|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4|
|Preview Night||The Cute, The Crazy and The Creepy||Photos We Love||The Backpacks of Comic-Con|
Well, it was a lot of fun but Comic-Con 2012 has come to an end. Here are a few of my favorite moments this year:
My fellow editor Heather thought it would be a fun idea to count the number of people dressed as Slave Leia because it is always a very popular costume each year. I really expected to see more, but my final #slaveleia count was a mere eight. Either they were in hiding, or Lady Captain America is the new Slave Leia.
My first day on the showroom floor, I saw a girl with a Chewbacca backpack with a little pink barrett in his hair. I had never seen anything like this before, but then the next day, I saw one for Spider-Man. And thus began my hunt for character backpacks. Here’s a full gallery.
I tried my best but didn’t make it into the “Firefly” reunion panel, but I was able to make it to the press conference, and the room was packed! I also posted this on IMDbLive, but my favorite moment was when Joss Whedon was asked about his strong female characters and responded, “In everything I do, men who are comfortable with powerful women are more powerful men.”
From the larger than life trolls to the press conference, I am more excited than ever to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in December. It was surreal to listen to the details of the film production and to hear Sir Ian McKellen’s defense of 3D technology.
On the first day of Comic-Con, I stumbled upon the collection of Batmobiles on display on the lawn in front of the Hilton Bayfront Hotel. As you can imagine, it was an amazing sight to see. I found myself returning to the display every day to stare in awe, as if I was looking at a piece of history. On one day, they started up the Tumbler from The Dark Knight Rises and I captured it on video.
For years, I have carried a grudge against Kevin Williamson. Williamson adapted Lois Duncan’s best-selling novel “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, but in my eyes didn’t give her credit for his second film, Teaching Mrs. Tingle. Duncan wrote the novel, “Killing Mr. Griffin“, and was one of my favorite childhood writers. And so I have boycotted most of his work, and what I did watch was with arms crossed. But… after hearing him talk so passionately about his writing process on “The Following” and “The Vampire Diaries“, I have decided to let it go. I forgive you, Kevin.
I am still coming down from the excitement I felt at the “Fringe” panel and pressroom, and I’m officially counting down the days to the season premiere. If you missed it, check out my previous blog post on my love of “Fringe”.
At the Pacific Rim press conference, Guillermo del Toro said this film production was the most fun that he’s ever had with a group of actors. Charlie Day then stated, “You say this was one of your best experiences working with actors, but you tortured the f*ck out of us.” del Toro giggled and replied, “Yeah, that was fun.”
And, once again, Comic-Con was a lot of fun. See you next year!
As I watched the trailer for the final season of “Fringe“, I started tearing up. To say that I am a fan is a huge understatement, yet I still had to laugh at myself, and figured it was just more proof that I am a genuine nerd. But I soon learned that I am not the only one who was moved by this incredible show. Shortly after the cast took the stage, hundreds of fans in the audience held up sheets of paper with a white tulip drawing. And when describing their favorite scenes on the show that they themselves weren’t in, Jasika Nicole, Anna Torv, and even Lance Reddick were moved to tears.
Maybe this show hasn’t won awards (though John Noble and Anna Torv were robbed, robbed I say!) but “Fringe” is a show with a dedicated fan base and a cast and crew who are well aware, and are grateful that they are still here as a result of that fan dedication.
After the panel, I suddenly felt very lucky to be able to go and speak with the cast and J.H. Wyman, the show’s executive producer and showrunner. So I asked my fellow “Fringe” fans on Twitter what they wanted to know. I didn’t get answers to all of their questions, but here are a few:
@FraggleBerlin asks “What did they feel when the fans held up the sheets with white tulips?”
J.H. Wyman: “That meant a great deal to me personally because that image came to me in a dream. I was trying very hard to get what was in my head on to the page, and I think I did. It meant hope, and that it’s okay. It was this concept of I don’t know what the hell is wrong with the world but there is some method of peace that I can find, and belief in something good. I was really adamant about getting that out. So I was very moved because what started as something in my imagination has touched people. It was beautiful.”
@fringefridaynet asks “Is Georgina Haig coming back?”
Georgina Haig appeared in the scenes for next season so I think its safe to say yes, she should appear in some episodes.
@xasilaydying asked “Does Anna Torv still have a job? Olivia was a bit missing in Letters in Transit.”
Yes, Olivia will definitely be in the final season.
@orpheus_E asked “Will we see the alternative universe again?”
From the panel and press rooms, it seemed pretty clear they have said goodbye both to the alternate universe and their alters. But as Lance Reddick said, “This is Fringe. Who knows what could happen?”
@cau7bishop and @millertime1976 asked “Can we expect any surprising guest stars during the last season?” and “Will Henry Ian Cusick be back?”
J.H. Wyman was asked and chose not to answer if Henry Ian Cusick or any other guest stars would be in for the next season. He said he wanted to keep it a surprise because each episode is like “presents on Christmas morning.” In the press room, John Noble mentioned he heard a rumor that Robin Williams wanted to guest star on the show. I think he would be a great Observer.
@ShaNay_Nay asked “Which does John Noble prefer playing, Walter or Walternate?”
Moderator Damian Holbrook asked which version of their character each cast member liked to play. John Noble mentioned he enjoyed playing the Walter when we first met him, straight out of the insane asylum.
