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Ledger's Joker a Work Dodge?

Plus: IRON MAN 2, TRANSFORMERS, SCOTT PILGRIM and More

By Rob M. Worley     July 01, 2009
Source: Various

Was Ledger's go-for-broke Joker an attempt to get fired from 'The Dark Knight'? Plus: Jackson talks Fury in 'Iron Man 2'. That 'Transformers' movie is doing alright, in case you hadn't heard. Cool 'Scott Pilgrim' photos. 'We3', 'Ripley' and more! Schlemiel, schlimazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated. It's your Comics2Film 9.7.1!

 

 

Producer talks NINJA TURTLES Update

In case you missed it, fans can find an our exclusive interview with Scott Mednick, producer of the new 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' movie elsewhere on Mania.com today. Mednick gives us some insights into the story, technology and talent that will be brought to bear in bringing the heroes on a half-shell back to the big screen.

Check it out!

 

 

TRANSFORMERS Cha-CHING!

'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' collected nearly another $15 million on Monday, pushing it higher on various charts tracked by Box Office Mojo.

The film jumped up to #80 on the all-time domestic chart.

It is now in the top 100 on the all-time worldwide chart.

It ranks #7 for 10-day gross, with four more days of box office left to improve its standing there.

It's #5 on the 9-day gross.

It's already #2 on the 7 and 8 day gross behind 'The Dark Knight'. It only needs to collect $23 million to surpass that film. Unlikely it'll hit that in seven days, but maybe it will on the eighth.

Likewise, the film has landed at #2 on the 6-day gross chart, so 'The Dark Knight' holds its ground there

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter is projecting the autobot slugfest to stay on top through the fourth of July weekend. Top competitors are the buzz-free 'Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs' and the gangster drama 'Public Enemies' (review).

 

 

OLD BOY Rights Battle

That Will Smith remake of the rightly adored Korean film 'Old Boy' may get sealed up in a mysterious apartment for the next 15 years, thanks to a lawsuit by the publishers of the original manga, which the movie is based on.

Anime News Network reports that Futabasha, the Japanese publisher of Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi's thriller are suing Show East, the makers of the 2003 cult film for the rights to the Hollywood remake.

According to the report, the suit was aparently filed on June 15 in Seoul Central District Court.

Futubasha is allaging a  breach of contract which would have the rights to negotiate a deal with Universal Pictures back to them.

As of last November, plans were for Steven Spielberg to direct Will Smith in the American remake.

 

 

Grant Morrison on WE3

Over at G4, the lovely and talented Blair Butler chats with Grant Morrison about the 'We3' movie. Morrison wrote a script for the 'Homeward Bound Meets Robocop' concept, based on the outstanding comic series he created with artist Frank Quitely.

 

 

DEAD OF NIGHT is NOT Going Direct to DVD

Well, here's a bizarre turn of events reported on the 'Dead of Night' production blog.

For reasons that are unclear, Platinum Studios Development Executive Dan Forcey started a rumor. Making a handful of posts on Facebook and Twitter, Forcey promoted the idea that singer Neil Diamond had died. With little promotion beyond the smattering of posts, the "Diamond is Dead" rumor gained enough traction where Diamond felt had to let people (via Twitter) know he was still alive.

In his blog post, Forcey came clean about the hoax and called it an "experiment in social media", although it seems a bit cruel to us, given that the news may have been upsetting to impressionable members of Diamond's personal circle.

Well, it appears the 'Dead of Night' movie may have been the recipient of some of the bad karma generated by the stunt. On Monday Forcey posted on his social outlets that he was "having a bad day". This may possibly have been becuase a rumor was spreading that the 'Dead of Night' movie was going direct to DVD.

Like the Neil Diamond hoax, the direct-to-DVD rumor is false. Writes Forcey:

"...somebody this morning, with NO articles, interviews, or facts of any kind to back it up posted that Dead of Night was now going direct to DVD and it has spread around like wildfire.

To put a kibosh on this: Dead of Night WILL be a theatrical release.  We are contractually guaranteed and contractually obligated by the parties that put this whole production together to release the movie to a certain minimum of screens.  In other words, we couldn’t release this direct to DVD if we wanted to.

Whomever started this had not spoken to anyone with the production or fact-checked this in any way before posting it.  Personally, I suspect Neil Diamond.  He’s got it out for me now.  I truly, honestly would like to apologize, Mr. Diamond."

 

Thanks to Antonello Blueberry for the submission.

 

 

Ledger wanted to be fired from THE DARK KNIGHT?

The latest issue of Vanity Fair has a feature on late actor Heath Ledger. In online experts from the article, on source close to the actor insinuates that Ledger's award-winning, much buzzed-about performance as the Joker in 'The Dark Knight' was somehow, at least in part, an attempt by the actor to get fired from the film and collect his pay-or-play check without having to complete the project.

