NY Comic Con: George Clooney Surprises at Disney's 'Tomorrowland' and 'Big Hero 6' Reveal
"It is not lost on me that I am spending my honeymoon at Comic Con," Clooney says
George Clooney has been through his share of notable experiences lately: besides tying the knot with Amal Alamuddin, the actor has officially hit his first Comic Con.
"It is not lost on me that I am spending my honeymoon at Comic Con," said Clooney while making a surprise appearance at the first panel of the four-day event at New York City's Javits Center on Thursday afternoon. Moderator Chris Hardwick joked that he was wearing "an excellent Bruce Wayne cosplay," prompting Clooney to joke, "Since my Batman, I was disinvited from Comic Con for 20 years! … Sorry about the nipples on the suit. 'Freeze! Freeze!' I apologize for that."
Before focusing on Tomorrowland, Disney zoomed in on upcoming animated film Big Hero 6. The panel featured directors Don Hall and Chris Williams and producer Roy Conli, who reminisced about their visit to New York Comic Con three years ago, when they first began working on Big Hero 6.
The trio noted that the film is set in San Fransokyo, which is slightly futuristic, but grounded to make it feel like a real, immersive but playful city.
While the main character, Hiro, is wasting his talents and spending most of his time "making his money in illegal, back-alley robot fights," his older brother Tadashi hopes to lure him to enroll at his university and pursue more noble goals.
The first clip the trio introduced peeks into the university's lab, complete with a zero-resistance speed bicycle and a laser that instantaneously turns an apple into apple chips. It also introduces characters Honey Lemon, Go-Go Tomago, Wasabi and Fred. What has Tadashi been working on? Baymax, who inflates and adorably relocates a stool to wave. "Hello, I am Baymax, your personal health care companion. I was alerted to medical attention when you said, 'Ow.' On a scale of one to 10, how would you rate your pain?"
Following the clip, the panel introduced Big Hero 6 voice actors Jamie Chung, Genesis Rodriguez and T.J. Miller.
Rodriguez said she teared up when she first saw the movie two days ago. "Honey Lemon is so me," the actress said, explaining that she was on a robotics team in high school. Chung said of her character, "Go Go, she was described to me as the Clint Eastwood of the group, she doesn't say much, but when she does, it's very dry." And Miller, who voices Fred, said the cast began recording a year and a half ago, and even had a chance to improvise. "I'll take credit!" joked Miller of the best lines. "I improvise a lot, [and] you can see them through the glass laughing, but it's all silent. … Like Chris said, most of the best lines come from us."
A second clip called "Charging Baymax," shows a delirious, deflating robot with Hiro. As Hiro tries to sneak the robot past his aunt and back to the attic, he blames loud thuds on the cat, or what Baymax refers to as a "hairy baby." Miller noted. "We should all refer to cats as 'hairy baby!' "
Then Ryan Potter and Scott Adsit — who voice Hiro and Baymax, respectively — emerged, the latter of whom said of the preceding clip, "I've only been drunk once in my life, so I didn’t have anything really to draw on, [but] I know that every time I've ever seen Genesis, she has been completely plowed! So I just watched her. Pretty much, my performance when I was drunk was really Genesis." He then told the audience, "It's very strange for me to be here right now because I've tried to get into this room every year for the past eight years!"
Potter said of his experience, "Hiro's a lot smarter than I am, and a lot better looking than I am. Hiro, he's got a really good heart. He's a genius, but he doesn't quite know the direction that he's going. Baymax, the gang, his older brother, all these characters are so important for Hero because they put him on the right path."
The panel featured a few more clips from the film, as well as a closing sizzle reel set to a Fall Out Boy song entitled "The Immortal."
The second half of the Disney panel focused on Tomorrowland, with writer-producers Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird — who also directed — coming to the stage.
"I was having lunch with Sean Bailey, president of Disney live-action, and we were talking about what a Disney movie should be," Lindelof explained of the film's origin. "When I first heard of Pirates of the Caribbean, to make a movie out of a theme park ride seemed ridiculous, but it was an awesome movie. I didn't know what it would be about, but if there was a movie about Tomorrowland, I would go see it."
The two then revealed the first poster and aired the film's first teaser — reluctantly, since "not showing anything has worked so well for us!" Lindelof joked. The teaser introduces Casey (Britt Robertson) and the magical pin that, when touched, transports the person to another world.
"What if there was a place, a secret place where nothing was impossible?" narrates Clooney via voiceover in the teaser. "A miraculous place, where you could actually change the world?"
Lindelof said they were influenced by the curiosity and discovery aspect of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Bird said of the character Casey, who discovers the pin while being released from a police station, "This is somebody who might need the pin at that moment because the future's not looking so bright." Added Lindelof, "We'll come to find that she's been given the pin by another character named Athena."
The panel introduced actors Raffey Cassidy, Robertson and Hugh Laurie, the latter of whom bowed for the audience.
Cassidy said of her character Athena, "She's not a bad character, she's a good character because she's helping and caring for people. But I wouldn’t say she's really good; she's not the most thoughtful of people's feelings all the time." Also: "She is extremely optimistic and she knows karate."
Laurie, giving the audience an evil look, said, "Oh, I'm a good character!" The film features "an attitude, a way of thinking about life — specially of the future, that had never occurred to me," Laurie explained. "I did leave [the first meeting] thinking, 'These guys are on to something really exceptional here, something incredibly powerful and uplifting.' And I'm not an easily uplifted person because I'm English. I left on wings, wings of hope. It was an amazing meeting. Then, a month later, I got to read the script under the beady eye of an armed man — I believe he was armed. … I'm still fascinated to know how it ends!"
Robertson said of Casey, "I can tell you that I am roughly 17, I am a high school student, … I am a dreamer, and I am recruited by someone to explore Tomorrowland." Of the film's secrecy, she said. "They have whips, and they will use them if I say something wrong!"
Of working with Clooney, Cassidy simply said he was funny, and Robertson said he always had music playing and kept everybody dancing. Laurie joked, "He did not play any music for me! … There's been no mention of the drinking, the ceaseless shouting, lying about his age. He's 75!"
Clooney then emerged for his surprise appearance, and said of shooting, "We were all over the world — Hugh and I got to get in trouble in the Bahamas, it was fun. Two former television doctors! Bring on that McSteamy guy! We'll take 'em all on, them TV doctors."
The newlywed kept the room in high, humorous spirits. "What the hell, that's it? We've been waiting for this thing for a year and a half and that's it?" said Clooney of the vague clips. "I'm so barely in the teaser! I don't want to have to say, 'I'm a big star!' "
They then aired a more Clooney-centric clip that opened with Casey knocking at the seemingly abandoned home of Clooney's Frank Walker before she is thrown back by a force field. The reclusive Frank then walks out to tell her, "Wherever you came from, kid, go back. … You are not supposed to do anything. You have been manipulated to feel like you're part of something incredible, like you're special. You're not."
Casey soon finds her way into the home and wanders into his control room. However, she soon realizes she's not alone, as her fellow intruders — armed robots — trigger a lockdown. While Walker demolishes them with gadgets placed around his home, Casey goes to town old school, with a baseball bat. The pair then jump into Walker's bathtub, which becomes an escape pod that soars into the sky.
Big Hero 6 hits theaters Nov. 7 while Tomorrowland arrives May 22, 2015.