J Michael Straczynski

J. Michael Straczynski definitely isn’t the first person to notice that Marvel Studios is currently running circles around Warner Bros./DC. However, as a guy who’s worked with both companies and written for both comic book publishers, he’s in a unique position to say something about it. “I think Marvel is really kicking DC’s clock,” he said. “I’ve talked to the people at Warner Bros. and said ‘What is wrong with you people?'”

But while Straczynski has some intriguing ideas about what WB should be doing, he won’t be running the show there any time soon. He has a full plate right now with several other projects — including a new mystery film for Disney. Hit the jump for slightly more on that project, plus his comments on DC’s mistakes.

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The Fifth Element

Luc Besson wants to make another Fifth Element, kind of. Also after the jump:

  • David Heyman comments on the Harry Potter spinoff
  • Dredd finally gets a sequel… in comic book form
  • A new Terminator comic chronicles the end of the war
  • The newest Cloudy 2 clip features a dramatic entrance
  • See No Evil 2 adds Freddy vs. Jason and Hatchet II stars
  • Mark Wahlberg discusses his kids’ cameo in Transformers
  • Check out the Chinese poster for Transformers 4

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Netflix Logo

Late last year, Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix, Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas) announced the development of their first television project, called Sens8. Working with J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5), the two were putting together a TV series that would potentially see the Wachowskis in the director’s chair(s) for an episode or two.

Now the show is described as “a gripping global tale of minds linked and souls hunted.” We have that description because Netflix has given the show a 10-episode order, and Sens8 will debut on the streaming service in late 2014.  Read More »

Universal isn’t giving up on its long-gestating Creature From the Black Lagoon remake. The project’s been kicking around in one form or another since the early ’80s, but has been pretty quiet the past few years. Now the studio’s starting fresh with writer Dave Kajganich. The scribe is no stranger to horror remakes. He was behind The Invasion, a 2007 remake of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In addition, he’s working on new versions of Stephen King’s Pet Semetary, It, and The Stand.

Kajganich will be starting from scratch on Black Lagoon, rather than rewriting any of the earlier drafts. Contrary to previous reports that Carl Erik Rinsch was in talks to direct, Black Lagoon has no director at this time. [THR]

After the jump, He-Man and Shadowman also get new writers.

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It’s a good time to be a fan of Andy and Lana Wachowski, aka The Wachowski Siblings, aka Wachowski Starship. Their new film, Cloud Atlas, is not just a massive and impressive undertaking, but an effective achievement with a blissfully humanist conclusion. The pair are doing more interviews and actually making personal appearances to promote the movie. And it seems like they’re already moving forward with additional projects.

While we wait to hear about the fate of the possibly dead project Cobalt Neural 9, there’s new info on a TV show the Wachowskis are developing with J. Michael Straczynski. The project is called Sense8, and while the details are secret, it is something that the three creators have been working on for a while, and could see the Wachowskis directing some episodes. Read More »

Once feared to be dead, the silver screen adaptation of Max Brooks‘ zombie bestseller World War Z has recently sprung back to life stronger than ever. Cinematographer Robert Richardson has just been brought on to serve as DP — and considering that he’s the award-winning eye behind films like Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, and Shutter Island, this is good news indeed. Shooting is expected to start shortly. Read more after the jump.

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One of the most interesting pop culture stories from the early days of the 20th century is the friendship between Harry Houdini and Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Spiritualism was all the rage at the time — think seances, levitations, speaking to the dead, and so forth, driven in part by people hoping to reconnect with loved ones killed in WWI. Houdini was an outspoken anti-Spiritualist who worked for Scientific American exposing fake mediums. Doyle, meanwhile, was a serious Spiritualist, driven in part by grief at the death of his wife. (Perhaps ironically, Houdini’s stance against Spiritualism came in part from curiosity about the practice after the death of his mother.)

