Comic Con: Boneman's Report 3
"Tell me this much, Rosie - you've read this Fanclub script that everyone's talking about - is there a part in there for a ruggedly handsome cuss like me?"
This was a day that was going to bring surprises, strange disappearances and heroic acts of brevity. It got off to a good start as Jerry's kids got what they came for when Zack Snyder came out and introduced the revered writer of the Graphic novel 300 the hottest property in Hollywood Frank Miller. Hot on their heals were the stars of the show Gerard Butler, and LOTR's David Wentham. I'll have to say I was right away caught up in Jerry fever – the man was charming, funny and his enthusiasm for the project bordered on child-like. They opened with the teaser clip and as neither actor had seen any finished footage both Butler and Wentham went over and sat on the floor before the monitor to watch. They were as impressed as the rest of us were. The script showed off Miller's terrific wordplay, and I'll just say this one has all the earmarks of a big winner. True we've been witness to plenty of films of this ilk, Troy, Arthur, Alexander, the one with Orlando Bloom – it'll come to me – still and all this one tells the story of perhaps the most legendary fighting force in history – the few, the proud, the Spartans.
Butler and Wentham discussed the lengths they went to to prepare for their roles – the physical training, the research, the steroids. You might laugh, but how do you think Brad Pitt got so big in Troy? Come on, that's not Wheaties, don't be naïve. It's not like his acting career is going to carry an asterisk now. Why do you think they went to Namibia to have the baby – just in case it came out wearing a codpiece. That's a joke, there's no evidence to suggest that steroid use leads to birth defects, or Governor Ahnold would have to keep his brood locked in the basement. "Honey, did you feed the . . . things" Maria would ask. "No honey I forgot," as he heaves a side of beef calumphing down the stairs. "Bon apetite boys." Speaking of codpieces, Gerard did a fair share of complaining about that part of the shoot. At one point during the Q&A someone asked if this were going to be a historically accurate portrayal, meaning were there going to be any Greek on Greek action? To which Miller quickly quipped, "No – this is a work of fiction." What with all the faint-hearted Jerry's kids swooning at his every expression it was a fun panel. One audience member asked something about how much tweaking was necessary to take a graphic novel and make it ready for film and Zach Snyder promptly replied, "Graphic novels don't need to be tweaked, they just need to be filmed." One of the more cute things that happenes was that the crowd clamored to see the teaser again and before it was over they screened it 3 times, and each time Butler and Wentham walked over to a spot on the stage and sat down on the hardwood so they could get another look – it was as if no one could get enough.
Grind House has been all over the internet lately, people keeping track of each new cast member as they're added, reporting on the progress of Rodriguez' Planet Terror. Rosario Dawson, Sydney Poitier, Rose McGowan, Marlee Shelton and Mary Elizabeth Winstead joined Quentin and Robert on the panel to report on how much fun it was to work with the dynamic duo. The trailer clip they showed us was a compendium of Planet Terror as well as the faux trailers that the two shoot that will show between films. One starred Danny Trejo as some sort of vigilante killing force – it was all kind of smashed together like a dream Tarantino probably has every night but it was damned exciting and certainly got me pumped to see it.
Tarantino wanted to dispel any mistaken notion that these were just half-assed short films that they were just tossing off as a side project, "Death Proof is my next movie and Planet Terror is Robert's next movie and they're going to kick ass." The two film share one actor Michael Parks, and boast the talents of Rosario Dawson, Sydney Poitier (the daughter) Michael Biehn, Freddy Rodriguez, Marlee Shelton and Rose McGowan and many more. The big reveal of the day in case you haven't heard is that Tarantino's killer Stuntman Mike has been cast and is none other than Snake Plissken himself, Kurt Russell. Tarantino also spoke of the great symbiotic relationship that exists between he and Rodriguez, "he's talented, I'm talented, and no we don't always agree on everything, but they are the best of friends. He likened it to his relationship with Uma Thurman, we'd bump heads once in a while, but at the end of the day we were on the same page and ready to have a drink together.
