It was cold, snow was accumulating to 10” but March 22-24
was the “BEST” weekend in St. Louis because …..WIZARD WORLD WAS HERE!
St. Louis hosted it’s first major comic-con and they did
themselves proud. Fans let their freak flags fly and turned out by the thousands
in costumes ranging from their favorite comic-book character to their favorite
TV star to celebrate the 3 day premiere event in the gateway city.
There are some that should reconsider the spandex though…
Wizard, the name in comics, now takes their show on the road
making stops in select cities across the country. St. Louis’ con was off-the-hook with a
celebrity guest list that included the Hulk Lou Ferrigno, The Fonz aka Henry
Winkler, Lando Calrissian himself Billy Dee Williams, Walking Dead Heroine
Andrea..Laurie Holden and the guest of honor…Stan “the Man” Lee, along with many others!!
There were also acclaimed artists from the comic industry
headed by Neal Adams.
If you are looking for a special comic, action figure or
that piece to complete your costume, you will find it at Wizard World. I found
the piece I was looking for.
The three days were jam packed with shopping, meet and greets with celebrities and very entertaining Q&A panels.
I was a little intimidated walking in on the first day, never have been to a con this large before, but the feeling passed quickly. Nerves turned into joy and excitement as I took it all in making two laps around the convention center before grabbing the programming guide and coming up with a game plan. My advice: buy VIP experiences, autographs and photo ops in advance. My first stop: meeting the Hulk, Lou Ferrigno. Lou was “I want Gary to win. Penn is an a** and a backstabber and I don’t know Amorosa, but Gary has a true heart and deserves to win” We both agreed LaToya Jackson blew it last week. Lou signed my DVD set of the first season of the Incredible Hulk and I was on my way. I will say Lou was a rock, he was at his booth all weekend long, I never saw him take a break!
Next up was to meet the man who ran Cloud City, Lando
Calrissian….Billy Dee Williams! As hew was signing my copy of Empire Strikes
Back, we discussed his career with Star Wars, Night Hawks, Mahogany and Brian’s
Song. The I asked Billy, has J.J.Abrams reached out to you about bring Lando in
for Episode 7? Billy replied, ”They haven’t yet but I would love to do it
again. I can see Lando and Han in a poker game set in the future of the story.”
“Lando is a host and smooth and I can see him running another city and catching
up with his old friend over a game of cards.” This was so very cool, LANDO!!!!
I ran to the other end of the Convention Center for a must
see panel: The History of Dr. Who! A group from the ST. Louis Celestial Intelligence
Agency, one of the largest Dr. Who fan clubs in the USA. Rob Levy led the discussion
that informed people on the evolution of Dr. Who and his companions leading up
to this year’s 50TH anniversary special and who might be returning?
Finally I traveled back to the 50’s and caught up with Arthur Fonzarelli, Henry Winkler. As I approached the TV icon, I noticed he was out in front of his table greeting each person with a handshake or a hug and thanking them for coming. We discussed his many roles on TV and film and his time working with Sandler on “Waterboy”, GATORADE!!!! Then I asked him about becoming an author of children’s books with the Hank Zipzer series, he responded, ”It was a natural thing wanting to do something to entertain kids and have them think. I told him I loved the books (having read them to my grandkids) and reviewed them on this site. The Fonz himself signed my copy of season one of Happy Days and Day one at Wizard World came to a close!
Saturday brought forecasts of snow and thousands of fans to the America center at the wee hours of the morning to get into Wizard World early!! Day two was packed with 5 times the amount of fans lining up all through the corridors of the convention center. I ran through the door and directly to the back to line up to meet Stan Lee!!! Stan, still on his game at the age of 90, strolled into his booth to a standing ovation from the crowd. With hundreds in line to see him it was a quick thank you for having him sign my copy of Spideman #1.
I saved my question for Stan for his panel later that afternoon. I asked Stan, when Hollywood tells the story of Marvel comics, who plays Stan Lee? Stan responded “ Brad Pitt? Tom Cruise? No, they are both too ugly. I don’t know, Maybe Robert DeNiro!” Casting is now complete!
Finally I had the unique opportunity to have my picture taken
with Stan the Man Lee!
Next I got to meet my new crush Andrea from the Walking Dead, Laurie Holden. Laurie was very personable and enjoyed talking to each person there to see her. I explained to Laurie that when the walking dead was on, it was my time with Andrea and Darryl and I would turn off my phone and not even talk to my wife. She hugged me and said I was great. I asked about the finale. Laurie told me that hypothetically “ If Andrea lives and makes her escape from the chair, she would go back to the prison and gather up her friends and take over Woodbury.” Then she added, “But you know the Walking Dead…How do we know Andrea will even be in the episode?” (Turns out she gave us a scoop! She wasn’t in Sundays Episode!!)
Laurie Holden is my new crush, and coming up I have her
and an exclusive photo op with her!!
