Comics making the jump from page to screen

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
(New Line)
Release date: Sept. 30
Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Viggo Mortensen (Tom Stall), Maria Bello (Edie Stall), Ed Harris (Carl Fogarty) and William Hurt (Richie Cusack)
Synopsis: Based on a graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke (from the same publisher that brought you “Road to Perdition”). Tom Stall’s small-town life is changed overnight after he kills, in self-defense, two wanted men in his diner. As he and his family strive to return to their normal lives, they’re suddenly menaced by Carl Fogarty, a mysterious figure who blames Tom for wronging him in the past.

V FOR VENDETTA
(WB)
Release date: Nov. 4
Director: James McTeigue
Cast: Natalie Portman (Evey), Stephen Rea (Lewis Pothrero), Hugo Weaving (V)
Synopsis: Based on the 1988 graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd and produced by the Wachowski brothers and Joel Silver. A young woman, Evey, is thrust into the midst of a revolution after being rescued by V, a masked vigilante. As the two rally citizens to overthrow the government, Evey begins to discover the truth about herself and the mysterious V.

X3
(Fox)
Release date: May 26
Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Halle Berry (Storm), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Famke Janssen (Jean Grey), Patrick Stewart (Professor Charles Xavier), Kelsey Grammer (the Beast)
Synopsis: After Bryan Singer ankled for a deal at Warner Bros. (see below), the next installment of this boffo franchise quickly tried on directors in order to meet its summer 2006 playdate. After Singer, Fox tapped “Layer Cake” helmer Matthew Vaughn, who left the project for personal reasons. While most of the primary cast members have returned, Fox is keeping the logline of the script under lock and key.

SUPERMAN RETURNS
(WB)
Release date: June 30
Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: Brandon Routh (Clark Kent/Superman), Kevin Spacey (Lex Luther), Kate Bosworth (Lois Lane), Parker Posey (Kitty Kowalski), James Marsden (Richard White), Eva Marie Saint (Martha Kent)
Synopsis: Close to 10 years in development, fans were under the impression that the next development process for “Superman” was plagued by Kryptonite. At first Tim Burton was attached under title “Superman Reborn,” with Nicolas Cage donning the cape. After being mysteriously absent for several years, the Man of Steel returns to Earth to mend his relationship with Lois Lane and protect the world from arch nemesis Lex Luthor.

GHOST RIDER
(Sony)
Release date: Aug. 4, 2006
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Cast: Nicolas Cage (Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider), Eva Mendes (Roxanne Simpson), Wes Bentley (Blackheart), Peter Fonda (Mephistopheles)
Synopsis: “Ghost Rider” has been spinning doughnuts in development hell since 1992. Prior to Sony, Dimension was set to produce the pic based on the 1972 Marvel comicbook. Since 2001, Cage has been attached to play Johnny Blaze, a motorcycle stunt rider who struggles with his demonic alter ego, Ghost Rider. In the film, Blaze must save his girlfriend (Eva Mendes) and engage in mortal combat with Mephistopheles.

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