Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Eureka's SARAH smart house is almost here. Want to test it out?

What if your house knew how you liked your coffee? Could anticipate what kind of music you'd want to hear given the situation? That's exactly the kind of technology a team at the University of Essex in the UK tests in their iSpace apartment and lab.

It's the kind of easy livin' that's been the driving vision behind stuff such as SARAH from Eureka, pictured above.

The Essex crew use what they call "ambient intelligence" to tie the whole home together. The occupant's patterns are identified: What time do you make coffee? How often do you do laundry? How bright do you keep the lights? The iSpace home would be able to do all these things for you based on your behavior.

It's a wonder if we'll ever get to live in houses like this one day, or if it'll be reserved only for the very rich. For what it's worth, if you're planning a trip to the UK the iSpace team is actually looking for volunteers to stay in the dorm.
sci-fi wire...

New Battlestar Galactica series about the Cylon War coming!

Syfy is working on a new Battlestar Galactica series that will follow the exploits William "Husker" Adama during the Cylon War. According to the Chicago Tribune, the show is called "Blood and Chrome" and will be an online series with about 10 episodes, each around 9 minutes long.

According to Mark Stern, Syfy's executive vice president of original programming and the co-head of original content for Universal Cable Productions, "Battlestar Galactica" and "Caprica" co-executive producer Michael Taylor will write the the script for the new venture.
"Blood & Chrome" is "about a young man's initiation into war: both the realities of war as fought by soldiers on the ground (and in Battlestars and Vipers), and the somewhat less real version portrayed in the media," according to Taylor.

"Blood & Chrome" would consist of nine or 10 episodes of nine or 10 minutes each, and it would make use of cutting-edge digital technology and special effects to depict the Cylon War. If it is greenlit to production, it will be filmed using green screens and virtual sets, not unlike Syfy's "Sanctuary" or James Cameron's "Avatar." Before "Battlestar Galactica" ended, high-tech scans were made of all the show's sets, so that the special-effects team will be able to re-create them (possibly even in 3D).

Taylor revealed some other details to the Tribune:

"I've seen the virtual, 3D version of CIC ['Battlestar's' Combat Information Center] and it's pretty damn cool," Taylor said. "And yet the movie isn't confined to Galactica. Far from it. It's a story that will take us to new corners of the 'Battlestar' world (or worlds), and yet it aims to be a very contemporary war movie in a lot of ways. I would say I'm thinking as much of Afghanistan and Iraq--the reality of 'Hurt Locker,' Sebastian Junger's 'Restrepo,' and similar movies--as I am about about the largely implied past of 'Battlestar.'"
If the series is successful, more could follow.
sci-fi wire...

The final scene of Smallville? We WILL get to see that Super suit!

Whether you're addicted to Smallville or your interest in the Kryptonian farmboy waned a long time ago, you'll want to watch as the series says goodbye—because executive producers Kelly Souders and Brian Wayne Peterson told us that its 10th and final year will get to pay off on that long-promised money shot. Yes, that one—Clark Kent putting on the Superman suit for the first time.

"We have all known images and pieces of the finale for years and years and years, starting back with [co-creators] Al [Gough] and Miles [Millar]," Souders said at a small roundtable after their San Diego Comic-Con panel Sunday. "They had ideas that they always talked about being in the final episode, and we love those ideas. We want to also honor the creators of the show, so there will be some images that literally come from Al and Miles, some from us and some from just years of our own wish lists. In a strange sense it's easy, because you know in that final moment he's going to be Superman. We know where he ends, so the pieces just fall into place."

Now just what that final shot will exactly look like—and, more importantly, which suit Tom Welling will adorn himself with—depends on what DC Comics has to say as Souder and Peterson pen the final episode script in spring 2011.

"There are a lot of different factors in that decision," Peterson said. "I think it will literally come down to the last two weeks of the show and if we know what the new movie is doing. There is every intention to get there, but the mandates really change depending on movie or TV developments."

However, Souders said that each episode of the 10th season will really create a purposeful journey to the transformative moment of Clark Kent's life.

