight wraps. Spider-Man 3 will be the first movie in the Marvel franchise in which the webslinger will face not one but two enemies. 
     Spider-Man 3 is written by Alvin Sargent, who also penned the second entry, and again directed by Sam Raimi.

Another DAY, Another Dollar
     The Hollywood remake machine rumbles on… A remake of George A. Romero’s DAY OF THE DEAD will be produced by Nu Image/Millennium Films, which will distribute the movie, in partnership with Emmett/Furla Films and Taurus Entertainment. The producers will by Avi Lerner, Randall Emmett and James Dudelson; no other talent has been attached, but it can be assumed Romero will have nothing to do with it. These guys are no strangers to remakes; Emmett/Furla was part of the team behind the new AMITYVILLE HORROR and is currently involved with updates of THE WICKER MAN and TERROR TRAIN, while Dudelson recently directed and produced the unofficial sequel DAY OF THE DEAD 2: CONTAGIUM.

India Eyes Donor Chaos
     Indian eye doctors have asked a court to ban a movie in which the heroine sees ghosts after a cornea transplant, saying it will scare off donors and patients. The All India Ophthalmological Society complained to Delhi's high court that the movie Naina (Eyes), starring Bollywood bombshell Urmila Matondkar, would reinforce myths about cornea transplants.  The movie is an Indian remake of the Hong Kong film THE EYE, which was directed by the Pang brothers.
     "This movie could create a fear psychosis among cornea recipients and their relatives as well as among potential eye donors," ophthalmologist Navin Sakhuja said. Would-be donors could be frightened off, afraid their eyes would "live on after they are dead," said Sakhuja, a member of the society. "We have a huge backlog of people, particularly children, waiting to get new corneas. This movie adds to misconceptions and could hurt efforts to get them those corneas."
     Naina's director says the heroine's visions after the transplant following 20 years of blindness are caused by what the donor had seen and experienced in life.  "If such objections are taken into account, no horror film will ever be made," director Shripal Morakhia stated.
     The court is due to hear the case Wednesday, but the movie was released nationally Friday. India needs 40,000-50,000 corneas a year but only 15,000 are donated. Hindus believe in reincarnation and that what they do and how they behave in this life affects the next. Doctors say some people fear they will be reborn blind if they give up their eyes.

Saw Guys Ready Silence
     The two screenwriters who masterminded the creepy thriller Saw said that they're now preparing a ghost story called Silence for Universal Pictures. "We're now working on a creepy ghost story for Universal that involves a master ventriloquist," James Wan, who co-wrote 2004's Saw with Leigh Whannell, said. Wan is set to direct Silence, and Whannell will star in the new horror film, as he did in Saw with Danny Glover and Cary Elwes. 
     "Ventriloquist dummies are always pretty scary," added Whannell, who is also involved in writing Saw 2 with new director Darren Lynn Bousman. That sequel is about to begin filming in Toronto and promises "more traps and more carnage," Whannell said. 
     Wan and Whannell met in film school in Australia and said they have always enjoyed the horror genre. After making their 2000 film Stygian, they landed a deal with Lions Gate for Saw.
 
 
 
 

