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Arts & Culture

Comic-Con Friday Scrapbook

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Photo SharingStarting out the day in my Film School Confidential booth with Big Girl Production's Tanya Linda Shelton.

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Donnie Darko filmmaker Richard Kelly makes his fifth straight Comic-Con appearance. He came to do an autograph signing and to announce that his long-delayed Southland Tales was finally coming out in November.

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Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson made a surprise appearance at Kelly's signing. Johnson has a role in Southland Tales.

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Shoot 'Em Up's director Michael Davis and star Clive Owen appear at a panel. Davis showed the hand drawn and animated piece he created in order to convince a studio to back his high-octane, Hong Kong-influenced action film. I interviewed Clive Owen in a press round table. He arrived in a suit and tie (looking like he walked off a GQ cover), and I pointed out that he was way over dressed for the Con. He replied, "I want to be the weirdest person in the room." But by the time he made it to the stage, he had lost the tie. Both men captivated the audience with their passion for the project and delight in the joys of action cinema.

As a side note, let me just say that doing a round table interview is always the worst way to interview talent because there are always journalists (and I use the word loosely) who ask inane questions. The worst one for the day was to Clive Owen about his character (a man who protects a woman and her baby from killers). A reporter wearing a badge for US Weekly asked if Owen was as protective of his own children as he was of the baby in the film. When he replied yes, even more so, the woman had the brilliant follow up question of "Why?" I'm surprised he didn't get up and walk away right then and there.

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In case you haven't checked out Hall H, here's the view the celebs get of the 6400 seat venue. Hey, do Stormtroopers get special seating????

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The creators and star of Balls of Fury, a martial arts action comedy about the highly competitive world of ping pong. Tom Lennon (center), one of the creators and stars of Reno 911 , says the film is the flip side of Reno 911 because that show took something serious and treated it as silly whereas Balls of Fury takes something silly and treats it seriously. I interviewed Lennon along with director Ben Garant and actor Dan Fogler at the Omni across the street from the Convention Center. Their press event was on the same floor and in the rooms next to a Baptist convention. A blue-haired old lady entered the room where I was waiting and asked me if I was with the Baptists. I pointed to the poster in the room and said, "no, I'm with Balls of Fury ." She gasped and left.

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Another one of the off-site Comic-Con events was the DVD release party for Warner Brothers' 300 at Petco Park. They screened trailers for a number of the upcoming Warners' DVDs and then screened 300 on the Jumbo screen.

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Warners handed out some 5000 cardboard shields for 300 along with a prize bag of goodies including a frame of the film, a Blade Runner key chain and assorted other items.

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The crowd tried to do a wave with the shields. From my angle it didn't look too successful. But it was a good idea.

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There were a number of celebrity guests at the event. Since Blade Runner is receiving a new 5-disc DVD release of what Ridley Scott is calling his Final Cut, stars Sean Young, James Hong and Joe Turkel made an appearance. Turkel entertained the crowd by explaining that as a New York Yankee fan from way back, he's always dreamed of being on a baseball field. So he ran to home plate to engage in a little fantasy play of hitting a home run. Hong took the mound and lobbed him an easy "pitch."

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Comic-Con favorite Frank Miller (who gets bigger rounds of applause than any Hollywood star in Hall H) spoke before the screening. Miller wrote Sin City and 300 , co-directed Sin City and is directing and adapting Will Eisner's The Spirit to the big screen. Before the screening began he told the crowd that if you "create anything, own it. And then something like this can happen." When Frank Miller talks, you better listen. The screening elicited cheers and applause for such favorite fan lines as "This is Sparta!."

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Even the waterfall was transformed for the 300 event.