Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Spider-Man 4 villain rumors: Vulture?

People have been speculating for months about which villains will appear in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 4 and who will play them, and now comes the latest batch of rumors: Movieline reports that John Malkovich is in talks to play the Vulture, with Anne Hathaway up for a new villain role.

Previous rumors centered on the Lizard (possibly played again by Dylan Baker, who has had cameos as Dr. Curt Connors) and the Black Cat (with Rachel McAdams, Julia Stiles and Romola Garai rumored for the part).

Now, though, Movieline has confirmed with sources close to the film that Raimi's sequel is circling John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway to play Spider-Man's adversaries, and neither evildoer is quite what you might have expected.
If negotiations proceed according to plan, Malkovich will be playing Spider-Man's nemesis the Vulture, who packs a punch despite his advanced age. The Vulture is able to fly through the air and brandish his sharp wings to attack Spider-Man.
As for Hathaway, the site reports that she's the top choice to play Felicia Hardy, but not as the Black Cat:

Instead, Raimi's Felicia will become a brand-new superpowered figure called the Vulturess.
sci-fi wire...

Will Disney's Fallen angels be dreamier than vamps?

What could be dreamier for a young girl than having sparkly vampires and cute werewolf boys fighting over her? How about having two fallen angels fighting over her for centuries?

Disney's betting on the latter, having just optioned Young Adult author Lauren Kate's novel Fallen, the first in a projected four-volume series, that has just that premise, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The novel, which just came out this week from Delacorte Books for Young Readers, centers on a 17-year-old girl named Lucinda, who just like Isabella "Bella" Swan from Twilight has a name that is shortened to something nice and Latinate with an implied deeper meaning, "Luce." Luce goes to the Sword and Cross School, where she meets "Fallen" cuddle muffins Daniel and Cam.

Mark Ciardi, known for sports movies like The Rookie, Miracle, Invincible and The Game Plan, will produce along with longtime partner Gordon Gray.

So what do you think is next, folks? What could be even dreamier than the premise of Fallen? Leprechauns fighting over you? Pixies? Warring factions of Santa's elves?
sci-fi wire...

How will Batman return? The guy who "killed" him explains

Superman? Killed, but brought back. Captain America? Killed, but brought back. Batman? Not really killed, but thought to have been killed in the series Final Crisis last year, written by comic-book icon Grant Morrison. But, yeah ... about to be brought back.

Morrison recently told USA Today about his plans to bring back the original Batman, as Bruce Wayne got a big dose of time displacement courtesy of supervillian Darkseid's infamous Omega Beams at the end of Final Crisis and the original Robin, Dick Grayson, has been filling in as Batman since. Wayne also had his memory wiped, so getting him back from the depths of time is going to be tricky.

The centuries-spanning story will begin in 2010 in a six-issue series titled Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne. According to Morrison, "It's Bruce Wayne's ultimate challenge—Batman vs. history itself!" Batman will be making stops through time in the Late Paleolithic as a caveman, a witch hunter, a pirate, a cowboy and others.
Remember the Simpsons episode in which Milhouse says of comic-book hero Radioactive Man that he and Bart "both have a special limited-edition issue where he and Fallout Boy get killed on every page!" What other superheroes could stand to be axed, and how should they be brought back?
sci-fi wire...

Smallville, Heroes and Fringe? They just might survive

Just after the fall television season started, we begin agonizing over the fates some of our favorite shows. Considering that at one time NBC's Heroes garnered more than 16 million viewers, the CW's Smallville more than 8 million, and Fox's Fringe more than 13 million, this year's numbers were startling and terrible, not to mention being at an all-time low!

What happened? Could all our sci-fi shows end up canceled like Fox's Dollhouse? How can we have so many of our shows be in trouble and on the bubble? What about the DVR ratings? Sure, we've got ABC's V and FlashForward to carry on, but Lost is in its last season. Could this be the end of sci-fi as we know it on network TV?

According to and other media ratings analysts, things might not be as grim as they appear at first glance. In fact, according to that site, Smallville and V are looking likely to get picked up, while Fringe, Heroes and FlashForward are on the bubble, with FlashForward in the most danger right now.

Here's how it all shakes out for your favorite shows up to this point:

Our shows do great in DVR and other time-shift ratings (meaning viewers watch the show after its original air time in some way). According to TVbytheNumber's Bill Gorman, "In the last full week before Thanksgiving, Fringe (43%), Smallville (40%) and The Office (34%) posted the largest % ratings increases in Live+ 7 day DVR viewing from their Live+Same Day adults 18-49 ratings (November 16-22)." Heroes, V and FlashForward also added 30% or more to their numbers.

Heroes: On Dec. 2, E!'s Kristin Dos Santos had all but written off Heroes' future when "a well-placed source" told her, "Everyone is expecting this to be the last season. The cast, the crew, everyone." However, on Monday, Dec. 7, she wrote, "So you're saying there's a chance it might stick around?! That's the latest word coming out of camp Heroes, now that NBC has recast Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes' Mohinder) in the net's own pilot Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, giving the role to Jerry O'Connell instead. An NBC rep said Ramamurthy pulled out of Rex because of a scheduling conflict with Heroes, which was in first position." (First position means he couldn't accept another role if Heroes got picked up.)
Considering NBC's poor ratings for Jay Leno, if the network decides (as many have speculated) to cancel the series, they're going to need scripted and reality fare to fill up the five hours a week Leno is now on. And, sad as the ratings are, with fewer than 6 million viewers watching most Mondays, Heroes is their second-best-performing drama, after Law & Order: SVU. It's still a bubble show, but there is hope.

Coming up: Chuck, Day One

V: HitFix's Daniel Fienberg commented, "After two straight weeks of falling ratings after its blockbuster premiere, ABC's V stabilized on Tuesday night, joining the Dancing with the Stars finale to give the network a win in the 18-49 demographic."

MediaWeek's Marc Berman added: "On ABC was V at a consistent 9.20 million viewers (#2) and a third-place 3.1/ 9 among adults 18-49 at 8 p.m. Four episodes into its run and V is going on hiatus until it returns later in the season in a miniseries format. Bad programming move, ABC!"
Both V and FlashForward will be off the air until spring, and both had their episode order cut by one episode. While ratings were going up for V and down for FlashForward, it doesn't mean much. What's going to count for ABC is what the ratings are when they return come spring.
FlashForward: Cliqueclack's Brett Love wrote, "ABC has now announced that FlashForward will be taking a little break, with new episodes returning March 4th. And that really couldn't have come at a worse time. Television is not usually a place where absence makes the heart grow fonder. More likely, viewers forget what you were up to and can't be bothered to return. If that wasn't bad enough, the show took its fall bow with its worst performance yet."
Gorman added, "FlashForward ended its fall run on a down note, scoring just a 2.1 rating for adults 18-49. Short of a miraculous reversal in its ratings trend when it returns in March, it's not coming back next fall."