DAVA’S DELVINGS  
 

Darth Vader: Friend or Foe?
A Movie Review by Dava Sentz
 

   A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away… Director George Lucas began work on what would become the most celebrated film saga in motion picture history. 
   The famous Star Wars trilogy, just released on DVD, has earned an impressive and devoted fan base. It has broken through all the realms of science fiction, becoming a genre unto itself. For the past 28 years we have grown with the force, embracing the trails and tribulations of Droids, Wookiees, and little green Jedi masters. Now, in 2005 the galactic adventure has finally come to an end with Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
   While sci-fi has never been my favorite genre, and I have never been what one might call a Star Wars fan, I have always had nothing but the utmost respect for the series. It truly is a unique experience and over the last few years I've come to appreciate it even more. The first three installments have been more enjoyable than I ever would've expected. Not only have they brought hordes of young fans to new heights of Jedi mastery, but they also provided a much needed back story to the characters we know and love.
   In my humble opinion, Revenge of the Sith may just be the best film in the Star Wars empire. It was everything I expected from the hype and much more. With lightsabers, ariel pod battles, and corrupt chancellors serving as the backdrop to tragedy and darkness, the final chapter concentrates on the transformation of Anikan Skywalker into Darth Vader. 
   Anikan has always been far too arrogant for the Jedi knighthood. His inborn greed and lust for power made him an easy target for the dark side, one that could easily be sensed two years ago. Even so, it never made the re-birth any less emotional or any less exciting. 
   Though his actions were certainly inexcusable, Anikan's path to corruption started out from a very honorable and loving place. His chain of reasoning should be easy to understand to anyone who's ever been in love. This is why he was such a pitiful character. I totally sympathized with his plight and as I watched him sink deeper and deeper into his cesspool of wickedness, I wanted to cry.
   At the same time, however, I wanted to slap him. Or rather, I wanted to slap Hayden Christensen for once again failing to measure up to Anikan's high emotional standards. Though admittedly the British Columbia native is outrageously gorgeous with the body of an Adonis, he could not act to save his mother's life. His performance ability stinks! So bad, in fact, that I'm willing to bet that George Lucas could've recruited the first 'nut' off of his walnut ranch home in Modesto and gotten the same result. Fortunately, the 24 year-old Christensen has had the opportunity to work with some of the best of Hollywood's A list, so there is every reason to hope that he will improve with time and practice. Meanwhile, his current abilities as an actor had very little impact on the overall quality of the film. This was due both to the pulse pounding story line and the amazing cast.
   Natalie Portman, as always turned out a must-see performance as Anikan's devoted wife, Padme. Portraying a woman who may be the only honest senator in the history of politics, Portman enhances her character's classic innocence and sweetness with the aide of a life altering pregnancy. 
   Padme is the most crucial link in this futuristic saga, because it could be said that, Anikan's eventual re-birth is largely accredited to this. Though she is young in years, she has always given 100% to her roles, and she has walked away from Star Wars on a very heartfelt and emotional note. The departure of Amidala has explained a great deal and it definitely provides Episodes IV, V, and VI with a clear-cut motive for future events. 
   Lastly, there is Anikan's wise and caring mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi played once more by Ewan McGregor. Though some may argue that he is better suited for the role of young Skywalker, McGregor does bring a certain wisdom and charisma to his role of Jedi master. 
   Anikan needs a father figure, someone to guide him down the right path. Obi-Wan's efforts may have failed miserably, but McGregor and Christensen exemplified the perfect blend of brotherhood and devotion. This made their eventual estrangement all the harder to watch, but it came together quite nicely just the same. This makes me believe that McGregor did just fine, just where he was.
   All of this, coupled with an intense lightsaber battle with Yoda, a dazzling display of shock and awe morality concepts, and the greatness of Samual L. Jackson and Christopher Lee, Episode III delivers all the cinematic goods. I would recommend it to anyone with a keen eye for adventure, fun, and 'force'.

 
IMAGINATIVE CINEMA COMING SOON
MUST SEE MOVIES FOR ICS MEMBERS LIKEYOU!

June 3rd    CINDERELLA MAN 
Cast: Russell Crowe (Jim Braddock), Renee Zellweger (Mrs. Braddock), Craig Bierko (Max Baer), Paddy Considine (Hank), Paul Giamatti; other cast not announced as confirmed yet.
Premise: Set in New York during the Depression, this is the story of James Braddock (Crowe), who takes up boxing to make money to feed his family, and ends up becoming quite famous in the process, eventually going up against champ Max Baer (Bierko), who was notorious for having killed two men in the ring... 
 

June 10th      THE ADVENTURES OF SHARKBOY AND LAVA GIRL IN 3-D
Premise: A 10-year-old outcast is shunned by classmates and forced to spend summer vacation alone. With his two imaginary friends (Shark Boy and Lava Girl) he goes on a mission to prove dreams can become reality.
 

June 15th    BATMAN BEGINS 
Cast: Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne, AKA Batman), Ken Watanabe (Ra's Al Ghul), Michael Caine (Alfred Pennyworth), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Rutger Hauer, Katie Holmes (Rachel Dodson), Cillian Murphy (Dr. Jonathan Crane), Liam Neeson (Ducard), Gary Oldman (Sgt. Jim Gordon), Tom Wilkinson (Carmine Falcone)
Premise: When fate prevents him from avenging the deaths of his parents, young Bruce Wayne (Bale) flees to Asia where he seeks counsel from a dangerous ninja cult leader known as Ra's al Ghul (Watanabe). When he returns, Bruce finds that Gotham City has become overrun with crime and corruption, and that there are forces at work trying to remove him from his inherited place as the owner of Wayne Industries. Discovering a cave under Wayne Manor, Bruce assumes a new identity as a secret detective and guardian of the people of Gotham City against the criminals that plague them... 
 

