For the past few days at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, Geoff Boucher of The Los Angeles Times hosted the second annual Hero Complex Film Festival. In attendance were Warren Beatty for Dick Tracy, director Nicholas Meyer for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, writers/producers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof for Star Trek (2009), Richard Donner for Superman and Superman II (with an appearance by Geoff Johns), Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. (who was a surprise guest) for Iron Man and Iron Man 2. Of course they both talked a bit about Iron Man 3, The Avengers and Magic Kingdom.
In addition to the previously announced guests, Captain America: The First Avenger screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely premiered the new trailer and talked about the movie, and Mike Mignola talked about going back to Hellboy. For more on the Festival, hit the jump.
Update: Added some video of Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr.
While I could have easily listed everything that was talked about, I decided to write up a summary and provide the audio. So if you wanted to attend the Festival but couldn’t make it, hopefully this is the next best thing.
And for those wondering what Downey Jr. said about The Avengers, he was asked how it’s been going:
“Well, I hate everybody. I’m not talking about the cast and I’m not talking about Joss. What I mean is and Jon you can probably attest to this…I tend to look at a scene and say ‘This is absolutely impossible, we can’t shoot this, it’s horrible. I can tell you ten other movies its been in. I refuse.’ I usually start off the morning by refusing to do what I’ve signed on to do. So I brought that attitude, happily. Anyway, I just thought how are you going to put all us clowns together? He’s wearing a suit. He’s all jacked up. He’s so and so. And poor Mark Ruffalo, what he’s gonna out do us? And we’re about six weeks in and I have to say Joss Whedon is nailing it. He’s so smart and so good. It’s going to be great. I can’t believe I just said it, I never could’ve believed it but it’s gonna be great.”
Here’s the rest.
Night 1: Warren Beatty for Dick Tracy
While I’ve been in Hollywood for many years, this was my first time getting to see Beatty talk and it was a great night. I’d seen Dick Tracy years ago and thought it was decent, but after seeing it on the big screen again, I’ve got a whole new appreciation for the film and think it’s pretty great.
During the Q&A, Beatty mentioned he’s doing a sequel but he didn’t want to talk about specifics. While I’d love to see it, I don’t think the film is ever going to happen. But I’d love to be proven wrong.
If you listen to the audio, you can hear Beatty talk about:
- How making a movie is like vomiting. He feels better after he does it.
- Tells a great story about how Pacino got cast. Also how Dustin Hoffman got cast.
- Talked about the use of color and how “casting is a rewrite.”
- How Dick Tracy cost in the high 30’s (millions) and how he never thought of it as a tentpole movie.
- Explained it’s the job of an actor to be out of control and the job of a director to be in control.
- Has always had final cut and doesn’t know what a director’s cut is.
- Always goes to the studio head to discuss changes and he always wins the argument.
- After the movie came out Katzenberg wanted a sequel but Beatty was doing Bugsy
- How he decided to use primary colors to tell the story
- Admits to being obsessive compulsive
- Doesn’t like the behind the scenes features on DVDs
- How he didn’t do any press for Red and how he recently spoke to Terrence Malick.
- Wouldn’t want to be a critic. Says it either hits you or it doesn’t.
- Talked about Heaven Can’t Wait and his collaborative process
- How a Dick Tracy Blu-ray is coming
- I asked about 3D. He answered by talking about the need for variable ticket pricing
- Told a great behind the scenes story about Ishtar. One of the highlights of the night.
Night 2 Part 1: Director Nicholas Meyer for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn
If you love Star Trek 2 but haven’t heard the behind the scenes stories, you’ll want to listen to the audio as Meyer was great. During the interview he talked about:
- How his roommate loved Star Trek but he always thought of it as the show with the pointed ears guy.
- How he got attached to direct Trek 2
- All the literary references
- The reshoots
- The differences between the second Trek movie and the 6th (The Undiscovered Country)
- How Kirk and Kahn are never in the same room. Says that William Shatner wanted a fight scene.
