Steven Spielberg finally made a pilgrimage to Comic-Con on Friday, arriving at the convention for the first time in his long career to promote his upcoming movie, “The Adventures of Tintin,” with a little help from a surprise guest: the film’s producer, Peter Jackson.
The stakes were high for Spielberg–it was his first opportunity to present footage of “Tintin,” which is to roll out in U.S. theaters around Christmas — to a large U.S. audience. While many Americans may be unfamiliar with the Belgian comic series about an intrepid young reporter and his faithful dog, on which the film is based, the Comic-Con crowd has a bit more knowledge of the source material, penned by the artist Herge starting in the late 1920s.
After a montage of the director’s classic film clips, Spielberg was greeted like a war hero by the San Diego Convention Center’s Hall H crowd of 6,500, who delivered a thunderous standing ovation.
“How many here have ever read a Tintin book?” Spielberg asked, drawing a cheer. “That makes my job easier.”
Spielberg and Jackson presented several minutes of action-heavy footage of the film, in which Tintin, (played by Jamie Bell), pursues a story about a shipwreck with help from his terrier, Snowy, and a boozy seaman, Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis). In the scenes, which demonstrated Spielberg’s first use of motion-capture technology, Tintin wages a gun fight, a fist fight and gives chase on rain-slicked cobblestone streets.
“It’s a dense detective story, a murder mystery, it’s very funny when it needs to be,” Spielberg said. “We wanted the movie to look like the drawings in the Herge albums. We wanted to honor Herge by using animation to get as close as we could to the characters he invented.”
Jackson, director of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, surprised the crowd by arriving on stage after a video in which he played Captain Haddock. He said he had been “looking forward to [the Tintin movie] for a quarter of a century,” since Spielberg first optioned the property.
Spielberg tipped his hat to the appreciative crowd.
“I wouldn’t be here without you,” he said. “Supporting these movies, staying kids no matter what your age. I’ve been a child all my life. Ask my wife. I’m not ready to grow up. When I grow up, that’s when I’ll stop making movies, which I don’t intend to do.”
“It’s up to you,” Spielberg said to the Hall H crowd. “If you decide it’s worth seeing, then Peter gets to make the next one.”
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