Amid a sea of panels featuring sci-fi spectacles and superhero tentpoles, Legendary Pictures came to this year's Comic-Con with a trio of movies that were decidedly "none of the above."
In its Hall H presentation Saturday afternoon, Legendary showcased Guillermo del Toro's gothic horror film "Crimson Peak," opening in October, the horror-comedy "Krampus," in theaters in November, and the big-screen adaptation of the wildly popular fantasy video game "World of Warcraft," which opens next year. Here were some of the highlights we took away.
• Del Toro described "Crimson Peak" as a traditional gothic haunted-house movie with some modern touches. Inspired by his wife and daughters, the director wanted to escape the genre's typical "damsel-in-distress" formula. "It's a straight gothic romance where certain twists are a little more gender liberating," he told the crowd.
• The stars of "Crimson Peak" – Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikoska and Jessica Chastain – were supplied by del Toro with 10- to 15-page dossiers on their characters that offered highly detailed backstories to help inform the performances. "That kind of detail is what we should all do with every character we play," Hiddleston said.
• The Mexican-born del Toro – who has made such varied films as "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Pacific Rim" – said he felt gratified with "Crimson Peak" to be allowed to make exactly the film he wanted to make without compromises: "It needed to be R. It needed to be complex.... For the first time I felt completely free to make an adult movie in the English language."
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• The supernatural-tinged "Krampus" centers on a kind of anti-Santa Claus from European folklore who punishes wicked children. "Instead of bringing presents to good little children, he comes down your chimney, throws you into a sack and beats you with a stick," explained director Michael Dougherty. "Very German."
• Actor Adam Scott, who co-stars in "Krampus" with Toni Collette, described the film as a throwback to creepy-but-funny films like "Gremlins" and "The Goonies." "It's the kind of movie that is very scary – but up until it gets scary it's as if you're watching a 'Vacation' movie or 'Parenthood.' It's a kind of movie we haven't seen in quite some time."
• Showing off several minutes of battle-heavy footage from his fantasy epic "Warcraft," director Duncan Jones – whose previous films, "Moon" and "Source Code," were on a far smaller scale – said he "wanted to make a film which everyone could be interested in," not just gamers, likening his challenge to that Peter Jackson faced in making the "Lord of the Rings" books relatable to a wider audience.
• Actress Paula Patton, who plays a half-human, half-orc named Garona, told the crowd the role was the scariest she's ever undertaken. "You can't research how to play an orc," she said.
• Actor Rob Kazinsky, who plays a warrior called Orgrim, said he has spent an unhealthy portion of his life playing "World of Warcraft." "There was a time when I wasn't in the 'Warcraft' movie, and I was unemployed for a lot of that time and spent it eating cake and playing 'Warcraft,'" he told the crowd. "I lost a relationship, I lost self-esteem. It would all be sad and pathetic if I wasn't making this movie, which has surprisingly made it all OK!"