Here's the excerpt:

Ledger’s friend and agent, Steven Alexander, tells Biskind that Heath “was always hesitant to be in a summer blockbuster, with the dolls and action figures and everything else that comes with one of those movies. He was afraid it would define him and limit his choices.” According to friends of Ledger’s, one of the reasons he agreed to do Dark Knight was that the unusually long shoot would give him an excuse to turn down other offers.

Alexander tells Biskind that Ledger had a pay-or-play deal on The Dark Knight—meaning he’d get compensated no matter what—so he felt he had the freedom to do whatever he wanted as the Joker. According to Pecorini, Ledger hoped his performance would be so far-out he’d be fired, and thus become the beneficiary of a lengthy, paid vacation.

“He was ready to bust out of the gate, but he didn’t want to step on the gas and become something that he didn’t want to become: a matinee idol,” says Alexander. “He was a private person, and he didn’t want to share his personal history with the press. It just wasn’t up for sale. That’s part of the reason he initially tore down his career. He wasn’t motivated by money or stardom, but by the respect of his peers, and for people to walk out of a movie theater after they’d seen something that he’d worked on and say, ‘Wow, he really disappeared into that character.’ He was striving to become an ‘illusionist,’ as he called it, able to create characters that weren’t there.”

Vanity Fair is on sale today. Click through for more about Ledger and his career.

 

 

Jackson says Fury doesn't see action in IRON MAN 2

MTV Splash Page pinned down Mr. Samuel L. Jackson and quizzed him about his role in 'Iron Man 2'. The actor told the music channel that, unfortunately, Nick Fury isn't involved in any of the action pieces.

"Not this time, not yet. We still haven’t moved Nick Fury into the bad-ass zone. He’s still just kind of a talker," Jackson said, and then pointed out that he has a scene with Robert Downey Jr., of course, and Scarlett Johansson (aka The Black Widow) as well.

Here's the clip...


 

 

Kristen Bell says ASTRO BOY Looks Amazing

Fan fave actress Kristen Bell ('Veronica Mars', 'Heroes') talked with SCI FI Wire about her role as Cora in the upcoming CGI feature 'Astro Boy', who she describes as the ring-leader of a "Peter Pan group of kids."

She also enthused about the quality of the film saying, "I've seen a lot of it, actually. It looks amazing. To be involved in the process is really exciting, because you see the layers that they put on and you see when they don't have the 3-D involved and then when they do and you see when it's just penciled out. It was a really interesting process."

Click through for more of Bell's comments about the process.

The film is due in theaters October 23.

 

 

Actor Brandon Routh on the set of SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD

SCOTT PILGRIM Vs Brandon Routh

There's some cool new photos from the set of 'Scott Pilgrim vs The World' in director Edgar Wright's daily photos stream. The latest feature images of Brandon Routh on the set of the film, along with a T-shirt bearing a "Vegan Police" logo.

Routh plays Todd Ingram, a member of the band Clash at Demonhead headed Pilgrim's ex-girl Envy Adams.

An excerpt from Wikipedia describes a scene from the comics which seems to sync up with the photos currently on display: "Scott...tries to punch Todd Ingram, but is stopped by Todd's telekinetic powers. Envy (who is dating Todd) explains that Todd is a vegan, and graduated top of his class in 'Vegan Academy'. Todd explains that he gains his powers from using the extra 90% percent of his brain, whereas non-vegans use only 10% of their brain and that the rest is 'filled up with curds and whey.'"

 

 

Columbus on RIPLEY Feature

The feature film version of the empire-building comic strip 'Ripley's Believe it or Not' is a project that's seen plenty of ebb and flow in the 12 years we've been covering the subject of comic-base movies.

Director Chris Columbus told SCI FI Wire that what was once envisioned as a biographical feature on cartoonist Robert Ripley, may now have a more Hollywood spin on it.

"My take on Ripley is to believe it," Columbus said in an exclusive interview. "My take on Ripley is to turn it into a fantasy film, really: a big fantasy adventure film where we believe that all of these oddities are possible.

"I think we'll certainly relate to the comic strip a lot in the film. I don't want to talk too much about it, because there are too many surprises."

John Collee ('Happy Feet') is currently at work on the script for the film. Jim Carrey is attached to star. Plans call for a 2011 release.

 

 

And now, a brief installment of...

Jon Favreau Tweets about IRON MAN 2

A lone tweet from the Jon Favreau Twittersphere...

# Busy day. Filmed with RDJ, Gwyneth, Rockwell and Scarlett. Stayed late prepping next week. Couples Retreat trailer went up on Apple site. about 12AM, July 1
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 46
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Wiseguy 7/1/2009 7:58:09 AM

I find the prank about Dead of Night going straight to dvd funny only cause hardly anyone is even aware of this movie and even less care.

Enough with the b.s. Trans.2 numbers. It's cool when certain milestones are met but this "it's #5 in the 6 day and #8 in the 10 days b.s." it's a bit much.