@kevrah94 asked “Any exact date for the start of the new season?”
The show is scheduled to return on Friday, September 28th. J.H. Wyman confirmed there will be 13 new episodes.
@Zorknot asked “Is Anna Torv going to do any new characters this season?”
They didn’t hint at any new characters but here’s what Anna Torv had to say about Olivia this season:
“I haven’t had Olivia to myself for awhile. I haven’t been able to have her and I, 100 percent, with all my heart focused on her for a couple of years. I think instead of bemoaning, well, I set this up or set that up, I am just going to make her who I want her to be. Because she isn’t there yet. So that’s my personal challenge for this season, no matter what I am given: I am just going to make her who I want her to be.”
@Keinesvonuns asked “Is there any chance the future Fringe division will turn into a spin-off series?”
There was no talk of a spin-off but John Noble is trying to spread the rumor of a “Fringe” film so it can become a reality. Fans, let’s get to work!
Thank you to everyone who contributed questions and to all my fellow fans who have helped keep the show going for this fifth and final season. Perhaps we can start a support group after the series finale?
Guillermo del Toro : The unofficial mayor of Comic-Con unveiled the best trailer of the event, his stunning, giant-sized first look at Pacific Rim, which aims to seamlessly fit together human emotion, smart science, and smarter CGI/visually effected moviemaking into one of the top event films of next year. After catching glimpses of del Toro’s robot vs. kaiju action, pretty much all other monsters (aside from Godzilla, but more on that in a sec), looked off in scale and purpose. Please don’t hate me, Milla.
Wreck-It Ralph: Much has been said about Disney’s acquisition of Pixar since that deal was inked in 2006, but Wreck-It Ralph, a story set in the world of classic video games, is showing indications of how Disney Animation Studios can create increasingly resonant movies by looking to Pixar’s standards. During the Con’s “trailer park” panel — an interstitial event where trailers are shown between live presentations – Wreck-It got the most applause each time I was present.
Joss Whedon: With a post-Avengers glow, our favorite male feminist hung out with fans the night before the emotional “Firefly” reunion, announced that “Dr. Horrible’s” will air on the CW, and seemingly is in position to do whatever he wants next, which may or may not be an Avengers sequel.
Iron Man 3: Robert Downey Jr. dancing up the aisles to a Luther Vandross song kicked off a presentation that offered a glimpse of Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin and gracefully let Jon Favreau sound off on his participation in the third chapter of Tony Stark’s saga. I never thought this franchise would earn lazy comparisons to Transformers, but let’s just say Stark and company will rebound after a questionable second outing.
After Earth: Apparently you don’t need Will Smith, his son, Jaden, or director M. Night Shyamalan to pack a conference room with news of a sci-fi/adventure story set 1,000 years after our planet’s destruction.
The Campaign: Initially I bristled at the inclusion of this comedy during the Warner Bros. presentation, but an improved second trailer and the Will Ferrell vs. Zach Galifianakis banter fully won me over. And I still can’t believe it every time I see that baby get punched in the face.
“The Big Bang Theory”: Being somewhat naive about this show, its graduation into Hall H made me realize how much of a true fan connection has been developed over its 5 seasons. Also, Kaley Cuoco should be hired for more comedy films.
Django Unchained: Of course Quentin Tarantino motormouthed his way through the script’s development and its myriad movie inspirations, and the footage was full tilt; however, it was the ways in which Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington articulated their respective connection to the material that made me feel this might be QT’s first important film.
Godzilla: A 2-minute tease of Monsters director Gareth Edwards‘s take on the kaiju icon proved what we already know: Edwards is an emerging talent who could help reshape what it means to make an event film in Hollywood.
Two Season Threes: “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” held two of the biggest panels this year — both in Hall H, and both as we await their respective third seasons. Universes will expand, characters we love (and otherwise) will die, and fourth seasons are a given, so let’s get to it already.
“The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” announced their respective return dates to 6,000+ ecstatic fans in Hall H on Friday. These two genre-changers capped a major day for television at Comic-Con; personally, each panel reminded me of the tipping point that occurred here at the height of “Lost”‘s popularity, when there was a clear an indication that the small-screen gives us more to invest in in terms of character- and plot-line development. You know, the qualities Steven Soderbergh has cited as he prepares to leave the world of film for TV.
Both panels delivered wildly entertaining previews into their respective third seasons.
Please don’t put me in the barn for saying this, but “The Walking Dead” is an almost-there show. What I mean: Now that we’re beyond the Frank Darabont dismissal drama and the shaky start to season two, true greatness awaits in season 3 as the Ricktatorship senses a mutation in the zombie epidemic and encounters a seemingly abandoned prison that pits them against pure evil in human form. I’ve had issues with the Rick Grimes character over the second season, and Andrew Lincoln seemed aware of Rick’s abrasiveness and questionable decisions. The same goes for his wife, Lori, played by the radiant Sarah Wayne Callies. (“I’m not a homewrecker, I play one on TV,” she offered.) Together, Lincoln and Callies offered sound defenses for their characters’ past actions, and Callies’s assertion that she’d ultimately done right by her husband and family was better articulated than most of Lori’s dialogue. I was like: hey, Robert Kirkman, perhaps she should be in invited into the writers’ room? At the end of the table sat Danai Gurira, who appeared at the end of season two as the katana-sword wielding Michonne, and David Morrissey, who will psychologically terrorize audiences as The Governor. Both actors kept their statements brief, but it’s clear they’ll be more front and center at Comic-Con 2013. And what else is there to say aside from the fact that Merle, the survivalist redneck played by Michael Rooker, appeared at the very end of the season 3 preview trailer.
