Spotlight on Christina Ricci
“You are the epitome of little girl goth!” states the first audience member and Christina Ricci smiles. Wednesday in the Addams Family was a role she loved playing and would take part in the Addams world again if she could. Sadly she isn’t apart of the new animated show coming out this fall. She also has nothing positive or negative to say about the musical as she isn’t involved in that either. She is sure Addams will continue to live on as it continues resonates with so many people.
She is very appreciative that people love her in Addams Family but also that she has such a wide background of roles in different genres. She really enjoys participating in conventions and expos because this is where she can see just have many different people, in different areas, respond to her work.
Christina surprised her question asker when she answered Prozac Nation as her most emotional role and not Monster. WIth Monster was was able to detached more as she was older. She had learned how to safely become a method actor. Charlize Theron and Christina apparently spent most of their time in between takes laughing. Whereas in Prozac Nation she was still very young. She lost herself in that role too much.
Christina cannot imagine and has not considered doing anything else. She is an actress and a producer and loves it. She does state she’d like to direct someday. In fact throughout this Q&A one thing is very clear: Christina is open to expanding her career in pretty much anyway… except a podcast, she wouldn’t trust herself with a podcast. She would love to do action movies or be a superhero though. She does find producing the most rewarding as its very exciting and you become very passionate because it is your project. Plus with having her own production company she can push who strong parts for older female actors. She satate ageism in the industry has changed and gotten better but there are less parts out there.
Christina has been acting since she was 7. She had a lot of mentors growing up who were incredible people. So she wants to give advice to younger actors but also doesn’t want to be presumptuous. So the general advice she would give is to behave on set and also focus on the art not the fame. For parents of young actors she had different advice. SHe does not believe young actors should do press. It is very hard to grow and figure out who you are when other keep telling you to change. The press is especially bad for this and it's best to just stay away from it.
Christina was pleasant and gracious with her answers but she wouldn’t elaborate or tell stories, meaning the volume of questions asked was huge. It seemed it was almost spit fire. Also I’m pretty sure I could quote her as saying “I don’t know” for half the questions before the host would clarify or re-word those questions in a way that got a better answer for the audience member. All in all, Christina was amazing and full of information. I can’t wait for her next project.
Tidbits about Christina Ricci:
“Celebrate Back to the Future at Calgary Expo with Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, James Tolkan, Tom Wilson, and superstar Michael J. Fox.
Back To The Future fans ready the flux capacitor because this is about to get heavy.
A selection of once in a lifetime packages are available as part of this rare Back To The Future Cast reunion. Choose from special presentations, autograph signings, photo ops, or all the above! There is something for every fan!”
I was lucky enough to sit in on an evening with the cast of Back to the Future! It was an hour of reminiscing, laughs and special insights. I have watched these movies more times then I can count but with this I learned so much more about behind scenes then I imagined and so I recapped for you. The moderator asked them all the following questions:
What makes this movie so special?
It’s 34 years since the first movie premiered, it’s 33 years since the first movie left theatres, and the arena is packed with people on the edge of their seats as the cast of Back to the Future begins answering questions. Lea begins by talking about how wonderful the script was but that its the cast’s chemistry is what made the movie so special. Tom didn’t realize how special it was until he talked with his friend. This fried voices the guy on the radio in the tow truck. For this he got to see the whole movie apparently and LOVE it. Tom believes this is because at its heart, it is a great story with characters that are funny and unique. Lea Thompson believed its because every generation can pick up on different points like; how one thing can change your life or to remember that your parents were young once. Fox ends this subject by talking about how happy he is that this movie is beyond them, that when they are gone, the movie will still be there and still be loved.
Do you like each other?
This group seems to genuinely get along and like each other. I’d say Christopher Lloyd and Tom Wilson are the closest as Tom was helping Christopher if he didn’t hear the questions. Lea Thompson was there to help Michael J. Fox. They walked out together and if he ever needed to stand to speak she was there with her arm or th emic. He did make a pretty good joke about not being able to hold a mic, it seemed to really put the crowd at ease with a laugh.
What did you predict would happen in the future that did not?
This question did not inspire the fun responses I expected but Michael did have a heartwarming story. He talked about how Nike approached him to consult about self-tying shoes like in the movie. He was very proud of how amazing they turned out and how much they would help people with disabilities. Tom was sad that erasable pens weren’t truly erasable because they still left a ghost imprint. Lea didn’t have a prediction but doesn’t believe we will ever have flying cars. People want trained pilots to do the flying not to fly themselves. I have to agree with her on that one.
What of yourselves did you bring to your character?
“Nothing!” Tom yells out and everyone laughs. He seems like such a nice guy that I totally believe this. I don’t see Biff’s personality in him at all. He talked a little about how he had to internalize his own personality and focus on the vocal and physical acting rather then going method. He was very uncomfortable with the car scene but Lea was there to reassure him that is was just pretend and so that is what he did: pretend. Christopher felt he was a good blend of Doc Brown. He was intrigued about how Doc would have eureka moments. Maybe because he doesn’t have many himself? James based his principal on a second grade teacher who would hit her students with rulers. I’m so glad to grow up in a time where that’s not allowed. Lea felt her old Lorraine was more her mother but that young Lorraine was a hooned version of herself being shy but on the edge of discovery. Fox made everyone laugh again with his answer. He stated he had 2 days to prepare so he read the script and learned how his character was a slacker who plays guitar, rides skateboard and wants to take his girlfriend to the woods in his truck… “Yeah I got this” was his perfect response.
Any influence on your career?
Lea felt that her experience influenced her directing career the most. How she learned to pack more into every shot and not waste the audience’s time. Tom believes that it affected how people viewed him. That they saw him as a bully which he understand. So he has spend time reaching out to those who have been bullied. That he wants people to remember that the movie shows how bullies don’t win. The fact you are cheering when he gets knocked out is a good thing. Christopher felt the movies made him more recognized and so has lead to so much work.
Fondest and/or challenging memory?
Michael had great fondest for the guitar playing scene at the dance. He loved learning the moves and the music. His most challenging? When he had to redo it for the second movie. He was a little older and his back and knees hurt, just couldn’t move the same way. James’ fondest memory was when he was asked to be in the sequels. Christophers’ most challenging was the scene where he was standing on the ledge on the clock tower. He really did not want to do it but couldn’t talk his way out of it.
Lea - “Oh my god its Calvin Keln. What a dream”
Chris - “Rose, where we’re going we don’t need roads”
Tom - “Hey McFly! Anybody home?” or “Make like a tree and get out of here”
Michael - “I can see you’re not ready for that yet.” or “I’m from the future, I came in a time machine you invented!”
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and James Tolkan all at one point talked about how Biff in the second movie is basically Donald Trump. Lea’s reaction? How much fun it would have been to do a Melania accent.
Lea Thompson seemed to be overly flattering Michael J. Fox. Maybe she has a crush? But more then once she talked about how easy it was to play a character with a crush on Fox.
Lea Thompson has noticed that Back to the Future is on at Christmas now. Does that make it a Christmas movie?
Michael made a joke about his fondest memory being when he woke up in Lea’s bed… oh wait that happened in the movie too! Haha he kids, he kids.
No. Tom told the story of how Robert Zemeckis agreed to 2 more movies after the first’s success but only if after he would own the rights and decide if any more sequels would happen. Both Tom and Lea were sure this wouldn’t happen. Tom was very happy about this. He felt, and I agree, that they ended the movie nicely without continuing and playing it into the ground (like some trilogies that need 7 movies). Christopher did bring up that there is a musical in the works set to premiere in London, England. He has heard some very good things about it. I guess a trip to England is in my future :)
The questions ended and out came white hats for each of them! This is Calgary’s way of thanking them and offering a sort of key to the city. They all donned their hats and posed for pictures for the audience. If you got a backstage pass (for $1200!) then you could stay behind and get a meet and greet, autographs further talks. I sadly couldn't afford this as I am putting my money towards a picture of myself and Christopher Lloyd in the deloren! See you in the future!
Spotlight on the Transformers
Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime) and Frank Welker(Megatron)
Have you ever met best friends before? There is a spark between them, a magic in the way they talk to and about each out. Peter and Frank have this magic spark. Any chance they got, they were complimenting each other and basically just in awe of the others talent. So it is funny that they voice characters that are mortal enemies. Optimus Prime and Megatron are characters I think of when I have to come up with an example of those at odds. The men behind the voices are the exact opposite. More then once Frank made Peter laugh so much he couldn’t answer a question. And with the voices Frank was coming up with, I don’t blame him.
There was a lot covered during this panel and the questions the audience was coming up with were great. The first regarded the inspiration behind the voices. Frank states he likes to see a visual to invoke a voice. The biggest tell for him is size. If it is a big character the voice is likely booming and a smaller character will be more high pitched. Peter drew his inspiration for Optimus from his older brother. On the day of the audition he told his brother he could be playing a a good guy truck. His brother responded by reminding him to be strong enough to be gentle, compassionate and caring. WIth those words in his ears, he went to the audition and the voice of Optimus came out.
These guys love playing with their voices. Pretty much every question gave them a chance to use them. Best place they’ve used them? Once they were being escorted in a cop car and got to use the loudspeaker. “Pedestrations! This is Optimus Prime, please move aside, please let this car through.” For Frank it's when he stubs his toes and needs to curse the sky.
