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The Animatrix Network is an anime & manga fan club located in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. We usually meet on the fourth Saturday of each month (except when holidays or conventions coincide). The meetings are free and open to the public. Join us for a day filled with anime.

This site provides news, reviews, commentaries, and previews of the world of anime and everything it inspires, such as live-action films, comics, music, art, and other weird things to enjoy and contemplate.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Newsletter - January 2012

January 2012
News Collected and Edited by Octavio Soto
Toei Offers Condolences on Designer Shingo Araki's Passing posted on 2011-12-02 13:30 EST
Expresses sorrow on his passing and gratefulness for contributions on St. Seiya, more
Toei Animation gave ANN the following letter of condolence on the passing of character designer and animation director Shingo Araki:
We are very sorry to hear about the sudden passing of Mr. Shingo Araki. We offer our deepest sympathies to his family.
Mr. Araki was a great animator who was adept at creating dynamic action anime sequences and elegant character designs beloved by many fans. At our studio, he was deeply involved with many works, such as Babel II, Cutie Honey, UFO Robo Grendizer, and Saint Seiya, which have transcended the times and continue to attract fans even now. He infused lively charm into his characters.
All of us at Toei Animation are deeply grateful for his kindness and contributions during his lifetime and express our heartfelt condolences.
Toei Animation

Zero no Tsukaima Author Yamaguchi Readmitted Into Hospital posted on 2011-12-03 23:52 EST
Zero no Tsukaima (The Familiar of Zero) author Noboru Yamaguchi reported on Saturday that his health is not back to normal yet, so he readmitted himself into the hospital again. He apologized in advance for "failing to perform my social obligations" and said that he will get back to them someday.
Yamaguchi confirmed in July that he had advanced-stage cancer that was originally considered inoperable. However, during an unrelated gallstone surgery, the cancerous growth was confirmed to have shrunk in size. Yamaguchi then learned that there was surgery that he could have in August that might cure the cancer. He reported later in August the surgery ended without incident.
Yamaguchi had been writing the final series arc of the Zero no Tsukaima light novels, and had planned to end the light novels next year before his cancer diagnosis and subsequent operation. Zero no Tsukaima F, the fourth and final anime series will premiere next January.

Upper Deck Ordered to Pay Aniplex US$3.9 Million+ for Kiba posted on 2011-12-06 20:15 EST
Companies involved in 3-year+ lawsuit over Kiba TV anime series
The United States District Court for the District of Nevada ruled on November 30 that the card distributor Upper Deck is to pay Aniplex, Inc. US$3,950,000 as the result of a lawsuit that the two companies had been involved in since 2008. The two companies had settled outside of court; however, the court then ruled in favor of Aniplex after Upper Deck did not pay the US$3.95 million amount in full by November 28, which was the date stipulated in the settlement.
The lawsuit between the two companies resolved around Upper Deck's investment in Hiroshi Koujina and MADHOUSE's 51-episode Kiba alternate-world television anime series.
Original Lawsuit
According to legal documents, Aniplex filed the lawsuit in April 2008 and demanded a jury trial. Aniplex claimed in the lawsuit that Upper Deck did not pay Aniplex the amount agreed upon by the two companies regarding the anime series. Aniplex claimed Upper Deck said it would pay Aniplex for a 30% stake in the series, television and home video distribution rights outside of Japan, merchandising rights, and for commercials and other sponsorship.
Aniplex claimed that Upper Deck paid Aniplex only part of the money owed. Aniplex claimed that Upper Deck still owed the company 251.475 million yen (US$3.23 million) for investment, 154 million yen (US$1.98 million) for sponsorship, US$2.02 million for merchandising rights, and "some or all" of the $1.73 million for television and home video distribution rights. Aniplex sued Upper Deck for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment, and accounting.
Upper Deck's Counterclaim
In May 2008, Upper Deck filed a response to Aniplex's claims and filed a counterclaim. According to the counterclaim document, Upper Deck argued that it created a "Master Plan" for the series that "included characters, plots, storylines, and other elements necessary to make the television series conducive to the development of a card game," which Upper Deck wrote was for the target age group of 8- to 12-year-old children.
Upper Deck argued that "as the television series was developed, many of the concepts and storylines included in the Master Plan were discarded by Aniplex, despite Upper Deck's objections, in favor of new storylines and concepts developed by Aniplex." Upper Deck claimed that the new storylines and concepts "so deviated from the Master Plan that the television series was far too violent to appeal to the trading card game's target audience of 8 to 12 year olds." In addition, Upper Deck claimed it could not get the series approved for broadcast due to its "age-inappropriate violence."
Upper Deck's claims were that Aniplex was in breach of its original contract with Upper Deck because of the changes it made to the television series. Upper Deck then asked the court that Aniplex pay damages and the costs of the lawsuit. Upper Deck also demanded a jury trial.
Settlement
On September 29 of this year, after several jury trial hearings, the two companies filed a settlement agreement with the court. The settlement required Upper Deck to pay Aniplex US$3,950,000 before November 28. The sum was guaranteed by Richard McWilliam, chairman and co-founder of Upper Deck. The settlement noted that each company would be responsible for its own attorneys' fees.
The settlement noted that if the US$3,950,000 was not paid in full by November 28, then a judge could rule in the case in favor of Aniplex and against Upper Deck for that sum. In the November 30 judgement, Upper Deck was also ordered to pay post-judgment interest from November 29 until the amount is paid in full. The judgement noted that "Upper Deck shall recover nothing on its counterclaims."
Aniplex told ANN it had no comment to give at this time regarding the lawsuit and settlement. Upper Deck did not respond to ANN's request for comment by press time.
Kiba originally aired on TV Tokyo in 2006-2007. The series revolved around Zed, a young man who was transported into another world while fleeing authorities. In the new world, Zed meets a young girl named Roya and learns that he is a Shard Caster who can control "spirits."
In March 2008 ADV licensed Kiba for release in North America, and Cartoon Network's Toonami Jetstream online video service added the series to its American lineup in July 2008. The Anime Network is currently streaming the entire series.
In August of this year, the Dutch trading card company Upper Deck International filed a lawsuit against its own Upper Deck Co. subsidiary in California — claiming that the subsidiary counterfeited the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game and cost its parent company millions of dollars in legal fees, lost sales, and damaged reputation.

Voice Actress Kazuko Ute Passes Away at 84 posted on 2011-12-06 20:45 EST
Voice actress starred in 1967 Goku no Daibōken TV anime series
Kazuko Ute, the voice actress who played Goku in Goku no Daibōken, passed away on November 17 from a stroke. She was 84. Ute, who is from Tokyo, was best known in the anime industry for starring in the 1967 television anime series Goku no Daibōken. She was also a well known kamishibai (paper theater) storyteller and teacher. Ute was also a part of a successful line of children's audio books, which she helped create. The Kisetsu wo Kanaderu Yosei Tachi No Utaasobi book series tells popular children's tales.  A farewell service for Ute will be held on January 28 in Tokyo.


Live-Action Rurouni Kenshin's Principal Photography Ends
posted on 2011-12-06 23:45 EST
Hisashi Sasaki, deputy director of Shueisha's Shōnen Manga group, reported on Wednesday that shooting of the live-action film of Nobuhiro Watsuki's Rurouni Kenshin manga has ended. A "job well done party" was held on Tuesday night.


Attack on Titan/Shingeki no Kyojin Film to Be Live-Action
posted on 2011-12-06 23:35 EST
The January issue of Kodansha's Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine is confirming on Friday that the previously revealed Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) film will be live-action.
Hajime Isayama launched the original manga in Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine in 2009. The story follows the life of humans after giants suddenly appear and take over the entire world. To keep out these invaders who eat humans for food, the humans erect huge walls, but at the cost of their freedom in the outside world.
The official website of Itako, a city north of Tokyo, posted an October 3 casting call for extras on the latest film by award-wining director Tetsuya Nakashima (Confessions, Kamikaze Girls, Paco and the Magical Picture Book). According to the casting call, the crew is looking for 80 "healthy male and female" extras "to play people fleeing in panic from 'giants' who suddenly appear in a peaceful shopping district."

Hirabayashi's '663114' Anime Short to Screen at Sundance posted on 2011-12-07 00:30 EST
Story follows 66-year-old cicada, responds to March 11 earthquake/tsunami
Isamu Hirabayashi's "663114" anime short will screen at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, which will take place January 19 - 29 in Park City, Utah. The festival's press release provides the following description for the "International Animated Short Films" category contender: "I am a 66-year-old cicada. There was a big earthquake. There was a big tsunami. There also was a big accident."
The 7-minute "663114" short responds to Japan's March 11 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster. The anime film screened at the 68th Venice Film Festival in September and at the 2011 Vancouver International Film Festival in October.
Ken Murakami was the production's art director while Hideo Kusumi and Midori Kurata voice acted in the anime short. Director Hirabayashi's previous short films include "Shikasha," "Aramaki," and "A Story Constructed of 17 Pieces of Space and 1 Maggot."
Hirabayashi as well as Takashi Watanabe and Keitaro Iijima, the short's sound team, discussed their involvement with the film at a September press event for the Venice Film Festival.

Tecmo Koei Holdings Aquires Game Developer Gust posted on 2011-12-07 07:30 EST
Dead or Alive/Musou developer's parent to turn Atelier/Ar Tonelico developer into subsidiary
Tecmo KOEI Holdings announced on Wednesday that its board of directors decided on November 28 to acquired the game developer Gust as a subsidiary. The agreement was signed on Wednesday.
Tecmo KOEI is best known worldwide for their Dead or Alive fighting games and Musou (Dynasty/Samurai Warriors) action games. The developer also makes the Nobunaga's Ambition (Nobunaga no Yabō) and Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sangokushi) simulation games.
Gust's many titles include the Atelier and Ar Tonelico franchises, which NIS America distribute in North America and Europe.