Broken Lizard's Beerfest
By the end of comic Con I'd seen two separate presentations for Beerfest, one was accompanied by a full panel the other just two of the lizards on the Sunday and quite honestly, this really doesn't look like that funny of a film. It was a long teaser, and they pretty much gave away the entire movie in it, I'm just hoping this wasn't the funniest stuff this film has to offer or the busted reptiles are in for a huge flop. I liked Super troopers and Club Dread, but this thing seemed to have all the zip of a pitcher of beer left outside overnight in a rain storm. I hope I'm wrong, but I did see the footage twice.
Will Eisner's Spirit
We saw a lot of Frank Miller at this years Comic Con and I can't complain he has a wonderful laconic sense of humor and in his straw hat he looked like a cross between David Strathairn and Bob Dylan. Miller was the most animated during this panel that included studio exec Debra del Pete and Michael Uslan, he spoke candidly about the things that he didn't like and didn't think worked about Spirit, yet he spoke of Will Eisner in deferential tones and vowed to keep it true to the man's inspired vision. There wasn't a lot for them to talk about as Miller has yet to script the film and no one has been cast thus far. Later during the panel he was asked about possible sequels to Sin City and he responded by saying as long as we can put together compelling stories and the passion is there "Hell, I'd like to see it go to 5." Bravo to that.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
This was a fairly disappointing presentation, director Andy Adamson sent a pre-recorded message where he discussed that fact that they were taking the Narnia series out of sequence, explaining that it was the only way to make it work without having the children end up being too old, by the time they got to this installment. He stated that Prince Caspian was the only logical sequel to Lion, Witch, Wardrobe. Sadly there was no footage and the film will not be released until 08. Adamson did promise a spectacle that would eclipse LW&W, but was unable to offer any further details.
Kevin Smith gets Stuck on the 5.
After last years hilarious appearance where he all but stole the show, Kevin Smith's appearance was one of the main reasons people were lining up in great numbers to get into Hall H. However when it came time for his entrance, Comic Con moderator Gary Sossaman was left with the unpleasant task of informing the crowd that Kevin was caught in traffic and it may be 20 or more minutes before he rolled in. So wait we did, confident in the knowledge that Kev would make it more than worth the wait. La deed a, La deed um, after about 20 more minutes the audience was rescued from it's thumb-twiddling by Clerks 2 star, close friend of Smiths and a hell of a trooper, Rosario Dawson. She stepped up to the podium and did her best to keep the crowd entertained until Kevin could arrive. She told stories from the set and fielded questions from the crowd, sang and danced and in general did a hell of a job keeping the crowd placated for pretty close to a half hour. Rosario even got on her cell and called Smith whom she put on speaker phone and told him listen, to which the audience went nuts. Kevin was all apologies, but wondered why the fuck everyone wasn't out seeing Clerks 2? Everyone hollered we saw it last night in unison and it mollified the Silent one for the time.
Rosario is fast becoming Hollywood's "it"girl and there's no one more deserving. She's sexy, honest and down to earth, and if you'll indulge a personal note - I managed to get her a copy of my script Fanclub which she would be perfect for – so if you know her, please encourage her to read it. The script involves elements of the occult and as you may know she has recently launched her own comic book series called O.C.T. which stands for Occult Crimes Taskforce. It's a perfect fit for her, she would be able to showcase her comedic timing, her passion and strength of character, as well as her ability to kick some ass. Her uncle gave it to her a few days ago so everyone cross their fingers for the Boneman, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in helping in any way – if you never believe anything the rest of your life, believe me - Fanclub is a fucking bad-ass script. If you have access to a blog or like to post on message boards spread the word – there will be a reward for person or persons instrumental in getting this script to the right people. Sorry to use the site for personal reasons, but Fanclub is my baby, and unlike Tom Cruise, I'm very eager for the world to see it.
Alas it would become clear that Kevin would not be able to make it in time and it was announced that his segment would be rescheduled later in the day.
