Technology was fairly accommodating for the earlier pane for “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and “Prometheus.” Hopefully it’ll be just as accommodating for “Battleship” and “Snow White and the Huntsman.”
Knock wood and click through…
2:28 p.m. This is scheduled to start at 2:30 and “Battleship” is supposed to be first, followed by “Snow White.” Plan accordingly… Plan what? I don’t know…
2:33 p.m. It was a lie, apparently. We’re actually starting with “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Rupert Sanders, the film’s director, may be the only person here for it.
2:34 p.m. “I think the most challenging thing was being true to the original material… and yet bringing it to a new, contemporary audience,” Sanders says. He says that he wanted this to be a universal story, for young male viewers, not just for young female viewers.
2:34 p.m. Before beginning production, they shot a trailer on the Disney ranch just to show everybody what their vision was. They didn’t have a horse. They only had one suit of armor. But it was enough to get the support of the studio.
2:36 p.m. Charlize Theron is back and… Kristen Stewart is here. Stewart was a total surprise. She wasn’t in the program.
2:37 p.m. “I’m really really proud of this guy,” Stewart says of Sanders. Of her character she says that it’s rare that everything she wanted in the character is there. “Is there an Evil Queen Meter I don’t know about?” Charlize says when asked how evil her queen is. “Who are we kidding? We’re kids. We get to go play. We’re not curing cancer,” Theron says. She adds that everybody has a different name and a different image for her character. “Everybody has an idea of her and there’s something kinda nice about f***ing with that idea,” Theron says.
2:39 p.m. “I have, sadly, not the body of Chris Hemsworth, but I make up for it in other ways,” Sanders says, when asked about the eponymous Huntsman. He praises Hemsworth’s intuitive and emotionally grounded performance that goes beyond just the physical.
2:40 p.m. Ask about the draw of the character, Stewart says, “I hurt myself a lot. It was fun. That was one of the things that I was initially really attracted to. What drives her is just interesting. It’s not cool for me to have inexplicable brawn and just shatter men in armor,” She adds, “I got to jump off of cliffs and ride horses.”
2:45 p.m. “Snow White and the Huntsman” continues to kick some “Mirror Mirror” butt when it comes to trailers. The new trailer features actually Kristen Stewart dialogue! It also features our first scenes with the dwarves, who are played by non-dwarves like Ian McShane. This movie really does look like it’s gonna kick a bit of butt.
2:46 p.m. K-Stew fell off a horse when she was nine. She hurt herself and dislocated her elbow. She didn’t want to do horse work again, but she decided she wanted to do this movie and she decided, “If I perish by horse, it’s all good.”
2:47 p.m. How does Charlize Theron play evil so well? “That’s cuz I’m a bitch,” Theron says. She calls this her Bitch Period, like Picasso’s Blue Period.
2:47 p.m. “I think, essentially, we’re pretty true to who she is, brass tacks core personality traits,” Stewart says, though she wanted to make sure this was a character who had been thought about and not just a basic archetype.
2:48 p.m. “Hey now… I could have a full-on ‘Twilight’ conversation right now, but I’m not going to do that,” Stewart says, protesting when it’s suggested that she’s playing a badass, rather than her typical damsel in distress. She liked the character because her badassery made sense and because the character is “brimming.” “I can, in so many different parts of my life, relate and love that about her,” Stewart says. “Kristen’s very explosive in action. She sprints like a 100-meter sprinter… She keeps up with the men,” the director says.
2:54 p.m. “Are you single?” Thereon asks a kid asking a question of Stewart, “I think you’re adorable.” “Everything I’ve done always feels really different,” Stewart says. “That was a really extended period of my life and it was very much its own thing and I love that character and Snow White couldn’t be more different,” Stewart says of transitioning from “Twilight” to “Snow White.”
2:52 p.m. Why did they go with regular-sized actors for dwarfs? Sanders says that he wanted to use dwarfs, but Tarsem took all of them for “Mirror Mirror.” That’s a joke. It turns out he had been developing a British gangster movie that fell through and he just wanted to use some of the same actors.
2:54 p.m. Sanders thinks the actors made the fairy tale characters feel real and grounded and relevant. “Without a good story, you’re just making wallpaper. And I didn’t want to make wallpaper.”
2:55 p.m. “It’s amazing that we get to do this. Does it look like we’re having fun? We get to play. We get to put crowns on our heads and scream at people and play mean. IT’s amazing. It’s the greatest job ever,” Theron tells another tiny child.