Oldboy doesn't need a remake anyway, mediocre crap, ok it's better than mediocre but still doesn't need a remake

Ledger's Joker was BUTT anyway and now we know why. If he didn't want to be a star why not just do small independent films or was he that strapped for money that he sold out his principles for the moolah. Who cares anyway he's gone now.

Is Nick Fury suppose to get his own film down the line? I hope so, I know he's due to appear in most of Marvel films but his own flick would be pretty cool IMO

Saw the trailer for Couple's Retreat with Bateman, Favreau, Vince Vaughn, definitely checking that out.

 

 

swisshammer 7/1/2009 8:07:40 AM

Allowing actors to immerse themselves in their roles with total freedom only works for really good actors. And even if the actor is good, many times it doesn't work. Sometimes an actor hits a cord with the role and the audience, and that seems to be what Ledger did. I'm not a big fan of his agent releasing this kind of information, because it makes Ledger seem like kind of a douche post-mordem.

galaga51 7/1/2009 8:11:07 AM

Anything is possible, but... The Joker IS a character that is "so far-out" there. To get fired he should've underplayed it, not overplay it. And this whole conjecture is "According to Pecorini...." Who the F is Pecorini? Why do I care what he thinks?

His "friend and agent, Steven Alexander" said he would disappear into a character to earn the respect of his peers, which is what he did, right?  So, how does that in any way support this theory of trying to be fired for a paid vacation?  Rob, someone - help me out.

Darkknight2280 7/1/2009 8:14:28 AM

Im going to tell a messed up joke..hope you all get it and get a messed up chuckle out of it..disclaimer end.

Well Heath did what he wanted to do he dissapeared into the joker quite well, howeve ri dont think he had planned on dissapearing completly from the face of the earth.

hanso 7/1/2009 8:25:04 AM

Really Wise, you think that's too much?  I think Favreau's tweets are more excessive than knowing what number Transformers 2 is at the #7 day mark.  But you are right my man.

On the Transformers 2 subject, I have to apologize for the negative things I've said about the film.  Yesterday I finally got to see Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li.  FUCK  THAT PIECE OF SHIT movie!!!!!!!!!!  I curse every single damn person that was involved with that bullshit.  That shit makes me want to see Transformers 2 again and again and give Michael Bay a fuckin Oscar.   Chris Klein is more offensive to white people, scratch that, Chris Klein is more offensive to people of all races than anything Michael Bay can come up with. 

Seriously, I was in fucking awe at utter shit that movie was.  It makes Van Damme's Street Fighter seem like The Dark Knight.  Raul Julia is rolling in his grave right now after seeing what that douche bag actor did with M.Bison.  The people involved with this shit butchered every Street Fighter character they used!

Chris Klein is a joke and should never be allowed in anything again, not even straight to dvd shit.  They call him Charlie only once in the movie and the character never even throws one miserable punch.  Why they didn't go with Guile istead of Charlie is beyond me.  Not only that, the Charlie/Guile kick from the game is used by Chun Li in this movie!  WTF!!!??

I'm gonna punch myself in the balls now so that the pain felt from my fist hitting my balls will make me forget momentarily the pain and emotional scarring SF: Chun Li has left on me.  Good by now.

hanso 7/1/2009 8:28:22 AM

DarkKnight - If you gonna make fun of the man don't pussy out by putting a disclaimer, just go ahead and tell the joke or funny comment.  Let the people decided if you twisted bastard or not.  Like this:

That shit was like Ledger's attempt at self medication.  Deadly!

mbeckham1 7/1/2009 8:52:29 AM

I think the fact tthat Ledger didn't care whether his performance of Joker was commercially viable or whether it got him fired was exatly what made it awesome.  He played it like it was an Indie movie and didn't compromise a thing.

And as for nay sayeers that think people only liked his Joker performance because fhe died.  Well, by that logic if he had died during 10 Things I Hate About you or A Knight's Tale, They wouldd have gotten $400 Million and earned him an Oscar too.  I even like 10 Things I Hate About  You, buit I don';t think either of those would have made the Oscar cut.  What's more I think the reason so any people who aren't members of his family or friends of his tae his death so persobnally is that we ony just found out what a brilliant actor we lost and wish we could have seen more of him in Indie or Joker. 

countzenith 7/1/2009 8:57:56 AM

What  I got out of the agent's statement was that at any time Ledger felt that the Dark Knight was going to turn into a low quality low substance summer movie (like trans2, Spidey3, X3 etc.) then he would have overplayed his role and gotten himself fired.  Who wants a movie like Batman and Robin to be on their resume when you knew you could've done something about it?

Wiseguy 7/1/2009 8:58:17 AM

I'll just say that the one good thing that came from Ledger's death is that I won't have to see that shitty representation of the Joker again, thank God for sleeping pills

mbeckham1 7/1/2009 9:10:08 AM

I also think Nolan deserves a lot of credit for putting such a daring performance on screen and not firing Ledger. But I don't think he really wanted to get fired as much as he was gonna play the role in the way most artistically interesting to him whether it got him fired or not. And Nolan, to his credit, loved it.

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