Tagged: James Marsters

Emily S. Whitten: The Dragon*Con Experience Part II, or I Know What I Did This Summer!

Last week, I wrote about the awesome folks of Warehouse 13, whom I was lucky enough to meet after attending their panel at Dragon*Con. But they weren’t the only fantastic people at the con, oh no. In fact, Dragon*Con is always so packed with amazing guests that I never get to see or meet all of them, and am left lamenting the fact that I missed Dean Cain’s panel or never got to say hi to Jewel Staite or Sean Maher in the Walk of Fame, despite running around from hotel to hotel like a hyperactive kid in a candy store. But I did get to see and meet a lot of cool folks, and that’s what I’m here to share, so here we go!

The first event I got to was a fantastic Lord of the Rings panel, featuring Billy Boyd (Pippin), Craig Parker (Haldir), and John Rhys-Davies (Gimli). It was a blast. The first thing I have to say about it is very shallow but true: these guys have the most delightful accents! I think I could listen to Scottish, Kiwi, and Welsh actors answer questions all day. And oh, yeah, the questions themselves were pretty good too. I think my favorite bit was when Craig invited a fairly young boy named Orion who was slightly hyperventilating up onto the stage to ask his question (it’s cute when a kid’s that nervous. Adults…well, not so much). I heard through the grapevine later that this happenstance made the kid a minor celebrity at other panels, where people started looking for Orion. To which I say – only at Dragon*Con. I love that about Dragon*Con. My second favorite bit was hearing about how Billy used to read books while working at a bookbinder’s – by tearing out the pages he was finished with and tossing them away. Being an extreme book lover, I’d call that sacrilege, but…well, it does sound kind of fun. And then of course, John predicted that The Hobbit will be a game-changer and that we’re all in for a treat, so: yay!

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of asking Craig and John a couple of quick questions (missed Billy, sadly. Maybe next year?). Craig is delightfully easygoing, and John is effortlessly charming and has that amazing presence that I associate with really good stage actors. And even though he had a plane to catch, he still took the time to sit down for a few and give me his full attention, which speaks to the sort of person he is. Here’s what they had to say:

Craig Parker:

What would you like to say about current or future projects?

“Actually, I’m a total bum at the moment, because I’m in the process of moving to the States, so everything’s just… everywhere, and I’m not working on anything at the moment.” (Hopefully it won’t be that way for long. I’m sure we’d all love to see him in something again soon).

What’s your favorite part of Dragon*Con?

“I don’t know whether it’s the visuals…the overstimulation of seeing something incredible everywhere you look; or talking with all of the passionate people. It’s an incredibly engaging weekend.”

John Rhys-Davies:

What would you like to say about current or future projects?

“Projects are falling by the wayside all the time – you know, there were two pictures I really wanted to do recently, but they didn’t work out. But now I’m doing Golden Boots, which is a movie about a little boy who wants to play soccer, and that takes place in Detroit, Michigan. I’m also working on Behind the Mask, which takes place in the pre-continental U.S.; and I’ll be the villain. It has a bit of swash; a bit of buckle; a bit of murder…and unfortunately the bad guys don’t win. I’m going to be in the new Pinocchio, which is a mixture of animation and drama – and I’ll be playing the bad guy. And I’m hoping that Flying Tigers will be shot in China early next year.”

What’s your favorite part of Dragon*Con?

”Obviously the people – it’s the chance an actor gets to meet the people who’ve been keeping him employed for the past forty years. You get to talk to them, and know who they are. I cannot tell you how valuable that is. When you work in theater the audience is right there, telling you “You’re good; you’re bad; you stink.” In film, you can lose sight of your audience; and then you can lose sight of yourself and your own true proportion.”

