You could say that some things happened in Hall H on Saturday at SDCC. You could. Or you can say that epicness crashed the Hall H Saturday panels in spectacular fashion! I like that better.
To begin, the always funny and super charming Aisha Tyler came out for Warner Bros and proceeded to fangirl-out in a major way – which was incredibly easy due to the huge sizzle montage reel that WB had brought with them. For those of you that don’t know, in Hall H there is the big main screen that everyone sees center stage. However, all along the left and right sides of the room are black curtains that hang down from pretty much the ceiling to about halfway to the floor. Once in a while – for super huge panels/reveals – those side curtains are pulled all the way back to reveal gigantic near-panoramic screen extensions. When these turn on, you can be rest assured that things will get nuts. And oh how they did.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
After the sweet montage of some of the best movies from WB blazed across all three screens, Aisha introduced the first panel which was for director Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and included a badass trailer! I admit I had heard about the movie before but didn’t know too much about it and almost came close to dismissing it. Which I’m glad I didn’t because the trailer that we watched for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has everybody going cheering. Talk about about being action packed! But there’s not only action, from what we saw we know we’re going to get a hefty dose of Guy Ritchie’s signature quick-witted dialogue too. Another plus in our book! We were treated to a quick and quirky video message from Ritchie who couldn’t be there in which he introduced the upcoming panelists that came on stage: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, and Elizabeth Debicki. A few bits from the panel:
- ON FORMING CHARACTER RELATIONSHIPS THAT HATE EACH BUT ARE FORCED TO WORK TOGETHER: Henry Cavill – “Well, obviously Armie and I had no problems working with each other…we even shared a few drinks! Guy Ritchie makes it pretty easy to act out the script.”
- ON WORKING IN THE FILM’S TIME PERIOD: Alicia Vikander – “I think my parents were young back then so I looked back at their pictures [for inspiration]. They closed a lot of the locations we shot at, so it was pretty amazing to walk into these areas and see them set up.” Elizabeth Debicki – “Accent wise..I got to work with that clipped British accent which was fun!”
“This isn’t the story you’ve heard before. Because sometimes…friends begin as enemies and enemies begin as friends.”
Those words really rang true once we got into the new, extended trailer for director Joe Wright’s visionary take on the Peter Pan tale….titled simply Pan. Now this I have been keeping on an eye because everything that I’ve heard about regarding the film sounds like Wright is definitely looking to create his own footprint in the story we know by giving us something we’ve never seen before. Panelists included Joe Wright, Levi Miller, Garrett Hedlund, and yes…Hugh Jackman! The trailer that was brought was incredible and provided a longer look than we’ve seen before. What really intrigues me with Pan is that we’ll get to see someone new as a villain, minor characters that are brought to the front of our attention, and fresh face that we would all grow to know as Peter’s main nemesis, but is he really bad? Count me in to find out when the movie lands in theaters! On a quick side note for me: it was great seeing Hedlund. To me, I don’t think he comes out in enough films as he’s a really great actor in my opinion. Here’s some of what the guys had to say:
- ON WHAT THEY THOUGHT OF JOE’S VISION OF PETER PAN: Levi Miller – “Ohhh it was a beautiful script, the best one! Garrett Hedlund – “When I first met Joe, my kid was having nightmares and I wanted to show that no matter how dark things get, there’s always the light.” Hugh Jackman – “You’ve never seen Pan like the way you’re going to see it through Joe’s eyes!!” GH – “Everyday was pretty magical. Everyday we had music playing, the crew was always singing…it was definitely a playground.” HJ – “It was one of the most fun movies I’ve ever been in. And by the way…the pirate ships you see? Full scale! Those were actually built! The whole thing was a complete joy.”
