It’s a salacious headline, but it’s all true. During the Friday-headlining Warner Bros. panel – the most star-studded one yet this year – Hall H was packed with fan girls and boys wild about the first trailer for the new Nightmare on Elm Street, the Jonah Hex red band trailer (featuring not one, but two Megan Fox nude shots), and its star Josh Brolin, who embraced the sheer nerdiness of Comic-Con and its denizens, winning over thousands with deadpan amusement. Meanwhile, during Richard Kelly‘s presentation of The Box, we wondered aloud: Did Cameron Diaz just give away HUGE plot spoilers? Read on for more.
Hours before previewing his latest film, The Box, in front of thousands in Hall H, director Richard Kelly spoke exclusively with Rotten Tomatoes in an early morning interview. He shared with us his Five Favorite Films and spoke further about The Box, adapted from a Richard Matheson short story. In it, Cameron Diaz and James Marsden star as a married couple circa 1976 given an opportunity by a mysterious stranger (Frank Langella, missing half his face thanks to CG): Push a button, and receive $1 million. The catch: in pushing the button, you’d cause the death of a stranger.
In a beachfront hotel adjacent to the convention hall, Kelly told us that The Box was the most personal film he’s made to date – a significant note when you consider his first film was Donnie Darko. Discussing his notorious sophomore feature, Southland Tales, Kelly had no regrets; he even plans to make a longer Director’s Cut, and further expand the film’s universe. (Read more in our full Five Favorite Films with Richard Kelly piece.)
At the public panel for The Box, Kelly shared a new trailer. Where the first teaser trailer left me feeling iffy at best, the new clip was much tighter and revealed more of a sense of 1950’s-era suspense, which is seemingly exactly what Kelly was going for. The new footage shows more of a division between Diaz and Marsden’s characters; she pushes the button almost without hesitation, and subsequently they appear to suffer the consequences together.
While this new, arguably truer trailer was a vast improvement over the first teaser, it still retained an air of mystery. (A common trait in Kelly films that pose questions but seldom reveal answers.) That welcome kind of ambiguity fell by the wayside as star Diaz took the mike. [SPOILER ALERT]
“Richard had to throw in guys from Mars,” Diaz enthused, revealing that the underlying theme of The Box is otherworldly. The titular box is, it would seem, an alien object used to “test humanity” with a moral, existential challenge. So, the mysterious Arlington Steward (Langella) is working for aliens to see if humans are inherently greedy? Thanks, Cameron.
Between chatting with Kelly and watching The Box footage, we nabbed time with stuntwoman-turned-actress Zoe Bell, who got her start stunt doubling for Lucy Lawless on Xena: Warrior Princess before joining the chummy fold of Quentin Tarantino. The New Zealand native was a delight; look for her Five Favorite Films this week, along with details on her first feature vehicle, Angel of Death. (Zoe Bell as an assassin? Sign us up.)
If you (like us) missed the extensive footage from Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are presentation, fear not; it’s online for your viewing pleasure. Buzz from the panel was that it was magical; some grown men even admitted to crying. See for yourself!
Next: The new Freddy Krueger revealed, Jonah Hex’s sexy, supernatural trailer, and Sherlock Holmes
Unveiling the first trailer for their new horror reboot A Nightmare on Elm Street, star Jackie Earle Haley and the filmmakers had a lot of questions to answer. The best question, asked by a timid-looking teenage girl on the open mic: Why remake the classic film at all?
And though they tried valiantly, I’m not convinced that this Nightmare crew (who were also responsible for the horror reboots of the Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre series) made a very strong argument in favor of their reboot. Haley began by explaining that their film would introduce the Freddy Krueger mythology to “young adults.” Director Sam Bayer went as far as to compare his Nightmare to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins reboot. With no hint of sarcasm, producer Brad Fuller offered up a final thought: “It’s horrifying,” he said. “It’s different from our other movies.”
Where the Wild Things Are was moving, the new Freddy Krueger rousing, but nobody expected the raucous panel that we got for the supernatural western Jonah Hex. Credit on the one hand went to star Josh Brolin, who was as cordially surly as his titular scarred cowboy – an act that went off especially well when Hall H’s curious characters came up to the microphone. He fired off deadpan quips left and right; when someone in the audience shouted “Goonies!” Brolin didn’t miss a beat. “Same character – he’s like Brand from the Goonies, except later.” At one point a polite, nerdish young man offered compliments; Brolin offered, “You’re so sweet. I wanted to make a joke but I just couldn’t,” before basically offering to adopt him.
But while the Jonah Hex panel was Brolin’s show, plenty of glee erupted after director Jimmy Hayward played a red band trailer that had just been cut. (Megan Fox had only shot her last scenes, he said, 48 hours earlier.)
Fans of the comic book will undoubtedly be pleased. The Jonah Hex trailer packed a lot in – voodoo, horses, explosions, more explosions, boats on fire, machine guns mounted on horses, Hex’s scary hole in the face, plenty of Megan Fox corseted cleavage, and two shots of a sex scene. Thanks to these glimpses in particular – Fox’s tattooed, naked back visible as she engages her much older co-star in the sack (yuck!) – expect that fanboy interest will not dwindle. You could practically hear the nerd drool hit the floor. Hence, plenty of audience questions took a specific interest in Fox. Sample questions:
– Megan, will you marry me?
– Megan, could you imagine being attracted to me?
– Megan, are you attracted to action roles? Because I play sports…
– Megan, you’re hot. (Not a question.)
By the time the Jonah Hex panelists swept out, the crowd was still buzzing. So loud was their buzz, that it took a few seconds for anyone to realize that Robert Downey Jr. had emerged from the wings.
RDJ is, simply, a master speaker. He held the room rapt waxing poetic on the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, upon whose stories Downey’s Sherlock Holmes was based. Producers (including Joel Silver and Downey’s wife, Susan) took the stage along with co-star Rachel McAdams, who plays Holmes’ love interest and foil, Irene Adler.
And then, one of the best trailers of the 2009 Comic-Con debuted. Sherlock Holmes, as envisioned by director Guy Ritchie, is a lazy intellectual who depends a lot on his BFF, Watson (Jude Law). A plot involving sacrifices and a local (Mark Strong) drives the story, but more emphasis is placed on the comic bromance between Holmes and Watson. A cheeky tone permeates throughout, almost like Tony Stark has been sucked back in time to turn of the century England. As Downey put it, they’re trying to pursue the idea of Sherlock Holmes as “the first superhero.”
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