Words of wisdom indeed. Next up we attended the Buffy & Angel Q&A, featuring J. August Richards (Gunn), Juliet Landau (Drusilla), and James Marsters (Spike). James Marsters challenged everyone to embarrass him (they tried but failed); J. August Richards shared his opinion of Gunn’s story arc from street-savvy vampire hunter to lawyer and back (he was happy with the lawyer arc, and with Gunn going back to his roots when the story needed it); and Juliet Landau spoke about her voice work as the Little Sisters in Bioshock (and how she landed the role thanks to her acting as Drusilla).

The panel was a ton of fun, and I got to check in with J. August Richards afterwards. When asked what he’d like to say about current or future projects, Jay told me that he has something he’s really excited about, but he can’t talk about it just yet. Therefore – check back here on ComicMix in a week or two, when I’ll be interviewing J. August Richards about his newest, as-yet-unannounced project! Yay!

When asked his favorite part of Dragon*Con, Jay replied:

“The people! What I love about Dragon*Con is that it’s one of the rare instances where you get to be around fifty thousand people who are completely non-judgmental.”

Word. At the Buffy panel, Juliet Landau mentioned a documentary she’d made that was airing Saturday, Take Flight: Gary Oldman Directs Chutzpah, and my friend and I love Gary Oldman, so we checked that out as well. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it turned out to be one of the surprise best parts of the weekend. The film is a behind-the-scenes documentary of Gary Oldman’s artistic process as he creates a music video for a Jewish rap group (yes, that really is a thing!), and it is fantastic. I was either smiling or laughing for pretty much the whole thing, because the rappers are funny, and Gary Oldman in creative mode is a thing of joy and awesomeness, and Juliet & co. did an amazing job showing all of that. Juliet also did an excellent job in selecting the classical music that accompanies some parts of the film and really highlights the beauty of the more peaceful scenes.

When asked about what she’d learned in making the film, she replied, “Every set you’re on, you learn. One of the things about Gary on set – and all the best directors I’ve worked with, like Tim Burton and Joss Whedon, are like this – is that he is very focused on the work, but also on having fun. Everybody’s focused, but there really is a joy to be making stuff – that’s really palpable with Gary.” And it really is.

I got to chat with the extremely nice Juliet after the film, and she shared that the documentary is available for purchase on her website. I definitely recommend it, but fair warning: the song being filmed is pretty catchy, so if you watch it, I guarantee you’ll be singing, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send your best guy right over,” for at least half a day afterwards! Juliet also mentioned that her upcoming projects include The Bronx Bull (Raging Bull II), and Where the Road Runs Out. And her favorite part of Dragon*Con? “Meeting all the people!”

Also included in our mad convention dash was the Big Damn Heroes panel, with Adam Baldwin (Jayne), Jewel Staite (Kaylee), and Sean Maher (Simon) of Firefly and Serenity. Those three are like a comedy show once they get going. Highlights of the panel included Nathan Fillion making cameos on all of their cell phones (taking over the panel even when he’s not on the panel, as Adam said!) to check in repeatedly on, basically, how pretty Jewel was looking that day (it really was a hilarious gag, and she really is very pretty); an audience member contributing Firefly bourbon for them to drink; and Adam Baldwin being temporarily embarrassed to share with the crowd (he got over it).

Speaking of Adam, I also went to a Chuck panel where he talked about his role as John Casey; and even when he’s the only one on stage, he’s a riot. Adam answered questions such as whether Casey was really in the Navy or the Marines, and then ribbed fans for being that into the details of the show, noting that “It’s not real!” However, he clearly appreciates the fans who care enough about his characters (notably Jayne) to dress the part, and was particularly kind to a thirteen-year-old fan who was a bit nervous in asking her question. As I said, I sadly missed chatting with Sean and Jewel, but I did get to talk with the quick-witted Adam after the panels.

Adam reports that his newest project is the opening episode of Law & Order: SVU. “I’m joining the cast as a ‘replacement’ for the captain, Cragen, who…got himself in a little bit of hot water last season. So that has kept me a little busy.” As for his favorite part of Dragon*Con? “The people – lovely people who are very kind, and good old Southern hospitality. And the food’s great…you know, wine, women, good food! And the panels …and the utilikilts (pointing). There’s one right behind you.”

