Now in its 19th year Toronto Comicon takes place at Metro Toronto Convention Centre this weekend bringing together fans of Sci-Fi,Anime,Cosplayers, Gaming, Comics and more in one extravaganza. Toronto Comicon year after year has given fans a chance to connect with their favourite idols with Panels, Autograph Signings and Photo Ops. Known as one of the most exciting events each spring in Toronto, the event this year was headlined by several stars including Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Dan Fogler (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Jaleel White (Family Matters), Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy), Jonathan Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings), Corbin Bernsen (The Punisher) and several more!
Funko Pop! vinyl collectibles, rare editions of comic books and the opportunity to get one-of-a-kind commissioned pieces by Artists, continue to be a huge draw at the three-day affair. Truly Toronto Comicon is a mecca of all things adored.
Our David Baldwin had the opportunity to sit-in on a couple high-profile Panels for Ron Perlman and Dan Fogler.
Golden Globe Award winner Ron Perlman has had a celebrated career in Film and Television, including unforgettable performances on Television Series Beauty and the Beast and originating the titular role in a soon-to-be rebooted Hellboy. He delighted fans on Saturday afternoon with a lively Q&A session. He set the tone for the nearly hour-long discussion by taking the stage and immediately greeting the audience with “Sup motherfuckers?” He later apologized to everyone who brought their children with them, but did not change his casual demeanour. He says that “99% of the roles I’ve played, I’ve really loved” and likens that passion for his roles to his mantra of “Don’t say yes unless you really love the person you’re playing.”.
While he enjoyed talking about his popular roles (“Sons of Anarchy was larger than life”) and his close relationship with honourary Torontonian and Oscar-winning Director, Guillermo del Toro (going so far as to praise Pan’s Labyrinth as a “masterpiece” and calling it the “quintessential del Toro movie”), Perlman did not hesitate to get very candid with the audience. Upon hearing an audience question about his time on the ill-fated 1996 remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau, he flat-out said “We should have never made that movie,” and said that acclaimed Director Jean-Jacques Annaud saved his life and career more than once when he was “going to quit acting”. He also let the audience in on a very telling secret: “I’m not a big fan of watching my own stuff. I just do it and move on to the next thing.”.
Perlman next year can be seen in Paul W.S. Anderson‘s eagerly-awaited Monster Hunter.
Despite landing a breakout role in 2016’s blockbuster Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first of a few slated Films in the Franchise, Dan Fogler long has been honing his craft. Fashionably-late for his own Panel today, hewas exactly as animated and wild a personality as you might expect: “I like acting in front of people.” In his discussion, he detailed how much joy it brings him to get to play roles in the likes of Fanboys, the Fantastic Beasts series and The Walking Dead saying the roles “speak to the little nerd in me.” He even went so far as to say that his work on Fanboys specifically gave him the “invitation to act like a kid again.”.
Fogler went the extra mile during the Q&A portion, handing-out comic books and memorabilia to each audience member who asked a question (and in a rather wonderful touch, personally delivered memorabilia and hugged an audience member in a wheelchair). He riffed on his time working with Christopher Walken on Balls of Fury (telling the audience Walken’s method of dialogue delivery: “It’s all about slow, medium, fast”) and reminisced about his inspirations, saying that after discovering that Voice Actor Mel Blanc was playing and creating voices for multiple Looney Tunes characters, “I want to do that!”. Fogler even tried his hand at Sign Language, poorly attempting to sign-out “Say hello to my little friend” to his on-stage interpreter.
The Brooklyn native currently can be seen on AMC’s The Walking Dead as Luke.
Check-out some more sights of 2019 Toronto Comicon:
John De Lancie
Cool, rare stuff
Also, CAPTIVE STATE is in theatres this weekend. Don’t forget to check-out this need little installation where you can star in your own Poster for the Film!
You still have one more day left to check-out 2019 Toronto Comicon as it wraps Sunday, March 17, 2019!
It has been to coldest, most unforgiving Toronto, winter so forgive us that we would rather be home than out! Productions continue to move along at a steady pace with a pair Netflix productions highlighting the pack.
Spinning Out and Comedy Let it Snow fully utilizing our wintry weather. Spinning Out is a Series starring Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner), a seen-above Willow Shields (The Hunger Games) and January Jones (Mad Men), about an injured figure skater with a secret on the comeback trail as a pairs skater. The Series wraps early May.
