I sent Peter Svensson to the Legendary Pictures panel at Comic-Con today, that he might report on it for Bleeding Cool. Here's what he sent back:
Legendary Pictures Teases Giant Robots, Jeff Bridges, Satan and Mass Effect.
Legendary Pictures held their pre-production panel on Friday, focusing on four upcoming genre films that while announced, have yet to properly enter production.
"Giant Fucking Robots fighting Giant Fucking Monsters." was how Guillermo Del Toro described his latest film, scheduled for a 2013 release. Del Toro came on stage to great applause, crying out "HOLA CABRONS!" (Which roughly translates as "YO FUCKERS!") to the audience, and managed to sprinkle enough uses of "Fuck" in his brief section of the panel to make Mamet blush. With Del Toro were screenwriter Travis Beacham, actors Idris Elba, Charlie Day and Charlie Hunnman. A logo from the film was displayed on screen as Del Toro spoke. Charlie Day
was cast based on a single performance of his from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", a series that Del Toro adores for having the meanest, most adorable people. Last season, in "Charlie King of the Rats", Day's character emerged from the basement giving a grizzled, Vietnam Veteran-esque performance, which convinced Del Toro that he had what it took.
The plot of the film involves a realistic view of what would happen if 25 story tall monsters showed up, and delves into the reaction that humanity would have. Besides beachfront property losing all appeal, what weapons would be needed to fight these creatures, what would the human reaction be? Del Toro described the film as being about scale in all elements, juxtaposing the human scale of the protagonists with the massive epic of the monsters and robots battling. He apologized for having to be vague and "haiku-ish" but wasn't able to properly
disclose plot events without ruining the film. Del Toro had been fond of his friend Travis Beachem's script for Pacific Rim, and was jealous of whoever would get to direct it. The benefit of Del Toro's planned adaptation of "At the Mountains of Madness" collapsing was that it opened his schedule so that he could direct the film. He did make two promises:
It is my duty, to commit to film, the finest fucking monsters to the screen. I pledge to bring about the best fucking robots to the screen.
Jeff Bridges, known for being very picky about the roles he chooses, came to the stage to thunderous applause. With him were co-stars Ben Barnes and Alicia Vikander, and director Sergei Betrov. All the cast gushed about Betrov's previous work being why they agreed to work on this project, specifically Mongol. Betrov's accent was nigh-impenetrable, but he spoke about the film being adapted from a British fantasy novel, yet trying to avoid many of the tropes and cliches of the genre. The film, dealing with a witchhunter having to train an apprentice in a dark fantasy world had such a compelling story that Bridges was eager to work with. Bridges was asked how working on heavy CGI-reliant films was like, and went off on how he
misses having costumes and sets and props to work with, rather than dots on your face and a helmet camera. He had spoke to another actor in the Comic Con Green Room whose upcoming film is to be so technologically advanced, they have yet to make the model of camera needed. Bridges concluded that it is impossible for him to adjust to modern technology because as soon as you adjust, a new piece of technology is released.
Alicia Vikander explained that she was happy that this would be her first American film, as she was a childhood fan of horror and fantasy literature.
Bradley Cooper, late of the Hangover and Hangover 2 will be starring as Lucifer in this adaptation of Milton's epic poem. Director Alex Proyas showed some production art of the film, set to chronicle the events of the poem dealing with the war in heaven between Lucifer and Michael. Proyas made a point that Hell and Heaven are cliche, and that this film would strive to find a unique visual look for them, as well as Eden. Cooper had been a fan of the classic poem in college, and when he heard that Legendary was developing a film petitioned for the chance to play the character. Cooper filmed an audition tape in his kitchen to demonstrate his desire for the role of Lucifer. "I relate a lot to the character, it's a small story about two brothers and their father, and one son feels utterly betrayed."
Casey Hudson, the creator of the popular video game series and screenwriter Mark Protosevich (Thor), spoke about the upcoming adaptation. Since the movie is so far in pre-production that nothing exists yet, they instead showed the trailer to the upcoming game, Mass Effect 3. As was noted by John Jashni, the history of games being adapted to movies has been spotty at best. Protosevich explained that in many cases, producers would fall in love with the graphics or the exciting gameplay of a video game and decide to adapt it and not realize that the game lacked a story, compelling themes or characters. The sorts of things necessary for a good film to be made.
Jashni elaborated that part of making a good game adaptation requires having the creators of the game involved in the creative process.
Casey Hudson was pleased to be working with Legendary, and noted that they've had companies vying for the rights to adapt Mass Effect since 2006, before the game was even released. Legendary's track record with films like The Dark Knight helped make the decision to work with them on Mass Effect easy. Condensing the events of the first game into a
single feature film is the current plan.
The panel concluded with the promise that future conventions would have information about Godzilla, as Legendary has recently acquired the rights to release a new film in that storied franchise.
Thanks to Peter who, hopefully, will find us more good stuff on Saturday and Sunday.