Hemlock Grove At Wondercon

Hemlock GroveHemlock Grove the upcoming NETFLIX original series was out in full force Friday at LA’s Wondercon. Panellist included stars Dougray Scott, Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgard, London Liboiron, Penelope Mitchell, Freya Tingley and fan favours from BSG Aaron Douglas and Kandyse McClure.

Producer’s writers and directors included Eli Roth, Brian McGreevy Darren, Mark Verheiden & Lee Shipman.

The series based on a novel by producer Brian McGreevy is a murder mystery the revolves around the residents of a former Pennsylvania steel town. When 17 year old Brooke Bluebell is brutally murdered, any of Hemlock’s peculiar inhabitants – or killer creatures – could be suspects. During the series the investigation into Brooke’s murder exposes the town’s seamier side, nothing is what it seems. 

What is different about Hemlock Grove which will air exclusively on Netflix April 19th is that the complete 13 episodes will be available in one; writer Brian McGreevy described it as shooting a 13 hour movie rather than a series.

The producers say that the series is unlike anything else currently in the genre but Eli Roth paid homage to David Lynch and Twin Peaks as an inspiration. When it came to Werewolf’s Roth said they wanted the transformation to be unlike anything ever seen, he and producer Deran Sarafian described it as almost a birth seen, painful and orgasmic at the same time.

Aaron Douglas said he read the book before being cast in the series and that being on the ground floor of how he believed that TV is now going to be built and consumed going forward is very exciting, NETFLIX have figured it out people want to have it all available all at once.

Hemlock GroveFamke Janssen, and Dougray Scott who play the town’s wealthy hierarchy said that the series was so well written that they finding the characters of Dr Norman & Oliva Godfrey were very easy; Dougray felt that Famke had the character right from the first reading. Dougray and Famke both agreed that their characters are very much in love.

Landon Liboiron who portrays Peter Rumancek of Gypsy descend, said that the story is not only mysteries but also dark and twisted he found reading the book a page turner, he went on to describe the ending of each episode as leaving you with the feeling you have been punched in the face or maybe a light tap. Co-star Freya Tingley said that the series will leave a lot of strings at the end allowing for a second series. Asked about the werewolf transformation scene Landon said he was terrified to see it and he did not know what it would look like but that he was very happy had how different it was.. The key thing they both found was that the series allowed them to explore the characters more that in the book. Freya felt that the series expanded on the book and that nothing was lost from the book only gained.

Hemlock Grove will premiere on Netflix April 19

Hemlock Grove at Wondercon

Defiance Panel with Tony Curran and Jaime Murray at MCM Birmingham Comic Con

Jaime Murray and Tony Curran (Defiance Panel) (4)

Defiance makes for a uniquely immersive property, in that it is both a MMO video game and also an epic sci-fi drama series. Jaime Murray and Tony Curran were at the MCM Birmingham Comic Con to talk about the upcoming TV series that they both star in.

The show follows on from the aftermath of a great war between various races of aliens and humans. With the Earth unstable and a distinct lack of any government, both aliens and humans realise that they’ll have to cooperate if they wish to survive. The frontier town of Defiance is of the few with a sense of order, co-founded by Datak Tarr (Tony Curran), a Castithan who is happy to work alongside other races and wishes for a better future for his family. However, his wife Stahma Tarr (Jaime Murray) wishes to break from the traditional roles expected of her by her caste and at times goads her husband into gaining more control.

“They couldn’t agree how we should look,” said Jaime on her and Tony’s appearance in the show. “They wanted us to look human enough, be the closest to human so you can relate to us, but still alien.”

“Eventually once we got it, it takes about two hours to apply the wigs,” said Tony. “There are other characters there that have more prosthetics, more alien like as it were. We’re alien enough, we do have our own language.”

“I learnt loads of alien,” said Jaime of the new language she had to learn for her character, created by David Peterson who is also responsible for the Dothraki language in Game of Thrones. “Our language is spoken very, very fast. I listened to these tapes and I thought, ‘Oh my God!’ I mean I mess up the English language; I don’t need another language to mess up! I really learnt it, and I just said it for weeks.”

Tony also praised the show’s costume supervisor, Colleen Atwood. “She’s done mainly all of Tim Burton’s movies. She’s incredibly talented. [The costumes had] a nice look to it; it didn’t try too hard to have this alien exterior.”

“The costumes, they ended up being quite period, quite vintage,” said Jaime. “I wear a lot of corsets, I’m often laced into stuff. I need someone else to dress me in the mornings! Sometimes I have to have them come to the loo with me!”

Jaime was asked about working with co-star Julie Benz on the show, who plays co-founder and mayor of Defiance, Amanda Rosewater. “I didn’t have enough with Julie actually,” she said. “I had this scene with Julie in the middle of this town of Defiance, in the middle of the night. I’m quite tall anyway and I was wearing these massive heels because our race is quite tall, so I’m towering over her and I just stood a little bit too close! She kept on backing away. She was like, ‘You’re really freaky you are, you’re weird.’ I was like, ‘That’s the right response to have to an alien in your space.’”

Defiance (Tony Curran and Jaime Murray)A question from the audience had them being asked what it is that draws them to the roles they play. “I’m quite happy being me,” said Tony. “At the same time it’s nice to go down different avenues. I think for any character, it’s finding a character that sort of inspires something in you, even if it’s bad. In many ways with Datak, any attack is a cry for help. I think that’s true of the alien race and it’s true of humanity sometimes, if someone is attacking someone in any way, physical or oral. There’s a reason for that and it comes from a place of pain and a place of hurt. So a lot of that was related to playing Datak, because he’s a bad egg.”

Jaime revealed how after going to drama school she kept getting for the same kind of roles. “When I first left I was very young and they wanted me to play the girlfriend, or the pretty chick, or the girl that kind of ruins your relationship and begins an affair with your boyfriend. I had no interest in those roles. I feel as though I am more of a character actress. Before I went to drama school I studied philosophy and psychology. I actually thought I might want to be a child psychologist, then I realised I was far too narcissistic for that and I wanted to be an actress! But I am very interested in what happens to people to make them make the choices that they make, particularly some of the questionable choices, the difficult choices, the challenging choices. I find rich characters most fulfilling for answering those questions. I’ve been really lucky, I feel as though a lot of the roles I’ve played have been very complex women.”

Another question from the audience noted how there are already a lot of great shows on TV, and so where would Defiance would fit in terms of the audience? “Defiance does not discriminate,” said Tony. “It’s for everybody; young, old, black, white, red, yellow, green… anyone at all. I think what’s going to be interesting about Defiance is it is related to a game audience, but it’s going to stand on its own as a show and as a game. It does have an element of a mass exodus from this other planet in the system to planet Earth. There’s a lot of very cultural, spiritual, religious aspects of it which is interesting to a broad spectrum of older people as well as younger ones.”

“I think there’s a lot of crossover,” said Jaime. “I think that if you like Game of Thrones you’re going to like this. I think that if you like action you’re going to like this. I think if you enjoy Desperate Housewives you’re going to enjoy this, because there’s family drama. If you like Downtown Abbey you’re going to like this, because there’s a caste system and there’s immigrant drama. So I think it’s got a broad spectrum of people it’s going to attract.”

“It’s very Shakespearian in its flavour as well,” added Tony. “I think the sky’s the limit with this show. It can go back in time to before our planet was destroyed, how Stahma and Datak behaved back then. I think the writers of Defiance have got a wonderful template to investigate and I hope that people who like sci-fi, or even just good drama, will watch it.”

Of her character Stahma, Jaime described her as, “one of the most submissive roles I had to play, because she comes from a very repressive culture. But on the other hand she’s an incredibly strong-willed, intelligent woman and she’s now in a new world and beginning to question the constraints she was born into and this man who is repressing her. We’ll see as the seasons progress whether at some point she says, ‘Stick it up your bum Datak.’”

“Well hopefully she won’t do that,” responded Tony with laughs from the audience. “There’s an idea of Sense and Sensibility about these characters. There’s a sort of aristocracy where Stahma Tarr came from. Back in planet Casti Datak was from the ghetto and they would never ever have been able to be together back in their home planet.”

“Maybe you would have been able to serve me or something,” said Jaime.

“Maybe I would be a cleaner or something like that,” said Tony. “But since I flushed her husband-” Suddenly Jaime threw her hand towards Tony’s mouth and told him to shush, and even argued with him in alien!

“Put a sock in it Tony,” cried Jaime.