Christian Bale as Batman in Warner Bros. Pictures' Batman Begins - 2005 

 

June 24th     BEWITCHED   
Cast: Nicole Kidman (Samantha Stephens), Will Ferrell (Darrin Stephens), Shirley MacLaine (Endora), Michael Caine (Maurice), Jason Schwartzman 
Premise:  Samantha (Kidman) is a witch from another magical world who comes to Earth to become an actress... in a TV show which is extremely like the classic 'Bewitched' TV show. While both Samantha's meddling mother, Endora, and her other relatives, as well as Samantha's own natural predilection to occasionally still use magic, get in her way. An interesting twist to bring the tv show into this movie.
 

June 29th    WAR OF THE WORLDS
Cast: Tom Cruise (Ray Ferrier), Dakota Fanning (Rachel Ferrier), Miranda Otto (Mary Ann Ferrier), Tim Robbins (Ogilvy), Gene Barry, David Alan Basche, Justin Chatwin, James DuMont, Daniel Franzese, Rick Gonzalez, 
Premise: This is the story of an invasion of Earth by aliens from another world, whose powerful tripod  attack vehicles are equipped with disintegration rays unstoppable by the best technology humanity has to offer. The story focuses on a dock worker (Cruise) who struggles to get his family (including Dakota Fanning as his daughter) to safety. The ‘Martians’ of old are now aliens of anew terror.
 
 

Justin Chatwin, Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning in Paramount Pictures' War of the Worlds - 2005 
 

farewellsfarewellsfarewells Good bye farewellsfarewellsfarewells

Frank Gorshin, the master impressionist and character actor famous for his role as the villainous Riddler in the 1960s Batman television series and who more recently brought comedian George Burns to life in the one-man Broadway show say goodnight, gracie, has died. Also among his many T.V. appearances was the Star Trek episode let that be your last battlefield and a guest role on buck rogers in the 25th century. Gorshin’s imaginative cinema turns were invasion of the saucermen, batman the movie, meteor man and 12 monkeys. His non genre films included the proud and profane, the delicate delinquent, Bells are ringing, the great imposter, that darn cat and mail order bride. He was 71.
 
 

Thurl Ravenscroft, the booming voice of Tony the Tiger, whose hearty "They're g-r-r-r-e-a-t!", became an American cultural icon, has died. He sang and voiced roles in about two dozen Disney movies starting in 1941, including alice in wonderland, peter pan, lady and the tramp, sleeping beauty, the sword in the stone and mary poppins. Many remember his evil rendition of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" in the television special How the Grinch Stole Christmas! which has aired annually since 1966. He was 91years old.
 

 
 