And so there was.

Meeting Adam was a lovely experience; and another highlight of the weekend was Jane Espenson’s panel. Jane is like the writer equivalent of actor Mark Sheppard, in that she has written for basically every awesome genre show I’ve ever seen. She’s also delightful to listen to. Her panel focused in a large part on her newest project, Husbands, a web series which can be seen online at lovehusbands.com. We watched an episode, and it’s very funny; and certainly a spin on the newlywed premise that we haven’t quite seen before, being about two gay men who have gotten married in haste and are now dealing with the consequences. She also encouraged people to check out Once Upon A Time over on ABC if they haven’t yet, and answered questions about the writing process, mentioning that she’d like to turn her blog musings into a book someday (yes please, Jane!). Writing tips she shared included her own approach to beginning to write for an established character by asking “what one incident is going to most poke at the character’s emotional core? Getting inside that is one of the best ways to train yourself to be a good writer.” As for her favorite part of Dragon*Con: “Meeting beautiful amazing people in costumes!”

Speaking of people who’ve worked on everything cool ever, I also got to talk with Rob Paulsen, voice actor for a million billion zillion of the toon characters we all know and love, including Yakko Warner, Pinky, and more from Animaniacs. He couldn’t possibly have known that’s one of my favorite cartoon shows ever, but that didn’t stop him from saying, “Hellooooooo, nurses!” as I and my two gal pals walked up to say hi, and, “You all make me want to say, ‘Narf!’” which got the conversation off to a fun start. Rob shared that since he was Raphael on the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, he’s pretty excited to be Donatello now on the new one. “And Sean Astin is Raphael, Jason Biggs is Leonardo, and Greg Cipes is Michelangelo, so that’s great.” He also suggested we check out his podcast, Talking Toons, which can be found on iTunes or RobPaulsenLive.com; and now that I know about it, I certainly will! As for his favorite part of Dragon*Con:

Rob: “The pretty chicks!”

Me: “He says, looking at us…”Rob: “Absolutely! I’m not the blind Turtle!”


Walking around the Walk of Fame, I got to chat with several other actors and actresses, including Lee Arenberg, of Pirates of the Caribbean fame (“’Ello, poppet!”) who was enjoying meeting all the fans, and can currently be seen as Grumpy in Once Upon a Time. He also mentioned that he’ll be in the new season of Californication. Last of all I sawMira Furlan, who told me that she’s going to be in a new film starring Penelope Cruz that’s called Twice Born. She then opined that DragonCon was “fantastic – mad and fantastic,” and I couldn’t agree more.

Well! That’s the news for this week, but there’s even more to come, as I also got to attend the Battlestar Galactica panel and chat with those actors while at Dragon*Con and have more to say about that; we’ve got an exclusive chat with J. August Richards in the offing; and I’ve just gotten back from the fantastic Baltimore Comic Con.

So check back for more excitement next week, and until then, Servo Lectio!



MINDY NEWELL: Chest Hair Or No Chest Hair

Walking home from food shopping, thinking about this week’s column. Thinking about all the “news that’s fit to print” (and some not) about the portrayal of women in comics. And I thought, has anyone written about the portrayal of men in comics? I’m talking down and dirty, hot stuff, glistening muscle, chest hair or no chest hair?, blue brown or green eyes, skin-tight costume, hunky super-duper M-E-N.

Distaff geeks unite!

I’ll start. Off the top of my head, and in no particular order:

  • Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine. Chest hair. Goddamn, he’s sexy.
  • Dick Grayson, a.k.a. Robin in New Teen Titans written by Marv Wolman and drawn by George Pérez. He looked like a guy I had a crush on in high school… and for years afterwards.
  • Clark Kent, a.k.a. Superman, drawn by Curt Swan, Jerry Ordway, John Byrne, and many others, up to and including Rags Morales and Jesus Marino.
  • Hal Jordan, a.k.a. Green Lantern. Just read recently that Julie Schwartz wanted him to look like Paul Newman. Explains a lot.
  • Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops. Who’s behind those Foster Grants?
  • Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man. It was Revenge of the Nerds, thanks to J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita, Jr!
  • Adam Strange. Why can’t a Zeta-beam land him in my bedroom?

