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Zombieland and 2012

July 26th, 2009 | Posted by arno in Comic-Con

A Zombieland baddie

Before Sony’s Zombieland/2012 presentation, I joined other press reps for a discussion first with director Ruben Fleischer and the cream of his Zombieland cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Woody Harrelson. I’ve focused in on this movie since it’s an original story, something the Comic-Con set celebrates. Also, I’ve been waiting to see if Jesse Eisenberg can crossover into the mainstream since the verdict is still undecided after Adventureland‘s subpar performance.

Director Fleischer seems like the kind of guy you wish you’d known since elementary school so you could celebrate what looks to be the best American zombie movie since the Dawn of the Dead remake. He successfully contrasted his film with Shaun of the Dead — the source of his inspiration — when asked to defend his use of fast zombies versus their slower equivalents, one of the biggest debates waged by genre fans. Though he did declare that he’s not a “zombie purist,” a remark which seemed slightly incongruous with Comic-Con.

The cast members were tight-lipped where their individual story lines were concerned, and I inadvertently brought the discussion to a momentary stop when I asked for clarification on the movie featuring “A-listers with prosthetics” raised in this article from a few months back.

Fleischer’s arms folded across his chest and he said he had no idea what I was talking about. I reiterated the question, saying I was just hoping for some light to be shed, though I realized I might have stepped into spoiler territory. Or maybe we’re simply talking about Amber Heard‘s brief appearance, which is outlined in this wrap-up of the public panel. I felt like a tool, and a detective!

Woody Harrelson broke the silence in the pressroom when he said, “We have a stand-off.”

Less contentious was Roland Emmerich‘s brief interview session on 2012, another panel which wound up being more about the director’s other works than the upcoming movie. It was amusing to me that there was so little discussion about such a big-budget production, though Emmerich’s reveal that he ordered the “first six or seven” pages of books on 2012 from Amazon in preparation for the movie made it feel as though anyone in the room could make a $200+ million project. But in a good way.

Clearly Emmerich doesn’t make movies for critics, which makes me respect him even when he’s at his worse (10,000 BC). Fortunately for the 6,000+ people in Hall H, the director unleashed this Earth-swallowing trailer and a near-complete sequence. His interplay with Woody Harrelson — batting 2 for 2 with Sony this year — made the epic scope of the proceedings feel intimate.

Emmerich’s best talent is his ability to hire the hundreds of visual effects pros it takes to render the destructive ideas burbling over in his imagination. And he’s quite aware of this notion. I sensed that Emmerich would attend Comic-Con every year if he could crank out a film such as 2012 every 6 or 7 months. As it stands, you might find him back in Hall H next year with news — or perhaps footage? — on Foundation, his planned version of Isaac Asimov‘s novel which currently is being scripted by Robert Rodat. Or perhaps Independence Day 2? In truth, either of these projects could be made in the near future if we take Emmerich at his word.

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