SFFWorld News – 10/31/09
1) Stephenie Meyer sold film rights to her best-selling science fiction novel The Host to producers Nick Wechsler and Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz. Andrew Niccol (Gattaca) will write the adapted script and direct, and Meyer will be heavily involved in the project. The Host concerns a future in which most humans have had their bodies taken over by alien Wanderer entities. A human woman who becomes a host to one of these Wanderers is able to resist the entity’s commands. Instead, she creates an alliance with the entity to search for the man she loves.
2) Spider-Man News Item #1: Sony has announced a spin-off movie from its Spider-Man franchise for the villainous character Venom, featured in Spider-Man 3. The writers for the new horror comedy film Zombieland, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, will write the script. The film will come out sometime after Spider-Man 4, which is due to start shooting in early 2010.
3) Spider-Man News Item #2: Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the Broadway musical production, with music from U2’s Bono, seemed to be permanently delayed for lack of cash. But now word is coming out that the production is going forward again and will be launched sometime in 2010. Alan Cumming, who will play the villain Green Goblin, has confirmed that he is still attached and been told the project is back on track. Oscar winner Eiko Ishioka has designed the show’s costumes.
4) Spider-Man News Item #3: Spider-Man director Sam Raimi is sponsoring new British director Corin Hardy and helping produce his supernatural horror movie, Refuge, about a remote town terrorized by a Yeti. Hardy will direct from a script written by fellow Brit Tom De Ville. A short film meant to work as a teaser to the movie is also being developed. Raimi himself will next direct Spider-Man 4 and the adaptation of the video/online game World of Warcraft.
5) Author Cory Doctorow has won the 2009 Sunburst YA Award for his YA novel Little Brother for best Canadian SF novel for kids. Doctorow also won the Sunburst in the adult categories with his first short story collection A Place So Foreign and Eight More. The Sunburst Awards are named after the first novel of noted Canadian SF author Phyllis Gottleib.
6) Halcyon, holder of the rights to the Terminator film franchise, has been in financial trouble and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September. Halcyon bought the Terminator rights for US$30 million in 2007, intending to reboot the franchise with Terminator #4: Terminator Salvation. For the moment, Halcyon is proceeding with development of the next Terminator movie and other projects, but the company may end up selling the rights to the property to restructure its finances, and has engaged a financial company to assess the market worth of its assets.
7) Warhammer 40,000: Ultramarines will be a feature-length movie for the DVD market, adapted from the Games Workshop Warhammer 40,000 game universe. UK producers Codex Pictures is developing the movie, which will involve heavy CGI. To follow the project’s progress, you can visit: www.ultramarinesthemovie.com
8) Norilana Books plans to reprint 7 titles from SFF author Tanith Lee, including two reprint trilogies, The Birthgrave trilogy and the Wars of Vis series, which will involve an original sequel. The books will have the original versions of the reprinted works, plus additional material and original artwork. Lee is the author of 77 novels, 14 story collections, and has written for radio and television, including the UK cult SF series Blake’s 7. This year, she was awarded the Grand Master of Horror award, and is also a winner of the British Fantasy Society Award, the World Fantasy Award and the August Derleth Award.
9) US cable channel AMC will premiere its six-part miniseries remake of television’s The Prisoner on November 15 and air it over three consecutive nights. The Prisoner is the story of a man, Six, played by Jim Caviezel, who wakes up to find himself trapped in a mysterious Village, with no memory of his past. He battles to free himself and find out the secret of the Village, pitting himself against its leader, Two. AMC co-produced The Prisoner with UK producers Granada and ITV. Granada International will distribute the production worldwide. Fans of the original 1960’s series can watch all seventeen episodes of it at www.amctv.com.
10) When Amazon forcibly deleted the e-book versions of George Orwell’s novels Animal Farm and 1984 from the Kindles of those who had purchased them, due to copyright infringement issues, they happened to also delete homework notes on the works from teen Justin Gawronski’s Kindle reader. Gawronski and his family sued Amazon and Amazon has now settled the claim with a payment of $150,000. After legal expenses, Gawronski plans to give the money to charity.
11) US network NBC has demoted its post-apocalypse SF series Day One from 13 episode mid-season show to a limited four-hour miniseries. Day One will follow the 2010 Winter Olympics. The show may still get turned into a regular series if it does well in the ratings. US network ABC has also taken the same cost-cutting measure, turning its much buzzed remake series V, about the arrival of mysterious aliens, into a mini-series with its first four episodes and is otherwise halting production, presumably to see how the show does.
12) British SF show Primeval was cancelled by ITV, but now BBC America/Worldwide, UK pay channel UKTV, and Germany’s ProSieben are funding a continuation of the series for thirteen more episodes. ITV will air this fourth season of the show in 2011, and UKTV the fifth season later that year. Primeval is about a team of scientists who deal with temporal anomalies that spit out dinosaurs from the past and dangerous creatures from the future.
13) Betsy Mitchell of Del Rey Books has joined the mash-up sub-genre by signing up Little Women and Werewolves by Porter Grand, based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott. Laurie’s going furry as the new neighbor of those nice March girls. Meanwhile, author Seth Grahame-Smith, who got a bestseller out of the mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, based on Jane Austen’s seminal novel, has moved on to historical fantasy with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
14) The reboot of toy, cartoon, comics hero He-Man has found a new home with Sony, partnered with Escape Artists. The film’s producers say they are starting over completely from scratch with the project. Hopefully that doesn’t mean no Battle Cat. He-Man had his first outing in theaters with the live action film starring Dolph Lundgren in 1983.
15) Joe Haldeman was hospitalized for surgery in September for a twisted bowl and severe pancreatitis. The SF author is now on the mend and get well wishes can be sent to his website: http://www.home.earthlink.net/~haldeman/
16) NBC in the U.S. has picked up a new t.v. show called Midnighters. The show started as a project several years ago for the former network Warner TV from Alloy Entertainment, but was never further developed. It’s now being produced by Alloy and Warner Brothers. Midnighters concern a group of people who were born at the stroke of midnight, which gives them access to the 25th hour of each day, which they use to stop crime.
17) The estate of legendary SF writer Isaac Asimov has made a deal with Berkley Press for an I, Robot prequel trilogy to be penned by SFF author Mickey Zucker Reichert. The first book will be titled Robots and Chaos and focus on the character of Dr. Susan Calvin in the early days of her career. The new series may be out starting in 2011.
18) Denis Leary and Jim Serpico’s production company Apostle Films have secured the rights to the feature film Gattaca to develop it into a one-hour police procedural television series set in the future. The show is being produced through Sony TV’s international division and Gil Grant has been hired as the adapter.