Howl's Moving Castle Stage Show Now Running in Southwark posted on 2011-12-07 07:45 EST
New version of the fantasy novel adapted by Hayao Miyazaki.
A stage version of the novel Howl's Moving Castle, filmed in 2004 by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, is now running at the Southwark Playhouse in London (near London Bridge station, map). The run is scheduled to continue until January 7. The 1986 novel was written by the acclaimed British fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones, who passed on in March 2011.
The 70-minute stage version is directed and designed by Davy and Kristin McGuire, with music by Fyfe Dangerfield of the BRIT-nominated band The Guillemots. Quoted in a report on the BBC website, Dangerfield said, “"Some people may come expecting to see a stage version of the [Ghibli] film and it's nothing like it really. I still haven't actually read the book but it's definitely based more on that… In a way I didn't want to [read the novel], it was partially a conscious decision because I've seen the film and this is so different and it's the same with the book.”
Kristin McGuire says she and her co-director “read the book and then we watched the film but Davy stopped halfway through and said: 'I can't watch the rest because I want to make something new." According to a three-star review of the play on the Time Out website, “Jaw-dropping snowy vistas are projected on to the impressive cardboard castle set that dominates the performance space.”
The show includes voice-over narration by Stephen Fry, who, coincidentally, will appear in another Christmas retelling of a novel previously adapted by Studio Ghibli. Fry takes a role in the BBC's new feature-length version of Mary Norton's The Borrowers, which was transposed to Tokyo as Ghibli's Arrietty aka The Secret World of Arrietty.
The cast of the stage Howl includes Daniel Ings as the titular Welsh wizard; co-director Kristin McGuire playing young Sophie and the Witch of the Waste; and James Wilkes as the fire demon Calcifer. The old Sophie is played by prolific actress Susan Sheridan, whose voice-roles include a part in the anime Fire Tripper, although she's more famous for voicing Trillian in the radio The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The stage adaptation is by Mike Sizemore.
The schedule and availability can be seen by clicking “Buy Tickets” on this page. Performances are at 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday, with some additional matinee showings at 3 p.m. As of writing, several of the Saturday performances are already sold out. There are no performances from 24 to 26 December, or on 31 December or 1 January.

Navarre to Complete Its Exit Out of Home Video Distribution posted on 2011-12-07 23:55 EST
The North American distributor Navarre has announced that it will complete its exit out of the home video business on December 31. Navarre will continue to distribute several select lines on Navarre.com until the end of the year or until it identifies "an alternative distributor." Funimation is one such company.
The anime company Funimation told ANN that Navarre's move will have no effect on Funimation's anime releases. Scott Lonski, Sr. Communications and Event Manager with Funimation, added that all of Funimation's largest accounts have already been moved to other distributors.
Navarre cited the "changing retail environment" as the reason for its withdrawal from the home video business.

2 Japanese Parties Propose Penalties for Illegal Downloads posted on 2011-12-07 23:57 EST
Japan's Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito Party are proposing a bill that would impose a prison term of up to two years or a fine of up to 2 million yen (about US$26,000) for people who illegally download music and video files. In order to gain the approval of the leading Democratic Party, the groups plan to present the bill to the Japanese parliament when its ordinary session convenes next year.
The Japanese parliament passed an amendment to Japan's Copyright Law that made it illegal to knowingly download copyrighted material without authorization for the first time in 2010. However, the current law does not include penalties for illegal downloading. The new proposition's proponents want to expand on that law by creating penalties for downloading. Japan already allows prosecution against people who upload copyrighted material without authorization.

Twitch Site: Colin Firth Passes on Oldboy Remake posted on 2011-12-08 19:15 EST
The King's Speech actor turns down role as Adrian in Spike Lee's remake film
The Twitch film website reported on Thursday that actor Colin Firth (The King's Speech, A Single Man, Love Actually) turned down the villain role of Adrian in Spike Lee's remake of Park Chan-Wook's live-action film Old Boy. Firth confirmed that he was offered the role in an interview with the Moviefone website last month but remained vague about his potential involvement.
Director Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X) signed onto Mandate Pictures' American remake of Old Boy in July, and Josh Brolin is slated to play the male lead. Park's film was itself inspired by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi's manga Old Boy.
The industry news source Variety reported in August that Academy Award-winning actor Christian Bale (The Fighter, Batman Begins, American Psycho) was considering the American remake's villain role. In October, a Variety writer also reported that Mandate Pictures is still filling its female lead role for the film since Rooney Mara (The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake) passed on it.
Mandate Pictures is developing the project with producers Doug Davison and Roy Lee (The Ring, Dark Water [2005], Death Note and Godzilla remake plans) of Vertigo Entertainment and Lee's 40 Acres & A Mule Productions. Mark Protosevich (Thor, I Am Legend) wrote a script, and Mandate Pictures President Nathan Kahane is serving as executive producer.
The trade magazine Variety earlier described the Korean film's story about "a man who's kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years. When he's finally released and begins looking into the reason for his captivity, he soon finds out that his kidnapper has even more torturous plans for him." (The original manga has the protagonist imprisoned for a different number of years and does not have the Korean film's added plot twist ending.) Lee also said that "the ending will be something that the audiences will all be... very happy with. In fact, some may consider it to be a bit darker."


Astra Manga Co-Creator Jerry Robinson Passes Away posted on 2011-12-08 20:19 EST
Joker creator collaborated on 1999 science fiction comedy manga
Known for creating the Batman villain Joker, American comic book artist and Astra manga co-creator Jerry Robinson passed away on Wednesday. He was 89.
Robinson provided the original concept and collaborated with Sidra Cohn on the science fiction comedy manga's story. Shojin Tanaka drew Astra's art and Ken'Ichi OishiMedia handled the script and adaptation. Media Factory published the manga in Japan in 1999, and CPM Manga also published Astra in North America that year.
The artist worked closely with the Batman creator Bob Kane and co-created the comic's Robin character. Robinson served as president of both the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) and the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) as well as president and editorial director of CartoonArts International and Cartoonists & Writers Syndicate (CWS). He was also a comics historian and artists' rights advocate respected as a pioneer of the American comics industry.

Transformers: Japanese Collection Slated for January in U.S. posted on 2011-12-10 12:10 EST
The Shout! Factory entertainment company has rescheduled the Transformers: The Japanese Collection box set for January 10, 2012 in the United States. The English-subtitled set contains three series that aired first in Japan: Transformers: The Headmasters, Transformers - Super God Masterforce, and Transformers: Victory.
Shout! Factory had revealed in April after soliciting Transformers: The Headmasters DVD set that it had the rights for all three series, but it has since delayed the three-series collection several times. The 13-DVD set with a bonus lithograph will be available only at Shout! Factory's online store for US$89.99.

Ultraman Scriptwriter Shinichi Ichikawa Passes Away posted on 2011-12-11 14:30 EST
Japan Academy Prize winner wrote for Ultra Seven, Return of Ultraman, Ultraman Ace
Shinichi Ichikawa, a scriptwriter for several Ultraman series and other popular live-action television series, passed away on Saturday, December 10 at 4:43 a.m. due to lung cancer. He was 70.
Ichikawa was born in Isahaya City in the southwestern Japanese prefecture of Nagasaki. After making his debut in the live-action special-effects program Kaijū Booska in 1966, he wrote for Ultra Seven (1966-1967), The Return of Ultraman (1971-1972), Ultraman Ace (1972-1973), Kizu Darake no Tenshi (1974-1975), and many other live-action series.
His work ranged from the epic NHK historical drama series Ōgon no Hibi (1978) and Sanga Moyu (1984) to more intimate human drama series such as Sabishii no wa Omae Dake Janai (1982). He won a Japan Academy Prize for the 1988 film Ijin-tachi to no Natsu (The Discarnates). The live-action television special based on his Chōchō-san novel just aired last month with Aoi Miyazaki as the title character.
Ichikawa also served as a commentator on news and talk shows and presided over the Television and Radio Writers' Association of Japan. He received NHK's Hōsō Bunka Shō honor and just last month, the government's Order of the Rising Sun (4th Class, Gold Rays with Rosette).

Gundam AGE to Have Side Project Aimed at Grown-Up Fans posted on 2011-12-15 13:05 EST
Bandai Hobby's Toshiaki Baba reveals project in early stages to satisfy UC fans
In the 19th issue of Futabasha's Great Mechanics magazine that shipped on Thursday, Bandai Hobby staff member Toshiaki Baba revealed that a side project of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE is now in the early stages for existing Gundam fans.
Baba emphasized that the project is for grown-ups, and that the staff intends to make it a "thoroughly dark" story that "even fans of [the first Gundam anime's] Universal Century timeline can be satisified with." He did not specify what medium that project will be in. Baba and Great Mechanics' interviewer were discussing how the main Mobile Suit Gundam AGE project has major elements aimed at children, such as the manga in Shogakukan's Monthly Corocoro Comic magazine.
Sunrise, the anime studio behind the Gundam franchise, is collaborating with game developer Level-5 and its president, Akihiro Hino, on Gundam AGE. The anime premiered on October 9.

Twitch Site: Clive Owen Offered Villain Role in Oldboy Remake posted on 2011-12-16 17:50 EST
Sin City, Children of Men actor offered role after Colin Firth turned it down
The Twitch film website reported on Friday that actor Clive Owen (Intruders, Children of Men, Sin City) has been offered the villain role of Adrian in Spike Lee's remake of Park Chan-Wook's live-action film Oldboy. Owen had previously worked with Lee on the film The Inside Man. Actor Colin Firth (The King's Speech, A Single Man, Love Actually) was previously offered the role, but he turned it down. Director Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X) signed onto Mandate Pictures' American remake of Oldboy in July, and Josh Brolin is slated to play the male lead. Park's film was itself inspired by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi's manga Old Boy.
The industry news source Variety reported in August that Academy Award-winning actor Christian Bale (The Fighter, Batman Begins, American Psycho) was considering the American remake's villain role. In October, a writer for the entertainment trade magazine Variety reported that Mandate Pictures is still filling its female led role for the film since Rooney Mara (The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake) passed on it.
Mandate Pictures is developing the project with producers Doug Davison and Roy Lee (The Ring, Dark Water [2005], Death Note and Godzilla remake plans) of Vertigo Entertainment and Lee's 40 Acres & A Mule Productions. Mark Protosevich (Thor, I Am Legend) wrote a script, and Mandate Pictures President Nathan Kahane is serving as executive producer.
The trade magazine Variety earlier described the Korean film's story about "a man who's kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years. When he's finally released and begins looking into the reason for his captivity, he soon finds out that his kidnapper has even more torturous plans for him." (The original manga has the protagonist imprisoned for a different number of years and does not have the Korean film's added plot twist ending.) Lee also said that "the ending will be something that the audiences will all be... very happy with. In fact, some may consider it to be a bit darker."

Twitch Site: Alice's Wasikowska Offered Oldboy's Heroine Role posted on 2011-12-16 21:00 EST
Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre actress offered role after Mara Rooney passed on it
The Twitch film website reported on Friday that actress Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, Jane Eyre, The Kids Are All Right) has been offered the female lead role in Spike Lee's remake of Park Chan-Wook's live-action film Oldboy. Wasikowska will also play India Stoker in Park's English-language directorial debut film Stoker, which is slated for release in 2012.
Actress Rooney Mara (The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake) was previously offered the role, but she turned it down. Director Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X) signed onto Mandate Pictures' American remake of Oldboy in July, and Josh Brolin is slated to play the male lead. Park's film was itself inspired by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi's manga Oldboy. The Twitch film website also reported today that actor Clive Owen (Intruders, Children of Men, Sin City) has been offered the villain role of Adrian in the upcoming Oldboy remake. Actor Colin Firth (The King's Speech, A Single Man, Love Actually) was previously offered the role, but he passed on it.
Mandate Pictures is developing the project with producers Doug Davison and Roy Lee (The Ring, Dark Water [2005], Death Note and Godzilla remake plans) of Vertigo Entertainment and Lee's 40 Acres & A Mule Productions. Mark Protosevich (Thor, I Am Legend) wrote a script, and Mandate Pictures President Nathan Kahane is serving as executive producer.
The trade magazine Variety earlier described the Korean film's story about "a man who's kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years. When he's finally released and begins looking into the reason for his captivity, he soon finds out that his kidnapper has even more torturous plans for him." (The original manga has the protagonist imprisoned for a different number of years and does not have the Korean film's added plot twist ending.) Lee also said that "the ending will be something that the audiences will all be... very happy with. In fact, some may consider it to be a bit darker."

