WonderCon 2010 was top-heavy with TV panels and relatively light on film programming. That said, it makes for a fun Saturday when you can watch an extended trailer for Inception, get within inches of the new Freddy Krueger, steep in the respective hotness that is Milla Jovovich and Jake Gyllenhaal, watch Jeff Garlin and Kristen Schaal perform Toy Story 3 dialogue, and realize the only difference between Ali Larter and Christopher Nolan‘s outfits is one pair of leather pants.
Making it a very special episode of WonderCon was my companion for the day, San Francisco-based filmmaker Joshua Grannell. I’m in love with Joshua’s feature debut, All About Evil, which is gearing up for a roadshow release; I also admire Joshua’s take on all things pop culture and cult cinema — he can tell you that Chris Evans definitely wears mascara before riffing on the films of Doris Wishman. Joshua had never been to WonderCon, and since he’s putting together a unique release for his film, I turned to him for a WonderCon review.
Q: You spent seven hours at WonderCon with no coffee, water, or gum; what lessons did you learn?
A: I learned that it’s best to sneak in gum, water, and coffee in the future. I could’ve gone 12 hours if I’d had those staples! I also learned that it helps to go with a bona fide member of the press, such as yourself, so that I don’t have to wait in long lines to get up close and personal with the panels and press conferences. It was fun to see the behind-the-scenes publicity machine at work in the press rooms and I feel like I have a better understanding of how the big studios are using the conventions to directly get information and content into the hands of fans. The only films showcased that way were of course handled by the big studios so it’s definitely a game for the rich.
Q: Which movies impressed you today, and how?
I think I was most excited and impressed by Christopher Nolan‘s presentation of Inception. I felt like his demeanor and presence was perfectly serious and sobering and the movie looks fascinating and beautiful. I love his movies and think he’s a brilliant filmmaker, but sometimes wish there was just the teeniest hint of humor. He makes incredible films, but they’re humorless. After seeing him in person, I honestly feel like I “get it”. He might be the most serious man alive! But he delivers. Inception looks fascinating and impossible to describe. The other most enticing offering was Toy Story 3 which got the audience laughing and having fun in mere seconds. Pixar is unstoppable! They make it look easy, and that sort of comedy that appeals to both adults and children is anything but easy. I didn’t even care about Toy Story 3 until after they’d shown their clips. Now I want to see it.
Q: Which filmmakers and actors seem to “get” WonderCon?
I thought that Pixar did it right, where they got the audience and cast involved in an actual demonstration. It was fun and really changed up the pace. I also thought Jake Gyllenhaal was a total pro. He was able to be completely serious about presenting Prince of Persia, while also indulging his fans, having a great sense of humor, and just putting everyone at ease with is undeniable charm.
Q: How much of Nicolas Cage‘s hair was real? Please describe his look.
A: Ohmygod, it was fascinating. It was as if they couldn’t get the real Nicolas Cage so they wheeled in the one from Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, but then it talked. His hair is sorta like a marriage of Fabio and [Rocky Horror's] Riff-Raff, if the two looks were combined. I was kinda shocked when he started talking about how much he liked wearing wigs! I’m not even lying. He brought it up on his own accord.
Q: “If offered the chance to present All About Evil at WonderCon, my panel would go like this …”
I was thinking that it would have been fun to send Natasha Lyonne but have her appear there as Deborah (the lead character in my movie), who’s a filmmaker. She could have presented some of her own notorious and grisly gore films and clips and when it was time to “bring out the cast”, we’d wheel out a bunch of coffins, urns, and cadavers wrapped in plastic.
I think that would have been the best way to do it. I’m showy like that!