Comic Con: Adam's Report 3
"Who's this 'Snake' person you keep talking about? My names 'Stuntman Mike' and I'm about to give you a steel belted radial tatoo - bitch!"
ADAM'S COMIC-CON REPORT #3
Featuring a look at 300 and Grind House.
I know I know – most of you are wondering, WHERE THE HELL IS REPORT #2! The truth is, The Boneman did such a damn fine job on his second report that I figured I'd put up my third report before I put up my second. So here it is and it's quite the doozy! As fate would have it, Comic-Con unloaded the big guns on Day 3. So much cool stuff in fact, that I'm having to break up Day 3 into two parts.
So if you read The Boneman's second report, you already know that he's officially achieved nerd status by doing something that I've done on many occasion. Following a midnight screening of The Descent, we made our way back to the car. As we walked by the convention center, however, we noticed people already lined up for Hall H (the biggest showroom at Comic-Con) – for events that wouldn't take place until nine hours later. Without much hesitation, The Boneman and I looked at each other and at virtually the same time – with big, dopey grins on our faces no less–we said; "Fuck it." We're here to have a fun time. With that, we ran to the car, got some chairs, and got in line with the two other folks who were already there. Of course, Tyler and Thomas weren't down with this. They wanted sleep. "Fuck sleep!" I told them. "We can sleep later. This is muthafuckin' Comic-Con beeotch!!!" Alright. Maybe I didn't use those exact words, but I was certainly thinking them. After chilling in the line for a while, we decided to run Tyler and Thomas to the hotel. We knew if we didn't, Tyler would have his sweet vengeance on us. Upon getting back, we roughed it right there on the sidewalk. It kicked ass. I had immediate Star Wars line flashbacks. It was just a killer time.
What's more we had a great time conversing with the other folks in line. The lady in front of us had just arrived to San Diego the night before. She got in line for Hall H about an hour before we got there. Eager to find out what she was into, I began asking her if she was there for Spider-Man 3, Kevin Smith, or 300. I figured it had to be for one of those three. I was wrong. She told me she was there for Gerard (actually, she refers to him as Gerry) Butler. Knowing that Mr. Butler is the lead in the upcoming film 300 (he also starred in Joel Schumacher's screen adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera), I said; "Oh. So you're here for 300". She said; "No, I'm here for Gerry Butler". As it turned out, she was indeed there for Gerard Butler. It seems Mr. Butler has legions of hardcore fans (mostly female) and this gal in line was part of a fan club or something. It wasn't long before other women started showing up for the very same reason. Before dawn, there were at least thirty rabid Gerard Butler fans surrounding us leading The Boneman to affectionately refer to these ladies as Gerry's Kids. Hilarious! You can always count on The Boneman to bring the funny.
Anyway, we knew if we were going to get good seats in Hall H once they finally opened the doors, we'd have to scratch and claw for them. It didn't matter that we were second and third in line. It would be a battle to the death. Ultimately, there was no challenge. It was actually a pretty laid back affair. Everyone was cool, particularly Gerry's Kids. As we entered Hall H after eight hours of chilling on the side walk, The Boneman and I found ourselves two comfortable seats on the front row – dead center. In the end, the wait was well worth it. Sure, we probably could have pleaded for press box seats, but seriously–waiting in line was half the fun. As it turns out, the excitement was yet to come. The day would bring the three coolest film reels we could hope for.
WARNER BROTHERS PRESENTS A LOOK AT 300
I was familiar with 300 as a movie. I hadn't read Frank Miller's graphic novel, but following the success of Sin City, it was clear that Miller's properties would be finding their way to the big screen. 300 would be next out of the box. Helming the ambitious project would be Zack Snyder, an individual who won over a pretty hostile crowd with his remake of Dawn of the Dead. I wasn't a huge fan of his Dawn, but it certainly didn't suck. At the very least, it's showed Snyder to be a visionary with a world of potential. If the footage we saw from the upcoming 300 was any indication, he may very well have surpassed that potential.
300 is a fantastical fantasy adventure taking place in 480 B.C., and features the events that would lead Spartan King Leonidas and his royal guard of 300 to battle one of the most fierce armies of Persia.
The three minute footage reel featured very little dialogue. It was mostly a montage of spectacular imagery set to the audio background of a Nine Inch Nails song. Visually, the film incorporates some of the same effects techniques that brought Sin City to life, but there is something much more organic about the 300 universe. While much of the footage seemed grounded in reality (think Gladiator) the film does appear to cross over into fantasy terrain. There are creatures galore and buckets of blood, plus for the ladies–there's plenty of muscular dudes running around in cod pieces. Gerry's kids were frothing at the mouth.
