Today’s handpicked headlines from the fanboy universe…
Wrapped in the flag: The Captain America movie, which will be a World War II tale and lead up to the hero’s appearance in the modern-day setting of the "The Avengers," will be directed by Joe Johnston, who has experience with the vintage-style screen adventures with "The Rocketeer." Johnston also directed "Jumanji," "Jurassic Park III" and the upcoming werewolf revival, "The Wolf Man," which stars Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. Borys Kit interviewed Marvel Studios executive and "Cap" producer Kevin Feige for this morning’s announcement story in the trades: "Johnston first met with Marvel two years ago. When the two parties clicked, general talks turned into Captain America-specific meetings, with much of the project’s current direction resulting from those early conversations. ‘This is a guy who designed the vehicles for ‘Star Wars,’ who storyboarded the convoy action sequence for ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ Feige said. "From ‘Rocketeer’ to ‘October Sky’ to ‘The Wolfman,’ you can look at pieces of his movies and see how they lead to this one’ … Kicking off with ‘Iron Man,’ Marvel Studios’ slate of movies — including ‘Thor’ and the ‘Iron Man’ sequel — is building toward an ‘Avengers’ movie set for release in 2011, in which the characters from the films team for one big adventure. ‘Captain America’ is scheduled for release May 6, 2011." [Hollywood Reporter]
"Skim" at the top: The New York Times Book Review section on Sunday was devoted to the Children’s Books Fall Special issue, which (somewhat jarringly) includes Elizabeth Spires’ review of the graphic novel "Skim," which is a tale of 16-year-old girl nicknamed Skim who attends a private girls school where she is treated as an outcast. The story, written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, touches on sexual identity, suicide and a romantic yearning between a student and her teacher, all of which is handled with a painful honesty and nuance that impressed the editors of the special section. Spires writes: "’Skim’ — a winner of a 2008 New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award — is a convincing chronicle of a teenage outsider who has enough sense to want to stay outside. In the final section of the story, titled appropriately ‘Goodbye (Hello),’ Skim defies the shallow, popular clique and walks out of a school dance with Katie. She’s cast off her nickname and is ‘Kim’ now, a name more true to the person she is slowly becoming. And Katie is slowly beginning to heal, too. All in all, ‘Skim’ offers a startlingly clear and painful view into adolescence for those of us who possess it only as a distant memory. It’s a story that deepens with successive rereadings. But what will teenagers think? Maybe that they’ve found a bracingly honest story by a writer who seems to remember exactly what it was like to be 16 and in love for the first time." [New York Times]
Buck up, little buddy: Will we see Buck Rogers back in some new film or television revival? There was talk of Frank Miller directing a movie for a 2011 arrival at theater but that is more rumor than real at this point, according to "The Spirit" director himself. Either way, Lewis Wallace has written a quick appraisal of the hero’s history along with a 14-image photo gallery marking his 80th anniversary in pop culture: "Anthony ‘Buck’ Rogers first burst from writer Philip Nowlan’s imagination in 1928, when the intrepid spaceman appeared in "Armageddon — 2419," a story published in Amazing Stories magazine. From his pulp roots, the character developed into an influential American hero on the airwaves and the silver screen. Subsequent space swashbucklers like Brick Bradford and Flash Gordon took a cue from Buck Rogers’ sci-fi adventures. Buck took to the radio Nov. 7, 1932, with the first broadcast of ‘The World in 2432′. The radio show launched Buck and his female co-pilot, Wilma Deering, into the nation’s living rooms, introducing such sci-fi staples as spaceships and death rays." [Wired]
Brett Ratner? By Crom!: After the success of "300" it was really only a matter of time before a revival of Conan the Barbarian picked up serious steam. The name of Brett Ratner ("X-Men: The Last Stand") has been associated with the project quite a bit in recent months and recently Jay Fernandez and Borys Kit had this story in the trades on appraising his interest in the Cimmerian: "Ratner has been considering signing on to direct a 21st century update of ‘Conan,’ co-produced by Nu Image/Millennium and Lionsgate Films, even as he pushes another high-profile project — a fourth installment of the ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ franchise — toward a greenlight at Paramount, where he recently set up shop. While the ‘Conan’ development deal puts the brawny brigand on Ratner’s docket, ‘BHC IV’ is still likely to go into production first. Ratner jived to the ‘Conan’ script by Gersh-repped Joshua Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly, who looked to Robert E. Howard’s original pulp stories of the 1930s to create their take on the character. The writers are doing a quick polish to incorporate some of Ratner’s ideas, with an eye toward releasing the film in 2010. … Millennium and Lionsgate are eyeing a potential franchise and envision a very R-rated approach in the $85 million budget range. "The story opens on the battlefield where Conan is born and tells the origin story that sets the stage for what will be the first of multiple films,’ Lerner said. [Hollywood Reporter]
— Geoff Boucher
Captain America image drawn by Steve Epting and courtesy of Marvel Comics.