On Saturday, Oct. 28, 2006, the first of what creators hope will be seven years worth of direct-to-video HELLBOY movies will premiere on Cartoon Networks action-oriented Toonami programming block. HELLBOY: SWORD OF STORMS takes Mike Mignolas comicbook good-guy demon off the comicbook page (and out of Guillermo del Toros 2004 live-action feature) and into animation. Its a dream come true for Tad Stones, a Disney TV animation veteran and the projects supervising producer/director.
Stones and Mignola first worked together on the TV adaptation of Disneys ATLANTIS THE LOST EMPIRE feature. Theres years of this stuff [Mignolas HELLBOY comicbook stories], enough for at least good 20 movies," Stone told AWN. "Id like to be able to do that make three a year over seven years. Each one would be entirely different, entirely its own thing.
During the seven years it took to bring the live-action HELLBOY to the screen, del Toro considered doing an animated version instead. Now, with a second theatrical feature due in 2008 (once again directed by del Toro and starring Ron Perlman) an animated version will keep the character in action (and in fans minds) in the interim.
The cartoon HELLBOY is a different demon from both the comic and live-action versions. The closer things are to his art, says Stones of Mignola, the harder time he has watching it. All he sees are the differences & it drives him crazy. Instead, the artists give the characters an original look for animation design. HELLBOY: SWORD OF STORMS kicks standard cartoon action/adventure up a notch as well: fight scenes, language and villains are more than a touch nastier than whats been seen before, with any number of zombies and other supernatural beings dying satisfyingly gruesome deaths. While scenes have been trimmed for its Cartoon Network airing a process Stones likens to showing DIE HARD on regular TV, he promises that the version on the eventual DVD release will be the movie that we made.
The story unfolds as a university professor opens a forbidden scroll and is possessed by the twin demons of thunder and lightning who seek to return to the world to wake their brothers, the dragons. Hellboy, along with a folklore expert and a psychic, travels to Japan to check this out. Hellboy finds the sword of storms the only weapon that can defeat the demons. He is transported to a place where he encounters several creatures of Japanese folklore. While defeating the demons, he must bear in mind that the sword holds the magic that will return them to Earth.
Several actors from the 2004 Guillermo del Toro-directed live-action movie lend their voices to HELLBOY: SWORD OF STORMS, including Perlman (Hellboy), Selma Blair (Liz Sherman) and Doug Jones (Abe Sapien). John Hurt is Professor Trevor 'Broom' Bruttenholm and Peri Gilpin is Professor Kate Corrigan.
Mignola co-wrote the movies story while the screenplay is by Matt Wayne and Stones. Phil Weinstein directs the movie with Stone. Guillermo del Toro and Mignola are creative producers. Exec producers are IDT. Ent., Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin of Lawrence Gordon Prods and Mike Richardson of Dark Horse Comics.
HELLBOY: SWORD OF STORMS is produced by Film Roman, a Starz Media Co. and is distributed worldwide for television and on DVD/video by Starz Media Llc. Starz Media has licensed all animation rights to the Hellboy franchise from Revolution Studios. Partnering with Revolution Studios, Film Roman is developing and producing animated content for television and home entertainment as well as a full range of integrated marketing applications across all categories.
HELLBOY: SWORD OF STORMS premieres Oct, 28 at 9:30 pm.
reported by Joe Strike