Already canceled: Eastwick (however, the network ordered additional episodes after the cancellation)

And: Better Off Ted just started its second season, while Lost premieres its sixth and final season Feb. 2.

Likely to be renewed: Medium, Ghost Whisperer

Smallville: It certainly looked like the end when the CW moved Smallville to Fridays AND it dropped about half its viewers. Note to fans... Ratings on Friday nights suck. TVbytheNumber's Gorman commented, "For most broadcast shows, exile to Friday means your network thinks the show is past its time and should peacefully fade away without damaging the ratings of shows on Sunday-Thursday. That's likely the idea that the CW had when it put Smallville on Fridays this season. But defying conventional wisdom (and to many fans, the wishes of CW chief Dawn Ostroff), not only has Smallville refused to go quietly, it was tied for second best adults 18-49 rating on the CW last week. I know that the CW targets women 18-34, but be certain they sell advertising based on whatever attractive demo ratings they get. Those results cannot be ignored."
Likely to be renewed: The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural

Fringe: Regarding last Thursday's episode, TV Guide's Adam Bryant wrote, "Fringe pulled in its highest ratings since the season premiere, according to early Nielsen estimates... The supernatural Fox procedural pulled in 6.9 million viewers and climbed in the adults 18-to-49-demo."

TV Overmind's Jon Lachonis added, "Good news for Fringe fans. If you are worried about how FOX might feel about Fringe's waning ratings, turn your frown upside down. FOX celebrated its seventh straight week as a winner (by FOX math), and had no qualms about parading Fringe as part of its lineup of ratings winners. It's not surprising to see FOX celebrating Fringe's performance though, as last week's episode matched the Fringe season 2 premiere numbers—a feat any show would be hard pressed to pull off ... If Fringe can hold onto those numbers—or even improve on them—the prospects for a third season are better than ever. Considering the fact that the Fringe episode that aired last week, titled 'Snakehead', was one of the best of the season, you'd have to think that hopes are running high."
Already canceled: Dollhouse (with half the season remaining to air)
And: Human Target and Past Life are headed our way for mid-season.
What do you think about the ratings game? Will your favorite show survive?
sci-fi wire...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Who kills FlashForward's Demetri? Our favorite theories

Some of the most tantalizing mysteries about ABC's FlashForward concern where, when, why and how—or if—John Cho's excitable FBI agent, Demetri Noh, will die, and Cho himself confirmed that tonight's episode will begin to reveal major answers to some of those questions.
"In the next two episodes, there's a very major revelation on who my murderer is," Cho told us at the Star Trek DVD/Blu-ray launch party in Los Angeles on Monday. "It's really shocking."
While we wait for the answers to unfold, we've scoured the Web for theories on who will kill Demetri, and when, and why, and how. Here are some of our favorite theories. FlashForward airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
sci-fi wire...

Fringe's Observers cross over into our reality

Remember we told you that Fox was going to be placing Observers (from its sci-fi show Fringe) in the real world?
They're here!

The Facebook page The Observer Trackers has posted a bunch of images from fan sightings of the first phalanx of the bald, suited, alien-like guys in Los Angeles and Atlanta. We've put some of them in the gallery below.
Is it a coincidence that they are appearing in the section of L.A. a stone's throw from the Fox studios? Or in Atlanta near the headquarters of CNN? Probably.
This all in advance of tomorrow's Fringe episode, "August," which promises to answer many of the questions about these weird guys. It airs at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
sci-fi wire...

V deathwatch: ratings drop another 18%

Wow, looks like ABC's V is definitely in trouble.
Last night's third episode saw ratings and audience drop significantly again, down 18 percent to 9.3 million (3.1 rating among adults 18-49), according to The Hollywood Reporter's
Live Feed blog.

That after a precipitous 29 percent drop in week two from the blockbuster premiere.
We're going to go out on a limb and say that the lizard aliens won't be on Earth for very long. Remember, ABC is airing only four episodes now (the last one airs next week) and was planning on returning to the air next spring with the final episodes of season one.

We don't know, but we've always thought this was ABC's way of not committing to the production of the show before they had a good sense of which way the audience would go; as the production was slated to start up again next month or so, we're thinking they'll just go ahead and pull the plug once the four eps have aired.

It's kinda too bad. The show was starting to grow on us, and we love the actors and the franchise. And we were eager to see how a change behind the scenes was going to affect the direction of the show.
sci-fi wire...

Why New Moon kicks Twilight's butt

Fans clamored for the first Twilight movie despite its shortcomings (lighting, vampire makeup, etc.), but even those who aren't Twi-hards are in for a much better time with the second film, New Moon, which opens Friday.

At least that's the feeling of the stars: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, as well as director Chris Weitz. All agree that the sequel, based on the second Twilight book by Stephenie Meyers, improves upon the original. (And check out our exclusive gallery of images from the film's world premiere in Hollywood on Monday, below this story.)

"When I read New Moon, it gave me ideas about how to play the first one," Pattinson said. "It's the one I connected to the most, and the one that humanized Edward for me the most as well. In the first one, he still does remain, from beginning to end, an idealistic character. But in the second one he makes a mistake that's acknowledged by everybody, including himself. Also, he is totally undermined by more powerful creatures, and he's undermined emotionally by people as well. I think that's what humanized it."

New Moon brings back the same characters, but with a new vision from a different director: Chris Weitz, who stepped in for Catherine Hardwicke. Weitz didn't want to do the same thing over again.

Weitz had ideas for different lighting, different visual effects, different camera moves and more. He gave the actors a 40-50-page syllabus full of his new directorial ideas. "What I really didn't want was sequelitis or the idea that we're just cranking out a franchise," Weitz said. "I wanted everyone to know what sort of movie we wanted to make."

Stewart, who plays Bella, said that Weitz's prep in part gave her a better idea of what to expect. "A lot of the effects movies are hard to do, because you don't know what you're reacting to," Stewart recalled. "So he had a full rundown of how he planned on making the movie. He was so sorry that so much of the movie was going to be CGI stuff that we were going to have to react to, but he was always going to make us aware of what we were acting with, that he was never going to leave us high and dry."

As for the romance in the new film, as fans know, it marks the breakup of Edward and Bella. "Just playing a scene where you're breaking up the ideal relationship, I felt a lot of the weight behind that," Pattinson said. "Also, it took away a fear of melodrama as well, because it felt kind of seismic, if that's the right word, even when we were doing it."