Now for the “live-action”:

  • Christian Bale makes delicious eye candy and engenders dirty thoughts as Bruce Wayne/Batman. But isn’t it odd that the comic version doesn’t make my “off-the-of-my-head” list?
  • Of course the true superhero, Christopher Reeve. “Easy, miss. I’ve got you.”
  • And I have always, always, always had a thing for Robert Downey Jr. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Iron Man. Even sat through Iron Man more than twice just to look at him. Special mention for Sherlock Holmes.
  • Not so much for the blondes, generally. Though there is Chris Hemsworth as Thor. And Robert Redford (“See ya, Hubble”) in The Way We Were. And Jason Lewis as Jared Smith on Sex And The City – the scene where he shaves his signature long, blonde, thick hair in solidarity with Samantha as she loses her hair due to the chemotherapy, well, every man who has ever questioned why his girlfriend or wife left him should be chained to a chair ala Malcom McDowell in A Clockwork Orange and forced to watch that scene over and over and over until he screams Igetitigetitigetitigetit!

uh, sorry ‘bout that. where was i? she said sheepishly.

  • John Wesley Shipp as The Flash on the too-soon cancelled TV series.

No quibbling allowed on the next four. I am the columnist. I am allowed my all things Buffy. Anyway, maybe they started out as live-action characters, but they all appear in comics now. And don’t give me any lip about any of them not technically being superheroes. I don’t see you fighting demons and vampires and saving the world over and over again.

  • David Boreanaz as Angel, first on Buffy and then on the eponymous TV series. Broody, morose, dark and tragic. A vampire Hamlet.
  • Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. I envy Alyson Hannigan.
  • James Marsters as Spike, a.k.a. William the Bloody. Just for the record, I’m one of those who believe in Spike and Buffy 4 Ever. S.W.A.K.
  • J. August Richards as Charles Gunn. He almost didn’t make the list, ‘cause his selfish actions led to the death of Fred, but I can’t deny that bod’!
  • Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles. Loved him ever since the Folger commercials. ‘Sides, I’m a sucker for British accents. Ask John Higgins.

What’cha think of my choices, fellow geek women? Who are yours? Martha, y’ wanna start?

TUESDAY: Michael Davis

Luthor Returns To Smallville

Luthor Returns To Smallville

The wait is over! Now we know – Luthor will be returning to Smallville this November (schedule willing) for at least two episodes in its tenth and final season.had

Ummm… To be fair, that’s Lionel Luthor. We haven’t heard about his depilated-pated kid Lex yet, who might be surprised to learn that neither of them are still dead. When last seen, Lex pushed his daddy out a window to his death.

According to Entertainment Weekly (owned by Time Warner, which owns Warner Bros, which owns DC Comics and produces Smallville), Lionel, played by John Glover, will be joining a slew of Smallville ex-expatriates, including Laura Vandervoort as Supergirl, James Marsters as Brainiac, and
Michael Shanks as Hawkman. And he won’t be the only returning dead daddy, either: Pa Kent himself will be back, again, still in the capable hands of John Schneider.

Some of Smallville‘s finest moments were between Glover and Michael Rosenbaum, who played his upwardly-mobile son Lex. There’s no word on Lex’s return to the series; my guess is that we will see him back for at least the final two episodes – the latter of which concluding with Clark Kent putting on his cape and big red S and flying off into the sunset.

