WonderCon 2012: 20th Century Fox

At WonderCon on the third floor in the ballroom with roughly 3,000 seats, the larger more impressive panels took place.  All of these large scale Studio panels took place on Saturday. It was not uncommon for the Studio to hand out swag to the audience, mainly posters. This was the first year that WonderCon was able to screen movie trailers and footage in 3D, thanks to RealD.

The first of these hotly anticipated panels was 20th Century Fox, and they were there to promote and educate the Con about two of their big summer movies, both of which are being released in June, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Prometheus.

The first of these movies was Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  For the discussion for this film, the author of the book and screenplay, Seth Grahame-Smith moderated the discussion along with the film’s director Timur Bekmambetov and the star  playing Honest Abe, Benjamin Walker.

The audience was not only treated to the yet released second trailer for the film, but also a scene from the climax of the film, only the trailer was projected in 3D.  To stay out of spoiler territory, no detailed descriptions of what was show will be in this article.  After the footage was shown, audience members were able to ask the guests questions.

As part of the marketing for the film, through the official Facebook page, there is a fan art contest judged by Timur and producer Tim Burton.  Also, producer Tim Burton helped protect the idea that the film was being made in an unapologetic way. Because of the absurd title, the film needed to be made in a straightforward and dedicated way.

While the author Seth Grahame-Smith was on a book tour for his book Pride, Prejudice and Zombies in 2009, he noticed that most of the other book promotions were for either the Twilight series or Abraham Lincoln biographies, seeing as it was the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. These images and concepts followed him around from bookstore to bookstore on the tour, providing him the idea for the book.   Seth, said that there are several differences between the book and the movie and  because there was not really an actual villain in the book, a leader of the vampires was created.

Benjamin was asked how he approached playing Mr. Lincoln, both as an actual historical person and as a fictional vampire hunter.  Naturally he read several books on the subject.  Benjamin claims that this film is just a period piece that just happens to have vampires.  Giving credit to the director Timur, this is a 19th century movie with very 21st century visual aesthetics.  Viewers will be seeing an action movie that is also quite historically accurate in many regards.

Ben went on to say that it is kick-ass and he also feels honored to be playing one of the most important Americans ever.  He wants audiences to know that Abe can not only make hard decisions, but is extremely good at cutting some heads off too.

Timur joked about sunscreen having been invented in the 19th century, thus allowing Vampires to come out during the daylight hours. It was good to see the discussion for such dark and fantastical take on Abe Lincoln end on a rather lighthearted note.

Next up was the discussion for Prometheus, the grand return to science fiction filmmaking for Sir Ridley Scott, conducted by the film’s writer, Damon Lindelof and it was nothing short of spectacular.  Two member of the main cast, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender  were also on hand to take part in the discussion.  The fans in attendance were treated to seeing the first full trailer for the film, not once but twice.  For those who were unable to see it firsthand, here is our link to the full Prometheus trailer.

It has been about 30 years since Ridley Scott has made a science fiction film.  It was not due to lack of trying, but because he had not come across the right script or story he wanted to tell.  The film leaves the audience with several big open questions which could lead to a sequel.  He then talked about casting the actors and he said that he had several of the key players in mind as the script was being written.  Once They were cast, Ridley then talked to the actors individually for hours to get a feel for who they are.

When offered the roles in the movie both Charlize and Michael were given only two hours to read the script, but that was enough time for them to know they wanted to be apart of the project.  Charlize was asked about being in an ensemble cast versus a starring role.  She said it was who the cast ended up being that was a driving force for her deciding to be a part of this film.  Michael plays a cybernetic individual, android, robot. It is to be no surprise to the audience and is revealed early in the film, that Michael’s character David, is not human, but an android.  In the film, the character of David is there to serve the spaceship and its crew.  He drew inspiration from former Olympic swimmer Greg Louganis to help shape the movements of David.

Ridley was asked about shooting the film in 3D which was a first for him.  He said it was the crew that made shooting in 3D a painless, fun and a learning experience.  Dovetailing on this, since his previous his sci-fi films did not have any CGI elements, Ridley found it very useful to be able to see how several parts of the film came together in the early stages of the filming process.  He says that CG can allow for almost anything that a filmmaker wants, but on the flip side it forces them to be more creative and original.  He told the audience that all four of the people on stage are lucky to get to do the sorts of things they do on a daily basis.

What fans were treated to for these two films, was not only enough to live up to their expectations, but surpass them and make them wanting more. Timur was able to take two seemingly different ideas and turn it into something that is both kick-ass and still grounded in real American history.   Ridley returns to the genre that put him on the map as one of the top filmmakers and someone who in this day can still thrill and amaze audiences.

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