The torment challenged Stewart, too. "It was really hard to go back and forth, because you don't shoot a movie in sequence, obviously," she said. "I had to do stuff with Jacob where I was alive and happy and out of this depression thing, and then after lunch go back and scream in my bed for six hours. So that was difficult."
As for Jacob, it's been well documented how Lautner had to put on the muscles to play a bigger, badder Jacob for New Moon. "Jacob transforms a lot in New Moon, not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well," Lautner said. "So it was a matter of getting to the gym and eating the right food and a lot of it, but also reading and studying the book and my character over and over and over again so I could have his character down as well. He changes in many, many different ways. Basically, my job was to continue what I started in Twilight, which was this extremely happy, friendly, outgoing guy, best friends with Bella. I had to continue that for the first half of the film, but as soon as I transform, I snap, and I become a completely different person. I'm dealing with my issues, and it's really hard for me."

The big new effects in New Moon are the werewolves, and Lautner himself says they delivered. "I was blown away," Lautner said. "When I'm filming, the famous trailer shot where I'm running through the field, and I jump up and try and transform in midair, I'm attached to wires, and I'm running, and I let the wires pull me up in the air and jerk me to a stop, and I just have to freeze there and let them convert my body into a CGI wolf. The whole time I'm like, 'I hope I look cool.' After I saw the final version last week, after I saw the wolves, it was amazing. The fight scene that comes right after that, the fight between Jacob and Paul wolf was so cool. I thought they were extremely powerful and looked very real."

"The physical side was really fun," Lautner added. "Some of it was challenging. I'd never ridden a dirt bike before. I rode the dirt bike for a total of about five seconds in the film, but for those five seconds I had to look as cool as possible. So it did require a lot of practice, just for safety-wise, so they'd let me do it. The wirework, like when I run up the side of her house, the wires were there just so if I slipped and fell I didn't face-plant into the ground. That stunt was really complicated. You need to be 'on.' I'm using a little plug in the side of the wall to take off from and jump. Every single weekend I would practice that stunt for three hours a day. It was the last thing we filmed."

If that's not enough, New Moon has a much better soundtrack. "There were these incredible pickings on offer: Thom Yorke, The Killers, Bon Iver, Lykke Li," Weitz said. "I genuinely think it's one of the best soundtrack albums that's ever been done. The reason I will make this outrageous claim is that it's not music that was already completed. It's kind of easy to do that, but to be able to risk asking somebody to do a track and four weeks later or so a song comes back, to have it work as many times as it did was really extraordinary. I think that if any one of those artists had done a track for our soundtrack, I would have been really proud, but to have all of them is absolutely extraordinary."

sci-fi wire...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

'Very good news' for Torchwood fans!

If you watched Torchwood's last season, the Children of Earth miniseries, it felt a lot like the end of the whole thing.
Well, that may not be the case,
TV Guide reported (mild spoilers ahead):

Torchwood might not have concluded its run at the end of the thrilling miniseries Children of Earth after all—Ianto's tragic death not withstanding. The new year could bring some "very good news" for fans of the sexy sci-fi series, creator Russell T. Davies tells TV Guide Magazine.

"The recession has hit British television, but fingers crossed, it will be a go. We expect things to start to move in January. We've got great ideas for the show. I think there's a further lease on life for many years to come, but certainly for a [fourth season]," Davies says.

No word on when or where we'd likely see this new season of the Doctor Who spinoff, who might return or how long it might run, but any news is good news, right?
sci-fi wire...

Spider-Man 4 villains allegedly revealed: Black Cat and Lizard

Two top Spider-Man villains have allegedly been nailed down for Spider-Man 4, and it's rumored that one more bad guy (or gal) will join them.

Our friends at are reporting that Rachel McAdams, soon to be seen in Sherlock Holmes, has been meeting with the film's producers. She's said to be in the running for the role of the Black Cat, a costumed antihero who in the comics has been both a cat burglar and romantic interest for the webslinger.
That's not all—the source also indicates casting is still ongoing for an additional villain. And since the role of the Lizard has already been filled in the previous films by Dylan Baker, that means that there's yet another villain to come.

We know who we'd like to see Sam Raimi and company come up with. How about you?
sci-fi wire...

Fringe audience falls, FlashForward fades

Thursday night is shaping up as the biggest night in sci-fi TV, but viewers of Fox's Fringe and other series apparently didn't get the memo.
A new episode of Fringe last night saw its ratings fall to a series low, possibly because many fans didn't realize that no World Series game seven meant a new episode of their favorite show.

Fringe ratings fell 23 percent, to 5 million viewers, The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed blog reported:

ABC won the night, with its lineup slipping about 4% across the board: "FlashForward" (8.5 million viewers, 2.6 preliminary adults 18-49 rating) ...
Returning after a two-week hiatus, Fox's drama lineup had "Bones" (8.5 million, 2.5) down 11%. At 9 p.m., "Fringe" (5 million, 1.7) hit a serious low, falling 23%.
Things were also bad for the boys at Supernatural, whose audience fell 14 percent.
But there was good news for fans of The CW's Vampire Diaries: The show boasted 4.2 million viewers, maintaining its recent gain in audience.

So ... have you stopped watching Fringe? FlashForward? Supernatural?
sci-fi wire...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

What really happened to Sanctuary's Ashley

Syfy's Sanctuary did it: Last Friday's episode killed off Ashley (Emilie Ullerup).
Or did it? "Nobody dies in sci-fi," creator Damian Kindler said with a laugh. "No body. Habeas corpus."

In last week's ep, "Eulogy," Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) and Will (Robin Dunner) failed to find Ashley's body after she apparently gave her life to avoid killing her mom, and everyone accepted that Ashley had truly gone to that big abnormal zoo in the sky.

But why kill her off? Did Ullerup want more money? Have another job waiting in the wings? Were there personality conflicts behind the scenes? Maybe she wanted to go off to college or work for Obama?

"To be very honest about it, it was a decision we arrived at with our two major networks in the U.S. and Canada creatively, and we really felt it would have the deepest, most dramatic impact on the series and the characters," Kindler said. "We felt it was a very bold, kind of brave choice to make, and the more we looked at it, the more we felt it was a really strong choice, ... the strongest choice. We did it. We are also very aware that people don't necessarily have to die in sci-fi, the characters. But we felt one of the things that makes shows so attractive is when their characters' journey are hard, but they continue to strive no matter what."

As for Ullerup, Kindler vows that he adores her. "Emilie did an amazing job, embracing the direction and in playing that part in that scene so well," he said. "It wasn't easy for anyone, least of all Emilie, but it definitely was handled with the utmost grace and professionalism. Hats off to her for that."

As we all know by now, there's a new girl taking Ashley's place: Agam Darshi's Kate Freelander. Kindler acknowledges she may rub some people the wrong way. And he wanted that. At least so he says.

