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Netflix took over the main auditorium of Comic Con Experience in São Paulo, Brazil, Sunday morning for a panel that ran over two hours — and not just because of the constant cheers of an extremely enthusiastic crowd. Near the end, the crowd rose to its feet to celebrate the arrival of Michael Bay’s upcoming all-action thriller, 6 Underground.
While Bay was unable to make the panel, despite being advertised, stars Ryan Reynolds, Mélanie Laurent, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Adria Arjona and Corey Hawkins were on hand to talk up the action movie that Reynolds described as “a return to form” for the Transformers director. “I like to say that no explosions were hurt during the making of the movie, but they kind of were,” Reynolds joked.
Reynolds was clearly having fun onstage, describing the premise of the movie like this: “I play a guy who basically made a million dollars with a variety of different inventions, and he has this moment where he witnesses something terrible and decides to use his money to try and make a difference, bypass the governments and take down a dictator. He recruits these five different individuals with specific talents, and what I guess I’m saying is, this is the Snyder Cut. Sorry, wrong panel.” (The crowd went wild at the reference to Zack Snyder’s much-talked-about cut of Justice League; Brazil is apparently full of Snyder Cut devotees.)
The actors discussed the stress of the shoot, with the majority of the stunts being performed practically. Laurent joked about near-death experiences while filming, while Hawkins joked that working with everyone else on stage was a dream…almost. “I was smiling ear to ear and then the training started. And then I was sad,” he said. Both Ben Hardy and Dave Franco, neither of whom were present, were praised by everyone for, respectively, being physically in shape and stunt driving across a month in Florence for an extensive car chase sequence in the movie.
Bay’s directing style — described as “chaotic” more than once — was also lauded, even if it was still far from understood by the actors. “Most of Michael Bay’s direction is ‘Faster,’ so you’re just, ‘Faster? OK.’” said Reynolds, adding, “Somehow, it all makes sense in the end.”
The audience got a chance to see that for themselves with two exclusive pieces of footage: an extended action set piece, where the crew’s attempt to rescue a prisoner from a penthouse goes wrong, ending with a swimming pool flooding the apartment and destroying it in the process, and a new trailer for the movie, which summed up the over-the-top appeal with Reynolds’ character, 1 (all characters are named for numbers inside the group), offering this nonsensical yet oddly convincing piece of advice: “We’re all going to die, right? Might as well do it while we’re still alive.”
Earlier, in a surprise start to the panel, Henry Cavill and showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich appeared amid cheers and applause to promote the first season of The Witcher, opening by establishing their bona fides as fans of the property — something made clear by the audience’s response to Cavill’s announcement that he’s been into The Witcher since the third video game.
Hissrich returned repeatedly to the notion that, despite the fantasy trappings of the series, The Witcher is a show that’s intended for as wide an audience as possible. “I knew that I really wanted to write a story about family, about them walking through the world alone and then coming together as if it’s destiny,” she said. “We want people to know that this series has monsters, magic and gore, but it also has some really great drama. Our entire goal with the series is that the audience can watch the show and see themselves in it.”
Hissich also talked about approaching the property as a woman. “There are men and women in this world, and they deserve equal attention,” she said. “It was really important to me that we build [the female characters] up to be complicated characters.” Later in the panel, she added, “I don’t know about you guys, but fantasy isn’t just for men. I like fantasy too. Men and women deserve to see themselves reflected on screen.”
Cavill spoke about the conflicted nature of the series’ main character, Geralt, saying that although he’s both a “white knight” and efficient killer, “for me, there was never a deliberate switch [between the two attitudes]. It was always those two things existing at the same time and constantly fighting with each other.” Indeed, he went on, although Geralt has magical abilities, “his true secret power is the ability to love.”
After sharing three scenes from the series, including a sword fight from the first episode co-designed by Cavill himself with Mission: Impossible — Fallout stunt coordinator Wolfgang Stegemann, Cavill and Hissich were asked how they feel about the pending launch of the show. “I’m just happy for everyone to see it. We’ve worked incredibly hard for this,” Cavill said. Hissich, however, had a message for the fans.
“The world of The Witcher is a very big place, and it’s a big place for lots of groups of people who don’t look the same way, who don’t have the same beliefs,” she said, noting that the story is one where outsiders ultimately find their family. “We want you to be entertained — it’s really funny, there’s great music, there’s great performances, there’s Henry in a tub — but if there’s one thing I want you to take away, it’s a little bit of empathy. It sounds cheesy, but that’s what we want. The world is big enough for all of us.”
6 Underground premieres on Netflix Dec. 13. The Witcher debuts Dec. 20.
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