Comic-Con Live: Warner Brothers - Watchmen, Whiteout, Get Smart and More...
by Alex Billington
July 27, 2007
The first Friday morning panel of Comic-Con 2007 features films from Warner Brothers, including looks at The Invasion, One Missed Call, Get Smart, Whiteout, Watchmen, The Dark Knight, and more.
10:20AM - The line this morning stretched around to the backside of the entire convention center. Seats aren't as a great today, but we're set and waiting anxiously for one of the most anticipated panels of Comic-Con 07 to start up.
10:37 - It's a little bit past the 10:30 starting time and we're still waiting for the panel to start up…
10:39 - The Warner Brothers panel starts up and Comic-Con's Director of Programming takes the stage to introduce it all.
10:43 - Very first glimpse of Get Smart… won't be in theaters until next June.
Get Smart clip: There has always been a delicate balance between KAOS and CONTROL. A couple of funny car chases, lots of quick clips. Looks fantastic, like they spared no expense going all out to make one of the best upcoming comedies of 2008. The last scene, Steve Carell is flying in a fighter jet and has a barf bag and is throwing up into it when they fly around again and it flips over and falls out.
10:47 - Besides director Peter Segal, introduces a few cast from the movie: Nate Torrence, Masi Oka, Ken Davitian, The Rock, and Steve Carell.
10:49 - Q&A: For Peter Segal, how close did you try to stay to the humor of Mel Brooks and how much did you change that? Answer: It's very much in keeping with the original spirit, we're not trying to reinvent it, we're trying to "be the other car in that garage next to the classic Corvette."
10:51 - Any funny behind the scenes stories you'd like to tell us. Steve: Pete Segal never wore pants the entire shooting schedule, and he never wore underwear either, and I funny that funny. Rock: Especially because he wanted to call himself 'big Pete.'
10:52 - Steve, how do you feel playing Maxwell Smart? Very, very exciting, I grew up with the show, it's one of my favorite shows; I watched it when I was a kid. When I was first asked to do it, I was called in and I thought I was auditioning so I brought my picture and resume and I thought boy usually I read scripts, but it was just a bunch of people sitting around a table, and they asked if I wanted to play Maxwell Smart and it was one of those surreal moments. It's probably the most fun I've ever had doing anything. I have such respect for Don Adams and what he did. Frankly I don't think I can ever be as good as he was, I am just trying to do the best I can in the context of the movie.
10:53 - The budget on this looks huge… Ken goes "you people got paid?!" Steve: I think the budget was $14 trillion dollars… Honestly, I don't know exactly what the budget was. When we first started talking, in my mind what I envisioned what I wanted the movie to look like is a comedic Bourne Identity. Like that these people live in a real world. The villains are quite ominous and scary. I think in that way it'll be both extremely funny but there will be a sense of action and jeopardy to it. As far as I can tell, that's being achieve, so I'm "very psyched about it."
10:56 - What's the funniest movie you've made so far (for The Rock)? To be honest, probably Get Smart, I had a ton of fun on this movie. When we first started talking about doing it, the thought of working with Steve Carell was really exciting. I remember emailing Pete Segal and saying Steve is going to be great in this. "I had a blast, so I would have to say this one."
10:57 - What was the best part of playing a spy? Steve: Athletic, coordinated, intelligent, and sexy, when in real life I am known of the above.
10:58 - How much can you bench (for The Rock)? Answer: "How much do you weigh?"
11:01 - Pete Segal: Yes, Hymie the robot is in the movie, and yes Agent 13 is in the movie, and it's a pretty cool cameo, but I can't tell you who it is.
11:02 - Do you know anything about The Office? I know 13 episodes have been written, as over yesterday, but I honestly don't know in what direction anything is going to happen. I know Ryan now is my superior, that will change the landscape quite a bit. In terms of Pam and Jim, I have no idea.