George R.R. Martin himself moderated the “Game of Thrones” panel; one cool thing about Martin is the fact that he’s been doing the sci-fi/fantasy convention rounds for years, so he was most interested in truly interacting with his cast and the audience without being anything but his sex-and-violence-focused self. He had no filter – it was like hearing your cool grandfather swear, and the crowd loved it. They also loved each time Emilia Clarke and Richard Madden took a question; there was a serious Team Daenerys/Team Rob vibe happening. If I had to gauge who should win the throne from the Hall H reaction, it would be a Targaryen world. The season 3 casting announcements were thorough surprises; personal highlights were brief testimonials from Diana Rigg (who looks amazing) and Mackenzie Crook and his whole Rhys Ifans/I don’t really sleep look. This upcoming season is going to be such an all-star game it will be hard to back a single contender.
Today I checked out the pilot episode and Q&A for “666 Park Avenue“, the sinister new series starring Terry O’Quinn, Vanessa Williams, Dave Annable, and Rachael Taylor. At first, I was a bit reluctant at the idea of watching a full TV episode in the middle of Comic-Con craziness, but it didn’t take long for me to get sucked in.
Here’s the premise: A young eager couple — Jane Van Neen (Rachael Taylor) and Henry Martin (Annable)– have just arrived to New York with a lot of hope but no cash. So they take what seems like a dream gig as resident managers of luxury high-rise building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The building is owned by the mysterious Gavin Doran (O’Quinn) and his wife, Olivia (Williams), who are happy to help others fulfill their dreams, but at a price. Shortly after Jane and Henry take the job, they realize that there may be more to this building than meets the eye.
I had heard rumblings that the show was a cheap version of Rosemary’s Baby, but I found it to be intriguing. If you were a fan of “Lost“, you are aware that O’Quinn can play the side of darkness with a twinkle in his eye. With this series, he takes his dark side to a new level. It’s unclear if he’s the Devil or a demon, but O’Quinn described his character as “pure evil”.
“666 Park Avenue” has many of the elements that pulls me into a TV series: a great cast, decent writing, and a supernatural element that is spooky and dramatic. At the very least, it intrigued me enough to keep watching this fall.
Cooler temperatures, successful crowd-dodging maneuvers, and a genuine feeling of starstruckness made it a perfect first day at Comic-Con 2012. Here are some highlights:
- Assessing the individual and collective maturity levels of the kids, who have grown up in front of the press over the past years and are keenly aware of the credit due to Stephenie Meyer, the franchise’s directors, and the worldwide fan base who have turned them into icons. And sensing there might be truth to the notion that Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are indeed a couple by the way he devotes full attention to her.
- Watching a kid in a Nintendo controller mask, a DIY construction made of cardboard and magic marker, get more attention than his older brother’s Batman costume.
- John C. Reilly saying to a reporter, “You’re at Comic-Con, man, do your homework” in response to the question if he played the video game Wreck-It Ralph as a kid.
- Talking with comedienne, Wreck-It Ralph co-star, and fellow New Hampshire native Sarah Silverman about Funspot, the arcade in our home state that used to give you five free tokens for every “A” you received on your report card (and 3 tokens for every “C”).
- The Scooby Doo kids.
- Holding brief, nearly back-to-back audiences with Tim Burton and Sam Raimi, both in similar all-black ensembles. It was good to listen to and speak with Burton about a project to which he’s long been connected, the feature-length expansion of his short, Frankenweenie. Raimi, though graceful, already seems weary of all the Spider-Man reboot questions and the misinterpretations of his Oz: The Great and Powerful project (and he didn’t seem to dig my question of whether he discussed directing techniques with James Franco, which I will be overanalyzing for weeks).
- Seizing up as Michelle Williams approached and realizing I was thoroughly starstruck. Instead of asking about Oz: The Great and Powerful, I just wanted to look at her hair, patterned dress, complexion, and shoes from a respectful distance. It’s a bit odd to see a queen of independent dramas in this setting, and I didn’t think it was the place to talk with her about Meek’s Cutoff and how she was robbed of an Oscar nomination there.
With all the talk of Comic-Con becoming too Hollywood-centric and mainstream, sometimes all you need is a photo of Batdog to help you turn down the background noise.
As I’ve mentioned before, this is my fourth year at Comic-Con and all day I found myself reflecting back. My first and last events were the same as that first year: The Twilight Saga and “Dexter“. For “Dexter”, I clearly remember the first question of the press panel: “So why are you here?”
I don’t know who asked it, but it was in a tone that was not friendly or even sarcastic. It was challenging the fact that this show and many others were realizing Comic-Con is a great place to promote their show/film. Everyone in the room was taken by surprise and as you can imagine, it made for a very awkward panel with dotted silence.
