San Diego Comic-Con 2009
San Diego Comic-Con 2009

Highlights and selected coverage from San Diego Comic-Con International, July 22-26, 2009

 

WEDNESDAY, JULY 22ND (Preview Night)

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THURSDAY, JULY 23RD

A Christmas Carol

Patton Oswalt hosted the panel for the upcoming “A Christmas Carol” where director Robert Zemeckis showed off a few clips and the new trailer. While the wild CG graphics and intense 3-D visuals promise plenty of fun, one wonders if this would have been even more exciting with Jim Carrey in heavy make-up and all of the regular actors providing live performances. Reminiscent of the characters in “Beowulf,” which oftentimes looked so real the completely CG doppelgängers seemed unnecessary, the creations here might not be greatly enhanced by such graphics. In the Q&A portion, Zemeckis fielded questions about Jim Carrey’s typically comedic presence and stated that the actor was always on the same page and though humor will definitely be a part of the story (as it was in the original novel), Carrey himself never went overboard with the theatrics. The director also stated that while he could neither confirm nor deny a “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” sequel, if there were to be one, it would definitely be in 2-D.

Alice in Wonderland

Very little actual footage was shown for Tim Burton’s highly anticipated re-envisioning of “Alice in Wonderland,” but the short teaser trailer was shown multiple times to the crowd. The Cheshire Cat and White Rabbit are completely computer animated, while the Queen of Hearts and Tweedledee and Tweedledum appear a blend of CG and live action. Burton himself was at the panel in his first ever Comic-Con appearance, and though he only got in a couple typical audience questions, he did bring out surprise guest Johnny Depp (who plays the Mad Hatter).

The Massie Twins also got to interview Tim Burton after the panel – read the full article here!

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Tron 2.0

At the 2009 Comic-Con, the Massie Twins had a chance to join “Tron 2.0” director Joe Kosinski, producers Sean Bailey and Steve Lisberger (also the director of the original “Tron”), and actors Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, and Olivia Wilde to discuss the revolutionary, action-packed futuristic 3D thriller from Walt Disney Pictures.

Jeff Bridges commented on his involvement boiling down to the script and Steve’s enthusiasm for the project and his ability to pull it off. It’s exhilarating, fresh and exciting when it all comes together onscreen and works. For him it was also a bit nostalgic. The idea behind revisiting such an old movie wasn’t to reinvent it, or create a sequel, but to create something moviegoers could become passionate about. It comes down to vision and Joe presented his idea of what the world of “Tron” would look like and it turned out to be a perfect combination, especially with Jeff who has been a screen icon for decades. His participation was essential, along with the acceptance of all the new technology. It was never a goal for Sean and Steve to look through the Disney library and pick out something to revisit (even though we contrarily just came from an all new Alice in Wonderland presentation) – it’s the truth regardless of how genuine it sounded. With A Christmas Carol, Alice in Wonderland or anything, it depends on a unique vision and if Joe Kosinski didn’t have that, they never would have gotten this far. It turned out to be a perfect marriage of ideas.

Jeff also discussed his fighting a younger version of himself in the film and how bizarre it was (footage from the original “Tron” will be spliced in apparently), but said that revealing too much would be like a magician explaining a trick. The world of “Tron” has evolved on its own, and Tron City was briefly mentioned. It’s like an aquarium, disconnected from the outside world for over 20 years. It’s continued to grow and the simulation has become more perfect and realistic. The scale, realism and physics of the world have all grown and is intended to feel like they went in and shot everything with motion picture cameras.

Jeff Bridges commented on looking back at the first “Tron” which was so advanced for the time, and yet all they had was white adhesive tape that covered the sets. There wasn’t much CGI, but a lot done by hand. In fact, they degraded the live action to match the CG of the time. Director Kosinski stated how thrilled he was with 3D and its trend. It’s what they’re doing now, and while it’s the state-of-the-art thing, there’s no reason not to embrace it. Society is more interested in how to move data than in how to make cars – so this technology is going to be in everything. It’s all about how to get the best data to audiences, including acting, stories and visuals.

When asked about a “Tron 2.0” game, the group mentioned that the original game didn’t impact the production of this film, although there will almost certainly be a corresponding video game. At this point, a lot of stuff is being discussed. On the importance of Comic-Con, the general consensus was that it is very important, especially for a film like “Tron 2.0.” Last year’s footage created a firestorm of interest and next year there will actually be full scenes to show. They felt a certain obligation to come back since the previous visit really launched the popularity of this sequel.