Let it Snow stars Shameik Moore (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse),Kiernan Shipka (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Liv Hewson (Santa Clarita Diet), Odeya Rush (Lady Bird) and Isabela Moner (Instant Family), and is about a group of people who are brought together by a snow storm. It wraps end of March and will stream on Netflix.
Academy Award-winning Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro must be lauded for what he has done for Toronto, creating many jobs and opportunities for our City with his unparalleled vision, which continues to touch the World. Known for his Films Hellboy, Pan’s Labrynth, Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak, Blade II and of course, Best Picture-winning The Shape of Water. Who knows what genius he is brewing-up again in the City, but we cannot wait! And it for sure will be huge.
Viggo Mortensen certainly is a busy man, juggling Awards Season and his directorial debut which happens to be set to film in Toronto. He was spotted at Pearson International arrivals, not himself arriving, but picking-up. I think he realized I was sneaking a pic of him chatting on his – get this – red flip phone, and he walked right up to me to psych me out and then walked onward! I was morten-fied! The Green BookOscar Nominee who is in Toronto working on Falling was picking-up his friend and Co-Star, veteran Actor Lance Henriksen (Aliens), which is about a conservative father who moves in with his gay son’s family is Los Angeles. The two met with a big, joyful hug after Viggo paced around for about two hours waiting for his buddy.
We are thrilled to be Los Angeles-bound this weekend for some Awards Season fun and wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Viggo or maybe even Shameik (Spider-verse is up for Best Animated Feature)!
Wish us luck!
Don’t forget to tune into Hollywoood Suite, the exclusive broadcaster of this weekends Independent Spirit Awards, 2 PM ET/5 PM ET! Follow them on Twitter @HollywoodSuite for coverage and also follow us too as we’ll be on the Carpet: @mrwillw.
The 75th annual Golden Globes Awards took place tonight in Beverly Hills, California. With the #TimesUp initiative front and center of our attentions, we saw all talent uniformly wearing black to draw attention to the cause for equality and an end to sexual harassment in the workplace.
Seth Meyers hosted the affair boldly poking-fun at the likes of Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein. In the face of change, he calls 2018 “the year marijuana was allowed and sexual harassment wasn’t anymore.”.
Oprah Winfrey who next can be seen in Disney‘s A Wrinkle in Time, was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. Her Wrinkle Co-Star Reese Witherspoon introduced her as being all “a noun, a verb and an adjective”. And even Meyers joked DeMille should be honoured she was given the award. Winfrey recalls herself as a kid in Milwaukee back in 1964, watching Anne Bancroft speak a historic five words on television, “The winner is Sidney Poitier“. She hopes to inspire another black girl watching tonight seeing her be named the first ever black Cecil B. DeMille Award Winner. Winfrey states, “I wanted to express gratitude to all women who endured years of abuse and assault as they like my mother had mouths to feed, bills to pay and dreams to pursue.”. Recounting the story of rape (1944) victim Recy Taylor whose six attackers never were persecuted, she defiantly states that we are at the end of an era, “Their time us up!”.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri scored huge in the Film categories including a win for Motion Picture Drama. Martin McDonagh was awarded Screenplay for the Filmwhich he also directed. He jokes, “My mother really wanted Lady Bird to win.”. Oscar Winner Frances McDormand before tonight had been nominated seven times for a Globe, but finally received her first win for Actress in a Motion Picture Drama. She declined to make political comments but expressed pride that the Film still is filling seats in brick and mortar theatres across the U.S. the “old-fashioned” way. Sam Rockwell, after a career spanning almost three decades, finally won a Golden Globe for his work in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. “It’s nice to be in a movie people saw”, he kids before thanking others involved with the TIFF ’17 People’s Choice Award-winning Film and also wife Leslie Bibb.
HBO’s Big Little Lies was a major force in the Television categories winning TV Miniseriesor Movie. Nicole Kidman was awarded her fourth Golden Globe for her Actress work, thanking her Co-Star, Co-Producer and fellow Nominee Reese Witherspoon with whom together she brought the HBO release to Television. Kidman despite getting the cue to shorten her speech, thanked her husband Country Star Keith Urban last, telling him “When your cheek is pressed against mine, the whole world just melts away, I love you.”. Co-Stars Laura Dern and AlexanderSkarsgård also won for their work as Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress (Dern‘s fourth Globe too!) in the Miniseries.
