Comic-Con 2013: ‘Godzilla,’ ‘300’ follow-up storm Legendary panel

July 20, 2013 | 7:29 p.m.
godzilla panel Comic Con 2013: ‘Godzilla,’ ‘300’ follow up storm Legendary panel

Actors Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Bryan Cranston discuss "Godzilla" at Comic-Con. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

“Godzilla” was king during Legendary Pictures’ panel presentation in Comic-Con’s Hall H on Saturday.

Fans in the 6,500-member audience cheered during the bass-pounding “Godzilla” preview footage, which, in addition to showing off its titular kaiju, revealed a first glimpse of a winged monster that could be Mothra.

The panel also featured presentations for “300: Rise of an Empire” and “Seventh Son.”

FULL COVERAGE: San Diego Comic-Con 2013

“Godzilla” is directed by Gareth Edwards, whose ambitious independent film “Monsters” garnered critical praise for its mashup of big visual effects and small art-house atmosphere. It’s exactly what attracted “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston to the project.

“It was fantastic because he was able to make a monster movie also into a character-driven component where you really felt for these people,” Cranston said of “Monsters.” “And that’s what he transformed this ‘Godzilla’ into.”

Actors Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Bryan Cranston discuss "Godzilla" at Comic-Con. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Actors Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Bryan Cranston discuss “Godzilla” at Comic-Con International. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Cranston noted, however, that there would be plenty of blockbuster action.

“Godzilla was always my favorite monster when I was young, because he was unapologetic,” he said. “I want to see destruction. I’m a boy.”

Cranston and Evans were joined on the panel by actors Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, who both said they were surprised by the atmosphere on set.

“It felt small,” Olsen said. “It felt creative. I never waited around for two hours for a setup. We were just on set the whole time going at it. It was like an independent production, really.”

Taylor-Johnson also described the intimate atmosphere on set.

“It happened to be a big-budget art film, really, the way [Edwards] wanted to shoot it and the way he wanted to direct it,” he said.

The film, slated for a May 16, 2014, release, was announced at last year’s Comic-Con.

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The “Godzilla” presentation was followed by an extended preview of the swords-and-sandals action film “300: Rise of an Empire.”

“Rise of an Empire” is set in the same world as Zack Snyder’s striking 2006 adaptation of the landmark Frank Miller graphic novel “300.”

“If you took ‘300’ and you zoomed out, that’s what this movie is all about,” said director Noam Murro. “It takes place at about the same time as ‘300,’ it’s just bigger and it gives a whole bigger scale and scope as to what happened historically.”

Also on the panel were actors Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green and Rodrigo Santoro, who is returning as the powerful, if scantily clad, god-king Xerxes. Asked about his revealing costume, Santoro joked about his pre-film fitness regimen.

A scene from "300: Rise of an Empire." (Legendary Pictures / Warner Bros.)

A scene from “300: Rise of an Empire.” (Legendary Pictures / Warner Bros.)

“A lot of workouts,” he said. “No carbs, no fun, no ice cream, no chocolate, no pizza, nothing.”

Santoro said the film offers a more complete look at Xerxes and the motivating factors behind his seemingly villainous actions.

“I think that he had his reasons to do what he was doing,” Santoro said. “He was trying to do what his father was doing. His father was killed. You’re going to get to see in this movie where he’s coming from.”

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In the film, Green plays Artemisia, a Persian naval commander driven by vengeance to destroy the Greeks.

“She’s the toughest character I’ve ever played,” Green said. “It’s always been a fantasy for me to play a character who’s a woman with swords. She’s so ballsy, she’s so brave, independent, she’s fearless, ruthless. I call her kind of a ruthless Joan of Arc.”

Legendary also showed an extended preview of its upcoming fantasy adventure “Seventh Son,” featuring Jeff Bridges as a witch- and demon-hunter, Ben Barnes as his protege, and Julianne Moore as an evil and alluring witch. The clip was packed with explosions, burning medieval cities, fanged and winged demons and plenty of combat action.

“It was kind of tough, but it was kind of fun,” Bridges said. “It brings you back to being a kid. For me, a lot of the acting really gets down to being advanced pretend.”

Ben Barnes and Jeff Bridges in "Seventh Son." (Legendary Pictures / Warner Bros.)

Ben Barnes and Jeff Bridges in “Seventh Son.” (Legendary Pictures / Warner Bros.)

Bridges and Barnes were joined on stage by director Sergei Bodrov and “Man of Steel” actress Antje Traue, who plays a witch.

“Especially coming from ‘Man of Steel’ playing Fiora, coming to this set was just the total opposite,” Traue said. “It answered all my romantic questions as a girl — beautiful costumes, beautiful set.… Fighting with this beautiful dress, that was quite something, because it is heavy.”

But the biggest Hall H cheers by far were for Kit Harington, who plays the witch-hunter’s apprentice. The “Game of Thrones” star ruminated on what seems to be a pattern of filming in strenuous conditions.

“I think I’ve definitely suffered as far as locations are concerned,” Harington said wryly. “On this movie I was under a rain tower for seven full days, and in ‘Thrones,’ we’re in the middle of Iceland in minus-35, so it’s not the most comfortable shooting conditions.”

“Seventh Son” is due out in January.

Legendary shared the panel time with Warner Bros., which announced an upcoming Batman and Superman film, starring Henry Cavill as Superman, with Batman still to be cast. Warner Bros. also gave presentations on Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity,” the Tom Cruise sci-fi film “Edge of Tomorrow” and “The Lego Movie.”

Comic-Con International, the annual pop culture expo that takes over the San Diego Convention Center, continues through Sunday.

– Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark | Google+


"Man of Steel" director Zack Snyder in New York on June 10, 2013. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)‘300: Rise of Empire’ trailer: Swords, sandals, the sea and Xerxes

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One Response to Comic-Con 2013: ‘Godzilla,’ ‘300’ follow-up storm Legendary panel

  1. G-Man says:

    Godzilla can't come fast enough.

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