That Christopher Nolan would appear alongside the casts and directors of upcoming Warner Bros. films at WonderCon Saturday was kept as clandestine as the details about the movie he was there to promote. The "Dark Knight" director has a new thriller called "Inception" coming out July 16, but up until this weekend had shielded most of its content from the public.
"My editor and myself felt like it was time to start showing people a sense and feel of the film," Nolan told a shocked and delighted audience in San Francisco. "I thought nothing better than to come to a convention and really let you guys have the first look at really what 'Inception' is going to be."
The trailer-like package Nolan premiered for the first time featured an intense Leonardo DiCaprio holding a gun; a sweeping soundtrack; and shooting locations in six countries.
While still remaining somewhat cagey about the plot of the film, Nolan revealed that it was originally written as a heist flick and explored the concept of lucid dreaming. "I've always been fascinated by dreams - really, by the idea that when you think about what a dream is, what the mind is doing during a dream, the mind is creating a world and perceiving it almost simultaneously," he said.
"Inception" is Nolan's first release since "The Dark Knight," for which he gained the eternal esteem of broad international audiences and diehard Batman fans - fans who may have been more excited about seeing him than clips from his new movie.
Nolan graciously took questions from the audience, ranging from "What inspires you?" to "How do you choose a cast?" His answers were simple and straightforward: he is inspired "by life" and tries not to write for specific actors.
In addition to DiCaprio, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Cillian Murphy star in "Inception."
Based on the Vertigo series by Andy Diggle and Jock, the Warner Bros. film "The Losers" also features an ensemble cast, most of whom also appeared at WonderCon Saturday. Actors Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Oscar Jaenada, Zoe Saldana and Columbus Short appeared with director Sylvain White to talk about the movie.
Saldana as punchy Aisha and Morgan as ringleader Clay made for some steamy chemistry in the clip presentation. An extended scene between the two gave an impression of the film's action sequences. "The best thing about the graphic novel is the unique combination of the humor and the action," White said.
Chris Evans, who is also starring in the upcoming Captain America movie, said he believes modern comics make great maps for films and that's why so many people are producing them right now.
Warner Bros. isn't just taking print to the screen, the studio is also taking old movies and making them new again. A remake of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" starring "Watchmen" alum Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger is being released April 30.
The cast discussed the weight of taking on such an iconic film and how they hope it will be received both by fans of the original and people who have never seen it. "'Nightmare on Elm Street' is a part of our culture -- it's a sick part of our culture but a part of it none the less," Haley said.
A clip from the new version of "Nightmare" showed a darker interpretation of the classic horror film, something the cast acknowledged. Director Samuel Bayer missed the appearance for unknown reasons.
Another sinister movie on the Warner Bros. slate is "Splice," the Vincenzo Natali-directed sci-fi horror thriller about two genetic scientists who merge animal and human cells in the lab.
Ironically, when Natali started working on the film over a decade ago. his fiction was far outside the realm of conceivable science. In a way, he said releasing it today makes it far more poignant. "We're just at a cusp of a very interesting stage in our evolution, perhaps at a point where we're going to shape our own evolution," Natali said.
Natali played a clip that raised questions about the psychological ramifications of creating something. "I would say it goes to some unusual and dangerous places," he said.