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March 6, 2000

'Matrix' Talk & Tidbits: Some small details of the fast approaching Matrix sequel productions are turning up. While talking to Entertainment Weekly, Keanu Reeves carefully avoided giving any specific details of what the next two films involved, though he did drop some hints. Initially, though, he says what we know, stating, "Filming starts late in March in Oakland. I've read both scripts and they're fantastic." Reeves adds, "Before, all the fights were one on one and now there's going to be more multifighting." On this point, the site quotes Reeves from his recent Rolling Stone interview, when he said, "There's going to be much more wire work (in the sequels) because the characters can fly. With this one I'll fight in the sky." Regarding when production on the sequels might wrap, Reeves says, "From what I've heard, I'm working until September 2002." That would suggest that the second film, at the earliest, wouldn't hit theaters until holiday season 2002, though it would suggest summer 2003. In addition, it is reported that the twin productions are scheduled for 200 days of shooting, which could be lengthened due to the threatened actors strike. The shoot will star in Oakland and run for 12 weeks before shutting down for the strike, even if there isn't one. This shut down will allow the effects side of the production to kick in and do their thing. After the strike is averted or settled, shooting will resume in Australia. No mention is made of shoots in Chicago.

Moss Talks 'Matrix' Sequels: Carrie Anne Moss is talking about the fast approaching Matrix sequel productions. While promoting her film Momento, Moss spoke to iF Magazine about the film, saying, "I leave in a week to go to San Francisco to shoot for three and a half months." Like the Lord of the Rings production, the Matrix sequels will not be shot back-to-back, as previously reported, but simultaneously, according to Moss. The actress adds, "I am not sure how they’re going to do that." Regarding the upcoming potential strikes and their effects on the production, which is scheduled to shut down midstream for a number of weeks, Moss says, "I don’t know and I need to find out. I keep asking but nobody knows the answer to that. I don’t know if you can continue to work or if we’ll have to break during that time." Like everyone else involved in the production, Moss is staying mum on the specifics of the two coming films. All she would say was: "Both scripts are written and they are fantastic. I can’t say a word about either of them, but they are great. I trust The Brothers. If you knew them, you would trust them too."

'Andromeda' Is Not 'Trek': Keith Hamilton Cobb is talking about those previous comparisons of his show, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, to Star Trek. While talking to syndicated Inside Trek & Sci Fi columnist Ian Spelling, Cobb, who plays Tyr Anasazi on the series, gave his opinion on the matter, saying, "I think we disproved that comparison, and we will continue to disprove it. I don't think it was an astute analogy early on, anyway - it was a knee-jerk reaction. "People made judgment calls about that and several other things early on," he adds. "It's a new show. The Nietzscheans were not meant to be anything like Klingons and, in fact, they are not. Anybody who still wants to make that analogy will make it - it's easy, but it's just not so." Cobb also talks about the success of the series in a tough market for syndicated shows, saying, "How could I not be pleased? We've received a lot of good press and a lot of positive fan feedback...The target audience is generally thrilled."

March 1, 2000

Lucas Reveals Lee's Role: George Lucas has confirmed the name of the character that veteran actor Christopher Lee will be playing in Star Wars: Episode II. In his written introduction to the book Christopher Lee: The Authorised Screen History, by Jonathan Rigby, Lucas confirms a long lived rumor, has writing: "When it was time to cast the role of Count Dooku in Star Wars: Episode II my casting director suggested Christopher Lee and I jumped at the opportunity to work with him. I knew that I needed someone who could convey evil. But in addition, I needed someone to bring stature, strength and wisdom to the role. His villainous résumé speaks for itself." While talking to Empire Online, the actor himself gave the latest word on the developing film and possibly beyond, saying, "As far as Star Wars is concerned we have not finished photography. Principal photography? Yes, but there will be pickups and I believe that George has revealed the name of the character I play in his introduction [to the book]. I haven’t said anything and I still haven’t...If George has revealed it, that’s where I leave it. I don’t want to get into trouble with George because there’s number three, don’t forget!" "Number three?" Hmmm...

Lee Talks 'Rings': Christopher Lee is talking about the Lord of the Rings films, again. While talking to Empire Online, Lee spoke favorably, again, about Jackson, saying, "His instincts are amazing. His stamina is something I could barely believe. He’s a very stable man. He has tremendous stamina and he needed it, he needed it." When asked to compare Star Wars: Episode II with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lee says, "I’ve said before that the Lord of the Rings, in my opinion – Star Wars speaks for itself, of course. It’ll be titanic as a film, they all are and deservedly so – but the Lord of the Rings will, I think, create cinema history because I don’t think anybody will have seen anything quite like it."

'Rings' Filming Update: Though principal photography on the Lord of the Rings films had wrapped, that doesn't mean there isn't filming still going on. According to E! Online, graphic and digital artists are hard at work on the three films' special effects needs, with word that a replacement for the departed Mark Stetson has been hired, though as yet his name has not been revealed. The site reports that coming up soon will be filming of the flooding of Isengard. Meanwhile, Peter Jackson is said to be out overseeing "aerial photography in the mountainous South Island of New Zealand," via helicopter.

