Another highly entertaining panel that was held during San Diego Comic Con 2010 was the one for James Gunn‘s hero movie, Super. Gunn is best known as the director of the wonderful horror-comedy Slither, and he also wrote the screenplays for Scooby-Doo and Dawn of the Dead.
Super had one of the better panel lineups, bringing out Gunn, stars Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Nathan Fillion, Liv Tyler, Michael Rooker, and producers Ted Hope and Miranda Bailey.
The movie sounds like it’s along the same lines as Kick-Ass where people without superpowers fight evil. In it, Wilson plays the lead character, who calls himself the Crimson Bolt. He has no powers, but he does have a wrench he likes to use in confrontational situations. Looking at the cast and concept, you would think this was primed for gut-busting humor, but apparently it’s a very dark comedy with a lot of dramatic situations.
To open the panel, Gunn shows off a trailer as well as a scene from the movie. Again, this is a dark comedy, but Wilson beating the ever-loving hell out of someone who cut in line at the movies with his wrench got lots and lots of laughs.
Gunn goes on to talk about how he wrote the script about eight years ago, and it was right around the time that he got financing for Slither. At that time, however, he didn’t think any actors fit the roles perfectly enough, so they waited.
Wilson shares a story about being on the set of The Office, where he plays Dwight and works with Jenna Fischer (Gunn’s ex-wife). Fischer was on the phone with Gunn while Wilson happened to be standing nearby, and when Gunn asked her what he should make next, she told him it should be Super because it’s “the best script you’ve ever written.” Not knowing any actors fitting the lead role, he asked her who could play it and of course she said “What about Rainn Wilson?” At this time Wilson apparently went back to his little cubicle where there was already an e-mail from Gunn with the script, which he got 27-pages into before calling the director and saying “I’m in. We have to make this movie. I have to play this character.”
While Wilson and Gunn were out trying to find some financing for the project, Wilson threw up a Twitter message saying that they were going to make an “F’d up, low-rent Watchmen” which happened to catch the eye of producer Ted Hope. Hope had been wanting to do something like that for a while and continued e-mailing Gunn that he wanted to do it.
Gunn then talks about how things were going so smoothly that they decided to figure out who their very top pick for each role would be and give it a try. He reminds everyone that this was about as low-budget as movies can be and would pay the actors the minimum allowed by the Screen Actor’s Guild, so they had little hope of landing their top choices. So they sent the scripts out to their choices and wouldn’t you know it, they loved it and wanted in.
Live Tyler then get in on the action. Tyler talks about not being used to the daily grind on her first day on the set because she had taken a year off and hadn’t worked since The Incredible Hulk. She mentions how she’s actually went home and cried that night because they had filmed half of her role so quickly and she’s used to performing a certain way that she wasn’t happy with her work. Gunn clarifies that it was such a small movie with a small budget that they were pulling off 54 setups a day, where the average movie does about 15.
Next up is Nathan Fillion, who passes by getting questions and decides to ask Liv Tyler one about doing her own stunts. Apparently Tyler — who plays a drug addict in the movie — has a scene where she’s injected with a needle, and Tyler actually let someone stick her with the needle. And not only that, but it was one of the actors, not a doctor. Tyler shares that she has a pet peeve about hand and foot body doubles because she has large hands and feet, so she likes to do it all herself. Fillion scores a classic quote by telling her “If I was half the woman you are, I’d be twice the man I am.”
Fillion goes on to talk about how he was really excited to take part in the movie and how he was shocked to discover how sad and dramatic it was. That he found himself crying and tight-chested and exhausted from it on top of all the comedy stuff. This made him even more proud to be part of it.
Earlier Gunn mentioned that Kevin Bacon, who is also in the movie, wanted to be there but couldn’t due to his concert schedule. A fan asked what it was like to work with Bacon during the Q&A, and Wilson put it best by saying that there’s not much you can say, “it’s Kevin Bacon.” Fillion topped that by saying “It’s universal truth: you take anything amazing, add bacon…it just gets better.”
One question is how they got songs for the movie with such a low budget. Gunn confirms that his friend Rob Zombie gave a song and also has a voice cameo as the voice of God. They’re also itching to use a song by the band Cheap Trick, but have yet to get permission.
One fan decides to ask who would win in a fight between Wilson’s Dwight and Fillion’s Captain Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly. In one of the funnier moments, Wilson says “Let’s find out” and proceeds to beat the crap out of Mal. Good times.
The next audience question comes from a woman dressed like Xena, Warrior Princess who asks Nathan Fillion if he can share more about his character. We learn that he’s called The Holy Avenger; he’s ambiguously gay, has long hair, and even wields the power of CHA-risma, pronounced as such. Fillion states that he’s been wanting to play a superhero (many have wanted him for Green Lantern and Ant-Man) and now he has it.
Someone asks Ellen Page what training she did for the movie. She boasts about how amazing she knows it looked (to which the crowd laughed), but that her skills were all improv.
And to end it all, Gunn offers up the official site for you all to visit and sign up at. Check it out at www.thecrimsonbolt.com.
[Photos by Dave3]