Chuck's Zachary Levi

Comic-Con 2009 - Day Two, The Prisoner, Eisner Awards, Bones, Dollhouse, Darwyn Cooke, Comic-Con 2009

Comic-Con Day Two Report: The Prisoner, 24, Eisner Awards, July 24th, 2009

Aug 02, 2009 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Web Exclusive
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Comic-Con 2009 day two began with disappointment. We overslept and it was too late by the time realized that we had totally forgotten about one of the comic book-related panels we most wanted to see this year, Spotlight on Mike Allred. Allred is one of the snappiest comics creators out there and his Madman is a personal favorite, so we were kicking ourselves the rest of the day. As with the day before, we avoided the big Hollywood panels in Hall H, but here's a rundown of what we did see on day two.

The Prisoner:

"I never want to be accused of copying anybody, especially Patrick McGoohan," said Jim Caviezel during The Prisoner panel. The Prisoner was a cult 17-episode British TV show that aired in 1967/1968 and was created by, sometimes written and directed by, and starred Patrick McGoohan. AMC is mounting a new version as a six-part miniseries that airs in November. "This isn't a recreation, it's a reimagining," Caviezel continued. Both versions center on a former secret agent (codenamed Number 6) who wakes up in a mysterious village prison from which there is no escape. Sir Ian McKellen co-stars in the new version as Number 2, the controller of the village.

The panel began with a nine-minute extended preview of the miniseries, which certainly looked complex and promising. "They told us it was a six-parter, but they only sent us five scripts, so you've got to do the job to see what happens next," joked British actor Lennie James (Jericho), who plays the village's cab driver.

The new miniseries was shot in a hard to reach town in Nambia, Africa. Its remote and isolated location was a challenge for the cast and crew. "Everybody here has danced on the precipice of madness while making this thing," admitted Vlad Wolynetz, an AMC executive who was involved in the production. Wolynetz spoke to McGoohan before his death and got his blessing to move ahead with this "reimagining." In the conversation, McGoohan also jokingly suggested that he should play Number 2, but that he thought Ian McKellen would do just fine. McKellen wasn't in attendance at the panel, but other guests included Sweeney Todd's Jamie Campbell Bower (who plays Number 2's son) and writer Bill Gallagher.

Gallagher spoke about how much society has changed in the 40 years since the '60s, especially in that we live in a post 9/11 world. Caviezel also talked about how surveillance has changed and grown as well, in particular the surveillance of celebrities. Caviezel was recently in a motorcycle accident and he said that he tried his best to be discreet about it when he went to the hospital, but it was still all over the news the next day. Caviezel also said that he keeps a breathalyzer in his car and after drinking he checks his blood alcohol level before driving. "Because the next day it's going to be, 'Jesus was booked for driving drunk,'" said Caviezel, who played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ.

The Prisoner will air over three consecutive nights, with two episodes airing in a row each night. "For me it's a six-hour movie with two intermissions," said Caviezel, who was first told about the original Prisoner by The Passion of the Christ's director Mel Gibson. "I really believe coming this fall you're never gonna see anything like this on TV," promised Caviezel.

IDW: Darwyn Cooke:

After failing to get into the panel for CBS' The Big Bang Theory, we headed over to one on Canadian comic book writer/artist Darwyn Cooke, who is best known for DC: The New Frontier and his work on The Spirit. Cooke is now working with IDW on an adaptation of the crime novel The Hunter, which was written by Donald E. Westlake under his pseudonym Richard Stark. The book was also adapted into both the 1967 motion picture Point Blank (starring Lee Marvin) and the 1999 movie Payback (starring Mel Gibson). "I've always preferred crime drama to superhero stuff," Cooke revealed. "It's really what I've always wanted to do." Cooke discovered the book via seeing Point Blank. "I don't have any interest in adapting material I don't respect," he later said.

Talk turned to Cooke's work on Will Eisner's The Spirit, which he said was the only thing that could have kept him at DC working on superhero comics. "I felt like it was going to be the challenge of my career to live up to Will Eisner," said Cooke. Cooke got choked up when discussing the fact that he wasn't able to consult with Eisner when working on The Spirit, because he passed away a couple of years before Cooke began working on the book. Cooke then felt the need to lighten the mood right away. "Did you see that girl out there dressed like Pikachu? I got to admit to some profoundly disturbing thoughts," Cooke joked. Perhaps this was the same "hotter than hell" Pikachu that Bruce Campbell referred to during the Burn Notice panel the day before?

