Comic-Con #3: The 'Megamind' Panel

Luke Y Thompson is covering the Con for Deadline:

Director Tom McGrath is out first and says this is the first Dreamworks animated superhero movie. He always thinks the villains are the most fun, so he made a whole movie about the villain. He also mentions that at Comic-Con the villain costumes are the most fun too…

On cue, out comes Will Ferrell, painted blue, in a spandex Megamind costume, with a huge blue helmet that still has a barcode sticker on it. He’s carrying a box of 6 donuts. “I brought breakfast. I didn’t expect this many people.”

Now out comes Tina Fey, who also has donuts: 7-Select mini-donuts, in fact, which are the 7-11 brand. “Whomever I met at the hotel last night, you left your Admiral Ackbar costume in my room. I just wanna know if I can keep it.”

Adds Ferrell, appropriately, “It’s a trap!” Says he thought everyone on the panel was going to come in costume. Fey replies: “I did. My character’s a normal person.”

And here’s Jonah Hill! Now time to show a clip.

Unlike the trailer, which I found surprisingly funny (because the poster looked horrible to me, but the Superman spoofery plays well in the footage), this doesn’t have the origin story. Both Megamind and his arch-enemy, the heroic Metro Man (Brad Pitt) are the last sons of dying planets. But one is an arch-villain in large part due to his alien looks, while square-jawed Metro Man is a beloved hero who juggles babies.

Narration on the clip sounds like Ferrell’s doing Mike Myers as Dr. Evil. Tina Fey plays reporter Roxanne Ritchie, a sort of ultra-feminist Lois Lane to Metro Man. Jonah Hill is her cameraman, but it looks like he becomes a superhero later in the film.(Later, on the panel, this is treated like a twist they can’t talk about. But free bags are being given away that depict Hill’s character in costume.)

More of a surprise is that Metro Man dies! Megamind shoots him with a solar ray, and we see him turned into a skeleton, none of which was hinted at in the official trailer. The rest of the movie deals with what happens to a supervillain when he has no nemesis.

Megamind’s henchman is a robot whose head is a fish in a bowl. Shades of American Dad.

The action scenes look good, like the epic climactic fight in THE INCREDIBLES. High standard to live up to, but at least visually it’s there.

Megamind has Shepard Fairey-style posters of himself with the slogan “No You Can’t.”

The clip ends with Megamind disguising himself as “Space Dad,” a caricature of Marlon Brando’s Jor-El, mumbling incomprehensibly with cotton-mouth.

Clip ends. Looked good in 3D.

Brad Pitt is announced! But it’s not him, just a life-size cardboard cut-out. Since Angelina is here, he had to stay home with the kids. “He’s happy to answer any questions” says Ferrell.

McGrath says Will was the obvious choice for an action comedy and likes the idea of a villain “who becomes a villain through circumstance” against “a hero who is a facade of a hero”.

Hill says of the “twist” that we already know: “I think Jeffrey Katzenberg is waiting in the audience to shoot an arrow through my head if I give it away.”

Where did the idea come from? Ferrell says he just designed the costume, then stood around the Dreamworks lot in it for a year until someone agreed to make a movie about it.

Drew asks who in Hollywood would Ferrell destroy if he could; who is his nemesis? Fey answers first. “Betty White. One day I will fight her in a ball of fire. I think she will win.” Hill answers “Mel Gibson’s girlfriend. I just wanna come out and officially support Mel. Thanks you guys.” He walks offstage, flipping us off.

Ferrell: “My nemesis is Charlize Theron. I can’t go into it, but there’s some bad blood there.” He says that while watching the 3D trailer, “I didn’t have glasses, but I could still see the effect because I huffed so much paint.”

Jonah Hill comes back in. “I just actually read what Mel Gibson said, and I’m gonna have to take a few things back. I do think the Jews killed Jesus, but other than that…”

Ferrell says this is only his second animated film. The first was “Curious George… Hold for applause!” He wanted the voice to be “kinda villainous yet slightly pathetic”.

Fey puts the Brad Pitt cutout on her lap. “I’ve always wanted to do this.”

The “Space Dad” Brando character was added to the movie after Ferrell improvised it.

Hill: “I mostly make R-rated movies… I’m happy that if I have kids someday, or my nephews, I can show them this without going to prison.”

Fey loved doing an animated film, since “I love working with other actors, but I hate being in the same room with them.”

Audience Q&A: First guy tears off his shirt, Ferrell-style, to reveal movie title written on his body. “I just wanted to ask you if THIS IS THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME!” Hill says there’s no alcohol at Comic-Con.

Next questioner is Bob Stencil, the regular Comic-Con character who dresses like a drunk airline pilot, or maybe ’70s cop. He asks Ferrell that with this, AVATAR, and THE SMURFS, are blue characters here to stay? Ferrell says he sure hopes so.

Questioner asks panel what their most memorable moment was as an actor “and Tina, by the way, you’re fucking hot!” Ferrell: “That’s two questions.”

Fey says she and Ferrell will answer for each other. Says Will’s most memorable acting moment was in a high school production of OUR TOWN, where he pissed himself. Ferrell says Tina’s moment was “the first time you went to that Ferrari dealership and said ‘I’ll take the red one.’”

Jonah says one of his was during CYRUS, when he got to see John C. Reilly’s ass. The other was the sleeping bag scene in SUPERBAD, because he says Michael Cera was masturbating the entire time…and it took a whole day to shoot.

McGrath says that 3-D enhances the story, not just in action scenes, but even in the quiet moments.

Pressed to reveal his character’s “twist” again, Hill makes the announcement that he’s gonna play Hulk in THE AVENGERS movie (no, credulous readers, not really). Ferrell complains that his face is on fire right now from the paint. “If you’re gonna do this at home, don’t use a can of spray-paint!”

Panel ends.

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