"Game of Thrones" actor Kit Harington attends Entertainment Weekly's Comic-Con party at Float at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego on July 20, 2013. ( Jason Merritt/Getty Images)Link
"Once Upon a Time" star Lana Parrilla. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)Link
"Arrow" star Stephen Amell. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)Link
Geek & Sundry's Felicia Day. ( Jason Merritt/Getty Images)Link
"True Blood" actor Nelsan Ellis. ( Jason Merritt/Getty Images)Link
"Perception" actress Rachael Leigh Cook and her husband, Daniel Gillies, of "The Vampire Diaries" and "The Originals." (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)Link
"The Originals" actor Charles Michael Davis. ( Jason Merritt/Getty Images)Link
"The Vampire Diaries" cast members Ian Somerhalder, Kat Graham, Paul Wesley and Candice Accola. (John Shearer/Invision for Entertainment Weekly/AP Images)Link
TV personality Sandra Lee. (California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)Link
"Once Upon a Time" star Emilie de Ravin. (Alexandra Wyman/Invision for Entertainment Weekly/AP Images)Link
"True Blood" actress Rutina Wesley. ( Jason Merritt/Getty Images)Link
Comedians Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael Key. ( Jason Merritt/Getty Images)Link
Topher Grace, left, Brittany Snow, center and Tyler Hoechlin at the Entertainment Weekly party. (John Shearer/Invision for Entertainment Weekly/AP Images)Link
"The Walking Dead" actress Danai Gurira and Isaiah Washington. (John Shearer/Invision for Entertainment Weekly/AP Images)Link
Actresses Anna Camp, left, and Brittany Snow. (Jordan Strauss/Invision for Entertainment Weekly/AP Images)Link
"Once Upon a Time" stars Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas. ( John Shearer/Invision for Entertainment Weekly/AP Images)Link
With San Diego’s Comic-Con International expanding nearly every year, the annual pop culture convention has also accommodated the flourishing nightlife.
“I understand that San Diego Comic-Con is like the Detroit Auto Show,” said “Banshee” actress Lily Simmons. “Sure, other places can have an auto show, but it’s not the Detroit Auto Show. “
While the city’s boisterous Gaslamp Quarter bustled with convention-goers and other Saturday night patrons, Hollywood took on its fair share of lavish events.
“It’s just kind of insane,” said “Game of Thrones” actress Esme Bianco. “I think there’s a scale of everything that’s kind of amazing to me. A couple people have warned me that it’s big. Everyone’s right!”
Bianco, who played the upward-climbing courtesan Ros on the HBO series, said she party-hopped quite a bit over the weekend, starting off with Focus Features’ “The World’s End” party Thursday and stopping by Entertainment Weekly’s Saturday bash at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Float Rooftop bars.
The party scene is among the few occasions in Hollywood when the talent lets down their guard and turn into fans themselves. Bianco said that “Shaun of the Dead” is one of her favorite movies and that the highlight of the party circuit for her was getting to meet Simon Pegg and Nick Frost at their party for “The World’s End.”
For her costar Kit Harington, who said he’d been to a few parties over the weekend, the festivities let him interact with people and network.
“I enjoy them. It’s a really good place to meet people,” said the actor, who plays Night’s Watchman Jon Snow. “Sometimes you get stuck in this little bubble of being in your hotel room and only with your own cast. It’s the one time you get to meet other people from other shows who you really admire. I met ['Breaking Bad' actor] Bryan Cranston today, and it blew my mind.”
Charles Michael Davis, one of the stars of “The Vampire Diaries” spin-off “The Originals,” said the nightlife allows him to “let it loose.”
“In the interviews and things, you can be a little reserved and keep somewhat to ourselves, but when you come out and see someone you haven’t seen since New York or since back in L.A., for me I just start jumping on couches,” he said, laughing. “I go all Tom Cruise — nothing against Tom Cruise — I don’t do that during the day, but I let my inner Tom Cruise out at night!”
Brad Bell, star of Jane Espenson’s new CW comedy “Husbands,” a sitcom that takes on the issue of same-sex marriage, said this weekend marked his seventh Comic-Con.
