By Todd Gilchrist
Friday afternoon Hall H attendees were treated to their second chance to speak to Tim Burton (following his appearance Thursday for Alice in Wonderland), and their first look at the new film 9. Directed by Shane Acker, the film is produced by Burton and Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov, both of whom offered a few insights about their own work as they showcased the results of the first-time filmmaker's adaptation of his own animated short film.
Among the details revealed during the 9 panel:
• The film follows a group of tiny creatures, seemingly constructed from machine parts and bits of burlap fabric, who discover they may be destined to help rescue the human race from extinction, although from what it looks like in the trailer and clips screened, humankind is already pretty close to gone.
• Burton, who previously helmed animated projects – albeit stop-motion ones – told attendees that he wanted to help buffer Acker from the battles that he fought on films like Nightmare Before Christmas, which similarly featured characters who weren't always cuddly or conventionally appealing.
• Voice talent for the film includes Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly, both of whom appeared on the panel, as well as John C. Reilly, Christopher Plummer, Crispin Glover, and Martin Landau.
• In an extended clip, 9 (Wood) and two of his buddies are rescued by 7 (Connelly), a badass one-woman army who decapitates a robotic dog attacker. Unfortunately, 9's curiosity gets the better of him, and he inadvertently activates a massive, spiderlike machine that separates and begins hunting their group. Placed within the scale of a real world but putting them at maybe a foot tall, their navigation of an industrial landscape seems cool and mysterious, even if it turns out just to be a simple assembly line.
• Acker's short was originally done in his garage four years ago, before Burton and Bekmambetov saw the footage and facilitated the feature-length version.
• Speaking of Bekmambetov, the director said he plans to start shooting Wanted 2 in a few months. He conformed that James McAvoy was definitely starring, but said of Angelina Jolie, "he has to find a way to wake up Fox," since she was technically killed at the end of the first film.