'Conan 3' Title?: Word has it that John Milius has begun working on the script for the third Conan movie... and it now may have a title. While talking to IGN FilmForce, unnamed sources said to be close to the director-writer revealed that the third film is tentatively called King Conan: Crown of Iron. A King Conan movie has been rumored for quite some time, and should Arnold Schwarzenegger choose to actually play the title role (which Milius is said to want), he's certainly in the right age range. Time will tell, of course.

'Tomb Raider' Scene Info: Information regarding one of the action sequences in the coming Tomb Raider movie has turned up online. The scene involves a chase across an ice lagoon which had been shot in Iceland. According to's Action-Adventure domain, Leifur B. Dagfinnsson, the Executive Producer for Saga Film Productions in Iceland, who provided production service for the shoot, spoke of the scene...which may well be considered a spoiler. If you would rather not know a thing about what will be coming in the TR film, then move along to another story by using one of the links at the right. Still there? You were warned. The site quotes Dagfinnsson talking about what the shoot involved, saying, "[Lara Croft] is traveling from the base of a crater and finding the entrance for some extra terrestrial goal or item, what their searching for, so she's trying to find the ice cave that leads down to that thing," Dagfinnsson recalled. "She starts off going up the glacier, the tongue of the glacier on dogsleds and amphibian boats. She sails through the icebergs on the ice lagoon onto the tongue of the glacier. Then she takes the dog sleds up the tongue to the top of the mountain. There, you go into the ice cave and that became a studio [shoot]. She actually goes full speed into the cave on dog sleds." The producer also revealed that the scene involved Croft being chased a gang led by Powell (Iain Glen). No explosives were used, but there was some gunplay. About what his company contributed, Dagfinnsson says, "We serviced a week's shoot where they shot on the ice lagoon using ice bergs. They needed like a Siberian landscape and then the top of a glacier. That involved bringing 100 people crew in from the U.K that was chartered in with the equipment as well and then 150 Icelandic crew members were added on with safety guards, security, extras, etc. We shot on the glacier and brought 250 people up there."

February 27, 2000

Ford's 'K-19' Paycheck?: It looks like Harrison Ford will be taking home quite a big paycheck for his work in the upcoming K-19: The Widowmaker. According to the NY Post, the actor will pull in an estimated $25M for 20 days of work. Regarding the money and the movie, Ford is quoted as saying, ""The cash didn't tempt me. I took the part because of the gripping plot...The tremendous courage and sense of duty exhibited by the Russian submarine force amid the Cold War struggle for nuclear supremacy inspired me to take on the role of Captain Zateyev." The film's executive producer, Tim Kelly, doesn't have a problem with that, saying, "We would have paid anything to get Harrison Ford on board. He guarantees a hit."

More 'Galactica' Info: Studios USA big shot Dan Pasternack has been talking about the quickly developing Battlestar Galactica TV series, spearheaded by Bryan Singer. While talking to SCIFI.COM, the executive revealed that preliminary plans for the coming series are to pick up after the events of the previous '70s program. Still, he notes, "It's a little bit premature, and we're in the very early creative inception. I will tell you that Bryan Singer's intent is to be very faithful to the spirit and legacy of the original show. I think his intent is creatively to go forward in time as the saga has continued in his mind." Currently, there are no plans to feature any of the characters from the original series...except the Cylons. On this point, Pasternack says, "I think it's safe to say you can't do Battlestar Galactica without Cylons, [but] what our relationship to the Cylons will be, I can't say." Once again, he emphasizes how faithful the new show will be to the original, though Pasternack reveals that some things will change, saying, "I can assure you [Singer] is very committed to adhering to that which came before. He's not looking to take it in any direction that would be disappointing to the fans of the original show." But, then, he adds, "I don't know if [finding Earth] is the goal in this show. ... We could be on a different exodus." Pasternack also reveals that there have been, as yet, no talks with series star Richard Hatch. However, producer Glen Larsen is said to be on board as an advisor, as the exec says, "Bryan and Glen sat down. We wanted to make sure this union was very blessed by Glen. ... He has blessed this and wants to see it go forward. ... We want to make sure that respect is paid." As for when the series will premiere, the exec says that it probably won't be earlier than mid-season 2002, adding, "It's pretty epic stuff we're going to do. We're committed to doing it right, now that we have Bryan. It's waited some 20-odd years to be reborn. We're committed to doing it right."

Mulder Coming Back?: Recent word from Chris Carter would further suggest that abducted FBI agent Fox Mulder is very much alive...and may be back for a potential 9th season of The X-Files or at least a second feature film. According to the LA Times, while appearing at a preview screening of the Lone Gunmen on Friday night at the Beverly Hills' Museum of Television & Radio, a fan in attendance asked Carter if David Duchovny would be coming back next year. Carter is said to have answered, "He has not ruled it out, but if he does come back, it would be in a more limited way than he's done for the eighth [current] season." He added, "Banning anything unforeseen, [the series] should be back for a ninth season. But if it's not, the movie will follow right after the eighth season."

