WonderCon Live-Blog: 'Amazing Spider-Man,' 'Looper' and 'Resident Evil: Retribution'
Emma Stone, Milla Jovovich and Joseph Gordon-Levitt hit Anaheim
It's been a busy WonderCon afternoon.
4:15 p.m. I didn't live-blog "Lockout." Sorry. It looks horribly written, but possibly like cheesy fun, if you like cheesy action fun. Maggie Grace was on the panel and referenced "12th Night," "Star Wars," "Psycho" and her love for Jane Austen. So that was a bit charming.
4:25 p.m. This panel isn't running on time...
4:28 p.m. We're starting with "Resident Evil: Retribution," but they apparently stopped handing out glasses to people a couple hours ago, so for much of this crowd, it's going to be a blurry "Resident Evil: Retribution" teaser. Blurry or not blurry, the trailer conveys a very simple message: "If you're one of those people who keeps paying to see 'Resident Evil' movies, this is for you. Otherwise, you'll probably make fun of it."
4:31 p.m. Paul W.S. Anderson promises that this will be the biggest and most global "Resident Evil" movie to take. They went to Tokyo and to Moscow and to other various places. "It's an epic movie," Anderson promises. Paul W.S. Anderson insists that video game movies work, they just have to be good movies. He's trying to make the best movies possible, but the video game franchise doesn't hurt.
4:33 p.m. Anderson promises that this movie will bring back characters from the video games and the movies, including favorites who fans thought might be dead. WOO!!!!
4:33 p.m. Milla Jovovich shows up. Apparently she's become the first female action hero whose film franchise hit five films? Or something? What we're saying? Five films. Anderson thinks he's helped Hollywood discover that female-driven action movies work.
4:35 p.m. Jovovich says that her character keeps changing, but there's a humanity that gets taken through the franchise. Me? I'm just killing time til "Looper" and "Spider-Man." Lalalala.
4:37 p.m. Milla is very excited that we're about to see a clip. Not a trailer. Not a montage. But a CLIP!
4:41 p.m. The clip was... OK. Milla in a black cat-suit kills many zombies in a white room. I was distracted that Paul W.S. Anderson remains unable to stage action in continuity even after all of these years. The guy behind me, however, kept yelling, "Oh, S***!!!" as if he'd never seen Milla Jovovich kill zombies in a cat-suit before. Yawn.
4:43 p.m. "3D has changed everything," Jovovich says. It turns out that you have to make contact in fight scenes now, while previously you trained to miss. But misses look fake in 3D, so you have to make contact. This was difficult for Milla. "She did it, though," Anderson says.
4:45 p.m. Milla didn't think her character in "Three Musketeers" was a villain. Most viewers didn't think her character in "Three Musketeers" was worth watching.
4:47 p.m. Wow. An "Ultraviolet" reference. Milla loves martial arts and has a cool collection of weapons at home. She references Cheetara and She-Ra as early influences. That's a bit cool. "It's a little more hard on the back than it was 10 years ago," Milla says.
4:49 p.m. "I've always wanted to do Donkey Kong. And who better to fling the barrels," Anderson says of video games he'd like to adapt, nodding to his wife. "Listen, I look great in a monkey suit," Milla says.
4:54 p.m. Anderson has now directed three movies in 3D. He adds, "I think we definitely have one of the most experienced 3D crews in the world at this point." This is a little sad. Anyway, he says that his DP built him custom rigs for the 3D so that he can do crazy camera work. He promises that this will be the best use of 3D we'll see in theaters this year. Yes, we just had Ridley Scott here a couple hours ago talking about the movie he direct in 3D. That's cocky.
ON TO "LOOPER."
5:00 p.m. Rian Johnson hits the stage. I love "Brick." I really like "The Brother's Bloom." And the "Breaking Bad" episode "Fly"? Awesome.
5:00 p.m. Johnson has been working on "Looper," a time-travel action movie, for years. In addition to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who's backstage somewhere, the cast also includes Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels and more. We're going to be the first people to see the trailer. Looking forward to that.
5:05 p.m. I couldn't explain "Looper" to you if I wanted to. It looks mind-bending, though. My sense is that it could make "Inception" look simplistic. Then again, if you already thought "Inception" was simplistic, I dunno...
