Welcome to today’s edition of Everyday Hero, your roundup of handpicked headlines from across the fanboy universe….
WHAT PRICE WILL BE PAID?: The nasty legal squabble over “Watchmen” is winding down but what’s the bottom line for Warner Bros.? Reporter John Horn gets into the nitty gritty and finds that Larry Gordon, the colorful producer who brought landmark action films such as “48 Hrs.,” “Die Hard” and “Predator” to the screen, may get stuck with part of the sizable bill in the property dispute: “The court fight over ‘Watchmen’ is costing Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, but the biggest bill of all could fall to the film’s producer, Larry Gordon, his lawyers and their insurers, who could be on the hook for substantially more money. Court documents in the nearly yearlong dispute over the superhero movie’s distribution rights show that Warner Bros., which is poised to lose valuable rights to ‘Watchmen’ after a judge’s favorable ruling for Fox, is pursuing Gordon ‘for all damages Warner Bros. suffers as a result of Fox’s claims’ … Two people familiar with the dispute said that those Warner Bros. damages could potentially total tens of millions of dollars. Among the possible settlement terms under discussion is a deal in which Fox could end up with as much as 8.5% of ‘Watchmen’s’ gross receipts, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. ‘Watchmen’ director Zack Snyder’s last film for Warner Bros., 2007’s ‘300,’ grossed more than $456 million in worldwide ticket sales. It is unclear whether Gordon has initiated an insurance claim against the law firm that negotiated his ‘Watchmen’ deal with Warner Bros., but Gordon has said in a letter that the same lawyers may have made ‘a unilateral mistake’ as part of an earlier deal involving the film’s rights.” [Los Angeles Times]
“FRINGE” BENEFITS: The television show “Fringe“ really found its rhythm as its first season wore on and Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly told the assembled press at the Television Critics Assn. gathering that its paranormal pursuits are building momentum. “It’s a keeper … they’ve really found the storytelling model now … what you’re going to see in the second half in the year, if you follow the serialized story you’re going to find [satisfying content each week and yet] the stories really do re-set themselves each week … I would not expect it to take off after ‘Idol’ but I do think it will tick up another level.” [The Hollywood Reporter]
HEATH LEDGER’S GLOBE, A POSTSCRIPT: Chris Nolan made a lovely speech in accepting the posthumous Golden Globe for Heath Ledger and now Melanie Ambrose has a piece about the late actor’s family and its plans for the prestigious but bittersweet trophy. Ledger’s daughter, 3-year-old Matilda, will get it: ” ‘It will belong to her because she is part of him,’ Ledger’s mother, Sally Bell, tells WHO. ‘I should imagine that eventually it will be going to Matilda,’ Bell says from her home in Perth, Western Australia. ‘At this stage she is only so young, but down the track she will have all these things. It will belong to her because she is part of him.’ Bell says her family is ‘bursting with pride’ over her son’s recognition for playing the Joker in ‘The Dark Knight,’ a role he ‘loved.’ ‘It is such a fantastic and wonderful legacy for his daughter. Matilda will have so many people who will be able to speak to her about her father’s abilities and the respect he had in the industry. That is such a wonderful legacy to leave.’ Bell learned of his Golden Globe win before boarding a flight in Australia and admits there were ‘a few tears.’ ‘There is a lot of emotion tied up in this, and we have to deal with that emotion first before we can relax and enjoy the moment, if you know what I mean,’ she explains.” [Who Magazine]
ON THIS DATE: The late Jeff Morrow (1907-1993) was born on this day in New York City and had a long and varied professional life (he worked, for instance, in theater productions with Katharine Hepburn and Mae West in his younger days) but he is best known for roles in sci-fi films such as “This Island Earth,” “The Creature Walks Among Us” (which was the sequel-to-the-sequel of “The Creature From the Black Lagoon“) and the unintentionally hysterical “The Giant Claw,” which presented a terrifying avian creature who wasn’t very terrifying at all. He was also one of three astronauts confronted with a mystery in “The Twilight Zone” episode “Elegy” during that iconic show’s first season. To celebrate his birthday, let’s remember that acting in bad movie is harder than acting in a great one. To see some, uh, great scenes featuring Morrow, go to the bottom of this post.
Morrow plays the white-haired alien Exeter in “This Island Earth”
It’s hard not to chuckle at “The Great Claw” with a creature that sorta reminds you of Gonzo from “The Muppet Show.”
Morrow once said of “The Giant Claw”:
“We shot the film before we ever got a look at this monster that was supposed to be so terrifying. The producers promised us that the special effects would be first class. The director — Fred Sears — just told us, ‘All right, now you see the bird up there, and you’re scared to death! Use your imagination.’ But the first time we actually got to see it was the night of the premiere. The audience couldn’t stop laughing. We were up there on screen looking like idiots, treating this silly buzzard like it was the scariest thing in the world. We felt cheated, that’s for sure, but they told us afterward that they just ran out of money. They couldn’t afford anything but this stupid puppet. But it was just terrible. I was never so embarrassed in my whole life.”
And here’s the trailer for “The Creature Walks Among Us,” which had Morrow as a mad scientist type. Sorry for the murky quality on this one, it’s the best I could find. Just pretend you’re watching it at the bottom of a murky lagoon. It actually makes it better.
Thanks for reading.
— Geoff Boucher
CREDITS: Watchmen photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Heath Ledger in 2008, photo by Jochen Luebke of Getty Images