SFFWorld News – 1/19/10
1) Actor Stuart Townsend has parted ways with Marvel Films’ adaptation of Thor. The movie features the popular Marvel superhero – the Norse god Thor sent to Earth from Asgard on probation. Townsend was to play Fandral, an ally of Thor’s. He has been replaced in the role by actor Joshua Dallas. Thor is directed by Kenneth Branagh and will star Chris Hemsworth in the title role. The film also stars Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Renee Russo and Tom Hiddleston, and is scheduled for release in May 2011.
2) Also departing are director Sam Raimi and actor Tobey Maguire from the blockbuster Spider-Man film franchise. Raimi had been arguing with studio Sony over the script of Spider-Man 4, continuing the problems that plagued Spider-Man 3, and refused to try and meet Sony’s May 2011 release deadline because of the delays. Instead of continuing the franchise with a new director and star, Sony decided to scuttle the project altogether and will bring out a new version of Spider-Man, with Peter Parker returning to being a high school student, supposedly in 2012. The Spider-Man Broadway musical stage production has also been delayed due to continuing financing problems and will open in November 2010, instead of March.
3) Titan Books is putting out a series of short stories for Joss Whedon’s short-lived but much loved t.v. series Firefly. One of the contributing writers will be screenwriter/producer Jane Espenson, who worked with Joss Whedon on t.v.’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and wrote a popular episode of Firefly.
4) Author Brandon Sanderson’s best-selling Mistborn novel, the first in the Mistborn fantasy series, has been optioned for film to producer Chris Geary and his Paloppa production company.
5) Best-selling SFF author Kage Baker, best known for her time traveling Company novels, has announced that she is fighting advanced stage cancer. She is currently in the hospital in serious condition, under-going aggressive treatment. It is asked that fans not attempt to send gifts, but email get well wishes can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
6) The nominees for the 2009 Phillip K. Dick Award have been announced. The winner will be announced at Norwescon 33 in SeaTac, Washington, U.S. in early April of this year. The nominees are:
- Bitter Angels, C. L. Anderson (Ballantine Books/Spectra)
- The Prisoner, Carlos J. Cortes (Ballantine Books/Spectra)
- The Repossession Mambo, Eric Garcia (Harper)
- The Devil’s Alphabet, Daryl Gregory (Del Rey)
- Cyberabad Days, Ian McDonald (Pyr)
- Centuries Ago and Very Fast, Rebecca Ore (Aqueduct Press)
- Prophets, S. Andrew Swann (DAW Books)
7) Best-selling fantasy writer and screenwriter Neil Gaiman has announced his engagement to his girlfriend, artist/musician Amanda Palmer. Gaiman was previously married to Mary McGrath, with whom he had three children. More details will presumably be forthcoming on Gaiman’s website.
8) Ivan Reitman, who directed the first two Ghostbusters movies, has confirmed that he will also direct the new Ghostbusters III movie, more than twenty years later. The new movie, from Columbia Pictures, which is likely to be about the former Ghostbusters passing the torch to the next generation, is being written by Year One joksters Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, with help from original writer Harold Ramis, who serves as an executive producer. Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Ramis, and Ernie Hudson have all agreed to reprise their roles. Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis and Annie Potts are also likely to appear in the film. It is tentatively scheduled for release in 2012.
9) The Syfy cable channel in the U.S. is Americanizing the British fantasy series Being Human and has hired Jeremy Carver and Anna Fricke as writers and show runners. The darkly comic t.v. show concerns a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire who end up as roommates. SyFy has ordered 13 episodes for a first season, tentatively scheduled to air this summer.
10) SFF did well at the Golden Globes from the Foreign Press Association, including the following awards:
Best Animated Feature Film: Up
Best Dramatic Film: Avatar
Best Film Director: James Cameron for Avatar
Best Actor, Musical or Comedy Film: Robert Downey Jr. for Sherlock Holmes
11) Also in award news, the best-selling time-travel mystery When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead has won the John Newbery Medal for outstanding contribution to children’s literature. Artist and author Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion & the Mouse won the American Library Association’s Caldecott Medal. It is his first win, though he has been nominated for the award five times before as an Honorable Mention.