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Posts tagged “The Stand

Bernie Wrightson R.I.P

It was just over a month ago that Liz Wrightson announced that her husband, legendary artist Bernie Wrightson was retiring. Liz confirmed on Sunday that after a long battle with cancer, Bernie has passed away. Here is the full transcript from Liz. My condolences to the Wrightson family, Rest in Peace Bernie.

A Message from Liz Wrightson.

After a long battle with brain cancer, legendary artist Bernie Wrightson has passed away.

Bernie “Berni” Wrightson (born October 27, 1948, Baltimore, Maryland, USA) was an American artist known for his horror illustrations and comic books. He received training in art from reading comics, particularly those of EC, as well as through a correspondence course from the Famous Artists School. In 1966, Wrightson began working for The Baltimore Sun newspaper as an illustrator. The following year, after meeting artist Frank Frazetta at a comic-book convention in New York City, he was inspired to produce his own stories. In 1968, he showed copies of his sequential art to DC Comics editor Dick Giordano and was given a freelance assignment. Wrightson began spelling his name “Berni” in his professional work to distinguish himself from an Olympic diver named Bernie Wrightson, but later restored the final E to his name.

His first professional comic work appeared in House of Mystery #179 in 1968. He continued to work on a variety of mystery and anthology titles for both DC and its principal rival, Marvel Comics. In 1971, with writer Len Wein, Wrightson co-created the muck creature Swamp Thing for DC. He also co-created Destiny, later to become famous in the work of Neil Gaiman. By 1974 he had left DC to work at Warren Publishing who were publishing black-and-white horror-comics magazines. There he produced a series of original work as well as adaptations of stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. In 1975, Wrightson joined with fellow artists Jeff Jones, Michael Kaluta, and Barry Windsor-Smith to form “The Studio,” a shared loft in Manhattan where the group would pursue creative products outside the constraints of comic book commercialism. Though he continued to produce sequential art, Wrightson at this time began producing artwork for numerous posters, prints, calendars, and coloring books.

Wrightson spent seven years drawing approximately 50 detailed pen-and-ink illustrations to accompany an edition of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, which the artist considers among his most personal work. Wrightson drew the poster for the Stephen King-penned horror film Creepshow, as well as illustrating the comic book adaptation of the film. This led to several other collaborations with King, including illustrations for the novella “Cycle of the Werewolf,” the restored edition of King’s apocalyptic horror epic, “The Stand,” and art for the hardcover editions of “From a Buick 8” and “Dark Tower V.” Wrightson has contributed album covers for a number of bands, including Meat Loaf. The “Captain Sternn” segment of the animated film Heavy Metal is based on the character created by Wrightson for his award-winning short comic series of the same name.

Characters he worked on included Spiderman, Batman and The Punisher, and he provided painted covers for the DC comics Nevermore and Toe Tags, among many others. Recent works include Frankenstein Alive Alive, Dead She Said , the Ghoul and Doc Macabre (IDW Publishing) all co-created with esteemed horror author Steve Niles, and several print/poster/sketchbooks series produced by Nakatomi.

As a conceptual artist, Bernie worked on many movies, particularly in the horror genre: well-known films include Ghostbusters, The Faculty, Galaxy Quest, Spiderman, and George Romero’s Land of the Dead, and Frank Darabont’s Stephen King film The Mist.

Bernie lived in Austin, Texas with his wife Liz and two corgis – Mortimer and Maximillian. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, John and Jeffrey, one stepson, Thomas Adamson, and countless friends and fans. A celebration of his life is planned for later this year.


The Stand – Back on at Warner Bros

thestand_captaintrips_premierehc_leDEADLINE BREAKING: Warner Bros has set Scott Cooper to re-write and direct The Stand, based on the seminal post-apocalyptic novel by Stephen King. That means that while the studio has Ben Affleck as its new Caped Crusader for Batman Vs. Superman, Affleck has withdrawn from The Stand. He had been set in late 2011 to write the script and direct. Affleck is busy directing and starring in his scripted adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live By Night for Warner Bros.

Warner Bros is teamed on the project with CBS Films, which is co-producing and co-presenting and possibly financing the project together. Dave Kajganich wrote the first draft. Published in 1978, the mammoth novel covered a biological apocalyptic disaster that decimated the population. The survivors then had to try and piece together a new form of humanity and it became a good vs evil struggle, with elements of the supernatural thrown in for good measure. King was at his best, both in creating depictions of the demise of civilization and in the arcs of characters good and bad who became important in a new order. The novel is so sprawling that I always wondered how it could be compressed into a feature, and it was turned into a solid miniseries. Now, Cooper will try to mount what for Warner Bros continues to be a big priority project.

