Bush dove hunting in 1994.
(AP/ David J. Phillip)
By Judith Kohler
DENVER October 19, 2004 (AP) — Bob Elderkin's vote would appear to be a sure bet for President Bush on Nov. 2. He is a hunter, part of a conservative-leaning group of outdoors people that is 38 million strong and avidly supports gun rights.
But after backing Bush in 2000, Elderkin and some like-minded outdoorsmen say the Republican won't get their vote again because of his environmental policies.
"I can't vote for Bush knowing what it's going to be like the next four years," said Elderkin, a retired Bureau of Land Management employee in western Colorado where natural-gas drilling is booming. "With John Kerry, it's an unknown. As far as Bush goes, it's going to be, `Katie, bar the door.'"
Sid Evans, editor of Field & Stream magazine, said American sports people are divided on the president's environmental policies, finding themselves torn in some cases between the GOP's Second Amendment backing and a push to make more public land available for energy development.
"I think that more will vote for Bush. I think they feel more comfortable with him in general," said Evans, who estimated there are at least 38 million hunters and fishers nationwide with an annual economic impact of $70 billion.
Kerry has made a strong effort to be seen as a supporter of the Second Amendment, despite failing grades from the National Rifle Association for Senate votes on gun legislation. He has gone on public hunts, taken time out for target practice during the campaign, and declared flatly that he wouldn't take away the firearms of sports people.
"Kerry is paying attention to this group in a way they have not been paid attention to by a Democratic candidate for a while," Evans said.
Campaigning in Ohio on Saturday, Kerry picked up a hunting license in a pitch to socially conservative Democrats motivated by values and gun rights.
Still, some hunters equate Democratic politics with gun control.
"It's kind of hard to hunt without having access to firearms," said Mike Freeze, vice chairman of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and co-chairman of the state's Sportsmen for Bush group.
Sports people like Elderkin worry that proliferating gas wells dotting private and public land will affect some of the nation's largest deer, elk, and pronghorn herds. "If there's nothing to hunt out there, what use is a gun?" he said.
Last spring, Bush invited hunters and others to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, and he also revamped rules on wetlands after meetings with hunters and anglers. He told Field & Stream that the nation can protect the environment while producing fuel "that will enable people to be able to live the lives they want to live."
Bush spokesman Danny Diaz said, "Sportsmen represent a very important constituency to this campaign. They reflect, in many cases, the interests and views of a majority of Americans and rural America."
Alan Lackey of Raton, New Mexico, and Stan Rauch of Victor, Montana, both Bush voters in 2000, said they are angry about the administration's proposal to allow logging and new roads on up to 58 million acres of national forest that were declared off-limits by a Clinton-era rule.
"Kerry, I believe, would be better on environmental policies, which to me equates to taking care of habitat and wildlife," said Rauch, a retired Air Force pilot.
A recent National Wildlife Federation poll said many sports people disagree with the administration's environmental policies, federation spokesman Vinay Jain said. The poll, conducted in July, found that 75 percent believe carbon dioxide emissions should be reduced and 49 percent think the oil and gas industry have the most input into Bush's conservation and hunting and fishing policies.
"The poll affirmed what we'd been hearing for years anecdotally about increasing hunter and angler backlash," Jain said.
The backlash is as strong in other parts of the country as in the West, said Christopher Camuto, an outdoors writer in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
"Everybody is looking at how little is left in the East. Most sportsmen would want to hold the line at the roadless backcountry we have left," Camuto said.
A Bush proposal would require governors to petition the government to keep roadless areas undeveloped. Kerry supports the Clinton administration's protection for roadless areas in national forests.
Lackey, a car dealer in northern New Mexico and a former hunting and fishing guide, has helped organize opposition to a proposal by Houston-based El Paso Corp. to explore for oil and gas in half the 100,000-acre Valle Vidal. It is home to the state's largest elk herd and some of the few remaining populations of native wild trout.
"Sportsmen are predominantly Republican and very patriotic," Lackey said. "But the federal government has become an instrument to convey the public wealth into private hands at our expense."