"I absolutely know there will be a backlash of people who will not like Kate," Kindler said. "I think people already don't like Kate, and it's absolutely by design. She's not likable yet. But I can absolutely guarantee you that 99 percent of the people who don't like Kate, by the end of the season will like Kate." Her moment to shine will be in the episode called "Penance," which guest-stars Stargate SG-1's Michael Shanks.
Tonight's episode, "Hero," deals with a man who thinks he's a crime-fighting superhero (it was written by Alan McCullough and directed by Martin Wood). And it's funny.

"It's an absolutely heartwarming and hysterical, action-packed tale, with the wonderful Chris Gauthier from Eureka in the guest-starring role," Kindler said. "I'd like to say you're going to see a new tone of humor in Sanctuary, and that's good. It's important. It's just as important as the heavy epic stuff. It's very heartwarming, too. Ryan Robbins [Henry] is lovely in this episode. I think there's just some lovely, funny and touching moments, and also a f'in great monster. A really great monster."
What about Ashley?

"Once we know for sure about a third season, there is definitely an Ashley story in there that we're developing, and I think it's very true to what we've done with the character," Kindler said. "The intention was to never kill her off with any finality. It was always to kill her off in a way that was dubious at best and fraught with inconsistencies and fraught with mystery and isn't completely solved even when they have to put her to rest and move on. I didn't want to milk that horse more than three episodes. I think that gave that arc its due, and then we had to move on to business as usual. We only have 13 episodes."
sci-fi wire...

'Hannibal Lecter' will be Thor's daddy

The cast of director Kenneth Branagh's upcoming Thor movie just gets more interesting: Captain Kirk's dad is going to play Marvel's hammer-wielding Norse god, and now comes news that Hannibal Lecter himself, Anthony Hopkins, will play Thor's big daddy: Odin, king of Asgard, Variety reports.

Makes sense: Hopkins has played kings before, notably Hrothgar in Bob Zemeckis' cartoon Beowulf.

According to Variety, Hopkins will pay father to both Thor (Star Trek's Chris Hemsworth) and his brother, the trickster god Loki, played by Tom Hiddelston. Queen Amidala, Natalie Portman, is Thor's love interest, the mortal human Jane Foster.

The film tells the story of Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior of Asgard. After his reckless actions reignite an ancient war, his father banishes him to Earth to live among humans. He learns the meaning of heroism when he stands tall as his arch-enemy from home sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.
The script was written by Mark Protosevich and Fringe writer/producers Zack Stentz and Ashley Miller.

The Mighty Thor, his hammer and winged helmet will arrive in theaters on May 20, 2011.
sci-fi wire...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ENTIRE MOVIE of The Wolfman (J.K. Sort of.)

A bunch of new stuff for Universal's upcoming reboot of its classic horror movie The Wolfman, including a new trailer at and an image from EVERY SINGLE FRAME OF THE MOVIE!

(Not really ... but it sure feels like it. Click on the images below for larger versions.)
Here's how Universal describes the movie:

Inspired by the classic Universal film that launched a legacy of horror, The Wolfman brings the myth of a cursed man back to its iconic origins. Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro stars as Lawrence Talbot, a haunted nobleman lured back to his family estate after his brother vanishes. Reunited with his estranged father (Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins),Talbot sets out to find his brother ... and discovers a horrifying destiny for himself.

Joe Johnston (Jurassic Park III) directed The Wolfman, and six-time Oscar-winning special-effects artist Rick Baker brings his design and makeup talents to transform Del Toro into the fearsome title character. The Wolfman opens Feb. 12, 2010.
sci-fi wire...

What will ABC put in the skies over New York to promote V?

Anyone think a large airborne sci-fi stunt over New York post 9/11 is a bad idea?

Well, that was the consensus after Air Force One buzzed Manhattan. So ABC is making sure everyone knows that they are planning something silly in the skies over the Big Apple to promote the upcoming miniseries V.

No, not the arrival of giant UFOs hovering over Central Park, though that would be very cool. Here's how the
New York Post reports it:

Starting Friday, the giant red letter V—written by skywriting planes—will begin to appear over New York landmarks like the Statute of Liberty, the network says, to promote V, a remake of the 1980s miniseries, that begins next month. ...

ABC won't specify which landmarks will be getting the giant V treatment, but it will go on for several days, it says.

New Yorkers can expect to see the sky graffiti overhead early Sunday and again on Halloween.

Four episodes of V will air starting on Nov. 3 before taking a break and returning early next year.
sci-fi wire

Which Stargate star will play Hawkman in Smallville?

You can't keep a good Stargate actor down: First, Atlantis' Jason Momoa gets cast in HBO's Game of Thrones, and now SG-1's Michael Shanks has landed a role as Hawkman in an upcoming episode of The CW's Smallville!

Shanks, whom you know as Dr. Daniel Jackson, is one of two actors cast in the fledgling Justice Society episode on the before-Clark-was-Superman series, according to IGN:
We've known since this summer that the Justice Society would be coming to Smallville, in an episode written by comic book writer Geoff Johns, but so far the exact characters who would be part of the team were not revealed. ...

As it turns out, Hawkman and Doctor Fate will both be part of the Smallville incarnation of the Justice Society. This goes hand in hand with DC Comics, where both characters have notable histories with the team and its various incarnations, dating back to the 1940s.

Another Stargate player, Brent Stait, who guested on Atlantis and appeared in the Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods video game, will play Doctor Fate, the site reported.

The episode is slated to air in January. Not clear whether Shanks will have to put on the beaked cowl/winged hat of the classic Hawkman, but we'd pay money to see it.
sci-fi wire...

Atlantis' 'Ronon' to play a new fantasy warrior king

Last we saw Jason Momoa, he was landing in San Francisco Bay along with the entire crew of Atlantis in the finale of Stargate Atlantis. The good news for fans of the strapping Hawaiian-born actor is that he will appear soon in HBO's upcoming Game of Thrones pilot, based on George R.R. Martin's fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Momoa is reportedly being cast as Drogo, according to the Winter Is Coming blog. Momoa supposedly announced the casting at Armageddon Expo in Melbourne, Australia:

He just got the call the other day, and he said it hadn't been announced. He'll be filming in Morocco and doesn't like horses, so isn't looking forward to the horseback scenes. He also said that it'll be his first nude scene and first sex scene. ...
He also said when he went in for the audition he did a haka, as he thought it would be perfect for Drogo.

(A haka is a traditional Maori dance, so we've just learned.)
Here's how Wikipedia describes Momoa's character:
Drogo is a powerful khal, or warlord, of the Dothraki people, a tribal nation of expert riders and raiders in the steppes beyond the Free Cities. He is an accomplished warrior and has never been defeated in battle.

We're just spit-balling here, but it sounds like a good fit for the man who was Ronon.
The large ensemble cast also includes Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Sean Bean, Mark Addy, Kit Harrington, Jennifer Ehle, Jack Gleeson, Peter Dinklage and Harry Lloyd.
sci-fi wire...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Syfy's Alice will premiere Dec. 6!