"When we sat down to talk about this season, we asked, 'Why isn't he Superman today?'" Souders said. "We really looked at his character, and he's been a leader and certainly developed his skill set as Superman, but he's not Superman. If you watch the episodes right now, he's not that guy yet, so it was about moving him to that final point, and figuring what are the stumbling blocks and the obstacles, which is what we are going to be seeing. And one of the things we talked about was his past, so we'll see some ghosts from his past so he can have his final lessons from them and move on out of the dark mode into the light."

One of the more compelling of those ghosts will be in the form of James Marsters, who has played Clark's archenemy Brainiac on and off over five years. Souders confirmed he will be back in the 200th episode as Brainiac 5.

"It will sort of be an old villain and a new villain all in one," she teased. "There were things that we really wanted to encapsulate in the 200th, and we literally sat around for days trying to bring it together, and suddenly Brainiac 5 popped in and it all fell into place."

Peterson added, "It's the touchstone for the bigger theme this year, which is where we explore the past, the present and a little bit of the future. We get to touch on some memories and nostalgia, but as soon as we do that we explode into something nobody has ever seen on the show. There are some epic moments, but it's also really fun and romantic. I don't think people will be disappointed ... at least, I hope not!"

sci-fi wire...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Two new Superman rumors: One good, one that's just plain ugly

According to the Superman Homepage, it looks like the new Superman reboot currently scheduled for December, 2012 might have a director attached.

The new superhero epic, which will be produced by the filmmaker who was the guiding force behind Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan, has reportedly been offered to Harry Potter and Percy Jackson director Chris Columbus.

The script is by comic book adaptation vet David Goyer, who wrote the scripts for Nolan's two Batman epics and well as other genre mini-classics like Alex Proyas' Dark City.

The downside is that Goyer wanted to direct the Superman reboot, which will be a joint venture by Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures. An unnamed studio insider says, "[N]obody from either studio thinks he's good in that arena.... He's great at coming up with story and ideas, like George Lucas. It's his execution where he's weak which is why people like Chris and Jonathan Nolan [of the Batman movies] and Guillermo Del Toro [who directed Goyer's Blade II screenplay] have had the best results with his scripts."

Given Goyer's lackluster results in the director's chair, which include Blade: Trinity and the badly received horror movie The Unborn, maybe Warner and Legendary are playing it safe.
sci-fi wire...

Darth Vader actor David Prowse BANNED from Star Wars cons

The actor behind the mask of Darth Vader has been banned from the Star Wars Celebration V convention and any other Lucasfilm-associated events, he said on his site:

"It is with regret that I have been informed by my friends at C2 Ventures, Ben and Phillip, that I am not to be invited to C5 this year or any other Lucas Film associated events. After enquiring, the only thing I have been told is that I have 'burnt too many bridges between Lucas Film and myself' - no other reason given...I have also been advised by the promoter of Paris Manga in September that LFL (Lucas Film Limited) have requested no photo opportunities with the 501 Squadron, even though I am commander in chief of the 501"
There is a lot of speculation online about what "burnt too many bridges" means, but no one seems to know and Lucas and Prowse aren't saying. If we find out more, we'll let you know.

sci-fi wire...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Johnny Depp rumored to star in Doctor Who big-budget film

Johnny Depp as a lizard with an identity crisis? That we can get behind. But Johnny Depp as a Time Lord ... that we're not so sure of.

And yet that's what we might be seeing on the big screen a few years from now if the info uncovered by is correct.

An article at pubarticles presented the project as fact and reportedly passed on the following news:

Long-time producer of the television series Russell T. Davies reported that the reason he moved on from the show was due to the opportunity to transform the Doctor to the big screen. "Bringing the Who franchise to the theaters is a regeneration for the character beyond the usual one. A theatrical release has a greater range and can reach millions of more people than just the fans. There will be brand new concepts and the film will be just as adventurous, scary and humorous as the television programme. But none of us working the film will forget what makes the character great and interesting and the long-time fans will not be disappointed because yes, the Daleks make an appearance."
We'd love to provide you with a link to the original article so you can check it out for yourself, but we can't, because it has since been taken down. Which by itself would lead us to believe that this is nothing more than one big, fat rumor.

But the trustworthy did some digging on its own, reaching out to studio sources who said that "the casting of Johnny Depp as the Doctor for a 2012 film is confirmed."

