2007 saw a record crowd for the three-day WonderCon (in its twenty-second year) held in San Francisco, California. Judging by Saturday’s crowd, 2008 looks to attract more than the 20,000 who attended last year’s comic book fest.
Comic books are the convention’s main theme, and with Hollywood jumping on board for new stories, it’s no wonder that studios would also provide sneak peeks for upcoming movies and the stars who come out cause lots of excitement.
This doesn’t apply to all Hollywood movies, just the ones that would appeal to comic book nerds. Comic book movie adaptations are a must. Science fiction as well.
On Saturday, Warner Bros. presented two films, Roland Emmerich’s 10,000 B.C. and the big picture remake of the classic television series Get Smart, directed by Peter Segal. Of course, it would have been massively boring to just showcase the films with only the two directors, so the stars showed up, too.
For 10,000 B.C., Steven Strait (The Covenant) and Camilla Belle (When a Stranger Calls) provided the visual eye candy that Emmerich (for my generation at least) could not. Before the panel came up, the already-released teaser trailer was played and the not-yet released longer theatrical trailer was played too. The longer cut shows more action and a little more of the love story between the two main characters.
Emmerich has directed some big movies like Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow so it’s not surprising that many of the audience’s questions were directed toward him. I was surprised that not many questions were directed toward the very adorable Belle. Even Strait looked rather dashing. Both stars commented on how physically demanding their roles were. Strait even commented on the accents used in the movie. While our ancestors of millennia ago probably didn’t speak English, he noted that the dialogue combined standard English and Arabic.
The panel seemed pretty easy-going. Emmerich cracked jokes whenever he could. When asked whether he was involved in 2012, the director answered with a quick “yes.” When asked if he could say anything about it, the director answered with an even quicker “no” to which the large crowd laughed.
For Get Smart, Steve Carell (Evan Almighty) and Anne Hathaway (Becoming Jane) came along. Of course, Carell got most of the attention, but Hathaway really shined whenever the attention wasn’t on the Office star. Poor Segal.
Carell had a tidbit about The Office in that it is returning to the air in two weeks. The audience booed and jeered at a fan who asked for his autograph (it’s shunned during Q&A). Carell was all for it and actually got up out of his seat to take a picture with the guy. Then the boos rang out and Carell joined the mob with shouts of “Damn you!” Hathaway, who looked rather stunning, had poise and made a few funnies along the way.
20th Century Fox is no stranger to WonderCon. The studio showed sneak peeks of Shutter and the convention’s second fan favorite (behind Star Wars, of course), X-Files. I sat in a part of the hall that had bad sound so I couldn’t understand a word during these panels.
Joshua Jackson was supposed to make an appearance, and Rachael Taylor (Transformers) and James Kyson Lee (Heroes) had to fill in without him. Judging by the laughter and applause from those who could hear, Taylor seemed to be delighting the crowd. From the giant screen, Taylor seemed to be having fun in front of the hundreds of people. Lee looked very excited to be here, even answering some questions about the next season of Heroes.
The crowd was really looking forward to seeing creator Chris Carter, Gillian Anderson, and David Duchovny on stage. Writer-producer Frank Spotnitz was also there. This is where not being able to hear anything is a drag because I could hear them making jokes and hearing the crowd laughing but I couldn’t join in. Thankfully, no one around me could hear either, so it wasn’t just me.
Of what I could hear, both Anderson and Duchovny talked about how strange it was to jump back into their roles after such a long hiatus. Carter emphasized that the sequel would be a movie that could stand alone, which eliminates the problem that the first movie had in being hamstrung by the story being interwoven into the show’s storylines.
Did anyone think of X-Files as a trilogy, if you include the series, the first movie, and this sequel?
Of course, these panels would also have to include the generous swag. Disappointingly, there were no X-Files goodies handed out, but there was a Get Smart pin and a 10,000 B.C. button handed out.