Comics in development

Pix in production

Upcoming notable comic book projects; definitive credits listed.

Hellboy (Sony/Revolution)
Pedigree: Based on the series by Mike Mignola and published by Dark Horse Comics
Release date: May 28
Helmer: Guillermo Del Toro
Cast: Ron Perlman (Hellboy), John Hurt (Dr. Broom), Selma Blair (Liz Sherman)Lowdown: Pic, close to wrapping in Prague, follows the origins of Hellboy, a freak born in the flames of hell and brought to Earth by the benevolent Dr. Broom. Broom assembles an unlikely lot of vigilantes to fend off a madman, who wants to reclaim Hellboy to the dark side and use his powers to destroy mankind.

Spider-Man 2 (Sony)
Pedigree: Based on Marvel Comics’ long-running and extremely popular superhero character
Release date: July 2
Helmer: Sam Raimi
Scribes: Alvin Sargent, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Michael Chabon
Cast: Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Kirsten Dunst (Mary Jane), Alfred Molina (Dr. Otto Octavius), Harry Osborn (James Franco)
Lowdown: Peter Parker dwells on whether he should reveal his true identity to MJ, while Harry Osborn’s bitterness toward Spider-Man grows after the death of his father. New villain Dr. Otto Octavius enters the picture to wreak diabolical havoc. Currently lensing

Catwoman (WB)
Pedigree: Based on the supporting character and sometime villain from DC Comics’ Batman stories
Release date: July 30, 2004
Helmer: Pitof (“Vidocq”)
Cast: Halle Berry (Catwoman)
Lowdown: For a long time, project was considered a dream project for Michelle Pfeiffer, however, plans to bring her to the screen stalled with the studio. Ashley Judd was also attached at one time. Berry becomes the second black woman to slip into the cat suit since Eartha Kitt played naughty in the campy 1960s TV series. A screenplay draft is under way. Pic will go before the cameras in September.

The Punisher (Artisan)
Pedigree: Based on Marvel Comics’ tough-guy vigilante
Release date: Next summer
Helmer: Jonathan Hensleigh
Cast: Thomas Jane (Frank Castle/Punisher), John Travolta (Howard Saint), Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (Joan)
Lowdown: Frank Castle avenges the death of his family, who are killed as a repercussion for his last FBI special-ops assignment. Travolta’s the baddie and Romijn-Stamos plays Castle’s alluring next-door neighbor. Prospects for the pic are much higher than the 1989 straight-to-video Dolph Lundgren version. Lensing.

Blade 3 (New Line)
Pedigree: Began life as a supporting character in Marvel’s 1970s series Tomb of Dracula
Helmer and scribe: David Goyer
Release date: Third quarter 2004
Lowdown: The daywalker, Blade, faces his greatest challenge yet: humanity. After years of being hunted, the vampires elect to counter Blade by revealing his identity to the world at large. Now, with both vampires and human authorities on his tail, Blade must team up with a renegade group of hunters known as the Night Stalkers in order to confront the vilest threat mankind has ever faced – the progenitor of the vampire race itself. In pre-production.

Shazam (New Line)
Pedigree: A classic Golden Age hero, who once challenged Superman for superhero supremacy; originally published by Fawcett Comics and now calls DC home
Release date: Fourth quarter 2004
Scribe: William Goldman
Lowdown: When Billy Batson speaks the name of the ancient wizard, Shazam, he is transformed into the world’s mightiest mortal, Captain Marvel, who matches wits with nemesis Dr. Sivana. Being penned

Batman (WB)
Pedigree: Caped Crusader has been fighting crime for DC since 1939.
Release date: 2005
Helmer: Christopher Nolan
Scribe: David Goyer
Lowdown: Goyer is penning a script about the Dark Knight’s beginnings.

Constantine (WB)
Pedigree: Based on DC/Vertigo’s horror comic Hellblazer, about a con artist who dabbles in the occult.
Release date: Sept. 17, 2004
Francis Lawrence
Producer: Lauren Shuler Donner
Cast: Keanu Reeves (John Constantine)
Lowdown: John Constantine, renegade occultist, has literally been to hell and back. When he teams up with skeptical policewoman Katelin Dodson to solve the mysterious suicide of her twin sister, their investigation takes them through the world of demons and angels that exists just beneath the landscape of contemporary Los Angeles. Tentative start in September.

Iron Man (New Line)
Pedigree: Another classic Marvel Comics hero who originated in the 1960s
Release date: 2005
Producer: Don Murphy
Scribes: Al Gough and Miles Millar (“Smallville,” “Shanghai Knights”)
Lowdown: Industrial billionaire Tony Stark dons high-tech armor to unravel a web of deceit, dirty deals and weapons proliferation after the death of his warmonger father, Howard. Being penned

Way of the Rat (DreamWorks/Castle Rock)
Pedigree: Based on CrossGen Comics’ martial-arts series
Exec producer: Michael Uslan
Producer: Frank Darabont
Scribe/helmer: Chuck Russell
Lowdown: Project in development, could be first film to emerge from newcomer CrossGen.