I’ve been thinking about what to say all weekend, and I’m still at a loss for words, so let me start with this.
Adam West IS Batman.
The original Batman TV series was one of those shows that occupied my most early memories of entertainment, along with Star Trek and Lost In Space. It was campy, and bizarre at times. All these strange guest villains with the same incompetent henchmen, and sometimes those villains had different actors portraying them…but I didn’t care about that. Something about the show fascinated me. Probably something about all those high tech, extremely well labeled goodies in the Bat Cave and a car with a built in rocket motor.
Sure, other actors have since played Batman, with varying degrees of success…but I could never buy any of them as the “face” of Batman. I don’t know why, really. Michael Keaton always had a look of incredulity to me. Val Kilmer was too smug. George Clooney was, well…George Clooney – it’s always a version of himself. I didn’t care much for Christian Bale, and as for Ben…I like him in general (yes, I said it), but not as the face of Batman.
No one is the face of Batman other than Adam West. He looked smart, he looked wealthy, but not in a smug, I’m-better-than-you way. He was always thoughtful. And he took it all seriously despite the campyness of the show.
Unfortunately as was not uncommon at the time after playing such an internationally famous role, West had trouble landing starring roles after Batman, having been typecast. He spent several years just making personal appearances, and wherever he went he was instantly recognized as Batman. Things picked up again years later, and he made many guest appearances on shows, and then starting in 1999 he became a recurring character on Family Guy, voicing “Mayor Adam West”, a crazy caricature. He never seemed to lose his humor about it all, and continued making personal appearances on the convention circuit along side his longtime friend Burt Ward.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to catch up with him when he was most recently in this area, but he was to return for Boston Comic Con this August. A few weeks ago his schedule was updated as “postponed”…West passed away this past Friday at the age of 88 after a brief fight with leukemia. I’m sad that I’ve missed the chance to meet yet another major part of my childhood.
DC’s cinematic universe may have gotten off with a limp, given the critical response to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but with it still pulling in plenty of money Warner Bros. isn’t shying away from their superhero slate or their flagship characters.
BvS star Ben Affleck had a pitch for a standalone Batman movie he talked about last year, and Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros. chairman and CEO, confirmed today at CinemaCon that the movie will move ahead with Affleck’s movie, in which he will star and direct. “I’m also excited to know that we will be working with Ben Affleck on a stand-alone Batman movie,” Tsujihara said.
Affleck will also appear as the caped crusader in at least two other films already on the docket – Justice League Parts One and Two.
The current list of DC universe movies, in order of release, are:
Suicide Squad – Aug. 5, 2016
The Justice League Part One – Nov. 17, 2017
The Flash – March 16, 2018
Wonder Woman – June 2, 2017
Aquaman – July 27, 2018
Shazam! – April 5, 2019
Justice League Part Two – June 14, 2019
Cyborg – April 3, 2020
Green Lantern Corps – June 19, 2020
Actress Yvonne Craig, best known for her pioneering role of Batgirl in the original Batman TV series, died on Monday in her home at the age of 78 after a two year long battle with breast cancer.
Craig’s foray into acting came quite accidentally. While working as a dancer, she had dinner with a producer who wanted to get her into films, but she was uninterested. But another man passed by her table and asked if she was an actress. The producer said, “Yes she is, and I’m her manager…” The man was Patrick Ford, the son of director John Ford, and was looking for a new leading lady to star opposite Patrick Wayne (John Wayne’s son) in The Young Land. And thus the dancer became the actress.
But it was when ABC wanted them to add the Batgirl character to Batman‘s third season that she was forever enshrined in genre fan’s memories. The purple-suited, motorcycle-riding female superhero (one of the first such live action roles), who’s real identity was a mystery even to Batman himself but was in reality Commissioner Gordon’s daughter Barbara, the librarian, helped ABC’s decision to pick up the show for a third (and final) season.
Star Trek fans will also remember Craig as the beautiful (but insane) green-skinned Orion slave girl Marta in the episode “Whom Gods Destroy”.
Private services are planned but not set. Her family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the cancer research and treatment center, the Angeles Clinic Foundation.
This leaked out via a lousy cell phone video, so Warner Bros. Pictures has released the official teaser now for Zack Snyder’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice starring Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck taking over as Batman.
