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When I See a Superman Fly...

We've got a nice run of comic book based movies coming. And though we tend to give Warner Brothers crap for this all the time, you may notice that only one has any relation to DC, and it's coming from Fox.

  • April: Bulletproof Monk, based on a Flypaper Press book, from Universal Studios
  • May: X-Men 2 from Fox
  • June: Hulk from Universal
  • July: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen from Fox

    Not that we have any guarantees that they'll be quality films. But it still makes the DC universe look a little sad.

    Well, according to Variety, things have moved forward on not one but two DC projects. And yet it's hard to dare hope.

    First of all, blond hunk (of wood) Paul Walker has walked away from the Superman project. Like Josh Hartnett, he couldn't see being linked to one character for seven years. Never mind that he pretty much plays one character anyway.

    He looks the part.
    But is he invulnerable physically yet vulnerable emotionally?
    This leaves two candidates in the minds of Warner execs: Brendan Fraser and the mysterious Matthew Bomer, a young soap opera "star." Though unknown, Bomer is allegedly the favorite of Superman director Brett Ratner.

    Putting our minds in the heads of studio executives, we can understand their reticence. Variety reports that the budget for Superman is currently at $200 million. Two. Hundred. Million. That's dollars.

    But (like they're reading this…) let me speak: it's the character, stupid. Find the right guy to play the character, and audiences will follow. Forget about Tobey Maguire's appearing in a lot of quality films. Nobody knew who he was before Spider-Man, and nobody cared. (Most still don't care.)

    As good an actor as Fraser is, he has a lot of goofy baggage. Put your money on Bomer who, ironically, is a year younger than Smallville star Tom Welling.

    Wait! Didn't I say two projects?

    Variety also reported that Halle Berry has all but signed on to play Catwoman in the film of the same name. Earlier in the year, Ashley Judd had agreed to don the leather suit, but backed out for a shot on Broadway.

    And hey, even though it's a spin-off of an established franchise, at least we have to give Warner credit for looking a little bit beyond their big two. This won't be Selina Kyle, but a character with the same abilities and, possibly, motivations.

    This Catwoman will more closely resemble the comics version than this week's latest Marvel deal resembles its comic book origins. Sony Pictures just bought a pitch for The Gargoyle, a character who used to be a member of The Defenders. In the comics, The Gargoyle was Isaac Christensen, an old man who sold his soul to save his town, and was in return trapped in the body of a gargoyle. Naturally, he turned to fighting crime. (Sort of -- The Defenders has always been a weird book in any incarnation.)

    The film version scraps all that and tells the story of a young boy and his single mother who befriend a stone gargoyle that comes to life seeking a way to become flesh. Remember when I mentioned an apocryphal story about Marvel trying not to sell Werewolf By Night many years ago, because werewolves are pretty much public domain creatures? Clearly, times have changed.

    Let's get Disney involved with their Gargoyles and watch them fight it out. This could be fun.

    Derek McCaw

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