Syfy's new four-hour movie event Alice has been given a Dec. 6 airdate. Here's the official announcement:

Syfy's contemporary re-imagined spin on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland will premiere on Sunday, December 6th @ 9-11pm ET/PT and air over two consecutive nights. In this modern day spin on the classic stories by Lewis Carroll, Academy Award winner Kathy Bates (Misery) stars as the Queen of Hearts and Caterina Scorsone (Crash television series) as Alice.

Rounding out the stellar cast are Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show) as Dodo, Colm Meaney (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) as the King of Hearts, Philip Winchester (Crusoe) as Jack Chase, Matt Frewer (Watchmen) as the White Knight, Andrew Lee Potts (Primeval) as Hatter, Harry Dean Stanton (Big Love) as the Caterpillar, Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica) as 9 of Clubs, Timothy Webber (Taken) as Carpenter, Alex Diakun (Sanctuary) as Ratcatcher, Zak Santiago (Kingdom Hospital) as 10 of Clubs, and Eugene Lipinski (Animorphs) as Doctors Dee and Dum.

For this re-imagined adaptation, writer/director Nick Willing mines the bizarre ingenuity and twisted logic of Carroll's work to create a daringly different, boldly colorful and delightfully skewed dreamscape of his own. Willing also directed the record-breaking, Emmy-winning miniseries Tin Man for Syfy in 2007. Serving as Executive Producers for this ambitious new event are Matthew O'Connor and Lisa Richardson from Reunion Pictures, Jamie Brown from Studio Eight and RHI Entertainment's Robert Halmi, Sr. and Robert Halmi, Jr.

Using the classic Lewis Carroll books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass as a jumping off point, writer/director Nick Willing has created the modern-day story of Alice Hamilton, a fiercely independent twenty-something who suddenly finds herself on the other side of a looking glass. She is a stranger in an outlandish city of twisted towers and casinos built out of playing cards, all under the rule of a deliciously devilish Queen who's not very happy about Alice's arrival.
sci-fi wire...

Leonard Nimoy says Star Trek doesn't need him anymore

Leonard Nimoy may have made his final appearance as Spock in the Star Trek reboot. He says he doesn't think the series needs him anymore. As plans for a sequel develop, Nimoy does not expect to be involved.
"I frankly, frankly doubt that I will be called upon again," Nimoy said in a conference call on Oct. 7 while promoting his appearance on Fringe. "I think I was useful in his last film to help bridge between the original characters, the original actors, and the new cast. They have a wonderful new cast in place, and I'm sure they'll move ahead with them."

Nimoy also joked about the new moniker, Spock Prime, meaning he is the Spock from the original timeline but clearly different from the Spock that Zachary Quinto will grow to be.

"That's right, I'm in the prime of my life, right," Nimoy laughed.
Still, the original Spock's appearance in Star Trek meant more than just passing the torch. Longtime trekkers choked back tears as Spock Prime confessed his friendship to young Kirk. Even though the Quinto, Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, etc. cast is now established as the Enterprise crew, no one would object to another appearance by Spock Prime.

"I don't see, at the moment, why they would need me in the next film, although if they called me, I'd be happy to have a conversation about it," Nimoy said. "My understanding is they're working on a script right now. I expect there's going to be some time before they really know exactly who they need and what they need."
sci-fi wire...

J. J. Abrams may bring back Peter Graves for M:I 4

J.J. Abrams was shocked to learn that original Mission Impossible TV series star Peter Graves was interested in a part in the movie series. Three film adaptations have gone by without him, but now that Abrams is developing a fourth, Graves' representatives have reached out to the producer/director.

"I just got a call that Peter Graves is in great shape, which would be a very bizarre bend in the space-time continuum, for obvious reasons," Abrams said in a press conference in Santa Monica, Calif., on Oct. 8, where he was promoting Star Trek on DVD.
Jon Voight played Jim Phelps in Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible, in a plot that strayed from the canon of the TV series. In addition to addressing whether Graves would be a version of Phelps, Abrams would also have to address his comedy legacy as Captain Oveur in the Airplane movies.

"I almost feel like you could make him serious again and bring him back," Abrams said.
Abrams brought Leonard Nimoy back as Spock Prime in his Star Trek reboot. Nimoy also played Paris on the Mission: Impossible TV series, so Abrams has an "in" with two series favorites.

"Whether it's Nimoy, who I have an incredible affinity for, or Graves, or anyone, we'll see."

As director of Mission: Impossible III, Abrams had reached out to Martin Landau, who played Rollin Hand in the original series. So he's been open to including original cast members since he took over the series.

"I actually tried to get Martin Landau in Mission 3, in a very small little moment just for fun, and was told that he had no interest in doing it," Abrams shared. "But then, when I met him after the movie came out, it was the greatest thing. We were at this restaurant in New York, for one of the TV up-front parties, and someone introduced me to Landau. They took me over and Martin Landau came over to me, extended his hand and [pretended to lift his face off]. That was the greatest thing I'd ever seen."
Abrams has signed to produce the fourth Mission: Impossible with Tom Cruise. He has not announced whether he would direct it.
sci-fi wire...

We've got juicy details on Sanctuary season 2

Season two of Sanctuary kicks off tonight on Syfy at 10 p.m. ET/PT, and we've got some juicy information for you that comes straight from the set in Vancouver. Executive producers Amanda Tapping (also the star, of course), Damian Kindler and Martin Wood answered a bunch of questions during a press visit, and we learned quite a bit about where the show is going. Warning, some of this is spoiler-ish:
How season two starts and where it goes: "The idea was to definitely wrap up the amazing corner we painted ourselves into in the first season," Kindler said. "Beyond that, the mission was to deepen things and really let the show find its feet."
Meet Kate Freelander: Kate is a new character who joins the Sanctuary team this year. She's played by Agam Darshi and Tapping described her as "this con artist, rough-around-the-edges, swindler, grifter. She knows enough about the abnormal network, knows enough about the Cabal, knows enough about the Sanctuary, to be dangerous."

Tesla is back! And not just as his sarcastic, wisecracking self. Kindler said everyone's favorite inventor/vampire will have some kinder, gentler moments with the rest of the characters on the show. As well as being his sarcastic, wisecracking self, of course.
Something gets out of hand: "We do get a little teleportation-happy in season 2," Kindler admitted. He jokingly justified that by saying it's a really cool special effect, although the consequences of using it get a little glossed over this time around. (Remember, this is the ability that drove John Druitt mad.)
Get ready for Henry: "You'll see a lot more of Henry this year," Tapping said. "He is huge in season two."

