Luke Y Thompson is covering the Con for DHD with an emphasis on Hollywood:

First up is WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, and a video featuring Maurice Sendak and Spike Jonze is shown. Sendak says the book was a big risk when it first came out, and got terrible reviews. Only 2 years later did people realize that kids loved it. It was on the verge of being made into a movie for years and years, but Sendak never liked any previous proposals. He liked Spike’s because the director has made it his own. And Spike is the same age now that Sendak was when he wrote the book. Sendak told him “You have to make it dangerous.” Having seen the result, the author says, “It takes nothing [away] from my book, but enhances and enriches my book.”

The video ends, and young star Max Records comes out. He’s nervous, but funny. He says Sendak called him on his birthday to say, “I really love this movie and I hope people like it, because if not they can all go straight to hell.” Records says Spike would direct him by trying to elicit real reactions. Once he got him to be surprised by suddenly shooting a jet of flame out of a propane tank.
We see a few clips. They seem to capture a sense of both melancholy and joy, much like all we’ve seen so far. As allegedly troubled as the process was supposed to have been, this is looking like a smooth final product. Here’s what we saw:
— That scene from the first shot of the trailer, where monster Carol (James Gandolfini) is carrying a sleeping Max, who wakes up. Carol shows him the forest and says it is all his kingdom. Except that one hole in the tree. And that stick. And that rock. But the rest is his. Then suddenly they’re in a desert, and Carol says “This part of your kingdom’s not so good.” Max asks if he knows that one day the sun will die. Carol doesn’t believe it, but they’re briefly sad about it. Until a dog shows up. Carol says not to feed it, or it’ll follow you everywhere.
— A scene in the forest where Max and the Wild Things are play-wrestling. All the monsters decide to dive on top of each other, and Max, at the bottom of the pile, is in danger of being crushed. Then he is face-to-face with the female creature, K.W. He tells her that he has left his family, and bit his mother; she says she doesn’t mind biters, just doesn’t like monsters who eat people.
— Monsters in a quarry, breaking rocks and trees by stomping on them, in order to build a dream fort for Max.
— Montage, like the trailer but expanded. Describes land of Wild Things as a hypothetical place where everything you want to happen does happen.
BOOK OF ELI presentation begins with a “motion comic” – limited animation with audio, in which we see a boy and his mom watching an evangelist on TV. Mom writes a check to send, boy takes it and hides it in a box with many others. Then takes out his porno mag. Dad shows up drunk, and beats him. Really stereotypical white trash caricature nonsense, frankly. Boy takes the checks out to the trashcan and burns them, then kicks the trash over, and the house is set on fire. Boy walks away. Dissolve to live-action footage of Gary Oldman laughing.
The Hughes Brothers, directors of the film, come out and show the teaser trailer, which some of us already saw in front of ORPHAN (Though I certainly don’t blame you if you didn’t see ORPHAN. Keep it that way!). If you haven’t seen it, it’s probably online already – Denzel Washington as a nomad in a post-nuke world, with a secret he says some would kill to have, but he WILL kill to protect. Looks like the action-movie version of THE ROAD. Possibly with a religious subtext – the “secret” seems like it’s gonna be the last remaining Bible. Hughes brothers say the script reminded them of the original Planet of the Apes, they were drawn to it because it was different from everything else they were getting.
Mila Kunis, Gary Oldman, and Denzel Washington come out. Kunis says the directors and stars were all she needed to know to sign on. Oldman says: “I’m a fan of Denzel.” Denzel says : “Me too!”
Asked to describe the setting, Denzel says “Let the filmmakers do that. I don’t wanna mess it up.” They say it’s set 30 years in the future, Denzel plays a “very single-minded” character. Oldman: “Eli has something I want, and it’s a book, and I want this because it’s a means to absolute rule & power.” Denzel: “It’s a comic book!” Oldman “It’s a graphic novel – about a guy named J.C.”
A fan yells out: “You’re badass, Denzel!”
“That’s right! My nigga!” He responds. Then, after a pause: “I’m gonna be hearin’ ‘bout that one.”
A fan gives Mila his hotel room number in Russian.
What was it like for Denzel working with Gary Oldman? “It was like good sex.” Does Gary prefer hero or villain roles? “I really don’t know how it happened with the villain thing – look at the size of me! Naked, I look like a bald chicken. I’ve been less the crazy guy than you think, but I guess those are the ones you remember. It really is what comes through the letterbox.”
Denzel did his own fights and stunts, after 6 months of training.
Question for Gary – what’s up with the next Batman? “We start shooting next year, but you didn’t hear it from me.”
Next up is the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET remake, which wrapped two weeks ago. We’re shown a little bit. It begins with Jackie Earle Haley as a pre-burn Freddy Krueger running away in slo-mo from a bunch of cars containing a parental lynch mob. Freddy protests his innocence, runs inside an abandoned looking building. Parents throw Molotovs inside, and he catches fire; runs outside in flames, again with the slo-mo. These guys do know how cheezy overuse of slo-mo is, I hope.
Then a series of familiar images shot anew. The scary little girls and their jump rope. The body bag hallucination in the high school hallway. Finger-knives on a metal wall. And finally, Freddy himself, looking like Freddy should, but with more realistic burn makeup – he looks like an actual victim of severe burns would.
The panel with the Platinum Dunes producers and Jackie Earle Haley.
This isn’t an origin story, but you get a bit of it. Fan asks Jackie, “If all of Freddy’s victims looked up and whispered ‘save us,” what would you look down and whisper?”
Haley: “You already know the answer [switches to Rorscach voice] NO!!!”
There will be no Robert Englund cameo.
Fan asks why Haley has a pattern of roles related to child abuse? “That’s one way to look at it. I played the tortured souls, now I play the torturing soul.”
A lot of emphasis on how this will be a scary Freddy and not a comedic one. A fan says that he’s noticed a pattern in Platinum Dunes’ horror remakes, “You guys have a lot of tits and more weed in your redos!” They assure him this one has the least amount of weed…but still a little bit.
Who would win in a fight – Freddy, Rorschach, or the guy from Little Children? Haley defers to the audience, who respond with an incoherent roar. “There ya go!” he says.
Why remake the movie? “To reintroduce it to young adults.” Producers, apparently full of themselves, kinda imply they are like Christopher Nolan remaking Batman, which makes Wes Craven into Tim Burton by that analogy. Samuel Bayer is no Nolan. Or maybe he is and we will find out when we see this.
Trailer shown for Richard Kelly’s THE BOX, based on a Richard Matheson short story six pages long, that ran in Playboy in 1970. In the trailer, Frank Langella comes to Cameron Diaz’s door. A huge chunk of his face is missing and creepy. He gives her a box containing a button – if she pushes it, she will get a million dollars, and a total stranger will suddenly die somewhere on Earth. In the images that follow, it becomes clear that she and hubby James Marsden do push the button, then regret it, and try to give the money back. It’s implied that this is like a chain letter – perhaps the person who dies is the last person who pushed the button? Then there’s lots of CGI water, in columns and floating overhead. Aliens are involved – “guys from Mars testing mankind.”
Panel with Kelly, Diaz, and Marsden.
The short story was the basis for act one – acts two and three are about consequences and redemption.
Kelly, despite what you’d think, says he had a normal upbringing. The characters played by Cameron and James are based on his parents. The movie is made for the parents, and as such, “there’s not one swear word in the whole film.”
James is asked about a Superman sequel. “I know nothing. You probably know more than I do.”
What’s it like trying to get budgets for weird films? Kelly replies, “I’m just grateful to still be working!” Hopes this will be his first movie to make more than one million. It certainly looks a lot better than Southland Tales, but not sure about the “men from Mars” angle.
The movie is set in 1976, because the concept of “someone you don’t know” doesn’t work so well in an age where you can Google anyone. Kelly calls this the most personal film he’s ever made.
JONAH HEX trailer (but probably not the official one) is shown. Josh Brolin’s makeup is like a toned-down Two-Face from The Dark Knight. Like, if Two-Face had a few years to heal up. If you didn’t know, he plays an ex-Confederate soldier turned mercenary.
There are clearly supernatural elements. The comic didn’t always have them but was better when it did. We see him puking up a raven. Story seems to involve him being hired by the government. John Malkovich is the main villain, but not shown much here. His henchman, though, is played by HUNGER star Michael Fassbender, who is an outstanding actor. Here he has lots of tattoos and maintains the Irish accent. When one villain opines that “Hex doesn’t know how to die!”, Fassbender responds “I’ve no problem educatin’ the man.” We see images of an armored Confederate battleship, newfangled gatling guns, and a fistfight with a zombie! Looks like a definite “Hard R” with sex and violence. Megan Fox plays a prostitute whom Hex frequents, but won’t get too close to because his loved ones always die.
Panel, with Fox, Brolin, Fassbender. Fan questions are mostly dumb come-ons to Megan, who is constantly looking toward the nearest camera. One guy asks her if she’ll make a sex tape with him, and is thrown out.
Fassbender: “I almost got to kill Megan. I shoulda really killed her, I think. They wouldn’t let me.”
What was the most difficult part of the film? “New Orleans!” says Brolin.
Fox: “This is really badass. I’ve never been as excited to see footage from anything I’ve done.”
Brolin notes that the same people who complained about the ending of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN usually went back and saw it four times anyway.