Boy, what a difference four years make. From the loud gasps after they showed the exclusive clip of the first two minutes of the season premiere, to the cheers when the cast walked on stage, there is no question of why “Dexter” is at Comic-Con. It’s a fan favorite. I even saw someone dressed as our favorite serial killer. Throughout the panel, they were very elusive about the fate of Deb and the role of Yvonne Strahovski, but they did let it slip that her name is Hannah. All I can say is save the date for the premiere– September 30th–or at the very least set your DVR.
I would really, really love to tell you more about the clip but I am afraid that I might give something away and I will be hunted down. Spoiler alert!!!
My first exposure to Comic-Con’s unique superpower, the ability to launch a pop-culture phenomenon, coincided with the Twilight panel four years back; this year, that saga comes to a close with a Hall H curtain call for Breaking Dawn – Part 2 on Thursday morning, preceded by an industry party the night before, where Michelle (@IMDbMichelle) and I (@IMDbArno) hope to snap some candids for you before the Con officially kicks into gear for 2012.
It’s an expected start to a year that has one major day of movie presentations — with The Hobbit, Django Unchained, Iron Man 3, Pacific Rim, Man of Steel, and others turning Saturday into the day everyone’s focused on. But let’s acknowledge the two studios who are missing from this year’s roster: Paramount will sit out 2012, and Fox’s barely-here presence has film bloggers wondering aloud if the Con’s special abilities are waning. I wouldn’t say a Hugh Jackman PR stunt to hype The Wolverine would change the prevailing opinion that the industry might be falling out of love with the event, but it would be a welcome surprise in a year that features more than a few notable absences.
Jackman’s Con history is in sharp contrast with someone like Will Smith‘s, who’s no longer Mr. July and isn’t scheduled to appear during the After Earth panel on Saturday. The presentation for the summer 2013 sci-fi flick won’t be graced by Smith’s son and co-star, Jaden, nor director M. Night Shyamalan. The panel isn’t even being held in Hall H. It’s all so curious that I feel as though one, two, or all three of them have to put in a surprise appearance.
Sci-fi fans will be treated to panels with Guillermo del Toro and Neill Blomkamp. The lovable and profane del Toro will unveil bits from his robots-versus-sea-monsters creation, Pacific Rim; Elysium, Blomkamp’s follow-up to District 9, could emerge as the buzziest Con revelation.
And if I manage to get a split second with Quentin Tarantino, who will unveil more of Django Unchained, I’m going to ask him if he prefers fast or slow zombies and, since he has some TV experience under his belt, to sound off on “The Walking Dead” since Frank Darabont‘s unceremonious dismissal.
Comic-Con 2012 begins this week and once again, IMDb will be heading down to San Diego for the event! Starting Wednesday, July 11th – Sunday, July 15th, we will have full coverage of all the nerdy festivities in our special Comic-Con section at http://imdb.com/comic-con/. Arno (@IMDbArno) and I (@IMDbMichelle) will be posting photos and updates on IMDbLive on Facebook, on Twitter at @IMDBLive. Here’s a few things I’m looking forward to:
When I first went to Comic-Con four years ago, my first event was the Twilight press room. The first film hadn’t been released yet and I don’t think any us of knew just how popular it would be, but when I posted my first photo, it got so much traffic it broke the blog. It seems almost fitting that my first event this year will be the press room for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2. Regardless if you are a Twi-hard or a Twi-hater, this final film will be the end of an era.
The event I am most excited about: the Walking Dead Escape: San Diego, presented by “Walking Dead” creator/writer Robert Kirkman and Skybound.com. They are transforming Petco Petco Park into a zombie obstacle course and participants will get to choose to be a walker, survivor, or a spectator. No offense to spectators but it’s not every day you get hands-on practice for the zombie apocalypse. Just saying.
On Thursday, my first big TV event will be “Dexter, with featured panelists Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, and Yvonne Strahovski. They are promising to premiere the first two minutes of the season premiere, so hopefully we can get an idea how the hey Dexter is going to react to getting caught by Deb. I just hope that one of them isn’t dreaming. That would be lame.
I’ll be covering several TV panels and events including “Community“, “Vampire Diaries“, “The Walking Dead“, “True Blood“, “Spartacus: War of the Damned“, and “Fringe“. In addition to these fan favorites, I’ll check out a few upcoming shows including “666 Park Ave“, starring Terry O’Quinn, Vanessa Williams, and David Annable, as well as “The Following“, starring Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy. I am going to try and charm my way into the “Firefly” reunion panel with Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, and crew. Wish me luck.
Although I’m mostly covering TV, I am beyond thrilled to be covering a few film events, including The Hobbit, with Peter Jackson, Sir Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, and Richard Armitage, as well as Pacific Rim with Guillermo del Toro, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, and Ron Perlman. As of right now, Idris Elba is not confirmed to be there but I have my fingers and toes crossed that he will make a surprise visit.
Make sure to check back for photos and updates throughout the week!
The complete schedule for this year’s Comic-Con was released today, and we’ve finally got an almost complete look at what to expect when Comic-Con begins a week from tomorrow (that seems simultaneously really close and altogether too far away).
Click through to the official Comic-Con MySched site to create your own personalized schedule for each day.
So it begins! The official Facebook page for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey announced this morning that there will be a special look at the upcoming film at Comic-Con on Saturday, July 14th, in Hall H. Director Peter Jackson and producer Philippa Boyens are confirmed to attend, along with Sir Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, and Richard Armitage.
These photos of an animated Stan Lee from the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man video game essentially sum up our growing enthusiasm for Comic-Con 2012.
