Comic-Con 2011: 'The Vampire Diaries'' Julie Plec on Fangirl Memories of Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion
"We have a wish that there might be a frame or two of footage that we might be able to show off,”" the executive producer teases of what to expect at the series' panel.
With hundreds of thousands of people attending San Diego Comic-Con every year and the July 20-24 event quickly approaching, The Hollywood Reporter chatted with the big names in television to discuss their favorite memories and tips for attending the annual event. THR’s Live Feed will talk Comic-Con with actors, writers and producers in the days leading up to the event so check back soon for interviews and the latest news on panels and screenings.
Geek Cred: The Vampire Diaries, Kyle XY, Scream 1-3
Comic-Con panel: Saturday, July 23, 3:30-4:15, Ballroom 20
THR: What stands out from your first trip to Comic-Con?
Plec: I first went for Kyle XY and we’d just started airing and had no idea what to expect. I don’t think ABC Family had ever gone to Comic-Con, either, and they went all out. It was great to see people were watching the show; the interest in Matt Dallas especially and in the show in general was a lot bigger than we expected.
THR: What’s your favorite Comic-Con memory?
Plec: I get very excited to do my own geek-out star-gazing when I’m at Comic-Con. One of the things I love the most is seeing Joss Whedon at a party dancing and having the time of his life. I’m a big Joss fan and I’m too chicken to go up and I say hello. But I wasn’t too chicken to go up and say hello to Nathan Fillion. I realized halfway through the story I was telling him he had absolutely no idea who I was, and I just seemed like I was a blathering teenage fangirl. I lost steam halfway through my introduction because I was so embarrassed and slunk away. I was telling him how he signed a headshot for me years ago -- a friend of mine was a prop master on Firefly. I had always said, “Oh Nathan Fillion, he’s going to be my future husband.” My friend got him to sign a headshot that said, “To my future wife, one day it will be true. One day you and I will be, oh yes we will, love Nathan.” I still have it hanging in my office. I was telling him the story and realized I was completely making an ass out of myself. I just fled.
THR: What makes for a good presentation?
Plec: I have presentation envy about what Lost did last year with special videos, guest speakers and surprise appearances. I realized they had to wow the audience with tricks because they won’t give up any spoilers. That’s the biggest thing: How can you treat the Comic-Con audience as though they’re special? You have to give them new information, new footage and answer questions candidly and with humor -- and maybe be a little more inappropriate than you would be in other circumstances.
THR: What are you planning for TVD panel?
Plec: We start shooting a week before Comic-Con but we have a wish that there might be a frame or two of footage that we might be able to show off. But we also have no idea what we’re shooting before then; it could be a complete and utter disaster. We could show up with nothing. But our plan is better than that. We’ll definitely have a nice little reel.
THR: What questions do you recommend fans not as at panels?
Plec: If you’re a fan with Google, then you can read past interviews and past panels and know what pranks people like to pull, most embarrassing moment on set, favorite outfit, better kisser. Those questions have been asked before and answered in their own special ways over the years. If I had the opportunity to get up in front of a couple thousand people in the audience and take the time to ask a question, I’d want to hit hard and try to get some story spoilers out of us because we crumble on that stage. Those lights are bright and we’re sweating a little and trying to keep all the secrets we’re supposed to keep. We crumble under pressure if we’re not careful.
THR: Who would be on your dream panel?
Plec: Joss Whedon, J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Ron Moore. All the showrunners of the shows I’ve looked up over the years. I’d want to get inside their head and ask questions about their process and what it’s like to have given birth to these shows.
THR: What tips do you have for Comic-Con first-timers?
Plec: Bring a backpack with water and snacks and stay as far away from those vending lines as possible. I don’t think there’s a line in the entirety of Comic-Con that can be longer than the line to get a slice of pizza.
THR: Outside of the Convention Center, where are your must-hit spots?
Plec: I like to splurge when I’m there and hit Nobu at the Hard Rock. But all those restaurants across from the Convention Center are all open air and you can sit and have a beer and see more actors and famous people walking around outside in the streets than you’ll get a glimpse of inside the hall.
THR: What can fans expect from the new season of TVD?
Plec: We’re going to dig deep into the history of the original family and start to get a glimpse of the other members of the family that we’ve only just heard of. That’s a big part of, over the course of the season, understanding what makes Klaus tick, why he is the way he is and who’s responsible for making him that way. Our show is about family and all its dysfunctional glory, and Klaus is probably the most dysfunctional.