The most challenging aspect for actor Garrett Hedlund and actress Olivia Wilde wasn’t just the Tron suit (that looked great but was a nuisance to wear) or the stunts or the cablework, but the act of doing things all day long. The minimal stuff really became tedious. Everyone promised lots of stuff for fans, although it was guaranteed that you’ll be able to watch “Tron 2.0” and get wrapped up in the world and characters even if you haven’t seen the original.

The soundtrack will be done almost entirely by Daft Punk, an influential band with a broad taste for music well beyond the usual punk style. In fact, for their shows they even dress the part, borrowing ideas from the original “Tron” film’s costumes. There is a certain level of secrecy surrounding the plot, although the producers confirmed that they would have gladly shown more had they had it. As proud as they are in their efforts, they also believe that a decision should be made concerning advance publicity when they have materials in hand. When asked why it took so long to make a sequel, the original film having been released in 1982, Joe Kosinski stated that this was the right time, the right story, and the right vision. You’ll need no prior knowledge of the first film – it’s standalone, although it will acknowledge the existence of the original’s events and attempt to tie together all of the mythology spanning between 1982 and 2010, where “Tron 2.0” is set.

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Astro Boy, Sorority Row and The Hole in 3D – Exclusive Pics

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Freddie Highmore and Kristen Bell premiering the trailer for Astro Boy

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The girls from Summit Entertainment’s new horror film Sorority Row

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Joe Dante, director of the new 3D thriller “The Hole,” and star Haley Bennett

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

We could write a Pulitzer Prize-worthy article here, but no one would read it. So here are some exclusive pics of the panel that led to outrageous, crazed, and unbelievably enthusiastic San Diego Comic-Con fans. Stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, and Ashley Greene were in attendance.

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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Director Terry Gilliam was joined by star Verne Troyer to discuss “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” the new science-fiction/fantasy/adventure film, opening soon, starring Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, Lily Cole, Andrew Garfield, and Heath Ledger in his last role.

According to Gilliam, it’s the most mature and most juvenile thing he’s done so far. He commented on Comic-Con and previews notoriously giving away the best bits of the film, and so jokingly promised that everything shown today would be the boring stuff. Right afterwards he was presented with the Inkpot Award for Film Arts 2009, SDCC’s own prestigious trophy.

Gilliam definitely wanted to finish the film, partly to show the world Ledger’s final performance. It is, however, a film about Doctor Parnassus, so ultimately the focal point will not be on Heath. Gilliam discussed his distaste for studio execs fiddling with his ideas and how Parnassus grew from his depression over Tideland and its lack of success (primarily from such dark, disturbing material). It ultimately grew organically and without a complete idea of where it was going, but chronicles a man named Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) losing a bet with the devil (Tom Waits) that results in the archangel coming for his 16-year-old daughter, played by Lily Cole. Lead character Tony, with his chameleon-like, persuasive personality wasn’t originally intended for Ledger, who was working on The Joker at the time. But Heath approached Gilliam to play the part, and he jumped at the offer. Surprisingly it still took a lot of time and effort to get funding when Terry couldn’t convince producers that Heath would become perhaps the most famous star in the world when 2008’s “The Dark Knight” premiered.

During the Q & A segment, Terry was asked about his inspirations for picking projects. “They pick me,” he confessed, adding that he mulls over them for awhile, seeking ideas from literature and paintings, especially artwork from dead painters who can’t sue. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, 12 Monkeys and The Fisher King were exceptions – Gilliam felt that they were such important stories that would probably never get adapted for film, giving him good reason to tackle them himself. He also sarcastically mused over his unique visual style being a documentarian’s approach to the world; something that is weird to everyone else but normal in his eyes.

The casting process for Parnassus was like feeling around in the dark, with some actors volunteering and others having to be scouted out. Generally Gilliam just wants to surround himself with actors who can keep a smile on their faces. He confirmed that there would not be a Rum Diaries movie to follow-up Fear and Loathing, and that the rights to Don Quixote were recently reacquired, so that might be the next project for him. Jeremy Thomas would produce, and the hunt for actors and money would be the next step. His final comments before the San Diego Comic-Con exclusive The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus trailer was that Hollywood doesn’t allow filmmakers to be as dark and all-encompassing of human emotions as many want to be, but that in that area, he’s gotten away with murder.