2:56 p.m. Sanders gave Stewart a book about Joan of Arc for research. She admits that she didn’t read it…
2:57 p.m. On to “Battleship.” I may run out of batteries…
3:01 p.m. Peter Berg, Brooklyn Decker (pretty) and Eric the Vampire are here for “Battleship.”
3:02 p.m. Berg’s dad was a Marine and a huge Naval war historian and he grew up visiting Naval museums. His dad used to interrupt the guides at the museums and correct them and he was usually right. Berg always wanted to do a Navy movie and he wanted to do a movie about The Essex, which was the basis for Melville’s “Moby Dick.” Apparently the cannibalism side of the story turned some studio people off. “We have actually done it and we are that insane,” Berg says of basing a movie on Battleship. What drew him to the game was the vicious and merciless side, how after you get one hit, you try to take out the other player’s ship as quickly as possible.
3:06 p.m. Berg says that he likes to work with smart actors. He admits that Brooklyn Decker and Alexander Skarsgård may be good-looking, but “they’re actually really smart, complicated actors.” Berg says that Brooklyn has overcome a lot based on her “physical situation.” Berg says that Decker came in five times and improvised and cried.
3:06 p.m. We’re about to see a character-driven clip. “First and foremost, we want this movie to be fun,” Berg says. He doesn’t shy, however, from calling “Battleship” a big summer popcorn movie in its aspirations.
3:14 p.m. We see a scene in which Taylor Kitsch’s character goes to a lot of trouble to get Brooklyn Decker’s character a chicken burrito. It’s based on that famous “Slapstick Burrito-Retrieving” part of the Battleship game that most people usually skip. We also see that Alexander Skarsgård has a very different accent from Kitsch even though they’re brothers. Color me curious.
3:15 p.m. Skarsgard describes the experience of working on a movie of this scale as “kinda scary.” He recalls a scene in which Berg proposed that he would shoot him in the face with an air cannon. “That’s how much I trust this man,” Vampire Eric says. “I got to shoot guns, so I was a very happy camper,” Decker adds.
3:17 p.m. Brooklyn Decker likes calling people by their last names. And now you know…
3:17 p.m. “I think it’s really fun with somebody like Pete, because it makes it real,” Decker says, recalling a scene in which she was supposed to be scared and Berg jumped out of the bushes with a machine gun.
3:18 p.m. Berg explains that there are aliens in “Battleship” because it’s easier to have fun with intense violence if you aren’t dealing with real people. He had just watched a Stephen Hawking documentary about aliens and he was intrigued by the concept of Goldilocks Planets, which are planets that we’ve identified that have similar orbital relationships with their suns in different galaxies. Apparently we’ve been trying to contact these Goldilocks Planets. Stephen Hawking thinks that this is a bad idea and that we shouldn’t be trying to contact these Goldilocks Planets. So “Battleship” opens with us contacting Goldilocks planets. He asks for this information to stay in this room. I assume he’s joking. If not? Sorry, Peter!
3:21 p.m. Peter Berg says that he has great faith in musicians-turned-actors. “Rihanna showed up and she asked for no special treatment. She said ‘Treat me like an actor,'” Berg recalls. “I think all of us couldn’t be happier for her and we’re huge supporters of her. Now? Time for a clip with Rihanna!
3:32 p.m. That was a pretty good extended action scene. The aliens look a bit like us, except for when they’re in awesome mech-suits. Then they look like they can kick our butts. Rihanna didn’t embarrass herself in her brief moments, though unlike Kristen Stewart, Rihanna runs a little funny. But more exciting than Rihanna? The click features extended screentime for Jesse Plemons, reuniting with Taylor Kitsch. Riggins and Landry together again! Sepinwall will be pleased.
3:32 p.m. “There may be bigger films than ours, but right now I’m proclaiming that we’ve got bigger guns,” Berg says.
3:33 p.m. “Filming a movie in the ocean is the stupidest thing you can ever do,” Berg says, admitting that a month before he began production, Kevin Costner called him out of the blue to warn him about the things they did right and wrong on “Waterworld.” Berg says that he and Costner talked for three hours about ocean-filming strategies.
3:36 p.m. No time for audience questions. Hate it when that happens. [Little “Chuck” joke there.]
3:39 p.m. The new “Battleship” trailer premieres in front of “Clash of the Titans” and that sucker is ALL action, explosions, international destruction and mayhem. If you were wondering, “Will we finally get to see hints at the nuanced performance from Brooklyn Decker?” No. No we will not.
I’m skipping live-blogging the “Lockup” or “Lockout” or whatever it is panel. I’ll be back for “Looper”/”Resident Evil” and “Spider-Man” in less than an hour.