February 25, 2000

Lucas: 'Star Wars' Sequels: Sure, there's the prequels, but George Lucas continues to stay firm regarding a potential Star Wars sequel series. While talking to USA Today, Lucas was asked if there was any chance he might change his mind and do them. Lucas answered, "No way. I guarantee that. After the next one (Episode III), I'll move on."

'X-Men 2' Talk: A number of the cast of the X-Men movie have been talking about what they would like to see happen in the coming sequel. In an article in Ultimate DVD magazine, Patrick Stewart, Famke Janssen and Anna Paquin revealed what they'd like to see happen. Stewart sounds like he wouldn't mind acting with Ian McKellen again when he says, "I would hope we might find more time for Magneto and Xavier to be together." Paquin is looking to be a little more active, saying, "I think next time I’d like to do a bit of fighting, because Rogue spends most of this movie being a damsel in distress." Janssen draws from X-Men comic history in her hopes. She says, "The interesting thing about Jean Grey is that she goes through different transformations and she turns into Dark Phoenix at some point, which of course we didn’t even touch upon in this film. But the little times that we’ve foreshadowed something was the sense of what Professor Xavier teaches at the school is you have to be in charge of your powers. That’s one of the things Jean is not that good at yet, and that’s one of the things that eventually will turn her into Dark Phoenix."

Gish Talks 'X-Files': Annabeth Gish is talking about what we can expect from her new role of FBI agent Monica Reyes in this week's episode of The X-Files. While talking to TV Guide Online, Gish explains that the initial meeting between her character and Dana Scully has seeming bumps, saying, "There is tension in the beginning because I am sort of the new girl on the block, but my character makes it very clear that I'm of no threat. I'm not coming in to try and take over [Scully's] division." Regarding her character's past with John Doggett, Gish says, "There is the suggestion of a romance, but mainly we [once] worked on a case together involving the loss of his son, so bringing me in helps to illuminate his past as well." Of course, word has it that should the series go on to a ninth season, Gish will become a regular part of the cast. On this point, the actress says, "It's all up in the air. Hopefully [it] will happen. I'm just having such a wonderful time, and it's a family I'd love to continue to work with."

Eaves On 'Trek' 5 Ship: Word has it that designer John Eaves, who worked on the upcoming Star Trek: The Motion Picture DVD, has been tapped to participate in the creation of the featured starship for the coming fifth Star Trek TV series. In an interview with Radio Free Decipher, Dan Madsen, prez of the Official Star Trek Fan Club, revealed, "He is currently working on the new Star Trek series that's in development and he is designing the new starship for that show."

Mumba In 'Time Machine': Though previous reports courtesy of her agent said it was so, DreamWorks and Warner Bros. are confirming that Irish singer Samantha Mumba has joined the cast of the currently in production Time Machine remake. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Mumba will take on the role of Mara, one of the docile humans of the future that are bred like cattle by the cannibalistic Morlocks. The film stars Guy Pearce as the time traveler with Sienna Guillory, Jeremy Irons and Mark Addy.

DeSanto Talks 'Galactica': X-Men producer Tom DeSanto is shedding light on how he and Bryan Singer became involved in relaunching the Battlestar Galactica franchise. While talking to's own Smilin' Jack Ruby, DeSanto revealed how he and Singer jumped on to Galactica, saying, "We were on a plane going to the X-Men press junket in early July before X-Men comes out. Before that, Bryan said, what do you think’ll be the next big thing? When he said, what’ll be the next big thing and I said Battlestar Galactica, he got it instantly. His face lit up and he knew exactly what I was talking about. Battlestar Galactica is a sleeping giant. It’s the number 3 science fiction franchise on the planet behind Star Wars and Star Trek. It’s the number 2 internationally, I think, surpassing Star Trek just out of fans behind Star Wars. I brought him the DVD of the original one-hour movie and he watched it on the plane going out there. Afterwards he said, you know, let’s do it! So then we started to sketch things out at that point, seriously, as opposed to me doing it with books in private. When we took it to Studios USA, (USA Television Production Group president) Dave Kissinger and (USA senior vp of drama programming) Dan Pasternack got it immediately. They were really enthusiastic about doing it with us." When asked how many of the characters from the original TV series would be making the jump to the new one, DeSanto answers, "I think we’ll leave that for a later revelation. I promise that old fans and people who haven’t heard of it alike will be happy with the new series." Then, he adds, "The main thing we want is for the fans to give us a chance. The same thing with X-Men. I understand the passion. I’m a hardcore fan. I know the Battleship Pegasus and I know Commander Cain, Count Iblis, and all those things, but allow us to work our story and not for the hardcore fans to jump on anything in a negative way until they see it. I think everybody’s going to be happy and people who haven’t seen Galactica before will find it accessible and it will get a whole new generation of fans." Regarding original Galactica star Richard Hatch's attempts to revive the show, DeSanto admits that he's never seen the trailer reel the actor created. As to if Hatch might eventually be involved in the series, the producer says, "You know what – I have ideas, I’ll say that much. He’s got such passion for the project and love for the franchise that you have to really respect and admire that."

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