THE LAST WARD . . .
By John Ward

 I’ve never written whole columns about individual movie stars because, frankly, I haven’t been inspired.  What’s to talk about?  One of my earliest columns discussed James Stewart, but it focused mainly on the museum in his name in Indiana, PA, the hometown I proudly shared with Stewart.  There was a lazy column I wrote a while back listing my favorite movies of specific actors, but nothing in depth.  Maybe I just didn’t feel like doing the research necessary to profile one actor in particular.
 Well, as I’ve said many times before, thank God for the Internet Movie Database.  It makes research a snap.  I jumped on the good ol’ IMDb this evening to find some fast facts about one of the biggest movie stars of the ‘60s:  Steve McQueen.
 The Steve McQueen Collection recently arrived on DVD, featuring six of McQueen’s most notable films, including BULLITT and THE CINCINNATI KID.  The boxed set is a must-own for fans of the actor, especially for the new 2-disc edition of BULLITT.  I snapped up the BULLITT discs separately, and spent a pleasant evening revisiting one of the best police procedurals ever filmed.  It includes one of the greatest car chases in movie history, not to mention a performance from McQueen that has to rank as his most iconic: the cool, semi-detached rebel cop.  The disc also contained an AMC documentary on McQueen’s career, entitled The Essence of Cool.  Okay, now I was inspired.  I wanted to look at some of McQueen’s films again to see where all this coolness originated.
 After plowing through BULLITT, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, THE GREAT ESCAPE, and THE TOWERING INFERNO, I’ve come to the conclusion that this persona of “cool” has always been with Steve McQueen in one form or another, going all the way back to his early films in the ‘50s.  We all remember McQueen dipping his toe into the sci-fi waters with a starring role in the B-grade cult classic, THE BLOB.  He was billed as “Steven” McQueen, and he spent most of the flick trying to convince the town cops that he wasn’t crazy; there really was a giant splotch of red ooze from outer space, and it really was attempting to swallow the town whole.  But the cops were more concerned with the hi-jinks of Steve’s dragster pals.  Looking back at the film, we have to laugh at McQueen’s button-down collar and simple crew cut.  Not quite the visual needed for a punk rebel.
 Of course, when it comes to being rebellious, McQueen went about it in a much quieter fashion than contemporaries like James Dean and Marlon Brando.  He didn’t do a lot of screaming and yelling; he let his actions speak for him.  This became a trademark of his career.  McQueen hated to waste a lot of dialogue on the screen when there was so much his characters could do to show their attitude.  McQueen’s starmaking role in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN was the best proof of this.
 His first scene in the classic John Sturges-directed western is memorable for his character’s deceptively laid-back charm.  McQueen plays Vin, a cowpoke who teams with gunfighter Yul Brynner to ride shotgun on a hearse carrying a dead Indian.  McQueen speaks barely three sentences in this tense scene, but you’d swear he steals the moment right out from under Brynner, simply by piling on the bits of business:  rattling the shells before he loads his scattergun, shading his eyes with his hat to catch the glare.  And the dialogue goes something like this:
 “Where you from?”
 “Dodge.  You?”
 “Tombstone.  Any action down there?”
 “Nope.  You?”
 “Same.”
 From this point, McQueen is drafted to help protect a poor Mexican village from Eli Wallach’s band of killers.  It’s Sturges’ homage to Kurosawa’s THE SEVEN SAMURAI, and one of the greatest remakes ever filmed.  But I digress.  The film had plenty of support from the likes of Charles Bronson and James Coburn, but it was Steve McQueen who came out of the film a movie star.  The most famous line in the movie was his:  “We deal in lead, friend.”
 When Sturges was prepping his all-star World War II epic THE GREAT ESCAPE, McQueen was a natural choice for the part of Capt. Virgil Hilts, the “Cooler King.”  This was McQueen at his most laid-back, while simultaneously showcasing his most rebellious qualities.  The movie was a perfect fit for him.
 THE GREAT ESCAPE features a much larger cast than THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, telling the fact-based story of a massive escape from a German POW camp.  Bronson and Coburn are back, along with Richard Attenborough, James Garner, Donald Pleasance, and even a pre-UNCLE David McCallum.  It didn’t matter; McQueen was still the one that audiences remembered long after the film was over, and it contains some of the most unforgettable film imagery of his career.  The most obvious example, of course, would be the famous shot of McQueen jumping the barbed-wire fence on his motorcycle, the textbook image of a rebel.
 But when I think of THE GREAT ESCAPE, I think of McQueen returning again and again to his cell, the “cooler,” after every failed escape attempt.  His rebellious spirit never wanes; he simply takes his accustomed position on the floor and proceeds to bounce a baseball off the opposite wall, ka-thunk, ka-thunk, over and over again, and you realize that he is quietly and confidently plotting his next escape attempt.  This becomes such a routine in the movie that his fellow prisoners always have his baseball mitt waiting for him whenever the soldiers bring him back to camp, nonchalantly tossing it to him as he enters the “cooler.”  The image of McQueen in his cell has become so well known that it was even lampooned by a chicken in the animated feature CHICKEN RUN.
