Anthony Baratta is our man on the scene at WonderCon 2008 in San Francisco this weekend and he's got a first rundown of what he saw and who he talked to on Friday! Be sure to also check out our new WonderCon photo gallery here!
MosconeCenter, San Francisco, CA
5pm - Universal
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Painted as "Romantic Disaster Comedy" - saw trailer for film. Very long show of film - typical Hollywood overkill of movie plot and scenes.
Jason Segel - Writer and star. Did 2 month script treatment, then sequestered to Hawaii to write script. "Guys" crying a theme of movie. Apatow instrumental with pushing him towards writing. Enjoyed watching his script improved via the improv that went on during shooting. Very good team chemistry and had a good time during shoot. Enjoyed the physical comedy that was part of the movie. While didn't write the parts with specific people in mind, he made an effort to write women's roles that were "well rounded and complex."
Mila Kunis Love interest for Jason. The improv forced her to "really pay attention" during scenes.
Kristen Bell - "Loves the geek crowd." Happy to be part of it, although not a "comic book" geek herself. Was excited to play a comedic role that was "complex," not just a caricature or stereotype. Mentioned she finished new scenes for "Fanboys," and was excited about the additions. Didn't know about the brewing web petition controversy. Understood that people could be upset but felt that the new scenes really helped the film.
Jack McBrayer Hotel guest who is naοve about sex and has "wild" wife. Felt lucky to be on set. Worked 8 days out of 30 had a great time. Made several self-effacing comments about that they hadn't "found him out" yet e.g. not really acting, playing self.
Nick Stoller - First time director. Background in improvisation felt that the movie is a "French Sex Comedy." 'Mentored' Jason through screen writing process, and transitioned into Director.
Wanted: Panel with James McAvoy
Saw part of film. Scene starts with Angelina Jolie opening up canvas bag and pulling out Israeli "corner" gun. She stands and is standing on end-cap of grocery store with James. She uses gun to look down aisle each side. Bad guy at other end of aisle, hiding behind end-cap. She shoots and chip bags explode. We follow bullet from bad guy down the top product shelf and it comes out between Angelina and James - bullet hole through head of person (between eyes) on "Wheaties" box.
Angelina notices aisle mirrors, she grabs James pulling him along and shoots out mirrors, while moving. She pauses, and James runs away, down the aisle - straight towards bad guy. Bad guy comes forward, and Angelina shoots "butane" / BBQ starter products they explode cutting off James from bad guy. James runs for the front of the store, bad guy goes to rear of store. James runs with terrified crowd out of store and into parking lot. Bad guy steals Pet Food Delivery Truck (looks like bakery truck) and attempts to run down James.
Angelina, in Viper, comes screaming around corner down the parking lot aisle at James. He's frozen crouched in the middle of aisle staring at headlights of delivery truck bearing down on him. Angelina power slides Viper, door swings open "picking" up James and slamming him into the car seat. Finishes power slide, door closes and Viper roars away with delivery truck in pursuit.
From delivery truck, bad guy shoots at Viper while both are careening down the road - dodging cars. James asks Angelina to call the cops - she comes up from behind a cop car and proceeds to run it off the road. Angelina pulls out another gun and aiming backwards while driving shoots back at delivery truck. Emptying gun, she pulls another and shoots the front windshield, pushes it out and it flies away. Then she makes James grab steering wheel, jams a can into the accelerator, and pulls herself on to the hood - back to hood, legs in window, sits up and shoots with two guns back at delivery truck. All the while the car is still weaving in and out of traffic via her foot and James's one-handed help.
Close call with sideswipe of truck and Angelina's head, while she's dangling off of side of hood. Car cuts off group of other cars which block the delivery van, and bad guy uses a "curved" shot to shoot out two of the Viper's tires.
Viper turns corner, wheel rims sparking up the ground, and Police road block ahead. Angelina "sees" bus coming towards intersection, pulls herself into car - puts Viper into power slide. Viper hits lip of road in front of Police road block and "flips" over police cars sideways slow-mo shot of car going upside down over Policeman and car, McAvoy screaming Cop looking confused. Car finished "flip" by hitting side of bus (tires of Viper against side of bus) causing bus to topple over on it's "other" side - and Viper now upright, "drives" off of side of bus and back onto the street. Drives away. End.
Danny Elfman doing movie score.
McAvoy spoke for a while. Mentioned that Jolie is a very intense actress. Especially when it comes to the action scenes. She has a stunt double that would "kick your *ss" easily.
Found the director (Timur Bekmambetov) great to work with. Director mentioned he wanted to find the "conflict" in every scene which fit well with how McAvoy looks at acting.
Didn't think he would get part. Thought that they would go with someone more rugged / perfect. Was very happy to land the role. Has never done an action movie and was excited to be a part of this one. Feels that nearly failing at something generates good things, so is inclined to stretch and try something new to get close to that edge of failing.
Grew up watching "Lethal Weapon" and "Back to the Future." Liked the fact that Michael J. Fox made "Back to the Future" action with all his movement like sliding across the hood of the Delorean. Mentioned that he got to jump a bridge. ;-)
Movie was intriguing to him because even the good guys are not so good.
Felt that he has been lucky to work with so many great actors and actresses and be able to learn more about acting while working with them.
6pm - New Line Cinema
Journey to the Center of the Universe 3D
Uses new Fusion Camera, developed by James Cameron. First film to use this new 3D technology. Camera literally uses two "eyes" a left and right, which are merged together to get the stereo view. The film is run through a polarizing filter which splits the image back into left and right sides, which by using the special glasses allows the left to see left and right to see right and the brain re-makes the stereo image.
Biggest challenge with making the 3D film is to not tire the audience eyes by forcing rapid multiple focuses. And also making sure the images line up correctly and are not "fuzzy".
Filmed in digital High Def, which also allowed rapid turn around of scenes for viewing and re-work.
Brendan Fraser -
Minor Mummy 3 reference: Had fun filming, 2+ months in China. Good time to revisit Mummy "story," actors more mature. Release should be just before Olympics.
Funny story - Walking through Singapore Airport and felt something on leg. Looked down and saw little kid attached to leg. Kid looks up and says "George!".
Big push from Fraser on 3D technology. The 3D angle was a big pull for doing the movie. Was instrumental in putting movie back on track (back to basic story line a character driven story). Feels that the 3D technology is the "next greatest thing" for movies. Was excited to be part of first live action 3D Movie.
Concerned that audiences are becoming jaded. And that all the CG has been at the expense of story line but likes the CG and 3D as a tool for the movie story. If the actor doesn't believe they are "there," than neither will the audience. Mentioned that 3D technology is like the "third" actor in the scene.