Roy Lee and Mosaic are producing for Warners and Jon Berg is the studio exec. Cooper is currently developing Creek with Leonardo DiCaprio, and his next film, Out Of The Furnace, is released December 6.


Ed Harris

Edward Allen “Ed” Harris (born November 28, 1950) is an American actor, writer, and director, known for his performances in Pollock, Appaloosa, The Rock, The Abyss, A Beautiful Mind, A History of Violence, Enemy at the Gates, The Right Stuff, State of Grace, Glengarry Glen Ross, Alamo Bay, Gone Baby Gone, The Hours, and also genre classics such as Coma, Creepshow, and The Stand. He is a three-time nominee of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in Apollo 13, The Truman Show and The Hours, along with a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor for the title role in Pollock. 

Harris was born in Englewood Hospital, in Englewood, New Jersey, and raised in Tenafly, the son of Margaret, a travel agent, and Robert L. Harris, who worked at the bookstore of the Art Institute of Chicago. He graduated from Tenafly High School in 1969, where he played on the football team, serving as the team’s captain in his senior year. He was a star athlete in high school, and competed in athletics at Columbia University in 1969. He enrolled at the University of Oklahoma to study drama, and after several successful roles in the local theater, he moved to Los Angeles, and enrolled at the California Institute of the Arts where he spent two years, and graduated with a BFA.

Harris’s wife is actress Amy Madigan, the couple married on 21 November 1983, while they were filming Places of the Heart in which they played an adulterous couple. They have a daughter, Lily Dolores Harris, born in 1993.

Harris’s first important film role was in Borderline with Charles Bronson. After roles in TV series Lou Grant and CHiPs, he had a small role in the Stephen King scripted George A. Romero directed Creepshow (1982). Then in 1983, Harris became well known, playing astronaut John Glenn in The Right Stuff. Twelve years later, a film with a similar theme led to Harris being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for his portrayal of NASA flight director Gene Kranz in Apollo 13 (1995). 

His more notable performances came in the excellent Alamo Bay (1985), Jackknife (1989), The Abyss (1989), State of Grace (1990), Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), and a further two Stephen King adaptations in Needful Things (1993) and the TV movie The Stand (1994). He was excellent in The Truman Show (1998) before making his cinema directing debut in 2000, with Pollock (2000) in which he starred as the acclaimed American artist Jackson Pollock.

He has also portrayed such diverse real-life characters as William Walker, a 19th Century American who appointed himself president of Nicaragua, in the film Walker (1987), Watergate figure E. Howard Hunt in the Oliver Stone biopic Nixon (1995), composer Ludwig van Beethoven in the film Copying Beethoven (2006) and more recently as Senator John McCain in HBO’s made-for-television drama Game Change (2012).

Harris also portrayed a German Army sniper, Major  Erwin König, in Enemy at the Gates (2001). He appeared as a vengeful mobster in David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence (2005) and as a police officer alongside Casey Affleck and Morgan Freeman, in Gone, Baby, Gone (2007), directed by Ben Affleck.

Harris has directed a number of theater productions as well as having an active stage acting career. Most notably, he starred in the production of Neil LaBute’s one-man play Wrecks at the Public Theater in New York City and later at the Geffen Theater in Los Angeles. For the LA production, he won the LA Drama Critics Circle Award. Wrecks premiered at the Everyman Theater in Cork, Ireland and then in the US at the Public Theater in New York.

Harris, busy as ever has voiced the game Call of Duty: Black Ops, and currently has 6 projects in post-production including the post-apocalyptic Snowpiercer.


Shawnee Smith

Shawnee Smith (born July 3, 1970) is an American film and television actress and singer. Smith is best known for her roles as Meg Penny in The Blob (1988), Amanda Young in the Saw films and Linda in the CBS sitcom Becker. Smith once fronted the metal band Fydolla Ho, with which she toured the United States and the United Kingdom, and is half of  Smith & Pyle, a desert country-rock band, with actress Missi Pyle. She also featured in an awesome MAXIM photoshoot.

Shawnee Smith was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina, however, the family relocated from South Carolina to Van Nuys, California, when she was one year old.  She attended North Hollywood High School where she graduated from in 1987.

