Monday, October 17, 2011

Why The IGN Theater Is A Science: Dalin’s Quick Review of Saturday’s Big Panels.

Often, many people are always curious why conventions get so overly populated. Well when you have New York Comic Con for instance, it’s one of the very few instances where East Coast nerds of all kinds can experience what the California nerds take for granted. Celebrities come in droves, previews of new movies come out months in advance, and we get free swag (nerds love free swag!) So when it came to this past year’s edition of panels for the biggest room in the con, the IGN Theater, it was nothing short of spectacular, especially in the case of Saturday’s schedule.

            I entered the room during the late morning, and my first panel to experience was that of a silly sort: A Liars Autobiography, a new documentary about the life of Graham Chapman, a key player in Monty Python’s famous legacy. Featuring hilarious clips, sandwich boards of things to look forward to in the movie (Racy, Raunchy, and Rude!), the highlight was an moment of audience participation, where the entire room sang a few lines from one of the new Monty Python approved songs in the documentary (about a certain love of sitting near a person’s head, if you get my drift.)

            Next was the Nikita TV series panel. But to be honest, other then the childlike giggle middle school girl grin I got from seeing Shane West, it otherwise was a bore since the series is nothing of my interest, as is with anything on the CW. Showed the usual next season preview, and gave some new twists for fans of the show. But by the looks of the crowd there weren’t that many fans present, but the stars were as nice as they could be in the situation.

            The came Sony Pictures panel, where we were handed 3D glasses (one of the only times you will be given these suckers for free when near a screen. Told you about that free swag!) The first clip was a surprise, a rough-cut trailer of the Total Recall remake with Collin Ferrell. Visuals were impressive, but not much else. Next was a small Q&A with the directors of the new Ghost Rider: Spirit with a Vengeance, which unlike the original looked more ridiculous and promising for my weird tastes. A featurette was shown of how the film was shot, which really was very interesting and made me want to pick up a camera and lay on a skateboard to get a new angle myself. Finally, another preview for Spiderman was shown, but truly nothing special other then what we had previously seen in the trailers.

            Then it was time for The Walking Dead panel, a huge crowd favorite. The majority of the cast came out, along with creator Robert Kirkman and other members of the crew. An extended preview of the first episode was shown, which really got the crowd pumping beyond belief. Definitely was a highlight of the convention for many of the other con goers that were in the room. But the panel that of course would steel the show would come next? Especially when you have Tom Hiddelston singing a line from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

            So was staying in the IGN Theater for over 7 hours worth it? A hundred and fifty percent yes, even though my stomach thought otherwise. 2012 will be a very similar plan of action for me, but this time I will have a batch of Luna Bars in hand. Bring it on New York Comic Con, I am going to be ready for the epic! 

AVENGERS - Assemble at NYCC

"The Avengers" assembled Saturday night at New York Comic Con 2011 -- and it was pretty awesome. Some of the principal cast members of the upcoming Marvel superhero epic were in attendance, including Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Evans, an unannounced Mark Ruffalo and even Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige.

At times it felt more like a sporting event. There was uncontrollable screaming, shaking and maybe even a few tears for a few lucky fans who were able to ask the stars questions. The noise was deafening. The panel opened with the trailer (and let me tell you, it looked even more amazing on the big screen), and the screaming and cheering was so loud, you couldn't hear a thing. But here's what The Huffington Post did learn, judging by scream levels: Fans love Tom Hiddleston's Loki, but aren't so impressed with Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow.

But the biggest cheers of the night came from the announcement that director Joss Whedon had cut new footage to be screened at Comic Con. What follows is all of the spoiler-y action and the six things that we learned at "The Avengers" panel at New York Comic Con:

New footage reveals that Bruce Banner hasn't turned into The Hulk in two years -- and he doesn't really want to talk about it.

The footage shows Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) tricking Banner (Mark Ruffalo) into a confrontation in India, and it's full of sexual tension. Nick Fury sends Black Widow (Romanoff) to find Banner because he needs Banner and his scientific mind to help with the Cosmic Cube. Meanwhile, Romanoff teases Banner about his little secret, and Banner reveals he hasn't turned into The Hulk in two years. It's sort of a touchy subject, as he gets a little testy and Romanoff pulls out her gun. Another scene shows Tony Stark (Robert Downy Jr.) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) at Stark Tower, where Loki tells Stark that he has an army waiting for them. In a third scene, Stark tests Banner (by zapping him) in the Stark labs to see if The Hulk will appear.

Mark Ruffalo claims that he's the only actor who officially gets to play Bruce Banner and The Hulk.

Previous films based about Bruce Banner have leaned heavily on CGI to create The Hulk, but in "The Avengers," Ruffalo will actually play Hulk using stop-action, stop-motion capture. Think "Avatar" but greener.

Everybody loves Tom Hiddleston.

Seriously. The cast loves him -- especially Chris Evans -- and the fans must really love him, because Hiddleston was the subject of almost every single question asked during the Q&A. Everyone wanted to talk about Loki. At one point, when Chris Evans was finally asked a question (okay, it was a panel question, but that counts, right?), he said, "Sorry, I got lost in Tom's glow. What was the question? Was it about Tom? I love Tom, too."

Perhaps supervillans are more interesting than superheroes? Or is the Norse god of mischief just that bad-ass? Or is it because he can sing? For the last question of the night, Hiddleston recalled an incident from drama school when his classmates said he looked like Gene Wilder, so he then wooed the crowd with the theme from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Now if he was dressed as Loki, that would have been quite a sight. Regardless, it looks like Hiddleston may be the true breakout star of this "Avengers" film.

