This young man is called Guillermo del Toro. I met him Sunday morning at Stuart Ng Books in the Comic Con event hall. I did actually get a photo of him smiling for my camera but the mysterious forces of the visual medium at his command were not at mine so it came out blurry.
But he shook my hand and I was able to tell him that his upcoming film, Crimson Peak, looks gorgeous, which it does. I saw Del Toro appear with Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, and Mia Wasikowska Saturday on the Crimson Peak panel, which has been posted in plenty of forms on YouTube. Here's what looks to me like the best recording (credit to Regina Darlin);
People are doing a much better job at posting panel videos this year. If I'd have known, I wouldn't have wasted so much of my memory card recording videos myself. Anyway, yes, Crimson Peak looks gorgeous and I think if it ends up having the worst screenplay ever written I'm still going to like it. The visuals from the trailer tell me it already has me. But the story does sound intriguing, I like Del Toro's conceptualising it as an old fashioned Gothic Romance with a female protagonist at the centre of a mystery. Jessica Chastain talked about all the detail and character in the set which was essentially a fully built house with a functioning elevator. But you can hear all this from watching the panel yourself.
The panel before Crimson Peak was the one I spent most of my camera's memory card on, Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful 8. The director appeared with almost all the stars of the film except Samuel L. Jackson.
Jackson appeared in a video introduction that included clips from the film and Tarantino talking about using 70mm lenses--the very same lenses that were used to film William Wyler's version of Ben Hur from 1959, one of the widest movies ever made.
The other big piece of news was that Ennio Morricone will for the first time be composing an original score for a Quentin Tarantino film. He contributed an original song, "Ancora Qui", to the Django Unchained soundtrack and Tarantino, who often uses bits of score from older films, is particularly noted for borrowing from Morricone scores but this will be the first time Morricone has scored an entire Tarantino film. As Tarantino noted on the panel, it'll also be Morricone's first Western score in forty years.
Morricone is widely recognised as one of the greatest film composers of all time but with the exception of the score to The Mission in the late 80s, many people seem to feel he peaked in the 60s and 70s, though I quite like his score to Carpenter's The Thing. I do think his scores to Cinema Paradiso and Red Sonja are a bit dull but that may have been due to the material his was working with (Cinema Paradiso is a vastly overrated film in my opinion). However, I absolutely love "Ancora Qui" so maybe what Morricone needed was just the right filmmaker.
Again, the whole Hateful 8 panel is on YouTube from various sources though apparently there was a place near the front set aside for cameras this year giving them a vantage point where the person sitting on the left end of the panel--generally the most prominent individual, Tarantino in this case--was blocked by the podium. So here're some clips I recorded unobstructed except for occasionally by people who just would not fucking sit down in Hall H for some reason.
I had some focusing issues that clear up mostly after 1:30, kind of appropriate since Tarantino is talking about lenses in the clip.
People in the audience were given tickets to claim a prize in the nearby Hyatt hotel, I got this swell Hateful 8 film card:
I got into Hall H right at the beginning on Saturday, rather surprising since I arrived only an hour and a half before they started letting people in. The queue was stretched to the bay but I'd gotten in before when it was much longer. Really, it was a pretty low turnout considering the first panel of the day in Hall H was the Warner Brothers panel which included the presentations for Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman. The stars of both films appeared, though in the case of Suicide Squad everyone just walked up on stage, said hello, and walked off. Hell of a reason to fly in Will Smith and Margot Robbie.
Incidentally, this was the moment when I realised that I'd had Jai Courtney, at left there, mixed up with Jason Clarke, both actors turning in bland and slightly whiny performances in Terminator: Genisys.
After this was what Warner Brothers was desperately trying to sell as the main event, the Batman v. Superman panel. Moderator for all Warner Brothers panels, Aisha Tyler, who generally did a pretty good job, forgot to introduce Jeremy Irons who walked onstage with some jocular hesitation. When handling an audience question about interpreting characters who've been previously played by other actors, Tyler said they'd go down the line with it, starting with Gal Gadot, apparently forgetting Irons was first in line. Irons took the first response anyway, sounding like he'd taken whatever Michelle Gomez had taken on Thursday, dazed and barely conscious.
The whole panel is on YouTube, you can find it yourself, if you like, I wouldn't want to look like I was in any way recommending people subject themselves to Zack Snyder's usual inability to put two words together. Not that I consider this a reflection of his talents as a filmmaker, though I happen to think he's mediocre at best. Even some truly great filmmakers aren't great speakers, Ridley Scott, for example. Ben Affleck was by far the most articulate person on the panel, and he talked about the film's concept of Gotham and Metropolis being twin cities, across a bay from each other. It sounds like the film, written by Affleck's Argo screenwriter collaborator, is actually taking the dumbest part of Man of Steel, Superman's apparent disinterest in the collateral damage he caused in his battle with Zod, and using it as a central motivation in Bruce Wayne's hatred for Superman. Which is actually a good idea and for the first time I felt like there might be something about this film I might actually like. Though how Gal Gadot's completely ineffective take on Wonder Woman fits into the equation I have no idea.
You know, it's kind of funny that Zack Snyder adapted Watchmen before doing these Justice League films. He watered down the comic that both parodied and celebrated the humanity underneath the DC heroes and now he's basically in charge of the DC heroes, having been announced now as director of two Justice League films. It's almost like Warners and DC are rewarding him for abusing Alan Moore. I have a feeling that after the two Justice League movies we'll be in a place where we really need a Watchman movie, a good one this time.
Also part of Warner Brothers' presentation were panels on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Pan, a prequel to Peter Pan directed by Joe Wright. It sounds pretty intriguing and I liked descriptions of a huge fantasy set created for Neverland, it reminded me of the massive set constructed for the forest in Ridley Scott's Legend. Hugh Jackman seemed particularly enthusiastic.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. presentation wasn't bad, I found myself actually liking Henry Cavill in the role.
I also saw both of the Matt Smith panels I talked about yesterday on Saturday. I was tempted to stay in Hall H all the way to the end because the last panel was just Joss Whedon by himself talking about whatever he wanted but if I'd stayed it would have meant not seeing the event hall all day on Saturday, which was a depressing prospect. So I left and met this Dia de los Muertos lady who seemed excited when I told her about the TARDIS calaveras upstairs.
On the mezzanine, I met a few lovely burlesque angels.
Okay, I'd say I have at least four more entries' worth of things to talk about so tune in to-morrow.
Twitter Sonnet #769
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