In order of presentation…
Hot Rod (Coming August 3, 2007).On stage, the Lonely Island trio of Andy Samburg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. “It’s like an SNL Digital Long,” compared director Schaffer, citing their well known SNL shorts when asked about the filmmaking process. “There were many things that are different, but we were surprised by how often it was the same as three dudes in their apartment with a video camera.” For fans of their online shorts, a final chapter of “The Bu” may someday see the light of day. “We’re thinking maybe when we’re 50, we’ll do an old version of us completing the Bu,” says Samburg.
The Clip: Samburg, as Rod Kimble, blows off steam in the woods with an impassioned gymnastics/dance routine that puts Kevin Bacon to shame. Until he stumbles and falls down what appears to be the world’s longest hill. Funny stuff.
Stardust (Coming August10, 2007).
On stage, writer Neil Gaiman and screenplay writer Jane Goldman. How much of the book has translated to the screen. “Eighty percent,” Gaiman reluctantly estimates, before clarifying. “If you’ve read the book, you’ll feel very much at home in the movie, but there is some stuff that we simply couldn’t do. I describe the film and the book as the Earth 1 and Earth 2 versions of this story, which is a reference that I can only ever really make here.”
The Clip: Witches, shape-shifting goats, unicorns, and Michelle Pfieffer offers to give Claire Danes a massage. Get out of our dreams, Gaiman!
Beowulf (Coming November 17, 2007)
On stage, Neil Gaiman (again!) and Roger Avery, screenwriters. The oldest story in the English language gets told with the most modern moviemaking techniques available. Avery described some of the development hell that the script languished in for ages, until Director Robert Zemeckis’ passion for the unshackled creativity offered by all-digital storytelling drove the movie to become a (virtual) reality. Gaiman described the exercise of BS casting (“Come on, you all do it.”) of sitting around a pub, assembling a dream cast. Anthony Hopkins as King Hrothgar, Crispin Glover as Grendel, John Malkovich as Unferth. “Well, we got our BS cast!” said Gaiman.
The Clip: The recently unveiled trailer for Beowulf. Uncanny “magic reality” representation of the human form. Glad to know that Angelina’s geometry is forever preserved for the ages.
Sweeney Todd (Coming out January 11, 2008)
On stage… no one. No clip either, but reveal of the poster (available to everyone who attended, thanks to a chit in their goody bags). Johnny Depp and Tim Burton reuinite.
“Untitled J.J. Abrams Project” (Coming out January 18, 2008)
On stage, Producer J.J. Abrams. “I want a monster movie. I wanted a great monster movie for so long. I was in Japan over a year ago with my son, who is 8. All he wanted to do was go to toy stores — so I know he’s my son. There were still all these Godzillas everywhere, and I thought, ‘we need our own monster.’ We need a monster movie! Not like King Kong. I love King Kong. King Kong is adorable. And Godzilla is a charming monster. But I wanted something that’s just insane and intense.” Production is almost done shooting, but Abrams did not yet reveal a title.
The Clip: that sweet, sweet trailer. As a bonus, the unveiling of one of a series of four teaser posters, of a decapitated Lady Liberty overlooking (can she be said to overlook sans noggin?) a smoldering Manhattan.
The Spiderwick Chronicles (Coming February 18, 2008)
On stage, original team behind the books, Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi, and VFX legend Phil Tippett. Tippett ran through an effects development slideshow, showing how DiTerlizzi’s illustrations turned into realistic creatures by Tippett Studios and ILM. These aren’t candy-coated faerie folk. They’d gobble up Tinkerbill and spit out her bones. Director Mark Waters described how the books felt real, like something that could be happening down the block. It’s a magical story that’s not set in Britain, or medieval times, or Middle Earth, but rather suburbia, echoing such ’80s touchstones as Gremlins.
The Clip: Aside from VFX breakdowns, the teaser trailer.
Drillbit Taylor (Coming March 21, 2008).
On stage… no one. But Director Steven Brill and Producer Judd Apatow introduced the trailer. For it to play better in front of the Comic-Con crowd, Brill described the movie full of elves, magic, ninjas and an estimated budget $280 million with Michael Bay shooting second unit.
The Clip: The world debut of the trailer — kids hire a bum (Owen Wilson) who claims to be a Navy SEAL as a bodyguard.
Iron Man (Coming May 2, 2008).
On stage, Director Jon Favreau. First Favraeu throws a curveball by appearing on video and showing scenes from the ’60s animated Iron Man instead, but he delivers the goods in the form of an extended clip. And yeah, it was scored by Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.”
The Clip: The origin story is distilled into some really action-packed clips, as Anthony Stark turns from a jerk in an expensive suit to a jerk in an even more expensive robotic suit. Robert Downey Jr. captures Stark’s billionaire playboy persona perfectly. And if there’s anything more awe-inspiring than Iron Man flying in formation with a pair of Y-22 Raptor jets, we don’t want to know it. Favreau adds that the majority of the footage in the clip is of the practical effects — there’s still plenty more “WOW” factor being added by ILM and smaller FX houses.
Indiana Jones (Coming May 22, 2008)
On stage, no one… but live via satellite from the set Director Steven Spielberg, and in costume, Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones), Ray Winstone (who Harrison describes as his “sidekick”) and Shia LaBeouf (another sidekick… who we couldn’t help but notice was wearing a leather jacket that said ‘Mutt’ on it). A transcript of this video is to follow, but before Spielberg wraps it up, he brings out one more director’s chair with the name “Marion Ravenwood” on it — Karen Allen, her smile as bright as it’s ever been, appears on the satellite feed, confirming her role in the next movie. She said, “Comic-Con is your first chance to see us all together as a …” “Family,” finished Harrison.
Star Trek (Coming December, 2008)
On stage, Director J.J. Abrams, Producer Damon Lindelof, Executive Producers Bryan Burk and Stratton Leopold, Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman… and some special guests. Abrams couched the panel with the fact that there’s still a year and a half to go (and a whole ‘nother Comic-Con in between), but did share what he could. He described the screenplay as being so good, that he’d be too jealous to allow anyone else to direct it. It is set during the classic era of Star Trek, and they’ve yet to find a Kirk (Abrams solicited for any submissions), but they did announce the actors who will be playing Spock.
Yep, Zachary Quinto (from “Heroes”) is playing the young Spock, but who else better than to play a more familiar, aged Spock than Leonard Nimoy, who surprised all by appearing on stage. “We have a great director, and a wonderful director playing Spock. The answer is, it was logical,” said Nimoy of his choice.