Clark Gregg made up his own "Avengers" theme song

Regardless of all the Tom Hiddleston love in the IGN Theater, I really love Clark Gregg. Not only does he seem like an awesome guy, but I have a soft spot for Agent Phil Coulson. The crowd prompted Gregg to perform the "Avengers" theme song he wrote, and he eventually did sing it for the crowd -- but not before telling the crowd to imagine Trent Reznor singing it. Here's a sample of the lyrics: "We've got muscles so bulky, and we have a Hulky."

Gregg also wins for funniest line of the night. When asked how it felt to see all of the Avengers assembled together (minus The Hulk), Gregg replied, "I felt like it was the 'Make-A-Wish Foundation,' like I only had a week to live and no one told me, so this was how they were going to break the news to me."

The Avengers assembled! ... in Albuquerque for a little post-filming fun.

It started with a text. Gregg revealed that the greatest text message he ever received in his life was from Chis Evans, and it said simply "Assemble." The cast then reminisced about a post-shoot gathering in Albuquerque -- a night that no one can seem to remember. There was a lot of dancing, and Gregg seemed to believe that Scarlett Johansson had the best moves in the Avengers bunch. However, Evans and Hemsworth didn't take part in the dancing, instead they were trading workout tips.

"I look over," said Hiddleston, "And there was Chris Evans asking Chris Hemsworth, 'But how do you get that right here?' and Hemsworth was like, 'I don't know, just work out, mate.'"

Kevin Feige is in pre-production talks for "Iron Man 3" with director Shane Black.

Feige calls it Phase 2 of the Avengers Initiative and will lead into an "Avengers" sequel. Feige also confirmed a post-credits scene at the end of "Avengers." He also mentioned that "Guardians of the Galaxy" would be its own movie and won't be introduced in any of the other movies.

Walking Dead: Shane Walsh, Jon Bernthal, describes the various mannerisms that make Shane unique

The actor who plays Shane Walsh, Jon Bernthal, describes the various mannerisms that make Shane unique and dishes on which survivor he would most want by his side in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Q: I didn't think this was possible, but the walkers have gotten even more terrifying this year.

A: Greg Nicotero is the best in the business, we all know that. Last year he blew all of our minds by turning gruesome vulgarity into beautiful art. What I'm seeing this season is that there's a specificity with each zombie. You can actually tell who they were before they got infected and how they got infected and where they were bit. I think that's really what we're trying to do with the show: nothing is taken for granted.

Q: A lot of people all have dreams about work. Do you ever have dreams about walkers, or dreams that you're in character?

A: Yeah, I do. And I hate zombies. Call me a silly method actor but you spend all day hunting them and killing them and running from them and there you go. I love the people that create them and the people that play them, but the zombies themselves I hate. When I go to a publicity event and there's some guy paid to be a zombie for the night and they walk up to me, my first instinct is to take their heads off.

Q: Shane always gets to tote the big guns. Do you enjoy acting with a gun on set? Are you gun person?

A: You know I do love Shane's shotgun. In real life I kind of have a shotgun similar to it, but I'm not a huge gun guy. Only thing about Shane's gun is it's super loud and attracts other zombies. We shoot blanks on set and there's still a good kickback.

Q: Shane and Rick have a love-hate relationship. Do you have a lifelong friend like that?

A: Man I think a lot of people have that relationship with me!

Q: Have you enjoyed playing a character with a dark side this season?

A: I think that Shane really has figured out that in this world it's all about making hard decisions. If you have a group of people and you're trying to survive what do you do if one person is holding you back? Do you get rid of that person? Or do you do the "right thing" and keep that person alive? I think Shane has discovered this new world order; he discovered it in Season 1 when he beat Ed up down by the water in Season 1 or when he trained the gun on Rick. Things like guilt and shame -- are those valuable emotions in this world, or do they actually have no place in them? I love those themes of the show.

Q: Shane is the only character with a sex scene thus far. Do you give Andrew Lincoln a hard time because of it?

A: I never have, but now that you said that I'll be sure to do it today.

Q: You used to play high school football -- and we hear you get to be back on a football field this year for an upcoming episode. What was it like?

A: It's great, that was down at Newton High and they have a really good team. I grew up in Washington DC and while high school football is important there, down here it's huge. It's like religion, the teams are serious! One of the things I really wanted to do this season was go to a game.

Q: What's the biggest prank you ever pulled in high school?

A: Man ours were pretty vulgar, I don't know if I want to talk about our pranks. The first thing I thought of I definitely can't say.

Q: Shane has a very distinctive walk. He also rubs his head a lot. Are those Shane or Jon gestures?

A: No man, I hope that what I'm doing is Shane. I've tried to find mannerisms for him, especially this season. He has things he does when he gets nervous or agitated. Shane is constantly boiling and constantly at war with himself, and I think that these gestures and movements come out of what's going on inside of him.

Q: If you had to be stuck with only one of the characters from the show in a zombie apocalypse who would it be and why?

A: Daryl Dixon. I think Shane kind of figures that out this season as well. I think he's an enormously valuable member of the group. He can do things and he's down to do things that a lot of the other members aren't.

Q: Do you personally feel like you're better prepared for a zombie attack now?

A: Yeah I do, because I think there's definitely some things I know now that I didn't know then. But I gotta tell you, when you really let your mind go there and you think about the ins and outs of what would go down, I think we'd really all be screwed.