Posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2007 by Peter Sciretta
Note: This article was posted live from Comic Con during the panel. So please excuse us if we dont go into many details on some stories. I’m typing as fast and accurately as we can. :)
6,500 people have packed the big exhibition hall (which looks like a very large warehouse or airport hanger) for the Paramount panel. Before the panel we got the usual lecture about not video taping the video and photo presentations. Apparently last year a few things turned up on YouTube. Te program director warns us that if this keeps happening that the studio will stop bringing the great footage to the con.
They announced this year that the questions will be screened ahead of time. And if someone starts asking a question that is not the question that was screened, they will press the kill switch and the person will be removed. I’m wondering if this is just to protect the panelists from inappropriate and rude questions or if it also is to protect the content (ie don’t allow anyone to ask any questions about _____)
First up is the lonely island comedy troupe Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer, who are there to introduce a clip from Hot Rod. Samberg said he’s very excited to be here.
The clip shows Rod going on an 80′s music filled training montage after being yelled at by his sick and dying step-father played by Ian McShane.
Tehy take a question asking if they will make any more music videos. Akiva says maybe for Saturday Night Live while Samberg makes faces into the camera which plays on the two big screens.
Akiva says that this film differed from their previous shorts because it was longer. He then seriously explained that the big difference is the crew of 200 people. But he says there were times when it felt exactly the same. “Except we didn’t have to tape the mic to the wall” says Samberg.
Will they ever finish the Boo series? They wrote a final one before they started doing Awesometown for Fox. “Then Hollywood reered it’s ungly head and destroyed something pure” They really want to finish it someday. Samberg jokes that maybe they will finish it someday when they are 50 years old.
Neil Gaiman and screenwriter Jane Goldman come to the stage to answer questions for Stardust. Jane has bright red glowing hair. They give a brief explanation of the story and set-up for a clip from the film.
The clip shows a witch played by Michelle Pheiffer casting a spell to create a trap for Tristan (Charlie Cox) and Yvaine (Claire Danes). She creates an Inn complete with inn keeper husband (transformed from a goat) for our heros to come across. The witch offers Tristan a massage and is about to kill her when someone comes knocking on the Inn door. It’s one of the king hopefuls who is also looking for the fallen star (Yvaine). The Witch poisons a drink for Tristan, who is about to drink it when a unicorn comes to his rescue, knocking the glass out of his hand. The witch then starts to use her powers, engulfing the room in a green glowing flame. Cut to the film’s logo.
Gaiman talks about the differences between the book and the movie. He says if they directly adapted the book, the hero wouldn’t have been born until a half an hour into the film. They made it more Filmick. He says its probably 80% the same as the book.
Jane explains that Robert DeNiro’s part was expanded before he was cast, but was expanded and adapted further after he was cast. Neil Approved.
I’ve been saying since 1991 that I’d rather see no Sandman movie made than a bad Sandman movie made.” He says its getting more likely. And that we’ll probably see a Death movie first. It’s gonna take someone who has a same passion for the material like Peter Jackson had for Lord of the Rings before he’ll let it happen. The guy who asks the question says he’ll make the movie when he breaks into hollywood as a director. Neil says “That’s exactly what I’m talking about.” He says his fans will take over Hollywood and someone will make it.
Neil exits the stage but returns with Roger Avary after they flash the Beowulf logo on screen. Neil jokes about this. They talk about the footage they previewed last night in 3D (read our previous report). Avary compares it to coming down off an Acid trip. They premiered the first 2D trailer on the big screen, but not in 3D. This is the same trailer that went online on Apple.com/trailers last night. Avary and Gaiman give the same pitch they did last night at the footage premiere, saying it’s the oldest story known to man, brought to life using the most innovate technology.
They talk about the writing process (in Mexico drinking cheap beer). The long process of getting the film greenlit. Robert Zemeckis’ idea to do it using motion capture using computer animation. They say almost everyone from their dream cast (when they were sitting around bullshitting years ago) is actually in the film.
They then took questions. The first one asks how Neil make the choice of who will be the artist to translate his work. He says it just happens and is coincidence.
Someone asks about the European Beowulf movie released last year. Neil and Avary talk about how they’ve been working on the film for almost ten years. “You can’t just stop working on something because you hear someone is working on something similar.”
They then premiered the Sweeny Todd Poster.
The lights go out and the trailer for Cloverfield which appeared in-front of Transformers plays on screen.
JJ Abrams is brought up to the stage wearing an INFOCOM t-shirt. He says he wanted a monster movie for so long. He went to Japan and his son was looking at Godzilla toys and he thought, ‘We need a monster movie.’ But we need something insane and intense. He says its shooting and he’s watched dailies and its better than the trailer. In the next six months we will get the real poster, the real trailer, real photos. He said “You think we’d call it Monstrous? No” He walks off stage and the Cloverfield teaser poster rolls down from the backdrop. The crowd goes wild. JJ Abrams didn’t really reveal anything. Very disappointing.