ComicMix Quick Picks – February 18, 2009

ComicMix Quick Picks – February 18, 2009

Today’s list of quick items that don’t fill a full post on their own:

  • Cartoon Network has committed to 26 episodes of Marvel Super Hero Squad, to begin broadcasting in late 2009.
  • Apparently, the classic romantic comedy of manners is just not considered to be of sufficient interest anymore. First, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy were battling zombies; now, they’re facing an alien invasion. Where’s the reverse of this trend? When do they put “Mars Attacks—and Hosts an Afternoon Garden Party” on the schedule?
  • The BBC plans to put Doctor Who on stage.  (Wow, and it worked out so well for that other beloved British property, The Lord of the Rings. Heck, maybe Coraline will prove me wrong.)
  • Dragonball purists will no doubt be disappointed to learn that Goku will be played by a 26-year-old in the live-action film Dragonball Evolution. However, fans of James Marsters—who’s portraying Goku’s foe, Lord Piccolo—are probably salivating at the slashy opportunities that this choice offers. Let’s face it, slash is a fine manga/anime tradition; plus, that episode of Buffy Season 6, in conjunction with that episode of Torchwood Season 2, suggest that Marsters is making a career of playing characters who confuse fighting with foreplay (and that’s definitely not a bad thing…).
  • Cardiologist needed at the Satellite of Love (or its current equivalent), stat! Mike Nelson, formerly of MST:3K, now of RiffTrax, is spending the month of February on an all-bacon diet.  He’s not allowed to add any sauces or condiments to the bacon, either, which seems an unwarranted restriction, because how can you go on an all-bacon diet without trying Bacon Explosion?

Anything else? Consider this an open thread.

Amy Goldschlager is an editor for FindingDulcinea.com.

Smallville Almost Begat Supergirl

Smallville Almost Begat Supergirl

At the Toronto FanExpo this past weekend, Laura Vandervoort confirmed she would appear in a single episode of the eighth and final season of the CW’s Smallville. Television’s Supergirl also made mention that there had been talk of her character once being considered for a spinoff series.  She merely said it didn’t pan out without providing any details.

She did admit to being a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan so working alongside Spike, James Marsters, was a thrill.  When she was just beginning her career, she wrote series creator Joss Whedon about wanting to audition for the show, something he remembered when they finally met.

Smallville, with new villains and the same old romantic triangles will return September 18.

Sci-Fi Summit Report: James Marsters on ‘Spike’ Movie and ‘Buffy’ Reunion

Sci-Fi Summit Report: James Marsters on ‘Spike’ Movie and ‘Buffy’ Reunion

[EDITOR’S NOTE: You’re about to read our special ComicMix report on the James Marsters panel and Q&A session at this year’s Grand Slam: Sci-Fi Summit in Burbank, CA. If you’d like to know more about the convention, we also have a general roundup of the Sci-Fi Summit and a special report on the Star Trek panel and Q&A session, featuring "A Tale of Two Spocks." -RM]

Saturday at last weekend’s Sci-Fi Summit featured an appearance by popular Buffy the Vampire Slayer actor James Marsters (Spike), who also appears as Braniac on the television series Smallville, and is featured in a recurring role on the hit series Torchwood. Marsters will also be playing the role of villain Piccolo in the upcoming live-action adaptation of the anime classic Dragonball.

The actor began the panel by talking about his disappointment over the recent Buffy reunion at the Paily Center in New York.

“From my side, it was kind of a letdown, really. There were a lot of smart people on that show and really good questions being asked by the audience, but I felt like nobody really talked about anything interesting," said Marsters. "We didn’t say anything or bring anything nearly dangerous. I felt like we weren’t trying to prove something anymore, but trying to protect something — and I thought that was total bull. I left the stage thinking, ‘We didn’t get it, we didn’t give it to them. The audience was ready and we weren’t.’”

When asked about the possibility of a Spike film, he described his pitch for the film. It involved Spike falling in love with a woman but never telling her about his vampire origins for fear of her leaving him.

“She discovers he’s a vampire, is disgusted by it and kicks him out forever,” the actor explained. He went on to explain that later a monster would appear, and thinking that he could win her back by being the hero, Spike hunts the monster. However, once he gets into the fight, the monster grows to six times its original size and Spike runs away in fear.