Okay, now we’re really excited. Science Channel announced today that there will be a “Firefly” panel at this year’s Comic-Con, celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the series. Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion are confirmed to attend, along with Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher, Michael Fairman, and writer Tim Minear. The panel will be held on Friday, July 13, at 12:30 pm PT in Ballroom 20. Shiny!
If you have been (im)patiently waiting to see how Dexter was going to explain his extracurricular activites to Deb, you might want to head down to Comic-Con.
Showtime announced today that “Dexter” will headline opening day at Comic-Con 2012 on July 12th. Featured panelists will include Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, and guest star Yvonne Strahovski (of “Chuck” fame), along with executive producers John Goldwyn, Sara Colleton, and Scott Buck. Attendees will be the first to see an exclusive two-minute clip from the season premiere. We’re sure the clip won’t reveal too much, but at the very least it may hold us over until the season premiere on September 30th.
A funny thing happened to me this year at Comic-Con. After running around all day for back-to-back panels, I found myself with a spare hour before my next commitment. It was a beautiful, sunny day (compared to the usually dreary Seattle where I live) so I decided to walk over to the park between the convention center and the Hilton hotel. Keep in mind, this is the third year in a row I have attended Comic-Con, so imagine my surprise when I looked up to discover the crystal blue marina, just steps away from all the activities. It occurred to me that in all my experiences at this event, I had never slowed down enough to really stop and enjoy my surroundings.
In a nutshell, this is the perfect way to describe the vibe at this year’s Comic-Con. The pace was a bit slower and there was room to walk through the main floor of the convention center without feeling like a herd of cattle. It seemed like there were fewer people dressed in costumes, but the ones who did dress up really took the time to perfect their characters. From my perspective, everyone I encountered, from the fans to the celebrities, appeared to be in good spirits and took the time to enjoy the moment.
Here are a few of my favorite moments:
- Josh Jackson getting a standing ovation when he made a surprise appearance at the “Fringe” panel. It looks like he will indeed be featured next season. He stated “I think the Peter we see this season will be a very different man than we’ve met before”. Hint, hint: he was dressed as an observer.
- At the end of the “Alcatraz” press panel, I asked director Jack Bender (who also directed “Lost“) what was the name of the man in black. He answered “Barry”.
- Running into the legendary film director Werner Herzog.
- Attending the star-studded world premiere of Cowboys & Aliens. In addition to Jon Favreau, Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde, we spotted Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Johnny Galecki, Danny DeVito, and Joel McHale.
- Riding the elevator with a pair of Clone Troopers. These were the most impressive costumes I saw this year.
- Interviewing Taylor Lautner on the terrace of the empty Petco Park. Regardless if you’re a Twilight fan, he’s a genuinely gracious young man who seems humbled by his success.
- Spotting Alexander Skarsgard at the Wired Café. No further explanation is necessary.
- Listening to director Frank Darabont and make-up/special effects wizard Gregory Nicotero describe how they cast for zombies for “The Walking Dead”. Nicotero said, “There are two kinds of people in the world. One sings with a hairbrush in the front of the mirror, and the other does the zombie walk. I look for the latter.”
- At the “Warehouse 13” panel, a young fan asked Allison Scagliotti if she was on “Drake & Josh”. She didn’t seem too thrilled by the question but stated “You know, IMDb is a great resource for those types of questions.” Go team!
- Stumbling across a group of people dressed as superheroes relaxing in the shade by the Marriot. When they noticed us smiling at them, they started to get up, but my co-worker Arno stopped them and said, “Even superheroes need a break.”
See you next year!
I just left a special presentation of The Darkest Hour, director Chris Gorak’s follow-up to the underseen Right at Your Door. Summit Entertainment is keeping a lid on this sci-fi survival tale for good reason: it looks too promising to spoil with a flood of advanced footage.
Gorak has worked with writer Jon Spaiths (who has a bit of a say in Prometheus) and producer Timur Bekmambetov (and his visual effects team) on a Russia-set story of people — Emile Hirsch, Rachel Taylor, Joel Kinnaman, Olivia Thirlby, and Max Minghella — who survive a global alien attack where our energy supplies are the primary target. The hook for me was when Gorak said he hopes the film turns the genre on its head since it proffers a scenario where the daytime is scarier than the night. Combine that with Bekmambetov’s instantly engaging visuals and seemingly humanistic story elements, and I’m happy to feel my sense that the film might be a unique take on the overworked alien-invasion premise seems on point. In other words, this movie cannot be breezily dismissed as Battle: Russian Federation.
The trailer, which I will remain tight-lipped about, was as promising as the set photos and storyboards we glimpsed. And we were told the trailer will be out within the next few weeks. Welcome back to the big big-screen, Emile Hirsch; we’ve missed you.
Today at Comic-Con, most of the talk was about a little film called Breaking Dawn. While we were here, we took this opportunity to chat with Taylor Lautner about his other upcoming film, Abduction. Not only is this action thriller his first starring role, it’s also the debut release from his production company, Tailor Made.
IMDb: We thought that perhaps you may be the youngest action star. Do you know if that’s true?
