Month: November 2008

Director Lauren Montgomery Discusses Upcoming “Wonder Woman” Animated Feature

DIRECTOR LAUREN MONTGOMERY DISCUSSES WONDER WOMAN,
THE NEXT DC UNIVERSE FILM COMING TO DVD MARCH 3, 2009

After her successful co-directorial debut on Superman Doomsday, Lauren Montgomery takes full command of the helm for Wonder Woman, the next entry in the popular series of DC Universe animated original PG-13 films. Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation are set to release the all-new film on March 3, 2009, distributed by Warner Home Video. The animated original movie will also be available OnDemand and Pay-Per-View as well as available for download day and date, March 3, 2009.

Montgomery has directed an origin story for Wonder Woman that remains true to the title characters various incarnations while setting the tale in more modern times to allow greater accessibility for a wider audience. Working alongside producer Bruce Timm, Montgomery has brought to life Michael Jelenics entertaining script with an impressive balance of explosive action and well-timed humor. A talented artist with a lifetime of experience devoted to drawing and animation, Montgomery is proud to give Wonder Woman her first feature film treatment.

Montgomery, who is already involved in other super hero films, took a few minutes to discuss the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, her love of drawing, artistic influences on her style, lessons from Bruce Timm, and Cheetaras lonely place among female heroes.

Without further do, the Q&A with Wonder Woman director Lauren Montgomery

Question:
Youve gone from directing one-third of Superman Doomsday to helming the entirety of Wonder Woman. Whats that progression been like for you?

Lauren Montgomery answers:
Its mostly in scale of responsibility. On Doomsday, it was all about my one section of the film. Now, its everything from background design and color to character design and camera angles, helping select the voices for the cast and approving every storyboard for the entire film. So (she laughs) it was all a lot harder. Its been an incredible learning experience, it’s probably the most hands-on I’ve ever been on anything, and its really prepared me for more of those responsibilities in the future.

Question:
What were the driving factors behind the final design of Wonder Woman?

Lauren Montgomery answers:
We kept the designs simple enough for animation, but we wanted to give them a slightly more detailed, less cartoony look for the PG-13 content. Wonder Woman went through a lot of different versions. Gradually, and for the betterment of the film, we determined that she should look strong and athletic without being manly. Shes an Amazon, so I wanted her to be able to be taken seriously. We wanted her to look like she worked out, and not just make her a curvy, busty pinup. So I tried to give her slightly slimmer hips versus the hourglass figure, and I think it makes her more believable and engaging in a lot of action.

Wonder Wonder as she first appears in full costumeQuestion:
Did you utilize a different color palette from previous DC Universe films?

Lauren Montgomery answers:
We wanted the film to be vibrant, but we also needed our characters to fit into their settings. Our color stylist, Craig Cuqro, used colored filters to set the characters into their backgrounds, and our overseas studio Moi added a lot of diffusion, which gives the characters a really nice kind of glowing look especially during the scenes in Themyscira. The soft diffusion throughout the scenes in Themyscira makes everything seem much nicer, like a paradise. The style adds a lot of quality to the overall look of the film.

Question:
Are you a mythology aficionado?

Lauren Montgomery answers:
I always liked epic stories, and Greek mythology was a subject that kept my attention in school. The characters were larger than life they were gods and each had their own nuances and specialties. Being an artist, I could really visualize those characters and that made their stories that much more interesting. Wonder Woman is based in mythology, but it doesn’t follow it to a T by any means. I really just had to bone up on my Wonder Woman version of mythology, so I could make sure that we pleased the fans. We wanted to stay true to the legend but we did eliminate or underplay some of the sillier aspects of that mythology.

Question:
Like the fact that the Amazons have an invisible jet, but they with fight swords and dont appear to have indoor plumbing?

Lauren Montgomery answers:
There are a few things in the movie that we opted against really explaining because, honestly, the explanations were more convoluted than not explaining it at all. You dont need to break down the minor details. If we tell you exactly where the invisible jet came from, then thats time and energy that wouldve taken away from our core story.

Question:
How did Michael Jelenics script complement your approach to direction?

Wonder Woman captures the title characters origin story from the events leading up to her birth (pictured) to her initial adventures in modern-day America.Lauren Montgomery answers:
Michael Jelenic has really strong, entertaining ideas in his scripts. Seeing his first drafts really inspired me because there was a lot of action that showed her true strength. He told a story that captivated me the entire way. Beyond the action, Michael is good at interjecting a lot of humor Steve Trevors sense of humor echoes Michaels in many ways. He also likes to write a lot of director-embellished action scenes, which didnt always make it easier on me. That’s the one thing Id like to punch him for. But otherwise, he did a great job.

