I’m just finishing up The Hunger Games trilogy now (talk about a series of diminishing returns!), but it sounds like the movie version of the first book is really gearing up, with Chloe Moretz (Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass) as Katniss (brilliant!). If it ends up being Kristen Stewart, as some people want, I’m not only leaving the country, I’m quitting entertainment journalism.
Stephen Hawking says that God is not necessary to explain the universe. The thing is, I never saw God as a very satisfying explanation anyway: if God created the universe, who created God? (Just saying, “He’s always existed!” doesn’t cut it, and is basically just pushing the question off into the realm of the supernatural, like saying, “It was magic!”)
Case in point about all prequels sucking: Ridley Scott says that in his new Alien prequels, we learn that the Aliens were genetically engineered 30 years before the arrival of Ripley.Nooooooooo! I’ve waited my whole life to go to the “planet of the Aliens,” and I’ll go to any movie that gives me a taste of this — but this strikes me as an extremely stupid explanation for the existence of that supremely cool species.
Emma Watson talks of Hermione’s upcoming kiss with Ron: “It’s not Twilight, you know,” Watson said. “We’re not selling sex. So, whenever there is any hint of that, everybody gets terribly excited.” Hilarious — and spot-on.
How should authorsrespond to reviews? Some words of wisdom here, the most important being, “Authors should never ever respond to a bad review. Ever.”
How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe seems like a clever concept for a Douglas Adams-type novel. But I confess, I found this (positive) review of the book to be so confusing that I’m still not sure what the book is about.
The financing for Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixotehas collapsed again. What the hell did this man do in a previous life? Was he a Nazi?
Last week, in a splashy publicity coup, Universal Studios successfully introduced the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, one part of their Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida; massive crowds turned out, and the attraction is already being heralded a major success. But behind-the-scenes, things weren’t quite so seamless. The Poison Pen did some research. Here is all the gossip and scandal from the park’s opening.
Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, who gave effusive, glowing interviews to the media praising the park’s attractions, was reading from a script and had not actually gone on any of the park’s rides. At 3′4″ tall, they wouldn’t let him past any of the “You must be this tall to ride this ride” signs.
The “booger”-flavored jelly beans in the park’s bags of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans aren’t just made from actual boogers — they’re made from the boogers of third world children. Amnesty International has already launched a boycott.
The park owners say they allow the wands at Ollivander’s Wand Shop to pick their own customers, but the fact is, the wands are specifically told to steer customers to more expensive models.
The park’s famous pumpkin juice is made from rotten Halloween pumpkins. They don’t even bother to take the candle stubs out.
There is no actual ride for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, supposedly the park’s “premier” attraction. The line just weaves around the park until it meets up with the start again, creating one endless loop.
Hagrid’s Hut is infested with rats and termites, and has no plumbing, electrical work, or even an interior — and it’s still appraising for about thirty times the typical Orlando house.
The Flight of the Hippogriff is only six seconds long.
Almost two weeks after the attraction’s official opening, Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint, who attended the opening ceremonies, is still standing in line for the Dragon Challenge roller-coaster.
Honeydukes Sweet Shop uses no artificial sweeteners in their candy; they sweeten everything with little packets of sugar stolen from nearby Disney World.
J.K. Rowling was at the park’s opening ceremonies, but didn’t appear publicly because Emma Watson turned out to be wearing the same shoes. After Watson’s appearance, Rowling had her taken out back and shot.
The voice of Reepicheep in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader keeps changing. First it was Eddie Izzard, who was replaced by Bill Nighy. Now Simon Pegg is confirming via Twitter he’s now voicing the character. I’ve just watched the trailer three times, and couldn’t tell you.
Don Cheadle and Frida Pintohave both been offered roles in the Planet of the Apes prequel, currently called Caesar. They would likely play scientists opposite James Franco’s character — they increase the intelligence of apes in modern-day San Francisco.
I had no idea that Arthur and the Invisibles had a sequel, much less a trilogy. Arthur and the War of the Two Worlds is the third film, and while this trailer is in French, you can get the basic idea.
Marshall Allman is playing Sam Merlotte’s brother on True Blood. In a new interview, he describes the character is essentially unloved. He evaluates every new person in his life under the basic rules of: should I impress, screw, or pummel you? Much like many of us.
The only thing in the world of fantasy capable of drowning out True Blood is the upcoming Twilight film. On Wednesday night, Jimmy Kimmel hosts his Twilight special with Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson. He’s also having some special guests like Jersey Shore’s The Situation — apparently the first vampire to have a tanning coffin. Hey, if you’re going to have vampires who can go out in sunlight and sparkle, you’re going to end up with “guido” vampires.
Jason O’Mara is time-traveling again. The Life On Marsstar is going to headline theSteven Speilberg-produced Fox TV show Terra Nova about a colony of humans sent back in time to build a civilization without destroying the planet.
