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Comic-Con 2009 Highlights: Saturday

July 25th, 2009 by Matt Sugarman Trailers Guy

Our ever-intrepid reporters, Matt and Jason, worked their way through the Comic-Con masses on Saturday to report from the scene on Day Three of the convention.

In theaters October 9, 2009
A lovely little tale of sister grifters, Twinkie hunting and good old-fashioned battles with the undead, Zombieland will be coming for your brains this coming Halloween season. Woody Harrelson stars as Tallahassee, the Twinkie-obsessed zombie killer who forms an unlikely team with wussy clean-freak Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg from the raucous teen comedy Adventureland). They meet up with sister grifters Wichita and Little Rock (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) and wreak havoc on the undead.

There were some interesting discussions during the press conference, but the topic that dominated more questions than any other was the “fast vs. slow zombie” debate. For those not in the know, it refers to the fact that many modern zombie films (28 Days Later started the trend) contain fast-moving, agile zombies who spew every body fluid imaginable, while the zombies in older films were slow, plodding and decidedly less athletic. Director Ruben Fleischer let us know that he played the zombies in the film as they were written, of the fast variety. Writers Rhett Reese and Ryan Kavanaugh defended the decision, saying it made the zombies scarier. Despite a few follow-up questions, the feverish zombie debate rages on for another day.

In case some of you were wondering what goes into zombie vomit (applesauce, diced pineapple, honey, oats and some other healthy ingredients), what Harrelson’s fake Twinkies were made of (cornmeal — he tries to keep his intake natural), or what fake blood tastes like (refreshing peppermint), the cast and crew were all too happy to share the surprisingly non-gory details. I asked if Breslin got any good zombie kills in, and Fleischer said that she was a fast learner with a wide array of guns at the range, which was both reassuring and disconcerting at the same time. I think everyone watching the film is going to be surprised to see “Little Miss Sunshine” slaying the undead with a double-barrel shotgun.

This film sounds like a fast-paced, zombie kill fest — just what Halloween 2009 ordered.

In theaters November 13, 2009
Roland Emmerich was beaming with pride as he told us all about his next end-of-the-world epic. For those unfamiliar with 2012 and its subject matter, the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012, and many people don’t think this was a matter of the Mayans being lazy and not getting around to the next calendar. They, in fact, believe it signals the end of the world. As the trailer shows, the amount of CGI work used to destroy the world is staggering: over 1,400 CGI shots. (Yes, you read that correctly.) The creators cast special effects houses like actors, using one for water shots, one for earthquakes, and so on. Hundreds of artists continue to work around the clock to get things just right for the November 13 premiere, which will go off with a few bangs, earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunami waves.

When asked about the creative process for the film, Emmerich said he had wanted to do a modern retelling of the Noah’s Ark tale. The vehicle for this worldwide flood came after many discussions with his creative brain trust, finally settling on the 2012 prophecy (though he didn’t love the idea at first). He also made an interesting analogy, saying that Area 51, the main setting for his film Independence Day, has a mythology that has sparked the imagination for decades, much as the 2012 prophecy has done for centuries, and this is the driving force for 2012. The most amazing aspect of the research for Emmerich was the unbridled interest in all things 2012: There are hundreds upon hundreds of books dissecting every single detail of the numerology, astrology and geology behind the supposedly-coming cataclysm.

He also gave us some interesting details on his upcoming projects:

  • Independence Day Sequel: He has had discussions with Will Smith about it, saying that he is game for a second run at the aliens. However, that is as far as it has gone. There is no story or anything like that.
  • The Foundation trilogy: He has hired Robert Rodat, best known for his Oscar-nominated script for Saving Private Ryan, to write the screenplay. It is based on Isaac Asimov’s epic space saga which spans hundreds of years.

Matt Sugarman, Hulu’s Trailer Guy, and Jason Nellis, Hulu’s Jack of All Trades