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Comic-con Report: Part 2

Okay, I left off last time with Torchwood, so that brings us to the Lost panel with Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse...

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Damon Lindeloff (the newest addition to the Boyfriend List) and Carlton Cuse, not afraid to face angry fans.

These two guys? Are adorable and entertaining. They were obviously having such a good time and were so excited about the show that it makes me even happier to be back on the Lost train again. I’m not, however, going to try and recap the panel for ya’ll, because there’s already a nicely detailed report over at Watch with Kristin. So go read that one for all the scoop and for a link to the sooper sekrit Dharma footage they showed.

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Look! Michael’s back! Oh wait, ya’ll already knew that.

After Lost we headed over and caught part of the Fanboys panel. For those who don’t know, Fanboys is a movie starring Sam Huntington and Kristen Bell about a group of Star Wars fans who decide to break into Skywalker Ranch. It’s set in 1998, before Episode One came out, when a fanboy’s love for Star Wars was still pure and true, unsullied by any vile prequels. One of the guys in the movie finds out he’s dying and won’t live long enough to see the new movie in theaters, so he and his friends decide to break into Skywalker Ranch and watch the rough cut.

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Kristen Bell and co-star Dan Fogler (no, Sam Huntington was not there)

They showed a lot of clips from the movie at the panel, and I have to say I laughed my ass off. It’s goofy, but it’s a fun goofy, kind of like The Goonies for grownups. The movie is so packed full of Star Wars and related pop culture references that if you’re not a fanboy or girl yourself, you probably shouldn’t bother watching it. But if you are, it’ll probably be a dorky good time.

This brings us to Friday, which started off with my one and only big studio presentation in Hall H, or, as it’s known at Comic-con, Hall Hell. Seriously, how long have film studios been coming to Comic-con? And yet they still don’t seem to really get it, or understand who the audience is and what they’re interested in. Anyway, this was the Paramount presentation and I only went because Zack Snyder was going to be talking about Watchmen and because they were doing Get Smart, which meant a better than even chance of seeing Steve Carell.

They did Get Smart first, and Steve was indeed there, along with director Pete Segal and stars Nate Torrence, Masi Oka, Ken Davitian, and The Rock.

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Steve Carell, Super Spy.

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Hiro! Hiro! Hiro!

They started off with a new trailer that featured prodigious amounts of vomit and looked only moderately funny. I really don’t have very high hopes for this movie. But for you Office fans, David Koechner, aka Todd Packer is in it. At one point Steve was asked about The Office and he confirmed that they had thirteen episodes written as of the day before. Also, Ryan will be Michael’s superior, Michael and Jan will be shacking up, and he knows nothing at all about Jim and Pam. In other words, nothing we didn’t totally already know.

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The Rock, Michael Scott, and director Pete Segal

When that panel was over we got a pre-recorded greeting from Nicole Kidman followed by a trailer for The Invasion that featured even more gratuitous vomiting.

After that was a trailer for some movie called One Missed Call that didn’t have any vomiting but was essentially a completely incoherent string of creepy-ish clips edited together in a way that made no sense. It looked like a horror movie, probably another remake of a Japanese film, a la The Ring. Oh look, I was right. Then stars Ed Burns and Shannyn Sossamon came out and tried to explain that it had something to do evil spirits traveling through cell phone signals. If you say so, man.

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They don’t look uncomfortable at all, do they?

Sossamon, who I will say up front that I’ve never liked, was weirdly twitchy throughout the entire panel and couldn’t seem to stop moving her arms around and blinking. During the Q&A someone asked her about being on Mr. Show and she muttered something about how she just showed up somewhere because someone told her to and then did some weird stuff and she didn’t understand at the time what it was and doesn’t even remember it. I could not make this up, ya’ll. After that she became distracted by something under the table for a while and then started chewing on the inside of her mouth.

Next up we got a trailer for 10,000 B.C., which, I dunno, didn’t totally look sucky. The part with the charging battalions of mammoths was actually pretty frakking cool.

And then it was time for everyone to be bored by the Whiteout panel. It’s apparently some movie with Kate Beckinsale wandering around Antarctica in a gigantic parka solving a murder, or something. After showing a thoroughly unremarkable trailer, producer Joel Silver and director Dominic Sena—who were under the misapprehension that the 6500 people in the audience had turned out just for them and their little movie instead of, say, Zack Snyder’s Watchmen—came out and asked if they could show the trailer again since they hadn’t seen it (seriously, you guys can’t get a private screening of your own trailer?). I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Hall H audience get that quiet. Sadly, they were so incapable of taking a hint that they asked again a little while later and the dude in charge of the A/V system took pity on them and showed the stupid trailer a second time.