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Pandorum

Paul Anderson, after reading the script for “Pandorum,” just really wanted to see it made. It was intense and involving, and his hopes include it being compared to Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” Stars Antje Traue, Cung Le, and Ben Foster joined Anderson on the stage to discuss the new sci-fi horror/thriller, opening September 18th, 2009.

After watching a surprisingly thrilling Comic-Con exclusive trailer, which ultimately made Pandorum look like a cross between Event Horizon and Resident Evil, the group fielded questions. Costar Dennis Quaid recorded an intro for the teaser as well, apologizing for his inability to be present at the event. Cung Le told the audience he did about 97% of his own stunts (he’s a mixed martial arts champion) and that his training was extensively in Chinese kickboxing and Brazilian jujitsu. While he breaks arms and bashes heads in a steel cage for a living, in regular life he’s learned to just walk away from antagonizing situations.

Foster commented that his decision to participate in the film was based on the material just feeling right at the time. “I don’t have the greatest academic career,” he said, but he always did want to go into space, and this was the quickest way. Antje was asked about her role, and she confirmed how much fun it is to be such a kickass woman, considering that few people get to do that on a regular basis. Paul Anderson stressed his appreciation of claustrophobia as a powerful element to enhance horror, and that he hopes fans will be shocked, petrified and thoroughly entertained by what looks to be a heavy-hitting zombies-in-space thrill-ride.

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Kick-Ass

In one of the most interesting upcoming films, Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Mark Millar’s graphic novel “Kick-Ass,” the director and much of the cast (though sadly no Nic Cage) were on hand at the panel. Guests included Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Clark Duke, Chloe Grace-Moretz, and Mark Romita Jr. A trailer and several scenes were shown, displaying a very dark sense of humor and plenty of violent ass-kicking. We got a brief one-on-one question with Matthew Vaughn and Christopher Mintz-Plasse:

Massie Twins:  So who is more kick-ass – McLovin or Nic Cage?

Matthew Vaughn: (laughs) You shouldn’t call him McLovin, but definitely Chris.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse: Definitely me. Look who’s here and who’s not! (laughs)

Likely a first in graphic novel to film adaptation, the movie will actually be finished before the final issues of the comic hit stands. 12-year-old Chloe Moretz, who plays Hit Girl, commented on the intensive training she underwent to play the role of the ass-kicking superhero, and the footage of her brutally killing everyone in sight was certainly a morbid highlight.

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FRIDAY, JULY 24TH

Where the Wild Things Are

The original book by Maurice Sendak took about two years to become popular (and for libraries to figure out that kids were taking the books and keeping them). Working closely with Sendak, director Spike Jonze has turned the adaptation into his own movie without betraying the original vision. His additions and alterations enhance and enrich the book and have received complete support by Sendak. The film stars young Max Records who introduced the Comic-Con exclusive clips, scenes and teasers for the audience. He quoted Sendak as having said that he hopes people will like the movie, but if they don’t, they can go straight to hell.

Max further added that Jonze’s unique methods for inspiring the actors included lighting up propane tanks at random points to evoke genuine surprise and real emotions.

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The Book of Eli

Opening with a motion graphic novel entitled “Billy,” the panel included joint directors Allen and Albert Hughes (yes, they’re twins!), Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, and Gary Oldman. The movie looks like “The Road Warrior” mixed with The Man With No Name trilogy, set in a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland. After showing a surprisingly action-packed trailer, the panel opened it up to questions from the audience.

When asked what it was like to work with Gary Oldman, Denzel Washington exclaimed that it was like good sex. Oldman thanked Christopher Nolan for the imagination to cast him in “Batman Begins” and added that it’s surprising he continues to play badass villain roles considering he looks like a very non-intimidating bald chicken when naked. He explained that he isn’t typecast in crazy roles as much as he just gets offers sent to him in the mail and if he sees something special in it he’ll take it. Oldman also confirmed, with a “you didn’t hear it from me” quote, that the third Batman film is approximately two years away.

The story for “The Book of Eli” started as an original screenplay and not a graphic novel, even though the visuals have a very comic book feel. The movie was always a work in progress for Denzel, especially trying to command his character. He trained for six months to do all of his own stunts and martial arts fighting sequences.

