After not getting much sleep the night before, I made it into Moscone by about 9:30. They had told us yesterday that they would start letting people line up at 8:00. When I got to the lines, I saw that they were divided into columns of people, a couple columns full of people waiting to get into Hall A and three or four columns full of people waiting to get into the exhibit hall, which perplexed me. Couldn't you just stroll into the damn thing when it opened at 10:00? It's not like the stuff is going to disappear.
Anyway, the first two columns appeared to be chained off already, as I was directed to an empty third column...even though there was still quite a bit of room left in the second column. And as I waited alone at the beginning of the third column, I kept seeing the guy let people into the second column, whereas no one was coming into the expansive third column. I was really confused. I walked to the back, and I noticed that there was in fact room in the first column, and people were strolling right on it. So, fuck that noise, I stood in the first column. I complimented a passing girl on her "The angels have the phone box" shirt, and I chatted with a mom/son/daughter/daughter, of whom only the son was really a WonderCon veteran.
It wasn't long before they let in the first wave. Or what I thought was the first wave. The front rows filled up really fast, and I ended up getting something close to what Anita had gotten for us last night, a dozen rows back. I was able to save a couple seats for sophia_helix and her husband, who arrived a few minutes later. And then we got some people to move down a couple seats for their friends, who arrived more minutes later.
But! Now that I had people to save my own seat for me, I could take care of some business on the floor. Unfortunately, it meant missing some potentially neat Star Wars fan films they were showing on the screens.
Bill Willingham wasn't at the DC booth. Damn. Mark Bagley wasn't there either; I had brought the first volume of Ultimate Spider-Man for him to sign since I'd seen him yesterday. I did really like his art style, actually.
David Mack was there, bright and early, just like he said he would be! I said, "You're being stealthy again," as you still couldn't see his nametag. He said he didn't know where else to put it.
"I couldn't believe you were so young!" I said.
"Well, thank you!" he said.
"It was like, 'Here's the David Mack table, and there's this girl, and this other dude, like...29.'" I may have been flirting with him.
"I'll take that," he said.
I pulled out my three Daredevil trades for him to sign. I did mention that I'd been thinking of Wake Up before, and he noted that that was the first thing Bendis had done for Marvel (much like Parts of a Hole had been the first thing he'd done for Marvel). I also flipped through Echo: Vision Quest to look for examples of what I loved about his style, the way words would become blocks or spiral around or be anything other than the regular typeface. After he signed the books, I also joked about the fact that he'd used Wolverine, since he had to be in every book. He responded that that hadn't been his motivation; he just thought he fit for the story. But he also mentioned that he's doing more Daredevil work! And not even for Brubaker; it's Bendis again! A limited series about...motherfuck, I forgot what it was about, but it sounded really cool.
I hung around a little as a girl who had been there before tried to decided what Kabuki trade to buy; the two of them talked about the story and the characters a bit. I asked David what Kabuki was about, and he flipped over the first trade, which summarized the basic concept. One of these days, I should give it a try.
Just then, a man wheeled something over for David to sign. Yes, wheeled. David told us we'd get a kick out of this, as he thought he knew what it was. It was a special German edition of the first trade...four times the size. Every page was the size of a painting (and, well, David Mack's art is painted). It was so cool. And it was in German! David said they'd only made something like 999 of them.
For twenty dollars that the man was happy to part with (he owned everything David Mack had ever done), David painted a little Kabuki sketch on one of the large pages. It was very simple, just a few lines here and there in brown...but it made a distinct face. He made twenty dollars in, like, sixty seconds. It was neat to get to watch him draw, though.
Then I went back to the booth with the half-price trades, where I frantically looked for the three 100 Bullets trades I'd foolishly thought I owned already. I found volume 2, and then I found a better copy, and someone else found volume 1 for me. (By the by, that was probably my favorite part of the experience, the fact that we strangers were all looking out for each other, keeping an eye out for what others needed. People helped me, and I got to help people. It was great.) I couldn't find volume 4, though; I assumed someone had bought it since I was pretty sure I knew where it had been. I asked the man to retrieve my stack, and I pulled out the volume 6 that I already had at home and replaced it with the two I'd found. The man tallied everything up and quoted me...$120 again! The bulk discount was certainly in play this time; at least one of them was basically free. I told him I was still missing some, and he referred me to Big Dave at another booth, who knew where everything was.