“No, there’s no spoiler,” said Tony. “We’ve sort of reinvented ourselves since we’ve come to planet Earth. Stahma, she does lose her temper in the relationship; the serpent does come out and Datak’s not used to that. It’ll be interesting to see where the relationship progresses because they’re both quite temperamental.”

Jaime Murray and Tony Curran (Defiance Panel) (5)Asked about what makes them different from specifically other alien shows, Jamie said, “It’s not an invasion show. This is a really interesting and new way to look at how we have to work together, find a common humanity and stop judging each other and conditioning each other and putting other people in a box, labelling people. For me it was a really fresh way of doing that.”

Tony added how with Defiance there are many different layers. “There’s a whole group of new aliens that have been brought to this show that we’ve never met before, and human characters that we’ve never met before. They’re trying to integrate together into this new society. There’s special effects, there’s battles, there’s action, but there’s also backstabbing. It’s very political, cultural; it’s very human in that sense as well. There is that wonderful, fantastical science fiction backdrop, but at the same time there’s very intricate human elements about it as well. A lot of the characters are very well fleshed out. The backstory we have with the alien theology is very interesting with our culture, and also where we’re going to go with that culture. Whereas the Castithans, we’re trying to integrate into society, at the same time we’re very powerful and upwardly mobile people. There’s an aggressive physical aspect of Datak and a more cunning delicate touch of Stahma, and the two of them together are quite powerful.”

Defiance will be broadcast on SyFy from 16 April. 

Falling Skies Panel with Connor Jessup at MCM Birmingham Comic Con

Connor Jessup (Falling Skies Panel MCM Birmingham)

Connor Jessup, star of Falling Skies, was at the NEC for MCM Birmingham Comic Con to talk about his role in the hit sci-fi TV series.

Focusing on the aftermath of an alien invasion, Falling Skies follows a group of human survivors as they work together to fight back. Connor plays Ben Mason, son of Tom Mason. Captured by the Skitters, he is ‘Harnessed’ by them, wearing a device that forces him to do their will. Eventually rescued, the result of having been Harnessed leaves Ben with superior strength, sight and hearing, as well as being able to hear the Skitters communicate via certain radio frequencies.

“When you’re a teenager and you get to play an angsty character, you may as well jump at that,” said Connor of his character. “It was a lot of fun. Especially in the second season too, to go through those slightly more gloomy parts.” While his character is left with a few unique powers in the show, Connor wanted to stress that what’s seen on screen are “feats of movie magic” and he can’t really jump as high or run as fast as Ben does. “I can barely do five push-ups let alone a hundred,” he joked.

Falling Skies (Connor Jessup)On shooting Falling Skies, Connor described how he had previously not done anything action orientated before. “It was an interesting experience, and by an interesting experience I mean it was hard,” he said. “The very first scene I shot in Season Two was the very first scene you see in Season Two, which is this big battle sequence that took four days to shoot. [It] involved me jumping out of a building, stabbing our six legged aliens in the mouth, getting covered in blood, all in one shot. It was a combination of wiring and CG elements and all this techy stuff. It was my first time ever doing something like that and it’s challenging.” Though for Connor, the action itself was not the hardest part. “The most difficult part is not actually doing it, although that’s hard enough, but it’s staying in character while you do it. You’re supposed to be intense. Our director, he worked with Jackie Chan’s stunt team, he worked on a movie with them, and they would go up to actors between takes and they would say ‘Fierce Face’. And so he kept coming up to me after takes saying, ‘You have to keep the Fierce Face.’”

When asked what has been the most fun he’s had on set, he said, “The answer that everyone gives is that the people are the most fun and I hate to fall into cliché, but it’s true. We shoot in Vancouver and all of our actors aren’t from Vancouver so the only people we know in that city are each other. We shoot five months a year so we really spend an abnormally long amount of time together. It just so happens that everybody is kind of cool! So that summer camp experience is a lot of fun.”

A question from the audience had Connor being asked if there was a favourite episode he liked. He cited Season Two, Episode Six, Homcoming, where Ben meets Karen, played on the show by Jessy Schram. “She’s sort of a new villain and she’s become one of the main villains of the show,” said Connor of Karen. “She comes back and pretends to have been cured and rescued. Most of my storylines have to do with my family members, but this was something completely different, so that was a lot of fun to shoot.”