The Massie Twins got a chance to speak to the panel and asked gorgeous actress Mila Kunis what it was like to work with twins. “Two is better than one,” she joked. “Yes it is,” the twins replied. “What do YOU think it’s like working with twins?” she queried, to which The Massie Twins answered, “We’d rather work with Mila Kunis.”

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A Nightmare on Elm Street

Producer Brad Fuller and Director Sam Bayer introduced the exclusive Comic-Con trailer for 2010’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, which stars Jackie Earle Haley as the famous hideously scarred, ghastly-gloved demon Freddy Krueger. Production wrapped about two weeks ago and the brand new footage looked very intense – but it does seem as if it’s too soon to be revisiting Freddy, a horror franchise that originated in 1984.

Fuller and Bayer commented that through the many films of Freddy Krueger, he’s evolved into a jokey icon, and that this reintroduction reshapes him into a refreshingly horrifying creature. Not wanting to compare it to other horror franchise restarts, they did confidently claim that this new movie is simply terrifying.

The Massie Twins got to speak to the panel and ask Jackie Earle Haley a question: “Who would win in a fight – Freddy Krueger, Rorshach, or the guy from Little Children?” After a hearty laugh, Haley said he’d have to poll the audience for the answer. “What do you guys think?”

Haley also elaborated on the 3 ½ hour, arduous task of putting on the makeup and the one hour of removing it. “I think it’s scarier and more disconcerting,” he stated. If he wasn’t wearing the sweater and fedora and walked into a 7-11, people would think it was real.

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The Box

With a score by Arcade Fire and a story based on a short 6-page work by Richard Matheson called “Button Button,” Richard Kelly introduced his newest project “The Box.” He was joined by actors Cameron Diaz and James Marsden. The plot is deceptively simple, revolving around a mysterious devil-like character named Arlington Steward, played by Frank Langella, who delivers a wooden box with a red button to Norma and Arthur Lewis (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden, respectively). If they push the button, someone they don’t know will die, and they will be rewarded one million dollars.

Kelly explained that the film is set in 1976 for several major plot reasons, one being the lack of technology such as Google and Twitter. The simple moral test idea and repercussions attracted Marsden to the script, which served as a blueprint for a great draw. Although Arlington’s intentions and his employers are supposed to be a mystery, Cameron Diaz blurted out something about Martians controlling human actions and fates, which sounds an awful lot like a HUGE spoiler.

Kelly explained that there are a lot of fascinating details in the film that will hopefully have people talking about it. He also commented on his very normal childhood and his dad who worked for 15 years with NASA, and that while everyone assumes he led some dark, disturbed young life, he was raised completely normally, and that his parents’ support got him to where he is today. The film is full of old-fashioned Hitchcockian suspense, Kubrickian pacing and shots, and a general “what’s going to happen next?” style.

Diaz fielded the usual “Will you marry me?” questions, along with the “What is your favorite movie you did?” generic mush. As most actors divulge, they’re proud of all of them. Marsden is glad to be able to play Cyclops in “X-Men” and turn around and be in “Hairspray.” He knows nothing about the follow-up to “Superman Returns” and Diaz reminded everyone to go out and see “The Box” when it opens. Kelly said he was grateful to still be working and that doing a big studio film for Warner Bros. is a great honor. He’d love to continue doing things on a bigger scale within the studio system and “The Box” is his most personal film. At the end of the Q&A, he gave away a full-scale, hand-signed replica of “The Box” to a random audience member.

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Jonah Hex

Director Jimmy Hayward introduced the panel for his upcoming 2010 film “Jonah Hex,” an action-packed, supernatural, Grindhouse-styled Spaghetti Western sendup, based on the famous graphic novels. The final scenes for star Megan Fox were finished a mere 48 hours ago, and an exciting exclusive trailer was shown to the eager fans. Stars Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, and Michael Fassbender joined Hayward on the stage. The film also stars John Malkovich and Will Arnett and will be released August 6th, 2010.

Hilariously sarcastic Josh Brolin mentioned that he used to read Richie Rich, but that the script and comics were unique and original and made studios nervous, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Megan Fox says that for some reason or another Josh Brolin chose her to play the part of Leila, the prostitute love interest, to which Brolin retorted, “for SOME reason.”

