Ahoy, squirts! Quint here… I have a quick rundown of the panel for Disney’s RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN featuring directing Andy Fickman and stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Carla Gugino. After the footage description and brief on the panel, stay tuned for my one on three interview with those guys… it’s a funny one, so don’t miss it!
They showed a rough kind of trailer… that actually scared the crap out of me a little bit. It’s a dark highway at night and we’re heading down the road at a fast clip. Then there’s a flash and a streak as something bright flashes across the road. Of course they put a huge stinger on that, so it goes from quiet to BAM with no warning. They played it twice and I jumped twice because I’m a huge pussy, I guess.
There’s a pretty typical “all the signs led to… WITCH MOUNTAIN” imprint, which ends with the title coming up on a series of low-lying mountains.
In the footage we see the Rock driving a cab around Vegas… in fact the first time we see him, he angrily grabs a blaster from a pair of passengers dressed up as stormtroopers.
Gugino doesn’t get much to do in the trailer except for running behind the Rock with the kids, Annasophia Robb and Alex Ludwig, but from the Q&A I gather she does have something to do in the flick.
Some of the big moments from the trailer include the little boy standing in the middle of a road and crumpling a big truck around him as it hits, a scary alien villain with a very blank face (think of the bounty hunters from CRITTERS before they transform as a jumping off point) and tons of car chases, most of it real stunts, with a few unfinished crash effects.
It looked like a cute movie with a real effort made to push the action element and the alien baddie looked good (as it should as it comes from Stan Winston Studios).
Here are some bullet points from the panel:
- They wrapped 3 weeks ago.
- When asked about why the actors joined the project Dwayne Johnson said, “The paycheck.” Laughs from the audience. “Disney… Cha-ching!”
- Johnson was asked if he dropped the People’s Elbow on the alien baddie we see. This is where they mentioned that the bad guy was created by the guys who made PREDATOR and THE TERMINATOR (so even if they never said specifically it was Stan Winston Studios, I think that’s a good guess). Of course, Johnson responded with, “I dropped the People’s Elbow on his candy-ass a lot in this movie.”
- They tried to root the movie as much in reality as they could, hiring Military advisors, CIA advisors, UFO experts, etc.
- Ike Eisenmann and Kim Richards have not only blessed the picture, but appear together onscreen.
- A familiar Winnebago also makes a cameo appearance.
- Rating? Andy Fickman, director, shot out immediately with “It’ll be a hard NC-17. Dwayne wouldn’t stop taking off his shirt…” to much whistling from the ladies.
These guys were actually really funny together, giving probably the most off-color Disney panel in recorded history. They kept having to read the Con disclaimer to each other. “Please keep in mind that some of your fans are under 18 years old.”
One question was asked from a big fan of “The Round-Up” and he got a little sarcastic retort, “Do you mean The Rundown?” and Andy shot in saying that “The Round-Up was an early gay adult feature that The Rock starred in.” To which Johnson hit back with “Stay on for 8 seconds was the tagline…”
Now we get into the interview itself! Enjoy!!!
Quint: I have to say I loved the panel and I think that it is great that it was probably the most filthy Disney panel...
Carla Gugino: (laughs) Ever?
Andy Fickman: Do you think will be what it goes down as? I can just see it now, like we get back to Disney and we will be like “How was it?” and they will literally be like “Do you…? You need to wash your mouth out with soap you filthy dirty birds!”
Quint: I think it was about the time you guys started talking about the gay porn.
Carla Gugino: Yeah, yeah… it just went…
Dwayne Johnson: It sure went there quickly.
Andy Fickman: I was sitting there thinking “I guess these things resonate.”
Quint: It was an escalation that got me, because you had already done the bit at the beginning where you read the back of the name cards.
Carla Gugino: Right.
Andy Fickman: You really have no where to go…
Carla Gugino: What you realize on set every day is it does really just escalate. You start in the morning and…
Andy Fickman: The hardest thing is you are coming in, we wrapped three and a half weeks ago, you get here and you have the daunting task, you have 8,000 people out there and there’s a certain relationship of we are here to tell you about our movie and you are here to ask us questions about our movie and at the end of the day I think who we are and the sort of energy that we have is it is far easier to be us than it is to kind of read that sheet of like “Here are some [things to talk about].”
Quint: You don’t want to be boring.
Andy Fickman: As long as you didn’t feel that we were boring, then we are very happy.
