Comic-Con 2011: KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM debuts hilarious trailer and explains LARPing
The Live Action Role Playing movie is ideal for a Comic-Con debut. Where else will you find so many real LARPers in one place? The cast and crew for the new film, KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM, came out to Hall H to debut the trailer and talk about the film. This was one of the films no one really knew anything about before the 'con, so the panel was a happy surprise in terms of just how funny this film looks to be.
The panel was packed with some huge names in the genre world, including Ryan Kwanten (True Blood), Jimmi Simpson (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Danny Pudi (Community), Michael Gladis (Mad Men), Margarita Lavieva (ADVENTURELAND) and the biggest names: Summer Glau (Firefly, Serenity) and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones). Also leading the show was Joe Lynch, the first-time director of the film.
Keep reading after the break for a full panel recap and the Comic-Con debuted trailer.
The moderator described the film perfectly: “If you could distill geek and put it on film, this would be the product.” There truly are so many genre staples cast in this film. Getting this cast was a dream come true for Joe Lynch, since he didn’t go out and try to get them for marketing purposes and even strategically. It’s a testament to the strength of the script.
Before we get to the questions, check out the hilarious trailer here:
What would you say is the tone of the movie?
Joe: It’s an adventure film. The adventure film genre is one that combines thrills, spills, and chills, just look at some greats like THE GOONIES and GHOSTBUSTERS. There are some laughs usually; you watch an adventure film and it’s got everything put together.
You don’t just kill the “red shirts”, your main cast is vulnerable too. Why not have everyone have a happy ending?
Joe: The best thing we could do with this film, because it is a culture that not everyone is into and could look down on it, is just respect the LARPing community. We went out to the LARP alliance and reached out to them to make sure we do it right. They were very supportive and were instrumental in making sure the rules were right. We have real LARPers in this film; that was integral to the whole project. They were bringing their own costumes that they had made, and there was even one day when Ryan [Kwanten] said “whoa, nice costume” to one of them because they just put so much work in to them. We wanted to make sure it was as faithful to the LARPing community as possible, not make fun of them. If one person grabs a foam sword after the movie, we’ve done our job.
Ryan: How would you describe your character Joe?
He’s the subjective POV, who in the beginning is thinking “I’m not sure I buy this” and has this air of pessimism since the love of his life just broke up with him. He quickly realizes how seriously they take it and finds it hilarious. But then the comedy turns serious and he’s forced to try and pick up the pieces. He’s a tortured soul and needs his roommates to pick him up and put him back together.
Summer: Who is your character Gwen?
She comes with her cousin Gunter, who is really hardcore about it. She’s not as in to it, but she’s really fun loving and just dives in to the story. She can also be a little more reserved and cool, and that’s why she and Joe bond. She’s one of the sweeter characters I’ve played, and I could actually smile!
Peter: What can you tell us about Hung?
It’s very fraternal between him and his roommates. They’re very close and Hung and Steve Zahn’s character “Live for the LARP”. He’s not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, and takes it a little too seriously (with a little help from narcotics).
Joe: He’s irresponsible, but a hell of swordsman. Dinklage smoked every other actor there!
Dinklage: Well, the swords are made of foam…
Margarita: How did the Succubus end up in your form?
She gets evoked and takes the form of Beth, Joe’s ex-girlfriend.
Margarita: What does it taste like to rip into people?
It was this really sweet syrup and a rubber gooey substance that I really got in to. There was one scene where I had to essentially eat someone’s heart and I just literally bit into it. When I gave it back to the prop guys they were like, “What happened to this?” and I had just flat out say that I ate it.
Margarita: What was the most fun thing you got to do?
Creating a creature. As an actor you play certain roles but I got this creature that’s all of your making. I looked at some animal work, and even had some fun growl training with Joe to get it right.
Danny: Lando, should you trust him?
It’s hard to not think of “rogue, thief, scoundrel” with that name, and there’s definitely some of those similarities. He’s out for himself. I didn’t know LARPing until getting to set and learning the ropes. We never see where he lives, I believe he lives in the woods and that’s all he’s got in his life.
Jimmi: Can you talk about your character?
He’s the boss in this world, he’s the “Dungeon Master” essentially. He’s a terrible man, so this is his chance to be king. Every couple of weekends he gets to do this. But in the real world, Joe is king because he’s cool and good-looking. This is my character’s only chance to best Joe, and other guys like him.
Joe: There was this amazing day on set when all the LARPers were there, it was like making BRAVEHEART. Gladis’s beard was falling off between takes and it fit perfectly. He just turned in to Orson Welles, and was about to lead these troops in to battle. He got the real-life LARPers so invested that they stayed in character and doing war cries even between takes. He just had such a huge presence.
Many of the LARPers stayed the whole summer for us, even when we told them they were done shooting. It was a great summer, just so much fun. The LARP alliance even made all the weapons we used, to keep ti authentic. They presented me with a nice sword I named Edith, after my grandmother.
Danny: What do you think Abed would think of this movie?
Abed would be IN this movie as one of the LARPers. I got to be a Dungeon Master in an episode of Community, which was awesome and informative. He’d love this movie and be great at keeping track of who’s really dead.
Summer: You don't normally do movies like this, what was it like filming a comedy?
It was 6 weeks of summer camp. It was so fun, just a blast. I felt really honored.
Peter: What made you want to get involved in this kind of genre?
The script was just great. It’s rare to come across a script that is this original and really funny. I had never done anything like it and that’s my own personal criteria for doing any role.
Joe: The role was written for a 6’4 fat Asian man and that’s why he was named him “Hung”. I didn’t know how we were going to find this person., but then Matt called him up and said, “Dinklage” and it just made sense.
Summer: How did you get attached to this film?
Talked to Joe and was sold. The first person I heard was attached to it was Steve Zahn and I’ve loved him for so long and was excited to work with him.
Joe: With LARP being a smaller group of people, what were your concerns about making it accessible to a larger audience.
The Joe character is the Dreyfuss, which is the “ordinary guy put in an extraordinary situation”. You have him to initiate the audience, we wanted to assume you’d never heard of LARPing.
What musicians might we expect to hear in the movie?
Joe: There’s a lot of heavy metal in this. Metal Blade was a huge supporter
Bear’s basically making a heavy metal orchestra for this. Bear’s the composer for Battlestar Galactica and Walking Dead, he’s done some great work.
If you could dress up for comic-con what would you be?
Jimmi: Master Chief. He’s cool.
Ryan: Han Solo or Astro Boy, maybe a hybrid
Michael: Robot from THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL
Danny: The Flash, also Moogli because it’s hot.
Margarita: Princess Slave Leia
Summer: She-Ra Princess of Power
Any tips on LARPing?
Show no fear. Get a weapon, one for each arm.
And the last question was a perfect example of the awesome geekery at Comic-Con.
Summer: In the last 10 years there’s been epic battle movies (Jason vs. Freddy, etc). Who would win in a battle: this character vs. River Tam vs. The Terminator?
This character was the hardest fighting for me because you had to be creative, there was no fight choreography. River was probably the most trained though.
Later in their press conference, they elaborated that the film would also include two musical numbers. One of Ryan Kwanten's greatest fears was singing in public, but he had to confront it with this role. This news just makes me excited for the feature even more!