Lady Bird, which premiered at TIFF ’17, won Comedy or Musical. The Film which loosely is based on GretaGerwig‘s life, also is her directorial debut. Gerwig thanked her hometown Sacramento for giving her the wings and roots needed to succeed in life. 23-year-old Saoirse Ronan already has been nominated for three Globes but alas gets her first win tonight for her acclaimed work in Lady Bird. She kept pointing-out in her humble speech how her mom out of excitement was in the audience on FaceTime while she was on-stage.
Visionary Guillermo del Toro made a teary acceptance for Director with The Shape of Water while the Orchestra had tried drowning his speech out due to time restrictions. “Turn the music down, it’s taken me 25 years to get here” he said, drawing cheers from the audience. Moments before, Natalie Portman presenting his award alongside Ron Howard, pointed-out how all Nominees in the Category were male.
Gary Oldman was awarded Actor in a Motion Picture Drama for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in TIFF ’17 selection Darkest Hour. In his speech, he told us how his wife puts-up with his incredible dedication telling others “I go to bed with Winston Churchill and wake-up with Gary Oldman.”.
Jeered widely for having made the worst movie of all time, The Room, Filmmaker and Cult Icon Tommy Wiseau got the last laugh joining Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy Winner James Franco on-stage tonight. Franco stars in and directs The Disaster Artist which recounts Wiseau‘s process making that Cult Classic. Franco thanked his younger brother Dave in his speech saying “He always wanted his own Coen Brother” to make Films with and it looks like he too along with Wiseau saw his dream come true.
Allison Janney who delivers a chilling portrayal of Tonya Harding’s mother LaVona Golden in I, Tonya, was awarded a well-deserved Globe beating-out some stiff competition including Laurie Metcalf whom many also feel is deserving for her work in Lady Bird. Janney made a poignant statement about perception of truth in Media, an enlightenment after having worked on the Film which gives us a fresh perspective on the disgraced Figure Skater. It was a good night for both Tommy Wiseau and Tonya Harding.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was this year’s Dark Horse, winning Comedy Series and also Rachel Brosnahan (House of Cards) winning Actress in a Comedy Series. The Amazon Series centers on a Jewish housewife in the ’50s who becomes a Stand-up Comedian.
Elisabeth Moss shone a light on Canada dedicating her Actress in a Drama Series win to Margaret Atwood who wrote the source material on which Toronto-made The Handsmaid’s Tale is based. The Series also took home a Globe for DramaSeries. This is her second GoldenGlobe win, her first for Miniseries Top of the Lake.
After four nominations, Ewan McGregor finally gets his first Globe win for Actor in a TV Miniseries or Movie with Fargo. Another Canadian connection, the Series was filmed in Calgary.
Sterling K. Brown was awarded his first Globe for his work on Series This is Us. The rising star next can be seen in Marvel’s Black Panther and reminded his kids in his speech he’d be there to take them to school tomorrow morning, in addition to expressing his awe of Oprah Winfrey being seated before himon the podium.
After getting a nod last year and seeing MASTER OF NONE, for which he has directing and writing credits, Funnyman Aziz Ansari gets a Globe for Actor in a Comedy Series. He becomes the first ever South Asian Actor to win a Globe.
In addition to having grossed almost $600 million worldwide, Disney•Pixar‘s Coco goes on to Globe success, winning Animated Feature.
Hot off its #1 success on the Billboard Hot 200 Album Chart, The Greatest Showman also wins a Globe for Original Song, This is Me, sung by Keala Settle and also Kesha.
Fatih Akin‘s In the Fade won Foreign Language Film. The German Film starring Diane Kruger as a woman dealing with the aftermath of a terrorist attack, received a TIFF ’17 Premiere.
Awards Season culminates in the Academy Awards which air Sunday, March 4, 2018 on ABC, 7 PM ET.
Fox Searchlight x Mr. Will want to give Readers a chance first to see THE SHAPE OF WATER, hot off a rousing reception at TIFF ’17.
Screenings take place as follows:
THE SHAPE OF WATER – TORONTO
Wednesday, December 6 / 7:00PM / Cineplex Yonge and Dundas
THE SHAPE OF WATER – VANCOUVER
Wednesday, December 13 / 7:00PM / Cineplex International Village
THE SHAPE OF WATER – CALGARY
Wednesday, December 20 / 7:00PM / Scotiabank Chinook
From master story teller, Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER – an other-worldly fable, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg and DougJones.
See the Trailer:
To enter to win, click “like” on this Post at MR. WILL ON FACEBOOK and indicate your City. Re-Tweet this Tweet from @mrwillw for an extra chance.
Fox Searchlight release THE SHAPE OF WATER Friday, December 8, 2017 in Toronto, Friday, December 15, 2017 in Vancouver and wide Friday, December 22, 2017.
Masterpiece. That is the easiest and quickest way to describe Guillermo del Toro’s gothic romance The Shape of Water. The Film recently won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and is the early front-runner to take the Grolsch People’s Choice Award at TIFF this Sunday.
It is the 1960’s and mute Eliza (a never better Sally Hawkins) is working as a cleaning lady in a high-tech government facility. While cleaning one of the labs, she discovers what the scientists and top brass refer to as The Asset (Doug Jones) – a fish/human/creature hybrid. Despite the secrecy of his existence, Eliza befriends the creature, changing both of their lives irrevocably.
Not since 2006’s Oscar-nominated Pan’s Labyrinth has del Toro been able to marry his incredible visuals with a worthwhile story. But he delivers in spades here, creating a dark fairy tale that is just as much touching and emotional as it is thrilling. It is a breathless and surprising experience that is sure to delight audiences, and is easily one of the top movies of the year. And it’s all the more special because so much of this period piece was filmed in Toronto – including at the Elgin Theatre where it will screen during TIFF.
Don’t miss it.
Fox Searchlight Pictures will screen The Shape of Water at TIFF ’17 at the following times:
Monday, September 11 9:30 p.m. Elgin Theatre Tuesday, September 12 3:00 p.m. Elgin Theatre Friday, September 15 9:00 p.m. Elgin Theatre Sunday, September 17 6:30 p.m. Elgin Theatre
Filmed right here in Toronto last summer, a brand new Trailer has surfaced for THE SHAPE OF WATER!
From master story teller, Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER – an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg and Doug Jones.
See the Trailer:
Fox Searchlight release THE SHAPE OF WATERFriday, December 8, 2017.
We’re huge fans of Guillermo del Toro and are thrilled to present to you a chance to see first his latest masterpiece, CRIMSON PEAK, which was made in Toronto! Screenings take place in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton on Wednesday, October 14, 2015.
Synopsis: Legendary Pictures’ Crimson Peak, a co-production with Universal Pictures, is a haunting gothic horror story directed by the master of dark fairy tales, Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy series, Pacific Rim), written by del Toro & Matthew Robbins and starring Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam and Jim Beaver.
In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author Edith Cushing is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds…and remembers.
See the Trailer:
To enter to win, simply click “like” on this post at Mr. Will on Facebook. Tell me whom Edith should choose, the childhood friend or the mysterious outsider. Also remember to indicate your city.
Universal Pictures Canada release CRIMSON PEAK on Friday, October 16, 2015.
Let me tell you about a little Story about Charlie Hunnam. Two years ago when I was in-between jobs, I made it a point of allocating my spare time to finding him. Love. The. Guy. It was whispered to me that he had been frequenting a local Thai Hotspot on weeknights after wrapping-up filming on what went-on to be the acclaimed Pacific Rim. I made it a point of visiting the Haunt frequently and $200 of Pad Thai later, I crossed paths with him finally. “I’m a creature of habit” he told me about his dining habits after letting him know how hard I had thaid… I mean tried, frequenting the Restaurant around closing time sporadically over the span of a few weeks.
Hunnam is a rare breed in a crowded field of working Actors. He is ultra-selective about the roles he chooses and it is surprising to see that in a Career which dates back to the late ’90s, he has less than 20 acting credits to his name. But the quality of his work is impeccable. Nicholas Nickelby, Pacific Rim, Queer as Folk (the original U.K. one), Cold Mountain, Sons of Anarchy (for which he is known best for stateside)… and even the upcoming Film Adaptation of wildly-popular 50 Shades of Gray, in which he originally was cast in the Leading Role of Christian Gray until ultimately deciding against it.
