Yeah, “breathless” works.
We survived another New York Comic Con. And despite our aching bones and astronomical sleep debt, we still exited the Javits Center ever so slowly and reluctantly last night.
Our priority for Day 4 was our favorite debut series for the 2013-2014 TV season. We had the chance to interview the cast and crew of Sleepy Hollow at NYCC 2013, early on in our love affair with the show. They triumphantly returned to the Con this year, packing the Main Stage for the final panel of the day. Last year, they barely packed the Empire. Our little baby’s all groweds up and we are proud, proud mamas.
– It was another SUPER early morning at the Javits as I got there just after the doors opened at 8 AM (Sage was a mere 10 minutes behind me. This coming from different directions thing is the pits. Kickstarter for us to buy our own headquarters?). At this point, I was running on nine hours over sleep over the past two days (it was MY choice to go dancing with my girls the night before, no regrets!) but I was super jazzed to have a Sleepy Hollow day to close out the convention.
I was in the first 25 or so people in line for the panel and it was amazing settling in with my fellow SleepyHeads. Everyone was very excited for the panel and the front cluster of fans were all ladies who knew each other from Twitter. They even brought Ichabod’s favorite treat, Donut Holes, to share with the line! As I sat down and chattered away, one woman looked at me and said “You look familiar.” Knowing that the Sleepy fandom has been incredibly supportive of this site, I said “Do you read Head Over Feels?” “YES!” she exclaimed. “You’re Head Over Feels!! Oh my gosh!” It turns out I was smack dab in the middle of a group of some of our most faithful readers as I was then met with cries of delight from everyone around me once they knew who I was. I have never felt so rewarded in my life (I actually texted my mom saying I felt like a rock star). It was amazing and so incredible to put faces to Twitter Handles (especially Liz, who runs @TomMisonFans) and to hear real live feedback from our readers. It also made the hour and forty-five minute wait a LOT less painful being surrounded by lovely people. I know you guys are all reading this, so I can’t say it enough. Thank you for not only making my morning, but for loving our Sleepy coverage. It means the world to both of us.
– Once our spot in the Sleepy panel was secured, we made our way back around the Queue Hall to get our wristbands for the Dreamworks Animation presentation. (Gotham, unfortunately, conflicted with the Sleepy press session.) The studio presented exclusive content from two of their upcoming films: Home and The Penguins of Madagascar. We did some research on the whereabouts of Benedict Cumberbatch, just in case. He seemed to be in London, having lately been heavily promoting The Imitation Game. But he had been at SDCC with Penguins, and, at a convention where George Clooney can just pop by mid-honeymoon, anything can happen.
– No Benedict cameo – I think Dreamworks knew we didn’t have the fortitude to survive it, after all we’d been through. But we did meet some of the stars of the film. I don’t know who was more delighted that the penguins were working the panel line: us, or the many children in attendance. Actually that’s a lie – it was us.
– We needed a lot more energy from the USA Today moderator that morning. I’m not sure what about her monotone screamed “madcap cartoon adventures!” or how people get these gigs, but let me just say that we can make ourselves available next year. The actual panel consisted of Home director Tim Johnson and Penguins co-directors Eric Darnell and Simon Smith. Between clips, all the directors discussed the origins of the movies. Home is adapted from a children’s book that Tim Johnson read to his kids. And Penguins exists because people really fucking love those penguins. Best part of the Madagascar films for sure.
– Home looks sweet enough, with Jim Parsons voicing a rogue alien who falls in love with the human race. Rihanna plays his human sidekick and, based on what we heard, I think she should stick to putting out 16 singles a year. Voice acting just isn’t one of her talents.
– Penguins looks way more entertaining and adult-friendly. We saw an extended clip as well as the first six minutes of the movie. No spoilers, but we see how our heroes broke the mold and became the action-oriented birds they were born to be. We also saw a bit of John Malkovich’s villain, Dave the squid, and BC’s secret agent wolf. In a rare moment of connection, we heartily agreed with the moderator who best described his presence in the film: “This wolf is a bit of a fox.”