Court Approves Borders Dissolution Plan posted on 2011-12-22 00:04 EST
The retail news source ICv2 reported on Wednesday that the Borders bookstore chain's plan to dissolve has been approved by a federal bankruptcy court. The dissolution plan will pay unsecured creditors who owe more than US$800 million toward the higher end of a 4% to 10% range on their debt. The plan will pay secured creditors of US$2 million and priority tax liabilities of US$14 million. The court also approved Borders to sell its 10% stake in the e-reader company Kobo for US$27 to $32 million. About 98% of creditors voted to to approve the dissolution plan.
Borders filed for bankruptcy in February. The company held inventory worth US$431.7 million, total assets worth US$696.5 million, and total liabilities worth US$1 billion before it began liquidating in July.

New Yamato Anime to Be 26 Episodes, Split Into 7 Films posted on 2011-12-23 13:12 EST
The new Space Battleship Yamato 2199 television anime series will be 26 episodes long, and it will be split into seven films for advance screenings at events. The first two episodes will be shown as the first "film" on April 7, before the television series itself premieres. The next six "film" screenings will each be made of four television episodes. The new project is based on the classic 1974-1975 space opera anime series. The anime's main cast — Takayuki Sugo, Daisuke Ono, Kenichi Suzumura, and Houko Kuwashima — will appear at a "launch ceremony" event on February 18 with some of the anime's staffers.

Report on Sexless Love in Japan
Author Roland Kelts discusses phenomenon in the Guardian newspaper.
Roland Kelts, author of the book Japanamerica: How Japanese Culture has invaded the U.S., has written an article called 'Japan leads the way in sexless love' in the U.K. newspaper The Guardian. The story discusses the claims that Japanese men are becoming more and more 'unmanly' and uninterested in girlfriends.
From the article:
"I don't like real women," one bloke superciliously sniffed on Japan's 2channel, the world's largest and most active internet bulletin board site. "They're too picky nowadays. I'd much rather have a virtual girlfriend."
Virtual girlfriends became a sensation last summer, when Japanese game-maker Konami released its second-generation of its popular Love Plus, called, aptly, Love Plus +, for the Nintendo DS gaming system. Konami skillfully arranged for an otherwise deadbeat beach resort town called Atami to host a Love Plus + holiday weekend. Players were invited to tote their virtual girlfriends, via the gaming console, to the actual resort town to cavort for a weekend in romantic bliss. The promotion was absurdly successful, with local resort operators reporting that it was their best weekend in decades.

4Kids' Yu-Gi-Oh! License Is Still in Force, Court Rules posted on 2011-12-31 10:00 EST
Bankruptcy judge: Japanese consortium did not properly terminate agreement
On Thursday, United States Bankruptcy Judge Shelley C. Chapman ruled that 4Kids Entertainment's licensing agreement for the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime franchise is still in effect. Judge Chapman found that the Japanese consortium that controls Yu-Gi-Oh! rights — Nihon Ad Systems (NAS), TV Tokyo, and ADK — did not effectively terminate the agreement with 4Kids Entertainment.
As written in the court's findings: "Like characters in the Yu-Gi-Oh! series itself, 4Kids and the Consortium were locked in a high stakes duel over the future of the series in the Western world and, by extension, the survival of 4Kids as a going concern. On March 24, 2011, the Consortium attempted to end the duel by issuing a letter that purports to terminate its licensing agreement with 4Kids."
Alleged Royalty Underpayments
The Consortium claimed in March that 4Kids hid income that should have been subject to US$4,819,354.63 in royalties for the Japanese owners:
1 Unreported Funimation Home Video Revenue US$1,967,000.00
2 Unreported Majesco Home Video Revenue US$91,666.50
3 Unsubstantiated International Withholding Taxes US$2,265,767.16
4 Unreported Post June 2008 Home Video Revenue US$26,894.27 
5 Unauthorized Audit Fee Deduction US$105,111.20
6 Unauthorized E&O Insurance Cost US$67,328.45
7 Unauthorized Bank Charges US$4,270.58
8 Other Unauthorized Deductions US$43,554.59
9 Other Recovery – Material and Courier Cost US$247,771.88
However, Judge Chapman determined that seven of these audit findings (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 9) were withdrawn by the consortium or were meritless. The court emphasized that "the invalidity of any single one of these Findings is sufficient to support the ultimate conclusion that termination was ineffective."
Judge Chapman further found that the consortium did not follow the proper procedure for terminating its agreement with 4Kids, under the terms listed in the agreement itself. The agreement dictated that 4Kids should have had a period of time to correct a claimed breach of contract, but the judge stated that "4Kids never received a proper and effective notice" of this.
2011 Timeline
4Kids filed for bankruptcy in April, but continued to operate in the meantime. The company had previously stated it might have to file for bankruptcy due to the consortium's Yu-Gi-Oh! lawsuit. The lawsuit judge then remanded, or sent, the lawsuit to the bankruptcy court due to the connection between the two cases.
Meanwhile, a new Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, premiered in Japan on April 11. ADK and TV Tokyo planned to pitch Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal to international licensees at the Licensing International Expo, but 4Kids filed a legal motion against this.
In June, Judge Shelley C. Chapman of 4Kids' bankruptcy case ordered a stay, barring ADK and TV Tokyo from selling the license to another company until the case of alleged fraudulent underpayment was resolved. 4Kids then promoted Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal in a Las Vegas event in June attract potential merchandise producers.
4Kids has since adapted Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal into English, and it began airing the new anime in its CW4Kids Toonzai programming block on October 15.

180,000 Attend Comic Market 81's 3rd Day posted on 2011-12-31 11:50 EST
An estimated 180,000 people came to the third day of this year's Comic Market 81 event in Tokyo on Saturday. That is about 20,000 less people than last winter's Comic Market 79's attendance on its third day. 150,000 attended Comic Market 81's first day on Thursday, and 170,000 attended the second day.
Comic Market 81 reported an attendance total of 500,000 across all three days. Comic Market does not have turnstiles or unique passes for visitors, so a person who attends all three days would be counted three times.
Comic Market 79's attendance total last winter was 520,000, and Comic's Market 80's attendance total this past summer was 540,000. The committee that runs Comic Market cited the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster and the unprecedented high yen for the drop in overseas visitors.
Comic Market 82 will run from August 10 to August 12 next year at the same location, the Tokyo Big Sight event center.

Waru Manga/Joe vs. Joe Anime Creator Hisao Maki Passes Away posted on 2012-01-02 21:30 EST
Brother of Tiger Mask/Ashita no Joe's Kajiwara also produced, acted in fighting films
Author and manga/anime creator Hisao Maki passed away in a Kanagawa hospital on Monday, January 2. He was 71. According to a person close to Maki, the author was on his way to a harbor in Kanagawa Prefecture on Monday afternoon to enjoy his hobby of yachting. However, his health took a turn for the worse, and he was rushed to the hospital where he passed away. The cause of death has not been made public.
Maki was born under the name Matsuchi Takamori in Tokyo in 1940. Maki wrote several prose and manga stories such as the hard-boiled action manga WARU. WARU and its sequels inspired a dozen live-action adaptations, including two films directed by Takashi Miike with Maki himself in the cast. He was also the younger brother of the late manga creator Ikki Kajiwara (Tiger Mask, Kyojin no Hoshi, Ashita no Joe), and he co-created the story of the Ashita no Joe video anime series Joe vs. Joe (Futari no Joe).
Maki produced several films, including this year's live-action film based on his brother's wrestling hero manga Tiger Mask with Eiji Wentz (Gegege no Kitarō, Brave Story) in the title role. Maki himself acted in several live-action works; he produced, wrote, or acted in several works by Miike. He was also an accomplished karate fighter and instructor. Maki served as the president of Maki Production and ran his own martial arts training facility, Maki Dōjō.

French Man Gets 1-Year Suspended Sentence for 'Manga Pornography' (Updated) posted on 2012-01-04 11:25 EST
25-year-old collected manga of child characters, shared them online
A 25-year-old engineer in Puy-en-Velay, France was sentenced on Tuesday to one year in prison, as well as court-ordered therapy, by a three-judge tribunal for possession and distribution of images of child pornography. According to the court, he had collected "pornographic" Japanese manga featuring sexually abused female characters, six to eight years old, on his computer and shared the manga on the Internet. The authorities had interrogated him about an Internet forum post in which he wrote, "We're recruiting female members, 12 years old or younger." The man asserted that the post was a joke, and his lawyer added that the defendant is a social recluse. One of the judges asked the suspect, "When you see a girl six to eight years old being raped, don't you think there's something wrong?" He responded, "If you had read my psychiatric report, I don't imagine myself in the place of the rapist, but rather in the girl's." The judge replied back, "You're very intelligent. The doctor only reported what you told him. Me, I don't believe a word of what you are saying." The convicted man has been barred from any activity that has regular contact with minors and will be registered on the national sexual offenders' list.  
Update: The sentence is a suspended term, so the man will not have to serve time in prison unless he is convicted of another offense (related or unrelated). Thanks, Kutsu.

Kyoto Looks Into Petition for Promoting Film, Anime, Manga posted on 2012-01-04 19:00 EST
"Special content zone" would encourage local production of entertainment
The Kyoto Shimbun paper reported on Wednesday that Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto City, and the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce and Industry are considering a petition to make Kyoto into a "special content zone" to promote local production of films, anime, and manga. As such a zone, the area may receive special economic or other laws that replace nationwide laws to aid the development of local content industries and encourage foreign involvement.
Some of the Kyoto officials' proposed changes would ease restrictions on the use of explosives in outdoor locations such as roads and simplify the process for foreigners involved with film, anime, and manga to recieve visas. The number of young creators in Kyoto is increasing, according to the Kyoto Shimbun, and officials hope to support their efforts.
The Kyoto area is already home to film studios, the Kyoto International Manga Museum, the Japanese headquarters of the Nintendo video game company, and various anime production studios. Kyoto representatives believe that promoting local production of films, anime, and manga could also bolster the area's established tourism, film costume, and other industries.
Officials are drafting the petition for the special, and they plan to hold a conference on the initiative in February before presenting the petition to the Cabinet of Japan in March.