Don't expect cookie-cutter bad guys: "I think one of the traps that some TV shows find themselves in is that they create a big bad guy or an organization that can breed more bad guys, and they keep going back to "Oh, now we're back to the bad guy factory. There's a new version." Kindler promised that won't happen with Sanctuary.

Amanda Tapping and Helen Magnus both go crazy: Tapping said she's directing an episode in which Magnus is accused of murder and is slowly going insane. "I was slowly going insane, so no acting was required!" she said about trying to balance her duties as producer, star, mother and director.

Expect more CGI characters: Now that the Sanctuary team has mastered creating computer-generated backgrounds and locations, Wood said they're trying their hands at more 3-D characters. "You have a new character every week," he said.

Going global: You'll get to see other Sanctuaries in exotic locales like Tokyo and Mumbai. Oddly enough, unlike most of Sanctuary's locations, the Tokyo footage is real and not a green-screen effect. Kindler, Wood, Tapping and co-star Robin Dunne were visiting Japan for the launch of the show there, and they decided to shoot some footage.

How the season ends: There's going to be a Bollywood dance number, a 50-foot spider and a situation Kindler compared to being on the tip of the prow of a sinking ship. "We knew we wanted to get to a very very, dire place at the end of season two."
And just a hint about season three: "Should there be a season three, we have a much longer view of where we want things to go for the characters," Kindler said.
And finally, Tapping joined Dunne (@robindunne) and Kindler (@damiankindler) on Twitter. You can follow her at @AmandaTapping. We are.
sci-fi wire...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Primeval saved! You'll get to see at least 13 more episodes

If you're a fan of the Brit walking-with-dinosaurs sci-fi adventure series Primeval, you're in luck: Three months after ITV canceled the show, BBC America and U.K. pay channel UKTV are rescuing it from extinction.
Impossible Pictures will make another two runs totaling about 13 episodes, Variety reports:
Under the new funding arrangements, BBC Worldwide, responsible for licensing the show to around 45 countries, replaces ITV as the program's biggest investor.
Meanwhile, BBC America, which airs Primeval in the U.S., has joined Germany's ProSieben as a co-production partner on the show.

As part of the deal, ITV will premiere the fourth season of the show in early 2011, while UKTV premieres the fifth season later the same year. It's not clear when Primeval will cross the pond, but we expect it'll be sometime the same year.Primeval follows a team of five scientists who chase down nasty creatures—including dinosaurs from the past and giant batlike "future predators" from the, um, future—who appear in the present via temporal anomalies across Great Britain. Why is it always Great Britain? And where's the Doctor when you need him?
sci-fi wire...

Riverworld miniseries

Tahmoh Penikett dies! And that's just the beginning of Syfy's Riverworld, in which everyone who has ever lived on Earth is resurrected simultaneously in an unusual afterlife.
The miniseries, based on the books by Philip José Farmer, won't air until next year, but you can check it out today, thanks to the trailer below, released by producers RHI Entertainment.
sci-fi wire...

First look at Robert Rodriguez's bloody, violent Predators

We're as interested as you are in any info about the plot of next summer's Robert Rodriguez-scripted Predators reboot. Today we got some tidbits from our friends at the Latino Review, who got a chance to read a 90-page script dated July 12, 2009 and shared some of that insider info with the rest of us.

The draft is a "bloody, violent, Hard-R script" that pits a team of seven kidnapped humans against Predators on the aliens' home planet. Reportedly, the team of seven are:

Royce, a Steve McQueen type
Cuchillo, a Mexican enforcer for a drug cartel who has twin uzis strapped to his back
Nikolai, a bear of a Russian armed with a four-barrel gas-powered rotary machine gun
Isabelle, a French woman armed with a sniper rifle
Stans, a San Quentin prisoner with a shaved head, armed with a prison-made knife
Mombasa, an African member of the Sierra Leone death squad
Hanzo, a Yakuza enforcer

Edwin, an unassuming man who was formerly on the FBI's most-wanted list.
sci-fi wire...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

All the odd Fringe stuff you need to remember for season 2

Fringe is back tonight, and there's some stuff you'll probably need to know—or at least need to be reminded about—before the new season starts. We've done our best to compile a Fringe 101 list to help refresh your (and our) memory below.
This is also a "quick start" guide for new viewers. If you think we left something important out, let us know in the comments.

[Warning: Spoilers ahead.]
Walter Bishop has a cow. It's in his lab at Harvard, her name is Jean, and he's delighted about it. He's a genius scientist, who usually solves the mystery at the heart of each episode. He has significant mental crackage, and not just because he was in a mental institution for years. He worked on a portal to an alternate universe and even took his son Peter from it.
Peter Bishop has a murky, off-the-radar past. Turns out he died as a boy in this, our universe. Walter, heartbroken, replaced him with the boy Peter from the alternate universe, who is the Peter we have come to know and love. It's unclear at this point what happened to alternate-universe Walter.
OK, let's talk about this alternate universe. It's the mainspring of Fringe—not time travel, not faster-than-light travel, but alternate universes. In the not-our-universe once inhabited by the alternate Peter who is now in our universe, John F. Kennedy is alive and aged, Len Bias didn't die of cocaine, and the World Trade Center towers are standing proud and gleaming.
There is a bald guy who is in every episode, mostly briefly. He's usually around when something significant happens. He and Walter know each other. He's called The Observer. I tend to think of him as the eternal bald observer, because a fair amount of this kind of science fiction has a bald observer.

