First up I ran over to the IGN Theater, which is a massive auditorium in the McCormick Place Convention Center, and got in line to see geek icon Patton Oswalt talking about his love of everything nerdy. I was under the assumption it would be more of a stand-up comedy type of show since two years ago that’s exactly what he did at the convention. He talked about a variety of subjects that everyone seemed to respond to, from J.J Abrams taking over the Star Wars franchise (“I’m cautiously optimistic.”) to deciding which was better - The Phantom Menace or Spider-Man 3 (“Herpes or gonorrhea?! Don’t make me decide!”). He also discussed his Marvel/Star Wars crossover rant from a recent episode of Parks and Recreation in which he guest starred. He proclaimed he was told to improvise one minute’s worth of dialogue to have in the background as Amy Poehler’s character talked to another in the foreground. It was all a big joke on him because there was never any intention for the filmmakers to tell him to stop. So for over 7 minutes he came up with the most elaborate and bizarre idea for a crossover ever and only stopped when his mouth literally dried out. Funnily enough, some of the best moments were due to fellow comedian Brian Posehn sending Patton Tweets during the panel criticizing him. As it turns out Posehn was hiding in the theater and was basically heckling him online. “Go back to Dagobah you fat bastard” was my favorite. When Patton realized his tormentor was in the room with him was a great moment. He seems like a supremely knowledgeable dude and is hilarious to boot (I’ve only seen one of his stand-up routines on Netflix and that’s it). It was a fun panel and I hope he returns to Chicago soon.
Next was a Q&A with Burt Ward and Julie Newmar from the 1966 Batman television series. Adam West was originally scheduled to be in attendance as well but had to bow out due to an injury. This was an awkward panel because, and nothing personal against the two key note speakers, Ward and Newmar looked like they were miserable up there on stage. This was highly apparent when the moderator announced that both of them would be available for photo ops in the autograph area (both of them slouched and their facial expressions went from half smiles to grimaces). Regardless, they took all questions in stride and answered them honestly. Although I refuse to believe that Burt Ward was ever a martial artist no matter how many times he proclaimed he was. There were some odd questions asked (“Why did The Joker’s hair go from brown to blonde?”) and some answers were purely filler (“Why did you want to play Catwoman?”). This was my least favorite panel of the day due to how uncomfortable the stars were, but it did give my actor friend and I an idea for a sketch we could make for our comedy webseries Winter & Construction.
The third panel was with one of the greatest character actors of all time… Ron Perlman! He is at the convention to promote the upcoming season of his hit television series Sons of Anarchy and the sci-fi action summer flick Pacific Rim, but surprisingly there were very few people interested in asking him questions about them. I was also pleasantly surprised that he’s not as surly as I always thought he appeared to be in interviews. He’s extremely funny and has one hell of a filthy mouth. My favorite moment was when asked about his method when voice acting for the character of Slade in Teen Titans. His response was that he tried to channel Hannibal Lector, but had to filter it through what was appropriate for a Saturday Morning Cartoon, but his intention was always to “scare the little motherfuckers”. When he revealed that he enjoys doing voiceovers more than film work due to the lack of waiting around associated with that process I have to admit I was genuinely surprised. Like one person proclaimed, “You make every movie, bad or otherwise, instantly watchable”, and I have to agree. Now that I’ve done some research and have seen the huge amount of voiceover work he’s done over the years I am truly taken aback. This guy gets around, but not in that schlocky Nicolas Cage way. The huge question I was hoping someone would ask, and someone did, was when we could expect Hellboy III. Perlman was excited about the prospect of returning to that franchise, but due to Guillermo del Toro’s insanely busy schedule he doesn’t know if it will be made any time soon. He did say that he’s been “laying on the Jewish guilt” to get him to begin working on the project. I hope he does, especially after he said that del Toro “designed it as a trilogy”. I love those films and hope we get the epic conclusion he set up in tose two movies.
