Comic Con – Day Deux

We hauled ass out of the hotel at 9am to get to the Con in time to line up for the WB panel and the rumoured BATMAN: DARK KNIGHT footage. Fiasco time there, kids! Shane was held up (in the non-robbery sense) at the bank. I forged ahead and jumped the official Comic Con shuttle. I was a 20-minute walk away, the shuttle took 35. I found a ten-mile long line to get in, yet somehow we managed to skate into the hall and, more miraculously, found seats almost at the front in the midst of our Press compatriots and close to the corral for Shane-O to get his pics of the panel. WB came on strong, starting with the phenomenally entertaining and exciting trailer for GET SMART. This thing looks hilarious and action-packed and Carell is the only man alive who could fill the part of Maxwell Smart.The panel brought us Nate Torrance, HEROES’ Masi Oka, Ken Davidian (BORAT’s nude wrasslin’ partner), Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Steve ‘The Man’ Carell!!! Obviously this was a very funny panel, with Davidian, Rock and Carell trading quips constantly and Q&A questions leading to perfect punchlines. A couple of scoops? Yes, there will be Heime the Robot action and there will be Agent 13. Carell was tight-lipped on THE OFFICE.

Next up, Nicole Kidman appeared in an on-screen message to intro THE INVASION, which hits theatres on August 17. It’s a tight, suspenseful remake of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS that changes pods for microbes and some freaky deeky zombie-pukin’ alien contagion craziness. We also saw footage from J-Horror remake ONE MISSED CALL and got a less-than stellar Q&A with stars Ed Burns and Shannyn Sossamon (who was looking gorgeous with long brown hair and a new, more mature attitude than the punk rock pixie from THE RULES OF ATTRACTION). We were also treated to the trailer for Roland Emmerich’s upcoming epic 10, 000 B.C. and the trailer for the upcoming horror flick TRICK R’TREAT that looks like an insane mix of HALLOWEEN, CRITTERS and NOLD! In between was a never-ending panel for the Joel Silver thriller WHITE OUT…The trailer looked great and then we were introduced to Silver, director Domenic Sena and writer Greg Rucka (who wrote the original graphic novel). Much heel-dragging and humming and hawing followed as Q&A questions were tailored to the three panellists and we waited for star Kate Beckinsale. Eventually, they showed the trailer a SECOND TIME, just to stall, after which Beckinsale appeared, lovely and nonplussed after an apparent detour around a freight train, of which she joked, “I was truly stuck behind a train, so I called Joel and he moved it.” A full second panel worth of questions followed, numbing the audience to near catatonia before the big finish.
Zach Snyder was introduced as director of WATCHMEN and he held court amiably as he chatted with comic fans, movie fans and everyone else in attendance. He was very open and vocal about his version, stating that it would be “no bullshit, it’s got some balls”. It will be an R-rated superhero flick. He also mentioned being scooped on the casting announcement, which was to happen at the panel but was posted online, days ago. Dr Manhattan will be played by Billy Crudup and will utilize the same technology as Davy Jones from PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN with Crudup’s performance digitally added to a CG Manhattan.Patrick Wilson will play Night Owl. The Comedian will be portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Matthew Goode will portray Ozymandias. Laurie will be played by Malin Ackerman and, in my favorite casting choice; Jackie Earle Haley will play fan fave Rorschach. Ackerman and Haley joined Snyder for the panel but received almost no interaction at all as the fans were directing all of their questions exclusively at Snyder. The panel wrapped up with Snyder unveiling an exclusive Comic Con ‘movie’ poster that was given away by DC.With 20th Century Fox bailing on their main panel; we were left with a replay of Comic Con’s “Trailer Park”, which was essentially a 26-title reel of trailers for upcoming films. Some highlights included great promos for 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR, Ben