I ended up Saturday with photo ops with Billy Dee Williams and Henry Winkler. Henry again greeted each person waiting for a photo with a handshake and thank you for coming. Winkler was the unofficial ambassador for the weekend. The thing that amazed me about Henry, after meeting thousands of people, I stepped in for my photo and he greeted me with “I have been waiting for this photo since we spoke yesterday!” I was AMAZED!!! Yes the Fonz is the COOLEST MAN ON EARTH!!!
I braved the snow storm dropping 10” of the white stuff in
downtown St. Louis to make the final day of Wizard World. The two things that I
had to see was the Q&A panel with Billy Dee Williams
Sunday brought a close to St. Louis’ first Wizard World. It
was an overwhelming success and breaking news…..THEY WILL BE BACK!!!!
Wizard World St. Louis 2014 is set for April 4-6, The Flick
Fanatic will be there, will you????
My requests for next year: More Dr. Who!! More Game of Thrones!!!
More Walking Dead!!!
To promote their new film “The Twilight Saga: Breaking
Dawn Part 2”, two members of the Vampire enforcement council “the Volturi” came
to St. Louis and sat down with the Flick Fanatic and discuss the end of Twilight.
Charlie Bewley and Daniel Cudmore play Volturi members Felix and Demetri in the
Twilight films “New Moon”, “Eclipse”, and “Breaking Dawn Part 1 & 2” and
shared some details and secrets from the set of Breaking Dawn Part 2!!! Daniel
and Charlie share a real “brotherhood” off screen being born just 5 days apart
on opposite ends of the globe (Charlie from a small town in England and Daniel
in Canada) and meet for the first time on the set of The Twilight Saga: New
Moon and a bond was formed immediately.
Daniel gave us the scoop on his path to the big screen,
having studied drama in high school and snagged a major role in a franchise
film X2 as the Russian strongman Piotr Rasputin also known as the mutant X-man
Colossus. Daniel reprised the role three years later in X-Men: The Last Stand.
Cudmore then was cast in Twilight as the enforcer for the Volturi, Felix a
vampire that possesses super strength. Now Cudmore has the fourth Twilight film
in the can and Breaking Dawn Part 2 set to be released later this month; So I
ask both he and Charlie Bewley who plays Volturi member Demetri, a vampire with
astonishing tracking abilities, has being in such a movie phenomenon changed
them at all and what is it like with fans in public?
Charlie responded by telling us how he got the acting
bug. Bewley explained that he was living in England and bet his mates that he
would come to America and be a movie star. Charlie lucked out by landing his
first film role in Twilight! He said it didn’t change him, but all his friends
back home were amazed that he did just what he said. Daniel added that probably
with costumes and blood red contacts it helps to keep fans from recognizing
them as Volturi and stars of twilight. Cudmore also said that the only change
from being involved in the Twilight Saga was that it now opens doors for
everyone. Charlie’s has three projects in the works a military film called “Thunder
Road”, a sci-fi picture that he is headlining “Hammer of the Gods” and a
mystery called “Intersection” all due out in 2013.
I then asked Daniel if he was going to be in X-Men with
Bryan Singer as Colossus? He said he would love to do it and explore more of
the character if possible. Daniel added he completed a dark “red-neck” comedy
with Billy Bob Thorton called “The Baytown Outlaws”. Cudmore is also the voice
of the much anticipated animated character Master Chief in Halo 4: Forward unto
Dawn, the final episode available online now and the full 90 min film is going
to be included in the new game. We also got a scoop!!! Daniel was going to be
in the upcoming sequel Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters as a character called
Manticore, but the project has been terminated. Daniel offered he is a huge
Bond fan and wants to see the latest film “Skyfall” and get the 50th
anniversary DVD set and would be awesome to be a Bond villain. My personal
suggestion to Sony, Daniel has a striking physic and would be a perfect
re-vamped Jaws character.
Bringing the discussion back to Twilight, Charlie
grilled a fellow critic about the rumor of the ending being re-shot in Breaking
Dawn Part 2. Finally admitting it was an internet rumor, both Charlie and Daniel
assured us that the ending is just the way they shot it. Charlie explained that
the entire saga has been building to this final confrontation between the Cullens
and the Volturi. He added that audiences will be amazed by Bella as a vampire
in the film and that he is the reason with Demetri’s tracking skills that the
Volturi are able to find Bella and her daughter. Daniel Added that heads will
roll in the last battle. Both actors agreed that if Stephanie Meyer wanted to,
it would be nice to see a film from the Volturi view and explore more vampire
families other than the Cullens and how they are policed by the council.
Lastly I had to know, who was the prankster in the cast
an did anything funny happen on set. Both Charlie and Daniel explain that the
set was their work place and was very professional, but the crew had been
together for years and jokes were played. The funniest came while filming the
final scenes in Baton Rouge Louisiana, where multiple cameras were shooting all
angles of the fight scene, and a group of the new vampires….thought to be
learning choreography for the fight in fact were learning a dance routine! So
when they began to film the scene they erupted in dance with music blaring,
paralyzing the cast regulars and eventually having everyone erupting in
Check out the videos below, sorry for the audio (was
filmed in a public restaurant) and Twilight fans be sure to check back at www.theflickfanatic.com for your
chance to win passes to the exclusive screening of The Twilight Saga: Breaking