Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday at Comic-Con: Moving Around Part 1 of 3

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

If you've been to Comic-Con before, you know that the major piece of advice when it comes to attending panels is to pick one room and stay in there all day. So what did I decide to do on Friday? Attend panels in FOUR different rooms, including Hall H, 6BCF, and Ballroom 20. But, things actually worked out better than I thought they would, so I'm glad it worked out. In retrospect, I wish I had gone with my comics instincts and planned my morning around the Lynn Johnston panel instead of The Big Bang Theory, but c'est la vie. Let's move on to take a look at what we were treated to in our Friday adventures, which were many, so we're taking it in baby steps... 
Photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
ParaNorman: Behind the Scenes started off with a 3-D trailer (sadly, the only 3-D panel we saw all day) before opening up the panel for questions about this kids' stop-motion-animated movie. While it opens on August 17th (why not closer to Halloween?), this "comedy thriller" was designed to be "a zombie movie for kids." ["kids," by the way, are probably ages 8 and up. younger than that and parents should make their own calls.] On the panel were Producer/Lead Animator/CEO of Laika Travis Knight, Directors Sam Fell and Chris Butler, and the voice actors Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. I wasn't planning to be in the room for this panel, so I hadn't read up on this film, but now I'm certainly planning to see it - crowd scenes and overlapping dialogue are particularly difficult to do in this art form, but it seems like they've got everything worked out here! We saw a few more clips from different stages of the film, complete with the voices of Casey Affleck and Tempest Bledsoe. Now, for some more details...

- While the project only started "for real" about three years ago, it was truly in the making for about sixteen years.
- Kodi can no longer actually "do" Norman's voice - he's hit puberty since recording and his voice is too low now. He also didn't see a clip of his character until about halfway through the voicework... before that he just had a little cut-out of Norman for inspiration!
Photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
- The graveyard scene took about a year to shoot!
- Anna Kendrick was selected because of her voice in interviews - nothing to do with being part of Twilight.
- They had the same casting director as Freaks & Geeks!
- And, by the way, Kickass 2 is close to happening - like, they may be shooting in September.
- Norman was challenging to create and animate because he drives the film, but his sister, Courtney, had the most difficult dialogue to produce.

Then, it was time for the television portion of the day to begin with The Big Bang Theory Screening and Q&A, which became most-known for giving away a trip to space at the end of the panel. It seemed to be quite a surprise to the cast as well as the audience, as Simon Helberg was given the opportunity to travel beyond Earth as well... and if he was only acting surprised, that was the worst acting I've ever seen. [in theory, he said he'd go to space. when the option became real, he chickened out.] The panel was full of flaws, from Johnny Galecki being delayed to Jim Parsons appearing via video to the actors not being able to answer the questions from the fans. Now, the fans themselves were also part of the problem - very few were old enough to drive, let alone appreciate a show about a bunch of people with PhDs. Of course, the worst part was the promise of a "screening" when all we got was an old gag reel. Still, there were a few good moments, so I'll try to focus mainly on those...

- regarding the highlights of the past season, Chuck Lorre thought that the cast sitting there and watching Howard launch into space was memorable. Bill Pratty clung more to the fact that Leonard Nimoy returned his call. Mayim Bialik chose the moment when Sheldon took Amy hand, and Jim Parsons said the same. Kaley Cuoco went with that final scene as well, sharing that she cried everytime they did it, from the table-read onward. Melissa Rauch actually preferred when Howard went to the space training center, though Kunal Nayyar was yet another to go with the blast-off moment. Steve Molaro said that shaking Stephen Hawking's hand did it for him, and Simon Helberg said that his favorite moment was doing an impression of Stephen Hawking... in front of the man!
Photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
Photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
- regarding their favorite lines of the past season, Jim enjoys when Sheldon picks up slang terminology, like "I don't know your life." Melissa loves getting to mimic Howard's mother's voice. Mayim goes with, "it's a tiara!" Kunal doesn't like it when Raj has words with "Bs."
Photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
- In the early years, Simon had to get a lot of assistance from the wardrobe department to get off Howard's pants.
- Kaley's hands can't do the "Spock: Live Long and Prosper" gesture... they turn funny.
- There is a romance planned for Raj in the future.
- The cast sung "Soft Kitty" in a round.
- Jim Parsons had no idea why Sheldon likes the flash, but luckily the writers on the panel responded that the Flash was good at running away and was picked on as a child.
Photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
- Kaley Cuoco likes Game of Thrones.
- None of the actors can relate to the personalities of their characters, though Mayim Bialik says that she's a bit like Sheldon.
- Jim Parsons didn't have a specific aptitude toward science growing up, though he was briefly interested in meteorology.
- Kaley went to The Cheesecake Factory over a year ago and got all kinds of looks and it took her a while to figure out why.
- The Lego DeathStar was originally supposed to appear in an earlier episode but the assistants took weeks to build it - they bought it used on eBay.

AMC's The Walking Dead received an unbelievable amount of press at Comic-Con. Not only did they have a panel in Hall H, but they also had an obstacle course at Petco Park AND a booth in exhibit hall. Plus, there were zombies practically everywhere you looked. For fans, this was probably unbelievably awesome. For those who aren't really into anything "supernatural" besides Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, it certainly could seem intimidating. But, really, there wasn't too much to the panel (which included Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Norman Reedus, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Glen Mazzara, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero, and Chris Hardwick). We see an exclusive clip TWICE, find out that they're shooting the sixth episode of the third season currently, and learn that the show is back October 14th at 9pm. Again, not being a big fan, I probably didn't get as much out of this panel as others, but here are a few notes of interest:
Photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
Photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
Photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
- they film in Georgia a lot, and are stuck in a bubble, so-to-speak.
- they like being at Comic-Con because it's "people," as opposed to the press/journalists that they get elsewhere.
- "everyone loves a redneck!" - Norman Reedus
Photo: Jonathan Bredemeyer
- some of the cast take dialect lessons via Skype on Sundays to keep up their "American English" instead of British. Of course, they can also "go sit in a Cracker Barrel for four hours" to pick it up!
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