Nanowires: good candidates for components in nanoelectronic
Brookhaven National Laboratory News Release
UPTON NY October 18, 2004 - Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and their collaborators have discovered that a short, organic chain molecule with dimensions on the order of a nanometer (a billionth of a meter) conducts electrons in a surprising way: It regulates the electrons’ speed erratically, without a predictable dependence on the length of the wire. This information may help scientists learn how to use nanowires to create components for a new class of tiny electronic circuits.
"This is a very unexpected and unique result," said John Smalley, a guest scientist in Brookhaven’s Chemistry Department and the lead researcher of the study, described in the October 16, 2004, online edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
The conducting chain molecule, or "nanowire," that Smalley and his collaborators studied is composed of units of phenyleneethynylene (PE), which consists of hydrogen and carbon atoms. Like the links that make up a chain, PE units join together to form a nanowire known as oligophenyleneethynylene (OPE). PE, and therefore OPE, contains single, double, and triple carbon-carbon bonds.
The double and triple carbon-carbon bonds promote strong electronic interactions along OPE such that it conducts an electric current with low electrical resistance. This property makes OPE nanowires good candidates for components in nanoelectronic circuits, very small, fast circuits expected to replace those currently used in computers and other electronics.
Smalley and his collaborators found that as they increased the length of the OPE wire from one to four PE units, the electrons moved across the wire faster, slower, then faster again, and so on. In this way, OPE does not behave like a similar nanowire the group has also studied, called oligophenylenevinylene (OPV), which contains single and double carbon-carbon bonds. When they made OPV wires longer, the electrons’ speed remained the same. They observed the same result when they studied short wires made of alkanes, another group of hydrocarbon molecules that contains only single carbon-carbon bonds.
The researchers think that the unusual behavior of OPE may be due to its tendency to slightly change its three-dimensional shape. Increasing the wire’s length may trigger new shapes, which may slow down or speed up the electrons as they cross the wire.
This variable resistance could be a benefit. "If the odd behavior is due to the conformational variability of the OPE wires, figuring out a way to control the tendency of OPE to change its shape could be useful," said Smalley. "For example, diodes and transistors are two types of devices based on variable electrical resistance."
The scientists made another significant finding: They dramatically increased the rate at which the electrons moved across the wire by substituting a methyl hydrocarbon group onto the middle unit of a three-unit OPE wire.
"Because OPE seems sensitive to this substitution, we hope to find another hydrocarbon group that may further increase the electrons’ speed, and therefore OPE’s ability to conduct electrons," said Smalley.
In the experiment, Smalley and his group created an OPE wire "bridge" between a gold electrode and a "donor-acceptor" molecule. To measure the electron transfer rate across the bridge, they used a technique they developed in which a laser rapidly heats up the electrode. This causes a change in the electrical potential (voltage) between the electrode and the donor-acceptor, which disrupts the motion of electrons crossing the bridge. The group used a very sensitive voltmeter to measure how quickly the voltage changed in response to the altered electron movement. From these measurements, they determined how fast the electrons were moving through the wire.
This research, performed in collaboration with Marshall Newton of the Brookhaven Chemistry Department and researchers at Stanford University, Clemson University, and Motorola, is funded by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences within the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the National Science Foundation.
University of California - Irvine News Release
Thin bundle of carbon nanotubes with some impurities
deposited across two AuPd electrodes. (ORNL)
Irvine October 18, 2004 – UC Irvine today announced that scientists at The Henry Samueli School of Engineering have synthesized the world's longest electrically conducting nanotubes. These 0.4 cm nanotubes are 10 times longer than previously created electrically conducting nanotubes. The breakthrough discovery may lead to the development of extremely strong, lightweight materials and ultradense nano-memory arrays for extremely powerful computers, ultralow-loss power transmission lines, and nano-biosensors for use in health care applications.