Above this, Hunnam is just an all-around nice Guy. Despite repeatedly being asked for Autographs by professional Collectors, he is reportedly just as nice every time and I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’s crossed paths with him and didn’t have something nice to say about him.
I spotted the British Actor, in-town and re-teaming with Guillermo del Toro once again on his next Film, Crimson Peak (Working Title: Haunted Peak). The Film stars also Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain, the latter who attended a private House Party this weekend held in her honour at a luxurious Hotel/Condo in Financial District.
Carrying a Yoga Mat, he appeared to be coming back from a Workout, before retiring for the night. He is just as awesome as I remembered two years ago when first meeting him and I even managed to get him to sign a Photo for you Wongsters, which he was just gracious about. How do you feel about winning that?
To enter to win, simply click “like” on this Post at Mr. Will Wong on Facebook. Share if you like with your Friends on Social Media!
It’s only Day One of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and already our City is lit bright on Star Power alone. Although all eyes are on the Opening Night Gala, of Bill Condon‘s The Fifth Estate over at Roy Thomson Hall, several Stars were spotted out today, a taste of the excitement to come over the course of the next eleven days.
Benedict Cumberbatch undoubtedly has thrust himself into the Spotlight as Hollywood’s Next “It” Boy and with three Films at TIFF ’13, he has commanded attention from all. The Star of Box Office Hit Star Trek Into Darkness, was spotted at a Cocktail Party prior to heading to his Premiere at Roy Thomson Hall. Although not many Fans got their coveted Photos with him nor Autographs signed, citing fatigue, Cumberbatch was ever dapper in a Tuxedo and in good spirits at the star-studded Afterparty for The Fifth Estate.
TIFF‘s relationship with Filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro has been noted and although the Pacific Rim Director really is in town to prep upcoming Series, The Strain, he is known to partake in TIFF Festivities. Don’t be surprised if he’s sitting next to you at a Screening this weekend!
Canadian Actress Cara Gee recently was named one of TIFF‘s Rising Stars for 2013 starring in Empire of Dirt. The stunning Beauty was seen mingling tonight at The Fifth Estate‘s Afterparty with EE BAFTA Rising Star Award-winning Actress Juno Temple (seen second below) who left her with some supportive parting words. The always delightful Temple stars in Horns opposite Daniel Radcliffe, premiering later tonight.
We spotted Daniel Brühl arriving in Toronto just yesterday and although he was a little Fan-shy then, he delivered upon his promise at the Roy Thomson Hall Red Carpet Premiere for The Fifth Estate and also again at the Afterparty for the Film. He will continue to be in the City for the next week, promoting also Ron Howard‘s Rush in which he stars as Formula 1 Driver Niki Lauda.
An absolute vision of beauty, Swedish Actress Alicia Vikander stunned in an elegant green floral print dress at the Premiere for The Fifth Estate in which she plays the important role of Anke, Wife of WikiLeaks Spokesperson Daniel Berg (Brühl). In addition to being amazing to Fans, she also will be starring in eagerly-awaited Fantasy Seventh Son next, making her one to look out for.
Dutch Actress Carice van Houten has gained a Cult Following thanks to her work as Melisandre on HBO‘s Game of Thrones. Her star continues to rise on an international level, starring in The Fifth Estate as Birgitta Jónsdóttir and she was delightful with Fans. After the Afterparty for the Film she was the only Cast member amazing enough to greet Fans from the Patio of the Venue.
Downton Abbey Fans will rejoice that handsome Star Dan Stevens (Dan Crawley) is at TIFF ’13 after all for The Fifth Estate! The British Star was amazingly nice to stop for Fans both at the Airport today, arriving just hours before his Red Carper Premiere and again at the Event itself!
We wouldn’t be in Toronto without a shout-out to our amazing Homegrown Talent. World-famous DJ and Producer Deadmau5 was spotted out and about tonight at The Fifth Estate Afterparty with his new Girlfriend, Actress/Singer Sophie Tweed-Simmons (Daughter of Gene). The latter of course got to ride “Shotgun” in his new Ferrari 458 Italia as the zoomed off into the night.
