Comic Con Day Officially Uno!

So we started off the day at the DVD SNEAK PEEK panel hosted by the cats from the Digital Bits. Much fiasco. Things were running late, constant tech problems, discs they hadn’t tried in machines that didn’t work… Still, with acclaimed DVD producers spilling their guts and showing choice clips from big upcoming projects, even the boobs running the show couldn’t ruin this one. Michael Davis, director of New Line’s new flick SHOOT EM’ UP showed some hilarious raw test footage he conducted of himself shooting, well… himself… with a spray bottle pistol and animated muzzle flashes and blood squibs. We may have more on his flick later, which is a hardcore exploration of every way to stage a gunfight. Starring Clive Owen, Monica Belluci and Paul Giamatti, SHOOT EM’ UP includes Clive Owen having a gunfight mid-coitus!Rob Burnett, director of FREE ENTERPRISE and producer of DVD’s ranging from THE USUAL SUSPECTS to X2 and SUPERMAN RETURNS, brings us some news on his upcoming project HILLS RUN RED made in association with Media Blasters. He had a promising looking trailer, which was unfortunately hobbled by more technical difficulties. Next up, Guillermo Del Toro’s fave DVD producer, Javier Soto, gave some details on HELLBOY 2 (it’s coming next year) THE 4400: S4 (additional sequences and a Director’s Cut of the finale!!) and miscellaneous Del Toro projects (A ‘Special Ed’ release of ‘an early favorite’)Charles de Lauzirika, WB DVD über-producer, brought out the big big guns and definitely monopolized the ‘announcement’ part of the panel.Upcoming? NUMBERS: S3 and S4AMERICAN GANGSTERTWIN PEAKS ultimo edition action! Both the European and the US versions of the pilot, both seasons of the original series, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, making-of doc with archival interviews and new footage of Ray Wise, Sheryl Lee and Angelo Badalamenti (all in the 2 minutes that we saw!). There is also a 30-minute roundtable conversation with Lynch and the cast (we saw a great bit with Kyle MacLachlan and Mädchen Amick), hours of new and archival interviews and footage and the possibility of future HD release!!!Then came the big one! BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT!!!The new cut is 117 minutes. This one will be 5 DISCS!! And 5 VERSIONS OF THE FILM!!! The new ‘Final Cut’, the previously released ‘Director’s Cut’, the international version, the theatrical cut and, believe it or not, the complete work print! ALL IN AW and 5.1!!!Also look for a 3 ½ hour documentary including 80 interviews, 4 commentaries and a concurrent DVD/HD/BluRay rollout on December 18!!!He also showed us a great segment detailing a phenomenal retouch of the Zora death scene, for which Joanna Cassidy came in and reshot footage to fix the notorious ‘bozo the clown’ death-roll through a plate glass window. It was phenomenal! And Cassidy, 25 years later, is just as stunning as she was in the original film. The final segment we were shown was the same sequence, with extra deleted footage reconstituted, including a long lost narration that was never used. It was infinitely more Chandleresque and introspective, with Decker stumbling out of the crowd and into a bar for a drink after blasting Zora into the afterlife. De Lauzirika also regaled us with details of Harrison Ford’s son, Ben coming in to shoot close-up ‘mouth shots’ to rematch a scene for the DVD.I was floored. It was truly a shame about he tech difficulties, because the real professionals really brought the goods.Next up, we headed to Hall H for the Paramount panel. On our way through the Exhibition hall I had the great fortune of walking straight into one of the greatest character actors of all time. Star of SPIDER-BABY, COFFY, FOXY BROWN, BLACK MAMA WHITE MAMA, SAVAGE SISTERS, HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES and THE DEVIL’S REJECTS… The one, the only, Mr. Sid Haig! Captain Spaulding himself! We chatted, got a pic and set up an interview for the near future, so watch for that one kids.