Taylor Lautner: (laughing) I don’t know, am I considered an action star? That’s great to hear. I really look up to actors like Matt Damon and Tom Cruise and they definitely had their go at the action realm. But what I love most about them is they are known as the action guys, but they aren’t just the action guys. They have challenged themselves to so much. Even in their action movies, there were incredible characters. I think Abduction is similar to that and I can’t wait for people to see it.
IMDb: So you considered a few other projects you were considering such as Northern Lights and Stretch Armstrong, what made you pick this project?
Lautner: It’s a funny story. I had a general meeting with one of the producers two years ago. He pitched me a lot of ideas from scripts and at the very end of the meeting he said, ‘I have one other project but it’s literally just a pitch.’ He told me two lines of what it was about and I said ‘that is the best idea I have heard yet. Let me know when you get a script.’ A year went by and I didn’t hear anything on it. Then, randomly, I was at the Super Bowl and I got a call from my agent and he asked if remembered the project Abduction. He sent the script overnight to Miami and I read it all in one night. The next morning I called everyone and said this has to be my next project.
IMDb: So did they end up writing the script specifically with you in mind?
Lautner: Well, yes I think after that original meeting when I showed him I was interested enough, a script was written but that was just the first draft. Then I came on board and my production company did as well. There was a lot of development and several more rounds of scripts. But it turned out great.
IMDb: Is this your first producing credit?
Lautner: Yes, Abduction is my production company’s [Tailor Made] first movie. I have always been interested in the development process. It’s great to be able to build the movie from the ground up, and work the characters and be along for the journey. It’s been a lot of fun.
IMDb: As a first-time producer, were you surprised by the process and everything that goes into making the film?
Lautner: I think that producing makes you realize how much work goes into a project before the cameras roll. It took a year to get the script and several months to re-tweak it. Plus casting, getting the whole team together, and then, that’s when the cameras start rolling. And, once they stop rolling, then there’s post-production. It never stops! It’s a very long process and a lot of hard work but it’s definitely worth it in the end when you watch the movie and you can remember everything that went into it.
IMDb: As an actor, were you able to take off your producer hat and trust that everything was getting done?
Lautner: Absolutely. A major help with that was our director John Singleton.
IMDb: How did he get involved with the project?
Lautner: He was just the right guy for it. He was super passionate about the film from the beginning. He really took me under his wing and we went through a film school together. He made me watch a lot of movies–
IMDb: Which movies?
Lautner: We studied some of my favorite actors in roles similar to [my character] Nathan in Abduction. We watched Tom Cruise in Minority Report. We watched Harrison Ford in The Fugitive. It was great because I was able to study them in ways they went about taking on those roles and tried to bring some of that to Abduction.
IMDb: This was a very physical role and you’ve been doing karate since you were very young. What other types of training did you do to prepare for the role?
Lautner: There was a lot of physical training. Three months before we started filming, I started taking boxing. So I boxed, motorcycle training, wrestling, and my martial arts helped a little bit with the fight training. It was extremely physically challenging which was a lot of fun.
IMDb: What was your favorite part of the filmmaking process?
Lautner: It would probably be working with everyone I had the opportunity to work with. I had an incredible cast: Sigourney Weaver, Alfred Molina, Lily Collins, Maria Bello, and Jason Isaacs. I was so fortunate and I couldn’t have done it without all of them.
IMDb: So you are here at Comic-Con for the second time for that other movie you have coming out. Over the last three years, so much has changed with the whole Twilight craze. Now that this chapter is about to end, what is it you want to take with you?
Lautner: I am incredibly thankful for this franchise. It has given all of us the opportunity to go off and do what we love and things we are passionate about. I wouldn’t have been able to make Abduction if it wasn’t for the Twilight Saga. I am thankful for that and the relationships we took from the series. We’ve made lifelong friendships and that’s super important to me.
The second best thing to come out of this morning’s Breaking Dawn: Part 1 press panel and Hall H presentation was to realize how self-assured Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have become as the world documents their every professional and personal move. The best part? Elizabeth Reaser‘s heretofore unheard sense of humor. Here’s a quick rundown of the best lines from the mouth of Esme Cullen:
“Maybe if the White Stripes were playing and it was a safari tent.” — When asked if she would ever wait in line for something like the Twihards outside Hall H.
“Which uncomfortable shoes am I wearing today?” — In response to the question of how she kept track of which movie was being shot.
“I liked the international vampires – the nutty Romanian guys.” — Her favorite new characters in Breaking Dawn.
“I’ll miss the weird normalcy of getting up at 4AM … going to crafty [craft service] to get rice crackers and jalapeno jack cheese.” — What she’ll miss about filming the series.
“I’d love to do voice-over acting because you can wear, like, sweatpants.”
I hope the humor translates to this page. Reaser has a straightforward delivery that could be wicked in a comedy film, hard R or otherwise. Maybe she could team up with Melissa McCarthy and Wendi McLendon-Covey and remake 9 to 5.
Neuroses usually instilled in your average superhero character have preceded Comic-Con 2011, as bloggers and industry watchers over the past few weeks have cried out a list of movies and studios that wouldn’t be making the annual trip down to San Diego. Before touching down in southern California, the event was already a disappointment for some. For sure, Marvel’s dialed-down presence creates a major void, and the absence of The Hunger Games, The Hobbit, and other major 2012 releases is curious, but this year’s movie offerings are far from anemic; maybe this could be a year where a lesser known movie breaks through or a new career is launched. And with presentations from the Spider-Man reboot to Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s apparent Alien universe spin-off, all that earlier chatter about a weak movie roster feels disproportionate to what lies ahead from Preview Night to the last day of the ‘Con.
