Day one of San Diego Comic-Con was host to a meeting of three of the best directors working today, as Entertainment Weekly brought fans a discussion of all things movies with their “Visionaries” panel. On hand to discuss their work was Edgar Wright (The World’s End, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World), Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), and Marc Webb (Amazing Spider-Man).
The panel was a chance to hear the directors talk about the process of their current films. Cuaron spoke at length about the issues they had simulating the zero G conditions needed to film Gravity, including creating a special room that was just an empty box that a camera would move around in. He also talked about how Gravity stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock would try to imitate the director’s Mexican accent (he said though that they sounded more Cuban than Mexican). Cuaron explained how Steven Spielberg’s Duel was a big influence on Gravity.
Webb also spoke of similar issues that went into the filming of the Amazing Spider-Man 2. Webb talked about using Electro as a villain not just because of his powers, but also because it forces Spider-Man to think of creative ways to defeat him. Webb was also excited to show off the visuals of Electro, which is something that drove him to use him as the villain. Webb then spoke to how the documentary Fog of War influenced Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Edgar Wright was up next to talk about the soon-to-be released The World’s End, which is quite different from Gravity or Amazing Spider-Man, but still shares a lot of fantastic elements. Wright explained how he designed the fights to be filmed in one shot. He described The World’s End as being the most punishing to the actors. According to Wright, all of the actors performed their own stunts for the movie, which just made designing the fights more fun for him. Wright also regaled the crowd with a story about Simon Pegg breaking his hand during a take, and then going on to do several more takes and filming latter scenes in a cast.
Wright was then asked about the current status of Marvel’s Ant-Man, but didn’t have any actual information about it. He joked about waiting to make the film until he had 2015 technology to use to do it, as opposed to 2005 technology.
Each director had plenty of anecdotes to tell about the filmmaking process. A lot of the discussion went into how the directors set up their fight scenes and the difficulties that have arisen because of smarter audiences. Each director had a good anecdote or two to share from their experiences and brought the audience into their world. It was the kind of panel that you can only get at SDCC, when people just come together and talk and have fun.
The three directors had quite the response when asked about the future of filmmaking. Cuaron seemed both concerned and excited about the changes he sees coming in the future. Cuaron and Webb spoke to the current difficulties in the industry and talked about how hard it is to make smaller budget dramas these days. Webb talked about TV and cable channels becoming a place where the kind of dramas that we used to see on the big screen. Wright talked about the need for new properties and joked that without new ideas, Hollywood won’t have anything to copy in five years.
When asked about the widespread use of 3D films, with Gravity and Spider-Man being in 3D, but not The World’s End. Cuaron explained that when he started working on Gravity, 3D was more en vogue than it may be these days and talked about how he had always planned the film to be done in 3D. Webb talked about the volatility that goes into 3D projection with there not being a standard across theaters. He did say that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has sequences that were planned out for 3D. Wright spoke as a fan of movies and talked about the good and the bad that comes with the technology.
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[Photo by Dave3 for Geeks of Doom.]