SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD Panel and Screening at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con

     July 23, 2010

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Hall H is where the biggest pop culture names of the San Diego Comic-Con go to show their stuff and build crucial word-of-mouth.  And while it’s neat to see exclusive footage, trailers, and actors and filmmakers interact directly with the fans, it can get to be a little bit much at times.

After sitting in Hall H all day today, I was feeling pretty drained.  But when the day’s closing panel for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the panel I had been looking forward to more than any other at Comic-Con this year, finally arrived, all my fatigue vanished and all my energy was restored.  had just started.  Whether you were excited for the movie or not, co-writer and director Edgar Wright and his gigantic cast gave a hell of a show with one hell of a surprise.  Hit the jump to find out what went down at the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World panel.

The panel kicked off with a featurette that briefly introduced the world, had Wright and some of the film’s cast talking about the production, and showed off some quick shots from the movie.  Then Wright came on stage, the crowd loved him (as well they should) and he cracked some jokes about what the “H” in Hall H stood for and having to follow the previous panel, The Expendables (Wright said he had to challenge Stallone to an Over the Top-style arm-wrestling match and that he wasn’t sure if his 13 guests could take on one Dolph Lundgren).  Wright then proceeded to moderate the panel.  That’s a bit of a rarity because usually it’s someone unconnected to the project who serves at the moderator.  I’m glad Wright did the job himself because he’s funny, charming, and most importantly, already has a rapport with everyone on the panel so the questions were imaginative rather than “What drew you to the project?” and “What was it like working with so-and-so.”

With 13 participants, Scott Pilgrim had by far one of the largest panels you’ll see at Comic-Con this year.  Rather than have the twelve actors and Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley come on stage together, they were broken up into groups with each group getting its own video introduction and a specific question from Wright.  First up O’Malley.  Since he obviously doesn’t play anyone in the movie, his introduction centered on how his artwork from the books lined up with scenes from the movie.

Before bringing on the next group, Wright made a special announcement: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World will be released in 2D and at regular ticket prices.  The audience cheered.

Next on stage were Mark Webber and Alison Pill who play Sex Bob-Omb members Stephen Stills and Kim Pine, respectively.  Wright made sure that when someone came on stage and was asked a question, they were only allowed one-word answers.

The next group contained Anna Kendrick (who plays Scott’s sister Stacey), Aubrey Plaza (who plays the bitchy Julie Powers), and Kieran Culkin (who plays Scott’s gay roommate Wallace Wells).  Wright asked them how much, on a scale of 1 to 10, did they disapprove of Scott’s actions?  Kendrick said “5”, Plaza said “7”, and Culkin said “4”

Next up were four members of the League of Evil-Exes: Jason Schwartzman (who plays the film’s main villain and Ramona’s final evil-ex Gideon Graves), Brandon Routh (Ramona’s third evil-ex Todd Ingram), Satya Bhabha (Ramona’s first evil-ex Matthew Patel), and Mae Whitman (Ramona’s fourth evil-ex, Roxy Richter).  Wright’s question for these four: How much did they enjoy beating Scott’s head into the curb?

Bhabha: “10,000 pts”; Whitman: “Achingly”; Routh: “Devilishly”; and Schwartzman: “Comic-conishly!”

Then we got to greet the lady loves of Scott Pilgrim’s precious little life: Mary Elizabeth Winstead (who plays Ramona Flowers) and Ellen Wong (who plays Knives Chau).  Edgar’s question for them: Describe their character’s feelings for Scott.

Winstead: “It’s complicated.”; Wong: “Scottaholic”.

Edgar then continued, “Also appearing in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost!”  His two partners in crime walked on the stage and the audience, as expected, went absolutely nuts.  Then Wright said, “Correction: it turns out that they’re not appearing in the film.”  Pegg and Frost then dejectedly walked off stage.

And to introduce the star of the film, Wright said “And now, Scott Pilgrim himself and one of the finalists to play Captain America (of the 500 finalists), Michael Cera.”  Cera then came out on stage dressed as Captain America.  Wright’s question: How did Michael feel about losing out on the part of Captain America.  Cera’s answer: “Predictable?”

We were then treated to a clip from the film.  It featured Scott wielding a flaming katana to strike down baddies left and right and they shatter into piles of coins.  It was just a glimpse at how jaw-droppingly brilliant the fight scenes in this movie are.

After the audience Q&A (where Wright threatened to snipe anyone who asked a multi-part question), Wright asked the audience if they’d like to see another clip…or the whole movie?  The latter, obviously.  And then the audience got one hell of a surprise: the movie was screening in 45 minutes at the Balboa Theater near the corner of Fourth Ave and E Street.  Before the panel, pins with Scott Pilgrim characters were being distributed.  If you got a pin that said “1-UP”, then you were getting into tonight’s screening.  Wright then led those lucky attendees on a merry run to the Balboa. And for those who didn’t get to see it tonight, don’t worry because the film is also screening Friday and Saturday night.

Over at the theater, fans filtered in and got seated to the music of DJs Kid Koala (who worked with Wright on Shaun of the Dead) and Dan the Automator.  Wright then personally introduced the film with the cast and O’Malley sitting in the balcony.

Then the movie started and you couldn’t ask for a more excited and enthusiastic crowd.  As readers of this site know, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was my most anticipated movie of the year.  Now that I’ve seen it, I’m still chewing it over.  I’ll be running my review in the coming days, but if I had to sum up my opinion in a short, enigmatic sentence, I’d say “I loved it but with strong reservations.”

After the screening, folks were treated to a live performance by Metric, who actually performed the music that’s played by rival band “The Clash at Demonhead” in the movie.

I sat through every presentation in Hall H today.  TRON: Legacy showed the most eye-catching footage.  The Expendables had the best panel in terms of the panelist camaraderie as the stars laughed about how much they kicked the crap out of each other on the movie.  But I think the overall winner today was Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and I’m not just saying that because of my enthusiasm for the project.  The presentation was hilarious, showed exciting stuff from the movie without giving anything major away, had a well-done audience Q&A session, and a finished up with a payoff that was both a love-letter to fans and a great way to raise the film’s profile.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World hits theaters on August 13th.

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