Grand Slam: Sci-Fi Summit Report – BSG, James Marsters, Smallville and Star Trek

Grand Slam: Sci-Fi Summit Report – BSG, James Marsters, Smallville and Star Trek

It was an important weekend for science-fiction fans this past April 11-13 in Burbank, CA,  as past, present and future celebrities of the genre gathered for the Grand Slam: Sci-Fi Summit, an annual, weekend-long convention for fans of science-fiction movies and television that attracts some of sci-fi’s most beloved creators and celebrities.

The guest list at this year’s summit included Zachary Quinto (Heroes), Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek), Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation), Thomas Dekker (John Conner on Terminator: The Sara Conner Chronicles), Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica) and James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Torchwood), as well as the reunion of Hercules stars Kevin Sorbo and Michael Hurst, and a panel featuring members of the cast of Smallville.

ComicMix was there throughout the weekend’s festivities and has the following breakdown of the highlights, featuring images from the events and a pair of comprehensive reports from the James Marsters and Star Trek panels. A gallery of full-size images from the show is posted at the end of each article.

On Saturday, actress Grace Park, who plays Lt. Sharon “Boomer” Valerii on Battlestar Galactica, answered some questions from fans about the fourth and final season of the hit Sci-Fi Channel series.

“We only have seven episodes left to shoot,” the actress explained. She went on to say that for legal reasons, a Battlestar Galactica movie with this cast of actors and characters would not be possible. “I don’t think there is going to be anything else that we do together, this is the end.”


‘Dragonball’ Set Pictures Online

‘Dragonball’ Set Pictures Online

ComicMix previously reported that the Dragonball film has been pushed back to 2009, but now Joblo has posted some exclusive pictures from the set of the movie that should help hold you over until then.

Based off of the popular manga series and animated program, the movie follows Goku as he tries to find Master Roshi and collect all of the Dragon Balls in order to save the world from the evil Piccolo.

If you’re worried that all of this will look a little ridiculous in live action, well, you’re right, but isn’t that half the charm?

The set photos include pictures of Justin Chatwin in his Goku gear, Chow Yun Fat as Master Roshi, and Emmy Rossum as Bulma. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see James Marsters in his Piccolo get-up yet. Oh well, it’s always best to save the best for last.

‘Dragonball’ Movie Slips to 2009

‘Dragonball’ Movie Slips to 2009

The live-action adaptation of Dragonball, originally set to be released on August 15, 2008, has been pushed back to April 3, 2009.

20th Century Fox has moved the film from the busy tail end of this year’s summer movie season to the beginning of next year’s, where it currently faces no competition. The nature of the box office is sure to change that situation, but for now movies like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Wild Child can rest easy knowing they won’t have to compete against super saiyans.

The film’s story follows Goku as he races against time to collect those precious, precious dragonballs before the evil Lord Piccolo can get his hands on them. Lots of screaming and punching are involved.

Dragonball stars Justin Chatwin as Goku, Emmy Rossum as Bulma, James Marsters as Piccolo and Chow Yun-Fat as Master Roshi and is directed by James Wong (Final Destination, The One).

(via SHH)

DC announces first D2DVD release

DC announces first D2DVD release

Following Marvel’s lead, DC Comics is entering the direct-to-DVD animated feature business with the first of a slate of programs featuring their popular heroes.

First at bat is Superman Doomsday, based on the historic Death of Superman storyline from a decade ago. Previewed at this weekend’s Wondercon in San Francisco, the DVD will be released in September and carries a PG-13 rating. Adam Baldwin voices Superman, Anne Heche Lois Lane, and James Marsters plays Lex Luthor. Marsters is no stranger to the Superman mythos, having played Brainiac on the Smallville teevee series.

DC is also adapting Darwyn Cooke’s brilliant DC: The New Frontier for D2DVD release.