 There were several more movies McQueen made in the mid-60s that became hits:  THE CINCINNATI KID, NEVADA SMITH, THE SAND PEBBLES.  The first is considered to be one of the best movies ever made about poker; its plot parallels THE HUSTLER in many ways, substituting card-playing for pool.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen THE CINCINNATI KID, but I still remember the climactic poker game between McQueen and card shark Edward G. Robinson.  NEVADA SMITH was a completely different film in terms of tone; McQueen’s entire motivation in the film is revenge.  Everything he does in this film, one of the most underrated westerns to come out of the ‘60s, is meant to get him closer to the three men who killed his parents.  Once again, it’s been a long time since I’ve watched NEVADA SMITH, and most of it is fuzzy, but I expect to see it again someday.  I know it was recently shown on the AMC channel, but I avoided that showing on general principle.  (My reasons should be obvious, and explaining why would fill another column.)
 The only one of McQueen’s films to come out of this period that I have never seen is THE SAND PEBBLES.  Once again teamed with Richard Attenborough on a gunboat patrolling the Yangtze River during the ‘20s, McQueen is able to fight, shoot, bust a river blockade, romance a young Candice Bergen, stand up to authority (for the umpteenth time), and much more in the film’s 3-hour running time.
 Steve McQueen was at the top of his game when he made BULLITT in 1968.  That year, he was voted the world’s most popular movie star, and in a close examination of BULLITT, it’s easy to see why.  Lt. Frank Bullitt is McQueen at his “coolest,” his strongest, and his most self-confident.  At the same time, McQueen spends a good bit of the film looking tired and more than a little weary of all the red tape he deals with on the job.  A San Francisco police detective dealing with all kinds of bureaucratic crap in order to bring down the bad guys?  I couldn’t help thinking that director Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood had BULLITT in mind when they made the seminal DIRTY HARRY three years later.
 I loved McQueen’s first appearance in this film.  A fellow detective rouses a grumpy Bullitt from his bed in order to go to work.  It’s a big case, a political hot potato, but McQueen doesn’t know this and doesn’t care.  He sits on the side of his bed, cold, hunched over, his hands clasped between his knees, his face and hair a mess.  It’s what we all look and feel like in the morning, but here’s this movie star laying it out there, and it’s a perfect fit for his character.
 Then there’s the stunt work.  BULLITT is most known for its centerpiece car chase, with McQueen tailing a couple of syndicate hit men up and down every hill in San Francisco.  McQueen did most of his own driving, a fact that adds an extra level of realism to the action.  This was McQueen’s chance to indulge two of his fondest offscreen pursuits: fast cars and even faster driving.  He returned to the same type of action in LE MANS and THE GETAWAY.
 THE GETAWAY was McQueen’s first team-up with director Sam Peckinpah; they would reteam the same year for JUNIOR BONNER.  THE GETAWAY was a gritty heist thriller based on Jim Thompson’s novel.  It harks back to movies like THE KILLING, in which participants in a bank job turn on each other.  Here, the combination of McQueen’s persona and Peckinpah’s directing approach is damn near combustible. 
 In THE GETAWAY, McQueen’s attitude is unshakable.  Nothing fazes him.  His wife, played by Ali MacGraw, thinks that a stretch in prison has desensitized him, but the truth is that McQueen’s characters are nearly always dialed down.  In the rare moments that he erupts, the effect is jarring.  There is a moment in THE GETAWAY when McQueen discovers MacGraw has been cheating on him, and he slaps her – more than a few times.  The slaps are short, almost punches, and they punctuate McQueen’s barely-controlled anger.  It’s a much more disturbing scene than the more theatrical moment in CHINATOWN between Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway.
 By the time McQueen made THE TOWERING INFERNO, his bankability and clout were enough to put him above co-star Paul Newman in the credits.  Well, sort of; the stars’ reps arranged a deal that actually jiggered their names in the opening and closing credits and on the poster ads, a weird kind of “diagonal billing.”  McQueen even insisted that he and Newman have exactly the same number of lines in the script.  McQueen felt that he was Newman’s superior in terms of acting skill, and he wanted a level playing field to prove it.  It doesn’t seem that way in the film; McQueen’s character doesn’t appear until 45 minutes into the picture, and where Newman’s architect character is outgoing and fairly verbose, McQueen’s fire chief is all business; not a single word is wasted.  Just like the gunfighter Vin, nearly 15 years before.
 As careers in the movies go, Steve McQueen’s was pretty impressive, both for its wide variety of hits and its fairly short tally sheet: only 30 films.  And that’s counting uncredited walk-ons in films like Paul Newman’s early star vehicle, SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME.  The list of films demonstrates McQueen’s selectivity, his keen sense of what works; there are very few missteps, and you can’t say that about many movie stars, that’s for sure.  Like many of the most beloved movie stars, he died too soon, of cancer at 50.  It’s interesting to think of what he could have done with an extended career.  I’m sure that, whatever future parts might have come his way, Steve McQueen would have maintained his cool.  

 
ICS CALENDER OF EVENTS
 

June 10th      THE ADVENTURES OF SHARKBOY AND LAVA GIRL IN 3-D
 

June 15th    BATMAN BEGINS 

 
June 24th     BEWITCHED   
 

June 25th   ICS MEETING  at 5:30pm  
A NIGHT WITH JACKIE CHAN - Andrew Kent’s June meeting presentation
 

June 29th    WAR OF THE WORLDS