5:05 p.m. "He's Bruce f***ing Willis," Gordon-Levitt enthuses. He and Willis play the same character in "Looper." "It's not an impersonation, but it's definitely a character based on Bruce," Gordon-Levitt says. He watched old Willis movies over and over and even stripped out the audio and put it on his iPod to get the sound of Willis' voice. He wasn't as inspired by old Bruce Willis roles like on "Moonlighting," but he paid particular attention to "Sin City." There's also a lot of makeup to help the not-impersonation.
5:08 p.m. Johnson and Gordon-Levitt are a mutual admiration society. Johnson wrote "Looper" for Gordon-Levitt so that they could work together again. They shot in New Orleans and in China, but mostly in New Orleans.
5:10 p.m. "Figuring out how to deal with time-travel, it's kinda like the 'Iron Chef' ingredient that trips everybody up," Johnson says.
5:10 p.m. Gordon-Levitt's having a good career moment. "I'm been working as an actor for 25 years now. I started when I was six and I just turned 31. And it's been a gradual progression. It's gotten to the point now where I'm getting to work on movies that I'd love, that I'd go to see anyway," Gordon-Levitt says. He's enjoying working with folks like Rian, Christopher Nolan and Steven Spielberg. "Chris and Steven and Rian all do it for the same reason: Because they f***ing love movies," he says.
5:12 p.m. "I made my money on a sitcom, so I'm lucky enough I don't have to support myself, because I'm still cashing the '3rd Rock' checks," Gordon-Levitt says, explaining that he can make movies based on love, not desire for money.
5:14 p.m. Johnson says this is the first time he's had a movie that he has to be careful not to spoil, saying, "Part of the fun of the movie is the way it surprises you and the way it has a lot of different things in it and it turns into a lot of different things."
5:15 p.m. Joe won't say what his hitRECord tie-in for "Looper" will be, but he's thinking about it.
5:17 p.m. "We just know each other better. There's a real value to working with your friends and having that comfort level," Gordon-Levitt says of working with Johnson again.
5:17 p.m. "Yeah. There's all sorts of moral stuff. If you're into moral exploration, we've got your number," Johnson promises. Rian says that he'll be returning to "Breaking Bad." Excellent!
5:19 p.m. Gordon-Levitt says he'd do a musical someday, but it would have to be a good one.
5:20 p.m. "I hope to be working with this guy for the rest of my life," Johnson says. Awwwww.
5:20 p.m. Gordon-Levitt takes exception to the idea he's relatively new to sci-fi. "I did play an alien for six years on TV," he says. He lists "Quantum Leap" as a TV favorite and "The Matrix" as a movie favorite.
5:22 p.m. What is Gordon-Levitt most proud of? He's in four movies coming out this year and "They're all really exciting for different reasons," he says. But he emphasizes that "Looper" was the most challenging and the one he's most excited for audiences to see.
5:23 p.m. "Primer" director Shane Carruth read the "Looper" script and gave Johnson feedback, particularly on the time-travel side of things. Intriguing.
5:26 p.m. "It was just about getting to know him and studying him," Gordon-Levitt says of channeling Bruce Willis. His mother and his best friend were weirded out when they visited the set and got a sense of his transformation. He credits the makeup designer and makeup applier for helping him each day.
5:26 p.m. Joseph Gordon-Levitt says that pigeon-holing people into one job or one field is bulls***. "We can all be all sorts of things. That's allowed and that's good. You can be an eclectic person," he says. Damn skippy.
5:30 p.m. If they could actually time travel, would they be able to kill their future selves. "Not if my future self was Bruce Willis," Johnson says. "Yeah. That's a good answer," Gordon-Levitt echoes.
ON TO "AMAZING SPIDER-MAN."
5:33 p.m. Marc Webb and Matt Tolmach hit the stage for "The Amazing Spider-Man." "It's an honor," Tolmach says, of getting "the jewel in the crown" of the Marvel universe. "Because of that, we feel a responsibility to do something really special," Tolmach adds, calling this "a pretty good gig." "There's so much stuff that hasn't been explored in the cinematic universe," Webb explains, referencing the Gwen Stacy story, The Lizard and Peter Parker's parents.
