It was perfect weather in Kansas City for Planet Comicon! Soooo many fandoms were represented in very impressive ways. The cosplayers were out of this world! There were some fantastic panels, and I was there to capture the panels featuring Alan Tudyk, Matthew Lewis, and Jerome Flynn! You can find a the links to those write-ups here.
Planet Comicon had a TON happening all over the Kansas City Convention Center last weekend, and keeping up with it all meant a ton of caffeine (hello, Starbucks) as well as live-tweets as the weekend moved along. Here’s some of the shenanigans!
Can’t wait to see what’s in store next year for the 20th anniversary of Planet Comicon!
Best known (to most) as Wash in Firefly, Alan Tudyk sat down with host Clare Kramer at @PlanetComicon in Kansas City on Sunday for a chat about all of the roles he’s adored for, and to hand out the “crap” (some was, some REALLY wasn’t) to anyone who queued up for the Q&A.
“I give out…crap….remember some of them are crap.” (See the list of items given out after the end of this article).
Alan was instantly tickled by the ovations given for the projects Clare listed when introducing him to the stage:
“FIREFLY: YEAAAHHHH!!!! STAR WARS:…Woooo. I think Firefly…got a bigger….”
The first fan question, however, was about everyone’s new favorite droid from a Galaxy Far Far Away….K2SO. How *did* he get that role?
“I auditioned on Skype from Nathan Fillion’s house.”
Since he had some history in doing ‘robot work’ he confidently offered a lot of advice for (“Rogue One” director) Gareth Edwards before he knew he had the part:
“I did ‘I Robot’, so he needs some tips. So here’s what you need to do…You’re gonna need to figure out your own vocabulary of movement with any robot…”
The audition was a scene that wasn’t in the film. He then met up at “Star Wars Celebration” with Gareth and was offered the role there…then the director told Alan an awful lot about the plans for K2SO:
After that “He’d have to kill me, or give me the role”. (Continues after pic)
Host Clare Kramer then gestured to the next person in the Q & A line:
CLARE: “Do you want to stand up on this side?”
ALAN: “I’m so glad you weren’t in a wheelchair. That would have been embarrassing for you, Clare.”
After the laughter died down, the fan asked Alan’s favorite scene from “Con Man”, the series Alan wrote, directed, edited, and starred in about a celebrity navigating the comic convention appearance scene (sound familiar?).
The scene that stood out to him was one he did with Milo Vintamila (who played himself) about doing voice over work for a video game that “echoed doing Halo with Fillion”. Nathan’s lines were all quite heroic, but Alan’s were more “Owwwwwwe.”
A few fans asked about a potential season 3 for ‘Con Man’ but he politely pointed out that they don’t have the rights to the show right now…but are hopeful.
Turns out he was editing the first season of Con Man while he was shooting Star Wars. “It was a lot. I had like a thousand yard stare all the time. I’d work all day. At night I’d watch the edit and send all the notes over. At lunch time get notes back and so on.” At one point he went on a trip to Paris with his wife, and would stay up till 5am…still editing.
A very young fan asked him “ How did you feel like acting as K2S0”. “K2SO was a great deal of fun. I got to be on stilts so I got to be like…never stand on your own furniture (as he stands up on the arm of the couch)…THIS TALL. There was a guy who was supposed to stay by me to catch me if I fall. But I could take these big strides so he could not catch up with me! I got to play with actual X-Wing fighters. Alll those aliens…they were there!”
Also on the forefront of fans minds, was his voiceover work he’d done in many Disney films (Wreck it Ralph, Zootopia, Frozen, Moana, Big Hero 6).
“Working with Disney this has just been insane. I’ve had a chance to do 5 movies now with them.”
He went on to discuss the change in his casting in Frozen. “In Frozen I was first a different character” – a butler who helped raise the girls. “After recording, they thought…’Butlers gotta go because the girls need to be alone, that’s a big part of the movie’….so they switched me to the Duke of Weselton.”
One of the most peculiar pieces of casting was “Hei Hei” the chicken in Moana. He joked “I lived in a chicken coup for two months. Actually getting into character wasn’t as hard as getting out. That was a 4 month process.”
“They cast primarily 99% islanders. The appropriate casting for those roles. But the chicken….”
CLARE: “He was fair game.”
“I also played the islander who wanted to eat the chicken AND the guy crying while getting the tattoo…’Alan’s a winer, give that one to him’.”
Another young fan asked which was harder, doing voiceover work, or working on camera. “On camera is harder. We’ve only got one take. That sucks. If we go over that’s 10 grand. We better nail it in one and that’s what you see. With voiceover you can go back to change it, redo it. They come up with new lines. It’s a great process.”
One early acting credit that many remember Alan from was “A Knight’s Tale” with Heath Ledger. When asked about memorable moments from making it: “Oh. That goes back….Being in Prague for 5 months. Heath had a dagger. He’d play pranks on the producer. He’d throw it up and try to catch it. The producer would be like – OH NO YOU NEED TO STOP!”
There was originally an idea for a follow up to A Knights Tale called “A Pirates Tale”. At the end of the film his character says “I bought a ship. Yeah I bought a ship” CUT TO them with the ship taken over. Them in the hull rowing. The map is a tattoo on a guy and very time he’s whipped, part of the map disappears. “That’s as much of the movie that exists”.
Finally, a Firefly fan asked in the event of a Firefly reunion – what his story for bringing Wash back to life would be:
“There’s a lot of fan fiction out there and it involves a lot of sex. So one of those. I imagine a field of wheat. A dream sequence with Zoe. And just running naked………….and a lot of grass cuts.”
And for those interested…the goods from Alan’s bag of “crap”…each of which he signed:
Something also signed by Jason Momoa.
A bag…containing a bag of cashew almond mix.
