I?m running a little behind this week, so let?s just get started:
In 2001, writers/producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar re-envisioned the Superman mythos in the television series Smallville. The show is currently in its fourth season on the WB network. Earlier this week, Gough took the time to answer a few questions about the series:
Blair Marnell: How has Smallville evolved beyond its initial premise? And how did you and Miles become involved with the series?
Alfred Gough: Miles and I were brought in by Peter Roth, the president of Warner?s Television. And he always wanted to do Superboy. We liked the idea of doing Superman in his adolescent years, but didn?t want to put him in the suit. So that?s where the ?no flights, no tights? policy comes in. We also came up with the idea for the meteor shower, which would get Clark to Earth, cause Lex?s baldness and kill Lana?s parents. It also, quite frankly, gave us the franchise week to week, which is ?kyrptonite mutates people and gives them superpowers.? Otherwise, who the hell does Clark fight every week? He is ?Superboy? after all. And I think it?s evolved since then. The characters have evolved. We?ve been able to flesh out a back-story and point of view about these characters that had never really existed before in the comics or in any other incarnation of Superman. Because in most of the series, if not all of them, Clark is already Superman. There is just a fifteen-minute window in the first film where you see Clark before that, and that?s it. Our series is about Clark?s journey, but it?s also Lex?s journey and you see the sort of extreme parenting that?s required by both the Luthors and the Kents that?s required and goes on to inform Clark?s character and Lex?s character.
BM: What?s coming up this season?
AG: Much. Much is coming up. We?ve introduced Lois Lane; that?s obviously the big thing. We?re also going to meet the Flash and Mr. Mxyzptlk, who will not be an imp from the Fifth dimension, but a really, really hot Eastern European foreign exchange student.
BM: How is the Lois and Clark dynamic going to differ from the way it?s been portrayed in earlier incarnations of Superman?
AG: I think what you?re going to see here is that he?s not Superman yet and she?s not the Lois Lane we know from the comics. She?s this military brat who?s come to town to investigate her cousin?s death and meets up with Clark. You?ll see a lot of the qualities that she?ll ultimately have when she becomes the ?Lois? we know. At this point she?s not interested in journalism, but she obviously likes to get involved in other people?s business. I think she?s the only character on our show who doesn?t just love Clark to the point of never questioning him. [laughs] And what you?ll see from Lois and Clark are a lot of romantic comedy sparks. The two of them have a great chemistry together.
BM: Having seen the second episode of this season, we know Chloe isn?t dead. So, what are your plans for her this season?
AG: She?s got her cousin, Lois in town, which is interesting. And there?s something really interesting with her, which will happen about midseason, which I can?t really talk about yet. But there are definitely some changes with Chloe.
BM: It?s been rumored that this season is leading up to a possible dark turning point for Clark. Can you elaborate on that?
AG: Actually, this season for Clark is more positive and hopeful. Last season was the dark time for Clark. This year is about him embracing himself. But I think you will see Lex take a darker turn this season?
BM: Are we going to get a resolution to the Jor-el storyline and insight as to Jor-el?s real intentions?
AG: That will be on the backburner this year. Ultimately, all of that will be revealed down the road.
BM: You?re bringing in The Flash and calling him Bart Allen. Why are you using that name?
AG: When we had this discussion with DC comics, they told us that was the version we could use. And we actually make allusions to the other Flashes. There?s a scene where Clark finds the Flash and sees he has a bunch of IDs with different alias on them, which are all the names of the other Flashes. But it?s all one guy. That is something that was mandated by DC Comics.
BM: Are there any plans for other DCU characters to appear?
AG: It?s the same with The Flash, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Perry White, Lois Lane, and so on? If we can find an interesting way to bring them into our show, through our prism, then absolutely. We?re always open to it. A lot of times, the right idea comes along and clicks. With Mxyzptlk, it?s a high school sports gambling story because Clark?s on the football team this year. It?s something we always wanted to do, the right story came along and we were able to make it happen.
BM: We’ve heard that there are plans for Season 5 and beyond. Does that mean the sixth season may be the last?
AG: The show will run as long as people keep watching it. There?s no fixed time period at which the show would end.
BM: Is there any truth to the rumors that Tom Welling might play Superman in Bryan Singer?s film?
AG: His name has been bandied about. But that?s pretty much it.
BM: Can you give us a brief overview of the story process from script to screen?
AG: First, we break the stories in the [writer?s] room. Then a writer goes off to write a draft, which Miles [Millar] and I read, along with the other staff. We give notes, then that draft goes to the studio for their notes. Then the network gives notes. And there are production notes as well, in terms of what we can and can?t achieve in our schedule. So it goes through a pretty elaborate process before it gets to the screen.
BM: Are there any other comic characters that you?d be interested in writing for film and television?
AG: After Superman, Spider-Man and Iron Man, we?re sort of ?comic booked out.? [Laughs] But never say never?