We wandered on out to the gargantuan line heading in for Paramount and managed to somehow make our way to the front ¼ of the auditorium. They had awesome swag bags, with IRON MAN and STAR TREK XI shirts, an INDIANA JONES art book, HOT ROD tattoos and more! Shane wrangled his way up to the Press Corral to take close-up pics and I took care of the audio recording and sat back to enjoy the madness.First up, the Lonely Island gang – Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone and SNL fave Andy Samberg – creators of net phenoms like ‘THE ‘BU’ and SNL digital shorts LAZY SUNDAY and DICK IN A BOX, ambled in to preview their new flick HOT ROD. After some amiable chatter and goofiness, the guys introduced a segment from HOT ROD with Samberg arguing with his stepdad (Ian McShane) and then heading out to the woods on his Motocross bike for a FOOTLOOSE montage with many flips and twist ending in a prolonged Wile E. Coyote/Sport Goofy pratfall down the side of a mountain. It was absolutely hilarious. Following that was much talk of DICK IN A BOX and a few silly Q&A questions, mostly people commenting on how much they love the SNL shorts.Following that was a presentation by Neil Gaiman and writer Jane Goldman for the upcoming fantasy flick STARDUST. They showed an awe-inspiring sequence from the film, featuring Michelle Pfieffer, Claire Danes, a very funny Jason Flemyng and Mark Williams (Arthur Weasely in the HARRY POTTER films) as a goat-turned-man.Gaiman came right back out with Roger Avary to discuss BEOWULF and show an extended trailer that is completely mind-blowing. Not only did the film look phenomenal, but the CG work turning Ray Winstone into a young, super-ripped version of himself was incredible. The film will be released in a standard 2D version along with a 3D and IMAX 3D version. This one is going to be completely revolutionary!Then we were informed that we would be picking up an exclusive SWEENEY TODD poster along with 3 others for IRON MAN, TREK XI and JJ Abrams’ untitled and completely mysterious ‘Monster Movie’, which is what was previewed next. Abrams was completely non-committal on anything to do with the project, only telling the crowd that he thought we needed our own giant monster. A quick teaser was shown in which a birthday party is interrupted by an earthquake and a maelstrom of destruction plowing through Manhattan, including the head of the Statue of Liberty rolling through the streets!Next we were slightly bored by a far-too-long presentation on the artwork and creature creation for THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES. While the panel was less than riveting, the trailer they showed was thoroughly invigorating and riled the crowd up for the film, which looks like a great mix of NARNIA and GREMLINS.Next we got a trailer for DRILLBIT TAYLOR, a pretty amusing Owen Wilson flick where he plays a bum who turns bodyguard and mentor to a ragtag bunch of geeks being beat down by the school bullies.Next, we were informed that there was no footage for IRON MAN, ut that Favreau was appearing by satellite with a special message. He gave a nice greeting and intro’d some footage, which turned out to be clips from the ancient IRON MAN cartoon. The lights went down and Black Sabbath began to pound through the speakers – BA DUM BA DA DUM – and there he was! THE FAVS! In person! Favs answered a few questions, gave a spiel on the flick and announced that the footage would be shown on Saturday. Big boos followed of course, at w hich time he introduced the greatest compilation of superhero footage I have ever seen. IRON MAN is going to blow everyone out of the water on May 2!!! Downey Jr. has Tony Stark nailed. The humor is very apparent, and the action scene we saw, with original recipe IRON MAN kicking the sweet bejeezus out of a whole faction of middle eastern hostiles. There was not a dry pair of jockeys in the house when this one was over.
Now came the rumoured sneak that everyone was waiting for… A satellite link from the INDIANA JONES 4 set. Spielberg sitting in his Director’s chair, chatting up the project, then leaning in to reveal Harrison Ford beside him. Huge Ovation! Indy himself gave a few words and then revealed his new sidekick – RAY WINSTONE! Followed by Shia LeBouf (decked out in some pretty conspicuous 50’s greaser gear) and the big one… Spielberg pulled out a 5th chair with the name ‘Marion Ravenwood’ on it and the crowd went wild. Karen Allen is back! Harrison made a couple of vague comments about a ‘big happy family’ and the clip was over. Wow.Finally, JJ Abrams took the stage again, this time with producers and writers for the next instalment of the franchise. After a little back and forth about the history and the new direction of the next film, they made an announcement about casting and introduced their new ‘young’ Mr. Spock – Zachary Quinto! Silus from HEROES!! After the shock from that one died down, they brought out the big surprise – NIMOY!!!What a friggin’ panel! Many many many thanks to Paramount for the exclusives and the great presentation!Following Paramount was Lions Gate, for which half of the auditorium vacated. Following a decent trailer montage, Bill McCuddy, douchebag talking head for Fox News Entertainment came out and immediately turned the crowd against him with geek joke after geek joke. His unnecessary and unprofessional attempts at comedy came off rude and obnoxious and the entire auditorium was booing him by the time he introduced Dane Cook and GOOD LUCK CHUCK. Cook immediately gained the upper hand and had the crowd laughing uncontrollably. Jessica Alba followed close behind and the crowd went wild. The clips they showed highlighted some hilarious physical comedy and what looks like a lighthearted R-comedy in the vein of THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY.The two stars chatted and joked, took some questions from the audience and Cook bullied Alba into showing off her gold-accented shoes.Next was a clip of the remake of 3:10 TO YUMA and the introduction of star Ben Foster who immediately began dropping F-bombs. He was joined by the legendary Peter Fonda and the two tossed around anecdotes about shooting in the cold desert, training camp with Russell Crowe and Fonda’s predilection for guns. 3:10 TO YUMA looks like a badass western like we haven’t seen on the big screen since UNFORGIVEN, which makes me very very happy!Next up was a very confused, incoherent and croaking Clive Barker with the cast of MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, based on one of his BOOKS OF BLOOD. Last up was a presentation of SAW 4, featuring the director, the producer and the star of the show, Tobin Bell. They gave a thorough description of the opening 5 minutes (which they were banned from showing at the Con) and then gave us a taste with a ‘trap sequence’ from the film that had the remaining crowd screaming for more!With the Paramount panel over, Shane and I headed for the SUPERMAN:DOOMSDAY press event, where we interviewed casting director Andrea Romano, writer Duane Capizzi, DC bigwig Greg Noveck and Director extraordinaire Bruce Timm. (Details on this one will follow in a bigger article forthcoming, although our video interviews will be posted soon).Finally, we were treated to the World Premiere screening of SUPERMAN:DOOMSDAY, which was a bombastic, two-fisted powerhouse of an animated film. The packed room was bowled over by the flick and the after-panel with all of the above-mentioned interviewees. They wrapped with footage from the next DC project JUSTICE LEAGUE: NEW FRONTIERS, which harkens back to the Silver Age of DC and the origins of some of the greats like Green Lantern (David Boreanaz), The Flash (Neil Patrick Harris), Wonder Woman (Lucy Lawless) as well as featuring Batman (Jeremy Sisto) and Supes himself (Kyle MacLachlan). Another excellent looking project from the good folks in the DC universe.And that, my friends, was that. Tomorrow – 300, more BLADE RUNNER and the WB panel which may or may not (rumors leaning toward ‘may’) feature a sneak peek at BATMAN: DARK KNIGHT!!!Much love, DVD peeps.-Axel* pictures and video to come. It’s currently 6am my time (3am San Diego). Video is encoding… just waiting on it.-Shane

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