Comic-Con@Home Panel Plumbs the Depths of Shooting Underwater in ‘Deep Blue Sea 3’

There were several challenges when making the third installment in the “Deep Blue Sea” feature franchise, including overcoming the usual difficulties with shooting on water (a la Steven Spielberg’s legendary struggles with Jaws) and coming up with a new premise that didn’t involve an underwater lab, as the two previous movies had.

Global warming came to the rescue on the script. Screenwriter Dirk Blackman did some research on small islands sinking as the oceans rise and had a moment of inspiration.

“I thought, ‘Let’s sink the town,’” he said during a July 24 online panel at Comic-Con@Home for the July 28 digital and Aug. 25 Blu-ray combo pack and DVD release of Deep Blue Sea 3 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The film follows Dr. Emma Collins and her team, who are spending the summer on a sinking island studying the effect of climate change on great white sharks. Their routine is disrupted when a team led by her ex-boyfriend and marine biologist Richard shows up looking for three rogue bull sharks.

Director John Pogue discussed the logistics of shooting four major underwater action sequences at the South African location.

“We figured out a way to be 360 with our water set so that we could have all of the sets gathered around this cove and most of the rest of everything else was made up digitally,” he said.

The underwater scenes got an assist from some professionals.

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“There are so many additional safely issues with shooting around water, from what can happen with electricity to people falling in, so safety was paramount,” Pogue said. “We were very fortunate in that we had this incredible South African team called the Frog Squad that do underwater projects all over the world. They are essentially South African SEALs that also make movies.”

The actors spent time training and getting scuba certified before the shoot, noted Emerson Brooks, who plays Shaw, a sort of brother/father figure for Emma.

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“I think all the training that we did, all the real underwater experience … that really added to it, that put you in it, certainly,” added Tania Raymonde (Emma).

The water in the winter in South Africa was cold, and “we were always wet, always wet,” she recalled.

Shooting in water posed challenges for the director as well.

“I think about 30 % of the time it went as planned— so many things would break,” Pogue said. “The communication underwater is super challenging. You’re basically talking to 20 people with a giant underwater megaphone that no one can really understand.”

Mumbling like the teacher a “Charlie Brown” special, Nathaniel Buzolic (Richard) demonstrated what the actors could hear underwater.

“There was this underwater megaphone that looked like something from the Victorian era, which is like a box with a string on it that was threaded all the way down into the water,” added Raymonde. “Once you suit up and you’ve got your regulator and they make sure you’ve got air in the tank and check all your levels and you’ve got everything on and you go under, it’s kind of a pain to get back up to the surface, take everything off, go get notes from John and come back in. So once we were in the tank and underwater, we were pretty much underwater and stuck and that was it. … And when you’re under there, you don’t hear anything because your regulator is so loud. Every time you take a breath there are bubbles everywhere, you can’t hear anything.”

The Frog Squad helped interpret by using a sort of “sign language,” she said.

“[The process] definitely influenced the tone of the movie in that there’s a more realistic as opposed to a controlled, stylized feel to the movie, where we’re trying to sort of use those happy accidents that happen as a result of this chaos,” Pogue said.

He credited the cast for being game to go the extra mile in shooting the action sequences.

“During the casting process, one of the things that we talked about was, given the resources that we’ve got, that you’re going to have to do your own diving and your own stunts,” he recalled. Deep Blue Sea 3 wasn’t “one of those movies where we just sort of stop everything and bring in your double,” he said.

“In many of the key sequences, it was very important that we see your faces, we see you experiencing what’s happening in the action,” he said.

Bren Foster, a martial arts expert who plays Lucas, noted the action on land was equally intense.

“You kind of bring it above the water, and all hell breaks loose,” he said.

Inspired by another shark movie The Deep, screenwriter Blackman added a fight.

“I don’t expect to see a fight, necessarily, in a shark movie, so we have a fight,” he said.

Amazon Orders Third Season of ‘The Boys,’ Adds Aftershow

Amazon Studios has ordered a third season of the dark superhero series “The Boys,” and is adding an aftershow for season two, according to the Amazon Prime Video original show’s online Comic-Con@Home panel July 23.

The aftershow will be called “Prime Rewind: Inside The Boys” and be hosted by Aisha Tyler, who also hosted the Comic-Con@Home panel with the cast and producers. Each episode of “Prime Rewind: Inside The Boys” will feature members of the cast, creative team and other special guests dissecting the events that unfold in each episode.