I told Big Dave what I was looking for, and, as touted, he was all, "Check the middle," and "Check those over there." And he was right on both counts. I did find some Sandman where he said and some 100 Bullets where he said; the problem was they were ones I already had. Amusingly enough, in the place he told me to look for 100 Bullets, I found a volume of Sandman I was missing. So there went ten more dollars (and you can't really pull for a discount when you're only buying one).
THIS JUST IN: I AM A TOTAL MORON. I OWN VOLUME 1 of 100 BULLETS, NOT VOLUME 3. I JUST BOUGHT A TRADE I ALREADY HAD. MOTHERFUCK.
I returned to Hall A and watched some Star Wars fan films, the best of which was the hilarious Star Wars Gangsta Rap Special Edition. Seriously, watch that shit.
It was around 11:20 when they ran out of fan films and we found out that it had been a treat, that they were fortunate to have them to show. Which meant they had intended to let everyone sit there totally bored for two hours instead of forty minutes! Come on now, WonderCon. Shape up.
In those last forty minutes, I ran to Jack in the Box to grab some lunch. On the way back, I spied a girl in an awesome costume, but I will not say what it is because I was lucky enough to see her later on the floor. I ate my spicy chicken sandwich in my seat.
Finally, a little after noon, it was time for the programming to begin! First up was 10,000 B.C., with director Roland Emmerich and stars Steven Strait and Camilla Belle.
I hadn't even realized Camilla Belle was in the movie (and I don't actually know her from anything, although I have The Quiet [which one of the Q&A people mentioned] on my DVR, but she's pretty). And I have no idea who Steven Strait is. But I do like Roland Emmerich! I love Stargate and Independence Day.
They showed us two trailers, one a special one with extra footage cut just for us, and that one was the first that explained what the movie was really about. It does look interesting enough, and the panel was actually very good for being about a movie I'm not overtly excited about. Roland Emmerich was pretty adorable with his accent, having to explain to two different kids what inspired him to make movies. When discussing whether the movie was more fantasy or more researched to be "historically accurate," he said, "It's not a documentary," but with his accent, it came out "doc-u-men-TAR-y." He explained that he was partly inspired by a book called Fingerprints of God, that posited the pyramids in Egypt were not built by the Egyptians but by some lost civilization. He had seen the pyramids when he was fifteen or sixteen, and they so fascinated him...and he never "got over it." It was really cute.
The actors got questions about how hard their roles were to act like people we knew nothing about and act in front of greenscreens. It was funny because Steven and Camilla often gave completely different answers. Steven would say, "Well, you just believe the thing is there, and you don't feel silly at all," and Camilla would say, "You totally feel silly because there are these people in skintight suits pretending to be pterosaurs."
Most people in the room, however, were there for the Get Smart panel. First out was the director, Peter Segal, who was a pretty funny guy himself. He introduced Anne "Taller than Steve Carell" Hathaway and Steve ["I don't remember his middle name"] Carell.
Anne Hathaway, like Camilla Belle, is also pretty, but she's much funnier. While the Get Smart panel could not rival the hilarity of the Forgetting Sarah Marshall panel, it was definitely the funniest panel of the day. Which happens with comedy movies, I would imagine.
They showed an extended trailer for the movie, which was damn hilarious, much funnier than the short spots they've released before now. Plus, it included "Missed it...by that much!" (I loved Get Smart. I have no idea when I watched it, but it was probably (as Peter Sagal later noted himself) on Nick at Night. And, like every other boy in the world, I had a crush on Agent 99. I can foresee having a crush on this Agent 99 as well.)
As expected, Steve Carell got the majority of the questions, such that when someone finally said, "This question is for Anne Hathaway," there was a lot of cheering, and Anne said, "I feel so much better than I did when I was in high school."
The person then continued, "What was it like working with Steve...?" Which met with much laughter from the audience and the response from Anne: "Now I feel just like I did in high school." (Anne Hathaway is totally cute! This comes as no surprise! But she is!)
