Comic-Con 2010: Saturday Roundup

It was indeed a jam-packed day at Comic-Con. All the big movies displayed the big guns to generate buzz and support including Cowboys and Aliens, Thor, Captain America, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Green Lantern. Other films that made quite the splash include Let Me In, Paul and Sucker Punch. Of course, we also check in on Team Bartowski during the Chuck panel (which was disappointingly short this year).

Chuck

What would Comic-Con be without having a Chuck panel these days? With the entire cast present, there was plenty of love for our favourite Nerd Herder at this year’s event. Then again, of course there’s plenty of love here. Now if only this translates to the ratings when season 4 airs this September.

  • Once again, the panel kicked off with a Comic-Con exclusive video presentation. Also featured was Jeffster doing some ‘Bad Romance’.
  • Big news of the day: Sarah Conner, I mean Linda Hamilton is cast as Chuck’s mom! How kick-ass is that?! According to Josh Schwartz, he put the idea out there and it spread like wildfire and the message reached Linda Hamilton. She called him up and said “I heard I’m Chuck’s mom”. Once that happened, Josh couldn’t say no to her, so it’s a done deal. Other big news: she’ll be appearing in episode 1!
  • Guest star Olivia Munn will play Greta, a new Buy More exec, in the season premiere. Munn will be one of many rotating guest stars who’ll each manage the Buy More for an episode. It would also be helpful to note that the Buy More is now owned-and-operated by the CIA. Impressive list. I keep wondering how this show does it.
  • Other feature guest stars include Dolph Lundgren, Isaiah “Old Spice Guy/I’m on a horse” Mustafa (who got the biggest fan response) and the return of Nicole Ritchie and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
  • Of course, when the question came up regarding the two pairing up, Joshua Gomez (aka Morgan Grimes) is awkwardly stuck in the middle Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski. Josh Schwartz later added “We learned about putting people in between Chuck and Sarah”, which prompts Gomez to awkwardly shift around his chair again. Schwartz said. “Chuck and Sarah have a pretty undeniable chemistry, and that’s hard to replicate. We’ve learned some things.” So rest assured guys, Chuck and Sarah will remain a couple.
  • It appears the more popular pairing this year is John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Morgan (Josh Gomez).
  • Star of the panel was once again Adam Baldwin. Not only did he take a dig at Josh Gomez’s height, but he also managed to somehow bring up Firefly and Angel once again, which prompted a response from Ryan “Captain Awesome” McPartlin to chirp in “Four seasons of Chuck and we’re still hearing about Baldwin’s old shows”.
  • As for which upcoming character will discover Chuck’s secret… well, Josh didn’t reveal it, but he did mention that Jeff will be the last to know. He then adds “Even if Jeff found out, I’m not sure he’ll remember it the next morning.”
  • As for the Buy Morons, well Josh initially had the idea of having Jeffster on the lam. While Josh didn’t reveal how they will take part in the upcoming season, he promised they will be back.
  • The big bust at this year’s panel, it started late and there was no time for fans to do Q&A. When notified that there was no time for Q&A, plenty of boos rang out in the hall.

Cowboys and Aliens

You know Jon Favreau really respects his fans when he scrambles to cut together a clip for his upcoming film Cowboys and Aliens despite the fact that only spent 4 weeks shooting the movie so far. Favreau presented a 10 minute clip and brought along stars Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell and Adam Beach. Oh he also managed to get Harrison Ford into the fold in his first ever Comic Con! The entire hall got up for an ovation for the man famously known as Han Solo.

  • Favreau did consider making this in 3D but decided against it in the end. Since the film is a western, he didn’t want to shoot it digitally and then post-convert it. He said “That’s like shooting in black and white, and then colorizing.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
  • So far Favreau’s approach to the film seems promising. While it wasn’t mindblowing and the special effects needed a bit more work (which will likely happen later on), Favreau did demonstrate the tone of the film very well.
  • With the release date slated for July 29, 2011, Favreau promised to be back at Comic-Con next year with this film.

Thor

Finally Marvel has released some footage of Thor at the studio’s panel in Hall H at the San Diego Comic Con. Director Kenneth Branagh took the stage with stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, Clark Gregg and Tom Hiddleston during this segment of the Marvel presentation.

  • When Branagh took the stage, he reassured fans that he is familiar with English comic books and Thor being his favourite.
  • Portman admitted that her character wasn’t that well defined in the comic books but she relished that as an opportunity and enjoyed playing a smart, strong woman. She also pointed out that she was excited to be working in front of a blue screen again.
  • Clark Gregg, who plays Agent Coulsen, said that he enjoys being “the glue of the Marvel Universe.” As he has appeared in the Iron Man films and the upcoming Avengers movie, he pops up in various places to tie everything together. He also shared a neat story about how he had no idea what the “New Mexico” line was all about in Iron Man 2 (which we now know is related to Thor).
  • Branagh and co. showed the Thor footage a second time when asked about merging the worlds of New Mexico and Asgard together.
  • Natalie Portman will not be in The Avengers, but will be open to do the sequels to Thor. Darn, no reunion between her and Scarlett Johansson on the big screen.

