Recently at the 2006 Comic-Con International we had a chance to sit in on the Stardust panel. On hand were graphic novel creator Neil Gaiman, screenwriter Jane Goldman, producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Charles Vess.
Stardust is a fantasy, adventure love story. In the sleepy English village of Wall a young man named Tristian (Charlie Cox) goes on a quest to win the heart of his beloved, Vicotria (Sienna Miller). His journey in search of a falling star Yvaine (Claire Danes) takes him into a magical world where he faces the witch, Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) and a pirate, Capitan Shakespeare (Robert De Niro). Adapted from the 1997 award-winning novel written by Neil Gaiman (Princess Mononoke, Beowulf).
I came in on a clip with Claire Danes walking along the water. This one shot, even in it's simplicity showed off a very strong vista of rocks, hills and water. In the next clip, there is a scene with Ricky Gervais and Michelle Pfeiffer where she doesn't like what he is saying so she takes away his voice. Whenever he talks the only things that come out are strange voices. Following this was a continuation of this scene in which Robert De Niro interrogates Gervais but sadly he can't really speak. The final clip was a montage of shots, some finished and some unfinished in which we were treated to sword fights against blue screens and other technical wonders.
"It was a little like hearing about it second hand." Stated Neil Gaiman when asked about the footage that director Matthew Vaughn has put together so far. "It doesn't look like I imagined. It looks cooler." Gaiman then went on to discuss how Vaughn got attached to the project. "It was one of those things where we had lunch and just hit it off. We actually had Terry Gilliam and Matt wanted to produce. Terry had just come off "Brothers Grimm" and he wanted to do something else."
Gaiman then went on to talk about Caroline which he plans to present at next years Comic-Con. "I suspect you'll find out about it next year. It's a stop motion film. It has Dakota Fanning playing Caroline." As for his highly anticipated new version of Beowulf? "We'll leave it until later on." The next question asked him about a movie version of his graphic novel Sandman. "How would I make it? I have no idea. I would rather it not get made than there be a bad movie made out of it."
With movies like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest showing that audiences will come out for longer films, Gaiman thinks Stardust will come in somewhere under two hours. After this we were treated to a sneak peak of what the Beowulf logo looks like. It seemed to be dripping gold as a bright light came across it.
The panel then moved into a discussion about Lorenzo Di Bonaventura's Transformers movie. The hall went dark and director Michael Bay appeared on a large screen to mention a new cast member. The audience waited in anticipation as the screen went black and it appeared we had been duped. He wasn't going to mention any names...
Suddenly, Bonaventura's cellphone rang it was the voice of Optimus Prime being done by it's original creator, Peter Cullen. He informed us that he was returning for this new incarnation of the film.
Lastly, when asked about passion projects, Di Bonaventura mentioned he would love to put together "G.I. Joe and Action Man... I think that'd be fun."
Stardust comes to theaters March 9th, 2007.
Transformers flies into multiplexes on July 4th, 2007.