[News Bites] Poe’s ‘Red Death’, ‘The Boys’ Goes Into Turnaround, ‘Walking Dead’ Lawsuit’s Second Blow

The Walking Dead

As you can tell the EFM in Berlin is literally destroying our front page, so again we’re going to lump a few stories into a late night edition of “News Bites” (mostly for my sanity).

First, THR reports that Columbia Pictures is no longer part of The Boys club. The studio was developing the adaptation of the violent and edgy comic book from writer Garth Ennis and artist Darick Robertson but has put the project into turnaround. The book follows the adventures of a CIA squad, known informally as “the boys,” whose job is to keep watch on the proliferation of superheroes and, if necessary, intimidate or eliminate them. Writing duo Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay, as well as Seth Rogen, had worked on the screenplay since the project was first set up in 2009. Producers Neal H. Moritz of Original Film and Kickstart’s Jason Netter will now shop the project around town. It’s an amazing comic that deserves a small screen series treatment.

Robert Kirkman, the comic book writer who created “The Walking Dead” and the hit AMC television series by the same name, is firing back at the lawsuit filed Thursday by childhood friend and collaborator Tony Moore, who claims he was duped into signing away his rights to the lucrative franchise. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Kirkman, repped by attorney Allen Grodsky, writes:

The lawsuit is ridiculous, we each had legal representation seven years ago and now he is violating the same contract he initiated and approved and he wants to misrepresent the fees he was paid and continues to be paid for the work he was hired to do. Tony regularly receives payment for the work he did as penciler, inker and for gray tones on the first six issues of The Walking Dead comic series and he receives royalties for the TV show, to assert otherwise is simply incorrect.Full story here.

On the heels of the news this week that is out of ’ ,

Sony Pictures confirmed the departure of 19-year-old singer and actress Miley Cyrus from the upcoming animated vampire flick Hotel Transylvania, 3D, featuring Adam Sandler voicing the lead role of Dracula. Cyrus would have played Mavis, his teenage daughter, but was quickly replaced by former Disney darling Selena Gomez, says THR.

Also inside, we’ve landed a new look at Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins from Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, along with first details on the retelling of the classic Edgar Allan Poe tale The Mask of the Red Death. Prolific independent producer Jonathan Sothcott (Elfie Hopkins, Strippers Vs Werewolves) has announced ambitious plans for a post-apocalyptic, steampunk-styled adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic horror story The Mask of the Red Death, to be directed by acclaimed British filmmaker Robert Pratten (Mindflesh, London Voodoo).

London, 2020. As the radioactive clouds begin to fade after a devastating nuclear war, the last dregs of humanity fight to survive – drought and famine cripple this cracked, broken world. Electricity is a thing of the past. Hideous mutants stalk the night, desperately searching for food and warmth. A cold planet. A dying planet. Superstition is rife. Evil rises. Through the husk of the once great metropolis stalks a lone figure, The Red Death: to some a god, to others a freedom fighter. To all a nightmare of agonising death.

From the shell of a once great building, all that remains of his empire, corrupt billionaire Marzo rules what is left of London. His kill squads murder, pillage and rape. His group of friends indulge in every excess. Yet neither money or power can save Marzo from the Red Death… and it is coming for him.

The Mask of the Red Death will be a transmedia project encompassing a feature film, mobile app, web videos and social media. All media and marketing for the project will be integrated with a new technology called Conducttr, which allows audiences to take a participatory role in the storyworld. Although audiences can’t affect the outcome of the movie – it plays like any other – they will be incentivised to collect items across the web and physical locations in order to have a heightened experience of the movie when it screens.

The $1.5 million picture is scheduled to begin principal photography on June 1st, 2012. No casting has been announced as yet.

Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Mask of the Red Death was first published in 1842 and has been filmed a number of times, most notably by Roger Corman in 1964 with a cast including Vincent Price and Hazel Court.

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In other news, the Tim Burton Exhibit is headed to France, where La Cinematheque Francaise created a special event poster that displays Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows.

The cast includes Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Bella Heathcote, Chloe Moretz, Thomas McDonell, and newcomer Gulliver McGrath. Warner Bros. will release in theaters May 11, 2012.

In the year 1752 Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England, to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass, and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet — or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy…until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Brouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire and then burying him alive.

Two centuries later Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets. Matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) has called upon live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), to help with her family troubles.

Also residing in the manor are Elizabeth’s ne’er-do-well brother, Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller); her rebellious teenage daughter, Carolyn Stoddard (Chloe Moretz); and Roger’s precocious 10-year-old son, David Collins (Gulliver McGrath). The mystery extends beyond the family to caretaker Willie Loomis, played by Jackie Earle Haley, and David’s new nanny, Victoria Winters, played by Bella Heathcote.