This Has A ?Last Son of Kyrpton? Factor of Nine Out of Ten
Continuing with the Man of Steel these, an interesting article on Superman-V.com may shed some light on the Superman casting rumors. Among the revelations:
- At this time the studio were still looking for their ‘Safe’ option, and after various actors were approached, the studio narrowed it down to two males. One of which was Jim Caviezel. The other, unknown at this time. But is thought to be of a similar age, and known just as much. The studio was very happy with Caviezel, and wanted him to be their ‘Safe’ option. So what?s the problem with that? Well Singer doesn’t like the idea of him in the role. (Tom) Welling he could deal with, his only real exposure has been to Clark Kent anyway. But having Caviezel, a guy that is fairly well known, since that small Jesus movie. This he couldn’t deal with. He didn’t want him and to this day still doesn’t. Caviezel and Singer go way back, Singer was going to cast Caviezel as Cyclops in the
- movies. However, Caviezel backed out at the last minute, and enter James Marsden. So, as Singer continued his worldwide search, Warners apparently made a deal with Caviezel, a deal which stated that he was to be the ‘Safe’ option for the movie?
So where does this leave us? Well, Singer still is looking for his perfect unknown. The studio has a guy in place to don the tights in case Plan A fails. So the way the movie will end up is like this. We will have either an unknown, or Cavizel. No middle ground. No semi-famous guy. It’s either an unknown or Cavizel.
The rest of the column can be found here.
This Has A ?Up, Up And Away!? Factor of Five Out of Ten
The rumors regarding Joss Whedon?s possible involvement in X-Men 3 had been heating up lately. However, a story in The Hollywood Reporter took some of the wind out of those sails:
- 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios are moving forward with the third installment of the “
- ” franchise, hiring scribe Simon Kinberg to pen the script for “
- ” for a high-six-against-seven-figure sum. The deal puts Kinberg back in business with the studio and Marvel. He penned two projects for Fox and Fox partner Regency Enterprises: the actioner “
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
- ,” starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and a rewrite of the Jennifer Garner starrer “
- ,” also a Marvel property. He also turned in a rewrite on another big-budget Fox/Marvel project, “
- ,” which is in production under the direction of Tim Story. Kinberg said the story line for “
- ” is still being hammered out. “I’m a religious reader of the (‘
- ‘) comics, and I loved the first two movies,” Kinberg said. ?I had a great experience with Fox and Marvel on the other projects, and when they came to me and asked me if I had any interest in ‘
- ,’ I was ecstatic. I grew up on them, and I love these comics, and it’s exciting to take a whack at making the third the biggest and best in the trilogy; it’s our
Return of the King
Before this announcement, the most prevalent rumors had Whedon in the running to both write and direct X-Men 3. But with Kinberg now officially named as the X3 screenwriter, Whedon?s involvement seems less and less likely. Around Hollywood, Whedon is better known as a writer and executive producer than he is as a director. In fact, his feature film directorial debut is the upcoming Serenity, which is currently in post-production. While the early clips from Serenity have been very well received, it seems unlikely that Fox would entrust one of their top film franchises to a relatively untested director.
This Has A ?Third Mutation? Factor of Five Out of Ten
According to a story which first appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Wesley Snipes was extremely unhappy with the creative direction of Blade: Trinity:
- On the set of
- the actor’s relationship with writer-director David Goyer was so contentious that in January, after the film had wrapped, Snipes wrote a five-page letter to New Line Cinema’s co-chairman and founder, Bob Shaye, complaining about his treatment on the film. The letter, on stationery labeled “From the Desk of Dr. Wesley T. Snipes,” outlined Snipes’ concern that his character, Blade, had been sidelined in favor of “two new `younger’ characters,” played by Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds.
“As I recall, the movies are titled Blade and Wesley Snipes is the actor/artist that brought the comic book character to life,” read the letter, whose contents were confirmed by two sources.
Snipes? concerns may not be entirely off base. For the last few months, there have been several rumors stating that a Nightstalkers feature film is in the early stages of development. The success or failure of Blade: Trinity is said to be the deciding factor before New Line gives Nightstalkers the official green light.
And apparently, the prevailing sentiment is that the project can go forward with or without Snipes? involvement.
This Has A ?Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck? Factor of Seven Out of Ten
Eric Stephenson has posted a preview on his website of the upcoming Image graphic novel Four Letter Worlds. 4LW is an anthology featuring 16 eight-page stories divided among the themes of Love, Hate, Fear and Fate. Some of the participating creators include Matt Fraction, Joe Casey, Jeff Parker, Robert Kirkman, Steve Lieber, Phil Hester, B. Clay Moore, and Steven Griffin (who also provides the cover).