11:02 - Taped message from Nicole Kidman from Australia talking about The Invasion. A disturbing and interesting twist on the original material. Enjoy this special clip, hi and bye from Australia. Cool clip, looks pretty good, lots of freaky and disturbing footage.
One Missed Call:
11:05 - Set of clips and trailer for One Missed Call. Not a single set of dialogue, but really freaky and just so/so.
11:07 - Shannyn Sossamon and Edward Burns take the stage from the film to answer.
11:08 - Q&A: How do you plan to stay true to Miike's movie? Answer: The director didn't want us to watch it, he just wanted to approach it like it was brand new.
11:09 - A question about the plot and explaining it (for someone who hasn't heard of the original).
11:14 - Internet glitch - they gave iPhones to the people who asked questions for One Missed Call.
11:14 - Playing the 10,000 BC trailer again, watch it online here: http://www.firstshowing.net/2007/07/11/first-teaser-trailer-for-10000-bc/
11:15 - Premiere of footage from Whiteout. Starts with views of the mountains in Antarctica. "It is the most isolated land mass on the planet. There is no official govenrment. There is no permanent population. Because when winter comes, the sky turns black… and stays that way for 6 months at a time." This is the first murder in Antarctica.
11:17 - Brings out the talent of Whiteout: producer Joel Silver, Greg Rucka and director Dominic Sena.
Greg Rucka: There are things in the movie that never would've worked in the comic book. I remember seeing a particular scene in the dailies, and that scene would've been something I would've love to have done, but couldn't have done in a comic. They had instinctively put that moment in and had made me jealous, made me wish I had wrote it myself.
Dominic Sena: The novel itself is so terrific, that's what I responded to. There was a first, second, and third act in Whiteout that made it easy. There was a story to tell…
11:20 - Q&A: Were there any pranks? Answer: Yea, every day with Kate Beckinsale. Lots of X-rated jokes that he can't tell us.
Joel Silver: Kate is awesome, and she works hard. It was a tough shoot since it was really cold, but it really came out good and she did a great job, I'm really proud of her.
11:23 - Is the character Lily in the film? No she's not in the film, so instead Kate is instead in the film surrounded entirely by men.
11:23 - Any chance we're going to get a Whiteout: Melt or Queen and Country (other comic book adaptations)? I understand those rights have been purchased and there are Q&C screenplays and they hopefully will find the right one.
11:25 - Dominic Sena: It's not a dark movie, it's bright, you're surrounded by ice which glares the sun. It's really cool…
11:25 - Question to Joel about Speed Racer. Answer: They wanted to capture what the Japanese animation was but take it to another world. Really colorful and the races are just unbelievable.
11:29 - Any plans for a next movie (asking for Kate Beckinsale but she's not there yet)? Joel Silver answers: The Invasion, The Brave One, and Fred Claus.
11:30 - They all want to see the footage again while we wait for Kate Beckinsale to get ready. Playing the footage and extended trailer over again. Second take: looks pretty good, but not sure of what it'll contain: action or suspense or drama, but it does look really good.
11:33 - If for Joel's next movie, he'll go back to the gritty action cop movies? Answer: (Joel Silver left to go find Kate.) Joel would say, if the right story came along and he could take it in a fresh, new way he would do it.
11:34 - Are there any special requirements for filming in the cold like that? Yea, we had 6 or 8 layers of clothing on. Minus 30 or 40 degrees, and the weather is brutal, so they give you layers and thermal underwear and parkas. And you go out and stay out there as long as you can without getting frost bite.
11:35 - Kate Beckinsale makes it to the stage and Joel Silver returns. Q&A: Did you have any consultants who would spend the entire winter in Antarctica? They had a guy that they'd drill with questions and was on set to advise.
11:36 - If you were offered the role of Catwoman or Selena Kyle? Because I have a think for black latex? I think Michelle Pfieffer was such an awesome Catwoman, I'd be intimitated to get in that suit. I don't know if my husband (Live Free or Die Hard director Len Wiseman) would talk to me if I turned it down.
11:37 - Is this dramatically different than filming something like Underworld (for Kate)? Answer: It is different, I mean I slept with the director way less times. I wasn't playing someone who was several hundred years old and a fantasy kind of creature. What was very nice about it is Greg's made a very real character that didn't require so much bells and whistles… It's hard when somebody's not human to create sympathy for them when they can't die or so on…
11:39 - Lengthy question about "craving" getting angry with guns and such on set? Answer: I do crave that… is that bad? The biggest difference I think in terms of this costume and the Underworld costume, is whenever I bent down on Underworld someone behind me would go "uhhh" and that never really happened on Whiteout.
11:41 - For Joel Silver, what drew you to the Invasion? Answer: the original book was made in the '50s and it's just a good idea. It's a good idea to do the movie again and I think we did it in a different and new way.
11:42 - For Kate, have you ever been approached to do a James Bond film? Answer: I have, but it was recent, I don't remember. You always have to be in your underwear for a James Bond film, and I'm becoming elderly for that think… Talking about her child. You never know, but I don't think so, but it was talked about briefly for a second…
11:43 - Do you recommended reading the graphic novel before or after? Answer: "Yes…" As long as it's read or purchased at some stage, Greg will be happy.
11:47 - That's all for Whiteout for now - stay tuned for more details and coverage coming later.
11:48 - The Trick 'r Treat trailer players, see it online here: http://www.firstshowing.net/2007/07/23/worth-watching-july-23-trick-r-treat-trailer/
11:50 - Welcome Zack Snyder to the stage to talk about Watchmen.
Everyone has a different experience when they first read Watchmen. I know what I feel about it and when I read it, it sort of legitimized a way of thinking for me that I felt was really awesome. It combined all the things that comic books can be, as far as being intellectual, being action, representing something bigger than what’s just on the page. Not just only being about the drawings but being about ideas as well. That’s what allowed Watchmen to take a whole genre and let it grow up. I think that that’s a super, huge, cool concept that needs to be nurtured.
Went to the first meeting, and we talked about the current thinking with it and at the time it was the same as the Paul Greengrass movie. What we were going to do is update the movie and set it at modern times and attack our current political times.
Is Watchmen better if it’s update, if it’s more accessible? And I said, I don’t know if that is better, to be honest. I don’t know if Watchmen should come to the people, or if the people should come to it. So that started us into, ok, it’s 1985.
Isn’t it cooler to play it and have people go “you know what that makes me think?” Then we started talking about what the movie would be rated, and I felt like it is what it is, and it turned out that it’s kind of an adult thing. The studio brought it up first and were like, this doesn’t feel like its PG-13. So I don’t know, if it’s not PG-13, it’s not, but this is kind of what I want to do. So then we kind of said, it’s an R-rated superhero movie, which I think is kind of cool.
If you get to the place in life where you need Watchmen, you’ll go find it. We’re not going to make it accessible to you teeny boppers because it “needs to be.” (Applause) I also think that pop culture, for whatever it’s worth. You think about how many superhero movies we have had, and you can ask anyone about Spider-Man’s origin and they’d know.
When they see Watchmen they’re going to go, he didn’t just do that did he?
Methodology is that they have a lot of sets, a New York City back lot, it’s pretty practical, other than Mars and Antarctica. I promise you if we could, we would go to Mars.
12:02 - Zack Snyder still talking about the cast (which can be found here: http://www.firstshowing.net/2007/07/25/watchmen-casting-officially-confirmed-early/).
Wanted to hire actors he felt were in the middle of their age and move them up or down for their points in the movie (flashbacks). The idea for the Manhattan character is when he's young John, he'll be just Billy, and when he becomes Manhattan, he'll be a full 3D/CG version of him with his face and his performance scan. A version like Pirates of the Caribbean style. The last thing I wanted to see is some guy with blue paint on him, though that had been discussed. I just felt like Manhattan needed to be more than the man, be in scale, and be able to really glow and when he grows 200 feet, you've got to buy that and believe it. We've done some tests and it's looking pretty cool I think.