Megan Fox is more than just a pretty face? Doing press for the abysmal Jonah Hex, she went off on a Lord of the Rings tangent about how no matter the effort, you can never please a comic book fan or a Tolkien purist. She says she hangs out in LoTR forums, and she sees posts, “And they’ll complain that Frodo is eating the Lembas bread outside of Mordor instead of in the Mines of Moria. And they get really mad.” Who knew?
As long as we’re talking about Jonah Hex, it opened to a pathetic $5.1 million on a $65 million budget, with Toy Story 3 soaking up most of the oxygen for an estimated $109 million.
Crowds lined up for six-hour waits to enter parts of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter during the formal opening. The new park expansion comes at a critical time for Florida tourism, already under pressure from the recession, and now with the beaches feeling the heat from the oil spill. And Daniel Radcliffe couldn’t be more impressed with what’s been built. They paid him to say that, but still.
I was really looking forward to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – even though I don’t really care much for either star, there was something rambunctious and fun about the whole thing. But my personal dislike of Nic Cage may yet win out. From WonderCon, how does he get from A to B in this?
Cage also said that he came up with the original idea for the movie: “When I came with this idea, I was on Next. I was talking to Tom Garner, who was also the producer. I said, ‘I want to play a magician. You know, I want to play like a sorcerer.’ And he came back and said, ‘I got it. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.’”
Alex Pettyfer, who’s building buzz for his performance in Beastly, has been cast in I Am Number Four from Dreamworks. It revolves around nine aliens in exile on earth from a genocide. They’re being hunted down, but one of the rules is they must be killed in numerical order, and the movie starts with the death of Number Three.
The folks over at io9.com seem utterly enchanted with the book Spellwright by Blake Charleton about a magician in a world where magic is practiced with words and phrases. But since this magician has a form of dyslexia, things don’t often go well for him. They seem to say it’s not the farce it sounds, and praise the worldbuilding. (We liked it too.)
Here’s the latest trailer for Resident Evil: Afterlife. I’ve never been much of a fan of the series, but I have friends that are already drooling.
Ryan Reynolds seems to have decided his niche is comic books, because reports say he’s somehow going to find time to do R.I.P.D (Rest In Peace Department) as a recently dead guy partnered with a long dead guy in a police department for the dead.This is being pitched more as a buddy comedy, which could be fun, because I’ve always felt from Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place to Waiting, Reynolds has impeccable comic timing.
Ellen DeGeneres did her show from Universal Orlando Florida last week, and one of the things she did was borrow a couple of kids for a walkthrough of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There’s a lot of Ellen silliness, but you do get some nice angles on a few attractions and shops.
There’s a (mostly) spoiler-free review of the broadcast of Doctor Who “The Eleventh Hour” which aired in the U.K. over the weekend, and while I’m not going to analyze “why” I liked it like they did, I have to say I liked it a lot. I had serious concerns about Matt Smith, from his age, to the frantic nature of the previews, but it really, really worked for me.
With the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios Island of Adventure theme park in Orlando scheduled to officially open on June 18th, the studio’s publicity machine is gearing up as well.
This Sunday, April 4, during The Celebrity Apprentice on NBC, Universal will have a peek at the attraction, including a look at a recreation of Hagrid’s hut, at the start of the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster, where visitors are instructed on how to ride a “hippogriff.”
We’ve just had an owl from Hogwarts with all sorts of news. The first piece of news is that we could have had all our other news a week earlier if we’d use email instead of owls. Ba-dum-dum! The second is that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Studios open June 18th.
Also from Hogwarts, we have some details on the big attraction, something called the Forbidden Journey. I’m still unclear what it is, but it sounds like you’re inside a 360° projection and get shaken, flamed, tossed, and turned throughout. There’s a whole bunch of made-up words at the link to give more detail.
The swords-and-sandals film Centurions premiered at SXSW, and they seem insanely proud of it. There’s more Q&A about the film and how it was made than you can shake a stick at.
OK, stay with me, because this could get bumpy. Long ago I read Inferno, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, which was a pseudo-sequel to Dante’s Inferno. I don’t recall that it had a cameo by Kurt Vonnegut, but a big deal is being made of that. Now there’s a sequel by Niven and Pounelle called Escape From Hell (which I have not read but intend to). All of this is being classified as “hard fantasy” by some sites. Anybody want to catch me up in the comments?
Kevin Williamson says he knows how The Vampire Diaries ends. He doesn’t know how much filler about Elena they’ll pay him to stuff in there until then, but he does know the ending.
Stan Lee remind us that Blaze, Nick Rachett, and Tigress are currently under development for movie deals, and he sees Disney starting with Ant-Man and Dr Strange as they attempt to recoup their $4.3 billion Marvel acquisition.
Louis Leterrier, most famous in the Marvel world for directing The Incredible Hulk, says he’s shortlisted to direct The Avengers. Please, no. I was looking forward to that.
I had no idea until recently that the most popular character on Futurama was Dr. Zoidberg. I always thought it was Scruffy. But ever since new episodes were announced, the Zoid has been popping up everywhere – with some claiming him as a “spirit animal.” Now you can knit a Dr. Zoidberg mask.