The Hateful Eight
There are directors and then there are directors. What Quentin Tarantino has done in his lifetime in the world of movies will no doubt echo in eternity. We are HUGE fans of Tarantino and the fact that he brought what felt like a high school reunion with some of his best buds was the icing of one of the many fantastic cakes we got to see in Hall H on Saturday. Before the panel really kicked off, the lights went down and the quintessential badass of modern film appeared on screen – Mr. Samuel L. Jackson. We learned that unfortunately he couldn’t be there but gave a great little history on the technical aspect of QT’s The Hateful Eight. Jackson went on to describe that the Tarantino wanted to shoot the movie in Ultra Panavision 70, otherwise known as Ultra 70mm or just plain Ultra 70. A quick Cliff’s Notes explanation of what Ultra 70 is that it’s the widest possible way to shoot a movie and utilizes an aspect ratio of 2:76:1 by way of 65mm film. The process, which didn’t last long at all and was replaced by the easier and cheaper 35mm film process, would be coming back thanks to Quentin’s relentless desire to do something different again. The Hall H crowd also got educated on the old school style of the “Roadshow” – where back in the day movie releases were done in a classy and grand fashion. Folks dressed up, tickets were pricier, and the movie was treated as a play almost in which there was an intermission so moviegoers could discuss what they’ve seen so far with each other. A “Roadshow” will happen for The Hateful Eight as the movie is released in Ultra 70 across 100 screens scattered in the U.S. on Christmas Day!
Moderator and Hall H alum Chris Hardwick came out to bring introduce the guests: Quentin Tarantino, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Demian Bichir, and Bruce Dern. What a panel!! The audience’s applause showed they were fanatical about seeing some of Tarantino’s film alumni on stage in Hall H. A most delightful treat was brought by QT. It wasn’t really a trailer that we got to watch, rather it was more of a character callout of The Hateful Eight. No matter what I’ll take it. It looks like he’s going to knock this one out of the park…again! His signature style from his previous films dripped from the nice peek we got as the characters were introduced. Highlights from the enthusiastic director include:
- ON THE LENSES USED TO SHOOT THE MOVIE: Quentin Tarantino – “These are the lenses they used to on Ben-Hur….the very same. We had questions about using [the lenses] because we were shooting in such frigid cold, and normal lenses and cameras freeze in such cold. But our camera department was great in prepping the lenses and cameras and making sure nothing would happen to them.”
- ON THE DECISION TO SHOOT IN THIS PROCESS: QT – “You know, it sort of kinda evolved as time went on. I’m not a fan of digital projection. The thing is….my feeling was…..ok. I didn’t work 20 years to short the return. If I shoot it in 70 then they’ll have to release it in 70, otherwise they [the studio] would waste their money. Once we got the lenses it just kept evolving….this format is not just used to shoot beautiful travelogues but can be used for awesome movies!”
- ON ANIME SEQUENCES IN THIS MOVIE: QT -“No anime sequences in The Hateful Eight”.
- ON THE POSSIBILITY KILL BILL 3: QT – “You know….never say never. I know Uma would love to do it…..we’ve talked about it a lot. But you know we need Vernita’s daughter to grow up and kill her!”
- ON BEING MAYBE BEING CLASSIFIED AS A WESTERN DIRECTOR: QT – “When it comes to Westerns, I think at least nowadays you have to make at least three Westerns otherwise you’re just dabbling. I WILL do another Western to make sure I can be called a “Western Director.”
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
The portion of the 20th Century Fox panels were spearheaded by the next chapter of book-to-movie Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. This follow-up to 2014’s The Maze Runner looks to really be headed in the right direction! A new trailer was shown (which was for better or worse pretty long) and the Hall H crowd was hooked! Like it’s other book/movie competition (hello Katniss), Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials looks like like it won’t be losing any steam going forward so far. Moderator Chris Hardwick ran out to introduce to the guest of The Scorch Trials: author of the book James Dashner, director Wes Ball, Dylan O’Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Rosa Salazar, and Giancarlo Esposito. No spoilers were given by the panel, unlike last year, but we did take away a few points:
- Director Wes Ball – “It was really important to me that we not make just a rehash of the first movie. This movie really does start off where the last one left off. And some cool new twists and turns are gonna pop up.”
- WB – “It’s almost a different genre of the first movie. One of things we setup in the first movie is something we call “The Cranks” which you’ll see in this movie. They’re pretty terrifying!”