4:15: Priest manga is over 16 volumes long. Goes from the beginning of time, through the crusades, to the old west, to modern times; the movie takes place in a post-apocalyptic world that the manga kind of builds up to. There will be a new graphic novel that sets up the film, called Priest: Purgatory. The first ten minutes of this panel is all about the guy from TokyoPop pimping manga, so that's exciting, I guess, especially since we're already 20 minutes past the start time.
The director comes up with a first look of the movie; this will not be shown elsewhere. Oh, and it's in 3D; wanna bet the conversion is why it's going to take another six months to come outt?
4:20: Big cityscape with Paul Bettany walking along. "I come before you because I need my authority reinstated; this was a Vampire attack". Shot of said vampire; looksa lot like the I Am Legend creature. Desert scenes, ruined towns; looks fairly falloutish. Everything's edited together a bit too rapidly to describe anything, but apparently Bettany's character leaves a huge post-apocalyptic city to battle vampires with Cam Gigandet. CGI vampires, that is. So, here's Cam Gigandet, Steven Moyer, Karl Urban, Maggie Q, and Paul Bettany to take the stage.
"Scott, what drew you to this project?" Director Scott Stewart was "blown away" by the script; it was a different take on vampire mythology. Opportunity to create an entirely new world. So Scott Stewart and Bettany did Legion together; I guess that explains a bit about the similar plots. This has a much bigger budget, however. The moderator actually asks if the movie is more exhausting because it's more physical. Well, yes, Mr. Moderator, that's kind of axiomatic, isn't it? Karl's character is called Black Hat, so obviously he's a nasty-ass hacker. Gets transformed into a mysterious beast, apparently. So I guess he's the villain of the film, says it was a lot of fun. Gigandet's character's girlfriend is kidnapped by the vampires, so he's the one who enlists Bettany's character to help track her down.
4:28: Scott said he wanted to shoot in film anamorphically, but that's tough to do with 3D, so the decision was made to convert it, but they had pre-planned everything out to work with the depth. The effects are rendered in 3D naturally, and he confirms that the process is going to take a long time to do it right. Alludes to Avatar with "some movies have had problems with conversion". Says he's overlooking every aspect of that with Sony.
Scott insisted on having an animated opening to the film, and brings up Genny Tarkovsky (I can never spell this guy's name right and he's got no nameplate, booo), the creator of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, who did the intro for the film. Told him he had no restrictions at all, so he hired some Disney animators who worked on Prince and the Frog, so it was a bit of a diffferent task for them to shift to an ultra-violent film like Priest. Got a little footage to show off.
Prologue footage: "This is what is known: there has always been man, and there have alays been vampires." Style is interesting, pretty bloody; medieval knights getting ripped apart, shifting quickly to World War II era tech. Man vs. Vampires is apparently a war that's been going on for centuries, the battle destroying the earth itself. Mankind withdraws to walled cities, guarded by The Church and Priests, warriors trained in the art of vampire combat. Vampires are placed on reservations, and the priests are disbanded, reintegrated back into society, and they faded into obscurity. Nice little expository intro; the animation style doesn't do much for me, but I can see how people would dig it. 2D hand-drawn animation that is rendered in 3D.
4:39: Is 3D the future? Scott says "The only reason to do it is if you think it'll enhance the experience for the audience, and it does in this film. Just another tool in the toolbox, if used respectfully." Asked to elaborate on the new angle on vampires: "The vampires evolved without eyes; blindness is a big theme in the movie. Looked at Planet Earth and nature documentaries and things that evolved without sunlight, and a lot of those creatures are blind. Very physiologically real." How about the differences in the vampires you play in Twilight and Tru Blood versus this movie. Cam says: "There really aren't any similarities at all, except that they're both called 'vampires'".
Q: What kind of martial arts trainings (sic) did you do, and are you continuing in that training? A: Bettany says he's mostly been practicing his beer and cheese skills. Says they did MMA and "a lot of fucking pushups", but then he stopped, and his body reverted pretty quickly; "I can't keep it up unless someone's paying me a lot of money." Smooth. Maggie says she boxes a lot before training. I think the guy behind me is a big Maggie Q fan, as his camera is just clicking away whenever she's up on screen. Says it was pretty hard to do Wu Shu training to learn how to work with a "rope dart".
Q: Hey Karl, how do you feel about playing a villain again, like you did in Bourne Supremacy? A: All of the characters are full of conviction, so it's fun to be the bad guy and do naughty things to people.
Last Q for Maggie Q: It's actually her old track coach asking her a question, so she's pretty happy. Funny moment, she's freaking out a little bit because she didn't know he was here. She says running for her coach was harder than the movie training. Karl of course pops out with "You two should get a room," which is a nice way to end the panel. Hard to tell anything about the quality of this film based on the footage, but the cast seemed pretty happy to be here, which is nice.