Welcome to today’s edition of Everyday Hero, your roundup of handpicked headlines from the fanboy universe.
Does "Torso" have legs?: As far as historical crime theories and graphic novels go, Alan Moore’s fascinating argument on the identity of Jack the Ripper in "From Hell" is the most celebrated, but my own personal favorite is "Torso," which was first published a decade ago as a six-issue series by Image. In "Torso," co-writers Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko present Eliot Ness, fresh from the Untouchables squad of Chicago, on the job in Cleveland in the 1930s and on the trail of a serial killer who just might be the same predator who would also commit the infamous Black Dahlia murder in Los Angeles. It’s true-crime theory as illustrated entertainment, and it’s wonderfully executed and the black-and-white Bendis artwork is perfect for the lurid subject matter. So good, in fact, that there’s been talk that it might follow the Hollywood path of "From Hell" (which reached the screen in the Hughes Brothers 2001 film adaptation of the same name), but now Christine Spines reports that the project, renamed "Ness" for the screen, might be losing momentum: ”’Ness’ sounds like the kind of film most studios dream of: A glossy David Fincher-directed crime thriller about famed Al Capone adversary Eliot Ness, headlined by Matt Damon, Casey Affleck and Rachel McAdams. So why hasn’t Paramount gotten around to making the darned thing? That’s the question around town as the clock ticks on the studio’s rights to the project, which are due to expire on Dec. 15. A source inside the negotiations says Damon and Affleck are ready to go, and that McAdams has expressed interest, but Paramount has yet to pull the proverbial trigger. At press time, the studio insisted it only recently received a finalized script from Ehren Kruger (‘The Ring’) and would make a decision before the rights ran out." [Entertainment Weekly]
Keanu is huge in the Orion constellation: Ah, there’s nothing quite like a good, old-fashioned Hollywood stunt to hype a film. Seriously, I smiled when I read this news release: "Twentieth Century Fox makes history by transmitting the first motion picture into deep space, making "The Day the Earth Stood Still" the world’s first galactic motion picture release. The first deliberate deep space transmission of this highly anticipated science fiction thriller will begin this Friday, December 12, 2008, to coincide with the film’s opening day on Planet Earth. If any civilizations are currently orbiting Alpha Centauri, they will be able to receive and view the film approximately four years from now in the year 2012. Fox Distribution President, Bruce Snyder, said: "We at 20th Century Fox always like to think big, and what’s bigger than a ‘galactic’ release of a major motion picture event? We look forward to sharing ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ with our galactic neighbors near Alpha Centauri — and look forward to their feedback … eight years from now.’" OK, here’s predicting that scientists in 2009 will receive a mysterious binary messages from the depths of space that says: "Send … us … Jennifer … Connelly" [Twentieth Century Fox news release]
Brad Pitt wrestles with a different kind of Amazon: There’s an announcement story in the trades by Michael Fleming that says Brad Pitt will be getting near Indiana Jones territory with a period piece about a man of adventure on a quest for a lost citadel in South America: "Paramount has set ‘We Own the Night’ helmer James Gray to direct ‘The Lost City of Z.’ Gray will adapt the David Grann book for Brad Pitt to star in as British soldier and spy Percy Fawcett. The nonfiction book by Grann, a staffer at the New Yorker, will be published in April by Doubleday. Paramount acquired it earlier this year for Pitt to produce through his Par-based Plan B banner. Fawcett left Victorian society to explore in the Amazon, and he became obsessed by the idea of an advanced civilization he called Z, which he believed existed in the depths of the jungle. Along with his son, Fawcett headed into the jungle in 1925 in search of Z and was never seen again. ‘This is a terrific opportunity to do something entirely different for me,’ Gray said. ‘It is a story that will be told with an epic scale, with a main character who is larger than life.’ [Variety]
Free Comic Book Day, five months and counting: I got a news release this morning for Free Comic Book Day, which is not until next May (!) but, uh, I guess it’s never too early to spread the word? Ten publishers are participating, and they sent me the artwork to the covers, which suggests that the comic-book industry is far more organized than it appears from the outside. Anyway, here are a few of the covers …
ON THIS DATE: On this date in 1955, "Mighty Mouse Playhouse" premiered on CBS and began a 12-year habit of saving the day. Today is also the 51st birthday of Michael Clarke Duncan, who has a considerable fanboy filmography ("Planet of the Apes," "Sin City," "Daredevil," plus his work in animation), and it’s also the 67th birthday of Tommy Kirk, the actor known for so many Disney films of the 1950s and 1960s, among them tender were-comedy "The Shaggy Dog." So let’s toast all the actors who know how to wear fur…
– Geoff Boucher
Photo credits: Brian Michael Bendis art from "Torso" courtesy of Image Comics. "The Day the Earth Stood Still" photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox. Brad Pitt photo by Getty Images.