A nanotube is commonly made from carbon and consists of a graphite sheet seamlessly wrapped into a cylinder only a few nanometers wide. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, about the size of 10 atoms strung together.
Peter Burke, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, conducted the research along with graduate students Shengdong Li, Christopher Rutherglen and Zhen Yu.
"We are extremely excited about this discovery," said Burke. "Recently there have been several key advances around the world in synthesizing very long carbon nanotubes. Our research has taken a significant step forward by showing we can pass electricity through these long nanotubes. Significantly, we have found that our nanotubes have electrical properties superior to copper. This clearly shows for the first time that long nanotubes have outstanding electrical properties, just like short ones."
Researchers grew the carbon nanotubes using a simple procedure: Burke allowed natural gas to react chemically with tiny iron particles or "nanoparticles" inside a small furnace.
By placing a small amount of gold under the iron, Burke's group found that ultralong nanotubes grow; whereas without the gold, only short nanotubes grow. Because nanotubes are so small, it is difficult to connect regular wires to them. Using gold in the growth process, Burke solved this problem by growing nanotubes that come out already attached to gold wires.
An added scientific benefit is that Burke was able to accurately determine how the electrical resistance of a nanotube depends on its length. The relationship between resistance and physical size (length) is a key property of any new material.
Burke's finding indicates that the electrical conductivity is greater than for copper wires of the same size, a world record for any nano-material of this length.
Star Trek New Voyages - Episode Two: In Harm's Way
The original Enterprise returns in the Star Trek New Voyages
episode In Harm's Way (Cow Creek Films)
Review by FLAtRich
October 20, 2004 (eXoNews) - Picture yourself in an alternate universe where Star Trek The Original Series (TOS) had 21st Century computer-rendered special effects. Just think of the impact Gene Roddenberry's creation would have made with that future tweak back in 1966!
William Shatner might have won an Emmy!
Enter Star Trek New Voyages, a fan-driven, web-based TOS revival led by Cow Creek Films, and dedicated to continuing the five-year mission begun by the 1960's crew of the USS Enterprise.
The first New Voyages episode, Come What May, was released in January and I gave it a break. New Voyages is not quite a TV series and certainly not a Franchise-sanctioned remake. It is created by fans out of love, working for free on no discernable budget. The first episode acting ranged from unmentionable to pretty good, effects were cheap but not too bad, sets were cardboardy, camerawork static, lighting sort of awful and the scripting was a bit too fanfictionish to impress anyone outside of the hardcore Trekker universe.
Hey! Who blew up NCC-1701 in 2254? (Cow Creek Films)
But the newest New Voyage, In Harm's Way erases all doubt that Cow Creek and its minions will have an impact on the Star Trek timeline and the science fiction genre as well. The New Voyages project has undergone a makeover that puts it in a class by itself. Episode writers Max Rem and Erik Korngold weave obscure story threads from the original series into a new and rather exciting plot. Director of Photography Scott Moody photographs scenes stylishly. Director Jack Marshall tunes his actors to mostly excellent performances. Rem embellishes everything with delightful special effects.
Perhaps most important, Marshall and Rem have mastered editing. The first episode suffered here, but In Harm's Way never loses pace.
How our intrepid band of fans accomplished all of this is beyond me. STNV Fan Relations tells me that production on In Harm's Way began last March and director Jack Marshall worked on the project 40 hours a week. Production designer James Cawley (who also plays Kirk) built all the sets. Everything you see on your computer screen - costumes, makeup, sound effects, etc. - was handcrafted by dedicated volunteers.
James Cawley as Kirk. He also designed and
built the sets. (Cow Creek Films)
STNV has the Roddenberry blessing (Eugene Roddenberry, Jr. is a Consulting Producer) and this episode should delight any science fiction fan.
Even the most jaded Trekster must sit forward in awe.
In Harm's Way did arrive later than the official website originally promised, but that is hardly surprising given the intricacy of the story and number of shots and effects. These guys even brought in some genuine Star Trek Special Guest Stars, but before I tell you who let me dangle some of the plot in front of you.
