Super Panel at ECCC with Rainn Wilson and James Gunn

Rainn Wilson James Gunn ECCC Super
After stopping by to chat with the PDX Browncoats, we hurried off to the Super panel where there was already a massive queue to get in. Slowly but surely everyone made their way to their seats. Even with the masquerade contest and a James Marsters concert going on at the same time, the hall was pretty packed. We could spot Rainn Wilson and James Gunn standing and chatting by the stage as we filed in. As we got settled, a moderator came up announcing that there was a child that was looking for its mother. Finally, however, Rainn Wilson and James Gunn were brought on stage.

Almost immediately, Rainn Wilson asked if his mother was somewhere in the room, leading everybody to think it was a joke. Turns out it wasn’t. His mother had been in the back of the room, not realising that the front row was reserved for friends and family. As she made her way through the audience, we learned that Rainn Wilson’s mother actually runs a little jewelry store right here by the Pike Place Market.

James Gunn talked a little about the making of Super. It was a script he’d written to be a short film, many years ago, that his ex-wife Jenna Fischer (Pam from The Office) thought he should consider making into a full length movie. It was also through Jenna Fischer that Rainn WIlson got involved. Super was a relatively small, low budget movie. Gunn explained that the actors in the movie, including Nathan Fillion, Liv Tyler and Ellen Page were all paid at scale rates which is unlike a typical Hollywood movie. We then got the chance to watch the trailer for Super.

After watching the trailer, the panel was interrupted by the entrance of two figures in superhero costumes– not too strange at a convention, although they strode through the middle of the convention hall up to the front. Yup, it was real life Seattle crime fighters Phoenix Jones and Pitch Black. Apparently Rainn Wilson had been wanting to interview Phoenix Jones. Gunn and Wilson talked to Phoenix Jones for a few minutes asking him where he patrols, and why he does what he does. Jones had his taser with him and asked Wilson to tase him. Rainn WIlson politely declined but James Gunn gleefully tased him- just for the record, Phoenix Jones wears a kind of rubber armour, so he was fine, although Gunn said later on his website that he secretly hoped it would have gone wrong.

Once the Phoenix Jones portion of the panel was over, the conversation turned towards The Office. Wilson announced that Steve Carrell had officially wrapped The Office. Naturally there was talk about who would take over for him. Somebody asked if Ricky Gervais would be returning, and WIlson indicated that they would like to do more with him, but that the general thought process right now is to keep it as an ensemble show, and not bring in a Michael Scott replacement. Wilson’s wife tweeted to let him know what her favourite episodes of The Office are. Just for the record, her favourite episodes are the Dinner Party episode, The Injury and Bring Your Daughter to Work Day.

James Gunn talked a little about his work on PG Porn, indicating that he would like to do more with that, as well as his work for Troma films and working on independent movies in general. He likes making dark, polarizing movies, like Super, that only a small group of people will love, versus the typical Hollywood notion of trying to appeal to everybody.
phoenix jones pitch black eccc
The inevitable comparison to Kick-Ass came up, but neither Gunn nor Wilson seemed too concerned, citing that they are two very different movies with different journey’s for their characters. Wilson also talked about how the movie was so small, that there were only two costumes for the Crimson Bolt, making for a very smelly costume!

Some of the weirdest questions that came up in the panel was when one person asked Rainn Wilson if he could borrow twenty bucks. Rainn Wilson said “sure” and handed it to him personally. I have to say, this made me feel really bad for the guy that had been standing in line in front of us, since his whole reason for being there was to get to shake hands with Dwight from The Office which wasn’t gonna happen unless he had been able to get into the signing. Of course, others were disappointed too, including a guy who offered to give twenty bucks to Rainn Wilson. Wilson decided that was just “too weird” and politely declined.

And thus ended the Super panel. Some lucky few got to do the signing, and others stayed for the 11PM screening of Super. Honestly though, as much as we love our readers, we had been at the convention center since early in the morning and were just too beat. But we definitely can’t wait for Super to be released, which will be 1st April 2011 in select cities, and will slowly roll out across the country after that.