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Joel Silver and Dominic Sena, wondering why no one seems to care about them.

It was, I have to say, a little gratifying to watch the Hollywood heavyweights forced to play second fiddle to Greg Rucka, the author of graphic novel the movie was based on, and to whom most of the audience questions were directed. Until Kate Beckinsale showed up, and then we got to listen to a succession of stupified fanboys ask essentially the same question over and over again.

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Beckinsale and a director she was not at all tempted to sleep with.

Finally, though, they got off the stage, and after one last (and highly disturbing) trailer for some horror movie called Trick or Treat that I guarantee you I will never see, Zack Snyder came out. The guy’s not the most charismatic speaker ever, and he didn’t have any footage to show us, but since I’ve got a pretty keen interest in how this movie’s gonna turn out, I found it interesting. I’m sure if you really care about Watchmen you’ve already read all the casting news about Jackie Earle Haley and Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Billy Crudup (who’s dead to me, so I’m not psyched for him to play Dr. Manhattan).

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Suffice it to say that I got the exact same vibe off of him that I got when he did the 300 panel last year, and that movie turned out pretty damn good. He sounded like he was approaching Watchmen much the same way, i.e., using the panels of the comic as storyboards because, as he said, “If you don’t shoot it like that you’re full of shit.” It won’t be as stylized as 300, though, more gritty and realistic like Se7en—and he’s hired the production designer from Fight Club to help get him there.

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Malin Akerman (the Silk Spectre) and Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach)

One interesting thing he said was that he felt that comic book movie audiences now are in pretty much the same place as comic book readers were when Watchmen came out. The constant stream of uninspired superhero movies have permeated our pop culture consciousness to the point that people are looking for something different to turn the genre on its ear, the same way Watchmen did for comics in 1986.

After the panel was over, we escaped what felt like an eternity spent in Hall H, even though it was only one presentation. M and D headed off for the Moonlight panel, but I couldn’t stomach another session with Joel Silver so I took the munchkin to try and get into the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy/Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends panel. Unfortunately, that panel happened to be just before the 24 panel and in the same room, so the line to get in was already packed with 24 fans and stretched on for freaking ever. And what the hell is 24 doing at Comic-con anyway? Bah.

Taking a page from their book, I went and squatted in the room where Neil Gaiman was going to be to make sure we all had seats for that one. I think it was a panel for some upcoming animated teen Spiderman show but I didn’t really pay attention because I was tired and cranky.

Fortunately, Unca Neil was lovely and charming as always. He reminisced about the old days of Comic-con when he’d wander around the floor and there’d be 15,000 people and he’d think “It’s a little big.” He also talked about how he first got to know Tori Amos after someone handed him a cassette of hers back at his first Comic-con, saying “she sings a song about you, please don’t sue her.”

Sadly, the status of the Good Omens movie hasn’t changed from last year (or the year before). Death, which is going to be directed by Guillermo del Toro, may actually start shooting next year, though. Someone, of course, asked him about The Books of Magic and Harry Potter and he very politely explained that of course J.K. Rowling didn’t steal Harry Potter from him, because when you’re going to nick something you file off the serial numbers so people won’t know. If she’d been copying his idea, he said, she obviously would have gotten rid of the kid’s glasses and changed the owl to a hawk.

All my pictures of Neil came out crap, though, so I’m not posting any. He’s really much better looking in person than he comes out in pictures, anyway.

He’s started selling t-shirts to raise money for the CBLDF, which you can buy at www.neverwear.net. Right now they’ve only got two designs, but when I stopped by the booth to buy a Scary Trousers shirt the folks there told me they’ll be coming out with an American Gods shirt soon and that they’re trying to clear the rights for a Good Omens one as well. While I was there I also bought a couple of the handmade magnets that Neil’s assistant, the Fabulous Lorraine, makes out of old comic books.

Next up: Pushing Daisies, Battlestar Galactica, Futurama and Joss!

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
alanao
Aug. 10th, 2007 01:41 am (UTC)
I remain super jealous. Maybe next year I can come to Comic-Con too. I'll keep the dream alive.

Hypothetical question: if you had to get someone to interview JK Rowling in public, who would you ask?
(Anonymous)
Aug. 11th, 2007 03:32 am (UTC)
Neil Gaiman, obviously
--Dave
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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