New alien movie “Attack the Block” and the latest installment in the vampire franchise “Underworld” shared Screen Gems’ Hall H time slot at Comic-Con International on Friday afternoon, bringing Kate Beckinsale, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish to the stage.
Joe Cornish, whose screenwriting credits include Steven Spielberg’s upcoming comic-book adaptation “The Adventures of Tintin,” makes his directorial debut with “Attack the Block.” In creating the story for “Attack,” Cornish said he was inspired by movies such as “Gremlins,” “Critters” and Spielberg’s own “E.T.”
“I grew up in South London, and I loved ’80s creature features … that take reality like a suburban environment, a world we can recognize, and then fuse it with fantasy,” Cornish said. “I wanted to make a movie like that.”
But instead of suburbia, Cornish’s alien invasion takes place in a gritty urban ‘hood. “Our aliens wish they landed in Elliott’s backyard,” he said.
“We like to call it ‘Super 8-Mile,’ ” joked Wright, an executive producer on the film.
The film features a slate of first-time actors, all between the ages of 10 and 17 when the movie was shot. John Boyega, who plays the film’s hero, Moses, said he found inspiration for his character in the subtlety and intensity of the fourth season of “The Wire.” Boyega will star in “Law & Order: UK,” which is on BBC America.
But the movie’s real stars are the aliens themselves, Wright said, partly because they are “real” — not CGI.
“Sometimes you feel like the monsters are all a bit same-y,” Cornish said. “The dragon from ‘Harry Potter’ could wander into ‘Cloverfield,’ and nobody would notice.”
Instead, the massive, furry beasts with glowing teeth were created with a combination of live-action and rotoscope technique, he said.
Wright also talked briefly about “Antman,” which Cornish will be writing, saying they turned in a draft on Monday and were working on concept art.
Also at the Screen Gems panel were the creators and actors of “Underworld: Awakening,” including the movie’s star, Kate Beckinsale (who plays Selene), writer Len Wiseman, and directors Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein.
The fourth installment in the vampires-versus-werewolves franchise flips the story on its head, Wiseman said. Instead of hiding from humans, the vampires are out in the open, and humans are pulled into the fray.
The 3-D sequel will also introduce Selene’s daughter, the filmmakers confirmed in the panel, though they remained cagey about the details. Screen Gems played a 2-minute preview of the movie, which featured plenty of gunfire, fang- and fist-fights and Beckinsale back in the suit that made her an action hero.
“It’s actually surprisingly comfortable, apart from after lunch,” Beckinsale said. “It was a trip coming back into the same suit. It’s like a giant condom. It’s very breezy. It’s not leather, it’s latex.”
During the Q&A portion, fans complimented Beckinsale and begged Wiseman for more sequels.
“Thank you for creating a series that puts Twilight to shame,” said one fan, eliciting a cheer from the Hall H audience.
– Noelene Clark
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