Where can you find the stars of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, Orphan Black and NCIS and a bunch of people in Naruto/Guardians of the Galaxy/Star Wars costumes? Yes, my thoughts exactly.
From 22nd to 24th of May at the MCM London Comic Con the visitors had an opportunity to participate in panels for various TV shows, listen to Q&A with lots of shows’ protagonists, get autographs from some of the main stars, meet some artists and writers in the Comic Village and try some new stuff from developers such as Nintendo, Konami, Bandai Namco and etc.
The first day was all about Gillian Anderson and “Robot Overlords”. The X-Files star took part in a panel to promote this newly British independent sci-fi adventure, along with Jon Wright, the writer and director. “Robot Overlords” follows of a group of people who are desperately trying to defend themselves from a robot invasion. According to the reviews I went through, not even the presence of an Oscar winner Ben Kingsley could have saved this film from frowns around the globe.
However, it wasn’t all about robots that Friday, Disney took the stage promoting “Tomorrowland” with the young Raffey Cassidy, who plays the role of Athena, an Audio-Animatronic droid recruiter in this Brad Bird’s sci-fi adventure. Again, the reviews are pretty pale (expected much?), but stay tuned, will let you know my verdict soon.
Second day was as busy as a hive, with lots of panels and actors/actresses from Arrow, Falling Skies, NCIS, Orphan Black, Jekyll & Hyde, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, The Walking Dead and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. among others. I had an opportunity to listen to Tyler James Williams who spoke about his role of Noah in The Walking Dead. Before he was interrupted by the event organisers (hmmmm!) we managed to get insight into how it was to play that character, on and off the camera. “There’s always someone who gets hurt on the set, every episode”, said Tyler who added he loved playing his part. Whether the show’s script is close to the actual comics, Tyler said that nowadays “it’s a lot closer than before.” While reminiscing about how his characted died in the show, he laughed and added that he “will never look at the revolving doors the same way ever again.” I bet the show’s fans won’t either.
It was lovely seeing Kristian Bruun on his Orphan Black panel. Oh well, the all 15 minutes because the event organisers (again!) had a little schedule problems (we were not amused!). The Canadian actor, writer and producer was extremely pleasant and fun to listen to. His eagerness to engage with the audience was refreshing. He said that it was quite difficult for him in the beginning to be faced with a fact that in Orphan Black a lot of characters are played by the same person, but overcoming. Kristian shared his thoughts what it was like filming his famous torture scene (which was one of his audition scenes he had to practice!) and what are his favourite clone through seasons: “Helena in Season 1 and Rachel in Season 2.” He was reluctant to reveal his favourite clone from Season 3 baring in mind that a lot of people in the room still haven’t seen all of it. How cute! Before he was “dragged” out of the panel room he managed to reveal his favourite TV shows which include Penny Dreadful, Peaky Blinders, Game of Thrones and Dig, among others.
After Orphan Black it was time for some 30s London and the cast and crew behind the Jekyll and Hyde, a new ITV series. After seeing some exclusive footage, the writer Charlie Higson spoke about the idea behind the series and how he wanted to create something quite “different than Dr Who or Steven Moffat’s Sherlock.” Show’s producer was quite thorough when explaining the challenges of such a big project, especially the part of finding someone who would be able to play a “double” role. “It was very difficult to find someone to play Hyde, and Tom was the best choice.” Tom Bateman said that he found the inspiration in Heath Ledger’s joker. “I quite like that joker, and everybody liked that character.” In order to transform from one character to another more efficiently, Tom listens to different music. “The most difficult thing is to cross that bridge between them.” Natalie Gumede, who plays the role of Bella said that she likes that 30s Bond girl type of character and added that “a stunning set helps a lot” when playing the role. Richard E. Grant was talking about changes that occured recently in the American and British production in the last 5, 10 years as well as his character in the show. “He’s a grumpy old fucker and I love it.”
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell panel was all about collaborations and teamwork, as the creator of the show pointed out. “We all needed to be on the same page, speak the same language”, said Peter Harness. The producer focused more on the finances. “It wasn’t as expensive as Game of Thrones, but it wasn’t cheap either.” “I expected the script to be crap and it wasn’t”, said Bertie Carvel, who plays Jonathan Strange. Whether it should be a film or a TV show, Paul Kaye, who plays the role of Vinculus was more than concrete: “It’s strictly for TV.”
However, the highlight (my personal I should underline) was certainly bumping into John Challis and Sue Holderness (or shall I say Boycie and Marlene – Only Fools and Horses) in the Memorabilia section.
The last day of the comic Con in London was all about the Who Run the World?GIRLS! panel (hint: it’s not Beyonce). The beauty of this panel lies in the fact that it rounded up some of the favourite actresses from today’s popular shows. These included Felicia Day (The Guild), Willa Holland (Arrow), Emily Wickersham (NCIS) and Merrin Dungey (Once Upon A Time), among others. The actresses were talking about their roles and characters they played. The main purpose of the panel was to allow the audience capture the essence of female characters on TV and their gradual path from the “damsels in distress” to a much stronger versions.
Well, in the end I can assure you that this year’s Comic Con in London was fun, entertaining and educational (read informational). To be able to listen to some of the stars, producers and writers of the TV shows you actually watch and can relate to was fantastic (if we neglect and/or forget the organisational setbacks). Until next time people!
…Oh, don’t forget to scroll through photographs of some of the costumes I found pretty fascinating. Believe me, if there was anything we missed it wasn’t the imagination. Enjoy!