Fassbender channeled his role through the bowler hat part of his costume, which reminded him of the 1970’s Riddler and “A Clockwork Orange” vibe. The film is really an homage to 70’s Spaghetti Westerns, but there wasn’t much pressure for Hayward to keep it straight, so he generously blended genres and realism. Brolin chimed in that New Orleans is fucking gnarly, and without a bunch of money, the shoot was a “phantasmagoria of insanity.” They had to do a lot of things on a practical level and that no one got a big paycheck, so the film came together because of the filmmakers love for insanity. He has confidence in the film.

Megan Fox also added that she’s never been as excited about footage as for “Jonah Hex,” but that it was only equally as awesome as her other movie “Jennifer’s Body” which opens sooner. She told Fassbender to really beat her ass or throw her around if necessary to make the film more realistic and authentic, to which Hayward joked, “leave your fetishes at home.” Brolin joked with most of the Comic-Con audience members brave enough to come up and ask questions, and with the help of some obnoxious questions that demanded the use of the microphone killswitch, the commentary got rather weird – but Brolin enjoyed it. After all, there are a lot of weird people at these conventions. Director Hayward ended the panel by stating that “I think audiences are a lot smarter than studios give them credit for,” and that “Jonah Hex’s” success will be determined by the fans.

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Sherlock Holmes

122 years ago Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave birth to the first intellectual superhero in the form of master detective and little known martial artist Sherlock Holmes. The Comic-Con 2009 panel consisted of stars Robert Downey Jr. and Rachel McAdams, producer Susan Downey and Joel Silver, and writer Lionel Wigram. The film is directed by Guy Ritchie and also stars Jude Law, Mark Strong, and Eddie Marsan.

Downey Jr., brimming with confidence, speculated that he is probably not smart enough to play the character, but he was cast anyway. The audience was treated to a 7-minute trailer with some full segments and lots of montage that was fairly exciting and primarily humorous. The crew decided to go back to the original source material and change less than previous incarnations of the famous sleuth. McAdams’ character Irene Adler is the love interest, based on the 10 pages of info she had on the only appearance in the story Scandal in Bohemia. She’s competitive and revels in outsmarting Holmes.

Originally a graphic novel for Sherlock Holmes was crafted to create interest and to be a little more palatable to newer audiences. Care was taken to make sure the story wasn’t too clever for its own good. The role reminded Robert of his work on Chaplin, but the appeal was largely in the cast and getting the perfect chemistry between the three leads. When asked about his martial arts fighting in the film, Downey Jr. stated, “I’m not trying to incite a riot, but I could windmill right through the lot of you one right after the other,” talking directly to the 6500 person audience. When asked what was the most challenging aspect about making Sherlock Holmes, he hilariously replied that he didn’t think there was anything that could be too challenging or even the most challenging. “I have an illness of confidence,” he joked.

The actual narrative for the movie is completely original, but the world is based on the books and influences of the time. The villain is based on Aleister Crowley and Robert assured audiences that everything he does in the movie is stuff Holmes would have done or did at some point in the books. Each detail referred to the Holmes mythology.

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Legion

The “Legion” panel consisted of director Scott Stewart and stars Adrianne Palicki, Doug Jones, Tyrese Gibson, and Paul Bettany. The film also stars Dennis Quaid and Charles S. Dutton. The film essentially follows the events of Apocalypse as armed and dangerous avenging angels descend on Earth to bring about another cleansing “flood” like the one Noah defended against in the bible. Apparently humanity is in that bad a shape. A young pregnant woman named Charlie is the key to survival, and so she is protected by a badass angel named Michael (Paul Bettany). Doug Jones is the Ice Cream Man, a transforming, mutant monster zombie thing aiding in the destruction of mankind.

Shot in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Tyrese Gibson claimed the most exciting part about working on the film was seeing Bettany’s muscles. All of Albuquerque ran out of baby oil, used frequently to oil him up, and he swears Johnson & Johnson must have been a sponsor for the film. In truth, the apocalyptic story attracted Gibson to the role.

Adrianne reiterated that Tyrese is a natural badass, and Bettany says to have been tricked into participating under the guise that it was an arthouse film. He actually had always wanted to be in an action film as a protagonist, considering he’s usually the villain. He apologized to Shakespeare, since once he fired dual M16’s he realized that was why he became an actor. “It’s not a religious picture,” ensures Stewart. “It’s angels with machineguns.” It’s a fun milieu to play with, and while Jones discussed the liberating feeling of not having to wear  a ton of makeup for his role (he played the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four and Abe Sapien in “Hellboy,” among other makeup-intensive parts) Stewart displayed a teaser poster for the Priest movie opening in 2010, based on the Tokyopop graphic novel.

