It's Saturday at WonderCon 2015, and Warner Bros. occupied the midday slot at the Anaheim Convention Center arena to promote two of its upcoming high-profile action films: "San Andreas" and "Mad Max: Fury Road."
The panel began with moderator Drew McWeeny introducing a seven-minute clip from the George Miller-directed "Mad Max: Fury Road" (said to take place about 20 minutes in), featuring Tom Hardy -- playing the title character -- encountering Charlize Theron's Imperator Furiosa for presumably the first time.
Following another look at "Fury Road," a new trailer for super-earthquake disaster film "San Andreas" debuted, followed by the introduction of the film's director, Brad Peyton. "If you like shit blowing up, we have a lot of that," Peyton said of the film. Cast members Carla Gugino and Alexandra Daddario joined Peyton on the panel.
"I knew we were going to have a lot of spectacle, I knew it was going to be massive, but the most important part to me was the honest struggle these people go through," Peyton said.
"What really took me into this script was the emotion, and the raw nature of these characters," Gugino said. "I did more stunts than I've ever done in anything, and tried to do any stunt they'd let me do, so it did feel very much that we got to react to real circumstances often, and you don't get to do that much in these types of movies."
"It helps in the development of the character to actually experience to the degree that you can," Daddario agreed. "It was actually lot of fun to do that, whether it's sort of sadomasochistic or not."
McWeeny asked about the film's lead, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. "There was a level of trust there you rarely get so quickly," Peyton said, who previously worked with the actor on "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island." Peyton said he pushed Johnson to get the most honest emotional portrayal possible. "I think this is the best I've ever seen Dwayne."
Peyton discussed aiming for a degree of scientific veracity in the film. "The real question was, 'What's the worst case scenario?' We tried to keep it within the realm of plausibility. The Paul Giamatti character is speaking very real information. We tried to ground it."
Asked at what point the film pushed the cast the hardest, Daddario responded, "I like doing very physically active roles. Any time you make a movie, I think there's always going to be a day that you get a little bit too overwhelmed. You try to use that in your performance.
"This character goes to a lot of places emotionally," Gugino said. "Also, I had so much fun doing these stunts. There is a point where my character drops several floors, and somehow I was determined that it should be me. When you see it, it is me."
"Mad Max: Fury Road' debuts in theaters on May 15; "San Andreas" on May 29.