Even though we're not sure what to make of it all, we thought you'd want to know about it. But whether or not it's true, would you be ready for a Johnny Depp Doctor Who?
sci-fi wire...

It's official! Andrew Garfield IS the new Spider-Man!

Star Trek's Anton Yelchin? Percy Jackson's Logan Lerman? Jumper's Jamie Bell? Sorry those screen tests didn't pan out for you, guys. But after teasing us for months, director Marc Webb and Sony Pictures have FINALLY made up their minds, and the new Spider-Man will be Andrew Garfield, best known for 2009's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Here's the studio's official announcement:

After a comprehensive worldwide casting search, Andrew Garfield has been chosen to portray Peter Parker when Spider-Man swings back onto the screen in 3D on July 3, 2012. The new film will begin production in early December directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt. Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad will produce the film from Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios.
Today's confirmation culminates what has been one of the most eagerly anticipated casting announcements in recent memory. Bloggers, pop culture speculators, and everyday fans have pored over and analyzed every conceivable online rumor in an attempt to discover the identity of the next actor to play Peter Parker. Garfield will immediately begin preparing for the coveted role.

The Spider-Man franchise is one of the most successful in film history and the three previous motion pictures have collectively grossed more than $2.5 billion in worldwide box office.

On selecting Garfield, director Marc Webb said, "Though his name may be new to many, those who know this young actor's work understand his extraordinary talents. He has a rare combination of intelligence, wit, and humanity. Mark my words, you will love Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker."

Commenting on the announcement, Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Matt Tolmach, President of Columbia Pictures said, "Spider-Man is a classic superhero—a young man who balances his responsibility to serve humanity and crush evil with the shyness and normalcy of someone struggling to find himself. The role demands an extraordinary actor. You need someone who can magically transform himself from Peter Parker into Spider-Man. An actor who will depict the vulnerability of youth and the strength and confidence of a legendary figure at the same moment. We have found that actor in Andrew Garfield. From the first time we saw him in the upcoming film The Social Network, to his glorious screen test, which floored all of us, we knew that we had found our new Peter Parker."

Producer Avi Arad added, "I'm incredibly excited about Andrew Garfield. In the Spider-Man tradition, we were looking for a smart, sensitive, and cool new Peter Parker who can inspire us and make us laugh, cry, and cheer. We believe we have found the perfect choice to take on this role and lead us into the future."

Producer Laura Ziskin said, "We are thrilled to have Andrew Garfield for this new incarnation of Spider-Man under Marc Webb's direction. We were fortunate enough to meet with a group of fantastically talented young men. In the end, we all agreed that in addition to being an extraordinary actor, Andrew had the right mix of humor, youth, and pathos, along with an underlying sense of strength and power necessary to bring Peter Parker and Spider-Man to life on screen."

The selection of Garfield was revealed at a press event in Cancun, Mexico for international journalists attending a media tour promoting upcoming films from Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Garfield is fast becoming one of the most respected and sought-after young actors working in the industry today. In a short career, spanning only five years, he has already been directed by, and starred alongside, some of the greatest names and received a BAFTA for a role that won him international praise.

Garfield most recently worked with director David Fincher on the upcoming film The Social Network. He previously starred for Spike Jonze on his robot love story I'm Here, which premiered at Sundance this year. He plays the lead male opposite Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan in Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go, due for release later this year.

Other notable screen credits include Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus playing opposite Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Jude Law and the late Heath Ledger, Robert Redford's Lions For Lambs, where he starred alongside Redford, Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep; Revolution Films' "Red Riding Trilogy - 1974" directed by Julian Jarrold, where he lead a stellar cast including Rebecca Hall and David Morrissey, and his unforgettable portrayal of a young ex-con in John Crowley's "Boy A," for which he earned the best actor BAFTA in 2008.

Garfield's career began in theatre and in 2006 his performances in "Beautiful Thing" (Sound Space/Kit Productions), "The Overwhelming," and "Burn / Chatroom / Citizenship" (Royal National Theatre) won him the Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer at the Evening Standard awards and the Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer at the Critics Circle Theatre Awards. Other notable theatre credits include "Romeo and Juliet" (Manchester Royal Exchange) and "Kes" (Manchester Royal Exchange), for which he received the Most Promising Newcomer Award at the Manchester Evening News Awards 2004.
sci-fi wire...