“It seems to get bigger every year. Every year it’s more and more people and it’s bigger and tighter. The exhibits are bigger too,” Bell rasped. He said he lost his voice the night before at Zachary Levi’s Nerd HQ party, which took place under the bleachers of Petco Park. He also stopped by Ubisoft’s Friday night “Assassin’s Creed” party, which was set on a pirate ship. After the Entertainment Weekly party, he and costar Sean Hemeon planned to go to an exclusive “Bates Motel” bash. (Stars Vera Farmiga, Aaron Paul, Bob Odenkirk, Anna Gunn, Giancarlo Esposito and Nestor Carbonell were also spotted at the party.)
Bell said the convention’s party scene has become important.
“I don’t think it’s selling out. The parties are for a different crowd,” he said. “I think that Comic-Con is for the public and the fans of the people in genre, popular culture and the arts, and I think that the parties are for the industry people that come and get together to do all that because everyone knows each other here anyway.”
Nolan Gould, who plays young Luke Dunphy on ABC’s Emmy-winning “Modern Family,” the parties were a chance for him to meet actors he admired and partake in activities that aren’t as readily available in Los Angeles.
The self-proclaimed fan of “Lost,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead” said he took part in the annual zombie walk, an apocalyptic obstacle course created for fans to run away from treacherous zombies. The race took place on Friday at nearby Petco Park and Gould said that he “died on the last obstacle too, like seriously.”
But in addition to attending lavish parties, he’s been having fun doing what many convention-goers do.
“I’ve just been walking the floor, going to booths and collecting swag,” Gould said.
Anna Camp and Michael McMillian, who play the formerly bible-toting Newlins on HBO’s True Blood,” stepped out for the Entertainment Weekly party together.
“It’s crazy because you’ll be getting out of a car and you’ll just see people walking, doing their thing. Then all of a sudden they all have things with their face on them. And then you’re like, how did you get that and how did you know I was here and what is going on? It’s like ninja fans! They’re intense and they’re ready to get you to sign stuff.”
The longtime friends skipped their own show’s bash at Side Bar to attend EW’s fete.
“This is actually my first night [at the parties] — it is party on every single block,” Camp said. “There’s parties at every hotel, people at restaurants are having parties. It’s like everybody has this festive, crazy, fun, awesome vibe about them, and San Diego is being so warm and welcoming, and it’s awesome.”
And after a long day of work, which included appearing on the “True Blood” panel Saturday, Camp was ready to crash.
“I’m tired!” she said. “I might end up in the pool!”
The same night, HBO and IMDb joined forces for the “True Blood”-themed cocktail party held at Sidebar. The already goth-like bar was transformed into a real-life Fangtasia, the vampire watering hole from the series.
A few blocks away, at Jolt N Joe’s, the bar’s entire upstairs area was dedicated to multimedia company Geek & Sundry’s cosplay prom. The shindig was better suited for the crowd on the convention floor than celebrities or industry people: It was intentionally geared toward the fans who have helped Comic-Con grow. All weekend, the dive served as the company’s fan headquarters.
“The nighttime version of Comic-Con is very Hollywood, but at the same time it’s Hollywood taking its shoes off,” said Geek & Sundry co-founder Felicia Day. “It’s where everybody from our shows get to see each other for the first time other than an awards show. It definitely has a vibe of everybody relaxing and meeting people in the industry but in a really informal way. I love it.”
Day, who easily fits into both Hollywood and genre tribes, also bounced back and forth among parties Saturday night.
“It’s a little bit too jet-set-y for my normal world,” she said after giving out honors at the cosplay prom, then hitting the red carpet at the EW event, calling the star-studded gathering the “crown jewel” of all the parties taking place during the convention.
About 800 people attended the prom, and cosplay guru Linda Le, a.k.a Vampy, served as the competition’s judge. Someone in a glow-in-the-dark Optimus Prime outfit won prom king. The cosplayer fittingly did the robot to celebrate. People dressed as Princess Zelda and Link also took home top honors.
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