And yet the two became real friends, at least for a time. There is a good amount of literature on their friendship and, frankly, I’m surprised no one has ever made a film or TV show exploiting their shared history. Now DreamWorks might, as the studio has picked up Voices From the Dead, a script by J. Michael Straczynski that uses the mens’ friendship as the basis for a supernatural thriller. Read More »

Everyone is talking about the recently announced Christopher Nolan-produced David Goyer-written Zack Snyder-directed Superman film project, which will set place during Superman’s “early days” with a story which is rumored to follow journalist Clark Kent who is traveling the world “trying to decide if he should, in fact, even become Superman.” This week DC Comics will release a new Superman graphic novel which, while not AT ALL related to the upcoming film, will give “new insight into Clark Kent’s transformation into Superman and his first year as The Man of Steel.”

Titled Superman: Earth One, the graphic novel is written by J. Michael Straczynski, who is best known as the creator/writer of the popular tv series Babylon 5, screenwriter of Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, James McTeigue’s Ninja Assassin, and he even has a story credit on Marvel’s upcoming big screen adaptation of Thor. Over the years he has written for such television series as He-Man, She-Ra, The Twilight Zone, The Real Ghost Busters, and Murder She Wrote. This is the first in a new wave of original DC Universe graphic novels featuring top writers’ and illustrators’ unique takes on DC characters.

This is a Superman for the 21st century. With SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE, Straczynski and Davis inject the folk tale and legend that is Superman’s origin with a modern, vital and forward-looking energy that makes for a refreshing, epic and challenging super-hero adventure. In SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE – the first original graphic novel retelling Superman’s origin — Clark Kent is a man looking for meaning in a new city and an age of failing newspapers, hand-held devices and instant gratification. But when you can fly through the sky and burn objects with a glance – things become a tad more complicated. Doubly so when a fleet of alien ships arrive on your doorstep. SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE channels the best tales of Superman with a look toward the future, by two of the brightest talents the industry has to offer.

The new 136-page hardcover graphic novel will be released in comic shops this coming Wednesday and bookstores the following Tuesday (buy in on Amazon for $13.49) and features artwork by Shane Davis (Superman/Batman: The Search for Kryptonite. But DC Comics has given /Film an exclusive sneak peek into the first few pages of this new graphic novel series before it his the shelves.

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UPDATE: Since publishing this, /Film reader Eneko Ruiz pointed me to Straczynski’s own site, where an email he reprints (from Oct 24) suggests that he’s not actively working on Silver Surfer. JMS writes: “My guess is that since my draft was closely tied into FF2, which is ancient now, they’ve struck off in a different direction.” Original article follows, but I deleted ‘Still on Silver Surfer’ from the original title of this piece.

The game Shattered Union only came out in 2005, but I doubt too many people remember it. The PC and Xbox turn-based strategy title speculated on a political future in which the US sees states seceding from the Union after the second-term retention of the most unpopular president in the nation’s history. Now Jerry Bruckheimer is setting a film version up at Disney, and has tapped J. Michael Straczynski to write. Read More »

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Matthew Carnahan Rewriting World War Z

World War Z

What’s going on with the big screen adaptation of Max Brooks‘ book World War Z? J. Michael Straczynski wrote a screenplay, which seems like over a year ago, and Quantum of Solace helmer Marc Forster has been attached to direct. But aside from comments from Stazzynski or Foster here or there, we really haven’t gotten an update on the project in a long while.

Brooks, son of comedy legend Mel Brooks, revealed that Paramount Pictures has hired a new writer for the project, while making an appearance on Fangoria Radio. Who is the new writer? Matthew Michael Carnahan, brother of director Joe Carnahan, and writer of The Kingdom, Lions For Lambs, and State of Play. Brooks said that Carnahan is “one of Hollywood’s hot A-list writers, so if they went after him and paid him a mountain of gold, it definitely shows their confidence in this project.” Still no word an an updated production timeline.

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