Quint: Not at all, that was a very entertaining panel.
Dwayne Johnson: That’s death!
Quint: It was also great, just as a fan. My first question and I wrote these out yesterday before I saw any of the footage at the panel, was that I am a huge fan of this era of Disney, like I love this live action seventies or early eighties stuff where you go into things like PETE’S DRAGON and BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS and that kind of stuff and the WITCH MOUNTAIN movies and so I am really glad to here that you guys are very much jumping off of those and not ignoring them. It’s easy for people to put the spin on it and say “Oh well of course I have always loved that… what is it called again?” You know.
Andy Fickman: No, we embraced it and not only embraced it, but it became sort of a snow ball effect, so that it’s not just the director embracing it, it’s Carla… it’s Dwayne… It’s the kids… Everybody is embracing it
Carla Gugino: It’s true. All of us are fans.
Andy Fickman: Everyday we would talk about little things that were in the movie that were like “Oh this is cool and there’s a little time,” the day Ike and Kim showed up for their first time on the set and that was… The day you see this Winnebago and you are looking at that Winnebago and it is “the Winnebago.” There’s this moment where we are all looking at it and there’s a great sense of awe that you are feeling like “Wow, dad’s gone for the weekend and we are taking the car out for a ride,” so I think that was the only way we were wanting to go forward with this movie as if they allowed us to… and certainly the only way Kim and Ike were ever going to get involved, because they have very good lives right now and it’s a good memory, so why would you tamper with something, yet after they read the script and talked to us and met everybody… They are as family to us now as everybody else that was involved.
Quint: So Dwayne, you play Eddie Albert?
Dwayne Johnson: Essentially yes!
Quint: You are the Eddie Albert this time out.
Dwayne Johnson: That’s right and inside our camper by the way there was an album, The Eddie Albert album.
Andy Fickman: Eddie Albert Sings! He did an album!
Dwayne Johnson: You won’t see it in the movie, but just know.
Quint: You should put one of his songs over the credits.
Carla Gugino: That trailer was so crazy.
Andy Fickman: These are the things that will be in the DVD that we will talk about, but it used to be like I remember I had them all in the Winnebago and I went “Just so you know, it’s back here” and it’s Gary Marshall’s Winnebago now when he plays a very sort of out there… the opposite side of Carla’s character and we would just walk by and see this “Eddie Albert Sings” and he is wearing this like… I’m sure it was the fashionable look of like 1969, where it’s like “I’m wearing a navy blazer.” It was great for them, just to have that connection.
Carla Gugino: And also, I love how you had that idea of him actually as the kind of guy who would try to track down that Winnebago and see if he could buy it, which is what he does.
Andy Fickman: It’s the notion that we can do the chain of paddle in our minds then from Eddie Albert to Gary Marshall’s hands… We know that back story and can tell it a thousand times.
Quint: That’s awesome and I just love that the Winnebago is in the movie. It’s those little things that really kind of do justice for the fans that give us a little piece of mind when there is a remake or a re-imagining.
Andy Fickman: We are so cognoscente of knowing that the minute you say this, you either have the people who are so excited or those who are like “Why are you destroying my childhood memory of this?” and it’s like “Dude, these are our childhood memories, you think we would want to trample on something that we love? We want to embrace it and give something back.”
Quint: And now you have also opened it up. Now Dwayne can fight Stormtroopers apparently.
Dwayne Johnson: That’s right, because you saw the footage… That was awesome! “In PART 2…”
Carla Gugino: Yeah, that UFO CON… being here, it’s amazing how similar it is.
Dwayne Johnson: Really and you look down and you are like…
Quint: Have you two been out to the CON before? Were you out for SOUTHLAND?
Dwayne Johnson: We weren’t out for SOUTHLAND. Richard [Kelly] was out for SOUTHLAND at that time…
Quint: I actually went to the set a long time ago. It was all of the end stuff with the ice cream truck.
Dwayne Johnson: Yeah, amazing what we got out of that for roughly 15 million dollars, I mean the effects were incredible.
Carla Gugino: Yeah, that is amazing.
Dwayne Johnson: Really is amazing, but I was here for GET SMART and DOOM. Carla has been here a couple of times and by the way, we have got a great story over here…
Andy Fickman: [To Gugino] You were here for…?
Carla Gugino: SIN CITY and for THRESHOLD, a TV show I did.