Hollywood Reporter: Live-Action Akira Film's Production Shut Down posted on 2012-01-05 15:50 EST
Site: Vancouver offices to close, some staff "told to stop working"
The Hollywood Reporter trade magazine's Heat Vision blog is reporting on Thursday that the live-action film adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira manga is being shut down because of "casting and budgetary issues." According to the website, the film's production offices in Vancouver will be closed, and "below-the-line" staff (those who work on film's physical production) have been "told to stop working."
The site reports that, according to insiders, if the project's issues cannot be resolved, it "could end up being shelved entirely." Producers Jennifer Kiloran Davisson and Andrew Lazar, along with director Jaume Collet-Serra, will work on revising the film's script for the next two weeks. According to the site, Collet-Serra was working on a US$90 million budget for the film, but now needs to cut the budget down to between US$60-US$70 million to keep it going.
Warner Bros. officially green-lit the film for production in October. The Variety entertainment trade magazine project had described the film as a "potential tentpole project," and it was slated to begin production in late February or early March. (A "tentpole" franchise is a property which will, in theory, support a studio financially for much of a particular movie season.)
Variety had reported in July that Warner hired director Collett-Serra (Unknown, Orphan, House of Wax) to direct the film, which was "being reenvisioned as a $90 million" blockbuster project. In May, previous director Albert Hughes left the project due to "creative differences" on the film.
The development team with producer Lazar (Jonah Hex, Space Cowboys, Get Smart) hired a writer named Albert Torres last year, after screenwriters Gary Whitta, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby were previously attached to the project. When the project was originally announced in 2008, it was intended to be the directorial debut for Ireland's Ruairi Robinson. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Aviator) is producing through his Appian Way production company.

Variety: Akira 'Down, Not Out' But New Writer to Polish Script posted on 2012-01-05 21:30 EST
Deadline site: Warner studio's option deals on 2 Tetsuo candidates ended today
The entertainment trade magazine Variety and the film news website Deadline.com reported that the end is not near for the live-action Akira film, even though pre-production is being shut down for now.
Warner Bros. wants the current script draft, which was written by David James Kelly, to be reworked. Deadline.com added the studio will quickly hire "a high-end writer to do a polish" on the script before deciding whether to resume the project or not. Variety named Jonah Nolan (The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises) and Michael Green (Green Lantern) as possible candidates, but emphasized that no rewriting job has actually been offered yet. Studio sources did tell Variety that the script and cast are the issues, not the US$90-million budget.
According to Deadline, the Warner Bros. studio had option deals with two acting candidates for the central role of Tetsuo, Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, True Blood, far left) and Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire,. left) However, both of their options deals ended today, so the actors are no longer legally bound to keep their schedules open for Akira. (Production would have started on March 5 before the shutdown.)
Warner Bros. officially green-lit the film for production in October with director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, Orphan, House of Wax). When the project was originally announced in 2008, it was intended to be the directorial debut for Ireland's Ruairi Robinson. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Aviator) is producing through his Appian Way production company.

Variety Reporter: Spike Lee's Oldboy Remake Delayed posted on 2012-01-06 16:51 EST
Reporter: Clive Owen unlikely to play villain role
A reporter for the Variety entertainment trade magazine reported on Twitter on Friday that production on Spike Lee's remake of Park Chan-Wook's live-action film Oldboy has been delayed until late summer or early fall because of actor Josh Brolin's press commitments for his Men in Black 3 film. Brolin is slated to play the male lead in the film.
The reporter also posted that actor Clive Owen (Intruders, Children of Men, Sin City) will not likely play the villain role of Adrian in the film. Owen was offered the role after actor Colin Firth turned it down. Director Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X) signed onto Mandate Pictures' American remake of Oldboy in July. Park's film was itself inspired by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi's manga Old Boy. Variety reported in August that Academy Award-winning actor Christian Bale (The Fighter, Batman Begins, American Psycho) was considering the American remake's villain role. In October, a writer for Variety reported that Mandate Pictures is still filling its female led role for the film since Rooney Mara (The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake) passed on it. Mandate Pictures is developing the project with producers Doug Davison and Roy Lee (The Ring, Dark Water [2005], Death Note and Godzilla remake plans) of Vertigo Entertainment and Lee's 40 Acres & A Mule Productions. Mark Protosevich (Thor, I Am Legend) wrote a script, and Mandate Pictures President Nathan Kahane is serving as executive producer. Variety earlier described the Korean film's story about "a man who's kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years. When he's finally released and begins looking into the reason for his captivity, he soon finds out that his kidnapper has even more torturous plans for him." (The original manga has the protagonist imprisoned for a different number of years and does not have the Korean film's added plot twist ending.) Lee also said that "the ending will be something that the audiences will all be... very happy with. In fact, some may consider it to be a bit darker."

Man Denied Bail for 'Japanese Animation' Porn posted on 2012-01-06 21:00 EST
Magistrate rules Australian's 466 manga, real images count as child abuse
A 24-year-old Australian man was denied bail in the Darwin Magistrates Court on Saturday after his arrest for possessing images of "virtual" and real child abuse. Magistrate John Lowndes, the judge who oversaw the bail hearing, decided that the images met the criteria for child abuse under Australia's NT Criminal Code.
Authorities found 466 explicit images of children, including 320 "Japanese animation" (manga) pictures, on the unidentified man's computer. Sergeant Sally Nicholas stated that 72 of the images also fell under "category five" child abuse depictions of torture. About 30 percent of the images were offensive photographs of actual children, according to the prosecutor.
Lowndes debated about whether the manga images, which caused no harm to actual children, could be considered child abuse. The magistrate ruled that the images qualified as child abuse because the NT Criminal Code outlaws material that "depicts, describes or represents" children engaging in sex, being subjected to torture, or being shown in other degrading contexts. The judge also said that works such as "stories, sculptures, and drawings" could fall under the law.
The defendant had no previous criminal history and broke into tears when Lowndes refused him bail, according to NT News. The Australian man's lawyer said other people had access to his client's bedroom and an old school friend may have downloaded the images. The man will appear in court again later this month.
The Queensland Times paper reported in 2010 that a 28-year-old Australian stood trial for possession of 64 sexually explicit images of child characters from The Simpsons and The Powerpuff Girls animated television series, as well as The Incredibles animated movie. The man became a registered sex offender, and he received a sentence of 12 months in jail, which was suspended for five years.

Prefecture's Youth Council Discusses 'Harmful' Books & Homosexuality posted on 2012-01-10 10:45 EST
Member: If there are more depictions where women lead, it will encourage homosexual tendencies
On December 23, the southwestern Japanese prefecture of Miyazaki posted the meeting notes for the prefecture's Youth Healthy Development Council, the group that designates the "publications harmful to youths." Similar to other prefectures, Miyazaki passed a law in 1977 and amended it several times to allow it to restrict the sale of "harmful publications" from people under the age of 18. The council held its second meeting of 2011 on October 14. In that meeting, the members discussed selected books that were reportedly placed in a major bookstore, outside of its adults-only section. According to the government staff member who spoke about the books, boys-love comics, ladies' comics (manga aimed at women), and similar material are generally mixed in with "regular comics" on the same shelves. One of the council members gave the following comments:
These books contain a little shadow of violence and brutality in them, most of which are to stimulate the sexual feelings and tend to depict women taking the lead over men. We are concerned that if youths read such material, they may have a biased notion that women desire [these feelings]. Also, if there are more depictions where women lead, it will encourage the tendency toward homosexuality and make it difficult psychologically to have a sexual intercourse normally.
Although it cannot be generalized, it is said that men tend to lean toward the homosexuality by thinking that they cannot take the lead.  We see such a tendency in today's books which are placed among the regular books within sight of youths. I think that it is very dangerous. A second council member said that this tendency is a reflection of the times and added that he or she does not understand it. The second council member continued that in the past, homosexuality was discussed in special surroundings, but are now discussed publicly. Although the 12 of the 13 council members who were present were identified by name, comments made in the meeting were deliberately not attributed to specific members.

ADV Studios Voice Actress Revealed as IMDB Plaintiff posted on 2012-01-08 23:43 EST
ADV Studios voice actress Junie Hoang (Street Fighter II V, Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross) revealed herself as the plaintiff suing the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) website for posting her age. The 40-year-old Vietnamese actress revealed her name in a new court filing on Friday after Amazon, IMDb's parent company, requested that a federal judge order Hoang to amend her complaint and include her name. The search database contains profiles with ages and other biographical information for many film and television actors and production staff.
Hoang filed the lawsuit in 2011 after IMDb posted her age based on credit card information from her subscription to the IMDbPro service. The Texas-based actress claims that she has experienced discrimination in Hollywood based on her true name (Huong Hoang) in the past and had chosen to conceal her name to prevent age discrimination. Hoang acted in the Dysfunctional Friends, Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver, and The Custom Mary live-action films in 2011.

Hirai: Sony Will Not Announce New Home Console at E3 posted on 2012-01-11 10:33 EST
Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) Chairman Kazuo Hirai confirmed that his company will not be unveiling the replacement for the Playstation 3 home console at this year's E3 event. During a press session for this year's Consumer Electronics Show, Hirai said, “[SCE President Andrew House] is absolutely right in that we are not making any announcements at E3. I've always said a 10-year life cycle for PS3, and there is no reason to go away from that."
Hirai added that physical media will still be an integral part of Sony's gaming stategy. Hirai later said that with the advent of 3D games, "We are definitely, from a Sony perspective, very committed to 3D. It's going to take a little while."

