London Film and Comic Con 2011 – Part 5

On Sunday morning we arrived at Earl’s court just before 0900 expecting there to be another huge queue, only to find there wasn’t one! It was more like Friday evening again – maybe people just didn’t want to get up early on a Sunday? lol


We had planned to just attend a few more guest talks today before driving home on the afternoon, so we joined the short queue to get our tickets for the talks then while we waited for the first one of the day I popped in to see Clive Barker, author of classic horror novels turned into films such as Hellraiser and Candyman.  Unfortunately, Clive was one of the few celebrities that didn’t allow photos to be taken at his signings, so I was hoping he may be part of the ‘Hellraiser’ talk we were going to later so I could get a picture there (unfortunately he wasn’t at the talk so I missed out :/ ) despite the restrictions at his signings (no personalisations in addition to the no photos rule) Clive was really friendly and chatty with his fans, and constantly apologizing for the difficulties he was having doing the autographs – due to arthritis he was unable to write very well, having special supports on his pens and even then it seemed to be very difficult for him to write at all 😦 I followed up Clive’s autograph on my Hellraiser ‘Pinhead & Clive’ photo by visiting Doug Bradley (Pinhead himself) for the extra autograph on the picture that was the perfect finishing touch! 😀

Our first speaker today was Shawnee Smith – ‘Amanda’ from SAW.  I think this was probably the least well attended session we had been at during the weekend and there were lots of awkward pauses as Shawnee gave very brief answers and seemed unable to ‘fill’ the time herself as others had done, she seemed to be really struggling to recall answers or find something to say.  In preparing for the role of Amanda Shawnee said about having read a book about a girl who self harms for research, I asked which book this was but she was unable to recall the title :/ She explained how it was easy to act in Saw as it was so ‘awful’, genuinely scary, so you always felt the fear but knew you were safe. Her favourite trap was the needle pit, although she did get quite bruised from it and being 4 months pregnant at the time she had to keep the news to herself so as not to freak out the rest of the cast and crew! She also thought the ‘Ice trap’ was ‘beautiful’. Saw 3 was Shawnee’s favourite of the series, because of Tobin (Jigsaw), it had a ‘love story’ element about it, between Amanda and Jigsaw.  Someone asked about the letter Amanda read in Saw 3 and Shawnee explained that everyone thought it was from Hoffman, but it was actually a handwritten letter from Tobin which she still has – asked about it’s content she said it was ‘personal’. I asked if she felt that in making so many films that they had started to detract from the originality of the series to which she replied she hadn’t known they would make so many (7 to date) and 7 was apparently the last, but who knows what will happen when the fans are yelling for more this Halloween, but she felt they had give it a decent stretch without getting ridiculous! Regarding her other work she spoke about working with Missy Pyle and how they decided to form a band together, working with Ted Danson on Becker; where her favourite episode had been the one about the gay cruise.  Whilst filming The Blob she explained how being before quality CGI the effects team had used stuff like McDonalds Milkshakes to create the blob! Asked if she prefers horror or comedy Shawnee said she likes to ‘find the comedy in the horror and vice versa’. She spoke about having enjoyed the challenge of Scream Queeens and felt the right person had won and how it was due to the Saw family rallying round that the production of Repo had happened. Currently she is filming Jayne Mansfields Car with Billy Bob Thornton.