– After another quick walk through Artists Alley, we headed up to the press room for the Sleepy roundtable. The room looked fuller than last year, with more crews and journalists interested in talking to the stars and creatives. Again: proud mamas. On our way in, we were handed two new pieces of tie-in merch: an original novel called Children of the Revolution and a notebook written in his own voice, The Secret Journal of Ichabod Crane. We can’t wait to devour them both and report back to you. (Note from Kim: I did a few dramatic readings from Ichabod’s Journal on the dealers floor earlier in the con. It’s amazing and there are limericks.)
– Press Line Photo Spam Time!!!
– We had the chance to speak with Executive Producers Len Wiseman and Mark Goffman, writer Raven Metzner, and stars Lyndie Greenwood (Jenny Mills), Orlando Jones (Frank Irving), and Sakina Jaffrey (Sheriff Leena Reyes). We’re assuming that Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie are still filming in Wilmington, since an injury of Nicole’s halted production for a while. They were missed, but we still fangirled out in their absence. (Kim: Also, given the fact that our seats were literally sitting next to the talent, I think the universe KNEW that I would be incapable of sitting next to Tom Mison. Sorry guys. It’s my fault he wasn’t there.)
– In response to Kim’s question, Lyndie, whose eyebrow game is even stronger in person, talked about what her emotional scenes with Abbie have done for her as an actress: “I have this very vibey, emotional approach to acting. I don’t like to get too much in my head about things. So I don’t even really realize what’s happening until afterwards, and then sort of reviewing it is where I get my lessons.” She also praised her scene partner Nicole, who she says is “incredible.” Obvi, we agree.
– Raven seemed to tease a romantic development for Jenny, as he talked about Lyndie’s glamorous, lighter side and how he and the other writers wanted to see that come out in the show. Date night with Irving, perhaps?
– “Jenny has learned how to trust again because of her relationship with Abbie and Crane and I think she really looks up to Crane, and she respects him. And, um…but she thinks he’s ridiculous, as well. So there is that sort of sibling sort-of poking fun. It’s great. It’s delightful.” – Lyndie answering my question about Jenny’s relationship with Crane.
– Both Raven and Lyndie pointed to episode 5 as a tentpole episode for Jenny. They spoke about it as if it really opens up a brand new side to the character. So we wants it now. Lyndie also talked about how protective she feels of Jenny, because she considers Jenny her second life.
– When asked about the pacing for the season, Raven said “I still feel like each episode, we want you to feel breathless when it’s over, and that’s our goal.” Lyndie thinks that the breathlessness comes from the fact that the show also has grounded moments – it’s never moving too fast for the audience to catch up and learn the characters.
– Few experiences are more fun than being in a room with Orlando Jones. He’s having the time of his life on this show and wants everyone around him to know it.
– We all told him he looked sharp, and his response was, “I mean, I know how to put on clothes. Not like I’m braggin’. So…occasionally I get it halfway right.” But really, he looked super fly.
– On Frank’s blood contract with Moloch: “Permission to speak frankly? Shit is fucked up….I know I should have read the contract, but I submit to all of you, who read the last iTunes contract when they did the update?”
– Len Wiseman has all the cuts of the show at his house so he had to keep checking with his colleagues to see which versions had aired. Soooo…movie night at Len’s house?
– “What you guys have clearly built is a a character unlike any police captain I’ve ever seen, who’s really going through an emotional journey of both family and redemption. But he’s broken and part of it, I think, is his past haunting him in the sense that my daughter is handicapped and I feel responsible for that and everything I’ve done to try to get ahead of that 8 ball has just not gone my way. But I love the fact that, no matter how it goes, he just keeps trying. I love his commitment to trying to be a better man while it all falls apart.” – In case you’re wondering whether Orlando gets it or not.
