The second day of 2014 Comic-Con International on July 25 in San Diego had no major surprise celebrities on panels, but the day still had plenty of movie stars who were at Comic-Con, the largest annual convention for fans of sci-fi, thriller and fantasy entertainment.
Daniel Radcliffe of "Harry Potter" fame was the one who got the most buzz, since it was his first time at Comic-Con. (During the nine-year run of the "Harry Potter" movies, from 2002 to 2011, Warner Bros. Pictures didn't have any panels for the "Harry Potter" movie series, except in 2010, and only "Harry Potter" co-star Tom Felton was there.) Radcliffe was on a panel with "Horns" director Alexandre Aja at Comic-Con 2014 to promote their independent film "Horns," in which Radcliffe portrays a man who mysteriously sprouts horns that seemingly have the ability to get people to tell the truth.
Not surprisingly, Radcliffe was treated like royalty by the Comic-Con crowd. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the packed-to-capacity crowd of 7,500 people cheered loudly upon his entrance and continued cheering throughout the panel. The crowd also sang "Happy Birthday" to Radcliffe, who turned 25 on July 23, 2014.
When he was asked if he prefers doing movies or theater, Radcliffe said, "Film is where I grew up. There is no greater place of comfort … All the things my teachers hated about me were now assets. Theater is a place where I learned to act better. But gun to my heard, [I’d choose] film every time.”
RADiUS-TWC, which is releasing "Horns," had a Comic-Con panel for "Horns" and for the action flick "Everly." Salma Hayek, who stars as the title character in "Everly," compared the character to all the other characters she has portrayed: "Everly is the most bad-asseest of all ... But please don’t go shooting anyone. It’s a metaphor.”
20th Century Fox presented five movies at Comic-Con 2014. Here is who was on what panel: From "The Book of Life": Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, writer/director Jorge Gutierrez and producer Guillermo del Toro. From "The Maze Runner": Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, writer James Dashner and director Wes Ball. From "Kingsman: The Secret Service": Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Taron Egerton, Sophie Cookson, Sofia Boutella and co-creators Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. From "Hitman: Agent 47": Zachary Quinto and Hannah Ware. From "Let's Be Cops": Damon Wayans Jr., Rob Riggle and Keegan Michael-Key.
Before each panel, the panel participants held a press conference for their respective movies. (More on those press conferences later.) Jackson stole the show during "Kingsman: The Secret Service" press conference and had the audience laughing when a reporter's phone began ringing on the press conference table, and he answered it and began playfully scolding the person on the other line about interrupting the press conference. "Kingsman: The Secret Service" is poised to become a sleeper hit. Based on what was said at the press conference, a lot of people will be surprised by how Firth re-invented himself as an action hero for this movie. Given Firth's top-notch acting talent, he won't disappoint.
Meanwhile, here's something you won't see in most of the media reports about Comic-Con: While I was attending the press day for the Fox TV series "Wayward Pines," I saw Jaden Smith (son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith) hanging out in the press room. Jaden was wearing a white costume that looked like something he could have worn in his 2013 movie "After Earth."
M. Night Shyamalan (who directed "After Earth") directed the pilot episode of "Wayward Pines," so Shyamalan was in the press room too. Jaden looked like he was hanging out with Shyamalan's kids, and he seemed to be in a very happy mood, as he was laughing and joking around with the people he knew there. Even though "After Earth" was a flop with audiences and critics, it's obvious that Jaden and Shyamalan still have a great relationship with each other.
In 2013, "The Hunger Games" movie series had its first Comic-Con panel. In 2014, none of the major stars (Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, etc.) from the series was at Comic-Con, but some of the lesser-known supporting actors were. Natalie Dormer, Mahershala Ali, Evan Ross, Elden Henson, and Wes Chatham appeared at the Samsung Galaxy Experience in downtown San Diego to premiere "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" teaser trailer on the Galaxy Tab S to fans in the Capitol Gallery.
Fans outside the San Diego area can also get an exclusive preview of the first official "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" trailer on July 26 and July 27, 2014, by visiting Samsung Experience Shops inside select Best Buy locations. While supplies last, visitors will receive one complimentary pass to see "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" when it opens in theaters Nov. 21, 2014.