Though everything about Ghost Rider appeared to be impressive it is a little worrisome that they've had it in the can for as long as they have. The panel included Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendez, and director Mark Steven Johnson who also wrote the script. Both the crowd and the panel were tremendously enthusiastic about the film and the teaser clip brought about howls of approval, in fact the audience insisted on seeing it twice.
Cage was very animated and spoke of Ghost Rider being the comic book character that he grew up with and that most inspired him. He even waxed philosophical about comics being our generations folklore – the equivalent of the caveman drawing on the wall of the cave. He went on about how fortunate he is to be able to actually be one of the primary heroes of his youth. He also joked around about how the character Johnny Blaze was a huge Carpenters fan and that after a long night of thwarting evil he would relax with some Carpenters and a martini glass full of Jelly Beans. The footage was very impressive, although I wasn't crazy about the skull part of his metamorphosis. Look for this one to be a surprise hit even though the studio is dropping it off in January – the month where studios traditionally dump the films they have no faith in. Personally, I have plenty of faith in it, from what we saw, I'm very much looking forward to it.
This was indeed the most lively panel, and boasted the hottest roster of stars. Joining director Sam Raimi, were Toby Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Bryce Dallas Howard, Topher Grace and Thomas Hayden Church – the film also features Theresa Russel, James Franco and Bill Nunn. First of all let me just say that in addition to being one of our most interesting directors Sam Raimi has one of the most endearing senses of humor of anyone I've ever seen. He bears a strong resemblance to the late great singer/songwriter Elliot Smith, though it would never happen I can at least dream of Raimi on the other side of the camera in a biopic about the troubled genius who was Elliot Smith.
Raimi started off the fun when he mentioned that he's still a little baffled as to why he was chosen to helm such an important series, after all, he'd pretty much been known for his low budget schlockfest bloodbaths? At one point the hilarious Thomas Hayden Church hailed Raimi as being an incredibly nurturing director who on occasion would offer his breasts to a troubled actor. Church kept up the levity by claiming that he got the part when he called Sam and told him his Sag card was up for renewal. Later he would bring down the house when all of the panelists were asked what superpower they would choose if they could have only one.
In Spiderman 3 Peter Parker picks a peck of pickled peppers and suffers an allergic reaction that makes him examine his dark side. Actually the catch phrase from the film goes something like, "How long can you do battle with evil before you start to recognize it in yourself?" Hence Spidey not only has a foursome of evil doers to contend with but he must also sort out the dual nature that is plaguing him from within. Often his red and blue suit will turn to jet black and when he looks in a mirrored window as he climbs a building his suit will appear in color on the outside but his reflection will show jet black.
I think it's just a stroke of genius to cast the radiant Bryce Dallas Howard as the famous Spidy character Gwen Stacy. She really appeared thrilled to be on stage with all of this talent even as her latest Lady in the Water is sinking fast in a swamp of lukewarm reception from critics and audiences alike. Grace popped off with a couple pretty good lines, but Raimi used every part of his facial expression and body language to bring the crowd to peels of laughter. At one point there was some discussion about the fact that there would be no hobgoblin or whatever in this one – but when the entire cast was asked in Q&A what super power they would choose if they could everyone chose pretty dull answers until it was Thomas Hayden Churches turn – he pretended to give it careful consideration then confessed that he would like to reek havoc with corn – he'd like to be the corncob-goblin. This fetched one of the loudest and most sustained laughs at the Con.
They finally showed a teaser clip from the film though much of the cg was incomplete – especially where Grace's venom character was concerned, but it was still a killer ride and the final frame showed a metamorphosis scene of Venom that was one of the more striking images of the whole convention. It elicited one of those stunned gasps of wonder from the 6000 in attendance, really cool. If 3 is to 2 what 2 was to 1 – then this should well be the most anticipated film on the horizon.
