‘Red’ Comic-Con Panel Report: Bruce Willis, Warren Ellis, Helen Mirren, More!

By Ryan J. Downey

Red” arrives on theaters October 15, and the cast, filmmakers, and comic creators behind the live-action adaptation of Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner’s 2003 series were on hand during Comic-Con for a panel that introduced the film to a hall filled with fans.

Here’s a moment-by-moment report on what went down during the event:

– Lots of laughs from the crowd during the teaser followed by a huge cheer.

– IGN Movies EIC introduces Warren Ellis, Cully Hamner, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Karl Urban, Mary Louise Parker, Helen Mirren (whose “R.I.P. Harvey Pekar” shirt gets a huge cheer) and Bruce Willis.

– “Every day was fun. It was a really ambitious project and the work that the actors did became easier each week,” Willis said. “Because each week we got another big movie star that we were all excited about… It was like recess.” Helen adds: “They had the Queen and then they had God.”

– In a nod to his Star Trek role, Karl Urban asks the crowd, “Are you out of your Vulcan minds?!”

– “They gave us a lot of money. I could buy most of you now,” Ellis joked. “My role was to stay out of the way.” He wanted to see an interpretation not an adaptation. He said the filmmakers love comics. Hammer said they had a lot of respect for what they did.

– The world premiere of the longer trailer was met with even more laughs, particularly for the Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich scenes.

– As the audience lined up for the Q&A, the moderator asked the cast about keeping a straight face during the comedic moments. Willis said he’d love to see a short film of all the actors off camera trying to keep a straight face. He said he thinks of the movie as a rom-com as well as an action movie. That got a laugh, but he seemed serious.

– A fan asked Willis about the funniest moment. He said there were thousands. “It was just a blast… It was not like work.”

– “What do YOU think it would be like to be John Malkovich?” two guys in matching shirts asked Mirren and Willis. The pair laughed, then expressed their admiration.

– Urban answered a fan question about the stunt work by describing it as “intense” and “extensive,” including an “extraordinary” fight with Bruce.

– Parker made a reference to someone having an alligator put into their trailer during shooting. Wonder whose?

– Willis was asked about stunt work as well. He said that the goal is always to keep everyone safe. He also said that the movie employs a lot of modern mixed martial arts, vs “old time fighting.” “I really enjoyed fighting with Karl.”

– A guy in a Flynn’s Arcade shirt pointed out that Urban is normally the protagonist, vs his antagonist in RED. Urban called that a good question and pointed out that his character isn’t a “mustache twirling” villain.

– And then it was the girl’s turn to talk about sports. “We both said the first time they saw us run, they’d fire us,” Parker joked. Mirren talked about gun training. “The most difficult thing is to keep straight face.”

– “Alec Baldwin told me ’just look like you have to pee and then it will seem like you are in danger,'” Parker said.

– Willis talked about how excited they were to work with Richard Dreyfus. He said their code name for him was “Jaws.” “Jaws is gonna be here!”

– Mirren described Willis as their leader and said he was always welcoming to each cast member and made them all feel comfortable and at ease.

– “Bruce and I bonded in a way where we got to beat the living s— out of each other,” Urban said to big laughs.

– Ellis insisted there were no pitfalls to seeing the graphic novel turned into a movie. He said he didn’t write the book thinking about it being movie. He said that can lead to “madness” or to being “Mark Millar!” (Whoa! Dis!)

– Another fan asked Urban about the stunts, which prompted him to praise the overall team who trained them.

– A guy asked if there was any ad libbing or if Bruce played the blues for anyone. He said he tried not to sing for anyone. “We really, more than any film I’ve worked on in a decade, stayed close to the script.”

– Mirren admitted to being “s— scared” (in those exact words!) coming into the action genre, but, “it was great to have guns instead of words,” she laughed. “Because long speeches are harder.”

– Willis said working on this film was like being asked to play with the Yankees. And then thanked all the fans at CC, pointing out that it’s his first time here.

– The trailer played once more to conclude the panel.

Keep it locked to Splash Page throughout the show for all your Comic-Con 2010 news, interviews, and exclusives. You can also follow your friendly neighborhood editor Rick Marshall and the rest of the Splash Page team on Twitter!

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