Are there any crimes going on here? Yes, of course, but I wanted to tell you about the cow first. Olivia Dunham is an agent on a special FBI team tasked with investigating strange deaths and the like. In this, Fringe is a successor to The X-Files. But some crimes—especially those involving teleportation—connect to the alternate universes. They also connect to Olivia, who realizes she was treated as a child with a special drug. Indeed, she was experimented upon by Walter.
A little more about teleportation—when was the last time you saw it in a contemporary television series? You've of course seen it in Star Trek beaming, but the teleportation in Fringe is more ragged around the edges, more desperate, and feels more like the novel The Stars My Destination (highly recommended, by the way).
Olivia has enlisted Walter and Peter to help. She and Peter haven't hooked up yet, but I'd say it's just a matter of time. Broyles is the head of her team—you'll recognize the distinctive actor, Lance Reddick, from The Wire and Lost. The team has some good guys and bad guys—a lot more interesting than the FBI team from Numb3rs.
Olivia's former lover was her former FBI partner, John Scott. He's former in both pursuits because he's dead. Walter had a way of getting Olivia into his dead mind. But it was too dangerous for her, so they stopped that, and it's not clear what role, if any, John will play in the second season. Just keeping you posted in case he does come back (though the actor has moved on to another series), or in case you wanted to know. Charlie is Olivia's current partner, and they're just good friends.
Astrid's also FBI and works in the lab with Walter and the cow. Olivia's sister and beloved little niece live with her. The sister seems to like Peter, but they are mostly there as vulnerabilities that Olivia's deadly opponents can exploit.
And make sure you keep an eye on the glyphs—leaves, half apples, seahorses, and the like—on the screen when Fringe breaks for commercials. The glyphs provide clues. Some of them have been decoded on the Web.
And who are Olivia's opponents? Who are the ultimate villains in Fringe? Again, not completely clear. But William Bell, played by Leonard Nimoy, is the genius scientist who used to work with Walter. Bell now straddles both universes as head of the mysterious, powerful, Massive Dynamic. He also has some connection to ZFT (Zerstorung durch Fortschritte der Technologie, or destruction through the advancement of technology), the terrorist group that's behind the crimes, which may have been founded either by Bell or Walter.
And then there's Nina Sharp, played by Blair Brown, who's Bell's chief assistant. She's the current head of the company in our universe, and knows a lot more than she lets on.
The last scene of the last show of the first season found Olivia—our Olivia—in Bell's office, with Bell, in the alternate universe, in his Massive Dynamic office, in the South Tower of the World Trade Center, 2009.
Paul Levinson, Ph.D., is professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University in New York City. His eight nonfiction books include The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003) and Cellphone (2004). New New Media, exploring blogging, Twitter, YouTube and other "new new" modes of communication, will be published by Penguin Academics in the summer of 2009. His science fiction novels include The Silk Code (1999, winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel), Borrowed Tides (2001), The Consciousness Plague (2002), The Pixel Eye (2003) and The Plot To Save Socrates (2006). His short stories have been nominated for Nebula, Hugo, Edgar and Sturgeon Awards. He reviews the best of television in his blog and was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education's "Top 10 Academic Twitterers" in 2009.
sci-fi wire...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The devilish Ray Wise is moving into the Dollhouse

If the devil is in the details, then the Devil is in the Dollhouse: Reaper's Ray Wise is joining the cast of Joss Whedon's sci-fi series, according to Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello.

In addition to playing the Prince of Darkness on The CW's much-loved but short-lived Reaper, Wise is well known to genre fans as the murderous father of Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks and the crazed farmer in Jeepers Creepers 2, among a host of other roles.
Dollhouse returns for a second season on Friday at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Guest stars previously announced include Battlestar Galactica's Jamie Bamber, Keith Carradine, Angel's Alexis Denisof and Firefly/Terminator's Summer Glau.
sci-fi wire...

News briefs: Wicked comes; Silent Hill sequel

Universal Pictures has acquired screen rights to Wicked Lovely, the best-selling first book in a fantasy series written by Melissa Marr that will see its fourth installment published next year by Harper Collins, Variety reported. ...

David Henrie of the Disney Channel series Wizards of Waverly Place will pair with Platinum Studios to develop its comic-book series The Weapon into a feature film he'd star in, according to The Hollywood Reporter; it follows martial-arts inventor Tommy Zhou, who has developed a ground-breaking portable innovation that an evil order will stop at nothing to steal....

Roger Avary (Beowulf) and Samuel Hadida of Davis Films have signed on for a sequel to their 2006 video-game adaptation Silent Hill, according to The Hollywood Reporter; the original centered on a woman who travels to a desolate town to seek help for her ailing daughter only to find supernatural occurrences taking place there.
sci-fi wire...

Trek writer will adapt a vampire tale for Ridley Scott

Star Trek: Nemesis writer John Logan has been set by Fox 2000 to adapt The Passage, the Jordan Ainsley vampire novel being developed for Ridley Scott to potentially direct, Variety reported.

It marks the first time that Logan and Scott have collaborated since the Oscar-winning Gladiator, the trade paper reported:
Fox 2000 acquired the book two years ago, paying seven figures for the three-book series right after its publishing rights sold to Ballantine for $3.75 million. ...

Ainsley—pseudonym for PEN Hemingway Award-winning author Justin Cronin—sold the book based on the first 400 pages and an outline, but the film adaptation awaited his completion of the book, which is nearly 1,200 pages.
In the novel, terminally ill patients become healthy after they are bitten by bats in South America, and the government conducts secret tests on human subjects to see if the virus can cure illness. The result is an apocalyptic unleashing of bloodthirsty vampire test subjects that include death row inmates.
sci-fi wire...

Monday, September 14, 2009

What's the big surprise behind the return of Eureka's 'Taggart'?

The rumors are not true—Matt Frewer did NOT agree to reprise his role as Jim Taggart on Syfy's Eureka just so people would finally stop saying, "Hey Matt, when are you going to be back as Taggart on Eureka?"

"That wasn't my M.O., but if it's achieved that, it's worked," Frewer said during a conference call with reporters earlier this week. "Well, that's it, it's a double-edge sword, isn't it? You can kind of leave 'em wanting more, but if you leave 'em for too long then they just forget."

Fan favorite Frewer—whose credits include everything from Max Headroom, PSI Factor and Watchmen to the Syfy miniseries Taken—returns as Taggart in "Have an Ice Day," which will premiere tonight on Syfy at 9 p.m. ET/PT. In the episode, an ice core threatens to bring with it a new ice age. The manager of the ice core project is none other than Taggart.

But wait a second—we thought Taggart was Eureka's erstwhile veterinarian and biological containment specialist?

"Yeah, so did I," Frewer said, laughing. "I guess in the overall storyline the notion for this was that he was going to complete his walkabout back to Australia. And the whole deal with Taggart is that he always gets waylaid somewhere interesting. And this was his next port of call, to take ice core samples in the Arctic. So there you have it."
Frewer took direction during his time back on the Eureka set from series regular Joe Morton. The actor gives his temporary boss a thumbs-up. "Actually, it was great," Frewer said. "He's an extremely bright and gifted fellow anyway, and it was a pleasant surprise to see how savvy he was directing. Obviously, being an actor, you have somewhat of an immediate rapport with him anyway, and there was kind of a shorthand, but on top of that he was just great fun. We both agreed that for Taggart's return that was the key to the thing, to have fun with it. And he definitely facilitated that."

The episode airing tonight is a one-off. Frewer won't be back as Taggart this season. But Syfy has renewed Eureka for a fourth season, and Frewer said he'd like to return again at some point. "We're pretty much right back into the flow of the character interaction," he said. "There's definitely possibilities there for more stuff, and hopefully they take up the challenge."
sci-fi wire...

What's this mysterious letter from Fringe's second season?

Fringe is on its way back from that alternate reality, and we've got a few cool tidbits to share with you as we get ready for the second season of Fox's ubercool sci-fi procedural.