But Anne and Steve seemed to genuinely like each other; it was very sweet. She said he was the nicest guy you'll ever meet (which...has been said about so many people, really), and, to a question about how Steve and Peter got anything done working with someone who looks like Anne Hathaway (which caused her to bury her face in her hands in embarrassment), Steve went on and on, very sincerely, about what a fantastic actress Anne was, how she was such a goofy person in real life but when the cameras rolled, she instantly became the sophisticated character of Agent 99. And Anne was very touched to be receiving all this praise from him; she interrupted him to say, "You don't have to buy me a Christmas gift this year." It was all supercute and adorable and sweet.
At one point, Anne said, "Someone ask Pete a question, please! This is getting embarrassing." So we cheered when he finally got asked a question. He lauded his awesome supporting cast, like Alan "I have an Academy Award" Arkin, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Terence "Kneel before Zod!" Stamp. He was also asked about the difficulties in remaking the TV series, and he said he definitely wanted to stay true to the spirit of the show and please the fans (and he was one himself, declaring at the beginning that it was one of the greatest television shows ever), but they also brought their own ideas to it. Barbara Feldon didn't make an appearance, but the movie had her blessing, and they did have the Adams family (Anne, to our involuntary chuckles: "That's a terrible name...") on set one day.
There were a few missteps. One guy bizarrely blurted out that he thought Steve should play the Joker in the Batman movie, which met with boos and cries of "Too soon!" and the activation of the killswitch (Sidenote: earlier, when the woman was explaining about the killswitch, some XF fans across from me gleefully yelled, "'Killswitch'!" I told them it was one of my favorite episodes.). There was one guy who said that Steve was his inspiration, and he'd probably never see him again, so could he take a picture with him? Steve was all, "Sure, okay," and then he heard the loud booing and changed his answer to "No! No, how DARE you!" He said he would totally do it after the panel (and he did, apparently!). And then another guy asked if he would sign DVDs for his friend in Cairo that he had hooked on The Office, and this time he was prepared with the "No! No, how DARE you!" to go along with the booing, but, again, he said he would do it after the panel (and he did, apparently!).
Anne Hathaway gave a lovely answer to a question about playing Agent 99 that showed she was really a fan of the character and respected what an important female role it had been in its time.
Steve Carell was asked whether he, like many other comedic actors, planned on taking on darker roles. And, surprisingly, he answered that, no, not really! As long he got paid to do comedy, he was perfectly happy doing comedy; he didn't feel any need to "prove" anything to anyone about his "craft."
"But let's not forget how good you were in Little Miss Sunshine," added Anne. Cheers!
When asked if he was going to do any more writing, he said that he'd just gotten back from two weeks of jury duty, so he planned on writing an episode for next season where Michael Scott gets jury duty.
A girl asked Anne what role of hers was most like her. She said in the movie she'd just finished, Dancing with Shiva, her character was very different from her, but it was the one she related to the most. Actually, I think that question was for both of them, and Steve answered, "Becoming Jane," which caused Anne to begin her answer with "her inner Daily Show correspondent."
Someone asked Anne what her favorite scene was to shoot, and she described the last day of shooting in Red Square, and she said it was like those big moments in your lives, where you know that you're in one of your Big Life Moments. They had the American crew and the Russian crew together, and the Russian crew went and got McDonald's for everyone. So there she was eating McDonald's in Red Square, and it was just a great memory for her. It was a really nice answer, even though she didn't think it was the kind of answer the questioner was looking for.
A guy asked about the status of Shazam! and Steve answered, "Yes, I will be playing Shazam." Pete was all, "This is my question!" And then noted that he would love for him to play Captain Marvel. Sadly, he did not put the name in italics to further point out Steve Carell's ridiculous answer.
For what was reported to be the final question, a guy asked them all what movie made them want to go into movies. Anne Hathaway said Auntie Mame, with Rosalind Russell, and she gave a lot of good, important reasons. And then she added, "And she wears a lot of great outfits." I think she mentioned another movie, but I forget what it was. And before Peter started speaking, she added, "Oh! And Naked Gun 33 1/3!" (Which I thought was random at first, but it turns out it was directed by Peter Segal, so now that makes sense. Hee. Hey, he also directed Tommy Boy!) Peter Segal said Young Frankenstein and, even though it was kind of cheesy to say so, Star Wars (he noted that he saw them both in the same theatre). When he saw that Imperial Destroyer come into the screen that first time, he just knew he wanted to make movies. Steve Carell said Dr. Strangelove.