They don’t come any classier than the brilliant Tom Hiddleston and he couldn’t have been any more kind to his Fans thus far in his TIFF ’13 visit for Only Lovers Left Alive. The British Star known best for his work in The Avengers/Thor as Loki, graciously zipped his way through the large crowd of Fans at Ryerson Theatre tonight, signing as many Autographs as fast as he could. Our Snap I will reveal at a later date, I being one of the few to get one!
It’s been a couple years since we’ve seen Anton Yelchin at TIFF, but he remains a true Gentleman and also a name just below the radar still. The Actor who filmed Charlie Bartlett here in Toronto back in 2007, stars alongside Hiddleston in Vampire-ThrillerOnly Lovers Left Alive as one of the few Human Characters, Ian. As always, he was outstanding to his Supporters at the Premiere.
Although we met her this Summer in Toronto filming David Cronenberg‘s Maps to the Stars, Rising Star Mia Wasikowska always is a pleasure to see and she is fully supporting her three Films at the Festival this year: The Double, Tracks and of course Only Lovers Left Alive. She was a vision in red at the Ryerson Theatre Red Carpet but unfortunately several Fans were left disappointed as she zipped by into the theatre. Better luck next time?
An unexpected name tonight at The Fifth Estate Afterparty was Colin Hanks, who was a late confirmation for Historical-Drama Parkland. The Son of Tom who was recently in the City filming No Stranger Than Love, has a shot at being back at TIFF ’14 with that Romantic-Comedy. Although opting to be low-key, he still obliged for Fans looking for a Photo, taking the Selfie himself.
Tom Welling, known best for playing Clark Kent on Smallville also was a surprise at the Afterparty for The Fifth Estate, here to present Parkland tomorrow night at Roy Thomson Hall. Set on the day President John F. Kennedy died, he plays his Right-Hand Man, Roy Kellerman.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
*Photos taken on the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Olympus E-PL5
Back in January 2012, I had the opportunity to do a bit of work on $180-million mega-opus from Director Guillermo del Toro, Pacific Rim. I was incredibly honoured to do work days on the Production as a Background Performer. I was unemployed at the time, having lost a job I had for many years and always dreamed of being in a Movie, so, why not? Because we had signed Confidentiality Agreements, details we weren’t permitted to be disclose any details until filming had completely fully. After holding on this post for over 22 months, finally I can talk about my experience!
Cast in the role of an Engineer, I learned first-hand how much work can go into filming just one scene, let alone an entire Film. Some days began as early as 5:30 AM, while ending as late as 10:30 PM. Now if you think that’s a long day, know that some of the Crew are required to arrive even earlier and to stay later to set-up and pack-up. Having worked a 9 to 5 job with a cushy seat, I appreciate just how spoiled I was. A non-unionized Background Performer makes a v. minimal amount of money and endures gruelingly long days.
The futuristic Sci-Fi/Action Flick, taking-up a majority of the eight stages at Toronto’s Pinewood Studios, pits Humans and Robots up against Apocalyptic Monsters, rising from beneath the Pacific Ocean. A majority of the Film appears is shot against a Green Screen and is F/X-heavy. Set Design is fascinating and intricate – “mechanical” and “martial” are words I would choose to describe it all. Much of the Film is set on a Compoundoff the Pacific Ocean shores, with hoards of Labourersworking at a feverish pace to build Robots, which ultimately will be piloted by Soldiers to fight-off the destructive Enemies.Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) leads the Charge, declaring a Warto cancel the Apocalypse. Working under him in the fight are Right-hand Man Herc Hansen (Max Martini), Australians Raleigh Antrobus (Charlie Hunnam), Yancy Antrobus (Robert Kazinsky) and Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). There even is an adorable and talented English Bulldog named Max joining the fight too!
I admit my greatest struggle in being someone who loves snapping Photos of everything, washaving to restrain myself this time. The rules were v. clear – snapping a Photo would have me escorted off-set. Despite witnessing many magical moments among the Cast, I was determined to do what was right and keep that Blackberry in my pocket. Instinctively, I’d reach-in and want to grab it when I saw the Actors pranking one another and consciously I had to make an effort to tell myself not to do it. It was torture. Hence I am left with words only to describe magical moments like when Sons of Anarchy Star Hunnam repeatedly trying to get a rise out of Oscar-nominated Actress Kikuchi telling her, “How about you get up and start doing some work for once?”. Of course, he was kidding. If anything, of all Cast Members the British Thespian certainly was friendliest and one Background Performer even got to help relieve his back pain with a massage and chill-out in his Trailer.