Stiller’s new Farrelly Bros. Flick THE HEARTBREAK KID, BALLS OF FURY and Jerry Seinfeld’s BEE MOVIE, AMERICAN GANGSTER and the biggest cheer of the afternoon – SUPERBAD!!!New Line was up next, focusing on Michael Davis’ Con sleeper SHOOT EM’ UP, a hardcore gunplay flick (described as “John Woo’s wet dream”) starring Clive Owen, Monica Belluci and a thoroughly maniacal Paul Giamatti. They led us in straight off with a monster of a clip that opens with Clive Owen sitting on a park bench eating a carrot, which is the most badass image you could possibly imagine. Really! This opening evolves into an absolutely awe-inspiring gunfight centring on a pregnant woman and a seemingly endless army of hitmen out to cancel her and the quickly arriving newborn. Director Michael Davis came out to chat, and then introduced Clive Owen. They showed more footage, which cemented the fact that this is, quite possibly, the greatest gunfight action flick of all-time! You cannot possibly imagine the chaos and balletic violence involved. This is Woo to the Nth power. You have to see it to believe it, so get out there on September 7th and check this one out. It will rule you.
They wrapped with the hilarious trailer for Jack Black and Mos Def in BE KIND, REWIND and 5 minutes of footage for THE GOLDEN COMPASS.Following that was the WB 300/BLADE RUNNER: FINAL CUT presentation.Once again, Zach Snyder held court, though this time he was joined by the legendary Frank Miller, who was equally set upon by the fans for the Q&A. Also up for the panel was Tom Wisdom (Astinos), producers Gianni Nunnari and Debra Snyder (also Zach’s wife!) and Tyler Bates, who scored 300. Most of the guests were ignored in favour of Zach and Frank, but the overall tone was one of camaraderie and excitement and Snyder gave credit and attention wherever it was due. Miller discussed being influenced by the film THE 300 SPARTANS when he was 5. He continued to be interested in the history and mythos of the Battle of Thermopylae until he wrote the graphic novel 300 in the late 90’s. As a military history buff, Miller also stated that he would be more than interested in visiting more epic battles in any format.
Finally, we were treated to the BLADE RUNNER: FINAL CUT panel of DVD producer Charles De Lauzirika, Ridley Scott, production designer Larry Paull, futurist Syd Mead, and members of the cast Joanna Cassidy, Sean Young, Joe Turkel and James Hong. Most of the Q&A questions were for Scott, obviously, but the cast and crew jumped in as best they could, with Hong and Turkel adding much humour. Both elder gentlemen of the stage and screen have tremendous senses of humour and added much to the panel. After viewing some retouched footage (which we talked about yesterday!) and a trailer for the 3 ½ hour documentary DANGEROUS DAYS. The crowd went wild, for good reason, with this monumental set commemorating the greatest sci-fi film EVER MADE!With panels finished for the day, we took a quick cruise past the TROMA booth, hoping to catch Elske McCain or Uncle Lloydie, but alas, they were out on interviews already. We hauled ass back to the hotel to get ready and then barrelled back out to cover the red carpet at the 300 party at Petco Park (aka Padre Stadium!).Once we had our credentials and our place on the carpet, we started the madness. Check back for video footage and check out our pics HERE.We were lucky enough to talk to Sean Young & Joanna Cassidy, Hal Sparks, Bruce Boxleitner & Tracy Scoggins, Tom Wisdom, Jeffrey Combs, James Hong, David Arquette & Paul Reubens, Frank Miller and Zach Snyder!Following our red carpet adventures (no risqué jokes, please!) we headed in to the VIP after party, where we met up with many of our cohorts from Rope of Silicon, DVD File, Electronic Arts, Rue Morgue and more, as well as hobnobbing with many of the stars and our good friend at WB who made it all happen! Many many thanks to Chris and Aksel for their help in getting us there.
Our night ended with a ride past a car that had crashed into a building downtown, a trip to a righteous taco stand and then right back to the grindstone.See you mańana mi amigos y amigas!-Axel

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