Fourth was a stand-up comedy trio called Comedy Mutant, led yet another geeky comedy icon – Brian Posehn. Now this guy, while the funniest of the three comics we saw, is of the toilet humor variety of comic. Not that I’m complaining, but I thought that style had sort of been phased out over the years. Apparently I was wrong, or Posehn is the sole comedian championing its return. Regardless he was a riot despite his multiple fart jokes. He did a short set before introducing Mike Drucker, who is also a comedian of the geek variety. I think my actor friend who was with me summed him up best, “he took his time to set up the jokes and made sure the payoff was worth it”. Drucker was very funny and his insights into geek dating, however true or false they may be, were pretty awesome. Next up was Myq Kaplan, who is the exact opposite of Drucker. This guy was all about lame catchphrases (“BOOM!”) and rapid fire delivery that made him hard to follow. He did have some good material, but for the most part you had to “wade through a lot of unfunny crap to get to one joke that worked” as my friend put it. He’s the weakest of the three comedians. Posehn then returned to the stage to close out the show with a 15 minute set. I enjoyed the show regardless of the ups and downs, and I have the intense need to find a vendor who is selling the Halloween III shirt Posehn was wearing ASAP!
Next was a panel discussing the proposed steampunk television series Lantern City championed by none other than TRON himself, Bruce Boxleitner. Executive Producer Trevor Crafts and series writer Matthew Daley discussed the ideas behind the show and the incredibly interesting world it will take place in with fellow Executive Producer Boxleitner and cast member Mira Furlan (Babylon 5). Announced last year at the San Diego Comic Con, Lantern City is being shopped around to various networks so they can go to pilot. The audience was shown a brief teaser featuring the main characters (the actors playing them here will not be the ones ultimately cast for the series) and narrated by Boxleitner. I didn’t really show much and was a little confusing since I had no frame of reference, but the designs of the sets, costumes and world looked intriguing. Daley said that the overlying theme of the story will be “what lengths would you go to in the name of love”, and that it revolves around three people from our world who are accidentally transported to the alternate reality of the Lantern City and must find a way to survive and return home. He also talked about the details of the social class structure he came up with that sounds interesting. They also told the audience that they want to represent the Steampunk community accurately, so they are accepting information and design ideas from the public to help keep it authentic. They seemed to be truly interested in hearing what the community wants to see in the show, and while they aren’t going the Star Trek route by allowing anyone to submit story ideas, the idea of encouraging feedback and discussion among the Steampunk community and the show’s creators is a genius move to build excitement and hype. I’m sold. I even pre-ordered a graphic novel they announced will be available this summer that will serve as a prequel to the series (I get lots of extra goodies for being one of the first 100 to do so). You can pre-order it by clicking here. I think the show will definitely find an audience, especially if it’s on SyFy or another genre friendly network (one audience member screamed “Don’t let it be Fox!”). The casting of popular genre actors John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings), Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon a Time) and Gigi Edgely (Farscape) is also a big plus. I’m excited to see it in action when it is (hopefully) broadcast in 2014.
And lastly I attended a Q&A with The Walking Dead star Chad Coleman (who one person in the Lantern City audience discovered is being courted to star in that show). I didn’t stay for the entire panel, but it was plainly obvious that Coleman was a little nervous about the questions he would be asked (most likely for fear of accidentally giving away spoilers), but he handled everything in a very fun and professional manner. I wasn’t really enjoying myself since I don’t watch The Walking Dead, but once I found out he voiced Coach in the popular video game Left 4 Dead 2 I began to get interested (I love those games). He seems like a personable dude, and after he accepted to shake the hand of a Left 4 Dead fan and told everyone that “anyone who wants to shake my hand, just come up here” he completely won me over. He’s the goods.
And that wrapped up Day 2 of my C2E2 experience. I saw lots of cool people and learned a lot about future projects and gained further insight into geek culture. Tomorrow marks the final day of the con, and I’m looking forward to what I will find within… and for it to end. Seriously, my tailbone is fucking killing me!
Here some pics from the day's events:
Here some pics from the day's events: