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Giant Studios’ Motion Reality system has been selected as the technology of choice for motion-capture services on the highly anticipated New Line Cinema feature film trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings. New Line Cinema has signed Wellington, New Zealand-based Weta, Ltd. to handle the visual effects, and Weta has named Giant Studios as the exclusive motion-capture resource for all three films. "The films are demanding in that we are faced with the task of creating tens of thousands of digital extras and creatures which have to share the frame believably with live actors," says Charlie McCellan, Weta’s Visual Effects Producer. "Giant’s state-of-the-art capture system and software allows us to apply performance capture with an ease and lifelike nuance that’s never been seen before. Our goal from the outset has been to create a new style of animation…a more heroic and natural style of motion that combines the best of what motion-capture and keyframing have to offer. Giant’s collaboration with us in this effort has made it all possible." The films are based off of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy novels and is directed by Peter Jackson (Heavenly Creatures). Along with Jackson, the producers on the films are Barrie Osborne (The Matrix) and Tim Sanders (The Frighteners). The epic adventure will star Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett, Viggo Mortensen and Sean Bean. . . .Director of Mimic, Guillermo del Toro is set to helm Blade 2: Blood Hunt, the sequel to the hit 1998 horror film starring Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson. The film will go in front of cameras this fall. Potentially, the film could see a summer 2001 release date. Snipes is back in the title role, and Kristofferson will come back as his mentor -— even though he seemingly died in the first film. Based on the Marvel Comics hero who's part man and part vampire, Blade hunts down the walking dead as they try to liquidate the human race. David Goyer, who scripted the original, has written the redux. Beside Mimic, Del Toro will direct the cult-favorite, horror flick Crono. Currently, he is also developing Hellboy at Universal, and an adaptation of the Japanese cult comic Domu at Disney. . . . The team behind Independence Day and Godzilla is back, producing Arach Attack, a special effects-driven comedic thriller about a toxic waste spill that creates giant spiders. The flick is scheduled to start shooting in September in Australia. New Zealander Ellory Elkayem will direct from a script he co-wrote with Jesse Alexander. The pic is being produced by Centropolis Entertainment, the production house of Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, which has teamed on the project with Warner Bros. and Australia's Village Roadshow Pictures. Sony, where Centropolis has a first-look deal, passed on the project. The effects will be handled by Centropolis Effects. The budget for such a special effects heavy film is low at US$30 million. With 200 planned effects shots and no set cast, the film looks like it might be a risky venture. . . .Harry Potter has decided to sail with Chris Columbus at the helm. The director of Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire will steer the adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s mega-selling book Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone. Reportedly, the sequel novel, Chamber Of Secrets, is already in development. The film is being produced at Warner Bros. Steven Spielberg was in line to direct the film, however there were reported creative differences with the novel’s writer Rowling. . . .

Chicken Run flies onto the Net. © 2000 DreamWorks LCC.

DreamWorks allowed to design and host the Web site for its upcoming stop-motion feature Chicken Run. Launched April 3, 2000, contains the movie trailer, screensavers and downloadable "desktop adventures" created by ToggleThis, which created the successful Virgin Atlantic/Austin Powers Web toons of last summer. DreamWorks has recently licensed out its official Web sites for American Beauty and Galaxy Quest to is an e-commerce site that sells videos and DVDs. . . . Indie film queen Parker Posey has joined the cast of the live-action feature rendition of Josie And The Pussycats. Posey (Waiting For Guffman, Scream 3) will play the tyrannical record producer who is bent on controlling the minds of the world’s youth. Posey joins Rachael Leigh Cook (She’s All That) who is set to play the title character. Tara Reid (American Pie) is in talks to play the absentminded, blonde band member Melodie, while Alan Cumming is in talks to play the agent who discovers the tiger-like trio. Rumors still are floating on who will play the third pussycat Valerie. The top candidates are either T-Boz or Left Eye from the R&B group TLC. . . . DreamWorks has brought on Jodie Foster and Morgan Freeman to do voices for Tusker. The CGI film about a herd of elephants making a trek across Southeast Asia is being directed by Tim Johnson and Brad Lewis. Foster will voice a young female elephant and Freeman will voice one of the herd’s elders. The targeted release date is Christmas 2002. . . .George Lucas has decided to go mostly digital with the live-action segments of Star Wars Episode II. On Sunday, April 9, 2000, Lucas said, after four months of testing high-definition cameras, he will start shooting most of the next Star Wars installment with Sony digital cameras. Jim Morris, president of Lucas Digital, said the cameras had "exceeded expectations." In June, the film will start shooting in Australia for two months, then move to Italy and Tunisia in August for another month, followed by 18 months of post-production. . . . Beavis And Butthead and King Of The Hill creator, Mike Judge, is in final negotiations to helm the re-make of The Incredible Mr. Limpet. The Warner Bros. flick was previously touted as a vehicle for Jim Carrey. However, once original director and scribe Steve Oedekerk (Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls) left the project over budgetary and creative differences, Carrey left too. The original screenplay was written by Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick and then re-worked by Oedekerk. If the new deal goes through, Judge will pen a new version with Clay Tarver (Squelch). The project is being produced by Barry Levinson, Paula Weinstein, Bill Gerber, Norman Jewison and Gayle Fraser-Baigelman. The names now being batted around to star in the pic are Mike Myers, Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. The original Mr. Limpet starred Don Knotts as a man who magically transforms into a fish and helps the U.S. navy spot Nazi subs during World War II. . . .Riding the hopes that fantasy will be hot after Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter, Disney has reportedly signed a multi-million dollar deal to produce the film versions of horror-film-writer-director Clive Barker’s new fantasy series The Arabat Quartet. Britain’s Empire magazine quotes a Disney spokeswoman as saying, "The work is a combination of Harry Potter and a contemporary Wizard Of Oz." The first in the series is scheduled to hit bookstores next year. Barker’s lawyer said that Disney inked the agreement "without reading any written words of the novels."

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