There may be a few little spoilers here, but I'm only going for a tease.
The opening segment of In Harm's Way gives us the Enterprise under attack 14 years ago in 2254, commanded by Captain Christopher Pike (Kurt Carley). (Trekkers know that Pike appeared in the classic TOS first pilot episode "The Cage" and TOS episodes "The Menagerie" 1 & 2.) The Enterprise is being chased by the wormy doomsday planet destroying berserker (from the TOS Season Two episode "The Doomsday Machine"). Pike asks "Lt. Spock" (Jeffery Quinn) for a status report and we notice that Pike's Executive Officer (Shannon Quinlan) is a woman. (Reference first TOS pilot, where Majel Lee Hudec, AKA Majel Barrett Roddenberry, played Pike's Number One.)
But wait, something is wrong here! No, it's not Spock. We know he served with Pike on the Enterprise before Kirk came aboard, but wasn't it Kirk, not Pike who encountered the doomsday machine when his friend Commodore Matthew Decker (played in the TOS episode by William Windom) attempted to thwart the berserker by flying down the throat of the thing and blowing up his shuttlecraft?
OK, maybe that's hardcore trivia but while we are wondering, the Enterprise is blasted to space dust and everyone knows that doesn't happen in the TOS timeline. [Fade to opening credits, TOS theme music.] The game is afoot!
The Guardian of Forever time portal makes a guest
appearance (Cow Creek Films)
Fade back to the present on the Gateway planet, the location of Project Timepiece (which is undoubtedly the alien Guardian of Forever time portal from "The City on the Edge of Forever", an all-time favorite TOS episode written by Harlan Ellison.) Spock is at the Project Timepiece base, conferencing with Captain Kirk (James Cawley) and asking Kirk to bring his ship to Gateway. Kirk reluctantly agrees and sets his crew in motion, but hey! Wait a minute! Kirk's First Officer is a Klingon commander named Kargh (John Carrigan)?
The rest of Kirk's crew are TOS regulars - Doctor McCoy (John Kelley), Uhura (Julienne Irons), Navigator DeSalle (Ron Boyd), Scotty (Charles Root) and Rand (Meghan King Johnson) are all there. So is Chapel, who looks suspiciously like the First Officer we saw on Pike's destroyed Enterprise (mainly because, in a bow to Majel Roddenberry, both parts are played here by Shannon Quinlan.)
But as the camera pulls back through the observation bubble in the ship's saucer section, we see that Kirk and crew are flying the USS Farragut, not their beloved Enterprise.
When Kirk and the Farragut crew arrive at the Gateway planet, Spock and Project Timepiece scientist Dr. MacGregor (Becky Bonar) explain that time is awry. The timeline has been altered and Kirk must take his crew through the Guardian of Forever portal to set things right.
Malachi Throne, Barbara Luna and William Windom. Genuine
TOS Guest Stars who grace In Harm's Way (Cow Creek Films)
And you must download In Harm's Way to find out what happens next. I will tell you that Kirk and his crew run into a lot of action and some delightful surprises.
Oh, and those genuine Special Guests include Barbara Luna, Malachi Throne and William Windom reprising his TOS role as Commodore Matthew Decker.
People who read my rants here at eXoNews know that I am unashamedly at the end of my rope with the producers of Star Trek Enterprise for their limp reliance on temporal warping to come up with a plot (see my review of Storm Front last week), but here we have a bunch of unpaid Star Trek fans who have used the same device in a way that really works.
Director Jack Marshall and Consulting Producer
Eugene Roddenberry, Jr. on the set of In Harm's
Way (Cow Creek Films)
In Harm's Way returns to the days when Star Trek was Star Trek, not just another TV allegory for the George Bush War on Terrorism. This New Voyages trip transcends cliché while drawing on the best of the classic Treks to evolve a valuable addition to the mythos.