24:

The panel for the Fox TV show 24 introduced some of season eight's new cast members: Freddie Prinze Jr. (I Know What You Did Last Summer), Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica), and Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire). "For me it's an honor to be on this show. I've always been a great admirer of 24," said Kapoor, who plays the Iranian president in the new season. "I've been a huge fan of the show since the beginning," said Prinze, who added that when he first saw the show he said to his wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar, that he'd love to appear on 24 one day. Mere mention of Gellar (aka: Buffy the Vampire Slayer) drew huge applause from the audience. "Oh yeah, I forgot, she's big with you guys," Prinze responded. Sackhoff was also popular with the Comic-Con audience due to her work on Battlestar. When asked which character she plays on 24, Sackhoff joked, "I play Starbuck," referring to her Battlestar character.

The plot for season eight centers around a New York City peace conference between the presidents of America and Iran. "This season is more grounded in the potential of what could really happen in the world," said series star Kiefer Sutherland. Producer Howard Gordon added that the hook of season eight was "the possibility of peace." "Don't be alarmed, we still blow shit up," Sutherland promised.

"How's it feel to be the manliest man in the worldJack Bauer?" asked one audience member. "I just play the manliest man in the world," responded Sutherland.

Sutherland said that they have considered putting together a 24 theatrical motion picture at some point ("there's been lots done...researching ideas for a film"), but that they wouldn't seriously consider putting a film together until the series ended. "The last eight years as an actor, and as a person, have been the best eight years of my life," said Sutherland, summing up his 24 experience.


Bones:

I've never really watched a full episode of Bones, so I only caught a few minutes of the panel. Star David Boreanaz, who wasn't in attendance because his wife was about to have a baby, will be directing Bones' 100th episode. Actress Emily Deschanel is also interested in directing at some point. Deschanel had a broken toe, talked about her animal activism and how she was uncomfortable with an episode that took place at a zoo, and threw out Hersey Kisses to the audience.

Buck Rogers 80th Anniversary:

It's been 80 years since author Philip Francis Nowlan created the character of Buck Rogers in 1928 (it's hard to believe Buck's been around this long). This panel featured people connected to the character in various capacities, but the main draw was actors Gil Gerard and Erin Gray, who played Buck Rogers and Wilma Deering in the TV show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979 - 1981). Other panelists included Flint Dille (the descendant of John Flint Dille, who published the original Buck Rogers comic strips), Daniel Herman (whose company Hermes Press is restoring the original comic strips), and Nick Barrucci (whose Dynamite comics are now publishing new Buck Rogers comics). Gerard and Gray both revealed that they will be appearing in a new Buck Rogers Internet series. And they showed off some retro looking Buck Rogers toys, such as a new deluxe action figure that includes an MP3 player that plays old Buck Rogers radio plays. Apart from that, the panel was less than engaging. Then our attempts to get into The Mighty Boosh panel proved futile, due to a long line.

TV Guide Magazine: Sci-Fi Hot List:

"As long as we don't send anybody to feudal Japan we're pretty much okay, right?" joked Joss Whedon about Dollhouse's second season at the tail end of the show's panel, a clear dig at Heroes. Next up was the TV Guide Magazine: Sci-Fi Hot List panel, which brought together various actors and producers behind current and forthcoming sci-fi related TV shows. The panel included Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons (from The Big Bang Theory, the CBS sitcom about a group of nerdy physicists who are also diehard sci-fi fans and comic book geeks), Chuck's Zachary Levi, John Cho (Flash Forward, also Sulu in the new Star Trek), Flash Forward's producer Marc Guggenheim, Eastwick's Rebecca Romijn, Scott Wolf (one of the stars of ABC's remake of V), Scott Peters (V's executive producer), Kevin Williamson (the executive producer of The Vampire Diaries and the creator of Dawson's Creek and Scream), and Allison DuBois (the real life psychic who inspired Medium). For starters, moderator Craig Tomashoff (TV Guide) asked the panel to each name what was their favorite sci-fi show when they were kids. Scott Wolf and Kevin Williamson both loved The Six Million Dollar Man. Zachary Levi was more into action shows such as The A-Team and MacGyver. Rebecca Romijn loved Wonder Woman. Johnny Galecki dug The Greatest American Hero. Jim Parsons was into The Twilight Zone and Three's Company (not exactly a Sci-Fi show). John Cho cited Voyagers!, Knight Rider, and The Six Million Dollar Man. And Marc Guggenheim was a fan of the original Battlestar Galactica.