We still have to wait 11 months for the movie, which opens March 25th, 2016.
Warner Bros is very busy the next several years, announcing today it’s release slate. And it features both dipping back in the well that works as well as trying to out-superhero Marvel.
Warner Bros.’ Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara spoke at the Time Warner shareholder’s meeting and laid out a lot of their studio plans for 2016-2020.
First up is the expected Harry Potter spinoff, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, which is currently being set at three separate films, set to release in 2016, 2018, and 2020.
Next, after the HUGE success of The LEGO Movie, the already-announced sequel has been set for 2018, but it will be preceded by two others: Ninjago (2016), based on the Cartoon Network series, and The LEGO Movie: Batman (2017), a spin-off that follows the rather stuck-up (and not to mention, blocky) take on the character from the first movie.
And then there is the world of DC Comics…we’re already waiting for Batman vs. Superman (2016) and Justice League (2017), but Wonder Woman will indeed get her own standalone movie before Justice League (starring Gal Gadot, who will be introduced in BvS), 2018 will see The Flash (starring Ezra Miller, and apparently not connected at all to the just-started TV series) and Aquaman (with Stargate Atlantis and Game of Thrones Jason Momoa finally confirmed).
2019 will give us Shazam and a second Justice League movie, and in 2020 Warner Bros will try and get Green Lantern off to Oa again with a reboot after the disappointing Ryan Reynolds effort.
Shuffled in are two other titles, Suicide Squad in 2016 and Cyborg in 2020. And apparently this isn’t even ALL of the planned DC movies. Yikes!
And you thought Ben Affleck as Batman seemed odd at first…but Jesse Eisenberg, best know for playing the geek who turned “The Facebook” into the web page no one seems to do without, has signed on to play megalomaniac and Superman’s arch enemy Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman flick. But perhaps a younger Luthor isn’t so surprising – Eisenberg and Henry Cavill are both 30, and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) is 28. Affleck is actually the senior member of the comic superheroes/villains at 41, with Amy Adams (Lois Lane) at a very lovely 39. So it appears the whole DC Universe is being skewed younger.
Following that shift, Alfred, the butler/background mentor for Bruce Wayne/Batman, makes a similar shift with Jeremy Irons at 65 taking over the role last played by Michael Caine, who is 15 years his senior, and the late Michael Gough (the only real constant in the original Batman films in the 90s) was 73 when he first played the role. However, Alan Napier, who played Alfred in the original 1960s camp series, was only 63 when he took the role.
We know Henry Cavill will be back as Superman. And we know that Ben Affleck has been tapped for the Caped Crusader…but now we know who is playing Wonder Woman – not that we knew Wonder Woman was going to be in Batman vs. Superman – well, at least I didn’t.
Warner Bros. has decided on Gal Gadot, who has starred in three of the Fast & Furious films and Knight and Day, to play the top female comic book hero in the film. It is felt that the appearance of Wonder Woman is helping plant additional characters for the future Justice League film, trying to compete with The Avengers for superhero organization supremacy.
Warner Bros apparently sees some money still in the classic 60s Batman TV series, which starred Adam West and Burt Ward as the caped crusader and his sidekick Robin, in a very campy take on the otherwise Dark Knight of Gotham. Today Warner Bros. Consumer Products announced an all-new licensing program for the series, which for years only made available the Batmobile for licensing. But now the new program includes all sorts of art, gadgets from the show like the Bat-phone, as well as the likeness of the stars and many of their arch enemies, including Cesar Romero as The Joker, Burgess Meredith as The Penguin, Vincent Price as Egghead and Eartha Kitt as Catwoman.
What is interesting is that the original series still has yet to see a digital release of any kind – long rumored to be due to disagreements about the various rights holders. The theatrical movie that was released between the first and second seasons has both a DVD and Blu-ray release, however, but this new licensing program makes no mention of the actual footage from theseries being available.
I am just learning that British actor Michael Gough, perhaps best known in the U.S. as Alfred in the Burton/Schumacher Batman movies, and is also known to Doctor Who fans as “The Celestial Toymaker” as well as Councillor Hedin in “Arc Of Infinity”, passed away at the age of 94. He most recently was the voice of the Dodo Bird in Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland.