Story By:G. H. HARDING
Will Ferrell

MANIMAL MANIA – Sony Pictures and Will Ferrell have set their sights on Manimal, the feature based on the cult 1980’s TV show about a man who fights crime using his ability to morph into animals. Ferrell, and his partners will produce along with original series co-creator Glen A. Larson, and Key & Peele EPs Jay Martel and Ian Roberts already have been tapped to write.

The original 1983 series starred Simon MacCorkindale as Dr. Jonathan Chase, a dashing and wealthy man raised in Africa who was also master of the secrets that divide man from animal. It was canceled after eight episodes, only to live on in the hearts of a devoted cult fandom. Sony Pictures Animation’s live-action/animation hybrid will reinvent that concept as an action-comedy with heavy visual effects and animated elements.

“I think its right down our alley, it’s what we do,” said McKay. “It’s tongue-in-cheek and has an action component, but overall it’s a comedy.” The hunt is on for the right director.

“Like The Catcher In The Rye or The Sound And The Fury, Manimal has always been one of those elusive projects every producer dreams of taking to the silver screen,” continues McKay. “I know the movie will be funny and entertaining, but will it be the first film to win a Pulitzer? We’ll just have to see.”

TV super-producer Larson created popular series Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider and Magnum, P.I.

Speaking of Knight Rider … whatever happened to Harvey Weinstein’s big-screen re-make? As fun as Manimal sounds, it just makes me realize yet again, that what’s coming out on-screen just ain’t making it. This summer’s down significantly and aren’t there just too many comic-book big-screen adaptations?

Check out this clip from the TV show:

HERE’S HERCULES --- Sony Classical is releasing the original motion picture soundtrack of Hercules, composed by World Soundtrack Award nominee Fernando Velázquez. Directed by Brett Ratner, the film stars Dwayne Johnson in the title role alongside Ian McShane, John Hurt and Rufus Sewell. The soundtrack will be available digitally on July 22 and on CD August 5.

Velázquez is a Spanish-born orchestral music, television and film composer, as well as an accomplished cello player who has played in various orchestras. In 2010 he was selected to create symphonic works for the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra. Velázquez composed the award-winning soundtracks for The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, and Guillermo del Toro’s The Orphanage for which he was nominated for The World Soundtrack Award. His other credits include M. Night Shayamalan’s The Devil, Guillermo del Toro’s Mama, BackWoods starring Gary Oldman and Savage Grace starring Julianne Moore.

“I really tried to address the strength and nobility of Hercules in the movie,” says Velázquez on the score, which was recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. “The music tries to capture this kindness along with the great strength. It sounds modern and yet it feels classical as it is completely symphonic, even when incorporating electronics and all kind of ‘modern’ drums.” In tracks such as “Pirates’ Camp,” “Bessi-Battle” and “Centaurs,” Velázquez conjures up stirring feelings of combat and excitement. In “Hercules” and “The Statue Falls,” he finds a heroic vein. Stunningly good.

AVICII RISING --- Avicii is adding a rock flavor to his next album with guest appearances from Jon Bon Jovi, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Chris Martin of Coldplay.

The Billie Joe Armstrong song has been titled No Pleasing A Woman.

Other guests expected for the record are Serj Tankian of System Of A Down, Wyclef Jean and Matisyahu.

“It’s going to be a lot more song-oriented. True (his 2013 album) was an attempt at that, getting electronic music in a song format,” said Avicii.

In all, Avicii says he has about 70 songs to shortlist for the next record. The album is still a work in progress and is yet to be titled or given a release date. Needless to say, his song “Wake Me Up” was a massive worldwide hit and properly introduced him to audiences everywhere.

CLOSING NOTES --- I saw those white flags on the Brooklyn Bridge Tuesday morning as I jogged along and wondered if it was a movie stunt. Turns out it wasn't and Bill Bratton and his troops are stunned, calling it Flag Gate. As of this writing, it’s still being investigated. Scary … right?

Joel Grey at Bar Pitti in Lower Manhattan; Micky Dolenz hanging with Alice Cooper backstage at The Hollywood Bowl Monday night; Tony Danza at Nick & Toni’s on the NY’s Upper Westside …

Watched that Sam Smith spot on Letterman again, with him performing “Stay With Me.” I'm moved to say it was one of the year’s best performances so far. Just amazing. We're getting the CD and will have a full-review shortly …

Hedwig tonight and Atlantic Records will be happy to hear, we'll purchase the cast CD there …

ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill is slated to undergo surgery to remove two kidney stones this week, necessitating a delay in the start of the group’s US summer tour. The kidney stones were discovered in the course of a routine physical examination where Hill’s doctor advised him that they should immediately be removed, lest they cause more serious problems down the line.

CBS FM's Scott Shannon's celebrates his 101th show (their frequency on the FM dial) next Friday with a live remote from NYC's City Winery. They'll be a bunch of famous names stopping by. Btw: Shannon did a great interview the other day on Fox TV with Ernie Anastos. Details to follow on his simulcast; we'll be there...