Sunday 11 August 2013

Live-Action News From D23 Expo

We all got pretty excited about the news from the D23 Expo on Day 1, so you can imagine how thrilled we were with more, live-action-y, updates from Day 2 yesterday.

Star Wars (aka not a lot of updates):

The Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, Alan Horn, took the stage and began the event. Horn talked about the uniqueness of Pixar, working with Marvel and now working with Lucasfilm.

Horn went on to talk about Star Wars: Episode VII, how thrilled he is to be part of it and the first name greetings with 'JJ'. We already know that John Williams is back for the score and Michael Arndt is writing, so Horn apologised that he can't tell us more:
"I really wish I could tell you more, but…"
The "Imperial March" plays loudly, and a slide of Darth Vader comes up.
"… but there are dark forces. It will be wonderful." (via Hit Fix)


Kevin Feige talked Phase 2 and what's upcoming. Feige then welcomed Alan Taylor, the director of Thor: The Dark World, who introduced an extended clip. Here is what Hit Fix said about the clip:
Odin's voice-over about how there are dark forces that they need to fear ais played over shots of the alien craft arriving on Earth. Thor shows up, takes Janes with him, and then goes back to Asgard. We get to see a lot of Heimdahl in battle. We see the footage of Thor going to get Loki out of captivity. Lots of beats from the trailers we've scene. But the new things we see are more looks at the bad guys, and Eccleston's voice-over is about how there will be nothing that can ease Thor's pain, intercut with lots of hero shots, and then it ends with that amazing shot of Loki betraying Thor and cutting off his hand as the hammer races towards him.

After the clip, Tom Hiddleston walked out to loud applause. Hiddleston really is a lovely chap, "I'm not going to sing for you today," he says. "I feel like I should apologize for not turning up in costume. I'm not going to get this crowd to kneel. I was brought up better than that. I didn't bring the costume, but I did bring some friends of mine."

Natalie Portman and Antony Hopkins came out for a clip of Jane in Asgard.
Jane is being examined.
"She does not belong here any more than a goat belongs at a banquet table."
Jane's offended, but when Odin says he knows who she is, she seems flattered. "You told your dad about me?"
For some reason, Jane is sick, but beyond that, no one from Asgard can touch her because of some sort of energy that is contained in her. It's an interesting moment that suggests she plays a bigger role than just "Wow, look at Asgard!"

Next is Captain America: The Winter Soldier. There were clips shown of a fight scene in an elavator, as well as the new Helicarrier being launched. Chris Evans, Sebastien Stan and Anthony Mackie joined Feige on stage to discuss filming. Then the excitement continued as a brand new clip was shown (new as in 'only started editing this week!'). Hit Fix again have details:
Black Widow and Captain America on a plane, getting ready to get dropped somewhere. "She asks what his plans are on a Saturday night.
"Well, all the guys in my barbershop quartet are dead, so not much."

Some of what they show us is rough animatics or pre-viz, as Cap drops from a plane into the ocean, then climbs up onto a ship. He puts down anyone he encounters easily. One guy reaches for an alarm, and Cap throws a knife and sticks the guy's hand to the wall. His fighting style is brutal. He puts people down quickly and painfully. He sues the shield a lot. One guy gets the drop on Cap, and that's when Frank Grillo and the Black Widow parachute in.

Black Widow doesn't miss a beat. "What about the nurse who lives across the hall from you?" she asks, still trying to figure out if he's got any social life at all.

Next is Guardians of the Galaxy, a clip and Feige talking about how Guardians is exciting for them (you're telling us!). The Marvel talk is wrapped up with Fiege showing a peek at 2015, the Age of Ultron title piece.


Before talking about the future of Disneynature projects, Alan Horn mentioned how a percentage of each of the film's in the Disney Nature collection gross goes to conservation charities. A trailer is shown for the new film, Bears, about a mother bear and her two cubs.