"Why?" asked Anne. Steve was all, bwuh? "This is the last question," she said. "Make it count, Carell!" And now I kind of love Anne Hathaway and want to be her friend.
He said that it was ridiculous and sad and funny and strange all at the same time, or some other combination of conflicting adjectives that was entirely appropriate.
The sting of Anne's words was removed, however, when they had time for one more question, and one Steve Carell couldn't hear well. The girl asked him how different it is to do TV and movies, and which was his favorite. He eventually got the first part, but he thought the second part was "What's your favorite line?" for some reason.
For the first part, he said it was time. They shot an Office episode in five days, and how long were they shooting Get Smart?
"400 years," answered Peter Segal.
Steve said that it can be both good and bad to have more time. Then he tried to think of his favorite line. He came up with "I ate a big, red candle," which appears to be from Anchorman, which I have not seen, so I have no idea what he's talking about. He also added "That's what she said" as one that would follow him around. He challenged us to work it in to every conversation we had that day. With that, they were off!
Then it was time for the Narnia panel! The only panelist was one of the VFX supervisors, and he showed us a clip they'd put together with unfinished special effects, which was neat to see. I never thought about the fact that they do centaurs by having the actors run around in green tights so they can animate their bottom halves. There was some rough animation for the warrior mice, and even the centaurs who did have bottom halves were crudely animated. I also spotted a stray bluescreen in the background of a shot.
Also, there was a lot of Susan being badass and shooting arrows into people.
The VFX guy said that one of the major differences in Prince Caspian was that he wanted to show a vast range of ages in the mythical creatures, so you'll see young and old, not just everyone in the 25-35 range. His favorite creatures were the minotaurs.
Unfortunately, I stepped into line too late to ask my question in honor of hobviously: "On a scale from 1 to 10, how awesome is Susan Pevensie in this movie?"
Then Andrew Stanton came out for Wall-E, and he showed us four very entertaining clips from the movie, setting up each one beforehand. It turns out that Wall-E is actually a robot love story! Aw. Not only that, but he describes it as a throwback to the great sci-fi films of his youth like 2001 and Blade Runner. It looks like yet another Pixar hit.
I think the best answer was about his inspiration for the design of Wall-E. He was at an A's game ("Booooo!") supporting the Red Sox ("Woooo!"), and his friend gave him a pair of binoculars. And he spent an entire inning playing with them, as one does with folding binoculars, moving them up and down. He realized you could express a whole range of emotion just from that sort of ocular setup, and the rest of the robot design simply came from practical reasons. I loved how much thought they'd put into the character of this robot. It was very cute.
What was interesting—and something I had not thought of—is that there isn't a lot of dialogue. The two major characters are robots who communicate mostly in beeps and gleeps. Andrew Stanton said that he wanted to believe in the character, that it was a machine first and a character second. It was simply a machine who had character, like Luxo Lamp. And he's right, of course: if the robot is talking, you think of it more as a person rather than a machine. He also said that it actually wasn't more of a challenge or anything because, as animators, they love not having dialogue since they always concern themselves with how they can convey what needs to be conveyed in expressions and movements, regardless of what's being said or not said.
Then, finally, what everyone had been waiting for...the X-F—wait, no, they were going to do the Shutter panel first. I'd never even heard of Shutter, but it's a remake of a Thai horror film.
A moderator came out and talked about ghosts and spirit photography, which was pretty much all he would do for the next half an hour. He showed a neat little trailer and then brought in Rachael Taylor (the Australian chick in Transformers) and James Kyson Lee (Ando!). They were both pretty serious, but they had interesting responses. James, for instance, did a lot of research for his role and learned all about the history of spirit photography and talked to an actual editor of a Japanese magazine devoted to the subculture. Rachael thought her character was a very good female character, which was important to her because horror movies were so often misogynist—"maybe that's too strong a word"—anti-feminist.
Unfortunately, Joshua Jackson couldn't make it, but he sent his regrets via a text message to Rachael.
Then! The X-Files panel! There are many clips!
Chris Carter took pictures of the completely packed room. Gillian Anderson looked good.
Also...THEY SHOWED A TRAILER! Whee! (I don't know if you guys know this, but I was an X-Files fan from the very first episode. It was kind of the first show I really fell in love with and became fannish about before I really knew what being fannish was. All my early AOL screennames were Mulder###.)
