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J. Michael Straczynski Options Harlan Ellison’s Classic Sci-Fi Story ‘Repent, Harlequin!’

By | Tuesday February 18, 2014 @ 12:50pm PST
Mike Fleming

repentEXCLUSIVE: For the first time, iconic sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison has allowed a film to be developed based on Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktock Man, the seminal story he published in Galaxy magazine in 1965. Ellison has granted an option directly to J. Michael Straczynski, whose recent credits include World War Z, Thor, the TV series Babylon 5 and Sense8, the upcoming Netflix series he is doing with Lana and Andy Wachowski.

jmstHow did Straczynski do it? He had to deliver a finished screenplay to Ellison, whose credits range from The Outer Limits and Star Trek to being acknowledged in many sci-fi works including James Cameron’s The Terminator, and serving as a Babylon 5 consultant. Only then did Ellison grant the option.

The story is about Everett C. Marm, an ordinary man who disguises himself as the anarchical Harlequin and engages in whimsical rebellion against the Ticktockman. The trouble is that if he is found out, the government could stop his heart at long distance if they learn who he is. Straczynski sees the cautionary tale as especially relevant in a post-Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street environment, or even Edward Snowden, in a story of a man who goes against the system and must pay the price for his actions. Now that the script is done, Straczynski will look for production partners and a director, and the first parties he will approach will be Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro. Ellison’s story won the 1966 Hugo Award and the 1965 Nebula Award, among others. Read More »

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Netflix Picks Up Wachowskis/ Georgeville Sci-Fi Drama ‘Sense8′ With 10-Episode Order

By | Wednesday March 27, 2013 @ 8:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The Wachowskis’ new sci-fi drama project Sense8 has landed at Netflix with a 10-episode order for a debut on Netflix Instant in late 2014. The series is produced by Georgeville TV, Reliance Entertainment/Motion Picture Capital’s TV studio, in association with J. Michael Straczynski‘s Studio JMS. This marks the first foray into TV series for the Wachowski siblings, the masterminds of The Matrix franchise, who are teamed with sci-fi veteran Straczynski (Babylon 5). Sense8 is described as “a gripping global tale of minds linked and souls hunted” that incorporates the Wachowskis’ storytelling style. “Andy and Lana Wachowski and Joe Straczynski are among the most imaginative writers and gifted visual storytellers of our time,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. Added the Wachowskis, “We’re excited to work with Netflix and Georgeville Television on this project, and we’ve wanted to work with Joe Straczynski for years, chiefly due to the fact his name is harder to pronounce than ours, but also because we share a love of genre and all things nerdy.” The duo, repped by WME and Circle Of Confusion, also shed some light on how the series was conceived. “Several years ago, we had a late-night conversation about the ways technology simultaneously unites and divides us, and out of that paradox Sense8 was born.”

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J. Michael Straczynski To Write Film Based On Valiant Comic ‘Shadowman’

By | Friday October 12, 2012 @ 1:07pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Valiant Entertainment and The Mummy producer Sean Daniel are teaming up to turn the Valiant Comic Shadowman into a live action feature. They’ve made a deal with J. Michael Straczynski to write the script.

Straczynski’s work ranges from writing/producing TV series that include Babylon 5 and Jeremiah, scripting films that include Thor, Ninja Assassin, Underworld Awakening and the Clint Eastwood-directed Changeling, and hatching comic books that include the Amazing Spider-Man and Superman: Earth One.

Shadowman has sold millions of comic books sold and spawned two multi-platform video games. The film’s logline: the forces of darkness are determined to claim New Orleans as their own, and Jack Boniface must accept the legacy he was born to uphold, in order to stop them. As Shadowman, Jack is about to become the only thing that stands between his city and an army of unspeakable monstrosities from beyond the night. He must pay a high price and master his new abilities before Master Darque brings down the wall between reality and the eldritch darkness of the Deadside.

The film’s producers are Jason Kothari, Dinesh Shamdasani, Sean Daniel and Jason Brown, with Straczynski the exec producer. The movie action comes as Valiant launches a new Shadowman comic book series to be released November 7, with Patrick Zircher (Thor, Captain America) and Justin Jordan (Strange Talent Of Luther Strode) at the helm. Read More »

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R.I.P. Michael O’Hare

By | Saturday September 29, 2012 @ 9:40am PDT

Julliard-trained actor Michael O’Hare who helped launch the Babylon 5 sci-fi TV series by portraying Commander Jeffrey Sinclair in its first season, passed away Friday night from complications of cardiac arrest. He was 60. The show’s creator J Michael Straczynski posted on his Facebook page that O’Hare had been in a coma since suffering a heart attack on September 23rd. In Season 2, O’Hare’s character was replaced for the remainder of the show’s 5-year run by Bruce Boxleitner’s Captain John Sheridan. But O’Hare reprised the role in Seasons 2 and 3 during guest appearances. He appeared on many TV series, including Kate & Allie, The Equalizer, Tales from the Darkside, The Cosby Mysteries, and Law & Order.

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Comic-Con: J. Michael Straczynski Hatches Multi-Platform Studio JMS

By | Wednesday July 11, 2012 @ 3:29pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Comic-Con fixture J. Michael Straczynski will launch a new media company here to handle his prolific output in comic books, digital, TV series, feature films and video games. Studio JMS is designed to bring his output under one roof, and the idea is for the projects to cross-pollinate in other media.

Straczynski’s work ranges from writing/producing TV series that include Babylon 5 and Jeremiah, scripting films that include Thor, Ninja Assassin, Underworld Awakening and the Clint Eastwood-directed Changeling, and hatching comic books that include the Amazing Spider-Man and Superman: Earth One.

Related: ‘Twilight Saga’s Stephenie Meyer Planning Comic-Con Surprise For ‘The Host’

Straczynski will run the studio with Patricia Tallman, who has done her share of acting in horror and sci-fi films, and appeared in Babylon 5 as an actress. For the past decade, she ran Talent To Go as creator and co-owner. They have a number of initiatives that include an ambitious feature that will mark his directorial debut.

The Flickering Light, Straczynski tells me, is a fact-based film about how Nazi propaganda director Leni Reifenstahl, making a film that required Spanish actors, rented ethnic-looking Jews and gypsys, men, women and children who were imprisoned in the Max Glan Concentration Camp outside Berlin. During the course of the shoot, bonds were formed between the “actors,” who were brought back to resume their hellish existence in the camp after each day’s shooting. If you think that Reifenstahl is getting slack … Read More »

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DreamWorks Hears ‘Voices From The Dead’

By | Wednesday February 9, 2011 @ 12:55pm PST
Mike Fleming

DreamWorks has acquired Voices from the Dead, an original script by Changeling and Thor scribe J. Michael Straczynski. The thriller is based on the friendship between magician Harry Houdini and mystery author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. They were actually friends, but the script is a fictional account of how they teamed up with a psychic to solve bizarre murders in 1920s New York. CAA made the deal.

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Kate Beckinsale Back For ‘Underworld 4′

By | Thursday September 23, 2010 @ 5:07pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Kate Beckinsale has signed on for a fourth installment of Underworld. The new pic has been written by John Hlavin with a rewrite by J. Michael Straczynski. No director yet. Screen Gems, which distributed the first three, is back for the fourth. Production starts March in Vancouver.

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