- Told a funny story about how Kahn knew who Chekov was even though he wasn’t in the episode of the original series (Space Seed).
- Talked about his collaboration with ILM
Night 2 Part 2: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof for Star Trek
- They talked about how they got Leonard Nimoy
- How Zach Quinto and Chris Pine were cast. They told a great story about how Pine came in to read for the part but didn’t want to get cast…so he was a perfect Kirk. Also, how they were looking for someone that could deliver the dialogue and also be a Captain.
- How over the past 2 years they’ve been reading the books and watching the old episodes to help get ready for the sequel
- Compared their Trek to Donner’s Superman and the structure of the films
- Nero talk and what makes a great villain. How Kahn was amazing and rivaled Darth Vader
- Lindelof told a great story about how the Kirk/Spock relationship was like a romantic comedy. First they don’t know each other. Then they meet but they hate each other. Eventually they have to work together. Then they fuck. Lindelof’s words. Not mine. Again, great story…
- The casting of Karl Urban
Night 3 Part 1: Mike Mignola
- Talked about what’s up with Hellboy right now and how he’s back on the book
Night 3 Part 2: Richard Donner for Superman and Superman 2
- Talks about Chris Reeve
- How the Superman statue at Warner Bros. ended up at his house (it’s an awesome story)
- How Reeve did everything he was told not to while they were filming Superman on the weekends
- How he was offered a million dollars to direct Superman 1 and 2. Talks about how he got the job and tells some great behind the scenes stories.
- Explains how he got Tom Mankiewicz on the project
- The look of Krypton and John Barry’s contributions
- How he got John Williams to do the music
- How he found his Superman
- The casting of Terrence Stamp and all the great British actors in supporting roles
- An awesome story about meeting with Marlon Brando to discuss his costume and how he’s play the role.
- Does he think Superman is a 20th or 21st Century Hero
- Compares the technology from the 70’s to today
- Why the comic book opening in Superman
- Talked about Maverick with Mel Gibson
Night 3 Part 3: Geoff Johns and Jim Lee for DC Comics
- They talked about the future of DC Comics and how everything is being rebooted
- Grant Morrison talks about how he’s going to do the new Action Comics storyline
- If you’re a comic book fan, you’ll love hearing this audio file
Night 4 Part 1: Captain America Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
- They talk about the tone of Captain America: The First Avenger, why he wears a costume and how he gets it, and a lot more.
Night 4 Part 2: Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. for Iron Man and Iron Man 2
The thing to know about tonight is the Downey Jr. was not on the schedule and he came out after the event had started. While the audience was excited for Favreau, when Downey Jr. came out, the audience exploded. The chemistry between Favreau and Downey Jr. was great and they both told some awesome stories. They even talked about future projects like Magic Kingdom, The Avengers and Iron Man 3. Definitely worth listening to. Here’s the highlights:
- Favreau talked about how Sam Jackson got involved and how the Captain America shield was just an Easter Egg they never expected to be important
- Casting Downey Jr. After Favreau tells the story, Downey comes out.
- The issue of ending the first Iron Man with him revealing “I am Iron Man.”
- Why Randy’s Donuts
- The upside/downside of playing Tony Stark in so many movies
- Downey talks about Avengers and Iron Man 3 and how Stark is a tinkerer
- More on Iron Man 2 and the improv, Howard Stark and the humanity
- Downey talks more about The Avengers
- They both tell some great stories about ideas that never happened. How they wanted Iron Man 2 to open with Tony Stark in bed with Pepper Potts
- The challenges of having all the agendas having to fit in Iron Man 2
- Downey talks about Shane Black and Iron Man 3. Says the toughest part will be negotiating Favreau’s acting contract
- The challenge of making Iron Man 3 fit in after The Avengers and making everything work
- The chemistry of all the actors
- Favreau talks about Magic Kingdom and why he wants to do it. Tells a great story about getting an after dark tour of Disneyland
UPDATE: Here’s video of Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr.