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Comic-Con : what went down at the Warner Bros. panel

K.T Simpson

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The Flash 

As we know, the DCEU is giving superhero The Flash his own movie, with Ezra Miller in the speedy suit. We’ll get introduced to Miller’s Flash in “Justice League” later this year. At the Comic-Con panel, Warner Bros. confirmed that the official title of the solo movie is “Flashpoint” – and will also be based on the comic book of the same name.

They’ve also unveiled a logo for the upcoming film. In the comic “Flashpoint”, Barry Allen aka The Flash runs so fast he goes back in time, and is able to prevent the death of his mother. Of course this has a butterfly effect and changes the course of other events.

The film was intended for release in March 2018, but is currently without a release date. It will also star Kiersey Clemons as Iris West, Billy Crudup as Barry Allen’s father Henry Allen and Ray Fisher as Cyborg.

Aquaman

SDCC attendees were treated to some new “Aquaman” footage ahead of its release, but also a confirmation from Jason Moama, who plays the title character, that Aquaman’s nemesis will be Ocean Master. Patrick Wilson is playing the antagonist.

The footage was exclusive to Hall H so isn’t available online, but ScreenRant were in attendance and provided the following description:

“The Aquaman footage started off with two fishermen on a small boat. After casting their lines, one snags his on something big and it drags their boat across the ocean – eventually pulling the fishing pole out of the fisherman’s hands. Below the water, a fleet of vehicles go by and the camera dives below the surface of the ocean to take a look at submarines shaped like manta rays and warriors riding multi-finned sharks. Momoa revealed during the panel that the army is Ocean Master’s. That part of the clip ends with a shark eating the camera. The footage then cuts to Momoa as Aquaman on a sunken ship. He says, “I suppose you don’t want to talk about this huh. Neither do I.” He pulls a sword and attacks the camera – ending the Comic-Con footage.”

Aquaman will be released in cinemas December 18, 2018.

Justice League

A new trailer has now dropped for “Justice League”, also now available online.

It’s quite a lengthy trailer, which is awesome, and gives us a look at Steppenwolf and teases the return of Superman. Check out the trailer below, and look out for the team of superheroes in cinemas November 17.

Affleck also responded to rumours about his potential exit from the franchise, stating:

“I’m the luckiest guy in the world. Batman is the f—ing coolest. It’s amazing. I know there was speculation and rumors about me not directing. I would be an ape on the ground for Matt Reeves. I’m really blown away and excited, and it’s a great time for the [DCEU].”

So it doesn’t look like Affleck is going anywhere soon, but of course that doesn’t mean he can’t be written out.

Upcoming DCEU movies

Warner Bros. also took the chance to announce upcoming DCEU movies that fans can look forward to. Apart from the aforementioned “Flashpoint”, these also include “Green Lantern Corps”, “Wonder Woman 2”, “Suicide Squad 2”, “Batgirl”, “Justice League Dark”, “Shazam” and “The Batman”.

Of course not all of these are new information, but this is the first time the 8 films have been officially announced. The next film we will see is “Shazam”, due out April 5, 2019, but none of the others have been given official release dates as yet. Interestingly, some rumoured films were absent from the announcement, including “Cyborg”, “Gotham City Sirens”, “Nightwing”, “Black Adam” and “Man of Steel 2”.

It’s expected that “Batgirl” will begin filming next year, and “Green Lantern Corps” to have a 2020 release date.

Ready Player One

Moving away from the DCEU now, to Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One”. The film is based on the Erment Cline novel and is a nostalgic look at the pop culture of the 80s.

The film stars Tye Sheridan as main character Wade, who plays the virtual reality game OASIS. The purpose behind the game is for someone to discover the hidden easter egg left behind by its creator, James Donovan Halliday (Mark Rylance), the founder of Gregarious Games. The first person to uncover the easter egg, which can only be discovered by completing numerous puzzles and riddles, is awarded Halliday’s gaming empire.

The film also stars T.J. Miller, Olivia Cooke and Lena Waithe.

See it in cinemas from March 13, 2018 and check out the trailer below.

Blade Runner 2049

As we were just treated to a “Blade Runner 2049” trailer last week, it wasn’t clear what would be showcased during the panel, but attendees were treated to a new clip and a timeline video showcasing the road from the last “Blade Runner” to the new film.

While the first clip isn’t available online, the timeline video is on the film’s Twitter.

ComicCon

Buffy returns to Sunnydale High in comic book reboot

Joss Whedon will be involved. Thankfully.

Ali

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The “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” comic books will be rebooted in January with a Jordie Bellaire and Dan Mora written effort for Boom! Studios.

The publisher says the new “Buffy” series will “reimagine the groundbreaking pop culture phenomenon from the very beginning,” and it will be completely separate from the upcoming TV revival.

Joss Whedon, creator of the fangtastical franchise, will serve as a story consultant on the new print offerings.

“The world of Buffy The Vampire Slayer has been so richly developed over the last twenty years, so when it came time for us to decide where to take the franchise under Joss’ guidance, there was only one answer in our minds — reimagining the story of Buffy and the Gang for a new generation,” Boom! executive editor Jeanine Schaefer said in a statement. “The world right now is scarier than it’s ever been; placing these characters firmly in 2019, we can use the themes that were so integral to the show — identity, agency, and empathy — to examine our world and the heroes and monsters that lurk inside all of us … and punch those monsters right in the face.”

The “Buffy” comicverse had been published by Dark Horse Comics, who continued the continuity of the TV series with a number of runs overseen and sometimes penned by Whedon.

“Buffy has brought my life so much joy and to be part of that now is ridiculously overwhelming on many levels,” Bellaire added. “My very favorite aspect of Buffy is how we have a wide group of characters that love each other, hurt each other and sometimes, they even kill each other. I can’t wait to dabble within that universe to find new stories, explore older ones and forever maintain the theme of self-discovery and growing up, whatever that means.”

While at New York Comic Con, the writers confirmed that Buffy and her ‘Scooby Gang’ – including Giles, Xander and Willow – will return but there might be some new characters infused into the storylines.

The new series, launching January 9, features covers by Matthew Taylor, Kevin Wada, Royal Dunlap, Becca Carey and Jen Bartel.

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A Mandy Moment

Oz Comic Con Interview: Clare Kramer of Buffy, Bring It On

Mandy Griffiths

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Clare Kramer first gained notice in an eye-catching turn as the headstrong cheerleader Courtney opposite Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku in “Bring It On”, and then followed it up with a role that was declared by TV Guide as one of the best villains of all time in “Buffy”.

Landing in Melbourne to host this year’s Oz Comic Con, we were thrilled to sit down with the award-winning actress, entertainment correspondent and pop culture authority.

I’m a huge “Buffy” fan, from the very beginning.  Do you find it interesting that it’s resonated so well over so long a period of time?

Clare: You know, it’s amazing.  I never would have guessed that the show would have the longevity that it’s had, but it’s getting passed down from generation to generation, it’s passed to boyfriends and girlfriends, and new friends alike, and there’s just something about that early Joss Whedon voice, that obviously carried into all of his other work with “The Avengers” and every other show he’s been a part of, but it had never been seen or done before on television, and to have this teenage girl who was literally slaying her fears, the vampires were metaphors for all of the problems we all had in high school, it just really, it was unique and his writing style hadn’t been out there before. Like the cadence that he creates and the humor hiding the pain.  So it’s not surprising, when you look at those facts, but it is surprising when you’re a part of it to it still has such lengths.

Your character, Glory, was the first female villain for the show, and certainly at the time, there were not many other female villains on television, did you feel a bit of responsibility coming into that?

Clare: I didn’t really know what the character was going to be to be honest.  The character description that I was given when I auditioned for the role was just a woman, and I was like “well okay, I am a woman.” Which I wasn’t really even at that moment.  I was in my very early 20s, and the writers, I think, were exploring the character as they wrote episode to episode and realised that the character was going to stay for the whole season.

Oh so they didn’t even know it was going to be a season long thing?

Clare: They probably hoped it would, but I think they wanted to make sure. I think they didn’t want to commit before they get the right actor or actress in place for something like that.  So as the season progressed and more details about the character came out, I was constantly surprised myself.  “Oh she’s a god…” literally I was reading the script and I was like “Oh. Oh! Okay!” So it was a pleasant surprise, needless to say.

As a viewer it always seemed like they had it all planned.

Clare: I used to say “You know, at the time I thought, they should have told me that at the beginning, I would have played the character differently”. But now, a little bit older, I realised that it was probably a gift that they didn’t tell me that, because I played her without any preconceived notions.

Did you get to keep any mementos, any of her incredible wardrobe?

I did not, but I will tell you a really great story.  At the end of the series, after season seven, Warner Bros had an auction where they auctioned off many of the props and the set items and the wardrobe and things like that, and a fan bought the gown I wore in the hundredth episode, which was this custom-made gown, and sent it to me and said “You’re the only person that should have this.” And so now it’s hanging in my office. With the certificate of authenticity.  Like I know it’s authentic, it was made for me [laughs].

So Buffy fans are officially the best fans.

Clare: Absolutely.

That’s awesome.  And another great role of yours was  in “Bring It On”. I loved Roger Ebert’s film reviews and he once described “Bring It On” as the ‘“Citizen Kane” of cheerleading films’. I think he was completely right.

Clare:  Oh my gosh, that is awesome. I have heard that before.

Do you have fond memories of that filming as well?

Clare: It was a total party.  I mean, it’s funny because there were a couple of different Universal movies going on right then. They were also filming up in Los Angeles, “American Pie”, and so all the attention was kind of on that movie. We were down in San Diego, we had this little $10 million-dollar budget and first time director Peyton Reed, who obviously has gone on to do great things, and so we were just kind of left alone down there and we went to a month long training camp before, where we learned how to cheer and you know, did these fun stunts, and part of our job was going to the gym and working out and tanning, and you know, doing all these fun things.  It was kind of like being in high school all over again, except we were getting paid to do it and there was a lot more freedom, so it was an incredible experience. We had so much fun making the movie. I think that part of the reason that the movie came across so lighthearted and was so enjoyable was because we truly all had a great time making it. And it was…between that and “Buffy”, which were my first basically two jobs, big jobs, notable jobs, I really was spoiled.

Like ‘this isn’t so bad’.

Clare: This is how every film is?  Noooo.

And you have four children now, I understand?

Clare: I do.

I have an 18-month-old. And I find that high maintenance, so tell me, does it get any easier with four?

Clare: I think you just become a little, it’s like each child shuts down a different of your brain.  I’m on autopilot all day. No, in a way it does, especially now my youngest is four years old, so they’re getting to the age where they are becoming human beings. They can talk and walk and do all those things and you know, it’s really, you find so many different sides of yourself through parenting. So much more empathy and patience than you ever thought you would have. It is the greatest gift and also the biggest challenge.  Being a parent.  I strive every day to do the right thing with my kids, and who knows, I’m sure they’ll end up hating me for at least a decade but hopefully they’ll like me again after that.

You are doing double duty as both guest and host of Oz Comic Con this year. Are there any particular panels or anything that you’re looking forward to?

Clare: Oh you know, I enjoy talking to all the actors.  David Ramsey is one of my favorites. He’s so great.  So gracious and he’s such an interesting career.  Everyone of course knows him as Diggle in “Arrow” but he played Mohammed Ali in a biopic in 2000, so there are so many interesting things to talk to him about as an actor.  So yeah, that’s a great line-up.

I actually just spoke with him. He was so lovely. You have interviewed a lot of incredible people over the years.  Do you have any stand-out interviews that you really enjoyed?

Clare: I really enjoy anyone from “Game of Thrones”. Because I really like that show [laughs]. I think if I had one interview I would like to have in the next year, it would be George R. R. Martin.  I’ve met him and I’ve talked to him, but I haven’t had an official hour with him to pick his brain.

I feel like he probably gets scared every time he comes out, because all the fans are like “get back in there and keep writing.”

Clare: Yeah I think so too, cause I’ve seen him at Comic Con the last two years and I feel like people are like “Do you have time for this? You really should be writing that next book”.  You know, so I agree with you on that.  Anyone from the “Game of Thrones” cast, of course anyone from “The Walking Dead” cast as well, I love to talk with. Alex Cooper I’ve interviewed a couple of times recently and he’s like such an amazing musician, he’s so interesting.  He’s so talented and I just, absolutely what a lovely human being.  Those are some of the stand-out ones, recently.

And you get to travel quite a bit with this work? I saw on your Instagram recently you’ve been in Europe with Charisma Carpenter.

Clare:  I do. Yes, it’s wonderful. I am actually going to see her in a couple weeks in Sacramento.

That’s interesting because she was gone from “Buffy” and over to “Angel” when you joined.

Clare: Yes she was already gone, but you know all us girls, whether we’re from Buffy, Angel or Firefly, were all very close, because we’d been traveling together for years. And so really the “Women of Whedon” as someone has named us, we all stick together and we’re pretty tight.

Catch Clare at Oz Comic Con.

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A Mandy Moment

Oz Comic Con Interview: David Ramsey of Arrow

Mandy Griffiths

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David Ramsey has a reputation as one of the nicest, funniest guys in showbiz, and arriving straight from the airport, traveling long haul from the US to Australia, with only one cup of coffee to keep him awake for our one-on-one interview, he does not disappoint.

