CCI, Day 2: Twentieth Century Fox Presents ...

Fri, July 21st, 2006 at 12:00am PDT

TV/Film
George A. Tramountanas, Staff Writer

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Borat (played by Sacha Baron Cohen)

At this year's Comic-Con International in San Diego, it seems that Twentieth Century Fox brought a bit of everything – dragons, Indians, vikings, cops, and mutants – but begin with, dragons!

President of Fox 2000, Elizabeth Gabler, took the stage to talk about "Eragon," adapted from the best-selling book. She gave a brief history of the property, explaining that they acquired the rights in September 2003, just as Random House acquired the rights to publish the book.

Production on the film began in September 2005, and it was shot in five countries around the world. The film has many big name actors, including Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, and newcomer Edward Speleers, who plays the title character.

The dragon, Saphira, is being created through the efforts of George Lucas' ILM and Peter Jackson's WETA. The folks at Fox screened footage from the film here at CCI for the first time ever, but the media were not allowed to record the footage, so you'll have to use your imagination. (The audience seemed pleased.)

Gabler then began talking about the casting of Eragon. The production was having a difficult time finding an actor for the role. Finally, as filming was approaching, the director (Stefen Fangmeier) sent a reel to the studio of an actor he liked. The actor was Speleers, the studio loved him, and Eragon was cast.

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(from Left to Right) Deputy Travis Junior (Ben Garant), Deputy Trudy Wiegel (Kerri Kenney), Lieutenant Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon)Elizabeth Gabler (president of Fox 2000) and Edward Speleers

The president then brought out the actor for the audience. This was Speleers' first trip out to California (he hails from England). He talked about his excitement over playing Eragon. This is his first role for the big screen, and he's already looking forward to working on the potential sequel.

Next came "Reno 911!: Miami." The audience howled as the trailer screened. The cast appeared onstage after the lights came up: Lieutenant Jim Dangle (played by Thomas Lennon), Deputy Travis Junior (Ben Garant), and Deputy Trudy Wiegel (Kerri Kenney).

Dangle: "Can I get my picture taken with the Eragon boy?"

Travis Jr: "For the record, I know the movie looks real dumb, but they haven't added our dragon yet."

Wiegel: "Yeah, he's called Fartagon."

Dangle: "Snakes on a Plane? That's the stupidest idea ever."

Travis Jr: "They stole that idea from us. We had that idea a year ago, but it was called 'Bear on a Plane.'"

"Reno 911!: Miami" comes out early next year.

Following this was "Pathfinder," Fox's vikings and Indians movie. (Note: Check CBR's set report on this film, located here) Representing this film were director Marcus Nispel (2003's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"), designer Christopher Shy (who is also doing the art for the comic book adaptation of the film), and actor Clancy Brown ("Highlander," "Shawshank Redemption").

The trailer and some clips were shown from this Frazetta/Vallejo-inspired film. The story behind the movie's creation began with the news that Vikings visited America long before Columbus. Therefore, they likely encountered Native Americans, and probably didn't sit down to smoke a peace pipe.

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(from left to right) director Marcus Nispel, aritst Christopher Shy, and actor Clancy Brown

Next, some details were given regarding the "X-Men: The Last Stand" DVD arriving this fall. It will contain 21 deleted scenes and three alternate endings. There will also be a collector's edition of the DVD containing an original comic starring Stan Lee and characters from the X-Men universe.

And to finish off Fox's presentation, Fox showed the trailer to lengthily-titled "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." It seemed to hit all the right notes with the audience, as the audience guffawed loudly.

Borat (played by Sacha Baron Cohen) himself came out for the presentation afterwards, making his entrance from the women's restroom. He stumbled up onto the stage and welcomed the audience. In addition, he encouraged everyone to go to the film when it comes out this fall. Borat explained when the movie opened in Kazakhstan – simultaneously on all seven of the country's movie theaters – it became the country's #1 movie of all-time, knocking out "King Kong" which was the former #1 champ "ever since it was released in 1933."

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