Our coverage of WonderCon 2013 continues with the big Hollywood panels from Saturday in the Arena. After the break, read some of the highlights from the Sony/Screen Gems panel for the movies Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Evil Dead, and This is the End.
Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
I’m not familiar with the series of novels this film is based on, so I’m a little out of my element here. However, there were plenty of fans in attendance to get sneak peek at the film, which opens August 23rd.
The panel included stars Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, and the author of the novels, Cassandra Clare. Clare talked about how surreal it was to walk on set and see her words come alive. She’s most excited to see the demons from her book, since they are CGI and not yet completed. She was more involved in the film than she had expected, including talking to the casting director every day at one point.
Collins was attracted to the main role of Clary Fray because she’s such a feisty character. Campbell Bower said that his was his most physically demanding role to date, and Zegers explained that he didn’t have time to worry about the built-in fanbase since he was cast pretty late. Collins was already a fan of the books, so she had to ignore the pressure and focus on the role.
A new trailer was shown that looked interesting, and the crowd loved it. This was followed by the fan Q&A, which had a lot of specific questions that made no sense to me. We did learn that the tattoo process takes a few hours, most of the actors favorite character in the book is Magnus, and Clare most identifies with Simon. Collins said this was one of the best single experiences in her life, and she hopes to return as Fray in sequels.
You know you’re in for a treat when you get multiple warnings from multiple people that the next movie is Rated R and if you’re squeamish you should leave. Evil Dead is a remake of the 1981 horror cult classic. The panel consisted of director Fede Alvarez, producer Bruce Campbell, and stars Jane Levy, Jessica Lucas, and Lou Taylor Pucci. Campbell, who also starred in the original trilogy, explained that they decided to do a reboot instead of a sequel because Campbell and Sam Raimi (who directed the original and is a producer here) didn’t have time to make a sequel. Then, Evil Dead fan Alvarez pitched the idea of a reboot.
Thanks to premiering at SXSW, there’s been a lot of talk about how horrific this film is, so the moderator asks how they even got it down to an R rating. The MPAA was very helpful, and the tone of the gore made a difference. As Campbell explained, after you watch a torture porn flick, you want to kill yourself, but after this, people are talking. Also, the difference between Evil Dead and torture porn is that Evil Dead always has a hero.
Levy talked about how her worst experience on set was being buried alive. The film uses practical effects, so she actually was buried with an oxygen tube hidden behind her. Alvarez wanted the actors to actually be scared, because the audience can see when it’s fake. A movement specialist was brought in for some of the more extreme movements. The practical effects made everything harder for everyone, but they all thought it was worth it.
The big statement of the day was Alvarez saying that he hopes to merge this reboot with the original franchise (for which there is a sequel coming called Army of Darkness 2). So, it seems like they are in the same universe. We were then shown a clip from the film where Pucci’s character discovers Lucas’ character in the bathroom, but she isn’t exactly herself. It’s horrifying, funny, and doesn’t hold back at all. So, of course the audience loved it.
When asked if there were things in the original film that they wanted to change for this movie, Bruce ran through a list like a pro. He liked that it didn’t take four years off and on to make, that they don’t have to worry about seeing the garden hose that was used for the projectile vomit, that they have actors with experience, nothing froze, and that it’s being promoted enough that you might actually see it when it comes out in theaters.
This is the End
The last panel of the day was for the appropriately-titled This is the End, which is an apocalyptic comedy adventure starring a bunch of great comedic actors as themselves. Written and directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, the film opens on June 14th.
The panel consisted of Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Rogen, and Goldberg. Rogen came out in a classic Wolverine costume thinking everyone else on the panel would do X-Men. Then, Goldberg came out in an S&M outfit thinking this was AdultCon, which is going on this weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Overall, the panel was really funny, as most questions were answered with wisecracks.
We did get to see some footage, and it impressed. First we got a new Green Band trailer that had a lot of new footage, including showcasing more actors and the plot. For instance, Michael Cera slaps Rihanna on the ass before she punches him in the face. Then we got a clip of a coked-up Cera freaking out about the whereabouts of his phone before being killed in a brutal fashion. Finally, we were treated to a scene where Jay Baruchel tries to give Jonah Hill an exorcism. Not only was the writing in these few clips and trailer hilarious, but the plethora of stars was surprising. We saw Paul Rudd, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Mindy Kaling, and more all playing heightened versions of themselves.
It seemed like everyone had a great time on set, and it shows on screen. This movie has definitely moved the ladder on my most anticipated for the summer.