He then revealed one of the reasons why that episode was fun “There’s a scene, a very, very strange hard to watch scene I think, where Karen’s being held in a psych ward, and I go in to give her food and I get spikes on the back of my neck,” this being a side effect of telepathic powers from having been Harnessed. “She activates my spikes and we get… very close. The scene was really that there’s this eerie connection. We did a couple of takes; it was kind of weird but okay. Our director, who has a fondness for pulling pranks, he told her, not me, ‘This take, just kiss him, just to see what happens,’ which in the middle of the take was not expected, and it’s the take that they used in the show. What you see in that moment when you watch the show is very much a cinéma vérité capture of a real reaction.”

However, whereas Jessy surprised Connor with a kiss, Connor accidentally ended up knocking her at one point. “I actually did knock her out in a scene, in real life,” he said. “I knocked her unconscious. There’s a scene where she’s getting all angry, she’s crouched and she’s about to run at my dad and I stop her. Apparently my character has an affinity for grabbing characters around the neck. She runs and I grab her. She’s yelling and screaming and spitting, then halfway through one of her lines…” At this point Connor dropped dead on the stage. “For like five minutes she was knocked out. I guess I cut off her circulation. That was humiliating. All my funny stories are of people getting hurt.”

Season Three of Falling Skies returns to screens later this summer. 

Look out for MyM#6, and get the chance to win a Wii U!

Out in the shops on the 4th of October

You can’t miss MyM issue number 6 on sale on the 4th of October! Ooh have we got a scary one for you this time, with the forthcoming ZombiU featured, set to be the most unique and unusual launch title for Nintendo’s new console. Senior scriptwriter Gabrielle Shrager gave us many more words in an interview about the London-based zombie apocalypse sim. Meanwhile our games editor got to try the game and
make sure that it pushed all the right buttons – he tried to and we think he succeeded!

Rosario + Vampire has a prime slot with its season two pending release, as has Blue Exorcist also featured with its own part two on the way… Looks like there’ll be a couple more DVDs in your collection
to celebrate Halloween 2012! Not to mention awesome coverage of the
anticipated Resident Evil 6 – highly likely to spook up your console
while your DVD player recovers.

And just because it’s Halloween it doesn’t mean everything in the
magazine needs to be about zombies! Oh yes, we’ve reviewed The Raid,
Tekken Tag Tournament, Kotoko and a good bunch of manga too, along
with a delightfully extended look at the ninja in advance of the
forthcoming Ninja Scroll steelbook. But we couldn’t resist the lure
for too long, and had to get involved with Ultimate Zombie Feast and
Zombie Flesh Eaters – they proved too tasty to pass over!

So, roleplayers, in ZombiU you can be the one who slays the zombies
infesting our most beloved Buckingham Palace. But who knows? You might
even be the one to win the brand spanking new Wii U in honour of the
game’s release!

Available at WH Smith and all good newsagents from October 4th – don’t miss it!

New magazine MyM out now!

MyM is the UK’s newest Movies, Comics and Media magazine. dedicated to entertaining and informing enthusiasts of movies, games, anime, manga, cosplay, events and more. Issue Zero was initially let loose on consumers for the first time at the MCM Expo at the NEC 31st March and was subsequently available in goodie bags at Kitacon two weeks later. Additionally some London and Scotland universities enjoyed the oppportunity to distribute some. Nevertheless the availability of MyM has been somewhat exclusive until tomorrow.

MyM issue number one hits the streets nationally on 3rd May. The cover feature (penned by Matt Kamen) previews Tales Of Graces F and gives readers an exclusive interview with Hideo Baba. Anime-wise there’s features on K-On and Bleach (on Blu-ray) and well as another exclusive interview with the two lead Fullmetal Alchemist voice-actors, Vic Mignogna and Aaron Dismuke. Anime reviews of more new and forthcoming DVDs take place later in the magazine. This launch issue also sports a ‘flip-cover’ whereby the magazine is flipped over to reveal a Lollipop Chainsaw exclusive hands-on written by games journalist Vikki Blake. Cosplay receives an unprecedented degree of coverage, meanwhile manga and comics are reviewed too. MyM is front-loaded with a particularly varied and vibrant news-section, and finished off with a very original section called MyMag. In the MyMag section readers can write in, post comments, send drawings, submit their own reviews for publication, or basically anything to do with MyM’s area of coverage they feel they want to put out there.

MyM’s games editor Martin Wharmby wrote, ‘it’s time for a change. It’s time for a magazine with a better mix of all the things you love’ in the aforementioned #Zero sampler. Indeed he has made sure that the games presence in MyM is a significant level and provides a careful mix taylored to the MyM target audience, rather than just all the titles you would expect to see covered in a regular games mag. The magazine’s publisher Tarik Alozdi stated in an interview with trade magazine MCV, ‘MyM is refreshing for the games journos writing for it. That’s because it’s not just another call-of-duty magazine – they won’t constantly have to find something new on a title that’s been covered to death’.

The monthly magazine is available in the vast majority of WHS stores. There is also some availability in selected Co-Op and Spar outlets. It seems there is also some good news in it for village-based readers too, as many local cornershops and independent newsagents have received a supply to put out. The website at www.mymags.net provides a number of services, and this includes a store-finder which readers can use to find their nearest stockist by postcode. The magazine can also be ordered via your newsagent even if they didn’t stock it initially. Furthermore a substantial saving off the coverprice can be achieved by subscribing to the magazine for either 6 or 12 issues.

It’s exciting times for the industry in general. By all accounts consumers haven’t had a great deal of choice for several years, so the arrival of the new publication, MyM, provides magazine readers with an immensely positive and refreshing change.

And for anyone asking, it’s pronounced My-Em!

Portal 2: The Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC

Cave Johnson, the fictional smooth talker and CEO of Aperture Science has had a brainwave and Valve are now set to share it with the world. The new release of DLC for Portal 2 has been long awaited since the last piece which was the further co-operative testing chambers.

Watch below as Cave outlines how he intends to avoid budget issues and bring you into the Perpetual Testing Initiative.

Gamers will now be able to create test chambers no matter the level of skill they have with modifying games. So you don’t need to be a master game coder to feel like Glados. The prospects of the sort of chambers we can look forward to seeing will be an appealing and daunting prospect.

Designed by people who want a stab at being mischievous and those who have spent way too much time thinking outside the box, we can expect chambers for visual stunning beauty, intricate design, devilishly complicated environments and just horrendously over the top ways in which to kill the player.

The DLC is set for a PC and Mac release and will be free on Steam at some point in early May. Possibly due to the control scheme this will not be finding its way to either the Xbox 360 or to the Playstation 3. However I can’t foresee it remaining that way for long when Portal 2 has such a large fan base across all consoles and mediums.

So time to start working together for science because when life gives you lemons; don’t make lemonade, make life take the lemons back! Now you’re thinking with portals.

Source: Valve’s Official YouTube Channel

Neurowear’s Necomimi to sell in Japan at the end of April

Neurowear’s Necomimi first hit the news last year when a prototype was unveiled. The unique headgear had undergone some tests before they went ahead with a commercial version, which will finally be available to purchase in Japan later this month.

Neurowear have announced that their Necomimi will be available for pre-sale at the next NicoNico Summit, held on April 28th-29th at the Makuhari Messe. The pre-sale price is ¥7,900 (around $97 / £61) Following this, it will be available to purchase at NicoNico headquarters in Tokyo Harajuku from April 30th for ¥8,980 (around $111 / £69).

A commercial version for North America has also been completed but no official release date has been set. There is also currently no sign of a European release, though Neurowear claim to be “doing market research and test sales in limited volumes” outside of Japan (as an example of test sales, it turns out that a small batch were sold at Sakura-Con in Seattle some days ago).

Powered by NeuroSky technology, Neurowear’s Necomimi has ears that move depending on your mood. Sensors built into the headband detect brainwaves given off by the wearer, which causes the ears to move and therefore reveals their emotional state, be their interested in something (ears perk up), or relaxed (ears move down).

It takes 4 AAA batteries and will last for four hours of continuous use. It also includes a supportive strap to prevent it from slipping. The ears are interchangeable, with Nerowear revealing that they will be selling different coloured ears, so you don’t just have to settle for the standard white.

Provided it doesn’t sell out, and you have the cash, as well as a reliable contact in Japan, then you might be able to get your hands on one before the London Expo in May!

If you can’t wait till then, and you really want to try one out, then you could make your way to The Gadget Show Live which is running in Birmingham this week, where the Necomimi is currently exhibiting (under NeuroSky).

Are you interested in purchasing one? Do note that the correct answer to that question is YES.

Source: Neurowear