Question:
Whats your depth of love for comics and/or super heroes?

I was always more a fan of animation than comics. I just didnt realize until I was a little older that you could actually make a living making cartoons. And once I discovered that career path, I knew exactly what I was going to do when I grew up.

My love of super heroes didn’t really start until Batman: The Animated Series that series just took everything to a higher level. It didn’t speak down to people, it made you think more, it had really serious stories, and it went about telling those stories in a way that didn’t put the violence right out there for you to see. It kind of undertoned it. It was more sophisticated storytelling and that drew me to the Superman and Justice League series, and then I ended up working on Justice League. So most of my experience with super heroes are through animation, not actually through the comic books themselves.

Question:
You said Batman: The Animated Series was your awakening to super heroes and a career in action animation, and now youre directing the next generation of that genre of entertainment. Whats it like to live your dreams?

Lauren Montgomery answers:
It was surreal at first, but now it’s just another day of work. I’ve kind of adapted to it. But every once in a while when I sit back and think about it, it’s like, Here I am doing what I’ve been waiting my whole life to do. And thats cool. Even on the days where it’s hectic and there’s intense schedules and the deadlines are looming, and I might be pulling my hair out, I know theres no other job that I would be happier doing.

Queen Hippolyta, mother of Princess Diana/Wonder Woman, exhibits her Amazonian strength during the films opening battle sequence of the film, Wonder Woman.Question:
Along those same lines, you now work side-by-side with Bruce Timm on DC Universe films. Whats it like to go from fan to colleague?

Lauren Montgomery answers:
Working with Bruce is extremely interesting, and not in a bad way (she laughs). This is going to greatly understate it, but he knows what he’s doing. Its always a really good learning experience just to sit back and watch him, to see how he works, because Bruce definitely has his own way of doing things. Pretty much all the calls he makes are the right calls its obvious in the body of work that he’s produced. When he makes a call, even if I don’t 100 percent agree with it, I usually just let it go because I know the film is going to be better for it.

A lot of filmmaking is finessing, and I’ve learned a lot of that art from Bruce. He knows the little tricks to make things a lot better. Certain things to avoid, simple camera moves, and ways to not draw attention to the camera. And hes an amazing editor he has a way of looking at a film and being able to identify the important parts and really hammer them home. I’m still kind of focused on the storyboards, planning everything out so it plays the way I want it. I don’t really think about cutting around or rearranging scenes because I already did that in the storyboards. But Bruce can look at that footage and know immediately how to rearrange the scenes to make things that much better and that much smoother. Thats what Im trying to learn from him now.

Question:
Has drawing always been a passion?

Lauren Montgomery answers:
In my younger years I drew a lot and I wasn’t quite as social. When I came home after school, I would finish my homework, and then sit in my room and draw. And that’s all I did, because I knew thats what I wanted to do. I would save my money and buy books like The Art Of Pocahontas and The Art Of Hunchback whatever Disney art book was out that year. I would take it home and look at it, and I would think, okay, now my drawings aren’t anywhere near as good as these drawings, so Id better get to work to make them as good. I figured the more I practiced, the sooner I would get that good, so I drew as much as I possibly could.

Question:
Who are your influences artistically today?

Lauren Montgomery answers:
I don’t have specific artists exactly, but I was definitely influenced by the Disney films. Those were the drawings I was tracing and sketching during my early years. I would study each and every one of the princesses and draw them until I had them all down by heart. My facial features are still influenced somewhat by Disney characters. As I got older, I was definitely influenced by Bruce’s style in Batman, and I started getting into anime, and some of the more subtle styles in anime drawing. The clothing is a little more detailed than the typical American animation its more believable, yet still simplified. Its the way they draw bodies and cloth that I kind of incorporate into my drawings, as well as certain aspects of how they would draw hair. So Id say I have a few different influences in my art style.

Question:
Youre one of the very few women directing action animation today. Does that factor have any resonance within your career?

Lauren Montgomery answers:
I never focus on the one of the only women aspect of my job I just always liked action and wanted to work in this genre. I never realized how few women there were in super hero animation. I just thought, I like to draw, surely all the other girls like to draw, too. I guess I just didn’t realize how different I was. So I dont think Ive got any special trick that makes me a successful woman in action animation. I worked hard and it has paid off.

Battle-savvy Persephone rescues her scholarly sister Alexa during battle in Wonder Woman.Question:
Do you have a preference between male and female super heroes?