And at the risk of being sensationalist: something tells us we might get a surprise visit from a certain hobbit, his dwarf friends, and Peter Jackson since the production is on a break from shooting.
That proclaimed, here’s a quick rundown of what has my interest as we head into Preview Night:
Immortals: Tarsem‘s visual direction is always welcome, and I’m hoping his mythical action/fantasy can overwrite my memory of Clash of the Titans. I also want to see what Henry Cavill, aka the new Superman, looks like up close.
Breaking Dawn – Part 1: While the Twilight movies do little for me, I have truly loved watching its Beatlemania effect over Con-goers since 2008. If ever there were an example of Comic-Con’s raison d’être, it’s the relationship between Bella, Edward, Jacob, and the fans who cram into Hall H to shriek their love for Stephenie Meyer’s characters. With the franchise approaching its end, I’m looking forward to this panel and the first-day frenzy it will create on Thursday.
The aforementioned Prometheus: If more Ripley isn’t an option, I’m more than willing to follow Ridley Scott, Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, and the rest of his amazing cast back in history — all the way to the “beginning of time” per Scott himself. Of course a trailer will be revealed, right? And I’m just realizing I’ve never heard Ms. Rapace speak English.
Drive: I can’t recall a better reviewed movie from the festival circuit over the past year (one that’s getting a major release, that is). Herein, Ryan Gosling announces himself as an action star and Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn traffics in ’70s masculinity with an ’80s aesthetic, from what I’ve read.
The Amazing Spider-Man: What primed me for this curious reboot was Andrew Garfield‘s performance in Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974. And though I’m unsure of the extent of Emma Stone‘s role as Gwen Stacy, she’s the most welcome female presence on the superhero screen since Michelle Pfeiffer. Just please don’t make their romance too quirky, Marc Webb.
The Darkest Hour: Director Chris Gorak‘s follow-up to the flawed but engaging Right at Your Door is an example of a smaller film that might find traction this year. Timur Bekmambetov is the main producer behind the project, hence the Russian location. And as someone said on our message boards: it’s about time aliens invade someplace aside from the USA. Exactly how Emilie Hirsch, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman, Olivia Thirlby, and Max Minghella find themselves in the same predicament is the tip of the mystery. Meanwhile, Bekmambetov has gone viral yet again, but we’re more interested in this sci-fi/horror story than Apollo 18.
Snow White and the Huntsman: Though it is keeping a remarkably low profile, I would, in all honesty, cut in line for the merest glimpse at this reworked fairy tale, mainly because of my love for co-stars Ray Winstone and Ian McShane.
Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg: Leading separate charges, the directors will discuss their respective projects, the ghost story Twixt (I’m intrigued for myriad reasons, but hesitant) and Tintin (whose recent trailer revived my flagging interest).
And finally, what is Comic-Con without surprise appearances and unveilings? Aside from The Hobbit potential, I’m hoping for more from The Avengers — even a phone-in from Joss Whedon and crew would suffice. Since Daniel Craig and Noomi Rapace will be present, I am thinking we’re going to be treated to a deeper look at The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Chronicle is way under the radar but I sense Fox might take advantage of the open playing field to introduce their superpowered-teen mystery. Ditto these higher profile movies that are a custom fit for Comic-Con: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, space-jail thriller Lockout, the maligned-by-bloggers Men in Black III, either Dark Shadows or Frankenweenie — or both?
What’s on your list?
When I first went to Comic-Con two years ago, I had no idea what to expect. Sure, I’d heard about the event from numerous people but I figured it would be just like any other film festival. Boy, was I wrong! After you spend four days in the presence of Klingons, Spider-Man, and multiple versions of Darth Vader (plus many other characters I have yet to identify) it changes you in the best way possible. And for that very reason, I am truly looking forward to heading down to San Diego for Comic-Con 2011, from Wednesday, July 20th – Sunday, July 24th. I’ll be covering mostly TV panels and events, so here’s a few things I’m looking forward to.
On Preview Night, I plan take advantage of the sneak peek pilot screenings for a few series that are scheduled to debut this fall. I’m going to check out two of J.J. Abrams-produced series: “Alcatraz”, a drama about the infamous prison, starring Jorge Garcia, Sarah Jones, and Parminder Nagra; and “Person of Interest”, a crime-action drama written by Dark Knight writer Jonathan Nolan, starring Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson, and Taraji P. Henson. I will also stay for “The Secret Circle”, the CW series about a teen who moves to a new town and falls in love with a mysterious boy, only to discover they are all witches. Oh the horror!
On Thursday, when everyone else is fighting with the Twi-Hards to get into the Breaking Dawn panel, I will be heading over to “Ringer”, a new thriller starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as a woman who goes on the run after witnessing a murder, and assumes the identity of her identical twin. After hitting panels for “Game of Thrones,” “Dexter“, and “Awake”, I’m excited to go to Entertainment Weekly’s panel: The Visionaries: A discussion with Jon Favreau and Guillermo Del Toro on the future of pop culture, moderated by Jeff “Doc” Jensen. Last year, they had a similar panel with J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon, and even though the discussion never really got to the topic of pop culture, it was pretty cool to see the two filmmakers on stage together. I certainly won’t miss it this year.
