“We’re going to take a poll: How many times do you think Guillermo Del Toro is going to use the F-word?”
That dig at the colorful loquaciousness of the Crimson Peak director is how Legendary chief Thomas Tull kicked off the company’s Comic-Con panel on Saturday.
Del Toro says he’s not going to go meta with Crimson Peak. There’ll be no twist at the end that the haunted house is a spaceship, or that the characters are stars in a TV show.
“It’s a straight gothic romance, where certain twists are a little more gender liberating,” says Del Toro, who was inspired to break the damsel-in-distress model for the sake of his two “strong” daughters.
And it’s a gothic tale that fans will soon be able to experience first-hand — del Toro announced he is creating a Crimson Peak attraction for Universal Studios theme park’s annual Halloween Horror Nights this year.
Del Toro was joined on stage by castmembers Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, and Tom Hiddleston. “Can I ask a favor? When Tom Hiddleston comes out, ignore him,” del Toro joked before the latter’s entrance. “Don’t clap, don’t do anything.”
The actors said they enjoyed working with del Toro because he gave them 10 pages of character detail that isn’t in the script, but allows them to enhance their character.
“I’ve also never been teased so much on set by another director,” Hiddleston said.
“We’re like twins,” del Toro said.
“I guess that makes me Arnold Schwarzenegger,” Hiddleston shot back.
The actors shared some of those character details with eachother, but Chastain — who plays Hiddleston’s unusual sister — had one request: She didn’t want to “read anything you wouldn’t want your sister to know,” she said.
“I love her, she absolutely breaks my heart,” Chastain said. “She’s fiercely loyal and acts out of love, to give and receive love.”
The actors also spoke with admiration about the film’s haunted house set, and Hiddleston said the mansion’s great hall was his favorite room.
“The great hall, I found just jaw-dropping,” Hiddleston said. “The house was built on a soundstage in Toronto, and it was breathtaking because it was on three or four stories with a working elevator.” He said there was clay beneath the floorboards that would seep when actors walked across them. “I was actually very sad when they had to tear it down,” he said.
Del Toro has these parting words for the 6,100 fans in Hall H: “I hope you guys enjoy the … hell out of it!” he said, conspicuously avoiding the F-word. “Hell, yeah!”
Next up for Legendary was a spotlight on Krampus, the twisted supernatural holiday thriller about the anti-Kris Kringle — traditionally depicted in folktales as a clawed, goat-footed demon who torments naughty boys and girls.
“Instead of bringing presents to good little children, [Krampus] comes down your chimney, throws you into a stack, and beats you with a stick,” explains director Michael Dougherty. “I wanted to make a scary Christmas movie that didn’t just involve a guy in a Santa suit with an ax.”
This Krampus is a vengeful holiday specter to sets out to punish the wicked on Christmas night, but there’ll still be plenty of laughs. The panelists said the worlds of comedy and horror intersect in the tale. “I think they’re the same,” Dougherty explained. “When I’m watching a horror movie, often I’m laughing.”
The director was joined on stage by castmembers Toni Collette and Adam Scott. Collette cheerily shouted to the Hall H crowd: “I’m a virgin, and I’ve never been here before!” Scott quipped: “And I’m just a virgin.”
Scott said Krampus is inspired by films like Gremlins, which are oddly cozy, funny, and scary. And Dougherty said moviegoers won’t get to see Krampus immediately in the film; much of the early scares come from the creature’s ability to possess seemingly innocent playthings.
“It’s very scary, but up until it gets scary, it’s like you’re watching a Vacation movie, or Parenthood,” Scott says. “We haven’t seen a movie like this in a long, long time.”
Then, gears shifted to Warcraft, and a curtain drew back to reveal a 180-degree screen surrounding the fans in the 6,100-seat auditorium. One side of the theater’s screen featureed character from the human side of the war, and the other depicted their Orc enemies.
Director Duncan Jones, who previously helmed Moon and Source Code, said he is a fan of the massive multiplayer online video game.
Actress Paula Patton, who said her half-human, half-Orc character Garona “never really fits in either world. She has one foot in each. When you’re an actress, you want to do research, but there’s no way to research what it’s like to be an Orc. It was one of the scariest roles I’ve ever done.”
Ben Foster, who plays the magic-weilding Medivh, says he felt no such angst: “Who wouldn’t want to be a wizard?”
The battle between the Orcs and humans continued behind the scenes. Dominic Cooper, who co-stars as the human King Llane Wrynn, said that since the Orcs were performed via motion-capture, those actors “wore very nice, comfortable pajamas every day with little sensors stuck to their foreheads, and danced around every day. We had to wear sweaty wigs and very heavy armor. I couldn’t even lift up my sword. I was pathetic.”
Parts of the Warcraft presentation may have felt like a foreign language to those who didn’t play the games, but Robert Kazinsky (True Blood), who portrays the warrior Orgrim, was among those who had spent hundreds of hours of their lives learning the intricacies of this fantasy realm.
“I’m up to nearly 600 days played now,” he said. “There was a time when I wasn’t in the Warcraft movie, and I was unemployed for a lot of that time and spent it eating cake and playing Warcraft. I lost a relationship — a really good one. I lost self-esteem,” he said, laughing even though he appeared to be serious. “It would all be really sad and pathetic if I wasn’t doing this movie, which has surprisingly made it okay!”
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