In Harm's Way also sets a precedent reminiscent of the success of writer Harlan Ellison. Ellison began as a rabid sci fi fan and rose to respected professional scribe. Cow Creek's STNV opens a portal for new fan-driven projects. Perhaps fan productions will someday reveal the fate of Captain Vansen and Hawkes of Space: Above and Beyond? What really happened to Dale Cooper after Twin Peaks or the moose in Northern Exposure? Return to Harsh Realm? The list is endless!
My advice, take the time to download In Harm's Way. You could face six hours or more with a dial-up connection, but the episode is divided into five separate files (plus two more if you want the trailers) and it is certainly worth the price.
Did I mention that this is a free download?
All you need is a fairly recent computer, graphics and sound card to play In Harm's Way in one of several formats for different operating systems. (Windows users with Windows Media Player 9 on board can go with the Windows Media Format files.)
(Cow Creek Films)
To find the download site that suits you, go to http://www.newvoyages.com and click on Episodes. Newbies should beware of the first download site on the list, which features a Bit-Torrent File version and may require software you don't have (I didn't know what Bit-Torrent File meant either - see link below), but Windows Media Player and QuickTime versions are available.
Hint: Windows Media Player users can scroll down all the way through the list of download sites to Mirror 9 like I did and go for the .WMV files.
Also check out the Official Site for pix and other info on Star Trek New Voyages - http://www.newvoyages.com
Live long and download!
Brian's BitTorrent FAQ and Guide Microsoft Windows - http://btfaq.com/serve/cache/8.html
[UPDATED 10/22/04 - Picky, picky! Fixed the Kirk-Pike error that a few readers noticed in the plot summary above. It's always a risk depending on the little gray cells when reviewing Trek stuff! I thought those hardcore fans who were precise enough to bring this to my attention might also enjoy the following transcript from a 1997 MSN chat with Majel. The event was hosted by DJ Nelson Aspen, who had a "show" on MSN at the time, and attended by only a very few MSN beta testers (myself included.) Majel's answer about the original pilot is below followed by a link to the entire transcript. Ed.]
Majel Roddenberry on the Original Star Trek Pilot
from Nelson's World MSN Chat, circa 1997
What was the story behind the original Trek pilot? You were originally cast as second-in-command, right?
MajelR: Gene wrote that part first, last, and always for me. As a matter of fact, that was the first part that he wrote. He wanted a woman second in command and I was going to be that woman.
MajelR: So, when we did it we thought isn't this innovative and fun. NBC said, "No. Our people don't think so. We want you to recast the role, get rid of the woman because no one will believe a woman second in command."
MajelR: They said, "This show was too cerebral." And, they were going to try to make another pilot, but they wanted changes.
MajelR: Number one, WAS "Number One", which was my character name. Number two was, the guy with the ears had to go because he was too "Satanic" looking. so, Gene knew that it was going to break my heart, but he wanted to Spock character so badly that he figured, "Ok. I'll marry the woman and I'll keep the Spock character because I don't think Leonard would have it the other way around."
MajelR: And, the third thing they wanted was instead of 50% men, 50% women, was to have mostly men, because otherwise it was going to look like there was too much "hanky panky" going on on board the Starship.
MajelR: Well, Gene figured he was going to have to fight to get some of what he wanted anyway, this one he could live with because 30 good women could handle a crew of 300 anyway.
Click here for full Majel Roddenberry chat transcript.
Shatner Sings Again
By MARK KENNEDY
Associated Press Writer
Is this a trick or a treat?
NEW YORK October 16, 2004 (AP) - Just in time for Halloween comes a CD from a guy more likely to inspire a holiday costume than a musical following — William Shatner. The one-time James T. Kirk of "Star Trek" fame has released an 11-song collection this month, a follow-up to his 1968 spoken-word debut that garnered such critical infamy it became a camp classic.
So it must be asked: Is this a trick or a treat?
"It's a treat for me," Shatner, 73, said by telephone from Los Angeles, where he was taping an episode of "Boston Legal," his latest TV show. "I hope nobody turns a trick on it."