Kevin Smith At Last
Kevin took the stage to the enthusiastic reaction you'd expect and right away turned it over to the crowd for Q&A. Smith is at his best when working the crowd – he has one of the fastest wits I've ever seen and is absolutely fearless. Before long he toyed with the crowd by intimating that it was too bad that Mewes was unable to make the schlep to the Con this year, which was greeted by a disappointed moan from the audience, then Smith said "no I'm only kidding, he's really here" and pointed over toward the curtain – Nothing. Then Smith "that was cruel, I'm sorry – he really couldn't make it, I didn't mean to get your hopes up – but he wanted me to say hello for him and thank you all for your support," and so on. Smith then pretended to get back to business when a stir from the curtains revealed the noisy half of Jay and Silent Bob. The newly shorn and clearly beloved Jason Mewes came out to thunderous applause that lasted a good 30 seconds. Mewes sat at the table while Smith wandered with the mic, at times appearing bored and other times smiling at people he recognized off stage and in the crowd. He looked healthy and strong and if you've read the feature in the Current Entertainment Weekly then you're pretty much up on what it's taken to rescue J from the clutches of a crippling addiction that could have very well taken him down. Credit Smith and Ben Affleck for never giving up the fight, in Kevin's words, "nobody wanted to see him go down."
Smith certainly gave the crowd their money's worth, but both Adam and I noticed that he appeared to be down. You could tell he was exhausted, he was sporting a cold sore on his lip, which is a dead give away that you're physically run down. He gave a few clues as to why he felt kind of beat up. For one he was really upset about the fact that Joel Seigel walked out of a critics screening for Clerks 2. According to Smith he stood up and said something like "well, that's all I'm willing to sit through," then had the nerve to try to rally other critics to join him in some kind of mass exodus. No one joined him, thankfully but Kevin took it pretty hard. He went on to say that even though it was only one critic, it was the critic that we used to watch every day, he was kind of like our critic and to have him not only walk but to exhort others to join him registered a pretty big blow. He also talked about the fact that he was offered the opportunity to face him down and ask him what his problem with the film was and why he'd taken such mercenary measures – if he mentioned the particular forum that the showdown took place I didn't catch it, but the upshot seemed to be that it really didn't prove to be as satisfying as he'd hoped and he looked as if he were a man bearing the mantle of defeat. All I can say is fuck that little twerp Joel Seigel Clerks 2 is by no means a classic, but it's a damn good film and no matter what sort of puritan you might happen to be, walking out of it demonstrated a complete absence of class. Fuck Joel Seigel go blow that tune on your blog and your myspace, Fuck Joel Seigel with a donkey dick, lousy douche guzzler.
Still and all Smith didn't let his personal shit prevent him from entertaining his fans. Every question that came from the crowd was an opportunity for Smith to get a laugh. At one point a guy dressed as Spock, mentioned that he'd just dumped his girlfriend and before he could even begin to explain why, Kevin was like "ho ho hold on, you're a comic book dude, don't dump your girlfriend – are you crazy?" To a man, the crowd was very supportive of the new film, as if everyone could sense Smith's underlying melancholy and were trying to cheer him up. The one other thing worthy of mention was that someone asked him about his big feud with the message boardsters at aintitcool. This appeared to be another sore spot, and Kevin basically told the crowd that yes he'd engaged in a nasty war of words that went on for quite a while. He said that it finally occurred to him that the longer it went the more it just made both sides look stupid, so he said he just gave up and let them "win." On a related sidenote, Harry's review of Clerks 2 is extremely complimentary, he loved it and I would hope that maybe that might help to put an end to the hostilities – can't we all just get along? We movie buffs have got to stick together.
