Kung-Fu Panda Director to Helm He-Man

Rumors of He-Man’s death have been greatly exaggerated. LatinoReview has word that Kung Fu Panda co-director John Stevenson might now be attached to the project after knocking one home in a pitch to¬† Joel Silver’s production company.

Stevenson has an extensive background in art direction and animation, starting out as a character designer on The Muppet Show in the late 1970′s. He worked in visual development on The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth and was a storyboard artist of Shrek and Shrek 2. I loved the action sequences in Kung Fu Panda, but wasn’t a fan of the character design. It will be interesting to see what Stevenson will do with the adaptation. Is Justin Marks screenplay Grayskull still in play?

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IESB speculates that director Peter Segal, currently attached to helm a Shazam feature for Warner Bros., might also be the man who brings the studio’s planned tentpole, Jonny Quest, to the world as well for Summer ’09. Apparently the script by Dan Mazeau is quite strong and in better shooting condition than Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam. Moroever, the site spoke to Segal recently, who was enthusiastic about the latest screenplay, noted his involvement with getting a Quest flick off the ground in the past, and even discussed casting preferences (The Rock for special agent Roger “Race” Bannon). As you might recall, for over a year now Dwayne Johnson has been attached to play Shazam‘s Black Adam.

At the center of the Jonny Quest franchise is the Hanna-Barbera cartoon, about the titular young boy, his scientist father, his adopted Indian brother, a spastic bulldog, and a snowy haired special agent/bodyguard who hop around the globe pursuing epic cryptozoological and sci-fi adventures. Quest is one of several retro tentpole projects on Hollywood’s burner, including Buck Rogers, Spielberg/Jackson’s Tintin, the now filming Transformers 2, and another live-action He-Man flick (also buzzing loudly at Warner Bros.). Of course, the recent wipe-out of the similarly cheeky/mothballed Speed Racer is no doubt being taken into consideration when updating Quest.

Also of note: David Goyer‘s Supermax, which now looks to have broader box office potential after the success of Iron Man, has been retitled Green Arrow. The well-reviewed script, which sees Green Arrow facing off in a high security prison with DC villains like The Riddler, is by Justin Marks, who wrote the aforemenioned He-Man script that’s driving the Internet nuts right now.

Discuss: Is Jonny Quest the next Speed Racer or the next Transformers/Harry Potter? Is Segal a smart choice? Could Green Arrow be the next Iron Man?

He-ManEl Mayimbe has a gotten his hands on a copy of Justin Marks’ He-Man screenplay, currently titled Grayskull: The Masters of the Universe. Okay, may-be the title needs a little work, but Mayimbe insists that the screenplay a “fanboy masterpiece!” Here are five things from the script that has gotten us excited to see this movie on the big screen.

1. This is not He-Man for kiddies! It’s written as a hard and edgy PG-13 film tinkering on the edge of an R-Rating. And remember, PG-13 is the new R. You can get away with so much more now-a-days, especially when set in a fantasy environment like Eternia.

2. The story is described as “Lord of the Rings meets The Matrix meets Batman Begins.” An epic battle for Eternia which begins with the origins of He-Man, Skeletor, and the Power Sword. Prince Adam has to “overcome his selfish need for revenge and realize his destiny for the greater good of his people” and “find the Sword of Light” in the hidden Castle Grayskull and “unify his kingdom.”

3. Included are Fan favorite characters Zodack, Mekanek, Man-at-armsS, Teela, Evil-Lyn, Trap-Jaw, Tri-Klops, Beast Man, Battlecat and Panthor. And best yet, Orko is no where in sight!

4. All the corniness of the animated series is completely GONE. There isn’t even a “single beat of comedic relief” in the entire script. Treat the property with realism, what a concept!

5. Grayskull is a geek’s wet dream, “the perfect marriage of Sorcery and Science fiction where in Eternia both Fantasy and Technology co-exist.” The script mixes “high tech, swords, and otherworldly creatures.” Imagine the possibilities!

I never thought I’d say this but I’m excited to see a live-action He-Man movie. It sounds like Justin Marks has done fanboys proud and has crafted a film with franchise possibilities. There is a lot A LOT more, I’ve only given you five little tidbits. Read the full script review over on LatinoReview

Cool Stuff: Scott Campbell and Dave Chung Artwork

One To Grow

You might remember Gallery 1988: LA as the art gallery who held the I am 8-bit (video game), Crazy4Cult (Movie), and Stan Lee themed art exhibitions. Their next exhibition begins on May 20th and is called “One to Grow On”. The highlights include movie related artwork from Scott Campbell (“Friends with E.T.”) and Dave Chung (Gremlins). Check out some of Campbell and Chung’s art below.

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