“Prime Rewind: Inside The Boys” will debut Aug. 8 with look back on the first season, and will accompany each episode of the second season, which begins Sept. 4 and debuts a new episode weekly.

“’The Boys’ is one of the smartest, most irreverent, unapologetically badass shows streaming,” Tyler said. “I became a fan during season one and this season I’m stoked to be flying fans into the heart of the show as host of ‘Prime Rewind: Inside The Boys.’ Season two is bigger, badder and more audacious than ever before, so join me after every episode as we dig through the rubble pile of our feelings. I promise, we’ll get through it like The Boys — dysfunctional, but together.”

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Based on best-selling comic by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, and co-produced by Sony Pictures Television and Amazon Studios, “The Boys” was developed by showrunner Eric Kripke, who also serves as writer and executive producer. Joining Kripke as executive producers are Point Grey Pictures’ Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver; Original Film’s Neal H. Moritz and Pavun Shetty; as well as Phil Sgriccia, Craig Rosenberg, Rebecca Sonnenshine, Ken Levin and Jason Netter. Ennis and Robertson also co-executive produce along with Michael Saltzman.

“The Boys” is an irreverent look at what happens when popular superheroes, known as supes, abuse their powers, as an activist group known as The Boys tries to expose the truth about the superhero team The Seven and their corporate sponsors, Voight.

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Season two finds the members of The Boys on the run and hunted by the supes. In hiding, Hughie (Jack Quaid), Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), Frenchie (Tomer Capon) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) try to adjust to a new normal, with Butcher (Karl Urban) nowhere to be found.

Meanwhile, Starlight (Erin Moriarty) must navigate her place in The Seven as Homelander (Antony Starr) sets his sights on taking complete control. His power is threatened with the addition of Stormfront (Aya Cash), a social media-savvy new supe with an agenda of her own. On top of that, a supervillain threat gives Vought an opportunity to capitalize on the nation’s paranoia.

The supes of The Seven also include Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), A-Train (Jessie T. Usher), The Deep (Chace Crawford) and Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell). Recurring stars in season two include Claudia Doumit, Goran Visnijc, Malcolm Barrett, Colby Minifie, Shantel VanSanten, Cameron Crovetti, PJ Byrne, Laila Robbins and Giancarlo Esposito.

Comic-Con@Home Panel Discusses Bugs Bunny’s History, 80th Anniversary Blu-ray Collection and New HBO Max Series

Three voices of Bugs Bunny — Billy West, Jeff Bergman and Eric Bauza — joined “Looney Tunes Cartoons” executive producer Pete Browngardt, movie historian/author/TV personality Leonard Maltin, animation historian/author Jerry Beck, and George Feltenstein, SVP, theatrical catalog, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, for a Comic-Con@Home panel July 23 to discuss Bugs Bunny’s history, the new HBO Max series “Looney Toons Cartoons” and the character’s upcoming Blu-ray collection.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Dec. 1 (moved from Nov. 3) will release the “Bugs Bunny 80th Anniversary Blu-ray Collection,” featuring 60 remastered cartoons starring the wily rabbit.

“This is gonna be something that fans have wanted for a very long time,” Feltenstein said. “It’s been many years since the company has put together a collection on Blu-ray Disc dedicated to what I consider to be one of the most popular Warner Bros. cartoon stars, Bugs Bunny. He’s right up there with Bette Davis and [Humphrey] Bogart, who created the DNA of the studio’s history. What we meant to do here is have 20 cartoons that had been out before, but that are basically essential, and then have 40 cartoons that either had never been on Blu-ray or never been remastered at all or they were not released in the proper aspect ratio. … It goes from the great classic early cartoons to the very end of Bugs’ tenure [in the mid-60s].”

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The collection includes some titles not available previously, including “Racketeer Rabbit” (1946), “Rabbit Every Monday” (1951), “Jack-Wabbit and the Beanstalk” (1943) and “What’s Cookin’, Doc?” (1944).

“If you’re collecting Bugs Bunny, as you should be on video, I can’t say you’re going to complete the collection, but you’re going to have literally most — 90% or more — of all the Bugs Bunnys when you get this set,” added Beck.

Panelists mused about the lasting appeal of the cartoons, which were designed as mere amusing precursors to the main feature.

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“These cartoons were considered throwaways as far as the industry at large,” said West (Space Jam, “Futurama,” “Doug”). “While people were getting popcorn and Coca-Colas, that was what was playing on the screen. … They’re more famous and more well-known than any of the movies they opened up for.”

“If something is great entertainment, it will transcend time,” Feltenstein said.

The online panel screened “A Wild Hare,” considered the first official appearance of Bugs Bunny, supervised by Tex Avery.

“When Tex Avery arrived on the scene … he started pushing the cartoons toward wackier, crazier gags,” noted Maltin.

It’s those early Bugs iterations that inspired the new “Looney Toons Cartoons” on HBO Max, said executive producer Browngardt.

“We kind of tried to go back in time to a Bugs that was sort of before the [director Chuck] Jones Bugs had sort of taken over,” he said. “We felt like the character was a little bit more dynamic then. He had flaws. He would actually lose from time to time in a few cartoons and was a little bit surreal at times as well. We purposefully went back to that.”

They gave the character yellow gloves, which created controversy on the web, but helped differentiate the new Bugs. Bugs also got an updated vocabulary, saying things such as “fake news” and “Is that organic, Doc?”

“’Looney Toons Cartoons’ was definitely a different direction as far as getting out of the half-lidded, sarcastic Bugs from the Jones era and into more of the manic, unhinged energy that [voice actor] Mel Blanc had,” added Bouza, the voice of Bugs in the new series.

Each discussed their favorite Bugs Bunny cartoons, the many adversaries he has faced over the years and what they liked about the character.

“He’s a genuine, great hero,” Browngardt said. “He stands up for the little guy when he’s put upon. We all wish we could be the smartest guy in the room, wish we could take on every bully and not be cut down to size.”

“We all want to be Bugs Bunny, but we’re stuck with Daffy Duck is who we are,” added Bergman (“Tiny Toon Adventures,” “Our Cartoon President”).

Feltenstein credited Warner Bros. for taking care of these gems of cartoon history.

“I’m so grateful to our company that we have a preservation program that will see to it that they will remain available for people to see for years to come,” he said.

New ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Animated Series Announced for Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon and CBS Television Studios July 23 announced a new animated series called “Star Trek: Prodigy” to debut in 2021. The title and logo were revealed during an online Comic-Con@Home panel.

The CG-animated series will air exclusively on Nickelodeon and follows a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure, meaning and salvation.

The series is being developed by Emmy winners Kevin and Dan Hageman (“Trollhunters” and “Ninjago”) and overseen for Nickelodeon by Ramsey Naito, EVP of animation production and development at Nickelodeon.

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The series will be from CBS’s Eye Animation Productions, CBS Television Studios’ new animation arm; production company Secret Hideout, which oversees the “Trek” franchise; and Roddenberry Entertainment. Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Katie Krentz, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth will serve as executive producers alongside Kevin and Dan Hageman. Aaron Baiers will serve as a co-executive producer.

“Star Trek: Prodigy” is being billed as the first “Trek” series aimed at younger audiences for Nickelodeon. It will be the third animated “Star Trek” series, following the 1973-74 FIlmation series featuring the cast of the original series, and “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” which arrives on the CBS All Access Streaming Service Aug. 6.

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Current CBS All Access live-action series include “Star Trek: Discovery” and “Star Trek: Picard.” Series in development for the streaming service include the Capt. Pike spinoff “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” as well as a series based on Section 31, the enigmatic Starfleet intelligence service.

‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’ Getting Simultaneous VOD and Theatrical Release Sept. 1

Bill & Ted Face the Music, the third installment in the “Bill & Ted” franchise, is heading to VOD Sept. 1 on the same day it hits theaters (that are open).

In the Orion Pictures film, the stakes are higher than ever for the time-traveling William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winter) and Theodore “Ted” Logan (Keanu Reeves). To fulfill their rock and roll destiny, the now middle-aged best friends set out on a new adventure when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it. Along the way, they will be helped by their daughters, a new batch of historical figures, and a few music legends to seek the song that will set their world right and bring harmony in the universe.

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Bill & Ted Face the Music is directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest), from a screenplay by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon (Bill & Ted’s Excellent AdventureBill & Ted’s Bogus Journey).

The news came as Orion released the official poster and trailer during the online Comic-Con@Home.