The Spiderwick Chronicles is next. Authors Holly Black, Tony DiTerlizzi talk about how they saw the film yesterday and how crazy it was to see their characters brought to life. Tony talks about making the book, and trying to create something special. They then showed some step b y step character creation slides, to show the process of how they got from the book to the screen. They start off with Tony’s field guide drawing from the book of a greater bull goblin. Tony explains what he was thinking when he created it. The special effects for these creatures are being split between Tippett Studio and ILM. They show the evolution from concept art to Marquettes, to painted life-sized models for use during filming. We see video footage of some of the preliminary computer animation. These creatures look pretty cool. We seem some of the previs which is used to block the action. It’s essentially a moving storyboard. They then show how they block the scene with cardboard cutouts on the set. It looks really funny with grips running around on screen with cardboard cutouts. And of course we see the final shot of the goblins chasing the kids through the woods. It looks very Jim Henson-esque. I’m definitely more excited to see this film.
They only introduce the director Mark Waters. He talks about how the books grabbed him even though he was skeptical going in. It felt real, and if he could feel the world, than may-be it could be a great modern day fantasy film (comparing it to Gremlins). He said they didn’t worry about making a children’s film but instead the best movie they wanted to see.
They then showed the teaser trailer for the film which came out last month.
Judd Apatow is on video introducing the trailer for Drillbit Taylor. Apatow explains that the movie is about Two kids hire a low-budget bodyguard to protect them from the playground bully. He then decides that they should pander to the comic con audience and explains that the film features hobbits and that Michael Bay filmed some of the action sequences.
The trailer shows a homeless bum played by Owen Wilson who is hired by a bunch of kids to protect them from their school bully. Drillbit infiltrates the school as a teacher and hilarity ensues(?). The trailer bills it as from the guys who brought you Knocked Up and SuperBad.
Jon Favreau introduces some preliminary animation from Iron Man.Favreau warns that the animation is very early. They then showed footage which looked like it was from an old 1970s cartoon which was obviously a joke. Iron Man music blared and Jon Favreau was on the stage. Everyone went nuts. Favreau talks about the Iron Man panel which takes place on Saturday. He decides to show some footage.
Robert Downy Jr’s character Tony Stark is addressing the press.
“It’s better to be feared or respected, is it bad to ask for both?”
“They say the best weapon is when you don’t have to fire. I say its best when you only have to fire once. That’s how america does it.”
Cut to an interviewer asking him how he feels about being called the merchant of death. He didn’t mind that nickname.
Attacked by bombs while on a military mission, Tony Stark is nearly killed. Some guy installs a device in his chest which prevents the shrapnel from entering his heart, and killing him.
We then see shots of Stark building the suit.
A mac 1 iron man suit kicking ass in a cave. His arm gets stuck in the rock. Someone shoots him, but the bullet bounces off and kills the man.
A shitload of fast moving shots showing some of the other actors from the film.
The final shot shows Iron Man in his red and yellow suit flying through the air away from some jet fights. All I have to say is Fucking Awesome. This film looks so much better than I would ever have expected. It’s infused with humor and some kick ass action.
Except for the final five shots, everything else is
Steven Spielberg appears on screen and says hello to Comic Con. Harrison Ford is on his side. He says he’s happy to be back in the dirty clothes. He introduces his sidekick Ray Winstone. And Shia is there too on the far right. He doesn’t even believe he’s there. They introduce Karen Allen who returns as Marion Ravenwood, who is excited to be back. Not much else. They didn’t reveal any information on the plot, just expressed their enthusiasm for the project. I’m a little disappointed about this one.
They bring out all the Star Trek Guys. JJ says its amazing to take this amazing world and amazing characters and do it like it hasn’t been done before. He says how much work you have to do not to screw up because everyone is counting on you. He talks about how he was originally producing the film but was so excited about the film that he approached Paramount saying he did in fact want to direct. He says there is a long way to go. There is another comic con plus six months.
He then talks casting. He ays he wants to put William Shatner in the film, but he wants to do it right if he’s included. They announced that Zachary Quinto has in fact been cast as Spock. He comes out to the stage. He says he wants to bring his own spin to the character but he will also respect Leonard’s past performances.
Someone asks if George Takei has said anything to Zachary about the movie, and he says he hasn’t told him yet.
JJ teases more casting. Abrams brings out another cast member, Leonard Nemoy, who will also be playing Spock, putting the ears on one more time. Large applause.
Someone asks Leonard what they thought of the casting choice that they chose to replace him in this new film. He says this film is logical. He says it’s a fabulous script and he looks forward to doing it.
JJ says he’ll see us next year.