Over the next few days, when I’m not taking pictures of all the awesome costumes, I’ll be hopping from panel to panel. I plan to catch up on some new favorite shows including “The Walking Dead” and “Falling Skies”, and discover some older shows with a new perspective. I am looking forward to meeting Liam McIntyre, the new star of “Spartacus: Vengeance”, the renamed season two of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand“. McIntyre stepped into the role when Andy Whitfield was forced to leave the show due to health issues and he’s got some pretty big sandals to fill. It should be interesting to hear about the new direction they are taking the show. I also plan to check out “Torchwood: Miracle Day”, the new drama starring “Torchwood” alumni John Barrowmen, Eve Myles, and Kai Owen, as well as Bill Pullman, Mekhi Phifer, and Lauren Ambrose.
Each year I’ve been to Comic-Con, there’s been few shows where I have to remind myself that I am “working” so I don’t completely geek out. The first year it was “Lost“. Last year, it was “Caprica” (for its association with “Battlestar Galactica”). And this year– “Fringe”. Anna Torv, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole, Blair Brown, and the always wonderful John Noble are scheduled to attend and although I’m sure they won’t give away any spoilers, I hope we at least can learn if Peter still exists!
Make sure to check back for photos and updates throughout the week!
According to the official Comic-Con schedule’s popularity tracking right now, those planning on attending this year are most excited about “The Walking Dead” panel.
Below, check out AMC’s press release with the specific details surrounding the show’s Comic-Con presence this year:
WHAT: The cast and producers of AMC’s breakout hit series “The Walking Dead” will participate in an hour-long panel moderated by G4’s Chris Hardwick. The panel will discuss the success of season one of the series and what fans can look forward to in season two, which debuts in October. The series, which broke ratings records in its first season, is based on the comic book of the same name, created and written by Robert Kirkman.
Join the panelists for a Q&A session and an official sneak preview of season two of “The Walking Dead.”
WHO: Andrew Lincoln (Love Actually), Jon Bernthal (The Pacific) Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break), Laurie Holden (The Mist), Norman Reedus (Boondock Saints), Steven Yeun (The Big Bang Theory), Jeffrey DeMunn (The Green Mile), Series Creator, Writer, Director, Executive Producer Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption), Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator), Executive Producer Robert Kirkman (Creator/Writer of The Walking Dead comic) and Make-up Artist and Consulting Producer Greg Nicotero
WHEN: 11:15am– Panel Event in Ballroom 20
1:30pm-2:30pm- Autograph signing at “The Walking Dead” booth #3721″
Without question, the most benevolent moment of Comic-Con 2010 was Ryan Reynolds‘s reciting of the Green Lantern‘s oath for a boy who asked him what is was like to say, “In brightest day, in blackest night…” Reynolds fixed his gaze, got into bedtime-story voice, and communicated said oath directly to the child. Cut back to the amazed fan, who then held up his power ring to Reynolds, who did the same and return, and the biggest lump since Toy Story 3 formed in my throat. I thought about how cool it must be to be a younger person who gets this kind of access to one of their superheroes. (A parallel: Imagine it’s early 1978 and you have the chance to ask Christopher Reeve what it was like to be Superman.) At this point, Ryan Reynolds literally is still becoming the Green Lantern since the film has 4+ weeks of shooting left in New Orleans. For me, as this moment transpired, Reynolds become something more than a lovable performer, and I cannot wait to travel to Oa with him.
I am thinking about Jon Favreau, who helped restoke Hall H after the widely reported altercation between two men that temporarily halted the day’s movie panels. (We apologize for misreporting on the story and have learned from the experience.) Favreau, who is at the tail end of witnessing Iron Man 2‘s worldwide dominance, unveiled footage of Cowboys & Aliens, which I understand was arguably the best-received trailer at this year’s Con. A new friend from the awesome website io9 remarked that was a genuine surprise, and that it balanced story, emotion, and aesthetics. In 2007, he was still a relatively green director, and certainly not experienced with guiding a comics superhero to the big screen. A mere 3 years later and he’s Jon Favreau: superheroic moviemaker.
On villains and sidekicks: will we wind up rooting for Hugo Weaving as Red Skull over Chris Evans as Captain America? Might Kato be used to coax nonplussed Green Hornet fans back in caring about the movie?
The cast announcements for The Avengers didn’t surprise, but I sense its release will be a defining moment for comic-book movies. The last time a group of superheroes came together, Halle Berry had enough power to expand her role in franchise that crashed to the ground under the direction of Brett Ratner. With Marvel at full strength and pushing into 2012 and beyond, their power might even defeat the Joss Whedon curse.
As Comic-Con comes to a close, I have to say once again that the thing I enjoy the most about this epic event is the fans. Sure, it’s great to sit on panels and go to pressrooms to hear directly from the stars and filmmakers as they share what’s coming up on our favorite shows, and yes, it was exciting to see some of the hottest celebrities hanging out at the Wired Café. But that did not compare to the thrill that I had from walking through the halls of Convention Center and seeing the variety of costumes of the truly dedicated fans.
What really stood out to me was that Comic-Con is a place for everyone, a true melting pot of diversity, attracting both the young and the old of all race and sizes. It’s a place where families can come and share in the experience together,