Funimation Sues A.D. Vision, Sentai, Others for US$8 Million posted on 2012-01-13 16:00 EST
Seeks to have ADV's 2009 sale of assets declared void
On November 4, 2011, FUNimation Entertainment filed a lawsuit in the district court of Harris County, Texas against John Ledford, as well as companies A.D. Vision, AEsir Holdings, Sxion 23 (A.K.A. Section23 Films), Valkyrie Media Partners, Seraphim Studios, Sentai Filmworks, Sentai Holdings, and Unio Mystica Holdings (A.K.A. Switchblade Pictures) for breach of contract and other claims. Ledford is the CEO and co-founder of A.D. Vision. In the lawsuit, Funimation claims that the defendants owe Funimation "an amount to be proven at trial but currently estimated" to be approximately US$8 million plus interest, costs, and attorneys' fees.
Funimation's lawsuit alleges that it became a creditor of A.D. Vision (ADV) in regard to a debt ADV owed ARM Corporation, which was a third party licensing entity jointly owned by Sojitz Corporation and several other companies. The lawsuit notes that ADV had purchased anime licenses from ARM after May 2006, and in January 2008 ARM "declared ADV to be in default of the parties' agreements." ADV lost the rights to more than 30 anime properties, and in July 2008, Funimation and ARM announced that they had reached a distribution agreement for those properties.
In the lawsuit, Funimation claims that ARM also gave Funimation the right to enforce ARM's agreement with ADV, specifically in regard to the debt that ADV owed ARM — making Funimation a creditor. The suit alleges that ADV never paid this debt, and instead sold its assets for below market price to several companies owned by former ADV executives and shut down. The suit goes on to claim that ADV's transfer of assets "was made with the intent to defer, hinder or defraud the creditors of ADV," including Funimation, and that the new companies "succeeded ADV's contractual liability" in regard to the outstanding debt. Funimation is also requesting that the court declare ADV's transfer of assets "as null, voided and without effect," restoring those assets to the parent company. Funimation is also requesting a jury trial.
On December 23, Sentai Filmworks, Seraphim Studios, Sentai Holdings, Valkyrie Media Partners, Unio Mysteica Holdings, AEsir Holdings, and Section23 Films filed a counterclaim disputing these charges. The companies claim, among other things, that they do not have a contract with Funimation and are not liable to the company. They claim that the companies did not exist when Funimation acquired the rights from ARM to enforce ADV's contract with ARM. In addition, the companies claim that Funimation's lawsuit was filed after the two-year statute of limitations, and that Funimation was not involved with the original contract and cannot claim any direct damages. The companies are asking that the court declare that Funimation's contract "is not a valid agreement binding on the Defendants," that the companies owe "no duties or performance of any obligations" to Funimation, and that Funimation pay for the companies' attorney's fees, costs, and expenses. The first pre-trial meeting is currently scheduled for October 5, 2012.
Section23 Films provided ANN with the following statement:
Funimation's lawsuit is completely without merit or basis and we look forward to proving it when we have our day in court.
When asked to comment, Funimation told ANN that its official statement is addressed in the lawsuit.

Check Out TNT's New 'Dallas' Will You Tune In? December 1st, 2011 5:00pm EST |  By: Noelle Talmon 
One show changed television forever - "Dallas" - according to the trailer for TNT's upcoming reboot.
Set in the big state of Texas, "Dallas" lives life large and in the fast lane and brings a new generation of stars together with cast members from the original drama, which aired from 1978 until 1991.
The new "Dallas" stars Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster, Julie Gonzalo and Brenda Strong.  They will be joined by iconic stars Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing from the original series.
Brewster, who plays Elena Ramos, told Eonline.com over the summer, "(It's) a sexy show for sure. There will be plenty of shirts off and there will be plenty of sex." The reboot will premiere in the summer of 2012 on TNT. Will you tune in?

Former 'Hanna Montana' Star Mitchel Musso Pleads Not Guilty To DUI Charge December 10th, 2011 9:30am EST 
Former Hannah Montana star Mitchel Musso is preparing to head to trial after pleading not guilty to drink driving charges.
The actor, who played Oliver Oken on the hit Disney program, was taken into custody on October 16 after failing to slow down for police who were directing traffic in Burbank, California.
He failed a breathalyser test and was subsequently charged with two counts of driving while drunk.
Musso's attorney Blair Berk appeared in a Burbank court on Friday to enter the plea on her client's behalf. The 20-year-old actor did not attend the arraignment hearing.
A pre-trial status conference has been set for February 10 to determine if the case should go to trial, according to Eonline.com.
If convicted, Musso faces up to six months behind bars and a $1,000 fine.

Tomb Raider XXX: Behind The Scenes Set Visit Posted December 20, 2011 - By G4 Staff
Parodies of movies and TV shows are certainly nothing new in the adult film industry, with such classics as "The Horneymooners" and "Edward Penishands" to the more current (and less cleverly-titled) "This Ain't Ghostbusters XXX" springing to mind.  With the well of pop culture properties running dry, Exquisite Films is mining a whole new genre ripe for parody: Video Games.  Yes, the company who showed us what really happens inside the "American Dad" family residence (Yep, Roger the Alien gets some) is now in the heat of production on "Tomb Raider XXX: An Exquisite Films Parody."
 Fans of the iconic video game heroine Lara Croft who were left wanting with Angelina Jolie's take on the character will be happy to know that director Jordan Septo ("Saturday Night Fever XXX") has drawn his inspiration from the games themselves.  "We're trying to be true to the game," says the veteran of countless porn parodies.  "Our storyline mirrors the first game."
Taking on the role of Lara Croft is Chanel Preston, who porn-savvy superhero fans know best as Wonder Woman ("The Justice League of Porn Star Heroes: An Extreme Comixxx Parody") and Black Widow ("Iron Man XXX: An Extreme Comixxx Parody"). You've seen her standout in our first Tomb Raider XXX pictures but now Preston is ready to own the new role.  "Lara Croft is the ultimate action role," exclaims Preston.  "Croft is a strong, iconic character within the gaming community and I’m excited to portray the same combination of sexy and badass." Although a self-proclaimed "huge fan" of Ms. Jolie, Preston is also drawing her inspiration more from the games than the two Hollywood films.  "Angelina came off a little more mature than the Lara Croft in the game.  I'm trying to make (the performance) my own," says the energetic starlet. If our set visit was any indication, Septo has a globetrotting action-packed skin flick up his sleeve, sending Lara from the high mountain cliffs to the heat of Egypt in search of a mysterious ancient artifact.  Says Septo, "The action sequences will be great.  We used a professional fight chorographer to stage the hand to hand combat.  He's phenomenal." "I never had a fight chorographer before now," admits Chanel Preston. "Usually it's the directors saying 'don't worry, trust me, we'll catch you!'  So this is really cool." When Croft finds herself in the hands (literally) of an Egyptian sheik's two wives, well, let's just say the scene looks to be a lot more stimulating than anything in Paramount's big-budget Jolie films. Battling Lara in a fight to the death is Texas henchman Larson Conway, played by Lee Stone. The towering actor portrayed The Hulk in its adult parody and is no stranger to games, having been digitized for Saints Row The Third. Lee reveals, "I make a deal with Lara in this movie.  My character wants to shake on it, but she wants... something else.  She gets what she wants.  Typical Lara Croft."
 As in Tomb Raider: Legend and Tomb Raider: Underworld, Lara's trusty cohort Amanda assists her in her quest, here played by last year's AVN Starlet Of The Year Kagney Linn Karter, currently playing Kinect Disneyland Adventures of all things.  Assists she certainly does, using her special "skills" to rescue Lara from the clutches of porn icon Evan Stone.  "This is going to be big, and I don't die so I can return in the sequel," says the ever-animated Stone. Chanel Preston's all-time favorite game is Mario Kart but when pondering over what other video game icons may be in her future, she reveals, "I'm more of a Food Network kind of girl, so unless they do 'Chopped XXX,' we'll just have to wait and see!" Tomb Raider XXX: An Exquisite Films Parody, starring Chanel Preston, Kagney Linn Karter, Gracie Glam, Jacqueline Natla, Nicole Aniston, Dani Daniels, Evan Stone, Lee Stone, Danny Mountain, Derrick Pierce and Anthony Rosano, releases in 2012.

Remembering 'M*A*S*H' Star Harry Morgan
December 7th, 2011 6:40pm EST |  By: Jonathan Teigland 
As Colonel Sherman T. Potter might say, “Mule muffins.” Lovable character actor Harry Morgan died this morning at the age of 96. His family said he had battled pneumonia recently.
Morgan hadn’t acted on TV or film since 1999, after appearing in a sitcom called ‘Love & Money’ and doing a guest arc on ‘3rd Rock From the Sun.’ But his career spanned approximately six decades. In addition to his iconic TV roles on ‘Dragnet’ and ‘M*A*S*H,’ he appeared in dozens of movies dating back to 1942.
The Norwegian-blooded actor was born in 1915, just three years after the Titanic sank and less than a year after World War I began. His family lived in Michigan, and he initially hoped to become a lawyer. But he moved to Los Angeles in the early 1940s in the hopes of making as an actor. It didn’t take long.
His first film appearance (billed as Henry Morgan) was in ‘To the Shores of Tripoli’ in 1942. He went on to appear in classic movies such as ‘High Noon’ and ‘Inherit the Wind.’
But television is where he made his mark. He was a regular in several series from the 1950s to the 1980s. He was on the popular sitcom ‘December Bride’ from 1954 to 1959. His character, Pete, was so popular that he got a spin-off, ‘Pete and Gladys,’ which ran a couple of years.
He hit it big again with the revival of ‘Dragnet’ in the late 1960s. But his most-loved role was as Col. Potter on ‘M*A*S*H.’
Morgan replaced McLean Stevenson, who (prematurely, he would later admit) left the show after only three years for an attempt at further TV stardom. Morgan had been so good in the 1974 episode ‘The General Flipped at Dawn,’ in which he played a cuckoo high-ranking officer, that the producers brought him back to replace Stevenson permanently.
Their decision was wise. Col. Potter was quite different than the bumbling Col. Henry Blake, but in a good way. He was fatherly, funny and more by-the-book. But he had a heart, and if something seemed immoral, he would question it. Likewise, he wasn’t afraid of occasionally breaking regulations if it made sense to him.
The character had a tough exterior, but he could make your heart melt when he was brought to tears. That’s the kind of role Morgan played so well – manly and genuine, but emotional deep down. That, and he was funny as hell. He won an Emmy for the part.
Morgan is survived by his second wife, Barbara (his first wife died in 1985), three sons and eight grandchildren. Col. Potter, who stayed in the military for nearly half a century, would surely been proud of Morgan’s tenure in Showbiz.

David Hasselhoff Bids For 'Baywatch' Movie Rights  December 12th, 2011 11:31am EST 
Former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff is trying to purchase the rights to a movie of the TV hit - and he wants to make it a beach-based version of Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid.
Fans of the classic '90s show, which launched the acting career of Pamela Anderson, have long hoped to see their favorite characters on the big-screen, but the rumored project has never materialized.
Now Hasselhoff, who played lifeguard Mitch Buchannon, is vying for the rights to the film, and he wants to base it on Paul Newman and Robert Redford's 1969 cowboy classic - starring himself as a mentor to a young playboy.
Hasselhoff tells U.K. TV show Loose Women, "Right now I'm trying to get the rights to the movie. I would be in it. I would produce it... I would be the father figure, and you put a hot young kid in there and he comes to dad (for advice) - like The Sting, like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

Flight Attendants Call For American Airlines Alec Baldwin Boycott December 13th, 2011 12:09am EST 
American Airlines flight attendants have requested that Alec Baldwin's hit show 30 Rock is pulled from in-flight entertainment options following last week's bust-up between the actor and a staff member.
Baldwin was escorted off an American Airlines flight bound for New York after disobeying a steward's request to turn off his cell phone in preparation for take-off.
A war of words between airline bosses and the star has since ensued, and Baldwin made matters worse when he appeared on Saturday Night Live at the weekend and made a mockery of the incident.
Now, officials at America's Flight Attendants Association are calling for a Baldwin boycott on all American Airlines flights.
A statement from the union reads, "The APFA has requested that American Airlines remove the show from future flights, but would be agreeable to implementing it again if and only if Mr. Baldwin publicly apologizes to American Airlines flight attendants." Baldwin, who has vowed never to fly American again, issued an apology to his fellow passengers last week, insisting he never meant to disrupt the flight and cause a delay.

