SFFWorld News 3 March 2011

The latest book, comic, film and TV news worthy of your attention, from KatG:

1) Colin Farrell has been cast to star in the new Total Recall remake for Sony Pictures. The new version of the film plans to hew even more closely to the story’s original Phillip K. Dick tale, “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale” than the 1990 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, but is keeping the first film’s title, and I’m guessing, some of the obscene body count.

2) Kyra Sedgwick, coming off her t.v. series The Closer, will star in the thriller Dibbuk Box with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, about a couple whose daughter becomes fixated on a dangerous, mysterious box.

3) Author and editor Peter Crowther has signed with Angry Robot for a series of apocalpytic science fiction novels, Forever Twilight. The series will have a blinding light engulf the Earth and then fade to darkness, taking most of humanity with it. But then the survivors find that hordes of humans have returned, but they’re all changed, and not just their clothes. The first novel in the series will be called Darkness Falling.

4) Earlier, word came down that the Wonder Woman t.v. pilot from David E. Kelley had failed to find a buyer among the U.S. networks, who found it reportedly too pricey a risk. But NBC got bought by Comcast, changed its programming chairman and changed its mind. Kelley will be able to shoot the pilot and NBC will then decide whether to pick up the series in May. The show will now be set in Los Angeles in the modern day. Wonder Woman has been cast – actress Adrianne Palicki from Friday Night Lights. Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman on the iconic 1970’s series, has given Palicki her blessing and if Kelley doesn’t have Carter cameo on the show at some point, then he’s losing it. A feature film would have been nice, but at least Wonder Woman will have her resurrection too.

5) Also in comics news, a Black Panther movie is in the works, another long stalled project that may finally get rebooted. Black Panther, from the Marvel Comics universe, is possible the first African-American superhero in comics, first appearing in the mid-1960’s. Documentary filmmaker Mark Bailey is at work on the screenplay. It would be really nice if this gets off the ground. Wouldn’t mind him or another female character being in The Avengers either.

6) A titan of children’s fantasy, British author Brian Jacques, passed away in February at the age of 71 from a heart attack. Jacques’ long running Redwall series was translated into 29 languages and sold an estimated 20 million copies. Redwall involved a medieval world populated by animals and centered around an abbey. He also wrote the trilogy The Castaways of the Flying Dutchman, the Urso Brunov duology and two short story collections. Jacques was born in Liverpool and did a stint as a merchant sailor, a folk musician with the Liverpool Fishermen and a milkman. For twenty years, he had a radio show, Jakestown, on BBC Radio Merseyside. He received a honorary doctorate from the University of Liverpool. Among the awards he won were the American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults, the Carnegie Award, and the Western Australian Young Readers Award. An award in his name, the Brian Jacques Literary Award, is a yearly competition held in Liverpool. A last Redwall novel, The Rogue Crew, will be released this May. He will be missed.

7) When Inkheart, the first of Cornelia Funke’s much loved middle school kids fantasy trilogy, was adapted into a film starring Helen Mirren, Paul Bettany, Eliza Bennett, and Brendan Fraser, it was the victim of bad timing and didn’t do so well domestically. But globally and on video, the film earned money and so the sequel, Inkspell, has been greenlit as a film to be released in 2012 in 3-D. No word on how much of the cast may return. The Inkheart trilogy is about a family with the unusual gift of being able to read characters and things out of books.

8) Science fiction author Peter Watts had an unexpected near brush with death, or more specifically with necrotizing fasciitis, flesh-eating disease, which he apparently accidentally contracted during a skin biopsy. He is currently recovering in the hospital in Toronto, Ontario and has promised fans that he’ll post pictures of the giant hole in his leg. His next novel will be the game tie-in book Crysis: Legion, due out at the end of March.

9) Actor Jonah Hill is making his directorial debut with the comedy sci-fi film The Kitchen Sink for Sony Pictures. The screenplay was written by Orzen Uziel and is about everything including the kitchen sink – a group of high school kids is attacked by zombies, but then the zombies are attacked by vampires, and then aliens show up to invade the planet, and the high schoolers, zombies and vampires band together to fight off the aliens. In other words, cool! It’s tentatively scheduled for release in 2014, so that’s a bit of a wait.

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