Fan Expo Chicago 2022 Friday Panel Catchup

Contributing authors: Marielle Bokor and Antal Bokor

Rolling up to Fan Expo Chicago we knew we were in for a weekend of great panels from across all fandoms, and as Friday began, we began our yearly endeavor to bring you some of the best of the ones we saw when we weren’t out on the floor getting cosplay shots of all of you amazing fans.

First up on our Friday list was Carl Weathers, and whether or not you were actually hitting your very first panel of the day after extra late Thursday night revelling, you were about to get woke, without even knowing that ahead of time. Weathers is a legendary actor with a storied career but as the panel began, it was clear his thoughts were on even more important things. When asked about the inequities and challenges he faced breaking into his career, he instead talked about the challenges suddenly facing women since

“As a man…as a man, ain’t too many people telling you what you can or cannot do with your body. So we gotta wake up here to reality and appreciate that every human being has a right to state what they want to do with their bodies. “

After a completely unnecessary apology for the tangent, he went on to talk about how despite the inequities and challenges, he also had some great opportunities not afforded to everyone, like working with great actors like Sydney Portier.

Carl Weathers at Fan Expo Chicago 2022. Photo: Marielle Bokor

“I was fortunate enough on one hand to have a lot of opportunities that came off of the shoulders of those I mentioned, and I was also blessed with a certain amount of talent. And I wanted to use that to inspire my sons, first. So you know, the kinds of things I chose to do are predicated on one simple phrase. I never want my sons to say to me or ask me ‘Why did you do that?’. And that means when it’s your son or daughter…What do I want to represent, what do I want to endorse? What do I want to be in the world? I want to be those things that create something that’s lasting in your mind and hopefully that is inspiring in your mind to do some good.”

Weathers is inspiring, to be sure, but also had some great stories about his prior roles, especially as Apollo Creed in Rocky, and the longstanding rumor that he got the role because he was critical of Sylvester Stallone.

Chuckling at the initial mention, Carl went on to give listeners the facts on what actually happened – which were amazing.

“I wasn’t critical” he said, “I was in self surviving mode!”

“I was there reading for the part. In those days, as a young actor, you’re chomping at the bit to get the job. It’s like anybody who’s ever gone in for an interview. You know how that is. You are so darn nervous, number one, and number two, you want thing thing you’re going in for, so you’re not going to do anything dumb to mess that up.”

“But out of the mouths of babes…I was introduced to a guy in the room and the guy was introduced to me as the writer. He walks in late in the thing right? I’m there with the producers and director. And he sat down and, understand, right, I’m reading and I’m doing my best just to show them what I can do, what’s right, and he’s mumbling and going through it and he looks at me only once in a while so we get to the end of the scenes and the director John Avildsen’s kind of quiet and looking at me and he leans over and says something to the producers and they’re all quiet, and kind of whispering. And man, my heart plummets cuz I think ‘Oh man I blew this one’ and I swear I did good. And then I said to them, out of self defense I said “You know, if you get me a real actor I could do a much better job.” In survival mode, I wasn’t trying to insult anybody. So I’m defending myself by saying…it worked. Go over your words carefully. Just like I said, wanted to clarify it for the room in case anyone was wondering. I wasn’t being critical, it was self defense.

Carl Weathers at Fan Expo Chicago 2022. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Weathers doesn’t take himself too seriously despite his iconic roles and spent a lot of time being a little self-deprecating. Though many people believed he was a boxer pre-Rocky, as it turns out, he wasn’t. Young actors are told to never say no, he said. But the fib would get him in a little trouble later, he said, when he got in the ring with a real boxer, who “wore him out at the end of 20 minutes.” Weathers talked some about the challenges of boxing for real and his trainer Frankie Crawford, and when conversation turned to Predator, a little about bodybuilding and sneaking into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gym at 4 am to keep in shape for the role.

Like we said, we could’ve spent all day there but there were other panels to attend to.

The cast of Clerks at Fan Expo Chicago 2022: Brian O’Halloran, Trevor Fehrman, and Jeff Anderson

If you’re any kind of Kevin Smith fan, it was all about Snoochie Boochies: A Conversation with the Cast of Clerks was on your list.

The Clerks panel featured Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson and Trevor Fehrman –but you’d barely know it, because to us in the audience they are Randal, Dante, and Elias. In fact, during Q&A O’Halloran and Anderson didn’t bat an eye when they were referred to as their character’s name, though O’Halloran did poke a few fun jokes to audience members who kept calling him “Dante.” But it’s hard to separate these guys from their characters–especially on stage where the raunchy jokes and references sound like banter from Clerks, and sometimes it is. If I drank each time one of the cast members said “I’m not even supposed to be here today” I’d probably be dead from alcohol poisoning. Still, I’m hyped for Clerks III, and it tells a story I can relate to: getting older, and doing the work you want to do before its left unfinished. It sounds dark, but believe it or not, this version of Clerks III is of a much lighter tone than the much darker Clerks III that got as far as table reads before it was scrapped. All the better–I’d rather face oblivion with a smile on my face.

The cast of Clerks, Fan Expo Chicago 2022. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Fan Expo Chicago 2022 runs through Sunday and we’ll have even more for you as the con keeps rollin’ on.

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Third Coast Review Staff

Posts with the Third Coast Review Staff byline are written by a combination of writers, credited by section within the article.