Man, how do I cover this panel? There were a lot of questions. Let's see. How hard was it to get back into the XF groove? Gillian said she had a really hard time, surprisingly enough; she sucked her first couple days on set.
"Maybe you should tell them what scenes you sucked in," said David. Then, seconds later, in response to the "Whoa!"s, he added, "I didn't mean to start it like that!" And Gillian was all up in his face about it, it was funny. I honestly don't know whether they're supposed to hate each other or something, which seems to be the rumor for all onscreen couples/duos, but throughout the panel, they seemed to get along pretty well, joking with each other very easily and such.
Gillian also added that it was funny because in her roles post-XF, she had always tried to distance herself from Scully and not let Scully bleed into the characters she played. So when she started to play Scully again, she would start rejecting what she was doing, like, "You can't do that! That's a Scully thing!" Even though she was now supposed to be doing Scully things. It was an interesting thing to think about.
David, too, was surprised at how hard it was to get back into Mulder's shoes. Luckily, his first scenes were a lot of running, and that was easy.
In stark contrast, Frank Spotnitz and Chris Carter found going back to the XF universe as writers the easiest thing in the world. Chris said that just typing the names "Mulder" and "Scully" felt so easy and natural after all those years. He'd had the characters living in his head for so long, and now he could take them out to play again.
Someone asked them what their favorite episodes were. Gillian started off with "Bad Blood"..."probably because that's the only one I can remember." It was the only one that came to her mind, and it became a running joke throughout the panel. David picked "Post-Modern Prometheus" and the one with Charles Nelson Reilly ("Jose Chung's From Outer Space"). Frank Spotnitz wisely noted that there were so many different kinds of episodes in the series, he had a list of something like seven in his head; he couldn't pick just one. There were the funny episodes like "Humbug" and "Bad Blood" and the mytharc episodes like "Anasazi" and the intense episodes like "Duane Barry" and the horror episodes like "Home." Chris Carter had a personal fondness for "Post-Modern Prometheus."
"But what do you think of 'Bad Blood'?" asked David.
Chris also added that there were episodes in the first season that really defined what the series was going to be, and he singled out "Beyond the Sea."
Chris Carter thinks The X-Files was always basically about a search for God. The "I Want to Believe" poster says everything.
Chris also cryptically stated, in response to a question of whether Krycek was going to be in the movie, that no one is really dead on The X-Files. Whee! (David said he should call Nicholas Lea and tell him; he'd be pleased someone asked about him.)
Someone asked what the most difficult scene to film in the movie was. I said, "They're not done yet!" Gillian said, "We're not done yet." But she reiterated that the first 48 hours were bad. David said that his scenes with Gillian were the most difficult because he placed a high importance on them and wanted to bring as much as he could to them.
One woman proudly touted the fact that The X-Files was so important to her that her husband had had a stroke last week, and she was still here. That did not meet with cheers. She also had a sign that she told them, when asked, said that she was such a big fan she named her son Xander Fox T[something]. At school, it comes out as T, XF. Good lord.
One guy said that he grew up in a household where they were only allowed to watch one television show, and XF was that show. I forget what his question was, but Chris Carter asked him if he was from Sherwood Forest. Gillian shielded her eyes to get a better look. They didn't know what he was dressed as (Link). "Is that a fetish?" asked Gillian. When he told them who he was, David said, "Link? Who's that?" Oh, David Duchovny. So ignorant of ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR AND BELOVED VIDEO GAME CHARACTERS OF ALL TIME.
There was certainly more, but I can't be expected to tell you everything. There they go! The Havenites across the aisle yelled, "Happy birthday, Scully!" They wore special T-shirts too. (I was very surprised there were no 'shipper questions at all.)
sophia_helix and her crew left, and I moved up to a better seat for the Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay panel. It began with a frickin' hilarious extended trailer comprising four major scenes.
The panelists were writers/directors Jon Hurtwitz and Hayden Schlossberg as well as John Cho. As this was a comedy panel, it was pretty funny, since people who do comedies are funny.
It's kind of funny how little I remember about this panel even though less time has passed since I was there.
Anyway, John Cho is funny.