Warner Bros wants us to know they’re still thinking about converting 300 to 3D to try and drain our wallets without producing anything new. They’re also still thinking about a prequel. Call me when you’ve finished thinking, I’ll be in the dark, empty theater.
There are reviews out that say that you should be playing Final Fantasy XIII. I had no idea they still made the game, but you too could be controlling people with a vaguely purple tint in a fantasy world.
Avatar: The Last Airbender has another trailer. There’s not a ton of fresh footage, and still nothing funny.The action looks great, the close-ups of Ang’s tattoos are amazing, but I remain concerned about the heart of the film.
Raunchy superhero comic The Boys seems destined for the big screen. The writers have blocked out major scenes that they think they can film without getting an X-Rating (seriously, not an R, not NC-17, they’re worried about an X). And funnyman Rod Corddry is lobbying to star in the film if it ever gets made.
The first trailer for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is out. I’m not sure what to make of it, since I’m not familiar with the world. It seems to be about Michael Cera going along and being Michael Cera again. He meets a girl who’s too cool for him, and falls in love. Then he gets his butt kicked, Mortal Kombat-style, until he meets Yoda and learns to use the Force or something. Did I get it close?
Since I ended with a Mortal Kombat joke, what if Mortal Kombat implemented modern-day crisis mediation techniques?
Have a question about something fantasy-related? Please send an email to email@example.com and be sure and include your city and state and/or country.
Q: Given the recent trend in remaking/adapting Greek myth movies/books, are any more due to be made? — Bee
A: By Athena, yes! The unexpected success of 300 (which, of course, wasn’t “Greek” and didn’t involve myths, but was set in the ancient world) and the strong buzz for the upcoming Clash of the Titans, which opens in April, has inspired a veritable mare-of-Diomedes-like stampede of Greek-myth-themed movies.
Dawn’s rosy fingers may soon rise on these projects:
Clash of the Titans
Jason and the Argonauts, now in development at Universal, which, unlike Clash of the Titans, isn’t a remake of a Ray Harryhausen classic, but instead tells the story of Jason’s journey home after capturing the Golden Fleece (which is where Harryhausen’s movie leaves off).
Dawn of War, now in pre-production, tells the exploits of Theseus, including his battle with the Minotaur, but is to be done in a “Renaissance painting style action,” with a Baz Luhrmann-like mix of ancient and modern worlds.
Odysseus, in pre-production at Warners, is based on the end of Homer’s famous epic, the part when the king returns home after 20 years of fighting in the Trojan War, to find his wife, son, and kingdom under siege. Rumor is, this one will includemajor 300-style gore.
Speaking of which, a prequel to 300 is in the works, based on a still-being-written graphic novel by Frank Miller (who wrote the famous 300 graphic novel). 300 director Zack Synder has expressed an interest in directing, assuming he likes the source material.
A sequel to Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief called The Sea of Monsters (based on the book series) has long been in the works. The relatively disappointing showing of The Lightning Thief means this one may never get made.
Scarlett Johansson was once attached to a movie called Amazon, but it seems to have stalled for the time being.
You’ll note that these movies are still in development. Why? Because Hollywood is waiting to see how Clash of the Titans performs (the film was once in a mad race with Dawn of War to be the “first” of the new wave of Greek-myth-based movies).
Why does it matter how Titans does? Because, in Hollywood-logic, if Clash of the Titans tanks, it won’t be because it’s a crappy movie, poorly conceived or executed.
No, it’ll be because it’s based on a Greek myth!
It’s all complete nonsense, of course — movies tend to succeed or fail because the movies themselves succeed or fail. But it’s easier to blindly follow the latest fad than to, you know, actually make a good movie, so the above kind of thinking makes everyone in Hollywood feel better.
Q: With all this talk about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure theme park, no one ever says when it will open! When will that be? — Sophie, St. Paul, MN
A: That’s because, in the mad rush to get everything ready for a “spring” opening, even the park itself didn’t know. They still haven’t announced an actual “opening date,” but Fox News Orlando received a press release from Universal Studios saying they’re offering vacation packages for the attraction starting May 28th. So the attraction will at least be open by then!
Q: This is a test of your fantasy-knowing prowess: Without doing an internet search, what movie includes the Widow of the Web? — MAGPIE, Toronto, Canada
A: The 1983 fantasy film, Krull.
Please. You’ll have to get up much earlier than that to fool the All-Knowing Fantasy-Questioning-Answering Oracle. It was the one cool scene in an otherwise crappy film.
I confess, I did have to do a search to find the scene on YouTube:
Have a question about something fantasy-related? Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure and include your city and state and/or country.
Orlando Attractions Magazine has posted their latest update, including video, on the developments at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction being built at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventures theme park in Orlando, Florida.
It’s really coming along! The project will open this spring.
Orlando Attractions Magazine has managed to capture video footage of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction now under construction inside the Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida.
The attraction is set to open in the spring of 2010, but from the look of things, there’s still a lot of work to be done: