WonderCon: Steve Carrel, Anne Hathaway, Roland Emmerich

Mon, February 25th, 2008 at 12:00am PST

TV/Film
Dan Evans III, Contributing Writer

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Saturday's Warner Bros. panel at WonderCon brought out the stars and creators of "10,000 B.C." and "Get Smart," plus "Star Wars" news.

The Moscone Convention Center's South's Hall A rapidly filled with fans this weekend at WonderCon to see the stars of Warner Bros. Studios "Get Smart" and "10,000 B.C."  Once the crowd settled the panel started off with a very cheery "10,000 B.C." director Roland Emmerich introducing the current trailer and a new, convention exclusive cut that gave dialogue and fed the rumor that this may be tied to "Stargate," though Emmerich denied that immediately.

Stars Steven Strait and Camilla Belle then joined him on stage and they began the Q&A.

Emmerich started off saying that the movie isn't based on real history, but he liked always liked the animals of the time and wanted to do a film featuring them and that time period.

A fan asked if his next film would be "2012," which Emmerich confirmed but when he was asked what he could tell the audience about the film his reply was simple.  "Nothing."

Asked where he got his ideas, Emmerich mentioned that his mom says he has always had a vivid imagination.  Another fan wanted him to elaborate on his influences.  He says it goes back to "Stargate" and the excitement of what you could do with a film.

Emmerich was then asked what made him want to become a movie director.  "Well, I didn't, actually," Emmerich admitted.  He originally wanted to be an architect, but found himself getting into film projects at film school, doing more and more with each project he worked on until he eventually become a director and has never looked back since.

The cast was asked what they needed to do to prepare for the film.   Steven Strait mentioned the difficulty of the dialogue.  They had to "really get used to the hybrid English/Arabic accent" used for dialogue and a good deal of physical training for the action.  Camilla Belle was quick to point out that only the male cast had to do the physical training. Belle worked on simplifying her actions to reflect the period, which she thought would be representative of the time period.

When Strait was asked if he was worried about injury on the film he joked that he always does.  Then he praised the great stunt team they worked with to do the action pieces, pointing out that Strait never got more than scrapes or bruises during the entire shoot.

One younger fan wanted to know what inspired Emmerich to make movies.  Laughing, Emmerich said, "I live in Hollywood and I loves stories."

The cast was asked how hard it was to work with the computer generated creatures.  Strait found, "It was hard at first, but eventually the cast came to use their imagination."  Belle admitted that she always feels "stupid running from men in blue unitards trying to scare us. I would always start laughing."

The next question saw parallels to Robert E. Howard's "Conan" series and wonders if this was a direct influence on the movie.  Emmerich says that "10,000 B.C." definitely draws a lot from those books since the setting and lack of knowledge about that time period allows you to really "go wild with it."

A fan wanted to know how the actors knew how to act with no source material for these types of characters.  Strait answered that he figured they were still humans and it was about using the real emotions that are universal to everyone. Strait found it helped that the movie was shot in sequence so "you are growing as the movie character grows."  Belle admitted she did not do much preparation and just enjoyed the experience.

The last question turned out to be a convention favorite: Who is your favorite superhero?

Emmerich likes Batman, "because he has no powers."

Strait chose the Punisher because he grew up with comics.

Camilla Belle was a little stumped, "because I didn't grow up with comics," but leans towards Batman because he had no powers and is about personal power.

The stars of "10,000 B.C." then left the stage and the audience was treated to a special announcement

Star Wars returns to the big screen with the animated feature, "The Clone Wars." The feature film will really explore what happened during the Clone Wars, with a focus on Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi, but will introduce new characters. This will lead into an ongoing series shown on both Cartoon Network and TNT this fall.  A short clip was shown featuring footage of the film to great applause.

Once the crowd was settled the "Get Smart" portion of the panel began by debuting a hilarious new trailer, showing the talents of the stars plus Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, Adam Arkin and Terrence Stamp.

Director Peter Segal came out and introduced cast members Anne Hathaway, who plays "99," and Steve Carrel as "Agent 86, Maxwell Smart."

An awkward pause started the panel prompting Segal to tell the audience, "we just thought we would sit here."  The Convention Official reminded everyone to stay in their seats if they wanted to take pictures or the Fire Marshall would shut down the event. This sent Steve Carell into action, jokingly kicking at all the photographers at the stage.

The first question was from a male fan declaring love for Carell, which would be an ongoing theme of the day.  He then asked if Carell is writing new "The Office" episodes.  Carell had just finished two weeks of jury duty and may write about it for next season.

Another recurring theme for this event started with a fan asking for apicture with Carell, which he agreed to just as the crowd began booing thunderously.  Carell then chastised the fan for asking such a foolish thing, "They don't want me to take a picture with you!"  Then told the guy to catch him after the panel.  The crowd applauded.

Carell was asked if he uses the classic Maxwell Smart voice or his own?  Carell feels that Smart was so iconic it was better to try not to impersonate him, though they made a conscious effort to incorporate classic catchphrases and gags from the show.

When asked when "The Office" would return to NBC, Carell answered that the cast begins shooting again in 2 weeks, prompting Segal to tell everyone he was happy to finally get Carell "out of the editing suite so they could finish the movie."

A misguided fan made the mistake of opining that Carell should have been cast as the Joker in the new Batman film and booing ensued.  It went so long that the Con Officials apparently turned off the microphone, shunning him back to his seat.

With order restored, the questions resumed. "What made Steve Carell go into improvisation?"   He answered that he, "didn't want to learn lines…at all."

The next questioner thought that a lot of roles Carell played seemed similar and wanted to know if he will ever play a darker character. "Boston Strangler.  Look, as  long as I get paid, I am fine.  Not really trying to find the dramatic side of Steve Carell."  Anne Hathaway then reminded everyone that "we all remember the Steve Carell from "Little Miss Sunshine."

Now it was Hathaway's turn as she was finally asked a question. "Finally I don't feel like I am in high school anymore," the actress quipped, until she heard the question, "How is it to work with Steve Carell?" "Now, I feel just like I did in high school.  Steve is terrible."  Hathaway liked working with Carell and feels he is one of the great comedic minds of our times.  Carell jokingly agreed. "He is an honest to god nice person," says Hathaway, but found improvisation was hard for her. "But Peter edited it well," Hathaway concluded.

The next questioner said that Hathaway and Carell were both her favorites.  A sad looking Segal asked, "What about me?"  She then asked which characters that Hathaway and Carell have played are closest to their real selves.  Carell mentioned, "I think 'Becoming Jane.'"  Hathaway followed up with that she always felt she was just like a Guest correspondent on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."  She then admitted she had a new movie coming out that "is closer to the real me."

Hathaway noted that her favorite scene in "Get Smart" wasn't really a scene. The last shot of the movie was shot in Red Square in Moscow, Russia. One of the crew guys bought everyone McDonald's from nearby and that was her favorite moment:  Eating McDonalds in Red Square with the cast and crew.

The next question for director Segal got some applause.  "How much fun was it working with Steve?" This prompted Segal to reply, "Anne was great! Steve…"  Segal actually thought he had the most fun working on movie, even though he knew his answer sounded completely fake.  Once Steve was involved everyone wanted to be involved.  It created a great environment and they would love to do more if moviegoers like this one.

The panel then discussed the challenges of bringing this movie to the fans of show.  Everyone agreed it was a great show so they tried to bring the spirit and catch phrases, to honor the original fans, while bringing the show to a new generation with new elements.

The next fan wanted to know how the 86/99 relationship will work in the film and if Barbara Feldon came to the set.  Segal answered,"No Ms. Feldon did not come to set, but the Adams family came many times."  Bernie Koppel does have a cameo though.  Hathaway grew up loving 99 and especially loved where 99 goes in the movie and it is an homage to the inspiring 99 that she grew up with.

Another fan took a longer route to finally asking for an autograph for a friend in Cairo, prompting a short round of boos.

Segal was then asked about the upcoming production of "Shazam!"  Carell quickly answered that they are in pre-production and he is playing Shazam.  Segal said the strike stalled it, but it is being worked on by writer John August.  Also, he would love for Carell to play Shazam.  The crowd seemed to approve of this more than a Carell Joker.

The next question was for the men on stage, "How difficult was it to work with Anne on set?"  Carell then gushed about Hathaway's talents until she teared up.  "Here is the thing about Anne Hathaway: she is kind and a goofball.  She was the only woman on set for months.  She was completely in character when the camera started and a great actress on the set." 

The panelist were then asked to mention a film that made them want to make films?  Hathaway mentioned Rosalind Russell while Segal cited  "Young Frankenstein."   "Also 'Star Wars,'" which he vividly remembers seeing in a West Los Angeles movie theatre.  Hathaway then remembered "Naked Gun 33 1/3" as another movie, prompting applause and laugher from the crowd. Carell finally answered, "Dr Strangelove," which prompted Hathaway to ask why?  After a bit of confusion as to why she was asking why, Hathaway then told Carell that people want to understand him.  "Expand on your answer! Make it count, Carrel!"  After the laughter died down he said that it was a brilliant movie that was, "Chilling, funny, ridiculous and truthful all at once."

The final questions of the panel were what are the differences between film and television and which did Carell prefer?  "TV is very quick.  The movie took 400 years. (more laughter) More time to work, which is good and bad.  Sometimes it would be nice to have time to go back and correct something."  Carell heard another question wanting to know what his favorite line is?

"'I ate a big red candle.'  That is going to stay with me to the grave.  Oh and 'that's what she said,' of course."  He then encouraged everyone to work "That's what she said!" into everyday conversation and see how often it works. Hathaway finished by saying she felt like a big jerk for always saying that while they worked on the film.  "But it always gets a laugh."

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