The new album — slyly titled "Has Been" — once again puts Shatner's choppy, emphasis-added words to music. But this time he's penned his own lyrics and tempered the cheese quotient with a few musical friends. Ben Folds, who produced and arranged the new album and co-wrote many of the songs, wrangled guest appearances by Joe Jackson, Aimee Mann, Henry Rollins and Brad Paisley.
As the music veers from lush pianos to soul, from gospel to cowboy twang, Shatner's lyrics explore, among other things, his fear of aging, the death of a loved one, reconnecting with estranged children and the fickleness of fame.
Take the title track, "Has Been," in which Shatner wrestles with critics who have called him washed up: "Has been implies failure / Not so / Has been is history / Has been was / Has been might again."
"I'm standing in front of you with my heart exposed," Shatner said in the interview. "But it's time for me to do that, and I did it willingly. If it doesn't work, it's my deficiencies."
As is often the case with Shatner's projects, the CD seems to forever flit between self and self-parody.
"It's really interesting musically," said Garson Foos, president of the Shout! Factory record label, which released the album and is targeting fans of intelligent, alternative rock. "We have modest expectations but we're hopeful that we'll exceed them."
Foos, with his brother Richard, previously ran Rhino Records, a fact that made things a little sticky at first: Rhino had included two of Shatner's songs on its first "Golden Throats" album — advertised as "embarrassing musical moments from celebrities you thought would know better."
Shatner's 1968 album "The Transformed Man" was a gold mine of such moments, a bizarre attempt to meld contemporary pop songs like "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" with excerpts from classic literature like "Hamlet."
It was a record that launched a thousand titters and more than a few dead-on impressions from comedians mocking Shatner's start-and-stop, overly dramatic phrasing. Think Kevin Pollak crooning "Mr. Tam-bou-rine maaaan!"
So when the Foos brothers approached Shatner with the idea of a new album, Shatner was wary: "I recall feeling they wanted to see if there was another self-mockery item here — and I'm not going to go there," he said.
Shatner called in reinforcements. Folds, a friend since the two collaborated on a song for Folds' "Fear of Pop" album, eagerly signed on — much to the delight of the record company. Then Shatner got spooked.
"I asked Ben, 'What am I going to write?' He said 'Tell the truth.'"
Apparently, Shatner took the advice to heart. In the song "Real," he warns his fans "just because you've seen me on your TV / Doesn't mean I'm any more enlightened than you." And in "You'll Have Time," he bluntly counsels "Live life like you're gonna die / Because you're gonna / I hate to be the bearer of bad news / But you're gonna die."
It's not all gloomy, as one can expect from the Priceline pitchman.
A duet with Black Flag's Henry Rollins?
In "I Can't Get Behind That," Shatner and Rollins playfully rail against high gas prices, student drivers, leaf blowers and car alarms. Full of mock anger, Shatner offers the line "I can't get behind so-called singers that can't carry a tune, get paid for talking, how easy is that?"
Then he pauses, reconsiders: "Well, maybe I can get behind that."
Shatner has high hopes for the album, even though he knows it may be ridiculed.
"I'd love for it to sell a lot of records," he says. "If some Philistine wanted to pull a song and make fun of it, that would be all right. I would have accomplished what I set out to do."
As for whether he expects to give teenybopper artists like, say, Christina Aguilera a run for their money, Shatner is coy.
"I've got the same moves," he said, "but I'm not allowed to show them."
William Shatner Official - http://www.williamshatner.com
Beatles Go Hollywood
By Liza Foreman
LOS ANGELES October 18, 2004 (Hollywood Reporter) - The Beatles are headed to Hollywood.
Or, more precisely, Sony-based Revolution Studios is developing a film musical, "All You Need Is Love," that will feature more than a dozen cover versions of Fab Four tunes.
Your mother should know (AFP)
The project, from veteran British screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, is a romance about a British boy and an American girl set against the backdrop of the social upheaval of the 1960s.
Although not about the Beatles, the musical will use their songs to drive the narrative, with the actors singing and dancing to the classic tunes. The filmmakers are in negotiations to secure re-recording rights for the project, set to feature 17-18 Beatles songs.