Smith began acting as a child appearing on stage in A Christmas Carol repertory from ages 8 to 11 and starred in a stage play with Richard Dreyfuss at age 15. She joined the Screen Actors Guild at age nine and made her feature film debut in John Huston’s musical Annie, as one of the orphans. In 1985, Smith co-starred in two troubled-teen melodramas, Not My Kind and Crime of Innocence. In 1987, Smith co-starred in the hit comedy film Summer School as pregnant student Rhonda Altobello. The following year, she starred with Kevin Dillon in a 1988 remake of the Steve McQueen b-movie classic The Blob as Meg Penny.

Smith had roles in Who’s Harry Crumb (1989), Michael Cimino’s The Desperate Hours (1990) before taking a three-year break from acting in the early 1990s because she had outgrown teenage roles and had a hard time finding work. During that time she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and competed in a triathlon. When she was about to start attending classes she landed a small role in Leaving Las Vegas (1995), and has had steady work ever since in the likes of Dogtown (1997), Armageddon and Carnival of Souls (both 1998) .

Smith’s best-known television role was Linda, an air-headed nurse’s aide, in the CBS hit comedy series Becker with Ted Danson. She served as a regular cast member in all 129 episodes from 1998–2004. She also featured in the 1994 miniseries The Stand, based on the novel by Stephen King. She also appeared as a waitress in The Shining miniseries, which King adapted from his own novel.

Smith has become well known in recent years for her role as Amanda Young in the Saw films. Due mainly to that role she has been acknowledged as the pre-eminent ‘Scream Queen’ of the last decade. She was the main star of Saw II (2005), and Saw III (2006), and although she is briefly shown in Saw IV (2007), Saw V (2008), and Saw 3D (2010), she was never on set. Any scenes featuring her were dubbed from file footage. She filmed brand new flashback sequences for Saw VI (2009).

Smith has repeatedly admitted that she hates being scared and has a hard time watching the Saw films, or any horror movie. She originally turned the role of Amanda Young down because it was very upsetting to her. After turning the role down, she was shown the eight-minute short film by Leigh Whannell and James Wan and changed her mind after the role was offered to her a second time. Smith in the jaw trap became the image on the film poster. She also revealed at SawMania 2008 that her name was initially brought up for the role of Amanda because Saw director James Wan was a big fan of her films in the 1980s and had a longtime crush on her. Director Darren Bousman and Leigh Whannell have also talked about their crushes on Smith in the Saw DVD commentaries.

In 2006, Smith made an appearance in the ten-minute short film trailer Repo! The Genetic Opera by director Darren Lynn Bousmann. Smith’s character was Heather Sweet, the surgery addicted daughter of GeneCo president Rotti Largo. The trailer was filmed after completing Saw III to try to pitch the idea to film producers. Smith did not reprise her role as Heather Sweet when Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures picked up the film in 2007 and was replaced by Paris Hilton!

In 2008, Smith played Detective Gina Harcourt in the FEARnet original series 30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust. The series premiered on July 17, 2008 on FEARnet.com in six 4–6 minute webisodes along with behind the scenes clips. This series is a continuation of the first webisode series 30 Days of Night: Blood Trails. It is still available on FEARnet.com and can also be seen in its entirety (about 30 minutes straight through) on FEARnet On Demand. She also made her producing debut with this series.

Smith was the host and one of three mentors on the VH1 reality program Scream Queens which aired from October 20, 2008 to December 8, 2008. Smith did not return as host and mentor for Season 2 due to scheduling conflicts, she was replaced by Jaimie King.

In 2009, Smith played the role of Dr. Ann Sullivan, a child psychiatrist, the third installment of The Grudge series, The Grudge 3. The film was a direct to DVD release in May 2009. She was last seen in the Billy Bob Thornton directed Jayne Mansfield’s Car. 


Ben Affleck to direct ‘The Stand’

Warner Bros has chosen Ben Affleck to adapt and direct The Stand, Stephen King’s apocalyptic mammoth book. Affleck has become a cornerstone director for the studio, but this would be his greatest challenge yet. Even King has been reticent about the idea of making a feature of his book, which previously was turned into a miniseries.

Warner Brothers originally announced in May that team behind the last several Harry Potter films, screenwriter Steve Kloves and director David Yates were going to adapt King’s 1,000 plus page novel, possibly over 3 films. The news made sense. Kloves and Yates took another massive property, Harry Potter,
and turned the films into a multi-billion dollar franchise. King’s book is obviously less commercial, but very well-known and has the kind of huge, sweeping scope audiences love to see on the big screen.

With The Town and Gone Baby Gone, Affleck has shown the grit necessary to handle such an unforgettable tale. It’s early days, but the studio loves Affleck, who’s now directing Argo, which is a much bigger project than his first two, however, The Stand is massive, although Affleck’s current directorial resume certainly seems like he can handle the huge cast of characters.