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, David gained many fans from his work on the popular Showtime drama series “Dexter” as Anton Briggs, a confidential informant who had a love affair with the character played by Debra Morgan. He portrayed the title character of Muhammad Ali in the Fox television movie “Ali: An American Hero”, and has starred in recurring roles on television shows including: “All of Us,” “The West Wing,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Ghost Whisperer,” “Wildfire,” “Hollywood Residential” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

David currently plays former United States Army Special Forces soldier, John Diggle, on the CW’s “Arrow”.

You’re going to be directing an episode of “Arrow” this season, is that right?

David: Season 7, episode 11.  7-11. You know it’s funny too because I just tweeted out a moment ago, I said “On my way to Oz Comic Con,” I shouted you guys out. “Can’t wait to meet the fans in Melbourne.” Low and behold, in my inbox was episode 7-01. And I gave a shout out to Beth Schwarz, who’s our new showrunner, and just how well it was done and that the fans are going to love it. And Beth said “thanks Dave, the response is fantastic.  Don’t talk about this, don’t talk about that, don’t talk about that, or talk about that, or talk about that, or that or that and definitely whatever you do, don’t talk about that.” I have been sworn.

So that’s in writing. Damn.

David: I think…maybe it’s well deserved, maybe I’ve earned it.  People think I’m the spoiler king. So I have been told to shut up.  There you go.

Okay so no specifics, but you feel good about it?

David: Season 7? Oh my god, I just can’t…I don’t know…at the beginning of every season, you talk to the show runners, previous seasons it was Mark Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle and they would tell you what was happening, kind of an overview of what’s happening. The arc, if you will.  And it’s always incredible.  But Beth is just really kind of just going for it.  She’s just really like “we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that” and it’s like oh my gosh.  So it’s just great.  She’s just fantastic and I’m looking forward to doing it.  And I don’t…she hasn’t said this but my feeling is that I won’t get any mercy in terms of the episode that I’ll be directing.  It’s going to be in the same daring vein as all the other episodes of the season.

They’re not taking it easy on you?

David: No.

Excellent.  And Beth Schwartz; she’s been a part of the Arrow family for a long time. It’s

very exciting to see another female showrunner at the helm.

David: It’s fantastic.  For me it’s just right, in every way.

What do you think she’ll bring that’s a little bit different than in the past?

David: I think some of the stuff is just…some of these fans are talking about “Oh I would love to see…” yeah they’ll see it.  “Wow it’s time to see, why don’t try…” Yeah we’re going to try it. It’s kind of, to some degree, answering some of the things I think fans want to see.  And I think in other ways, taking it in directions the fans would never have thought of.  And really to Mark and Wendy’s credit, and to Beth’s credit, for season six, I think we ended in a way people didn’t think we were going to end it. There was no big bad guy ending finding justice, it’s continuing into season seven, putting Oliver in the prison and all that.  I mean, that was a risky for our show.

Going back a little bit, when you filmed the pilot six plus years ago, and “Arrow” was the first DC TV show, did you think you’d still be John Diggle all these years later?

David:  I didn’t even think it would be on the air.  And not because it was bad.  Just because no one knew.  Actually I should rephrase that, I didn’t think that it would not necessarily be on the air, I just didn’t have the guts to allow myself to think this far in advance.  You know people seeing it all over the world, we just, we didn’t think.  And we were living in the shadow of “Smallville”, believe it or not.  And “Smallville” did 10 successful years. Much of the crew of “Smallville” was working on our show, the gaffers, the grips, so they were shooting in the same city, Vancouver, and to be honest this Green Arrow was in some people’s minds – on the rating of the big DC comic book heroes – a B or a C.  He wasn’t really Batman, Superman, he didn’t have that mythos.  To bring him to life I think was daring.  And I don’t know if people saw – could see six years or seven years down the road – particularly being as successful as it was. Spawning so many spin-offs, nobody saw that.

The Arrow-verse!

David: Arrow-verse, that’s right.  That’s right.  The Arrow-verse.  I mean Greg Berlanti is I think now the most successful showrunner in history, 12 or 13 shows.  It’s just incredible.  Other shows are being developed and it’s just…it all started here. I can’t speak for him, but I would say much of it started with Arrow.

I was watching the first season as it aired and it was interesting, you could see they were still trying a few different things and trying to get the groove, but I think once you kind of hit on the ‘Original Team Arrow’ dynamic…

David: I think that was the key.  You know, when you found Oliver [Stephen Amell], Felicity [Emily Bett Rickards] and Diggle and the chemistry those three specifically had.  That’s just lightening in a bottle.  It really is just something you can’t plan. And it wasn’t only that the direction of the show, we had no idea Emily was going to walk into the room.  So no one knew that was happening.  I mean, the idea was that there’ll be a powerful love interest between Oliver and Laurel and, also no one saw the chemistry me and Stephen have. I was told at the very beginning “You don’t have much to do in the pilot, David, but you will find out that he’s Arrow and we’ll see where we go from there.”

