The final film panel of San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H on Thursday belonged to Paramount Pictures, which presented Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Project Almanac, Hercules, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.
As the room darkened the voice of SpongeBob Squarepants was heard over the speakers, searching for Hall H. Voice actor Tom Kenny then came on to cheers from the crowd as he introduced footage from the film The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, in which Spongebob and crew have to leave the ocean to become superheroes to save Bikini Bottom. This was followed by a video retrospective of the history of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, from the earliest sketches to the cultural phenomenon that followed.
A panel was moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s Keith Staskiewicz, who introduced TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman. Eastman introduced footage from the upcoming film in which April O’Neil (played by Megan Fox) is in the New York subway when the Foot Clan terrorize the subway patrons. O’Neil, ever the intrepid reporter gets the action on her cellphone when a Foot Clan member catches her and is about to shoot her for doing so. Suddenly, the turtles ride in on a passing subway, pound the Foot Clan into the walls, and escape up a nearby scaffold to the buildings above. O’Neil tracks them down to the roof, and begins to take pictures of the turtles, when they stop her and reveal themselves to her. She faints and when she wakes up, she finds that the turtles have taken her to their sewer lair to meet Splinter.
Following the footage actors Fox and Will Arnett and director Johnathan Liebesman came on stage to answer questions from the audience.
A self-professed TMNT fan asked Eastman “Why won’t the franchise die, and who the hell thought it was a good idea to make them aliens?” Eastman said being a big fan of sci-fi like Star Trek, and since in the original comic, the goo was of alien origin, it would be fun to take the turtles in a different direction, and assured the audience that they’d be excited with the results. A fan asked why are the Foot Clan were being portrayed as a paramilitary terrorist group, to which Liebesman said that it was in order to bring them more into a modern context.
The Panel were asked which turtle was their favorite, to which most agreed on Michelangelo. Eastman in particular, because it was the first turtle he drew that made fellow co-creator Peter Laird laugh.
Next up was the panel for the upcoming Project Almanac, with director Dean Israelite and actors Jonny Weston and Sofia Black D’Elia. Entertainment Weekly’s Keith Staskiewicz introduced a montage of scenes, which is a found footage film about a group of friends who discover a time machine and use it to undo past mistakes, but soon realize that changing the past has dire consequences in the future.
The Project Almanac panel left the stage, and the lights went out. From the dark, over the speakers, the booming voice of Ian McShane could be heard shouting, “No matter how far you go, man cannot escape his fate. Who are you? Are you a murderer? Are you a mercenary who turns his back on the innocent? We believe in you! We have faith in you! Remember the deeds you have performed, the labors you have overcome! Are you only the legend, or are you truth behind the legend? Now, tell me, WHO ARE YOU?”
This was answered by wild ecstatic cheers from the crowd and a standing ovation as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson walked through the SDCC audience on his way up the stage, shouting, “Finally, The Rock has come back to Comic-Con!” Once on stage he reminded the crowd that Hercules opens the next day, but invited everyone to see the film a day in advance in a sneak preview at three local San Diego theaters. Short, but sweet, he walked off the stage, again to a wild response.
Following this, actor Clark Duke came out came out to introduce footage from Hot Tub Time Machine 2, which featured Duke, Craig Robinson, and Rob Corddry hot tubbing to the year 2024 this time, to track down Corddry’s eventual killer.
Finally Matt Bing, editor of Entertainment Weekly, introduced actor Matthew McConaughey, who mentioned that this was his first time at San Diego Comic-Con, and he was here representing Christopher Nolan‘s upcoming film Interstellar.
Bing asked how McConaughey came to be cast in the film. He said he got a call to meet Nolan out of the blue, and they talked for some time, all the while Nolan never mentioned anything about wanting him for a film. A few weeks later, a script came his way from Nolan’s office, and once he read it, he was in.
McConaughey described his character, Cooper, as a former pilot and father of two, living in a world where mankind is just sustaining, growing food to survive, but no longer exploring, when an opportunity comes for him to become a pilot once again and undertake a one-of-a-kind mission to save humanity.
McConaughey described Nolan’s shooting style on Interstellar as very much like an indie film, with Nolan shooting 2-3 takes of a scene and moving on, to get as much shot as possible. He said Nolan’s reach exceeds his grasp, and described ]the movie as his most ambitious film to date.
Big then asked McConaughey what he could say about the highly secretive film. He said “I can tell a lot…but won’t. But let me bring out someone who can.” He then introduced Christopher Nolan to the stage, who was greeted by the wild cheers of thousands of fans who’ve been waiting years for the director of The Dark Knight and Inception to make an appearance in San Diego.
Bing noted that there were a lot of films he could’ve come out for, but why did he wait until Interstellar for his first SDCC appearance. He said he’d heard a lot about the Comic-Con crowd, and wanted to see what the fuss was about.
Nolan was asked why he chose Interstellar as a subject for his latest project. He said he’d always been a huge fan of sci-fi films, but more than that, he’s always admired the work of astronauts, but felt that space exploration has fallen off over the last few decades. He was excited about bringing his brother Jonathan’s script to life.
Nolan was asked what part technology played in the production of Interstellar. He said there was a lot of great new technology that he couldn’t talk about, but he employed a lot of innovative techniques to create a sense of reality for the actors and the audience. He wanted to have real views outside the spacecraft for the actors. For him, the thrill of a large-scale journey into the stars is taking the audience with them, and the IMAX format was the perfect medium for painting the biggest canvas possible.
Bing asked what Interstellar means to Nolan, to which he answered he couldn’t say, as that question is truly answered for him by the audience when they see it, but if he had to say, it’s about who we are as humans.
During the Q&A Nolan was asked what the scientific research was like, and Nolan answered that on this film, they were fortunate to have Cal Tech professor Kip Thorne as a consultant, who had an intense knowledge of wormholes.
Nolan’s sci-fi inspirations, amongst other films, were Star Wars and Blade Runner, but the single biggest influence on Interstellar was 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he saw with his dad when it was re-released on the big screen when he was a child. That’s the ambition he’s striving for with his film.
Nolan was asked why he’s so fascinated by psychology in his film. He said it’s not so much psychology as he’s interested in people, and subjectivity vs. objectivity. We are all trapped within our own perceptions of the universe.
Finishing up, he said he wants to keep the film fresh, so he wont reveal anything more, but he did reveal a never-before-seen trailer featuring McConaughey and co-star Anne Hathaway traveling in a space shuttle through a wormhole to “inhabitable worlds within our reach.”
Interstellar is scheduled to be released in theaters in November 2014.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 comes out Christmas Day, 2014.
Hercules is released tomorrow.
Project Almanac will be released on January 30, 2015.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes out August 8, 2014.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is scheduled to be released on February 6, 2015.
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water 3D Panel Photos
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Panel Photos
Project Almanac Panel Photos
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Panel Photos
Hercules Panel Photos
Interstellar Panel Photos
[All photos by Dave3 for Geeks Of Doom.]