WonderCon 2008: Day 2 – Part 1!

Anthony Baratta has filed the first part of his report on the second day of WonderCon 2008 in San Francisco. You can check out our updated WonderCon photo gallery here!

Wondercon 2008 – Saturday

10,000 B.C. Panel

Roland Emmerich

Steven Strait

Camilla Bell

Showed extended cut “trailer”. This one had voice-over / narration. Showed many of the current scenes from trailers – with a bit more.

Started with extended mammoth hunt, sneak into herd, start stampede. Voice-over gave a bit of an overview of the environment, then cut to “Steven”? saying something like “We are the Mammoth hunters. Our fathers and their fathers before them.” Cut to Camilla / Steven – love vow / pledge. (Give her necklace?) “We thought we were alone. Until they showed up.” Cut to raid of village – people fighting. Camilla being captured and lead away.

Steven picked to lead tribe to re-capture family stolen. Scenes of danger on trip. Huge “carnivorus Dodo’s”, some type of lizard – only see eye.

Talk about the slavers – where did they come from? The Stars? Some island that sunk? (Atlantis)

They meetup with other tribes – Steven’s character is told he is the “chosen one” – one foretold to lead all the tribes against the ‘evil’ city.

Many action scene cuts of battle and over throw of evil city. Pretty much covered in other trailers. Tigers, Elephants, Warriors – oh my! 😉


Roland was asked but would not talk about “2012.”

Roland mentioned this was the hardest movie he’s ever made. Two location shoots, one in New Zealand and the other in Africa. Steven mentioned the physical work necessary for the role – climbing mountains, fighting, etc. The stunt work was a challenge, and the coordinators were professional / organized and he never thought he was in danger. He also mentioned that initially the CG work was awkward – but was able to grow into the experience. His focus was on the human condition over time within the setting. The basic themes of Love and Hate – the relationships between characters helped drive him through the CG heavy scenes. Camille mentioned that since they didn’t talk much – she was challenged by the desire to simplify their mannerisms to express themselves. Having to sit for makeup for 2 hours, helped because when the makeup was done – she really felt like a different person. How did people move, behave back then? Nothing to compare with – so nothing to lean on. But since you can’t be “wrong” there was freedom to explore options. Both mentioned that the voice work was a challenge since they speak english with an arabic accent. Getting that to flow correctly took time. Both mentioned that the film was shot almost in sequence, a rare luxury for a film actor and that helped with understanding the character growth.

Roland discussed that he is inspired by Pyramids and the Egyptian Culture. And like “Stargate” this is an extension of that interest. Saw the Pyramids of Giza when young boy, and that has stayed with him all his life. Also, this was an opportunity to explore new territory where you can “make stuff up”, let your creativity run wild because there is no historical record. One other source of research is “Fingerprint of God” – a book about a theory of who made the pyramids and where they came from.

Also Roland was intrigued by a Discovery Channel Special about the mammoths and his love of the movie “Quest for Fire.” He felt that now was a good time for such a movie because the CG work necessary to pull it off believable animals was now available. Plus the fusion of history and fantasy was an area he wanted to explore. He was also inspired ny Robert E. Howard’s “Conan” stories and felt this is a Hyborian Age story too. He loved the whole idea of the Conan Pre-History.

Roland got into directing as an extension of his first desire – production design. He went to film school to learn production design and as the course-work lead him into directing pieces, which was required for graduation, he grew into directing. It was a transitional process – not a flash of inspiration.

He mentioned that the CG work had taken over a year to do.

Get Smart Panel

Steve Carell

Anne Hathaway

Peter Segal – Director

Showed new movie trailer. Looks funny. Didn’t go over board with every joke and situation like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Great sight gag with The Rock stapling a memo to someone’s head.

Peter discussed that instead of copying the original (which they all paid homage to) they were trying to capture the spirit of the TV show. He felt that Mel Brooks and Buck Henry had created this masterpiece playground and that they were determined to not screw it up.

Segal did mention “Shazam!” – that he wants the Rock as Black Adam, but the script is not finished yet. But is being worked on right now, after the lengthy interruption.

Carell mentioned that it was hard not to do Don Adams’ voice. It could not help but come out when the icon phrases were uttered – but he tried to steer away from mimicking Adams’ voice.

Carell noted that “The Office” should be back on set in 2 weeks (Segal was happy, because he said Carell was always hanging around the sound studio). While Steve was not writing any episodes for “The Office” this season, he is planning on doing a jury duty episode because of his recent experience on a jury.

Hathaway talked about her nervousness at having to do improv on the set. It was mentioned that the need to improv during filming was important to Carell. The improv was a serious challenge to Hathaway, but working with Steve made it easier over time.