"Everyone loves the Beatles," Clement said. "No matter how old or young someone is, where they're from or what they're background is, the music is universal."
Added La Frenais: "Everyone has a memory associated with the Beatles. Whether it was your first kiss or the first time you saw that girl standing across from you at the high school dance, chances are that the DJ was playing a Beatles song."
The film's producer, Matthew Gross, noted that Clement and La Frenais knew late Beatles guitarist George Harrison and drummer Ringo Starr personally.
"We wanted to create a story that stood entirely on its own merits," Gross said. "Even without the music, their story is dramatic, moving and powerful. That being said, no matter what we wanted to convey in a scene, there was always a Beatles song available to help us push the narrative and emotional beats forward."
Clement and La Frenais, who first teamed in the '60s on such swingin' London titles as "The Jokers" and "Otley," have written dozens of movies including two films for Harrison, whose Handmade Films produced 1985's "Water" and 1983's "Bullshot," both of which Clement directed.
Clement and La Frenais are collaborating with AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson on a Broadway musical. They also wrote "The Commitments." Their credits also include the classic British TV series "Porridge" and "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet."
Jason Behr on The Grudge
Hollywood October 18, 2004 (Sci Fi Wire) - Jason Behr, who stars in the horror remake The Grudge, told SCI FI Wire that Japanese writer/director Takashi Shimizu made the story clearer for American audiences, while still keeping some of the mystery from his original Japanese film, Ju-on.
"The first Ju-on was so fractured in its storytelling that you had to kind of put the pieces of the puzzle back together," Behr said in an interview while promoting the film.
"If it wasn't as clear as it should be, it's OK, because it doesn't need to be explained. All the loose ends don't need to be tied up nice and neat. Shimizu tied up a few more loose ends, but there's a lot of stuff that is still kind of unanswered, which is interesting to me."
The Grudge, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, deals with the effects of a curse on a house in Tokyo and the people who come into contact with it. The movie marks the first time a Japanese film has been adapted by the same director for American audiences.
Behr said that the film's American producers trusted Shimizu's vision and allowed him the freedom to remake his own film without interference. "It was refreshing in the sense that everyone sort of let Shimizu do what he wanted to do," Behr said.
"[Producer Sam Raimi] was very, very trusting in what Shimizu had to do. I mean, Sam has been doing some amazing movies for a long time now, and he knows good stories, and he knows good storytelling and good storytellers, and that's why he kept Shimizu telling this one. He's incredibly innovative, very intelligent and unique. We as the actors might have needed a translator to understand his vision, but I don't think the audience will."
The Grudge opens in theaters Oct. 22.
The Grudge Official site - http://doyouhaveagrudge.com
Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg?
By Liza Foreman
Burt Reynolds (Reuters)
LOS ANGELES October 15, 2004 (Hollywood Reporter) - Burt Reynolds and Willie Nelson are in final negotiations to join Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott and Jessica Simpson in the big-screen version of "The Dukes of Hazzard."
Reynolds, most recently in theaters with the hit comedy "Without a Paddle," would play the evil Boss Hogg, a role played in the original 1979-1985 CBS show by the late Sorrell Booke.
Nelson would play Uncle Jesse, stepping in the shoes of the late Denver Pyle. Knoxville and Scott will play his good ol' boy nephews, Luke and Bo Duke, respectively, with Simpson on board as their sexy cousin, Daisy Duke.
Jay Chandrasekhar is directing the Warner Bros. project.
Reynolds' films include "The Longest Yard," "Cloud Nine" and "Instant Karma." Nelson, better known as a country music legend, has appeared in such films as "Wag the Dog" and "Red-Headed Stranger."
Darwin's Children on Sci Fi
By John Dempsey
NEW YORK October 14, 2004 (Variety) - The Sci Fi Channel has signed Michael De Luca -- former New Line Cinema topper and DreamWorks production chief -- to produce his first TV project, a miniseries about genetically altered births called "Darwin's Children."