With a panel that featured so many different guests, it was hard for everybody to get a word in, but they tried. "I had a scientist thank me today [for how we portray scientists on the show]," said Parsons. Galecki and Parsons said that they spoke to real scientists when they embarked on Big Bang Theory. "If you watch Chuck carefully enough you see all his Comic-Con badges in his room," said Levi, who was decked out in a beard and was clearly the star of the panel. Levi pointed out the fan behind the "Save Chuck" Subway campaign (presumably Wendy Farrington). Levi said that he'd like Morgan to find out about Chuck's secret spy life over his sister Ellie. DuBois said that unlike the fictionalized version of her on Medium (played by Patricia Arquette), she doesn't get her visions in her sleep. "Don't bring me sleeping pills to signings," DuBois requested. DuBois was promoting a new reality show on SyFy entitled Soul Evidence, in which she helps the police with investigations.

Quite a bit of the panel involved the showing of trailers and clips from the panelists' shows. Based on its trailer, Vampire Diaries came off as a lame rip off of Twilight (which is lame as it is), even though it's based on a series of books published in the early '90s. The show seems to revolve around a love triangle between a high school girl and two vampires, one good and one evil. The V remake seemed fairly faithful to the original mid-'80s miniseries and series. Eastwick, based on the 1987 movie The Witches of Eastwick, appears to be Desperate Housewives with witchesnot necessarily a good thing.

Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards:

The comic book industry honors their own every year with the Eisner Awards. The Eisners are named after the legendary and pioneering late comic book writer/artist Will Eisner (The Spirit) and are kind of like the comics version of the Oscars. This year they were held at the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel, adjacent to the convention center. "Come for the celebrity presenters, stay for the long acceptance speeches," joked host Bill Morrison (co-founder of Bongo Comics). Alas, this year the Eisner's were short on true celebrities, with comedian Patton Oswalt and a couple of guys from Reno 911(Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant) being the main celebritiesat least Samuel L. Jackson showed up last year. "I'm going to take a clipping of his hair for a doll I'm making later," joked Oswalt about fellow presenter, and novelist/comics writer, Neil Gaiman. Many of this year's winners were not in attendance, so there were lots of people accepting awards for other people.

The Bill Finger Award is named after a Golden Age comic book writer who is best known for co-creating Batman with Bob Kane, but who largely remains uncredited (Kane often gets sole credit). This year the award was presented by Jerry Robinson, who also worked on the early Batman comics and helped create The Joker, and the recipients were the late comics writer John Broome (who worked on Green Lantern and The Flash, among others) and satire writer Frank Jacobs. Jacobs is best known for his work on Mad magazine. "I'm older than dirt...I campaigned for Roosevelt, Teddy. When I first became a writer I used a quill," Jacobs joked in his acceptance speech. "I still read comics today, when I have a magnifying glass."

Later, various comic book legends were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, only one of them was still aliveartist Russ Heath. Fortunately, he still had a sense of humor and should've also won the award for shortest acceptance speech of the night. "I'm very, very happy about being alive to accept this," was the sum total of Heath's speech. Other notable winners included Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All Star Superman (DC) for Best Continuing Series, Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca's Invincible Iron Man (Marvel) for Best New Series, Nate Powell's Swallow me Whole for Best Graphic AlbumNew, Bill Willingham (Vertigo's Fables and House of Mystery) for Best Writer, Chris Ware (Acme's Acme Novelty Library) for Best Writer/Artist and Best Lettering, Guy Davis (Dark Horse's BPRD) for Best Penciller/Inker, James Jean (Vertigo's Fables and Dark Horse's The Umbrella Academy) for Best Cover Artist, and Dave Stewart (Dark Horse's BPRD, Hellboy, The Umbrella Academy, etc.) for Best Coloring. Visit Comic-Con's website for a full list of winners. Like most award shows, the Eisners tended to drag on a little.

We left the Eisners early, determined not to oversleep again the next morning. And so ended another exhaustive day at Comic-Con.

Check out a full gallery of photos from the Prisoner panel here.

Check out a full gallery of photos from the 24 panel here.

Check out a full gallery of photos from the Bones panel here.

Check out a full gallery of photos from the Dollhouse panel here.

Check out a full gallery of photos from the TV Guide Magazine: Sci-Fi Hot List panel here.

Check out a full gallery of photos from the Eisner Awards here.

 




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