Captain America: The First Avenger

Things kicked off with a teaser trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger. At least people got a better glimpse of Chris Evans in costume and throwing his shield at the screen. Let’s take a look at a few notes from the panel.

  • Director Joe Johnson describes this movie as a “classic adventure love story with an edge.” He wants this movie to be a timeless classic like Raiders of the Lost Ark (which is a film he happened to work on).
  • Joe says that while he has studied the complete history of the character, he’s a fan of the Brubaker version of the Captain America. Expect to see some aspects of the Brubaker version in the film.
  • Despite starting filming a few weeks ago, Chris Evans only started his work as Captain America 5 days ago
  • Chris Evans is aware that some people aren’t completely sold on him as Captain America, but notes that if the movie is good, then no one will have a problem with him. The man has a point.
  • Marvel head and producer Kevin Feige noted that Chris Evans has never tried on the actual Captain America suit yet. It’s not finished yet. He has only tried on the test version of the costume and that’s the one featured in the teaser trailer.
  • They also managed to squeeze some footage despite not having that much time to shoot the film. There’s still the timecode stamped on it, so it’s definitely a rough cut.
  • Hugo Weaving who plays the villain Red Skull, told us a bit about his role.  He said that to help work on his German accent, he listened to Werner Herzog. However when asked to demonstrate his German accent, he refused.

The Avengers

It’s one of the worst kept secrets but Marvel formally announced the production of The Avengers at Comic-Con yesterday. Samuel L. Jackson was the first to appear on stage after a short narration and he introduces the cast and each person promptly stepped up onto the stage. Clark Gregg, Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth already appeared earlier due to the Thor and Captain America panels, so to round up the group, Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson joined the cast on the stage.

  • Downey grabbed the mic and took a moment to comment on the brilliance of Inception before proclaiming the idea of bringing together the leads of all of Marvel’s superhero films for The Avengers to be the most wildly ambitious movie idea yet hatched. At least he took a moment to acknowledge Inception in some way, bonus cool points for that.
  • Downey also took the opportunity to introduce Jeremy Renner (who’ll be playing Hawkeye) and Mark Ruffalo (not Edward Norton) as the Hulk.
  • Mark Ruffalo didn’t quite get the warm response, but that might be due to Feige downplaying the dismissal of Norton during the Thor panel.
  • Finally Joss Whedon appears with a huge grin on his face. “I’ve had a dream all my life,” he exclaimed, “and it was not this good!” And then he proceeds into his usual self-depreciating humour, “and I’m going to blow it.”

Paul

No, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost won’t be in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but they will be appearing together in the upcoming flick Paul. We’ve been waiting for a long time to see this footage from the Superbad/Adventureland director Greg Mattola. Most of the cast including Pegg, Frost, Seth Rogen, Sigourney Weaver, Jeffrey Tambor and Jason Bateman hit the stage to chat about the movie and show us a clip of the movie.

  • The footage starts off with Pegg and Frost’s characters who happen to be British nerds attending Comic Con. Mattola pointed out that they couldn’t film at the actual event, so it was a recreation. I think it was a job well done.
  • So we finally get a look at the alien Paul. He just happens to share some characteristics with the typical green/grey aliens portrayed in the media – big head with large eyes. He is also a foul-mouthed creature. This should be fun.
  • Pegg and Frost came up with the idea for this film while making Shaun of the Dead. Throughout the shoot they encountered bad weather and wanted to make a film where it is sunny. They thought of doing a film in the desert and for some odd reason, aliens came into the picture.
  • Bateman reveals that he is the villian in his movie while the CIA agents played by Bill Hader and Lo Truglio are his backup.
  • Hader makes a quick note on how he’s playing another bad authority figure in a Greg Mattola film.
  • When the cast was asked about how their success has prevented them from walking the floors at Comic-Con, some of the funnier responses came from Hader, Tambor and Rogen which were along the lines of “no one gave a fuck.”
  • Lo Truglio (who plays one of the bumbling CIA agents after our main characters) also worked as a stand-in for Paul so that Frost and Pegg would have someone to talk to since Paul is computer generated. Rogen admitted that some of Lo Truglio’s ad-libbing was hilarious, and he ended up using some of his jokes when he voiced over Paul’s scenes.

Resident Evil: Afterlife

I don’t think I’ve truly enjoyed any of the Resident Evil films, but somehow I get suckered into watching them everytime. Anyway, for those who loved the first three films, this one might be for you! On top of the zombie-filled violence, this time it will be presented in 3D. Writer/director/producer Paul W.S. Anderson appeared at the panel along with wife Milla Jovovich and the other stars Ali Larter and Wentworth Miller to field questions from the fans and present footage in 3D.