Tom Hanks To Launch Internet Series 'Electric City' January 9th, 2012 11:36am EST 
Tom Hanks is taking his new TV project online - the Oscar winner is making a web series for internet giant Yahoo.com.
The actor has spent years developing Electric City and has finally decided to turn to Yahoo to stream the animated futuristic program, which will premiere in the spring.
He's also lending his voice to a character in the show, about a peaceful city in a post-apocalyptic world.
Erin McPherson, head of original programming at Yahoo, says, "On the surface, the Electric City is utopia and under the surface, Electric City is secrets and heavy-handed state control. What we found really compelling is that this is perfect for a highly digital audience, a lean-forward audience who likes to utilize the medium of the internet."

Lindsay Lohan In Talks To Play Elizabeth Taylor In TV Movie January 10th, 2012 8:10am EST 
Lindsay Lohan is in talks to portray a young Elizabeth Taylor in an upcoming TV movie, according to a report.
Bosses at Lifetime network have been working on a film about Taylor since last May, two months after her death in March.
Independent producer Larry Thompson is overseeing the project, tentatively entitled Elizabeth & Richard: A Love Story, and insiders tells The Hollywood Reporter that Mean Girls star Lohan has been discussing the lead role with TV chiefs.
The film is said to focus on the love affair between Taylor and Richard Burton. The celebrity couple split in 1974 after 10 years as husband and wife, before marrying again in 1975 - the second union lasted just a year.

Bradley Cooper Confirms 'Hangover Part 3' December 5th, 2011 8:31am EST 
Bradley Cooper has confirmed "The Hangover" cast is set to reunite for a second sequel set in Los Angeles.
The actor shot to international fame with his role in the 2009 Las Vegas-based comedy opposite Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha, and a follow-up, The Hangover Part II, set in Thailand, was released earlier this year. Cooper has now revealed filming on the third installment should begin next September and he believes the film will be set in California. He tells TV host Graham Norton, "I hope we'll start shooting next September. I know (director) Todd Phillips is working on the script. We stuck to the formula in the second one but the third would need to close the trilogy. I think it'll take place in L.A. and not adhere to the structure."

Sofia Coppola Working On Burglar Bunch Movie? December 5th, 2011 9:48am EST 
Director Sofia Coppola is reportedly planning to make a movie about the young burglars who raided the Hollywood homes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom.
The group, known as the Hollywood Bling Ring, was believed to be responsible for a string of celebrity break-ins in 2008 and 2009, allegedly stealing designer clothing, jewelry and cash from victims including actress Rachel Bilson and reality TV star Audrina Patridge. Five people were arrested and charged on felony first degree residential burglary counts last year and now the Lost in Translation auteur is working on a movie based on the story, according to TMZ.com.
The website reports Nick Prugo - the man alleged to be the gang's ringleader - has been approached to be a consultant.

Angelina Jolie Sued Over Directorial Debut, 'In The Land Of Blood And Honey' December 5th, 2011 11:11pm EST 
Angelina Jolie is facing legal action over her upcoming directorial debut following allegations of copyright infringement from a Croatian journalist.
The Tomb Raider star wrote and directed In the Land of Blood and Honey, which chronicles the romance between a rape and kidnap victim and one of her captors and is set against the backdrop of the 1990s Bosnian Civil War.
Jolie and the producers of the film, which is set to be released on December 23, have been hit with a lawsuit from reporter James Braddock, who claims the movie violates copyright of his 2007 book "The Soul Shattering."
In the suit, filed in Illinois on Friday, Braddock alleges he met with Edin Sarkic, a producer on the film, in 2008 to talk about the possibility of turning his book into a film but nothing came of the discussions.
Braddock is seeking statutory damages and an injunction against the film.

Camera Used To Film 'Star Wars' Breaks Records At Auction December 5th, 2011 11:31pm EST
A camera used to film the original Star Wars has smashed all auction records for movie equipment after selling for $625,000.
The camera went under the hammer at the Profiles in History Debbie Reynolds Collection Part II auction over the weekend.
A spokesman tells WENN, "No movie camera previously sold has come anywhere close to this amount."
The Panavision PSR 35mm motion picture camera was used by George Lucas for principle photography on the film. The lot was a complete camera package with two 1000 ft. magazines, a Panaspeed motor, matte box, follow focus, a Moy geared head, Italian-made Elemack camera dolly and lens. The camera has been fully restored and is fully functional.
Coming up next for the Profiles in History auction house is the Icons of Hollywood auction on December 15 and 16 at The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. Highlights include the ruby slippers and Cowardly Lion costume from The Wizard Of Oz, the DeLorean sportscar from Back to the Future III, Steve McQueen's Le Mans racing suit and Bela Lugosi's Dracula cape.

Robin Williams Will Bust Out the Feathers For 'Birdcage' Sequel December 7th, 2011 11:31am EST |  By: NextMovie
Robin Williams has spent the better part of the past decade confusing the hell out of audiences with his movie choices – "RV," anyone? – but it seems as though things may be on the upswing for the funnyman.
The actor may be injecting some fabulous back into his career in the not-too-distant future with a sequel to his 1996 hit "The Birdcage."Williams tells Movie Hole that he may reprise his role as South Beach drag club owner Armand Goldman if the powers that be can work out a script. "They're trying to figure out which [story] to write for that," says Williams. "We will see what happens." While the prospect of seeing Williams back in his gold chain and salmon pants has our hearts skipping a beat, we can't imagine the movie working without the original star-studded cast. If the producers can get Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest, Dan Futterman, Calista Flockheart together and can get Hank Azaria back into his Daisy Dukes and Straight Cooking tank top, they're halfway there. However, the real clincher will be seeing if Nathan Lane will reprise his role as Albert, AKA Starina. If Lane won't sign on, Williams might as well start pushing for that "Flubber" remake.

Kristen Stewart Is Hollywood's Most Profitable Star December 7th, 2011 12:00pm EST 
"Twilight" babe Kristen Stewart has been named Hollywood's most profitable actress.
The 21 year old has topped Forbes magazine's rundown of the most bankable stars, netting an estimated $56 for every dollar she was paid for her last three major films. Stewart's co-star and real-life boyfriend Robert Pattinson came third in the "Best Actors for the Buck" list, pulling in $39.43 for every $1 he received, while Anne Hathaway was in second place, earning $46 for every $1. Rounding out the top five are the stars of two massive blockbuster franchises - Daniel Radcliffe of the "Harry Potter" movies and "Transformers" star Shia LaBeouf - while Robert Downey, Jr., Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp complete the top 10.

Angelina Jolie Slams Croatian's Copyright Infringement Lawsuit  December 7th, 2011 2:26pm EST
Angelina Jolie has hit back at a Croatian journalist who alleges the storyline for her directorial debut is lifted from his book about the Bosnian Civil War, insisting she has "never seen" his work.
The Hollywood beauty wrote, produced and directed In the Land of Blood and Honey, which chronicles a romance between a rape and kidnap victim and one of her captors during the 1990s war.
The movie is set to hit cinemas later this month, but reporter James Braddock is seeking a court injunction against its release after filing suit for copyright infringement.
He alleges the film's plot is based on his 2007 book The Soul Shattering, which he claims to have shown to the film's co-producer Edin Sarkic during a 2008 meeting to discuss the possibility of turning his tome into a film - although nothing came of the discussions. Braddock is seeking statutory damages, but Jolie is adamant her extensive research on the sensitive subject matter did not include a read through his book. She tells the Los Angeles Times' film blog 24 Frames, "There are many books and documentaries that I did pull from. It's a combination of many people's stories. But that particular book I've never seen."
And Jolie has brushed off the legal action, adding, "It's par for the course. It happens on almost every film."

Anthony Hopkins To Play Alfred Hitchcock In New Biopic December 8th, 2011 10:01am EST 
Anthony Hopkins has signed on to play legendary director Alfred Hitchcock in a new biopic.
"Alfred Hitchcock & the Making of Psycho" is based on Stephen Rebello's book of the same name and the film will be directed by Sasha Gervasi.
Helen Mirren is in talks to play Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, according to CinemaBlend.com.
The film will chronicle Hitchcock's experiences while filming the thriller "Psycho" in the late 1950s. The film became an instant classic when it was released in 1960, and many film fans argue it is the director's greatest movie.
The role will mark Hopkins' latest real-person portrayal - the British-born movie star has also played former  president Richard Nixon, artist Pablo Picasso, bike racer Burt Munro, former British leader David Lloyd George and writer Charles Dickens onscreen. He is also currently playing literary great Ernest Hemingway in "Hemingway & Fuentes."
"Alfred Hitchcock & the Making of Psycho" isn't the only film about the director's great works currently in early development - Sienna Miller has been cast as Tippi Hedren in an as-yet untitled film about the actress' relationship with the legendary filmmaker on the set of 1963's "The Birds."

Sacha Baron Cohen Is Feeling 'Les Miserable' December 8th, 2011 12:58pm EST |  By: NextMovie 
If you're feeling miserable today, here's something that should pick you up: According to digital spy, funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen is taking on the deliciously villainous role of Monsieur Thenardier in the upcoming film adaptation of "Les Miserables."
See? We bet you're feeling better already.
Cohen, of course, is known mostly for the kind of improvisational shock humor that turned "Borat" into a surprise worldwide hit and turned "Bruno" into, well, a movie. But in recent times he's been branching out more and more into serious roles, such as in the 2007 hit "Sweeny Todd" and this year's holiday crowd-pleaser "Hugo."
Now he's got his most wicked role yet. And since the role of his equally shady wife, Madame Thenardier, is being played by Helena Bonham Carter, fans should be in for a serious treat as the two lie, rob and plunder their way through the French Revolution.
Of course, if you insist on still being miserable even after this news, you can take solace in the fact that fans have to wait an entire year to see Cohen, Bonham Carter and co-stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway in action, as "Les Miserables" isn't scheduled to arrive in theaters until December 7, 2012. But we think you should cheer up.
Because the revolution has begun, and Sacha Baron Cohen is leading the way.

Amanda Seyfried 'Really Excited' About Linda Lovelace Role December 9th, 2011 8:20am EST 
Actress Amanda Seyfried is apprehensive about playing porn legend Linda Lovelace in a new biopic, insisting it's "really hard and kind of terrifying" to tackle the tough role.
The Mamma Mia! star has replaced Kate Hudson as the adult actress-turned-anti-porn activist in the upcoming movie, opposite Peter Sarsgaard as Lovelace's husband Chuck Traynor.
Seyfried is "really excited" about the shoot, but admits she does have a few reservations.
She tells ABC News, "It's going to be really hard and kind of terrifying at the same time. I do have some liberties there but I am playing someone that existed in history and had quite an established reputation for something very extreme."
"She was such a different person than what we expect. It's a good story to tell, and I'm really, really excited about it."