5:35 p.m. Tolmach praises Webb's unique vision for the character and the universe. What were three big choices that Marc Webb had to make for his Spider-Man and his Peter Parker? First, the emotional consequence of being taken away from your parents at the age of seven. Webb also liked Parker's aggressive and sarcastic attitude, which he says came from being abandoned at a young age. He thinks this will be "a quippy, trickster Spider-Man." He wanted "to create a world that feels emotionally and physically grounded." That required starting the world in a practical place before moving on to CG.
5:38 p.m. Time for footage! It's rough, we're warned. We say we won't mind.
5:47 p.m. A long clip package starts with very cute flirting footage between Gwen and Peter and escalates through this film's version of the origin story. I can't quite tell you why we need another origin story, but I at least have something resembling a sense of how this take on Spider-Man will be different.
5:48 p.m. Emma Stone takes the stage and we cheer loudly. She tells us she loves us as well. Emma references the comic arc for Gwen and talks about how her character loves Peter, more than Spider-Man. The clips features lots of good Denis Leary scenes as well, setting up the adversarial relationship between Spider-Man and Gwen's father. Webb explains that it's about "competing ideas of what's good."
5:50 p.m. Uh-oh. Running into more battery problems. Stupid lap-tops.
5:50 p.m. Tolmach says that this story is steering away from using Uncle Ben's death as the catalyst for Peter's change. We saw good footage with Martin Sheen as well. He has a veiled variation on the "Great power/great responsibility" line. But yes, it sounds like this "Spider-Man" is going to be another orphan origin story, more along the Batman line than what we've recent seen with Spider-Man. "It's an area of his life that's never gotten a lot of attention, but it's such a primal experience," Tolmach says. Webb remembers a lunch he had with Stan Lee where he asked about all of the parent-losing superheroes. Lee's explanation: "I just needed to get him out of the house."
5:53 p.m. Stone was drawn to the movie by the love story, which was grounded in reality. Then she auditioned with Andrew and she really wanted to be a part of it. Tolmach remembers the day they shot the quiet flirting scene that we just watched, which he calls a scene that works because of "the chemistry of the scene" and its "organic awkwardness." He adds, "It was a remarkable thing to watch and it's those moments of magic... that you hope for and that are rare."
5:55 p.m. Webb calls Spider-Man the most relatable superhero there is because "he's just this kid." The goal is to have you invest in Peter Parker's identifiable problems. Webb also remembers the "chemistry" day on set with Stone and Andrew Garfield.
5:56 p.m. Stone didn't grow up reading comics, so she was introduced to Spider-Man through the Sam Raimi trilogy. She says, however, that she researched afterwards, specifically the Gwen Stacy character's place in comics history. "This kind of experience that we get to be a part of with a movie like 'Spider-Man' is unbelievable," Stone says.
5:58 p.m. A female asking a question is wearing an "Emma Stone: Marry Me" shirt. It's a very good moment, because the question-asker is also hot and Emma is embarrassed and flattered. Emma had originally read for Mary Jane before they'd even written a script. So when she was asked to read for Gwen, she had to change gears and get excited about a character who's the opposite of Mary Jane. "It was like DeNiro," Stone jokes about the transformation into a blonde.
6:01 p.m. "Gwen Stacy loves him for Peter. Mary Jane loves him for Spider-Man," Stone says, when asked who would be a better girlfriend for Peter.
6:02 p.m. How did Emma prepare for this role? She found it daunting initially, both facing the franchise and then facing the news breaking online within 90 seconds of finding out. She read the comics and saw the different incarnations of Gwen. And then she read the message boards. "What do you mean? It was totally great. It was totally not nerve-wracking and everyone was so supportive," she jokes. She says she enjoyed getting to see the fanbase and its reaction.
6:04 p.m. Emma keeps referring to the tragedy at the end of her character's story. It's unclear when that'll be happening. I guess in this room, everybody knows what happens, eh?
6:06 p.m. Tolmach requires his first meeting with Emma when she was 17 and Judd and Seth wanted her for "Superbad." Stone's advice? Don't give up. Stick to your guns. Be yourself. That kind of thing.
6:07 p.m. Everybody on the panel agrees that they're going to continue to read comics even after the movie. Emma says that she's a fan of the entire Marvel Universe. Everybody cheers. She likes the plausibility of some of the Marvel stories, which leads to Emma insisting that this is a documentary.
That's all, folks. It's been fun live-blogging today...
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