[Note: I wrote up notes on this panel before I actually saw the film. Check out my thoughts on the movie here.]
Perhaps the film I'm most excited about at this convention is Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. A friend of mine loaned me all of Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novels, and I instantly fell in love with them. The sixth and final entry in the series came out this week, and I bought it so I could read it while waiting in line here at Comic-Con. I should have known it would only take me an hour to read “Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour,” and to avoid any spoilers I'll just say that I definitely was not disappointed.
When the first trailer came out for the film adaptation, I watched it on repeat six times in a row. That's the first time I've ever done that for any trailer – ever – so this film has piqued my interest to its absolute zenith. The casting looks pitch perfect, the writing seems to capture the essence of the source material, and Edgar Wright's manic style seems like a perfect fit for the movie.
So when I got the chance to attend Universal's Scott Pilgrim Comic-Con panel, I jumped at the chance. Co-writer/director Edgar Wright, Michael Cera (Scott), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Ramona), creator Bryan Lee O'Malley, Mark Webber (Stephen Stills), Alison Pill (Kim Pine), Anna Kendrick (Stacey), Aubrey Plaza (Julie), Kieran Culkin (Wallace), Jason Schwartzman (Gideon), Brandon Routh (Todd), Satya Bhabha (Matthew), Mae Whitman (Roxy), and Ellen Wong (Knives) were all on stage during the panel.
During the introductions, Edgar Wright even brought out old friends and long-time co-workers Nick Frost and Simon Pegg! (Although they only stayed for a second.) And when Michael Cera was introduced, he came out wearing a Captain America suit; Edgar joked that he auditioned for the role in the Marvel film and made it down to the last 500 considered.
The floor was opened to Q&A's, so I'll reprint some of the responses here.
Who inspired O'Malley? “I don't know. I think I inspired myself because I'm a super genius.” Edgar Wright - “Ladies and gentlemen, Megamind!”
How did you go from super hero to super villain and which did you like more? BR – “You can't choose from anything other than Superman, so Superman...basically you just do the opposite of Superman, and you get Todd Ingram.”
Is Cera afraid of being typecast? “So much, yeah.”
Given Edgar's past with British comedy, why did he decide to go toward graphic novels? EW - “When I read the first volume, I liked the metaphor of romance and action and how much you'd fight for love. Even though Bryan had never seen the show, it reminded me a bit of Spaced.” [Note: Spaced is a TV show that Edgar directed, starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Jessica Stevenson, and I'd highly recommend checking it out. It's available for free on Hulu.]
Michael's favorite part of being in the movie? MC - “I loved getting into excellent shape...I felt fantastic mentally and physically. (Long pause to let it sink in that he looks ridiculous in the Captain America suit.) It was a long time ago.”
Does Michael have any info about an Arrested Development movie? MC - “I don't have any information, but I want it to get made. I think it will, I think it's going to.”
Was the cast fans of the source material before they signed on? Schwartzman - “We loved the source material...I love Edgar Wright, and when I found out Michael was involved, how could I say no? It's the best thing ever.”
Was it hard to pretend to be Canadian? Alison - “I am Canadian.” Michael - “As am I.” Brandon - “It was hard to work with all of these Canadians.” Edgar - “We shot the film in Toronto, and I don't know if you know this but a lot of the buildings in the film are based on [real buildings in Toronto].”
Was Edgar inspired to include video game scenes in the fighting? Edgar - “Yeah, the idea was to make the fights feel like different levels of a video game. You can hear some Tekken sound effects, and some from Sonic, Zelda, Mario...that was definitely something we were going for.”
What kind of research did Michael do? MC - “We did training together for 2 months before the movie, and that was amazing. While we were doing that, we were rehearsing together, too.” Edgar – There was a special boot camp for fight training...part of Jackie Chan's fight team, we literally had Team Jackie Chan and trained with them every morning.” Jason - “Edgar Wright came to training every morning with us. What a great guy, right? Who else would do that?”
Edgar asks Ellen how she got into character. Ellen - “You guys just made going to work so fun and created such an incredible atmosphere.”
What was the funniest scene for each actor? Alison - “So many.” Mark - “All of them.” Anna - “The scene where I'm on the phone with Michael and it was just his voice prerecorded.” Aubrey - “Most of my scenes are just me cursing MC out and that was really fun.” Kieran - “I don't have a favorite, but I ruined a lot of takes due to laughing.” Edgar – Why don't you tell them what I did to prepare you for kissing a man? Kieran explained that Edgar kissed him. Edgar says “do you think Stallone kissed anyone on The Expendables?” Mae - “We came up with this weird line in rehearsal and for some reason we decided to do it in a Southern accent and it doesn't really make any sense but it made me laugh.” Brandon - “There's a scene where we're on the couch and Envy and I are squaring off against Scott and Ramona, and Aubrey has some really funny moments there...I tended to crack up there.” Jason - “My favorite scene, and I don't want to speak for Michael, but it was a scene we did together – the shower scene. It was exciting because I think the training really paid off.” Mary - “Ramona can't really laugh, and the hardest for me was when Jason was around. I would cry I was laughing so hard.” Ellen - “For me, it was being able to rock out during the concert scenes...we got to listen to some really cool music.” MC - “I don't think I could choose. I got to work with pretty much everyone, and everyone was great. The shower scene was really amazing. We shot it over two weeks.”
Share some Toronto love, Edgar. Edgar - “A lot of superhero films are shot there doubling for New York...it was amazing being there because most of the time people shoot there and try to pretend it's somewhere else. It was kind of spooky, we could literally roll out of bed and be shooting the movie.”
How did Cera maintain his trademark figure through the training? MC - “Is that an insult? Is that a compliment? Thank you. I don't know, I can't explain it.”
It was at this point that Edgar offered to bring a select group of fans to see the film, and I happened to be one of them. Check out my coverage of what happened next right here.