Hathaway was intrigued and intimidated by the 99 character because of Barbara Feldon’s portrayal. Feldon was a classy intelligent independent woman and Hathaway wanted to make sure she retained that with her characterization.

Peter mentioned that once they had signed Carell to the Max Smart role all the other actors signed on shortly. He stated that was a direct result of Carell’s pull on the project.

Special Appearance by Steve Sansweet

Showed a making of / over-view of the upcoming “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” Cartoon Movie/TV Show.

Thoughts – does show epic level like live action movies. A lot of detail in every scene, lots of splash for the eye. Real question is the storyline going to add / detract from visual display? Lucas was very involved with all aspects of the creation of “Clone Wars” cartoon.

Disney/Walden Media: The Chronciles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Howard Berger – Creature Supervisor

Shooting for Narnia was done in New Zealand and Czech Republic. This story is bigger in scope, with a new look and vision. “Darker and more savage” because of the storyline( the Narnia creatures have been exiled), but still family entertainment. One aspect as a director that returning to Narnia allowed, was to change / do over the creatures. Felt that last movie all the creatures were 20 – 25 years old. This time wanted to make younger and older creatures to give a fuller back drop to story.

Showed a 5 minute video presentation of “Prince Caspian.” *Very* rough cut, with many special effects missing. Was funny to see actors with “green” legs, or with partially completed horse bodies. Arrow shots from Susan were blotching and fat. Reepicheep was not complete – very cartoony. Still – looks like its faithful to the story line and full of sword fighting action.

He’s hoping to be able to work on all movies made from the 7 books. They are starting pre-production on :Voyage of the Dawn Treader: right now. He mentioned that his company was one of several originally interviewed for “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.” He was asked why he wanted to do Narnia, when KNB was not known for this genre. He mentioned he wanted to do a film his kids could watch.

The Telmarines armor was influences by Spanish Renaissance armor. To date, his favorite creatures are Mr. Tumnus (McAvoy) and the Minotaurs.

Side note: McAlvoy was brought in at the last minute because they could not find an actor they were happy with. They weren’t sure about him because he was so young and they were thinking of an older Tumnus. Obviously he pulled it off.

Disney/Pixar: WALL•E

Andrew Stanton – Director

Just for the record, “WALL•E” stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class.

Stanton mentioned his love for 70’s Sci-Fi and felt that this movie fills a niche that apparently no longer exists. He described “WALL•E” as basically a love story. And the original premise is “what if everyone left earth and forgot to turn off the last robot?”

Basic plot points discussed:

– Earth is buried in trash from over consumption and embarks on a 5 year space cruise to wait out the clean up efforts. Something goes wrong and they are gone for 700 years. The clean up effort fails as all the machines left, fall apart. WALL•E is the last one left.

– EVE is a probe droid that is sent down to check out the planet, and WALL•E falls in love with her. Everything revolves around his pursuit of her.

WALL•E looks like a cross between an trash compactor and Johnny 5 from Short Circuit. Andrew mentioned that he got the idea of WALL•E’s eyes while playing with binoculars while at an A’s game.

He was very adamant that WALL•E is a machine first, a character second, and that logic drove all the design work around him and the other robots. Andrew is fascinated how every day objects can bring forth emotions just by their design. Luxo Junior as an example. He’s a lamp – but still has a ton of personality. He wanted the same for WALL•E. That also drove the “voice”. The speaking that is in the movie by the robots is a function of their “tech”. And this feature of the movie was always there from the start.

This direction appeals to the animators since they work with pantomime and body movement already to tell the story.

Ben Burt is doing the sound design and was amazing to work with. Andrew tells a story about how it was hard not to “geek” out in front of Mr. Burt. He relates a time when he was having trouble conveying a sound type to Ben, and goes “OK Ben, remember when you were in the Sandcrawler and there was that machine that went ‘gonk-gonk’….” Ben picked that up right away and they started discussing the scene in intimate detail.

The new technology designed for the film is not obvious to the viewer, but is something that Andrew is especially proud of. They worked with live cameras to get the proper focus and lens work, then translated that into the computer “camera” for the scenes. They were attempting to get the original Sci-Fi look and feel from the lens use by those older movies.

He showed several clips from the movie:

Day in the Life of WALL•E. Very close to what is shown in trailer.

Showing EVE his “pad”. Cute scene. “Hello, Dolly!” Musical integral to movie.

WALL•E stowing away on pod recovery ship.

WALL•E being sent back to earth from the home ship AXIOM.

Stay tuned for the second part of the report on Day 2 soon, including Iron Man, The X Files 2 and more.