FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention (Fall 2019)

Another year, another FanX. This year’s major headliner was Tom Holland. They haven’t announced attendance numbers (yet), but traditionally the Fall show draws between 75,000 and 110,000 people. It certainly seemed crowded enough.

Christina Ricci Panel

Famous for her childhood role of Wednesday Adams and such movies as Casper, Sleepy Hollow, and Penelope, Christina Ricci comes across as a really nice person (it could be an act though).

When asked if she would like to play Cat Woman opposite Robert Pattinson as Batman she said “yes!” When asked if she had a Disney live action role she would want to play she said “Tinkerbell.”

One audience member asked how someone could get into childhood acting, her reply was “first, turn 18, then go to college, then try to get into acting.” She lamented that her childhood was spent going to auditions and having to work summers, when all she really wanted to do was go to the mall and hang out with her friends and get to have a mainstream adolescence.

Another audience member asked her how working with Tim Curry was, she replied that she has never worked with Tim Curry, though she did buy a house from him.

“To this day I have never watched the original Adams Family TV show”

Charles Martinet Panel

Charles Martinet is primarily a voice actor famous for having been the voice of Mario, Luigi, and other Nintendo characters for the last 30 years inside the video games.

Charles doesn’t want to get political (his words, not mine), but then proceeded to promote his own political views onto his audience, such as free college education for all, and “only do work that makes you happy.”

He did tell a tragic story about a colleague of his in his first acting class in college. He noticed the person had a stutter, and asked him “have you always had a stutter?” To which the person said “no” and recounted this event. Apparently for the guy’s 21st birthday party they went to a comedy club in Vegas, the kind of place where the comedian singles someone out and makes fun of them for the whole show. Well, he was singled out (because it was his birthday) and the “comedian” just made fun of everything he could think of, while the audience was laughing. The victim said that every joke told, he just felt a little smaller inside, the next day he woke up and discovered he had a stutter.

Charles said after hearing that, he has tried to never be negative or be unkind towards people. He feels that is a terrible thing to do to anyone.

“It’s a me, Mario. Yippie!”

John Eaves

John Eaves is a TV and film illustrator, graphic designer, and story-boarder. He has worked on every Star Trek film since The Final Frontier, and has worked on every Star Trek TV series since The Next Generation. 

I’ve been on a couple of Star Trek panels with John in the past, so I asked him privately at his booth about Picard. He said he had just finished his work on the show a couple of weeks ago. He said from a production design standpoint, it was the most complicated Star Trek he had ever worked on.  Talking to another panelist, he said they just started production on Season 3 of Discovery about the same time that Picard wrapped up. Discovery’s code-name was “Tennessee Honey.”

In a panel titled Storyboards and Concept Art for Films, which he participated in with Leo Leibelman, he mentioned that the easiest way to get into the film industry (particularly production design) is to become a production assistant. If you get in on the ground and put in your time, and they like you, they will then help you get unionized and into bigger roles working in the film industry. 

“If someone calls you and asks you to work on a James Cameron movie don’t do it, he is a mean guy.” 

Tom Holland Panel

As the show headliner, it was expected that Tom Holland’s Saturday morning panel would be popular. In anticipation of this, FanX held a lottery (for people who applied) in order to get reserved seats into the Grand Ballroom. Myself, and the people with me, were not part of this lottery, so instead we waited in the overflow line, arriving 2 hours early, to make sure we got in. 

Spoiler alert, we did get in, and were seated about half way back from the stage, which meant all the rumors that were would be no overflow space, and that the lottery was way overbooked were all false. 

All panels at FanX are 50 minutes long. Tom Holland’s panel started 20 minutes late. A quick check with my accountant tells me that the audience, many of whom, like us, had waited in line for 2 hours, only received 30 minutes (or 60%) of the time we expected. No one seemed too put out by this though. 

Tom Holland plays a lot of golf (mostly with his brother) and has been doing that as a hobby for the last ten years or so. The biggest influence he has gotten by working with actors like Robert Downy Jr. and Chris Evans is that even when you are on top and famous, that is no excuse to act like a dick (his words). 

As a two-year-old he was dancing to some song that his mom was listening to. His mom thought he had really good rhythm, and put into dance and gymnastic classes. That was the origin of him eventually getting into acting.  His father is a well known comedian/actor in the UK, and is his biggest role model. His father has been instrumental is helping him deal with the sudden fame and stardom that he has experienced in the last 5 years. 

Between photo-ops and autographs, he said this is the hardest he has ever worked at a convention. My niece went to get both of those, the lines were chaos, and Tom Holland seemed really tired and supposedly didn’t even have time for a short lunch. At $225 a pop, Tom Holland commanded the most expensive photo-ops. My niece said they were taking pictures of a rate of about one every 10 seconds, and they were herded like cattle. 

“Most things you do, you aren’t nervous about, because you don’t know if they are going to be a success or not. But when you do a Marvel movie, you know that is going to be a big deal, so it makes you nervous.” (I had to paraphrase this)


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