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District 9

Dubbed the “Geek God” by the New York Times, Peter Jackson’s latest project “District 9” debuted exclusive footage and a trailer for the audiences at the San Diego Comic-Con panel. Serving as producer, Jackson was joined by the film’s director Neill Blomkamp, who introduced the 7-minute teaser footage. Jackson also discussed “The Hobbit,” which is apparently about 3-4 weeks away from a first draft of the script; the movie itself has of course not yet been greenlighted.

Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp had previously worked on the Halo movie adaptation, produced in New Zealand with the help of Weta Workshops. Jackson had been searching for a fresh new director for the project, but due to studio politics involving Universal, Fox and Microsoft, he announced that it was officially dead. Neill had done concept art and work on the script. Both were disillusioned by the failed project, and were in search of something original. Essentially, “District 9” is their new vision of the Halo movie, without all the copyrights and studio pressures.

Neill really likes the idea of making science fiction that feels realistic and grounded, dealing with current political situations while still making it a Hollywood thrill ride. They decided upon an unknown actor Sharlto Copley, who joined the panel discussion. It was quite an experience to be working on a little movie on a shoestring budget and then here comes Peter Jackson with funding. It was inspiring, intimidating and humbling, according to Copley. Jackson also discussed going back to doing a lower budget horror film along the lines of “Dead Alive,” during the time Guillermo is directing “The Hobbit,” since Jackson is serving as the film’s producer. The inspiration for Neil’s alien designs for “District 9” was a whole bunch of sci-fi floating around in his head. The hardware was meant to be not entirely foreign and the aliens were meant to be like insects that have lost their queen. They’re the drones.

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SATURDAY, JULY 25TH

Exclusive Interview with Shane Acker, Director of “9”

Exclusive Interview with Timur Bekmabetov, Producer of “9”

Fringe Panel Exclusive Photos

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V – The New Series Panel Exclusive Photos

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True Blood Panel Exclusive Photos

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Extract

Mike Judge’s newest film “Extract” debuted a trailer and special Comic-Con exclusive footage, and Judge was joined by actors Jason Bateman and Mila Kunis. The trailer essentially looked like “Factory Space.” Judge commented that the film is somewhat of a cousin to “Office Space” and that idiocy and poor decisions are a recurring theme, although not entirely intentional. It’s more about making fun of friends in a joking matter than attacking society. “Extract” also stars Ben Affleck, who based a lot of the character on an old buddy. The trailer promises plenty of drugs, Affleck with a Jesus-like hairdo, sexy Kunis running a scam, and Bateman hiring a gigolo to get his wife to cheat so he can act on Mila’s advances.

Mila Kunis added that the water-bottling factory where the film was shot was very hot and steamy – due to the lack of air conditioning. Mike Judge said that good comedy feels very close to good drama and Bateman mentioned that he understands the need for comedies to have both a straight man and a funny man and is glad to do either role; in “Extract” he gets to play it serious. During the Q&A portion of the panel it was revealed that Mila Kunis has been in three films with costar Kirstin Wiig, but has never shot a scene with her or shot on the same day, so she’s never gotten to interact with her outside of premieres. Bateman laughed that Kristin Wiig once said that Mila was too damn pretty to want to be in a scene with her.

“Why do you hate America?” someone asked Judge. “I love it,” he replied. “I’ve been to Europe and yuck.” When Bateman was asked what the worst job he’d ever had was, he responded, “You know how to access IMDB, right? Just go ahead and pick – throw a dart,” which got the crowd laughing. Jason also confirmed that the Arrested Development movie, being produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer who fully support it, is in development and the wheels are churning. It may be quite some time, however, before filming actually starts. As for Beavis and Butthead, if the fans demand it, further cartoons might be made. A sequel to “Idiocracy” was asked about, but Judge said it was very doubtful.

Zombieland

Director Ruben Fleischer introduced the “Zombieland” panel, which appears to be a road trip/coming-of-age/romantic comedy/action-adventure/zombie movie. Stars Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Woody Harrelson joined Ruben on the stage. “High time I was offered a zombie movie,” said Harrelson, who took a long time getting to the script because he thought it was going to be a very silly movie. It turned out to be quite riveting. The idea was originally written as a TV pilot, but it was too big and raw of an idea.