For starters, Fox sent along this mysterious paper with its second-season premiere screener for the sci-fi series, which returns next Thursday at 9 p.m. Check out the close-up below for the message it contains. (Possible spoiler ahead!) What could it mean??
Executive producers J.J. Abrams, Jeff Pinkner, Joel Wyman and Akiva Goldsman, meanwhile, promise that the second season will build on the tantalizing promise of the first:

"As we said last year, Fringe is a procedural, but unlike most procedurals, it's driven by character. Last season we met Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), Walter Bishop (John Noble) and Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) as well as the characters who support them while they tackle insane problems. And we discovered that at least some of the problems they face were put in motion by the work of Walter and his former lab mate, William Bell (guest star Leonard Nimoy), who in an alternate reality occupies an office in the (still standing) World Trade Center.
This year, the problems of Olivia and the Bishops face will worsen and become more personal."
You're gonna see more than one—this is an exclusive! You are going to see many Observers," Orci told the magazine about the new season's eighth episode. "[It's] going to tell you a lot about the Observers. You're going to find out their role in the world, what they're named after, and their connection to some of these characters."
Orci added: "One of the things we're doing, which we've been doing since season one, is that every four episodes or five episodes, if you've been watching the show and you're a fan, you're gonna get bigger answers than you ever got before. If you stay tuned to the fourth show, that eighth show, that 12th show, you will start to see a continuity that begins with the Observers."
Check back on SCI FI Wire for more Fringe news in the coming days, leading up to the season premiere and beyond.
sci-fi wire...

How did Amanda Tapping produce, direct and act in Sanctuary?

Amanda Tapping directed one episode of Stargate SG-1 and always told us she wanted to helm another but never got the chance. So it helps that she's the executive producer of her own show now—Syfy's Sanctuary—and can finally step behind the camera again for an upcoming episode.

Besides producing, Tapping also stars as the creature-loving immortal scientist Dr. Helen Magnus, and she'll direct the seventh episode of the new second season, called "Veritas."
"It was an appropriate episode for me to direct; I think that they must have planned it that way," Tapping said in an exclusive interview. "It was perhaps [director and executive producer] Martin's [Wood] way of torturing me."

"Veritas" was written by Alan McCullough, who scripted three of last year's 13 Sanctuary episodes and also wrote for Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG-1. In the show, Tapping's normally stable and aloof character seems to slowly slip into insanity and becomes more and more crazy.

"I guess I felt like I was going a little crazy," Tapping said with a laugh. "I kept thinking, 'Am I nuts wanting to direct this?' I didn't want to mess it up. It's about Magnus going crazy, going completely off the rail."

Tapping's first directing gig was SG-1's "Resurrection." "I learned a lot on Stargate," she said. "I had a great experience directing that show, and I've been shadowing Martin for so long."

Wood said he would let her direct every other episode if he could. "She does some incredible work, and I find that her style is very close to mine," he said.
The original plan was for Tapping to helm a Magnus-light storyline, but as the filming grew closer, the focus on her character grew. "We forced her to do perhaps one of the hardest things to do, because if she was just playing her character regularly, it would have been easy, but this time she had to lose it, and she was doing it without supervision," Wood said. "No one was telling her if it was far enough or too far, or how much she should push it."

Wood was prepping the next episode and dropped in when he could, and the show's co-creator and executive producer Damian Kindler watched when he could, too. But when they asked Tapping if she needed help, she'd say, "No, I'm good."
"She just turned in her episode after editing it herself, too, and it just blew us away. It was magnificent," Kindler said. "She did an absolutely first-class job and proved she is a skillful shot-maker, a good director and editor and a clever and intuitive person. If she every wanted to do a career shift, she would make a great director."
Like one of the creatures the Sanctuary houses, Kindler added, "If we could clone Amanda, we would need four of her."

Co-star, Robin Dunne, who plays Dr. Will Zimmerman, said, "Amanda continually surprises me. As an actor she's someone to look up to, but as a director she was equally passionate and generous."

Dunne and Tapping are known for cracking each other up during their most intimate scenes together, but for her Sanctuary directorial debut, Dunne was on his best behavior. "There was no goofing off on that one, I believe," Dunne said.
After all, she is the boss.

Sanctuary returns Oct. 9 and airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
sci-fi wire...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Greg Grunberg reveals more of Sylar's Heroes plans

When we last saw Matt Parkman on Heroes, he had used his psychic powers to help vanquish Sylar. The preview of Vol. 5 suggested that Sylar is already starting to emerge from the body of Nathan Petrelli, despite Parkman's best efforts. As season four, Vol. 5 continues, Sylar lingers on in Parkman's mind, too, said actor Greg Grunberg.

(Warning: Spoilers ahead.)
"When we come back in season four, you see that this transfer of brains or whatever didn't go smoothly, and remnants of Sylar are left behind in me," Grunberg said in an exclusive interview on Aug. 5 in Pasadena, Calif., as part of the Television Critics Association fall press tour. "He's in my subconscious and I can't control him. Then he starts to control me, which is very, very cool."

Sylar's already got Nathan's body. Does he get Parkman's, too? "Well, he's in my head," Grunberg explained. "No one else can see him but me, so he's in scenes with me. It's very cool."

Zachary Quinto continues to play Sylar, in Parkman's vision of Sylar's presence. Grunberg also revealed some of Sylar's dirty deeds. "[He] kidnaps my child to get his body back. It's that kind of stuff, and it's very personal and much more relatable, I think."

That must mean Sylar uses Nathan's body to kidnap Parkman's daughter, right? No, said Grunberg. That's a separate thing while Sylar plays the brain game with Parkman. Don't worry about following the complicated storyline. Grunberg said it all makes sense.

"It's very easy to follow, actually, my storyline," Grunberg said. "It's cool how it's done. I love it because it's more character-based. The show became all about saving the world, and it's very abstract. It's kind of hard to grasp that. What does that mean? It's very spectacular, and it's fun, but then if you do it every week, it doesn't mean anything. And if everybody has powers, it doesn't mean anything. So this year it's kind of getting back to season one, where it's all about the characters just wanting to be real and normal. I don't want this power, I don't use it, and I'm forced to use it because Sylar's doing anything [he can]."

Grunberg has been enjoying the team-up with Quinto so much that he hopes Sylar never gets out of Parkman's head. "I went to the writers, I was talking to them tonight, and I was like, 'Guys, please don't end this. Don't resolve this, because we're having so much fun.' What's cool is that my powers evolve, and I start this year so regretting what I did last year that I have absolutely cut it cold turkey. I refuse to use my powers, and Sylar wants me to, so he's constantly on my shoulder going, 'Use your powers, you p-ssy.' It's great. It's really cool."

Too bad Parkman doesn't have a good angel on his shoulder telling him not to listen to Sylar. "No, that's me, but I'm not strong enough. It's pretty great."
Heroes returns Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. on NBC.
sci-fi wire...