In two days of the NerdHQ “Conversations for a Cause” panels, there have been several highlights, including Bryan Cranston’s “Your mother” joke, William Shatner remembering Leonard Nimoy and great women being bad ass.
On the first day of Q&A panels, Zachary Levi opened and had an emotional moment when explaining how he almost let NerdHQ go after the backlash he got from people who didn’t understand how he was giving all proceeds possible to Operation Smile, and how last year’s crowdfunding support encouraged him. Afterward, after being asked what role he wanted to play next he responded “Han Solo”, knowing it’s a project in the works already, and joked “It’ll probably be Chris Pratt, who am I kidding…” Yes, we know how you feel.
Later that day, Mr. William Shatner made an appearance at NerdHQ and had a lot of wisdom to share. I recommend watching the whole panel, because trying to recap it in just a few words is impossible. During this fascinating hour Shatner also remembered Leonard Nimoy:
“What is a real friend? […] Leonard was a profound friend for me.”
A few hours later, it was turn for the cast of Crackle’s SuperMansion, a superhero spoof series lead and produced by Bryan Cranston with Stoopid Buddy Studios. Cranston, with fellow cast members Seth Green, Matt Senreich, Heidi Gardner, Tucker Gilmore, Tom Root and writer Zeb Wells, went on stage to answer a few questions about the project, except of course, those related to Breaking Bad. A hilarious moment happened from one of those…
“I wish I could be like Sherlock Holmes, but I’m too stupid.”
That’s Steven Moffat’s answer to the question of whether him, Sue Vertue and Rupert Graves were more of a Watson or a Sherlock in their everyday lives. On the second day of “Conversations for a Cause”, the audience at the Sherlock panel was made up of hardcore fans who cheered and laughed along all kinds of jokes.
“That’s an absolute fact of the original stories, that Mycroft is the smarter brother [which] Sherlock is quite relaxed about. In the show, Sherlock is hilariously pissed off about Mycroft being smarter, but he’s got it under control… Benedict is furious!”
In the Q&A, the fans also tried to get some answers about the creators’ plans for the series (other family members starring in the show, who is the alleged third sibling…) to no avail. Overall, it was a panel that led to understanding more about the thought process behind the show than about news or any exclusive announcements. They showed the same clip that had been unveiled at Comic-Con the day before. As for anything else, anybody who follows Moffat & Co. knows that they’re always very secretive about their work.
Following that, The Visit panel was another highlight for me. It started with the trailer for this new film by writer/director M. Night Shyamalan and producers of horror flicks like The Purge, Insidious and Sinister. Some interesting topics were discussed: Shyamalan’s favorite horror films (The Exorcist, Psycho, The Haunting, Jaws, The Birds and Alien), how he would torment his cousins during ouija sessions, and the challenge of The Visit being a found-footage film, or “mock-doc”, as producer Jason Blum called it:
“One of the hardest things in found-footage [films] is why are you filming, what motivates the camera, and the fact that the lead in this movie is trying to make something beautiful as a filmmaker, it really helps with that big question, which we struggle with all the time.”
Another audience member asked the director what was it that keep us going back to watching horror films and liking the feeling of being frightened, to what Shyamalan said, very wisely:
“Our goal as filmmakers, at least for me, is to make the audience feel one-to-one with the character. That synchronicity that happens is so beautiful in thrillers, in horrors. […] There’s a simbiotic relationship we strive for.”
In the afternoon, the cast and creators of Con Man took the stage. Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion are two regulars at NerdHQ, both as panelists and hosts, and they didn’t disappoint this time either. They answered questions about the production, the conventions they attended to film it, how was Tudyk as a director… There’s never a dull moment when these men are up on a panel.
After them, Elijah Wood answered some questions about what inspires him as an actor, how he grew up as a child actor without going crazy, and he also shared a bit of Nigerian music that he listens to. Needless to say, there was a lot of geeking over Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit as well.
Finally, the “Bad Ass Women” panel featured actresses Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck), Felicia Day (Supernatural, Con Man), Krysta Rodriguez (Smash), Bree Turner (Grimm) and Mercedes Meson (Fear the Walking Dead). There was a lot of “girl power” moments, as you might expect, but more in the sense of supporting instead of walking over each other and other people.
The one thing I absolutely agree with and I think everybody should take from this panel was something Bree Turner said:
“I love celebrating being a woman, but I also would like it to be not such a big deal. […] It’d be great to get to a point where it doesn’t have to be a thing.”
All these panels, along the ones for Battlebots, Dead Rising, Hitman: Agent 47, Project Morpheus, Falling Skies and more, are available to watch online. Granted, the quality of the streams was highly criticized on the live chat, but the individual panel videos are being released on The Nerd Machine Youtube channel.
Apart from this, The Nerd Machine has raised at least over $80,000 these first two days for Operation Smile with its “Conversations for a Cause” and it’s still going strong.