The film took 42 days to shoot, primarily in Georgia, and Emma Stone admitted that she really loved learning to fire a shotgun. Woody’s favorite weapon was the chainsaw, and Ruben liked the piano-on-the-head dispatching. Casting a zombie is a challenge and finding someone who is enthusiastic is essential for the role of a fast zombie. Woody decided to neither confirm nor deny a cameo by Bill Murray, who will most likely be in the film, Jesse and Woody chose “28 Days Later” as their favorite zombie movies and Stone chose the “Dawn of the Dead” remake. Interestingly enough, people were asking about a sequel after only seeing a couple of scenes from the film.

2012

Also starring Woody Harrelson, the new Roland Emmerich film “2012” finds the world ending in that year. The trailer looks like it has topped all of his previous films in sheer destruction, but it also feels very repetitive. Why do you hate the planet Roland? “I love it – I destroy it so many times because I love it so much,” he replied. He didn’t want to top his previous films as much as he wanted to start with a new idea (even though it’s still an epic disaster movie). The story is pretty much the second great flood a la Noah’s Ark. The year 2012 kept coming up in research, so they decided to tie it into the end-of-the-world themes.

Woody plays a crazy radio host that thinks the government is building spaceships, which are actually arks, and goes in search of his ex-girlfriend to rescue her. What’s next? Emmerich might have to retire once the world is destroyed in 2012. This is the mother of all disaster movies. He expressed interest in adapting Isaac Asimov’s The Foundation into a feature film, which is likely his next project. Needless to say, Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno were Roland’s favorite films as a child, dealing with regular people in extreme perils with no special talents to prepare them. Roland also revealed that very few actual vehicles were destroyed in the making of the film – for the most part all of the annihilation is done with CG models.

Iron Man 2

Producer Kevin Feige, director Jon Favreau, and stars Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, and Don Cheadle took the stage for the “Iron Man 2” panel, and of course the exclusive footage, including a couple of scenes and a trailer montage, was played twice for crazed audiences. The film wrapped about one week ago and Favreau assured the crowd that one of the priorities was to retain the tone of the first film and to add characters and events that work toward setting up the Avengers movie.

Cheadle said he had never worked on a movie of this scope, and although he was nervous about it, wanted to modernize his character, as well as play off of how Terence Howard shaped the role in “Iron Man.” Scarlett Johansson dyed her hair red before even getting the role and insisted on doing all of her own stunts, which meant a lot of egg white omelets.

Favreau mentioned that he would be involved with the Avengers movie, but isn’t necessarily going to be the director – shooting won’t actually begin until after “Iron Man 2” opens. On Mickey Rourke as enemy Whiplash, Robert Downey Jr. joked, “I thought I was eccentric!” “Mickey’s fabulous,” remarked Sam Rockwell. When Feige informed Mickey that his character spent time in a Russian prison, the next thing he knew, Rourke was in a Russian prison, researching and prepping for his role. The panel ended with Cheadle being asked whether he preferred playing the good guy (War Machine) in “Iron Man 2,” or the villain like his role in “Meteor Man.” He jokingly retorted, “I don’t even know what that movie is.”

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The Kevin Smith Panel

Each year cult director Kevin Smith makes an appearance in Hall H at the San Diego Comic-Con International, and his discussions with fans about every subject under the sun, most distorted by sexually deviant verbiage, is something that must be seen. Writing about the jokes, the hilarious stories, or the people he makes fun of in conversations couldn’t be served justice through simple transcription.

The Massie Twins dared to ask Kevin Smith a question, knowing ridicule was a given. In unison they greeted Smith, who immediately said that he’d always dreamed of fucking twins – he just didn’t think it would be two dudes. “But when in Diego!”

The Massie Twins: If you were Elizabeth Banks for a day, what would you do?

Kevin Smith: I’d just look at my pussy all day long and I’d take a lot of pictures of it. And then when I became Kevin Smith again, I’d put em up on online and make money. And then she’d call me and say, “Why’d you do that – I thought we were friends? We worked together!” And I’d say, “well I was you for a day thanks to those two twins at Comic-Con.

The Massie Twins: Sounds good. Thanks!

Kevin Smith: “Do you guys do that at every panel?” Do they really? Walk up to every panel… You’re like the two fucking twins from “The Shining.” Come play with us Kevin. Forever….and ever…