The Muppets Most Wanted:

After a reel of some footage from the sequel to The Muppets, Ty Burrell drove on the stage in a little car. He talked about his role, Jean-Pierre Napoleon, who works with Sam The Eagle to investigate Kermit's Evil Twin (don't forget to watch the first trailer if you haven't already!), as well as what it was like to film with The Muppets.

Miss Piggy, from London, welcomed Kermit and Tina Fey, who introduced another clip (while Miss Piggy stormed off, realising it's D23- not P23 [her age, apparently]). Then another clip, with a hint of a musical number starring Ricky Gervais and 'Fake Kermit'.

Into The Woods:

Sean Bailey announced that rehearsals for Into The Woods has started, with Rob Marshall directing and Marc Platt as producer. The film, starring Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, and Emily Blunt, will be a musical, with the story being a mash-up of fairytale characters and storylines. It's due to start filming in two weeks and will be out Christmas 2014.


A very early, pre-production test was shown. Hit Fix have a nice description of what it entailed:
"I'm really excited to be directing a new live action version of Cinderella, and I wanted to give you an early glimpse of the movie," [says director Kenneth Branagh]
Starts with the storybook opening. Very classic Disney image.
"It's impossible to think of Cinderella without thinking of Disney. To come to this story as a filmmaker, I find irresistible the idea that there are images that everyone knows. We've been working on how to create these images. Transformation. Glass slipper. Making her beautiful entrance."
Lily James is Cinderella. We see some costume tests. She's stunning. She definitely looks like a Disney Princess.
Prince Charming is Richard Madden, and there's a big response to the slide of him. "A funny, smart, sexy prince."
The Stepmother is wicked, and Cate Blanchett is the star.
The Fairy Godmother is Helena Bonham Carter. She's tour guide through the story, the warm, tender, funny voice that lets us know that all will be well."


The first footage of Angelina Jolie as Maleficent weas shown and the reactions have been pretty positive. Peter Sciretta from /Film tweeted:

Footage details from HF: '
We meet Maleficent as a teenage fairy who is caring for her home and the creatures in it, and we see how the King treats her ruthlessly, and how that leads to what he does to Princess Aurora. Elle Fanning is Aurora in the film.
They're looking to show these characters with flaws, like the three fairy godmothers, who may not be as good at raising children as we originally thought. We will see the classic fight with the dragon, "but this time you find yourself rooting for the other side."'

Angelia Jolie came out, talking about how much she wanted the role and how it felt to wear the costume. Another clip followed. This one sounds exciting and HF have a descrption:
Maleficent makes her entrance, and she looks perfect."I was upset not to get an invitation."The King says, "You are not welcome.""What an awkward situation."We see her curse the baby, and it's very creepy, very haunting. It's a very quick glimpse, but boy, it makes the case for them getting all the details of the world right.


Feeling nostalgic (and warming up for Saving Mr. Banks footage, I'm sure), a montage of Walt Disney was shown, highlighting his creativity, his drive and passion and most of all his adventure. Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof discuss being fans of Tomorrowland and how the word 'suggests so much.'
"A place where people actually live a life they can't find anywhere else in the world," says Walt, and then we see the title treatment for "Tomorrowland" for the first time.
Saving Mr. Banks:

The D23 Expo showed a lot of Mr. Banks clips. First off was one with the Sherman Brothers, played by B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman, who meet P.L. Travers for the first time.
They warn her that Walt likes first names only, which seems directly counter to her. Disney makes his big entrance, and right away, he is working very hard to sell her. Hanks isn't really doing an impression of Disney, but what he gets right is the folksy persona that was always part of his public image.
 After another clip, showing Paul Giamatti as Travers's driver and her going to Magic Kingdom for the first time, B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman came out to talk about working with Richard Sherman, learning songs from the piano directly from the man himself.

Then, after another clip, Novak and Schwartzman came on the stage with a piano to sing "Let's Go Fly A Kite" with Richard Sherman walking on to loud applause to end the day.

Remember to check out all of the animation happenings from Day 1 of the expo here.

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