Lauren Montgomery answers:
I definitely prefer female leads because I feel they’re just easier to direct their acting. Theyre allowed to show a much wider range of emotions. A woman can be feminine and tomboyish, and she can hit all the same poses that a man can hit. But if you start putting a man in a feminine pose, especially a super hero man, it doesn’t fly. So when you’re dealing with the male super heroes, you have a much, much more restricted range of acting. Its not just a challenge, its more of a limitation in general. You can do more with a woman character and its still acceptable. So it’s a lot more enjoyable for me. Plus, on a personal level, I think its good to give girl fans more options. When I was a girl, I would watch Thundercats and all I really had to choose from was Cheetara (she laughs). I always wanted more female heroes to choose from and I never really got them. Hopefully well be able to explore more of them in these DVDs.

Please visit the films official website at www.wonderwomanmovie.com.

“Wonder Woman” (c) Warner Bros. Ent Inc. “Wonder Woman” and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and (c) DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.

The direct-to-video Wonder Woman animated features hits DVD and Blu-ray on March 3rd, 2009.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Click here to discuss the story!

“Animated Batman” Inspired Statue By Bruce Timm Set For Release By DC Direct

Official details on the statue can be found below.

BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE STATUE: BRUCE TIMM

Designed by: Bruce Timm
Sculpted by: James Shoop

The wildly popular DC Direct statue line continues! Innovative Batman artist and animator Bruce Timm lends his talents to the Batman: Black and White Statue series by creating an original design of the Caped Crusader leaping into action based on his animated work!

Painted in monochromatic tones, this statue measures approximately 7.25″ high x 6″ wide x 6″ deep. It features a Bat-logo-shaped base and is packaged in a black-and-white box.

On Sale May 13, 2009

Stay tuned for further updates.

Click here to discuss the story!

DC Comics Releases Information On New “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” Comic

The official information on Batman: The Brave and The Bold #2 is available below, courtesy of DC Comics. DC Comics released this information earlier this week.

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #2

Written by: Matt Wayne
Art by: Phil Moy
Cover by: Scott Jeralds

Spinning out of the explosive new cartoon TV show, this stupendous second issue features Batman and the all-new Blue Beetle! Show writer Matt Wayne has the duo teaming up to investigate an invasion of mythical creatures!

Why are trolls are ogres from a video game raiding the real world? It’s up to Batman and Blue Beetle to find out and they discover that someone’s not just playing around! All this action plus Batman’s secret files await you in this ongoing series based on the newest cartoon incarnation of The Dark Knight! On Sale February 25th, 2009.

On a related note, a new episode of Batman: The Brave and The Bold is scheduled to air tonight. The episode, called “Terror on Dinosaur Island!,” will air tonight at 8pm (ET) on Cartoon Network.

Stay tuned for further Batman: The Brave and The Bold updates.

Click here to discuss the story!

Schedule For Upcoming “Batman” The Brave and The Bold” December Episodes

Despite being originally scheduled, Batman: The Brave and The Bold will be pre-empted on November 28th, 2008. The series will return the following week with the first of two new episodes, as scheduled below.

The Friday, Dec. 5th, 2008 episode will be “Evil Under the Sea!,” which was originally scheduled for Nov. 28th, 2008. Following that, Cartoon Network will air “Invasion of the Secret Santas!” on Friday, Dec. 12th, 2008. The official description for both episodes are below.

“Evil Under the Sea” – Batman aids Aquaman as Ocean Master and Black Manta team up to assassinate him.

“Invasion of the Secret Santas” – Batman and Red Tornado fight to stop Fun Haus’ Yuletide crime spree.

Stay tuned for approved images provided by Cartoon Network.

Batman: The Brave and The Bold airs Fridays at 8pm (ET) on Cartoon Network. The episode “Terror on Dinosaur Island,” featuring Plastic Man, airs this Friday.

Stay tuned for further Batman: The Brave and The Bold updates.

Click here to discuss the story!

Further Details On Upcoming “Wonder Woman” Animated DVD And Blu-Ray Release

The Wonder Woman 2-Disc DVD release will feature premium packaging with a lenticular “O” sleeve and packaging artwork slated to include work by legendary comic book and animation artist Adam Hughes. The Blu-ray is also expected to feature a premium packaging similar to the 2-Disc DVD release of Wonder Woman. The single disc Wonder Woman DVD release will feature different package art. Please note the above details come from the studio, but have not been confirmed.

However, the World’s Finest can confirm the preview of the next “DC Universe Animated Original Movie” title, included on both the Wonder Woman DVD and Blu-ray releases, will be a first look at the upcoming Green Lantern direct-to-video animated feature.

Wonder Woman arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on March 3rd, 2009. To read the Wonder Woman press release, click here. Click here to view four new images from the upcoming direct-to-video animated feature, and click here to view the trailer.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Click here to discuss the story!