De Luca joins a roster of showbiz biggies who have agreed to do minis for Sci Fi: Steven Spielberg ("Nine Lives"), Ridley Scott ("The Andromeda Strain"), Martin Scorsese ("The Twelve"), Bryan Singer and Dean Devlin ("The Triangle"), Frank Darabont ("The Thing") and Gale Anne Hurd ("Red Mars").
Based on two novels by Greg Bear, "Darwin's Children" concerns the advent of speeded-up evolution, which creates a new generation of superchildren called virus babies. The clash of generations leads to worldwide unrest.
Howard Braunstein, one of the executive producers of "Darwin's Children," said he's not surprised that Sci Fi Channel has enticed so many top producers to work on projects.
"Science fiction is such a rich genre, and many creative people are drawn to it," Braunstein said. "And the network will spend big money on the production and special effects," he added, citing such projects as the 20-hour "Taken" and the forthcoming "Earthsea Trilogy."
Sci Fi is coming off its best quarter ever, solidifying itself as a top-10 basic cable network in total viewers, adults 18-49 and 25-54. Increasing advertising revenues have allowed the network to spend $10 million or more on a four-hour Sci Fi movie. That kind of budget is music to the ears of the creative community.
Braunstein's partner Michael Jaffe is an exec producer of "Darwin's Children," along with De Luca, Ralph Vicinanza and Vince Gerardis.
Sci Fi Channel - http://www.scifi.com
Ford Raises Steve McQueen From The Dead
But would he have done car commercials?
DEARBORN MI October 14, 2004 (AP) - The late Steve McQueen is making a return appearance starting next month in commercials for the 2005 Mustang. The ads draw on the actor's appearance behind the wheel of a Mustang in the 1968 action movie "Bullitt."
Marketing experts say the ads are right on target because of the mystique surrounding McQueen, who died of cancer in 1980.
The ad is an homage to the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams," in which Kevin Costner portrays a dreamer who conjures the spirits of Shoeless Joe Jackson and other baseball players when he builds a playing field on his farm.
In Ford's commercial, a farmer builds a winding racetrack, which he circles in the 2005 Mustang, due in showrooms next month. Out of the cornfield comes McQueen.
The farmer then tosses his keys to McQueen, whose likeness is created by a body double and some digital editing wizardry. The spot ends with McQueen driving off in the new Mustang.
Mustang enthusiasts have been buzzing for days on Internet chat rooms about the high-concept commercial. Ford confirmed the accuracy of the story line described on the Internet, The Detroit News said Thursday.
Marketing experts say the Ford ad is pushing the right buttons because the McQueen legend and the Mustang evoke fond memories for movie-goers and car buffs alike.
"It's a very positive association," said Wes Brown, a partner in the California consulting company NexTrend.
The Mustang commercial is part of a comprehensive marketing effort Ford is launching to generate some excitement about the blue oval brand.
The automaker is counting on a strong start for a group of new models to bolster sales and put an end to a long market share slump. The Ford brand is on track to drop to 16.6 percent of the U.S. market in 2004, its ninth consecutive year of decline. Through September, Ford's total car sales were down 13.5 percent from last year.
The brand also has increased its fourth-quarter advertising budget to $170 million, about 50 percent more than was spent during the final three months of 2003.
Using computer magic to transcend the passage of time isn't new to commercials. Ten years after his death in 1987, Fred Astaire's image was featured in a TV ad that showed him dancing with a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner.
"If it's executed properly and well, it can be a very effective tool," Brown said.
The Mustang commercial was conceived by Detroit-based J. Walter Thompson and shot by Believe Media, an international production company whose clients have included Coca Cola Ltd., Nike and McDonald's.
[Funny how nobody seems to wonder Steve McQueen would think about using his likeness in a car commercial. I don't remember him doing any when he was alive. Ed.]
Ford Motor Co. - http://www.ford.com
J. Walter Thompson - http://www.jwtworld.com