A room key – “Room 708. Checked out this morning.”
Another room key – “From the Ritz Carlton. I stayed there last weekend.
“I’m not quite sure what this is. Looks like a Sugar bowl that’s too small so it’s a salt bowl?”
A Superman comic with “a lot of pow bam bam pows”.
“Dirk Gently” blanket.
A deluxe shower cap. “Fancy. One of a kind.”
Star Wars comic on which he helped with the K2S0 dialogue.
Another comic book.
A window treatment coupon.
Superman journal “It’s a journal. Write your feelings in it.”
Coffee beans – “You got a Columbian blend. You’re going south of the border.”
“Con Man” shirt.
“Con Man” comic book.
Yet another comic book.
Fish Decal he bought in Belize “No idea what you would use that for.”
A beer “Cozy” CLARE: “Coozy” – ALAN “A COZY little coozy’.
Cookie – “Please take it away or I’ll eat it.”
Another comic book.
A comic book and a “Star Wars thing.”
And last but not least, (and honestly very fitting for the weekend)…yet another comic book!
“To be sitting in Kansas City in an aircraft hanger full of people…”
Harry Potter’s Matthew Lewis (“Neville Longbottom”) was asked if he expected the level of success that the film series has reached when they first started making them. His response? A quick “No”. He seems to still be equal parts surprised, pleased, and grateful for the response it still generates.
Matthew sat down today with host Clare Kramer at Planet Comicon in Kansas City, MO for a discussion about his experiences before, during, and after the epic film series.
To get things started, Matthew described his nerves going into filming. What he found out on his first day on set only seemed to compound the problem. Director Chris Columbus approached him and told him “This week’s all about you.”
“Thanks Chris. I’m an 11 year old child.”
The first day turned out to be the broomstick lesson. The ‘rig’ used to film these scenes may not be the sophisticated (or safe) piece of engineering one might imagine. “Stuck a crane on the back of a truck…put a broomstick on the end of it…strapped me to that…and drove me around!”
Clare: And were your parents like “UHHHHHHH?!?!?!”
Matthew: THEY WERE THRILLED there were like “This is WICKED!”
One fan pointed out that the food in the Great Hall scenes looked amazing. “You’d think so, wouldn’t you. Even though it was real…they sprayed it with WD40 to make it look shiny. So it was real, but not edible.” He pointed out that one of those scenes could take 10 days to shoot. The food would be reheated every 10 minutes. “Rupert got it the worst, man. It was his fault, though. He’d just dive straight in at the start of the day.”
“You’ve got to do that for a WEEK now.”
“I almost died on ‘Chamber Of Secrets’”. During the scene where the Cornish pixies pick Neville up by the ears, he was wearing a harness used to hoist him up. They then wrapped his robe around the harness. When lowering him between takes, his robe was stuck on the chandelier and it was choking him. A member of the crew had to come over and lift him up till they could get him free.
“Yeah I almost died on that one. That was fun.”
When asked if there was a wand he coveted, he couldn’t remember what many of them looked like. He did point out that he did go through a few wands during filming. He would pull it out of the wand pocket in his robe, but just the handle would come out. “Happened all the time! You could probably see it in the background somewhere.”
Clearly being a fan of the book series before the films began, a few fan questions were aimed in that direction. When asked his FAVORITE Harry Potter book, he claimed to be a big fan of ‘Prisoner Of Azkaban’ “because of the twist of Sirius Black not being a bad guy…SPOILER ALERT.” He was also fond of “Goblet Of Fire” because it was the first BIG book he’d ever read.
“I’m reading a grownup book now.”
As for Neville’s progression as a character, “Order Of The Phoenix” stood out. “Book five came out, and suddenly Neville became a different person. He came out of his shell…He didn’t want to be a hero, just wanted to do the right thing.”
On his favorite of the films to shoot, there was no hesitation. “Deathly Hallows Part 2”….mostly because of the bridge sequence. Part of the reason it was special to him is because they shot that sequence on the historic 007 stage at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England.
“We got to blow up a bridge!”
Another memorable scene to all fans of Neville, was the moment he slices the head of Voldemort’s snake ‘Nagini’ clean off. “I had to run up and down that rubble about 100 times that day…and I nearly killed a kid! The blade (after repeated swings), came loose from the hilt! And I was like HEADS UP! But it came down around about five kid extras and sticks in the ground.”
“It was fine. No one died.”
Even though Voldemort was easily the most intimidating of characters to do scenes with, Matthew pointed out something else even more intimidating about his big moment with Ralph Fiennes in #DeathlyHallows 2. “You have Julie Walters, Jason Isaacs, and Helena Bonham Carter all just there watching you!”
Once the series completed filming, Matthew decided to do a play, on the advice of his Potter co-star, Alan Rickman:
“In film you can hide behind directors, you can hide behind incredible cinematographers, and can conjure up the illusion of being good”, but found he could not do so in theater.
Early on in the play’s run he got some bad reviews and wanted to quit. A friend convinced him to carry on and he threw himself into it. He solicited feedback from the other actors and received some theater training from the play’s director. This resulted in the last few months of the run being quite positive and he received some GREAT reviews for his work.
Naturally, many want to know if the kids from #Hogwarts keep in touch now that they’re adulting in the real (Muggle) world. The good news is, they do. Neville lives near Tom Felton, but claims “I’ve lost my drinking buddy for a bit” as Tom is currently filming in South Africa for a few months. He recently met up with Emma Watson for a meal, and even texted with Daniel Radcliffe a week ago – “We all try to stay in touch and try to catch up if we’re in the same city.”
From likely the tiniest of fans in the room today: “How did it feel to play one of your favorite characters from the books?”
“It was a dream come true. It’s a cliche, but it’s true.”