12:07 - I have with me Malin Akerman who will play Silk Spectre, Jackie Earl Haley who will play Rorschach. Time for some questions.
12:08 - We talked about 300 in February regarding attention to detail, what are your plans to do with this movie and some of the stuff you've got in store for the fans. Answer: My process is pretty similar to the process I used in 300. The way I work is basically I have the script and the graphic novel and I start from page 1 and start drawing the movie shot for shot.
Q: Will we see the pirate story?
A: We’re working on that, I want to see the pirate story. It’s really cool and I think that it also comments on the world a lot and it’d be fun to do. I want to work on it and everyday I talk about getting the budget together for the pirate story.
Q: Can we hope Alan Moore’s name to remain the project?
A: I don’t think his name will be on it, but… we all want to please Alan, and I think that’s a noble thing to want to do. There’s nothing wrong to get the guy who frickin’ created the thing to not hate it, I don’t think that’s an outrageous thing to want. Alan has asked that his name not be on the movie.
I think the approach is to assume that the movie is better, and that’s a mistake. I would never make any assumptions.
Q: Will you use the same visual effects as in 300?
A: The sets are stylized and have style, but it’s not going to be just everything fake. It’s not Sin City, it’s more like Se7en.
Q: All the characters have a troubled past, will that play a big part in this movie?
A: Absolutely, pretty much everyone’s back story is going to be in the movie.
12:20 - Zack Snyder also revealed a new poster for Watchmen with a new release date of 03-06-09.
Reader Feedback - 6 Comments
okayy...BRING ON THE DARK KNIGHT!
Steve on Jul 27, 2007
Great coverage! You are making a wonderful job of documentation for the people outside the San Diego Comic-Con... Greetings from Spain.
Uruloki on Jul 27, 2007
what did u find out about Spaceballs the animated series on G4?
Deb on Jul 27, 2007
Watchmen casting is polarizing people already. I fear for another "punisher."
rod / upcomingdiscs.com on Jul 27, 2007
rod / upcomingdiscs.com on Jul 27, 2007
Visually, I thought of completely different characters for every actor/actress. I thought of Malyn Akerman as the old silk spectre- b/c she can be made up to act old (just see La Vie En Rose to see how makeup and good acting can pull that off) but she looks like the young, post war S.Spectre's character. Laurie is a vital role to the cast & story- I certainly hope he'd consider or put thought into the depth an actress would be willing and able to get into to portray her. I thought perhaps Liv Tyler, even though she'd be betty in the hulk, nothing wrong w/ a little cross genre casting, if we could call it that. Billy crudup is 5'8". WTF- I totally pictured him as the Comedian, b/c it would be a challenging role which an actor of his calibre is probably capable of, we just haven't seen it out of him yet. Dr. Manhattan doesn't need to show emotional depth- he's supposed to be a scientist/uberman. Cold. Crudup doesn't "radiate" cold when I think of roles he's played. He 'd be far better as the Comedian- especially the young version. Then let him work out for 3 months, grow a beard & chomp some cigars. The guy who's playing Nite Owl would be a FAR better Ozymandias. The casting choice of "Brit-Guy equals cunning CEO type" hints at not much thought being put into the character. He doesn't have to be british to be smart- but he should be believably athletic and int'l playboy handsome- possibly even gay. No offense to the brit actor, but he's got a bit of a waif look. He'll NEED to bulk up before they start filming in order to be a believable Ozymandias. PLEASE consider these things, Zach Snyder. ANY FILM MAKER WORTH HIS SALT WOULD! Casting is very important. It's not like picking faces out of magazines & saying "Oh yes, I like." It's about looking at their strengths as demonstrated through their background & experience, and possibly pulling something out of them they've never achieved before. Recognizing potential. Just please, tell me these are things you're keeping in mind for a book that is accurately described as the Citizen Kane (meaning: the High form) of an entire Medium & host of sub genres within it.
Djoser on Jul 28, 2007
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