July 23, 2011 4:25pm PT by Jay A. Fernandez
Comic-Con 2011: Kellan Lutz, Henry Cavill, Tarsem Singh Stump for 'Immortals'
Director Tarsem Singh and producers Mark Canton and Gianni Nunnari underlined their presentation of footage from Immortals Saturday with assurances that it was neither 300 nor Clash of the Titans in content or style. They were half right.
“It’s in Tarsem-vision,” said Canton, leaning on what he said was the film’s unique tone and look. “There’s no one like him.”
“There’s a billion like me in India,” joked Singh.
The four minutes of never-before-seen footage shown early on – like an extended trailer, with battles, tidal waves, raging gods, etc. – went over well, though Singh said the film is decidedly darker than what the trailers thus far had indicated. Blood splatter and split bodies were everywhere, along with fantastical settings and the potential for star Freido Pinto to show up in the buff. (She and co-star Henry Cavill had to dive into a sex scene on the first day of filming.) The 3D certainly looked better than that in Clash, but the rest of it looked a lot like 300 with its burnished warriors leaping in slow-motion glory among digitized landscapes.
Moderated by the L.A. Times’ Geoff Boucher in Hall H, the panel also eventually included stars Pinto, Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans, Kellan Lutz and Cavill, who fielded pretty standard questions about their love of mythology and toughest challenges while shooting. “Staying in shape,” said Cavill to this last question. “Except for Kellan.”
(Both Lutz, a Twilight fixture, and Cavill, the next Superman, drew squeals from the ladies in attendance whenever their names were mentioned. This fan fire was something the practiced Lutz seemed prepared to stoke when he kept referring to his role as Poseidon cheekily as “the god of wetness.” Also, when asked about research he had done about the god to inspire his acting, Lutz’s response was, “The Little Mermaid’s my favorite movie.”)
“I wanted to address the idea of gods,” Singh said, rather than a straight translation of Greek myths. He added that as an atheist, part of his curiosity was sparked by a comment his deeply religious, and exasperated, mother made: “How do you think you are as successful as you are without all my praying for you?”
Singh also explained why the gods are portrayed as so young and active in this film. “If you were going to be immortal, a god, would you rather look like Henry or like Mark?” Canton, sitting next to Singh, gamely took the dig in stride. Singh wanted the gods to be “action-packed,” rather than sitting around stirring the cauldron and watching the humans react. He wanted them to get physical. This is also why he says he used more physical sets for the actors to interact with than Zack Snyder did with 300, which heavily relied on green screen backdrops.
The filmmakers then showed a few minutes of a fight scene between the golden-armored gods and a band of dark enemies in a giant mountain temple. The combatants use tridents, hammers, arrows, chains and whips to destroy each other in CG-splattering glory.
Asked about the use of 3D, Singh referenced the innovations of Renaissance painters in depicting three-dimensional figures on two-dimensional canvases. “You make aesthetic calls,” Singh said. With 3D, “it works right now. It will probably date.” Canton added that 3D numbers on a global basis are great, especially with markets such as India, China and Russia embracing the format.
A fan question about Immortals’ contrast to “Clash of the Shit,” as the questioner called it, prompted Singh to respond: “3D is a tool. It’s a cart. You don’t want to put it ahead of the donkey. You compose for it. It’s not something you toss off in post.”
With that, they re-ran the fight scene to end the panel.