The Covenant is a live action film based on the comic book. I'm going to come as close as I can to getting this thing right. The story involves 5 families who all have special powers. Powers that can either be used for good or for ill. Centuries ago, one of the families became drunk with power and began to use their abilities for evil purposes to increase their power and become invincible even to the other families. So the other families banded together and banished the rogue family. Cut to the present where the banished family has returned, and quickly set about their designs to take over the world or maybe just like Ohio or something it was unclear. The footage from the teaser actually looked kind of fun. The powers that the rogue family demonstrated were actually quite creative and unconventional, but it was all more along the lines of teenage pranks and so forth – not some sort of carefully drawn out design to wrest control of the planet from the good guys. In that sense it was a bit confusing and had sort of a Lost Boys feel. They could make themselves appear as hellish looking monster beings, as well as cute and harmless high school students.
The upshot is that word gets out to the other families that the Rogues have re-emerged in the 21st century and were up to their dastardly ways, so they send one boy to sort them all out. There were a few scenes depicting a few of these confrontations and all in all it looked interesting enough. Whether or not they've got all of this lashed together with a compelling narrative remains to be seen, but I will say the teaser piqued my interest. The panel consisted of Director J.S. Cordone, who opted not to answer questions after the clip, but we did learn that the film was directed by Renny Harlin (so there may end up being two versions of the Covenant – Paul Shraeder is on standby) that is just my idea of a little joke.
The Grudge 2
This turned out to be a fairly lively panel, famed Japanese film maker Takashi Shimizu, accompanied by an interpreter and the films stars Amber Tamblyn and Arielle Kebbel. Shimizu is full of energy and mischief and managed to get a number of laughs during the Q&A even with an interpreter. He certainly demonstrated some smarts and a vast knowledge of film in general and used it to get a number of pretty good laughs. Tamblyn is his match when it comes to playful mischief and she didn't hesitate to tell a number of stories on Shimizu-san, The teaser clip really didn't do much to distinguish it from the first Grudge, but the basic story line came across. Sarah Michelle Gellar is in 2 just long enough to be hospitalized and then killed in the hospital by the evil grudgy forces that plagued her in the original. (This, by the way, is not a spoiler – it's in the trailer that she is killed.
When the family finds out that Gellar is in the hospital, they send over her little sister (Tamblyn) to see what's going on and it isn't long before her sister is killed and she is caught in the same web that ensnared her sister. Yes she goes in the "house." (Didn't she see the first one?) In any case the panel discussion was pretty fun and a few interesting tidbits of trivia came to light. I wasn't aware of this but it turns out that Amber's father is the veteran character actor Russ Tamblyn who was the top-billed star in the famed Tokyo production War of the Gargantuans. (I always had a soft spot for the orange one). His filmography stretches back 60 years and includes stints in Twin Peaks (he played Dr. Jacoby) to soap operas, to classic films such as West Side Story, Peyton Place, How the West Was Won. It's worth imdb-ing just to check out all the stuff he's been in.
I'll admit that I wan't nuts about the first Grudge, but after getting to hang out with all these people (that's what it feels like when you're sitting in the front row) I'll be a little more open minded about the sequel. Shimizu was pretty gracious, in fact one guy got up and asked the director how come the ending of the first Grudge sucked so bad? After all the interpreting had gone down, he had a big smile on his face and replied, "I'm sorry I did not realize that the ending suck so much, I guarantee that the ending to Grudge 2 suck not at all." Pretty classy, I was impressed.
Well Adam has requested that I let him write up all the stuff for Rogue pictures which includes the Hitcher, Balls of Fury and Hot Fuzz. When director Edgar Wright and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost were at Comic Con 2004 to promote Shaun of the Dead, Adam got to hang out with them and became pretty friendly - so I'll let him handle the Rogue stuff. Besides I've got to write a Bone Blog before I forget how to be funny. Thanks to everyone who made my virgin Comic Con such a pleasure. I've been to Sundance, Showest, CineVegas and now Comic Con this year and I must say I saved the best for last. You know I'll be back next year.
Copyright © zboneman.com.
This work may not be reproduced in any other way, without written consent from Kevin Jones, Adam Mast or David Horton.
zBoneman.com respects the rights of image ownership and endeavor to use only royalty-free images.
All images are used for entertainment purposes only. If we are using an image contradictory to this policy leave a comment and we will remove it.