Quint: And then tomorrow is going to be your huge WATCHMAN…
Andy Fickman: This has been my tenth COMIC CON, but nine have been as just simply a guy on the floor just coming.
Quint: This is my first year they have had me on a WEBMASTERS PANEL for AintItCool. It’s weird being on the other side…
Andy Fickman: It’s a cool…
Quint: It’s a weird feeling.
Andy Fickman: It’s a weird feeling, but coming in there’s also a weird like doing all of this, because you are so used to being down on the floor and you are so used to trying to make a schedule and you are so used to like “Oh, I’ve got to see this and I have got to get my comic…” I would literally bring my list of comic books that I was looking for and so this feels almost decadent… The floor… I feel like I am missing so much right now, but I’m actually not here… I look around and I see people with bags, like I see that Warner Brother’s bag and I literally look at that like “I would have so had that full by now! I would have been able to…”
Carla Gugino: It’s also been interesting, because a lot of the questions that they have been asking us and particularly you is like “There’s so much pressure, how do you feel about this being the defining moment of how people receive this movie?” The point is, as a fan of anything and certainly as someone who… you go, because you want to love something and if you have a good piece of material and you do something you believe in, then to be able to allow people in, to allow fans in which we all are, to allow them into the process, that’s so exciting and so it has become such a… I thought that was unusual question to be asked and such a great question for you to be asked, because you are like “Well, I have been the guy on the other side every other year,” and you don’t go in to try to hate something, you want to go in and experience something.
Andy Fickman: At the panel to hear after Dwayne and Carla are talking, to hear when they played the trailer at the end, to hear the audience’s response…
Carla Gugino: It was so cool.
Andy Fickman: It’s great, because literally we wrapped three and a half weeks ago. It’s as long for me to look at and be like “We had a lot of blue screen up… I have got to fix that… I have got a lot of work I have got to do,” but in that sort of minute and eighteen seconds, just that there was enough of a response from the audience that it connected with them, you get excited by that, like “Cool, wait until you see the movie!”
Carla Gugino: Filming is such a personal process and then it becomes so public and very rarely… In theater its like you actually have your audience there and you are interacting and in film you very rarely get that opportunity, so even to be there to get that minute and eighteen seconds and then to be able to have this interaction with people, it’s like “Watching movies, that’s what we do it for.”
Dwayne Johnson: That’s the greatest part about coming to COMIC CON, coming down here to see interaction with the fans. We were just talking about this. You get out there where there is six or eight thousand people, just interacting with them and whether you are telling jokes with them or whether you are watching footage or whatever it is, there’s nothing like that and it could, and it has in the past, go the opposite way where you come here and you are like “OK, we think the movie’s going to be great. Here it goes!” and then it’s like [Makes farting noise].
Quint: You are either riding the train going up or you are riding it going all the way down.
Dwayne Johnson: That’s right yeah, or you get run over by it.
Quint: GET SMART had a really good panel last year.
Dwayne Johnson: It went really greatly, yeah. I had a lot of fun then, too and a lot of interaction with the fans which is great and again that is what COMIC CON is all about, just coming out and interacting with the fans. I loved that panel… such good times.
Quint: But one thing that the GET SMART panel didn’t have was the gay porno talk.
Dwayne Johnson: Brother, any time you get Fickman and Johnson together, you can guarantee gay porn and eight ball…
Andy Fickman: You know what? We are going to lead with that every time.
Quint: You have got your material!
[They look back at their PR person.]
Andy Fickman: That’s how we roll.
Dwayne Johnson: Here’s what is interesting… What is funny is… “Yeah that’s how we roll bitches.”
[They look at their PR person again and continue laughing.]
Andy Fickman: That’s right… bitches… (laughs) I just like watching Dave Wong slowly just disintegrate in the chair…
Carla Gugino: It’s been a long day!
Dwayne Johnson: Be aware that there are people in the audience that are under 18…
Andy Fickman: It’s a little bit of a tease, when it is literally like “Don’t touch this red button…”
Carla Gugino: Totally!
Andy Fickman: … and the red button is in front of you the whole time and you are like “but what if I touch the red button?” and you didn’t have to read the card several times to remind it, but you can’t see 8,000 people, so we really couldn’t see the preteens. That’s our excuse.
Quint: I think they are wrapping us up here, but thanks for…