Thu, July 22nd, 2010 at 6:16PM (PDT)
If the multi-story advertisement on the side of the Hilton Bayfront hotel featuring Michael Cera rocking a classic Rickenbacker bass wasn’t clue enough, Scott Pilgrim has pretty much conquered 2010’s Comic-Con International in San Diego from the release of the sixth and final volume of the series – “Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour” – at the Oni Press booth to the buzz surrounding the upcoming film adaptation “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.” And as the line for the movie panel in Comic-Con’s expansive Hall H wound its way through a tent on the far side of the convention center, it was clear that at this show the fans of the book and of the movie were one and the same as willing attendees sported Scott Pilgrim gear with pride from Plumtree t-shirts (the band whose song inspired the hero’s name) to a few choice Ramona Flowers and Roxy Richter cosplayers.
CBR waited with the crowd in order to bring you this report of the movie’s star-studded preview and panel as director Edgar Wright and Scott Pilgrim mastermind cartoonist Bryan Lee O’Malley invited a lion’s share of the cast on stage to discuss the film that’ll hit theaters on August 13. Joining the pair were the titular hero Michael Cera, the actresses playing his dueling love interests Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“Ramona Flowers”) and Ellen Wong (“Knives Chau”), Sex Bob-Omb rockers Alison Pill (“Kim Pine”) and Mark Webber (“Stephen Stills”), “cool gay roommate” Kieran Culkin (“Wallace Wells”), friends Johnny Simmons (“Young Neil”), Anna Kendrick (“Stacey Pilgrim”) and Aubrey Plaza (“Julie Powers”) and of course four of the seven members of the League of Evil Exes: Satya Bhabha (“Matthew Patel”), Brandon Routh (“Todd Ingram”), Mae Whitman (“Roxy Richter”) and Jason Schwartzman (“Gideon Graves”).
Wright took the stage first joking that it was tough to follow up the “Expendables” panel. “We have 13 guests coming out, and I’m not sure they can combine to beat one Lundgren,” he laughed before explaining how he first read O’Malley’s comics shortly after volume one came out. “It was love at first sight,” he said noting he couldn’t be more proud that he got the movie made six years later.
The director then introduced each of the panel, saying that since there were so many members on the panel, he’d only be able to ask each of the panelists one question which would require a one word answer. O’Malley was up first, and Wright noted that his latest installment in the series is currently at #5 on Amazon’s best seller list. Wright then joked, “If it was called ‘Scott Pilgrim with the Dragon Tattoo’ it’d be #1.”
O’Malley’s question was “How weird is it to be in Hall H?” to which the author paused and replied “WEIRD?”
The members of Sex Bob-Omb were asked how hard it was to learn their instruments for the film with Pill saying “Very” and Webber saying “Extremely.”
Each cast member was introduced by a montage of clips from the film featuring their character before Wright moved on to his solo questions. Next up came “the ladies in Scott’s life…one of whom is a man” as Kendrick, Plaza and Culkin made it onto stage. Their question was “How much do you disapprove on a scale of one to disprove of Scott’s actions in the film?” The score of each was five, seven and four (though Culkin said he only chose four because he likes the number).
Next up was the League of Evil Exes who had to answer what word best described their battle with Scott Pilgrim. Bhabha said “10,000 points.” Whitman said “achingly.” Routh (dressed in a Clash At Demonhead shirt) said “devilishly.” And Schwartzman pandered a bit with the word “Comic-Con-ishly” to which Wright joked, “Now Jason’s broken out the C-word.”
As for Scott’s two girlfriends, Winstead and Wong had to “describe your feelings for Scott” to which their reply was “It’s complicated” and the fan-favorite “Scottaholic.”
The director then invited his two friends Nick Frost and Simon Pegg onstage saying, “And here are two more members of the cast.” But once they’d come out to a round of applaus, Wright admitted he was wrong and they were not in fact in the film. The pair then left in a mock huff.
Finally, Wright apologized that actor Chris Evans could not make it to the con as he’s currently filming “Captain America” in London, but he said they “did have an actor who actually auditioned for Captain America…and got down to the last 500.” At that point, Cera came on stage dressed as Captain America.
A fan Q&A then began. First up was a very young fan who was full of praise for O’Mally and his books as well as excitement for the movie. He asked who inspired O’Malley to write the books. The artist was at a loss before kidding with the fan, “I think I inspired myself because I’m a super genius. Yay!”
A young lady with a huge crush on Routh stepped to the mic saying, “I have a question for Superman” which was what it was like for the former Man of Steel to switch from hero to villain and which role he preferred more. “You can’t really choose between Superman and any other character, so definitely Superman,” The actor said while noting that he loved making “Scott Pilgrim” and adding. “Basically you do everything the opposite of Superman, and you get Todd Ingram.”
Asked what drew him to doing an action romance like “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” after directing comedies, Wright said it was ” the metaphor of romance and action and how much you would fight for love.” He explained that the tone of “Scott Pilgrim” reminded him of his own series “Spaced” which starts as a show about nerdy 20-somethings and “flowers into something insane and outrageous.”
A fan asked what drew all the actors to the movie, and Schwartzman started to say “We loved the material” before Plaza interrupted in deadpan, saying “I hated it, but the minute they asked me to be in it, I said ‘Fine.'” The actor behind Gideon Graves went on to say that the key to bringing him into the cast was the combo of O’Malley’s story and Wright’s sensibilities.
Wright then spoke briefly about the video game tone he tried to strike in the movie, saying he wanted each evil ex fight to increase in intensity like the levels of a game getting harder. He said that you can hear within the film some Tekken sound effects as well as sound effects from Super Mario, Sonic The Hedgehog and The Legend of Zelda which should heighten the experience for longtime classic gamers.
Cera explained to one fan asking after how he prepared for the role that the cast went through fight training for two months and that running the characters in that time brought the cast into the mindset of the characters. Wright added of the fight choreography team “We literally had Team Jackie Chan on the set” before adding that Cera was called “Mikey the push-up king” in training. Schwartzman credited the director for showing up and helping with the fight work every day, which is a rarity for film directors in action movies.
Asked what their favorite scene in the movie was to film, especially in terms of what made them laugh, Plaza jumped at the question saying, “Most of my scenes were me cursing Michael Cera out, and that was a lot of fun.” Culkin then told a story about how on set he was mentally preparing for the scene in which he needed to make out with another man, but the director helped him by one day just coming up and planting “a very wonderful” kiss on the actor’s lips to help break the ice.
Canada was a frequent topic of conversation with one Toronto native fan asking about the experience of filming in the city and not letting it double for New York or some other major American city. Wright said that at one point, the studio actually asked if they wanted to move part of the production to New York and double for Toronto. He then said it was nice to not have to “pretend it’s deep space or ancient Greece” adding “Now I have drunk a lot of Tim Horton’s coffee.”
Finally, the director announced that he would be taking a select number of fans in attendance who had been slipped “1-Up” Scott buttons to a special screening of the movie that night before leaping off the stage Andy Kaufman-style and leading the charge to the theater up the street. The film will also show twice more the weekend of Comic-Con.