As if it needed to be pointed out, 2020 is different from most other years. This has had wide-ranging impacts on the film release schedule and accompanying events like the annual Comic-Con in San Diego. This year, for the first time in its history, the event went digital and rebranded itself as [email protected] And although it was somewhat lighter on movie content than usual (no Marvel or DC panels, for example), there was still plenty to cherish.
Scroll down to check out the curated highlights of this year's festival.
1. Charlize Theron rounds up her career
With her starring role in new action-thriller The Old Guard, the spotlight is very much on Charlize Theron. Specifically, her skill in carving out an empowering niche for women-led action movies in a notoriously male-dominated industry. The Old Guard is the latest in a line of Theron action vehicles, including The Italian Job, Atomic Blonde and, perhaps most significantly, Mad Max: Fury Road. The latter film was highlighted by Theron during the 2020 [email protected] panel where she discussed the evolution of her career, and her struggles to assert herself as a viable action star.
“I’m really proud of that character,” Theron said about Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road. “Furiosa is definitely one of the most important characters that I’ve ever played. And I saw the potential, I knew how special it was right from the beginning and I chased it really hard because of that.”
Watch the full Comic-Con discussion with Theron below, in which she also talks about the inspiring influence of Sigourney Weaver's Ripley from Alien.
2. Keanu Reeves and Francis Lawrence revisit Constantine
With the third Bill & Ted movie, Face the Music, due in August (at the time of writing), and a fourth John Wick movie in the offing, there's never been a better time to be a Keanu Reeves fan. However, the actor was more interested in looking backwards during [email protected]: specifically, he was revisiting 2005 action-horror Constantine.
Adapted from the graphic novel, Constantine casts Reeves as the titular chain-smoking, gloomy demon hunter. Although the movie did reasonable business at the time, it's only during the ensuing decade that audiences have warmed to it. Reeves was joined by director Francis Lawrence (who achieved greater fame with three Hunger Games movies) to discuss the limitations of Constantine's R certificate and what the film means to fans. Check out the video below.
3. The New Mutants reveals its opening scene
X-Men spin-off The New Mutants has bounced around the release schedule for over two years now. However, it now appears set for UK release on 28th August. And there's no denying the premise is intriguing, the story focusing on young mutant inmates in a psychiatric facility who are grappling with their powers. Putting a horror-inflected spin on the traditional X-Men mythology is The Fault In Our Stars director Josh Boone. And the cast bursts with emergent talent: Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) and Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things) all feature.
Boone and his cast participated in the [email protected] panel and also debuted the film's opening sequence. Check it out in the following video.
4. Guillermo del Toro discusses new monster horror Antlers
One of the victims of the COVID-19 release date shuffle was horror movie Antlers. Directed by Scott Cooper (Black Mass) and produced by Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Antlers visualises a terrifying Native American myth. The film is adapted from a short story called 'The Quiet Boy' by Nick Antosca, and is the tale of an isolated kid who forms a deadly pact with a woodland demon. The spirit is known as the wendigo, a being that has long been feared by Native American cultures. When said pact breaks down, the boy's local community is put in danger.
The movie has now been pushed back to 2021 but anticipation is ramping up. Cooper, Del Toro and the cast elaborate on the menace of the wendigo, and its wider social significance, in the following video. Check it out below, if you dare...
5. David S. Goyer on adapting comics for the big screen
Behind every comic book movie there is, of course, a screenwriter. And David S. Goyer is one of the industry's most respected, having collaborated with Christopher Nolan to groundbreaking effect on Batman Begins. That movie reworked the Caped Crusader as a relatively more grounded symbol of psychological fear, and Goyer's input could also be felt on later movies The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. (Unlike Begins, he only took a story credit on the last two films.)
However, Goyer's input stretches beyond Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. He also wrote the likes of Blade, Dark City and Batman vs Superman, and is currently working on the new Masters of the Universe movie. So, what does it take to translate a beloved comic book property and put it up there on the big screen? Watch Goyer discuss this very issue in the following video.