James Cameron Hit With 'Avatar' Copyright Infringement Lawsuit December 9th, 2011 8:32am EST 
Director James Cameron is facing a copyright infringement lawsuit from a man who claims the legendary moviemaker stole his idea for Avatar. Eric Ryder filed a lawsuit at Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday, claiming he approached Cameron's production company Lightstorm Entertainment in 1999 with an idea for an "environmentally themed 3D epic about a corporation's colonization and plundering of a distant moon's lush and wondrous natural setting."
He also claims his project included "self-contained robotic exterior suits which house a single human operator... just like in Avatar." The papers suggest Cameron's company officials turned their backs on talks in 2002, and that Ryder complained to the director's representatives in 2009, when the movie became the highest-grossing film of all time.
Ryder is seeking unspecified damages and wants to be awarded a portion of the film's profits.

Tom Cruise Eager To Make 'Top Gun 2' December 9th, 2011 8:43am EST 
Tom Cruise has confirmed longrunning rumors he's flying back to the big screen for a sequel to 1986 aviation classic Top Gun.
 Plans for a follow-up to the hit film began to take shape last year when Tony Scott revealed he was returning to the franchise to direct a new installment, while the Hollywood actor was rumoured to be interested in reprising his role as pilot Maverick, albeit in a smaller part. But Cruise has now revealed he's officially on board the project.
 When asked about "Top Gun 2," the star tells MTV News, "We're working on it. I said to Tony I want to make another movie with him. He and I haven't made a film since 'Days of Thunder' (in 1990). We never thought that we would do it again. Then, they started to come to us with these ideas of where it is now. I thought, 'Wow... what we could do now...'"
 Cruise insists the film is still in the early stages of production, but he's hopeful their plans will take flight: "I hope we can figure this out to go do it again. If we can find a story that we all want to do, we all want to make a film that is in the same kind of tone as the other one and shoot it in the same way as we shot Top Gun."
 If "Top Gun 2" gets the go-ahead, it won't be the only franchise Cruise will be involved in - he's also preparing to release the new "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol."

Angelina Jolie Felt 'Strange' Directing Sex Scene In 'Blood And Honey' December 9th, 2011 9:43am EST 
Angelina Jolie struggled to direct a naked love scene in her new movie "In The Land Of Blood & Honey" because she felt awkward asking her stars to strip off and pretend to be intimate.
The actress and first-time director admits her stars Zana Marjanovic and Goran Kostic helped her with the sex scene because they were willing to go further for the sake of the film. She tells USA Today newspaper, "I believe it was Zana's first love scene and Goran is a family man with a wife and kids. You kind of suddenly feel this strange thing of asking people to participate in anything like that because they're not a real couple. You find out how strange this is to ask anybody to get naked together and put a camera on them. "They actually made me more comfortable. I was being a lot more prudish. I would have allowed them to be more prudish and they told me it was all right and important for the story. They wanted to do what they wanted to do and they were comfortable." But Jolie was still very careful to make sure the love scenes were shot carefully - because she has "felt misrepresented" in previous movies where she has stripped off. She explains, "You feel, 'Why did they hold on to that and why did they feel they needed to do that?'" And she admits she was mesmerised by her leading lady's body: "She has a very beautiful body that is very organic in that European sense. She is a real woman and a beautiful woman."

Michael Jackson's Daughter Paris Lands Major Movie Role?  December 9th, 2011 12:16pm EST 
Michael Jackson's teenage daughter is set to join the entertainment business after landing her debut movie role, according to a U.K. report. Paris Jackson, 13, has signed up to star in a new fantasy film called Lundon's Bridge and The Three Keys, which is a mix of live action and animated adventure. The film has an environmental theme and is about a girl who has a close bond to her father, according to Britain's The Sun. A source tells the publication, "Her character's strong love for her father is central to the plot." The movie is expected to be released in 2013.

Is Paris Jackson Being Exploited By A Shady Producer? December 12th, 2011 1:28pm EST |  By: SheKnows Entertainment 
The 13-year-old daughter of "Thriller" icon Michael Jackson has been cast in her first feature film role. But some members of the Jackson camp are concerned that the teen is being exploited.
Paris is ready for her close-up. No -- not that Paris. We’re talking about Paris Jackson. The 13-year-old daughter of late pop king Michael Jackson has been cast in her first feature film role. But not everyone is ecstatic over the news.
Paris will play Lundon O’Malley in the upcoming fantasy film Lundon’s Bridge and the Three Keys.
The budding socialite is set to join Larry King, his wife Shawn Southwick King, Love Boat alum Ted Lange and former 'N Sync-er Joey Fatone in the film adaptation of a little-known, privately-published book by author Dennis H. Christen.
The plot focuses on the love between a family and the strength that brings them together. Mythical creatures are featured prominently throughout the storyline: There's an ancient sea wizard that shifts people between species, a dolphin who becomes a human, a jellyfish that turns into an evil fairy godmother and a teenage boy who morphs into a dragonfly.
Lundon's Bridge was featured in a segment on CNN's Larry King Live in 2009. Paris is featured on the book’s cover.
Jackson will most likely be 15 years old when the film is released, something that was initially against the wishes of her famous family. The Jackson Clan wanted the aspiring actress to wait until she was 18 to make the foray into acting.
A crafty Paris, however, managed to persuade her grandmother, 81-year-old Katherine Jackson. With a little help from Hollywood producer Stephen Sobisky, of course. Ah -- which brings us to the source of contention in this story. Those in-the-know believe the teen is being "exploited" by Sobisky, whose name often prompts head-scratching and shrugged shoulders around Tinseltown. He has yet to produce a single film."She does not need to be involved with a guy who clearly is using her attachment to his project to raise the money… This is pure exploitation of Michael Jackson's only daughter," a source very close to the family tells The Chicago Sun-Times. The project is currently in production.  A release date has not yet been set.

Daniel Craig To Make Eight James Bond Films? December 19th, 2011 9:28am EST 
Daniel Craig looks set to become the longest-running James Bond of all time after producer Michael G. Wilson revealed he'd "love" the actor to play the spy in five more films.
 The star has so far signed up to three Bond movies, "Quantum of Solace," "Casino Royale" and upcoming film "Skyfall."
 And now he looks set to overtake Roger Moore as the longest-running actor to play the superspy if he signs a deal to film a total of eight movies. Moore currently holds the record with seven films, while Sean Connery took on six movies as Bond.
 Wilson tells Britain's The People, "Daniel's been a terrific Bond, a superb actor and a terrific man. The fans love him and I don't think there's a better actor to play the part."I'd love Daniel to surpass Roger's record and do eight pictures. A lot of people have said Daniel's been their favorite Bond since Sean Connery and I can't argue with them. He's doing a great job."

The Hangover Part II' Copyright Lawsuit Dropped December 19th, 2011 9:30pm EST 
A California man has withdrawn his lawsuit against the studio bosses behind The Hangover Part II - just two months after alleging the hit comedy was based on his own experiences. Michael Alan Rubin turned the events of his hellish honeymoon in Asia into a script entitled Mickey and Kirin, and he took action against the project's officials in October for reportedly infringing on his copyright by basing The Hangover sequel on his work. But now Rubin has voluntarily dismissed the suit, according to The Hollywood Reporter. As WENN went to press, it was not yet known if the two parties had reached a private settlement. This marks the latest legal triumph for The Hangover Part II bosses - Ed Helms' acting double, Scott McLean, also recently dropped his lawsuit against studio executives after claiming he suffered significant brain trauma on set during a stunt gone wrong. Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis also star in the hit franchise.

Gerard Butler Hospitalized After 'Mavericks' Surfing Stunt Went Awry  December 20th, 2011 8:19am EST 
Actor Gerard Butler was hospitalized over the weekend when a surfing stunt for upcoming movie Of Men And Mavericks went wrong. The 300 star was filming in northern California when a large wave brought him crashing down, leaving him struggling to keep his head above the water. Surfer Frank Quirarte writes in a post on his ESPN Action Sports blog, "Butler was held down for a solid two-waves and took four or five more waves on the head. He was then washed through the rocks on the inside before he was finally able to be plucked out." "When they brought Butler in he had that 100-yard stare that surfers get after a two-wave hold (down) or near death experience." Butler was taken to Stanford University Medical Center and checked over for injuries before being released. The actor's representative tells ET Online, "He's fine. Very scary. They brought him to Stanford University. More scary than anything. For precaution, we all wanted him checked out after it all happened. Came out with flying colors."

Screenwriter Sues James Cameron For $2.5 Billion Over 'Avatar' December 20th, 2011 8:55am EST 
 Director James Cameron has been hit with a $2.5 billion lawsuit over new allegations he stole the idea for his 2009 sci-fi epic "Avatar."Sci-fi screenwriter Bryant Moore claims the legendary filmmaker based "Avatar" on his scripts for two projects called "Aquatica and Descendants: The Pollination," adding that there are too many plot similarities between his ideas and Cameron's movie for them not to be linked. Moore is also taking action against Cameron's production company Lightstorm Entertainment and executives at movie studio 20th Century Fox and is demanding the huge sum for damages, reports TMZ.com.
 Avatar raked in $2.78 billion worldwide to become the highest-grossing film of all time. It's the second such lawsuit Cameron is facing - another plaintiff, Eric Ryder, filed copyright infringement papers against the star earlier this month, alleging he had approached Lightstorm bosses with an idea for an "environmentally themed 3D epic" in 1999 - a decade before "Avatar" was released.

James Franco May Play A Young Hugh Hefner In Porn Biopic December 21st, 2011 10:00am EST 
James Franco is in talks to portray a young Hugh Hefner in an upcoming biopic about porn legend Linda Lovelace.
 Amanda Seyfried has replaced Kate Hudson to portray the adult actress-turned-porn activist in the forthcoming project, opposite Peter Sarsgaard as Lovelace's husband Chuck Traynor.
 Oscar nominee Franco was previously linked to the role of Traynor, but now he's being touted to take on a smaller part as the Playboy magazine founder, reports trade paper Daily Variety.
 Hank Azaria has joined the cast as Jerry Damiano, the director of hit porn film "Deep Throat."

Fashion House Louis Vuitton Sues 'The Hangover Part II' Over A Handbag  December 23rd, 2011 8:31am EST 
Movie bosses behind The Hangover sequel are facing legal action from the Louis Vuitton fashion house over a purse carried by Zach Galifianakis' character in the hit comedy. Executives of the French brand have filed a lawsuit against the makers of The Hangover Part II alleging a handbag seen onscreen in the hands of Galifianakis is a Louis Vuitton fake.
The legal papers, filed at a federal court in New York on Thursday, state fashion bosses are unhappy with a scene in which the actor carries a bag with a LVM logo and says, "Careful, that is a Louis Vuitton."
They claim the bag is not a real Louis Vuitton and could cause confusion among consumers, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Louis Vuitton bosses want the scene to be cut from the film, while they are also demanding a share of the movie's profits.

