We can hardly believe we made it through Day 3 of Wizard World. Between the chaos of the crowds a and the full schedule of celebrity panels, if you wanted to try to catch all the action you’d find yourself running across the convention center at least once or twice. That said, though, it was fun. There was someone with an amazing costume everywhere you turned and the panels were full of fans waiting to ask their favorite people questions.
The first panel we caught part of was Paul Bettany’s. He told tales of Hollywood humiliation, mostly that which centered around nude scenes and tape to mask certain sensitive bits, and he also talked about how lovely it was to work with his wife, actress Jennifer Connelly. Bettany was amiable and quite funny, and we wished we’d caught his entire talk.
The train was to continue rolling though and next up was Cobie Smulders and Elizabeth Henstridge. While there in theory to discuss their roles on Agents of SHIELD, which they did, they also covered much of their other work. Henstridge told us how much she enjoys her character, Jemma Simmons, and playing a doctor, since she comes from a family full of doctors. Smulders, meanwhile, lamented that she was still the “boring mom” to her son despite all her work, and gave fans a little How I Met Your Mother love as well. One of her favorite things about that show, she said, was getting to do the Robin Sparkles storyline. They also talked a little about how roles affect them- Henstridge said she had a hard time shaking off her role in A Wolf At The Door, where she played a victim of the Manson murders, but that her love of psychology is what helped her understand her part.
From there, we decided to pop in on Gene Simmons of KISS. He was hard at work helping his audience find what they love to do and do it, as well as correcting any errant grammar, reminding the audience that English was not his first language but he eventually learned it well enough to teach sixth grade. He told a tale of a man he met in Edmonton who loved stamps, and how he’d guided him towards a very successful business in stamp collection and verification. He was slightly intimidating to some of the guests but you could tell he genuinely wanted his fans to do well. Gene also touched on the difficulty of the current music industry with the rise of filesharing, and how musicians were needing to find new ways to make money from their music.
John Cusack, one of the bigger celebs to hit the con this year, talked a lot about High Fidelity, which seems to have been a real passion project for him. He said he’s glad to see independent record stores coming back and talked a little about the process of choosing music for the movie. He also talked about the cult classic phenomenon and the Cubs, which he predicts to have a 1 in 4 chance at this year’s World Series. We hope he’s right.
Fans of Firefly were out in force for the panel with Jewel Staite and Summer Glau, and it felt like a reunion of old friends. Of all the panels we got the chance to attend, this was the one with the deepest cuts, as fans discussed what they loved about the show. Favorite episodes were a topic, and here’s the scoop. Staite’s favorite? Out of Gas. As for Glau, the answer is Objects in Space. The banter between the two ladies made us feel like we were at lunch with friends who just also happened to be fans, as they discussed things like Simon and Kaylee having babies and River not being allowed to babysit, and some major Game of Thrones spoilers we won’t repeat.
That afternoon, we visited some Sunnydale High alums, when Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Nicholas Brendon and Charisma Carpenter headed up a panel celebrating the 20th anniversary of the show. Brendon is a live wire, while Carpenter is more serious and subdued, but both really come to life playing off of each other, which, as an audience member pointed out, is why their on-screen relationship worked so well. We even found out from Brendon that Charisma was his first kiss. It was all very romantic. “Until he cheated on me!”yelled Carpenter. The actors both also told tales of their nerves and excitement on their first day on set, with Nicholas relating an amusing experience stemming from not knowing how to read a call sheet, which resulted in him not knowing he had an entire afternoon’s dialogue that he’d never seen before.
Saturday night, we took in the Cosplay Competition, which was much more streamlined and well emceed than it had been in years past.
Finally, when that was over, we stuck around for the Rocky Horror Picture Show Extravaganza, with special guest, none other than Brad (Asshole!) Barry Bostwick. Bostwick was almost Bruce Cambell-esque in his hosting – over the top, funny and sweet. He reminded the audience what Rocky Horror stood for- acceptance, being yourself and discovery, and encouraged people to “keep the light on (over at the Frankenstein place)” for those ideals. With a full shadow cast from The Music Box’s Midnight Madness group, it was toast throwing, newspaper wearing, yelling out loud good times.
As you can see, the day was jampacked, but it was a great time. While the guest list didn’t quite pack the punch of 2016’s, Saturday had a strong showing with big turnouts for most every panel we were at.