Friday, October 22, 2010
Jon Favreau and Movie Monsters Panel
The Academy of Arts and Sciences Science and Technology Council presented their Monster Movie panel just in time for October 31st. I've loved some of these movies since childhood(Planet of The Apes anyone?) so I couldn't wait to attend this event. I got there early and got a seat up front as they flashed on-screen black and white stills of Bella Lugosi, Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff in their iconic roles of Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, Quasimodo, Frankenstein and The Mummy, respectively. To my surprise and delight, they also had a full Iron Man suit standing next to a 10 foot golden Oscar statue on the right of the stage. Wow! So of course I relocated my seat to that side to sit right in front of it.
I eventually calmed myself and settled down in my new seat as the lights went down. They introduced the panel moderator Shane Mahan but another guy walked onto the stage from behind the curtains. The guy sits in the moderator's chair then reaches up and takes off his face(literally). Turns out that it was Mahan after all but he was wearing a Tony Stark/Robert Downey mask that they made for the stunt men to wear on Iron Man and so he was unrecognizable as himself. Mahan is too much fun at these Academy panels. Last time he brought in an actual Iron Man metal head and allowed us to try it on.
Mahan quickly got down to business and we watched shorts from great monster/horror movies from the original King Kong and Bride of Frankenstein from the 1930's, through Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde in the '50s, An American Werewolf in London, Aliens and Jurassic Park from the 80's and '90s and up to the present 3D and CG laden fare like Avatar. Mahan explained some of the techniques we were seeing after he introduced the appropriate panelist for each clip. The panel included animatronic experts, visual and make-up artists, producers, directors and actors and they discussed the various effects (stop motion, go motion, puppetering, make-up and prosthetics, sculpting, 3D and CG etc.) that were used to create the various monsters, robots, dinosaurs and aliens and how long it took to accomplish it. For example, there were lots of laughs when actor, David Naughton, described his many hours in make-up and his acting method when developing the transformation sequences for American Werewolf.
All the guests were great but my fav was Jon Favreau of Iron Man fame. They introduced Favreau and he stood up from his seat which was just across the aisle from me. He bounded on stage to thunderous applause (his birthday was on 10/19 so he's due). He brought clips from Zathura which he joked that no one saw and of course Iron Man clips. Shane worked on both Zathura and the IM films with Favreau so it was very nice to hear all the details of the process.
Afterwards I got a pic of my two metal men, Iron Man and Oscar, just before security told me not to (lol). Then I got a chance to meet Jon Favreau and to pump him for some more info on Cowboys and Aliens (they're still editing). I did get a picture of him(sort of) and all the shaky video you can handle(lol). I shook his hand, too and I'm never washing it again :D
God is amazing!