The Con is almost over, and so am I. It’s been long week for me and Dave Davis, one that began with getting up Tuesday morning at 4am for flights to Las Vegas. In Vegas we spent two days on the set of Zak Penn’s new improv poker comedy, The Grand (although I did get enough time away to end up losing money at blackjack). I think our coverage of The Grand is going to be spectacular, not the least reason being that Dave got to be in the movie as an extra. I got lots of fantastic interviews done with people like David Cross, Werner Herzog and Avi Arad (who has a cameo in the film that he was shooting on the day we visited). And brace yourself for this one – I also did an epic, one hour one on one interview with none other than Brett Ratner. It’s a fascinating, no-holds-barred conversation that I think will cause a little bit of a ruckus when it’s run.
Thursday we flew into San Diego, where we got right to work. The bummer about covering the Comic Con as a journalist is that while all the neat stuff is going on in Hall H – announcements and footage being shown – the reporters are all upstairs doing interviews. This year I did manage to catch a couple of important presentations, like the Comic Con teaser for 300, which looks amazing. I was on the set of 300 back in December, and I saw them filming some very impressive battle scenes in front of a big old screen. Seven months later they have some of that stuff finished, and it looks huge, it looks exciting and it looks very, very bloody. That was a real highlight.
The Superman Returns panel was nice as well, especially because Richard Donner showed up with some footage from his cut of Superman II. It was a scene where Lois Lane tries to test her Clark-is-Superman theory by jumping out the window of the Daily Planet. I was a little worried that the crowd would be rough on Bryan Singer, but they were actually fantastic. Singer announced that he would like to get the sequel to Superman Returns on screens in 2009. I don’t think there will be a sequel, but he’s got the positivity going on.
But the biggest highlight has to be the Spider-Man 3 presentation, where Sam Raimi and most of the cast of the movie showed the unfinished new trailer. There were placeholder effects in spots, but even with animatics inserted the thing gave me chills. The Venom reveal is astonishing, and this trailer is going to silence a lot of naysayers. The trailer has the origin scene for Venom, with Topher Grace sitting in a church, praying for God to kill Peter Parker when a black goo drips down from the belltower onto his hand. And when he’s full on Venom he’s got a very nice set of nasty teeth in his very big mouth.
We also got a chance to talk to Raimi and the crew, as well as Zack Snyder and Frank Miller for 300, the Ghost Rider crew, Samuel L Jackson, Neil Gaiman and more. I also have exclusive interviews with Bryan Singer, Roger Corman, Edward James Olmos and Jon Favreau, and tomorrow Dave and I will have a two on two with Edgar Wright and Nick Frost to talk about Hot Fuzz. And today Dave had a one on one with The Descent director Neil Marshall.
Comic Con is also about parties, and we’ve been doing our best to hit them. This year saw what I think may have been the best big Comic Con event party, a BBQ/kegger for Universal’s new comedy Accepted. It was big and fun and lasted four hours. There have also been other great parties and events, some of which I’ll be writing about in my tell-all memoirs. I will tell you that last night I saw Darren Aronofsky and he gave me a big hug and said that he loved The Fountain review we ran last week. “I love CHUD!” he told me. And by the way, more people have been seeing that movie, and I’m pretty excited about their reactions.
On Monday I am going to Los Angeles, where I was supposed to do a Transformers set visit which got cancelled at the last minute. The good news is that I had a chance to talk to Transformers producer Lorenzo DiBonaventura about the film, so expect that in the coming days. Con has been fun, but I’m looking forward to getting home and pumping out these interviews and then getting back into the saddle and filling the site with the volume of content you’ve come to expect. It’s great to get out here and see all the filmmakers and the other journalists, but I miss coming up with headlines!