'Ghost Rider' Creator Loses Legal Dispute  December 30th, 2011 12:29pm EST 
 The writer who created Ghost Rider has lost a legal battle with comic book bosses over the rights to the character.
The fiery, motorcycle-riding superhero first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1972 and was later immortalized on the big screen by Nicolas Cage in the 2007 movie of the same name, with a sequel planned for 2012.
Freelance writer Gary Friedrich, who came up with the character, filed suit against Marvel in the year the film came out, alleging bosses had used the Ghost Rider concept for movies, video games and merchandise without his permission.
However, a judge in New York has now ruled against Friedrich, stating Marvel bosses own the rights to the character as they paid the writer for his work at the time, according to Reuters. Manhattan federal court judge Katherine Forrest declared, "If Friedrich... had any rights to the character or the work at the time he endorsed the (pay) checks... he relinquished those rights to Marvel." Friedrich's lawyers have vowed to appeal against the decision.

Christopher Nolan Says Completing 'Dark Knight Rises' Was 'Pretty Emotional' December 31st, 2011 8:30am EST 
Moviemaker Christopher Nolan is experiencing mixed emotions as he completes editing on his final "Batman" movie after saying farewell to his cast just before Christmas.
The shoot on the hotly-anticipated "The Dark Knight Rises" is complete, and now Nolan is in post-production getting the sequel ready for its summer release. And he admits his Christmas was tinged with sadness as he realized there were great friends he'd never get the chance to work with again.
He tells the Los Angeles Times, "It was pretty emotional as we would finish these characters and say goodbye to Alfred (Michael Caine) for the last time and say goodbye to Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and eventually, with Christian (Bale), fairly close to the end. "Saying goodbye to Batman... it was a big deal. And with these newer characters too, finishing with Anne (Hathaway, who plays Catwoman) and all these guys. It was quite touching, I must say."

And Ralph Fiennes' Secret New James Bond Role Is...January 3rd, 2012 1:59pm EST |  By: NextMovie 
The shroud of secrecy surrounding the upcoming James Bond film "Skyfall" has been so dense, you'd almost think Christopher Nolan or Ridley Scott were directing it, but now the first real spoiler has just hit the internet... and this one is about as big as they come. Forget spoiler warnings; you're going to need a bomb shield for this one, because your head is about to explode. 
First, let's set the stage by going over what we already know about "Skyfall." The third installment in the current Daniel Craig iteration of the venerable spy franchise, "Skyfall" was delayed — and nearly cancelled outright — due to legal wrangling by the studio. Now it's finally in full swing, with director Sam Mendes ("Revolutionary Road," "American Beauty") preparing the film for a Nov. 9, 2012, release. Until now, though, all we really knew about the plot is that it heavily involves M, James Bond's boss, who has been played by Judi Dench since 1995's "Goldeneye." Or should we say, had been played?
Yes, it's a shocker: According to MovieWeb, "Skyfall" will be the last film for Dench as the movie will detail M's retirement as well as the training for her replacement -- and the new M will be none other than Ralph Fiennes.
"Ralph Fiennes plays a government agent, which we never get a name on, because he is set to play the new M," the bombshell from MovieWeb reads. Dench's "past forces her to leave as head of MI6, and find a new M. The board of MI6 then turns to a government agent (Ralph Fiennes) to take over. M (Dame Judi) is now forced to train the new head of MI6."
There's no question that the franchise just won't be the same without Dench. But will fans warm to Fiennes in the role the way they have embraced John Cleese as Q? Or will the thought of the world's freedom being in the hands of Lord Voldemort be too much? Either way, it looks like this time, Chicken Little was right, because the sky really is falling in the 007 universe.
We'll miss you, Judi.

The Pentagon Investigating Kathryn Bigelow's Osama Bin Laden Film January 6th, 2012 3:37pm EST 
U.S. officials have launched an investigation into reports suggesting Oscar-winning moviemaker Kathryn Bigelow and her screenwriter partner Mark Boal received classified information while they were researching their new Osama Bin Laden film.
Hours after Warrior star Joel Edgerton was confirmed as the new film's leading man, America's deputy inspector general for intelligence and special program assessments, Patricia A. Brannin, revealed an investigation was underway following concerns raised last year by New York politician Pete King.
King raised the issue in August after reading an article about Bigelow and Boal in the New York Times, in which columnist Maureen Dowd suggested the pair was given access to "top-level access to the most classified mission in history."
In a statement obtained by the Los Angeles Times, King writes, "The leaks that followed the successful Bin Laden mission led to the arrests of Pakistanis and put in danger the mission's heroes and their families. Privately, individuals in the intelligence and special operations communities expressed support for my request for a probe. I look forward to an update on the investigation and actions taken thus far." When King first raised the issue in August, White House spokesman Jay Carney called his claims "ridiculous," stating, "We do not discuss classified information."  Executives at Sony, the film company behind Bigelow's new Bin Laden film, have yet to respond. The movie is scheduled for a December, 2012 release.

Gerard Butler Wanted To Get Back On Set After Surfing Accident January 7th, 2012 3:29pm EST 
Gerard Butler attempted to avoid hospital treatment after an on-set surfing accident last month so he could continue filming his new movie. The star was shooting "Of Men And Mavericks" in northern California when a large wave brought him crashing down, leaving him struggling to keep his head above the water. Butler was taken to Stanford University Medical Center, but he had to be convinced by movie bosses to seek medical assistance. He tells U.K. talk show host Graham Norton, "I was going to go back that day. I was actually in the ambulance and wanted to go back, which was a little crazy, but it's pretty addictive. "This was maybe one of the few times that the reports were not exaggerated. It was a pretty close call... (The waves) just took me and I couldn't get up. It was pretty hairy." But the incident helped Butler improve the portrayal of his character, surf enthusiast Rick 'Frosty' Hesson. He adds, "In the movie, I put in a scene about a 'two wave hold down,' when you are down for so long that the next wave comes over before you get back up, and that's what happened to me. They finally grabbed me just as another huge wave was coming in. It was just like a movie! In fact, everything I talked about happening in the movie happened to me."

Jim Carrey's God Complex Returns For 'Bruce Almighty' Sequel January 10th, 2012 1:08pm EST |  By: NextMovie 
Jim Carrey has spent plenty of time playing God in the past decade in the fight against vaccines with now ex-girlfriend Jenny McCarthy, but it seems like he's finally ready to keep the God complex where it belongs: on screen.
Slash Film reports that screenwriters Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel are penning a sequel to 2003 hit "Bruce Almighty," featuring Carrey in the lead role.
In the first film, which took in nearly $500 million worldwide despite mixed reviews from critics, Carrey played down-on-his luck TV reporter Bruce Nolan whose protestations about the way God (Morgan Freeman) does business earn him a temporary stint as the big man himself. Steve Carell, who played Carrey's work nemesis, Evan Baxter, in the original movie, was given the lead in the dismally performing 2007 pseudo-sequel, "Evan Almighty," in which Morgan Freeman reprised his role as God.
While Carrey's participation in the film has not yet been confirmed, Universal is definitely hoping to bring his star power back to the series. As for who will helm the project, you can probably count out Tom Shadyac, director of both the first two films in the "Almighty" series. After a devastating concussion, Shadyac gave up much of his money, quit the Hollywood game, an opened a homeless shelter in his home state of Virginia in an attempt to "stop the hypocrisy" in his life.
So which director will keep Carrey in check in the new film? God only knows.

Tom Hardy Tipped To Play Al Capone In 'Cicero' January 11th, 2012 2:12pm EST 
British actor Tom Hardy is in talks to play Al Capone in the upcoming gangster trilogy Cicero.
The Inception star is close to finalizing a deal to step into the infamous mobster's shoes in filmmaker David Yates' next project, which will chart Capone's childhood in Brooklyn, New York and his rise to power.
The first of the three movies is due to begin production next year, according to TheWrap.com.
 It's the latest high-profile leading part for Hardy, who will next be seen playing the villainous Bane in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises in July.

Jennifer Lopez Desperately Wants Lead Role In Mark Wahlberg's Upcoming 'Cocaine Cowboys'
January 11th, 2012 8:30pm EST 
Jennifer Lopez is fighting for a leading role in Mark Wahlberg's controversial drug trade movie Cocaine Cowboys, according to The Fighter star himself. The actor is hoping to shoot the film in Miami, Florida this summer and admits Lopez is chasing the role of 'Godmother' Griselda Blanco "like crazy." He tells satellite radio show Sway in the Morning that he's just waiting for a final script before announcing who will join him in the project about the drug trade that swept through southern Florida in the 1970s and 1980s. And he isn't surprised Lopez is so interested in the role of Blanco - because it could be her ticket to an Oscar nomination. He says, "It's one of those characters that will go down in history... If I could play Griselda, I would. That's Academy Award (material) right there." Wahlberg has developed a reputation as a lucky charm for Oscar hopefuls after his The Fighter co-stars Melissa Leo and Christian Bale both won Best Supporting honors at the Academy Awards last year.

AMC Greenlights 'Goodfellas' TV Series January 12th, 2012 10:26am EST 
A TV series based on Martin Scorsese's gangster classic Goodfellas has been given the go-ahead by bosses at U.S. network AMC. Rumors circulated back in 2010 that a TV version of the hit 1990 movie was in the works following the success crime drama Boardwalk Empire, and now writer Nicholas Pileggi, who created the original screenplay, has officially signed on to pen the script. Goodfellas producer Irwin Winkler and his son David are also attached to the project, according to Deadline.com.
The storyline is set to follow Ray Liotta's mobster character, Henry Hill, throughout his early years and serve as a prequel to the film. Casting for the series has not yet begun.

Daniel Radcliffe To Play Allen Ginsberg January 14th, 2012 10:45am EST 
Daniel Radcliffe has confirmed reports he'll be playing another literary hero on the big screen - this time a real one.
The young Brit will portray beat writer Allen Ginsberg in a star-studded new murder mystery.
 Radcliffe admits he has been attached to the project for months but was sworn to secrecy.
 He says, "I'm thrilled to actually finally be able to talk about it. It's a project that I've kind of been attached to for a long time. It's called Kill Your Darlings and it's a story about a murder that was kind of the catalyst to forming the Beat Generation, so it's a film about Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and Lucien Carr... who was a really instrumental figure in all of their lives. "Potentially, I think, it could be a really great film and it's already got a really great cast."
 Chris Evans and Jesse Eisenberg are also attached to the movie, but Radcliffe has refused to name names.

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