Some other interesting facts we found out through audience questions:
What are there most memorable and favourite phrase? For Peter it is “Hold on to your dreams, your future is build on dreams.” For Frank it is “Why worry about fleshings? Why waste your time?” to which Peter quickly responded in voice: “There’s more to them than meets the eye!”
Spotlight on Zachary Levi
Zachary Levi may be the most energized person I have ever seen! He knows how to engage his audience and every person in that packed auditorium was on the edge of their seat. He started with just bobbing his head out from before the curtain before basically half running and dancing to the edge of the stage. He wanted to get right to questions, right to talking with the people who were their to see him. He didn’t need a host he jumped right in.
Did you know Zachary Levi is a disney prince? He is! Flynn from Tangled. Now most acting contracts have morality clauses, act good or else, but disney has been rumored to have an especially strict one. Zach did not confirm this. He did say that being a Prince meant not sucking and don’t do meth off a horses’ butt. He was very proud to be Flynn. He wanted to make sure that it was his voice (the first North American accent) that would be coming out of Flynn’s mouth regardless of where or when it happened. This meant he got to voice Flynn for ice shows, video games and the series.
Did you know Zachary Levi struggles with mental health issues? He does. He is very candid about his journey with his mental illness. He truly believes that we all need to be more open about it. It is something that everyone will deal with at some point in their lives and we can all love ourselves. He’s biggest example in his life was while filming Chuck. Although he is so grateful to have been apart of such a unique show, that means so much to so many people, it was also the most difficult thing he has ever done. It lead to him doing a lot of work on himself and he wouldn’t change any of it. Also he is trying really hard for a Chuck movie!
Did you know Zachary Levi tried to start his own Con? He did! It is called Nerd HQ and its an alternative convention. He has plans for it to come back and hopes it does. This is where he gets the best fan experiences because he tolled over creating these experiences. He wants to take care of the fans because they are the patrons of the arts, they support him in what he does by buying his products, watching his media and attending his events. He thinks that there are some cons (that he won’t name… in San Diego) that aren’t set up as well as they could be. Panel queues and seat selection for one. Having phone chargers and seats for another.
Did you know Zachary Levi has his own supplement line? It’s called Flow! He is full of ideas and has so many projects on the go. How does he choose what to go through with? He says prayer helps him. He really just wants to make the world a better place so that is the first question he ponders. What will make the world better? Flow is one such product. He was to help people be healthy and strong. He felt most supplements were too full of fillers… so others must feel this way too. He could do something about it so he wanted to try.
Did you know Zachary Levi sings? Beautifully! This is something he’d really like to work more on. He had plans to release a cover of the oldies type EP last valentine’s day but it sadly didn’t happen. He feel music makes life better and wants to record something that will do just that.
So how do you end such a fantastic 45 minutes of Zachary talking directly to the audience as if we were all old friends? Why have the monitor on stage tell him “You have to leave the stage now”. Zachary and the entire auditorium burst into loud laughter and applause as he ran off to do photo ops.
Spotlight: The Goonies
Sean Astin, Ke Huy Quan (aka Jonathan Ke Quan) and Corey Feldman
These Goonies all came out very excited and were asked straight away by the host how they were liking the Calgary Expo. Sean jumped on this before the other two could talk. He does 2 to 15 conventions a year. When he first came to calgary back who knows when, it was much smaller but its now boom town. He got to see this when he took part in the parade. He noticed the parade was being covered by the national news and this blew him away. Taking part in so many cons over the years he has not only gotten to see how pop culture changes but they really are starting to be fully acceptable to a wider audience then it was before.
It’s also because of cons that these actors get to hang out again. Key stated that they all live very close to each other but we don’t hang out much. Which is good in a way because when they do get to see each other they get to reminiscing and catch up, seeing how they’ve grown over the years. Corey mentions how sometimes it’s years or months but they can get back to where they left off. The brotherly love is there.
The host jumped on this to ask them what it was like all filming together has kids. Sean took a moment before he answered. He has been working with young actors a lot lately, with shows like Stranger Things and No Good Nick. It seems it telescopes his conscience back to when he was their age but he thinks they are more professional and more sophisticated than they were. For Sean as a kid it was like they were playing, going on adventures.
The conversation took a few twists and turns to make their points so it wasn’t until 15 minutes in that they finally took their first question from the audience.
The host ended the panel asking what was next: Apparently Sean and Corey have written a Goonies 2 script which they think is incredible. They took it to some producers but it didn’t happen. The producer was listening, deep in thought, the room got quiet, he looked up and said “You put a lot of thought into that didn’t you? Yeah we’re not doing that” But you never know...
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