And that was the brief?

David: That was really it.  Diggle will be integral to the story line, in the sense that you’ll be his friend and no one knew.  No one saw it.

In this last season, you and Stephen, Green Arrow, had a big fight scene which was quite unusual.  Was that fun to film, or was it a little bit strange?

David: It was both. It was fun because any time you get these really visceral writing as an actor is great to sink your teeth into stuff, you’re pointing at people, you’re screaming at the top of your lungs, you’re crying and all that’s great, for actors.

Actor catnip?

David: Exactly, actor catnip.  But I think the struggle was just getting the words right. We really worked with the writer to just get that moment right, because we’re recalling the long brewing history between these two men. So you kind of want to get the right emotional arc, throughout the paragraphs, throughout the words, you just kind of want to get the right tone. So that took a while.  But we really relished it.

And just touching on directing again, is that something that you’ve always wanted to do, or you just developed an interest in it in the last few years. 

David: Season two I was sitting in Greg’s office – and by the way I can’t speak well enough of Greg. This isn’t about anything besides the truth really for me. I’m on the show. and I’m in season six, we‘ve done our bit for king and country on this show and so we’re looking at the horizon so, what I’m about to say is really from the heart. There’s no better showrunner that I’ve ever worked for.  And that’s not because he has so many shows on television, I mean shows come and shows go. That’s just the nature of it. But he’s always had an open-door policy. I can literally call the biggest showrunner right now and talk to him and he can say “come let’s talk, let’s have coffee, come to my office.” And I haven’t worked for every showrunner in the business but I have worked for a lot and that’s unusual. And that’s not to put down other showrunners because other showrunners in my experience have had a big job to do and I haven’t run into bad showrunners. But Greg is exceptional and when I met with him, I had a meeting with him. I had several meetings with him but this particular one was in season two and we were just talking about where I’m going, what he sees for the character in the next however many years and it was a very successful season so we knew we were going to go far around that time.  And he asked me point blank “do you want to direct?” and I said “Yeah, I do. I do want to direct.” And I said it very similarly to the way I’m saying it now.  I was so taken aback that he would ask me that, it’s always been something that I really, really wanted to do, but I was just taken aback that he would say that.  And he said “Look, when you’re ready, let me know.” That was season two. We’re going in to season seven, that was five years ago, so I wanted to make sure that when I finally did this, this was something that I’d earned, this was something I felt like I really had something to say.  It wasn’t just about the showrunner asking me direct so I’m going to do it.  But I really wanted to say something, in terms of my directing style; I wanted to even develop a style.  Which I didn’t have at the time. So, it’s been something that’s really been on my heart and it really started with an invitation. So I really can’t say enough about him.  Me being able to direct in a show is in no small part because of Greg Berlanti.

That’s really great to hear.  Because it shows a lot of faith.

David: It does. And for him to ask me that in season two. I mean, he doesn’t know me. If he’d asked me in Season five, that would have been different, but in season two, it was just a fantastic request.

Last question, do you have a favorite moment of playing Diggle so far?

David: I do.  It’s between me and Stephen.  I’m going to say this, I don’t know how crass it’s going to come across but it’s the truth: it was season one and Stephen at the time, now let me paint this picture: Me and Stephen are incredibly good friends now, we joke, it’s amazing that any scene between he and I makes it to camera straight faced because we’re always joking with each other.  Season one, I’m the chauffeur, I’m the guy driving around, and I’ve said this story before, but in the scene it’s his cover so the camera’s on him and I have to whisper in his ear “Mr. Queen, your car is ready.” So when the coverage is on me, I said the correct line, but now the coverage is on him, I whisper in his ear “Mr. Queen, your car is ready,” but I don’t say that, I say “Mr. Queen, I have the biggest, “blank” you’ve ever seen before in your life.” And it pushes in on his face and he just turns completely red, his eyes go a little bit blank, kind of tilts his head a little bit and he totally breaks character.  Now before that, he was like “David Ramsey, very serious actor, blah, blah” so he didn’t even really know that he could even cross that comedic line with me. And so ever since then we try to crack each other up at every opportunity. And it’s all base humor, it’s like fart jokes, it’s just the dumbest, silliest stuff but we work 12 hours a day together so it’s whatever gets you through, but I would say it was the best story because we really got to know each other a lot.

A defining moment in your relationship – it started with a dirty line.

David: Most do.

See David at Oz Comic Con this weekend. “Arrow” season seven begins in October 2018. 

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