In addition to contributing a story with artist Mike Norton, Stevenson is co-editing the project with Moore. Stevenson also posted a few additional thoughts on his weblog:
- Not everything has been turned in at this point, but what I’ve seen so far is pretty fantastic. I don’t think I’ve said much about this project in the past, but it was originally something I’d planned to do on my own. Well, I was going to write all the stories, anyway. I wanted to corral a bunch of my favorite artists into illustrating my various rants about love, hate, fear and fate, but the more I thought about it, the idea of a single person penning four separate stories for each chapter made less and less sense. I figured the best way to present wildly different stories about that crazy little thing called love (to pick just one of our four themes) was to convince four different creators to tackle each theme. I think once you see the finished book you’ll agree this was the far, far better thing to do.
Four Letter Worlds is currently scheduled for a January 2005 release date.
This Has A ?Worlds of Wonder? Factor of Nine Out of Ten
You may not have heard, but about a week ago, Doc Stearn: Mr. Monster returned for a one-shot prestige format comic entitled Worlds War Two (aka ?Mr. Monster vs The Nazis From Mars!?). Released through Atomeka Press, this is the first time this story has been made available to a mainstream audience. Mr. Monster creator, Michael T. Gilbert elaborates:
Mister Monster: Worlds War Two
- has a long history. The story first started in 1989, originally intended as a twelve-page story in
- ceased publication before the story was drawn, but publisher Dave Elliott refused to let the story die. When he got an editorial job at Tundra UK shortly after A-1 folded, he brought the project with him. Somehow the 12-page story grew to 16 pages, then 32 and finally 48. George Freeman signed on to do the finished art over my layouts, and it appeared in
Penthouse Max #3
- in 1997. Why
- ? Because by then Dave Elliot and Tundra had parted ways, and he’d become editor of
- . During that time we finally managed to finish the story, but unfortunately the published book had a really raunchy X-rated backup ?? completely at odds with my G-rated Mr. Monster story! That’s why I’m so pleased to see this beautiful Atomeka version. Now, Dave and I finally have the book we originally envisioned ??a kick-ass 48-page, full color G-rated comic. But it was quite a gestation period!
The premise of the story: Back in 1945, moments after Hitler committed suicide, Martians came down and chopped out his brain, brought it to Mars and shoved it into their leader’s skull. Then, 30 years later, they used Hitler’s military expertise to launch an invasion of Earth! Needless to say, the only person who has a snowball’s chance in Hell of stopping them is Mr. Monster.
Mr. Monster also appears in a short story for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund book, Even More Fund Comics, published last month. It co-stars my pal Ronn Sutton’s character, 5-Alarm Charlie (a wise-ass six-year old intergalactic space kid!). Ronn also illustrated a Mr. Monster parody (Captain Creature!) for this month’s Elvira comic book. That one’s from Claypool Publishing. And I’m in discussions with Dave Elliott (and Atomeka co-owners Garry Leach and Ross Ritchie) for some follow-up Mr. Monster comics from Atomeka.
So all-in-all, It’s a good time to be the world’s greatest monster-hunter!
This Has A ?Space Nazis Must Die? Factor of Eight Out of Ten
In the aptly named ?The All-New Rob Liefeld Thread, Collector’s Item!!? corner of Millarworld, Liefeld himself posted an update on the upcoming Youngblood: Imperial miniseries. He also revealed that Robert Kirkman (Invincible) is no longer attached to the project:
- I’m glad you mentioned the Kirkman thing, it gives me an opportunity to drop the big bomb. I would have stayed mum, but if Kirk’s opening the door I’ll walk through.
I handed the reigns of Youngblood: Imperial to Fabian Nicieza 3 weeks ago. Reason being that my artist, Marat Mychaels had no plot going on a second month and I want desperately to produce Youngblood: Imperial on a regular basis. I believe Kirkman when he says he was swamped with work and I regret not being able to go forward but my artist could no longer sit on his hands and I made an executive decision to change writers and Kirkman was politely let go early last week.
Obviously it goes without saying that I love The Walking Dead and Invincible and think the world on Kirkman’s writing. We just had to keep the trains running if we are going to produce the first Youngblood monthly in years. I will continue to follow Rob’s work and hope to work with him again in the future.
That said, Fabian Nicieza is producing the best work in his career and is a natural fit and I could not be more grateful and thrilled that he’s jumped on board Imperial.
For the record, I don’t recall ever saying all of Imperial was written, Kirkman wrote 2 issues in early 04 and wrote an outline that we will be no longer using.
So for the record, Kirkman, great guy, very busy, late on plot had to switch writers as result. Love him to death, wish him the best, no ill will. Fabian, another great writer coming on board to right the ship.
Later in the same thread, Liefeld confirms that the Shatterstar miniseries will be released by Marvel in February, 2005.
This Has An ?Imperial Ascension? Factor of Seven Out of Ten
Special thanks to Lisa Rose and Susan Kesser.
That?s all for now. See you in seven.
PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share, please email me at [email protected]. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It?s greatly appreciated.