I have to say. I was simply blown away by what I saw. No words can really describe it. 300 truly looks like an otherworldly experience and I can't wait to see the movie.
Following the footage reel, the fans were introduced to the panel; Frank Miller, Zack Snyder, David Wenham, and – put your hands over your ears – Gerard Butler. Seriously folks, when Butler hit the stage, I thought I was at a Beatles concert or something. It was awe inspiring. This guy has the power. I'd like to be his friend so I can share the spoils of his power.
The panel was very interesting, particularly when Frank Miller was speaking. It's great to see him involved in movies again. After being burned by the Hollywood process (most notably during the making of Robocop 2), it was thought that he'd never allow his stuff on the big screen again. Thankfully, Robert Rodriguez convinced him that some folks do care about his material. Miller did reveal that unlike Sin City, he would not be involved in directing 300. He said that it's Snyder's show, but he certainly looked pleased with the way the project was coming along. Based on the footage shown, I'd say the project is in very good hands. If I have any gripe at all, it's that we have to wait until next year to see 300 in it's entirety.
I was really pumped for this panel. Two years ago at Comic-Con, I was fortunate to catch Robert Rodriguez's Sin City presentation and it knocked me for a loop. Grind House is a collaboration between Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. The film takes it's name from those old school movie theaters that used to show those awesome, worn out exploitation and horror flicks. The kicker here is that this movie is a twofer. It features a film directed by Rodriguez and another one directed by Tarantino.
After Rodriguez hit the stage, he informed the crowd that he had been working on the picture constantly and barely made the plane to Comic-Con. Sadly, he revealed Tarantino missed his plane – but then he said he was just kidding and introduced Tarantino to the eager audience. He then brought part of the cast on stage including Rose McGowan, Rosario Dawson Sydney Poitier (the daughter) and a few others whose names escape me.
First up, Rodriguez discussed his segment in the film, a glorious zombie gore fest called Planet Terror. He didn't really go into the plot all that much. He did us one better. He brought us around six minutes of footage – an amazing feat given that Rodriguez had only been shooting for two weeks. This guy still works like a bullet train.
I don't want to give too much away, but highlights in the reel include a one legged Rose McGowan having a custom made machine gun fastened to her stump. During one moment in the clip, she takes out a shit load of zombies with her stump gun. Hilarious, sick, and picture perfect. There was plenty of gore to be found in the clip. Lots of bodies exploding and humans being eaten etc. I can't wait to see this movie.
Following the clip, Tarantino made some interesting observations. He suggested that Planet Terror might have been a movie John Carpenter would have made between Escape From New York and The Thing. After he made that comment, I could completely see what he was talking about. Rodriguez even used Escape From New York music for the temp track. The Thing and Escape From New York are two of my favorite movies, so this heightened my excitement.
Immediately following, Tarantino started to talk about his segment, an ode to slasher films called Death Proof. It doesn't start shooting for four weeks, but this didn't keep him from letting us in on some cool little titbits. First up, he revealed that the night before, he just landed his leading man. As a tease to the audience, he said he'd name another character that this actor had played in his career; "Snake Plissken." The audience went nuts. Kurt Russell as a serial killer! I can't wait. As for the plot, Tarantino did say that the killer in his movie murders people by running over them with his car. This I gotta see. Russell's character is called "Stuntman Mike."
During a lengthy Q & A, the audience received plenty of insightful information. Tarantino made it clear to the audience that Grind House would not be some half assed side project. He pounded home the notion that Planet Terror and Death Proof were their next movies, plain and simple. He also revealed these would not be shorts, but rather full length movies. This is the first I had heard of that. I thought they'd be sixty minute shorts tops. Rodriguez revealed that the films swelled during the writing process. The film makers didn't say how long the movie will be, but I'm guessing in the neighborhood of three hours. Tarantino proclaimed Grind House a two for one. Cool!
One fan in attendance wanted to know if Rodriguez and Tarantino ever bicker during the course of a production, to which both film makers replied with a resounding; "No!" Tarantino went on to explain that the two have such love and admiration for one another, that there's never been any sort of jealousy or ego trips. They respect each other as artists too much.
Grind House looks absolutely killer. It's exactly the kind of film I want to see from Tarantino and Rodriguez. A beautiful, exploitive twofer inspired by the films they grew up on. April 2007 can't come soon enough.
Watch for my next report which will include Spider-Man 3, Kevin Smith, Blood-O-Ween, Pirates 3, Hot Fuzz, and more!
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