As much as I would have loved to approach Golden Globe Winner Elba for a Photo the four times we passed each other in the hall going to the Bathroom, it was the right thing just not do it. Believe me, you are hearing this from the King of “May I please get a Photo with you?”. Work is work and I was determined not to get the boot! As always, I have my ways and a month later I got my moment with him off-set and had the pleasure meeting most of the Principal Cast in the duration Pacific Rim filmed in our City.
Getting to witness Elba as an Artist in his element is something I will never forget. It was like attending the Dress Rehearsal of a Concert. His focus is intense and always between takes he was in rehearsal mode. In what will be one of the defining moments of Pacific Rim where he declares, “Today we cancel the Apocalypse!”, you would never believe the amount of work that went into making that just right. To put it into perspective, imagine having to keep that level of focus in Kate Hawley‘s (The Hobbit) heavy and intricately-designed armour, delivering take after take, while dealing with one’s own fatigue in the heat on what already was an exceedingly long day. The first day it just wasn’t happening and the end seemed more distant, the more we tried. On the second day, Elba nailed it in one take and we all applauded because well, he was that good. Even though that said take was mostly dependent upon him and his delivery, our role as Onlookers had a bearing too in creating that perfect harmony. Collectively, we nailed it. “That was good!”, one Performer dressed as a member of the Navy says to me with a nudge, as the entire room lets out a sigh of relief.
del Toro is a Master of his Craft and a consummate Perfectionist. I appreciate this even more seeing him at work. His eye for detail is unparalleled, knowing exactly what he wants from each scene, regardless how many tries it takes. In one scene he noticed me moving awkwardly and had an Assistant Director come over to coach me. It was discouraging being told I wasn’t moving naturally! I also recall one day when we Background Performers were required to run in a panic across slippery, wet floors and after multiple tries, he squeezed that one final ounce of effort from us. “I know you’re tired and want to go home but now, I want you to run like your ass is on fire!”, which of course brought as much laughter as it did motivation, “This spoken like a true Mexican!”. One young Man took it a bit too literally perhaps, running so hard he collided into another, slipping and appearing to dislocate his shoulder. For a moment we all looked-on in horror with a gasp before he was treated with urgency by Staff. It was a long day and del Toro called it a day after that. Like a Trooper, that young Man arrived back on-set again the next day.
Making Movies requires a great degree of discipline, focus and patience this is something I knew but finally really “got”. My first couple days on-set I admit were grueling and I recall getting home with aching feet, ready to conk-out. Even more daunting was that I’d have to wake-up again at an obscene hour again the next morning – we’re talking pre-Subway early. On the inverse though, there also are was one day I remained on Standby pretty much the entire time as the Assistant Director didn’t feel others and I fit into the scene.
Over what seemed like an endless supply of PB & J Sandwiches in our Trailers, it was inspiring getting to know some who were there to make a quick buck and others who aspired to complete the 1,600 hours necessary to gain their Union Apprenticeships as Actors. And after seeing the delicious meals that came out of the Unionized Actors’ Craft Services Trailer, I couldn’t blame them! Two consecutive days of charred Meatballs are enough to push anyone to get ahead. I kid! I met a Violinist from Russia who did Background Work to feed her Family and met also several Veterans who had obtained their Apprenticeships, doing this full-time.
I always love to share and you’ll be pleased to know that I’m giving my Readers the chance to win Autographs from the Cast of Pacific Rim! This Set includes authentic Signed Photos from Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi, Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam and Guillermo del Toro. To enter to win, simply click “like” on this Post at Mr. Will Wong on Facebook. Share this Post on Facebook or Re-Tweet the below to double your chances:
http://www.mrwillwong.com/pacificrim @MRWILLW wants us to #win Photos signed by the Cast of #PacificRim. In theatres 7/11 at 7 PM!
For all the days and hours I put into Pacific Rim, my guess is that all that work amounts to one quick moment on-screen, but it all was worth it. Warner Bros. releases Pacific Rim this Thursday,July 11, 2013 at 7:00 PM.