From extended footage of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy to the first glimpse of Titanic 3D, Empire Presents… BIG SCREEN was literally bursting with movie goodness. I also caught four screenings – Cowboys & Aliens, The Change-Up, the European fans’ premiere of Conan the Barbarian and the UK premiere of Fright Night – and will review them in separate posts.
If you were a diamond ticket holder – which I was – you were able to attend morning session showcases with a selection of production and distribution companies, including Warner Bros and Paramount. All of our morning sessions were held in the Indigo2 and hosted by Chris Hewitt, Empire’s News Editor.
Kicking off Friday were sessions with 20th Century Fox and Universal plus a new TV showcase. 20th Century Fox opened with quite a moving video montage with directors explaining why they are in the movie businesses. The directors included Jim Cameron, George Lucas, Matthew Vaughan and Tim Burton. Exclusive footage was then shown from Rise of the Planet of the Apes including clips about how the apes were created.
Clips from In Time, The Darkest Hour and Martha Marcy May Marlene followed. In Time, starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, looks quite promising. Set in the near, it explains how everyone stops aging at 25 and then must work to buy themselves more time. It will hit UK screens on 1st November and is directed and written by Andrew Niccol, who previously wrote Gattaca, The Truman Show and S1mOne.
3D specs, which we had been given on entering the Indigo2 and which we would be given for every session, were donned to take a look at a series of scenes from the remastered 3D version of Titanic. I can’t say that the 3D aspect did much for me but – and I’m not that ashamed to admit it – I did start welling up as our heroes faced the icy water.
The new TV showcase began with new footage from the BBC’s Sherlock. Sherlock creator/writer/actor Mark Gatiss took to the stage and confirmed that season 2 would be three 90-minute shows. He also explained that the series would revolve around three of the most famous Sherlock stories: ‘The Woman’, ‘The Hound’ and ‘The Fall’ aka ‘A Scandal In Bohemia’, ‘The Hound Of The Baskervilles’ and ‘The Final Problem’.
Following Sherlock was a panel with another of the BBC’s dramas, Merlin. Creators Johnny Capps and Julian Jones joined Chris Hewitt on stage as well as Arthur himself, Bradley James. They promised that season 4 would be a lot darker and, judging by the demonic-looking Morgana in the clip, they’re quite right.
Following the TV panel, producer Idris Elba and director Arjun Rose came on stage to talk about their latest project, Demons Never Die. Rose called it a ‘UK slasher first and foremost’ and compared it to the neo-noir genre. I can’t say that the trailer grabbed but, then again, it’s not really my kind-of movie. The fact that Elba is on board is quite interesting, though.
The Universal panel rounded off the morning session showcases and featured trailers and preview footage from The Raven, The Change-up, Contraband, Johnny English Reborn, Tower Heist, Battleship, The Thing and Immortals. The highlight was fantastic new footage from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. It has a phenomenal line up – including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch – and, according to producer Robyn Slovo, some of the younger cast wanted to take part because of their admiration for Gary Oldman.
The morning session showcases finished about 2pm and then it was onwards to our afternoon sessions which we had chosen ourselves. First up was ‘Animal Stars of the Movies’. A host of furry stars made an appearance including a very clever squirrel that was trained to crack nuts for 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory plus Bandit, a gorgeous dog who will be seen on our screens soon in Tinker Tailor Soldier Show. He demonstrated, among other things, the ‘to your mark’ and ‘back up’ commands.
After that it was the ‘Padawan Training School’. As we entered the Indigo2 we were greeted by eight Stormtroopers… quite an intimidating experience! Six children were chosen from the audience (some already had their own lightsabers already!) and were shown how to do the ‘right-left-right-duck’ move.
Before our screening of Cowboys & Aliens we managed to squeeze in the UK premiere of the Steven Spielberg produced TV series, Terra Nova. The TV series follows the Shannon family as they travel back 85 million years to prehistoric times from a dystopian 2149. For a first episode it was pretty intense and fast-paced but at the same time I wasn’t really sucked in… If I did have Sky, I may have given this a watch to see whether it picks up.
At 8pm we headed to the Cowboys & Aliens showing. Taking are seats we literally had to slouch in to our chairs so that we could take it all in! A review will follow shortly…