In one of their answers, Jon and Hayden had talked about the fact that they'd written the first Harold and Kumar because in everything they'd seen, the Asians were always martial artists, and the Indians were always convenience store clerks. They wanted to write a movie about the Asians and Indians they knew. This inspired me to get in line because, being an Indian dude, I felt it was my duty to continue this conversation!
I began by telling John Cho (John Cho!) I loved him in Kitchen Confidential ("Thank you."), a great show that was cancelled before its time. I recommended everyone pick up the DVDs. I then addressed Jon and Hayden.
"Being an Indian guy," I said, "I'm glad you wrote a movie about an Indian who wasn't a convenience store clerk. I really connected with the character of Harold. And I was surprised that the movie wasn't just hilarious, but it said a lot about race issues in America today, and from what I saw in the clips, you're doing the same thing in this movie. Is that something you're passionate about and want to continue exploring in movies, and maybe television shows, so we can get John back on TV?"
They said that, yeah, it was really important to them because the first Harold and Kumar was about stereotypes in funny ways, and so the sequel had to continue to do that, or else it was just another comedy. And they would love to continue making Harold and Kumar movies as long as Kal and John were willing. Their answer was much better than I described.
When I sat back down, the Asian guy sitting next to me said, "Good question!" Which was amusing because I don't think they really answered my question, but I also wasn't looking for a real answer. I kind of thought that just needed to be said because Harold and Kumar gets painted as a big offensive stoner comedy...and it is, but it seems like people rarely talk about the fact that it's really good as a social commentary. And I wanted some reassurance that the creators were conscious of that, and I'm glad to hear that it does seem to be their goal with these movies.
Also, John Cho was funny.
Guys, it's past three o'clock in the morning. I hope you don't care about the Iron Man panel. Jon Favreau was cool, and I was most impressed with the way he managed to manipulate the audience into thinking we were getting some sort of special treat we wouldn't otherwise get. For instance, I had assumed they would start off with an extended trailer like every other panel, but he just went straight into questions! Lame!
And then a woman asked about the jet boots she'd seen in the Superbowl commercial and how those worked. Well, it JUST SO HAPPENED he had a clip of Stark testing the jet boots! And he showed it, and it was funny and awesome.
Then, later, after a bunch of questions and expressions of gratitude from hardcore Iron Man fans, he said that there had been some confusion about airing a ninety-second trailer during this past Lost. It was actually going to air during the next Lost. Unfortunately, he didn't have the ninety-second trailer to show us.
He did, however, have a TWO-AND-A-HALF-MINUTE trailer! Bam! Awesomeness in a bottle! Played us like a damn fiddle!
With the panels I was interested in over, I headed to the floor just to stretch my legs a little and see if Bill Willingham was at his booth. He was, and I was able to get the 1001 Nights of Snowfall that I had borrowed from Seanan signed for her. Bill was quite perplexed by her name. "S-E-A-N? And then another A-N? And it's pronounced how?"
I walked around looking at cool costumes. To my delight, I ran into the girl I had seen earlier in the day! Check her out:
It's Haruko from FLCL!! And since the majority of you can't appreciate how awesome this costume is, Haruko looks like this. This girl got it right down to the very last detail. Very impressive.
Then, not a few feet away, I came across this piece of awesomeness:
This dude BUILT A DALEK! How cool is he?
He even wore the proper shoes.
There were a lot of crazy costumes on display. For instance, look closely at this picture:
You will see Willy Wonka (actually a girl), some sort of horned demon thing, a fighting gorilla, and...I had no idea who that guy was supposed to be.
And, you know, really, I kind of love the costumes. I really love the creativity and attention to detail, and I think people appreciate when they're recognized. On the way to BART, I was walking behind someone in a brown robe and pointed hat. At first, I thought he was a Jawa, but he had a book in his hands. As I looked closer, I saw that the book was chained to his hands. Oh my God! Awesome! It was from Sandman, but I couldn't remember the name.
"Great costume," I said. "Sandman, right?"
He was a she. "Yeah."
"I can't remember which D it is."
"Destiny," she said. Der. Her friend said she was surprised no one had called her a Jawa yet.
I laughed and said I'd thought that before I saw the book, and then the chains, and then I figured it out.
"There's only one person with a book chained to them!" she said with mock incredulity.