Richard Hatch, Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica and Tom Zarek in the New BSG, was the second speaker of the day.  He was very lively as he can on stage explaining that he had been in the UK for almost a week now and was only just recovering from the jet-lag, but glad to be here as we have some good ales in London! lol.  There was barely any need for questions from the audience as Richard was on a roll.  He started by saying how he is still in contact with Dirk Benedict, who has been living in Montana focusing on raising his two sons, alone mostly due to all the women who have left him (which you can read about in his books as recommended by Richard).  He went on to explain how before the New BSG was made he had pitched an idea for ‘BSG – The Second Coming’ in 1998. The idea had started out as an animated storyboard, he then decided to make a trailer. The idea of a single scene grew, more and more people became involved , bringing props and costumes. Filming took place in a huge warehouse, with no license or permission he was scared of being arrested! 18 months later the trailer was complete and was released at DragonCon, Richard was still worried about getting in trouble with Universal who owned the rights to BSG (although they weren’t even aware of it themselves due to the company changing hands so much) he was also worried about the reception the trailer would get.  Often when there is a remake of your favourite film or show they ‘ruin’ it and he was worried about this, as he said ‘never wrong the fans!’, he didn’t know if they would love it or hate it, he hoped he hadn’t changed the main elements it too much rather just ‘evolved’ the show.  When the trailer was shown he was excited and scared of the reception, at the end of the trailer there was a silence which felt like 10 minutes – but then the crowd exploded with applause.  So, relieved that it had a good reception with the fans Richard took his trailer to pitch the idea to the studios. back then Networks and studios didn’t do conventions so they had no idea about the trailer.  Miramax wanted the movie – but they only had a trailer (normally you only do a trailer if you have a movie!) and at this point Universal still didn’t know and Richard was like ‘OMG, they’re gonna find out and we’ll be in so much trouble!’. When they finally got to pitch to Universal, they felt there wouldn’t be enough fans to support a comeback as the show had only been on for one year… eventually NBC got the license for BSG when they bought Universal, but they were only interested in a re-imagined version as they didn’t like the original and from there New BSG eventually came about when Ron Moore was bought in.  His re-imagined version pissed off a lot of the old fans as it was so different from the original and they didn’t get it.  When Ron spoke about it he suggested that fans should ‘throw popcorn’ if they didn’t like it when they came to see the preview showing, so when so many people tuened up with popcorn for the showing everyone got worried that it would be a great mess, luckily that wasn’t the case!  As such a fan of the original BSG himself Richard was conflicted about whether to take part, but in the end he agreed to play Tom Zarek and was glad he did, he loves both shows for different reasons and doesn’t feel they can be compared because they are so different.  The reason BSG was shown in Europe befoe the US was that extraordinarily bought the rights not Sci-Fi, which usually releases all the big US Sci-fi shows first!

Finally before heading home we saw the cast of Hellraiser host our final speaker session of the weekend, headed up by Doug Bradley they did a little dance as they approached the stage and opened by saying how they would like to do Hellraiser – the Musical which they followed with a mini rap ‘We want the man, we want the man, who did this’ (It was funny, but you had to be there!) Sound issues were horrendous again with mics not working, too quiet and competing with other noises from the rest of the convention :/ They spoke of weirdest fan experiences such as a fan who said ‘you have no idea how many times I’ve masturbated to your films’  and a small child saying ‘I love you pinhead’. Other interesting experiences included getting lifetime VIP passes to Universal Studios, sipping tea dressed as Pinhead with horned glasses, smoking in dressing gowns like old people with their cigarettes in holders to keep them away from the prosthetics as they were flammable.  When asked about remakes they spoke about a rumour of a TV series and how they would like to get involved in that, they were all very committed to their roles, but Pinhead (Doug) said when it comes to films he has had T-Shirts printed that have a picture of Pinhead on and say ‘Pinhead says No remakes please, its a waste of good celluloid’. Doug is against remakes in general as he feels the ruined Halloween with the remake by taking away the mystery and how we the fans have to make a stand to stop them making remakes by NOT going to the cinema to see them, because if they don’t make any money they will stop doing it – he knows we all want to see how bad they have ruined the film but we should watch it online rather than fund them ruining more films!! the best and worst bits about filming the Hellraisers were the distressing days when you sat around all day in full make-up only to not be used that day, but Clive (Barker) bringing Jack Daniels round made up for it, lol and for Ashley Laurence (Kirsty Cotton) the memory of spending her ‘dating’ years being chased by demons is the most interesting!

And so that brings our weekend at LFCC to an end, I hope you have enjoyed reading about it! Please drop me a line to let me know what you thought!! 😀

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