Comic-Con: Bumbling spies, missed calls, missing stars
EW’s Nicole Sperling sends the following dispatch from Comic-Con in San Diego:
Day 2 of Comic-Con proved that comedy is an important part of the comic-book geek diet. Nothing illustrated that more then Warner Bros.’ side-splitting preview footage of Get Smart, due in theaters next June. The never-before-seen footage took the crowd by surprise. It was that good. It was followed by a sweet and funny panel that featured director Pete Segal and cast: Masi Oka, Nate Torrence, Ken Davitian (Borat’s former sidekick, who, thankfully, appears fully clothed), Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (clearly beloved by the Comic-Con fans — “You’re the best wrestler ever!” said one), and, of course, Agent 86 himself, Steve Carell. Segal made it clear that his movie was done in the spirit of the beloved ’60s TV show, created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. He even hinted that some of the players from the original may be returning in cameo roles. Watch out, KAOS!
Warners also unspooled a videotaped message from Nicole Kidman introducing new footage for Invasion, which bows on August 17. Yes there were “Don’t Sleep” T-shirts in the swag bags, and the audience seemed to dig the footage, but without any cast members from the movie, little time was spent on the sci-fi actioner from German director Oliver Hirshbiegel.
Comic-Con is not for the uninitiated. Just ask Shannyn Sossamon, who stars opposite Ed Burns in the horror film One Missed Call,set for a January release. It seemed no one prepped poor Shannyn onjust how smart and devoted these attendees can be — it was clear thatthose asking questions knew far more about her career then the actressherself. (At one moment during her panel, Sossamon turned to Burns andmuttered, “I’m so screwing this up.”)
Far more attention was focused on producer Joel Silver’s Whiteout.One of the film’s stars, Kate Beckinsale almost missed the panel: stuckbehind a train on the way down from Los Angeles, the always charmingBeckinsale was literally pushed onto the stage by Silver. Anyway, themurder mystery thriller, based on the graphic novel by Greg Rucka,seemed to enchant the audience, which looked like it was made up ofboth Rucka fans and those wanting to ogle Beckinsale.
Warners endedtheir presentation by presenting the affable Zach Snyder. His promiseto direct an R-rated version of The Watchmenput the audience at peace. Speaking for about 20 minutes, Snyder gavehis vision for the comic, which many before him have tried to adapt.With cast members Malin Akerman and Jackie Earle Haley by his side,and a definite vision in his head, the movie, set to bow in 2009, looksmore real then ever.
Warner sister company New Line took over Hall H and spent the bulk of its 45-minute session on the Clive Owen action extravaganza Shoot ‘Em Up.The studio screened three extended hellzapoppin’ clips from the film,including the opening gunfight sequence, while Owen and writer-directorMichael Davis — an ex-storyboard artist and DVD-friendly indie filmdirector making his big-time studio movie debut — basked in theirmutual admiration. The crowd ate it up, especially a scene in whichOwen uses a gun to cut the umbilical cord of a newborn baby. Then the studio unveiled the first trailer for Michel Gondry’s Be Kind, Rewind,the Jack Black/Mos Def comedy about two video rental clerks who attemptto restock their entire ruined inventory by re-filming such cinematic”classic” movies as Rush Hour 2 and Ghostbusters. Finally, wooden writer-director Chris Weitz introduced an extended trailer for The Golden Compass, the first of what is expected to be three films based Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. (New Line also released the Lord of the Ring movies, so the bar has been set pretty high.)
The day ended with what is now a Comic-Con ritual, the panel hostedby geek god Kevin Smith. In the main conference hall, Smith screenedthe full pilot episode he directed of the upcoming TV series Reaper(airing this fall Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on the CW) and then brought a fewcast members and the show’s creators onto the stage — to watch KevinSmith answer questions that had nothing to do with the (quitewell-received) show. Practically all of it was absolutely hysterical —and completely unprintable on a family blog. Suffice it to say, theaudience learned far, far more about the sexual escapades of Smith’s new daschunds than they ever could’ve expected.