  • Anderson noted that James Cameron showed him a huge chunk of Avatar earlier last year and it inspired him to make this film in 3D with the same cameras.
  • Anderson said that when they decided to shoot in 3D it changed everything. The movie was structured differently, he changed up the script and composed shots in new ways. He believes that 3D is the new benchmark for film and will define movie making in the future.
  • Fun fact: Jovovich destroyed a $100,000 camera because Anderson told her to swing the shotgun towards the lens.
  • Anderson decided to return to the directing chair for the franchise since this was a ‘globe-trotting’ film.
  • Unlike the previous sequels, this will take more elements of the RE games. For this movie, it will take more from Resident Evil 5.
  • Still no word on if Jill Valentine is back or not, but Leon Kennedy would be a strong candidate to be star in the fifth movie, if there was one. No plans for a 5th movie yet though.

Let Me In

Despite some mixed feelings about having an American remake to the Swedish vampire flick Let the Right One In, I was cautiously optimistic about it. After seeing the international trailer, I was feeling more and more confident about this remake since it seemed to have stayed true to the tone of the original film. At today’s panel, director Matt Reeves noted that this is a story about the pain of adolescence and it transcends location. I think he has made a very valid point.

  • When casting the role of Owen (Oscar in the original), Reeves was inspired by a scene in Rosemary’s Baby where Mia Farrow is having a breakdown over the phone. He wrote a scene like that for Owen and when Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) read for the part, he got it right away.
  • As for Chloe Moretz, who plays Abby (Eli in the original), she landed the role because she was able to not play her as a vampire. The film doesn’t romanticize about being a blood sucker, instead it shows the terror of being a creature like that (which makes it substantially better than those Twilight flicks out there).
  • As for Richard Jenkins, turns out it was Reeve’s wife who played a part in landing him the role because she noticed his eyes at a party they attended.
  • This film really tries to establish itself on its own. Instead of being a remake of the original film, Reeves is really trying to make it a re-adaptation of the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist instead.

Green Lantern

It’s been a long wait for the superhero film is based on the famous DC Comics character. The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard and Mark Strong. In addition to the stars of the films, screenwriter Greg Berlanti, producer Donald DeLine and director Martin Campbell. It’s still currently shooting but in typical Comic-Con fashion, there was a teaser to show the fans what to expect when the film hits the theatres in 2011.

  • Reynolds didn’t know a lot about the character when he first heard about the role. That’s common among most actors.
  • Sarsgaard loved working in the makeup of his character because it let him feel really free as an actor.
  • Sinestro will likely have a larger role in later films, not this one.
  • Campbell described the film to be light and humourous with real relationships and real action.
  • Apparently even the suit featured in the EW cover is a ‘work in progress’. The final product will ‘eventually look really cool.’
  • There are three weeks left to shoot.
  • Each person on the panel was asked what they would dress up as if they were given the opportunity to do so at Comic-Con. Reynolds said a wookie, Lively said Harry Potter, Sarsgaard said Captain America, Strong said Sinestro and then Geoff Johns said Ryan Reynolds.
  • A little boy in a Green Lantern shirt then asked Reynolds what it felt like to say the oath. To answer the kid’s question, Reynolds decided to just show him and recited the oath from memory (much to the surprise of the little boy).
  • The panel then ended with Reynolds giving away a replica of the lantern ring that he was wearing. It went to a girl who had a notice attached to the bottom of her seat.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This was the main reason why the hall was packed. Following the Green Lantern presentation was the final installment(s) of the Harry Potter film franchise. While this was a relatively short presentation, fans still loved it. Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy, was the only cast member in attendance. Well at least someone shows some appreciation for Comic-Con. He proceeded to introduce the new footage to the attendees in the room.

Sucker Punch

After the Potter fans cleared out, it was time for the Sucker Punch panel. Think of this movie as Inception gone wild. Strip away the ‘heist’ inspired story, the layered storyline and the serious tone, then throw in 5 attractive ladies in skimpy outfits and you got yourself a movie. In addition to that, there are dragons, mech suits, ninjas, zombies, samurai swords, and dance numbers. Yeah it’ll be a lot of fun trying to describe that to friends.

  • The film looks interesting but unfortunately the panel was a bit dry… well at least the part where Zack Snyder was describing how the film got made.
  • He was later joined by cast members Carla Gugino, Jamie Chung, Vanessa Hudgens, Jena Malone, and Emily Browning.
  • Snyder said that there’s a twist/reveal at the end that’s satisfying and makes the movie more than just a bunch of crazy action sequences. That sounds good!
  • Snyder was asked about whether or not this would be a PG-13 or an R-rated movie. He didn’t flat out answer the question but it seems like he wants it to be PG-13 since he brought up how the slaughtering of orcs in Lord of the Rings managed to pull off that rating. He believes should be able to get it with the slaughter of zombie German soldiers in this film.
  • March 25, 2011 can’t come soon enough! This is a promising film that’s visually stunning.

That’s all for the busy Saturday. Check back tomorrow for a TV-filled Comic-Con Sunday roundup.

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5 thoughts on “Comic-Con 2010: Saturday Roundup

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