Robots, sorority sisters and vampires! Oh my! Summit Entertainment brought a sampling of new films to Comic-Con International’s Hall H on Thursday. CG animated “Astro Boy” and slasher remake “Sorority Row” never stood a chance when “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” was set to follow.
“A few of you are here for the next panel right?” asked the Hall H announcer before Summit’s panel began. He was met with an ear-piercing roar from a crowd that had been waiting almost 24 hours to get in. Before being shown what fans really wanted to see, Summit Entertainment had a showcase of two other upcoming films. Moderator Eric Moro, editor in chief of IGN, introduced Freddie Highmore and Kristen Bell from “Astro Boy” first who expressed their hopes that the film would impress fans old and new. Moro then revealed that Samuel L. Jackson and Charlize Theron would also be lending their voices to the cast. Following the announcement, a world premiere trailer was shown to a satisfied crowd.
Next up was “The House on Sorority Row” remake, “Sorority Row.” The cast, a who’s-who of young Hollywood, was introduced. Brianna Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis, Margo Harshman, and Audrina Patridge took turns introducing their respective characters before a lengthy trailer was presented. I haven’t seen the original but “Sorority Row” looks like classic slasher horror with plenty of blood, guts and mayhem to go around. Carrie Fisher also has a role in the film, playing the girls’ housemother. Theta-PiOrDie.com is the official website and the film hits theaters September 11, 2009.
The girls were barely off the stage when the title screen for “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” appeared on screen and the crowd went berserk. Director of the new installment to the franchise, Chris Weitz and stars Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Kristin Stewart and Ashley Greene were introduced one by one, with Pattinson receiving the loudest welcome. Weitz wound up being the comedic relief of the panel, “I’ve been stalking Robert Pattinson for the last ten years,” he said. He also spoke to his experience with “Twilight.” “Like most people of the male gender I hadn’t read ‘Twilight’ before the possibility of doing the film came up but once I read it I realized that it dealt with all these deep emotions that everyone feels, first love and heartbreak and the ecstasy of reunion and having been dumped so many times in my life, I think we can all sympathize with Bella’s character,” he said.
Pattinson, reserved when asked to speak, managed to inject a bit of humor into the discussion. “I did very little,” he said when asked about his role in “New Moon,” “I basically stand on a green box and look and stay relatively expressionless and all these machines did the acting for me, which is just the way I like it.” Weitz joined in when a fan asked Pattinson what he had in common with his character Edward. “I’ve noticed you’re very cold to the touch and have skin like marble and that you glow like a diamond when the sun hits you,” he said. Pattinson added, “I look a bit like him.” Kristin Stewart, who plays Bella, took the analysis of her character seriously. “She’s sort of everywhere, I mean like, talk about mood swings. But she’s not ashamed of it though,” she said, “She just feels how she feels and that’s it.”
Fan questions for the panel went from ordinary, to creative. One fan sang a short rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” to Pattinson while another walked up to the microphone dressed as him. Yet another was curious if any of the actors had seen the Youtube “New Moon” trailer reaction videos and if they frightened them. None of the actors answered but Weitz had this to say, “I and everybody in the editing room and the people working on visual effects have seen the fan reaction videos and we could not be more pleased and tickled. Some of them are very intense in their reactions and I wouldn’t want to get them mad at me by getting anything wrong in the movie.”
Fans made things interesting while the panel was filming in Italy. “Everywhere that the camera wasn’t pointed there were hundreds of fans there and it wasn’t so much that we minded them being there, it was great,” said Weitz, “As a matter of fact, people applauded after every take which is unheard of. It was like doing theater or something.” Greene then spoke a bit on the new additions to the cast, Dakota Fanning and Cameron Brig, who play members of the Volturi. “A couple of new kids came in, all of which were really talented actors. All of us really got along which I think is kind of unheard of with such a huge young cast,” she said.
Of all of the actors on the panel, Taylor Lautner was enjoying himself the most, teasing fans the entire way through. “I worked really hard to try and transform Jacob’s body so I could portray him correctly for all of you guys and I hope you guys are pleased when you see the results,” he said. Filming moved from Portland, Oregon for the first film to Vancouver, Canada for “New Moon” and a fan wanted to know how it was different. Lautner responded, “Both places are cold and wet. They’re beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just not fun not wearing any clothes there.” If that wasn’t enough, fans will also be excited to find out Lautner learned a bit of Quileute for the new film.
Two clips from the movie were shown at the panel. The first clip showed Bella as she takes a stab at riding a motorcycle. Jacob explains what she needs to do but after hearing and seeing Edward in her head while riding, she crashes. Lautner’s Jacob proceeds to take his shirt off to put pressure on her head wound. The second clip was from close to the end of the film, in Italy, where Bella was racing to stop Edward from revealing himself as a vampire to the public.
To wrap things up, the actors told the crowd what they’re looking forward to most in the upcoming films. Greene said, “I’m excited about this whole intense fight scene we’re supposed to have.” Lautner got the crowd all riled up again when he replied, “I’m excited for the height of the love triangle and when me and this guy have to try and become friends to protect Bella.” He quickly added, “The sleeping bag scene!” Stewart is looking forward to something from the last film, “I can’t wait to actually get pregnant.” Pattinson, who finally seemed as if he was warming up to the crowd just as the panel was ending said, “Actually, being involved in the cesarean would be…I just can’t wait.”
“The Twilight Saga: New Moon” hits theaters November 20, 2009.