– Kim: “Frank made a big sacrifice for his family in last season’s finale. Are we going to see them come back?” Orlando: “You will see my family.” Kim: “Soooon?” Orlando: *SASSY AS HELL* “I can’t answer allll your questions about when stuff gon’ happen. You know this! You know this! I don’t know why you over here trippin’ right now, come on.” (Kim: This answer was also accompanied by him hitting my leg. BEST ROUNDTABLE SEATS EVER.)
– Asked about the chemistry between Mr. and Mrs. BAMF and what’s going to happen with them in the future, Orlando made pleading eyes and Len and begged a little bit: “Come on man. Throw me a bone.”
– Orlando on the new Sheriff: “I’m a huge Sakina Jaffrey because I love what she did on House of Cards. How does Irving feel about her? She don’t know what’s going on!”
– Sakina Jaffrey was a late addition to the convention team and a really great one. Her character’s motivations are nebulous at this point, which she addressed: “All I can tell you is that she believes in her mission…She’s good as far as I’m concerned. The way I’m playing her, she is good and she is right. But then my friend said, ‘Bitches always think that!'”
– Coming from House of Cards, Sakina is new to the supernatural genre: “I’m so new to this whole world and I just feel so blessed that I’ve met it finally.” She also called Crane “Ichie,” so…one of us. ONE OF US.
– On villainy in its many forms: “You could call Frank Underwood a monster. I think it’s actually a very similar world. There’s chaos in Washington and there’s chaos in Sleepy Hollow. They’re not that different.”
– Goffman: “That’s actually why we knew we could cast Sakina for this part. Because as tough as we could make her, we knew that she could bring a humanity to her.”
– Sakina was wearing fabulous red shoes, which she told Kim not to steal. Basically everyone at NYCC had their eye on Kim. (Kim: she DID tell me where I could buy them though. And that they weren’t expensive and they would look good on me and she spelled out “YSL” (the brand) on my leg with her finger, so basically, we’re best friends.)
– Super fancy reserved seating tickets in hand, we made our way back down to the Main Stage for the last time. I spoke a fair amount yesterday expressing my displeasure in the training of the NYCC staff. While most of the volunteers have been lovely, we encountered some nasty staff members over the course of the con. We got to the queue hall right as they were beginning to load the fully packed line into the hall. Our fancy tickets were meant to send us directly into the line, but the Staffer we showed them to had no idea what they were, demanded to see our wristbands, and ordered us to the back of the line. We stood and firmly but not angrily tried to reason with him (because we were right) to little avail. Just when things were beginning to get heated, our friend from the press session that we had walked down with flagged down another staffer, who promptly let us into the queue. When we got IN to the hall, we started to make our way to the reserved section when another staff member tried to block our way, saying everyone needed to go down the other aisle. We flashed our tickets and had to explain to him exactly WHERE the reserved section was before he let us pass.
End of story: get it together with educating everyone, guys.
– One thing that was consistently great in the main hall was the Warm-Up comic that entertained the crowd in between panels. We did panels in the main hall almost every day and he kept his routine fresh and entertaining the whole weekend. It’s not an easy job to basically vamp for 15 to 20 minutes before a panel starts and the team of the Comic and the DJ did a stellar job. Hire them again, NYCC!
– A highlight of the pre-show entertainment was when they brought two cosplayers (including a Fem Star Lord, a very popular choice over the con) to have a dance off. The Star Lord was a little shy in fully letting loose with her moves, while her competition was truly dancing like no one was watching. “She has misplaced her Give a Damn,” the comic explained to Star Lord. An excellent life philosophy.
– When the panel started, Orlando made short work of charming the crowd. Sakina was asked if she had been hazed at all, being a new addition to the cast. She said she had not, but Orlando took that opportunity to inform her that she HAD been hazed. “First of all,” he said to Sakina, “I’m not talking to you right now. You put me in jail and now my mom is mad at me for perpetuating a stereotype.” When Lyndie tried to talk about Jenny’s complicated relationship with Sheriff Reyes, he stopped her and said “Are you forgetting she put you in jail too?” This Man is a monster of charm and he must be stopped.
– I was very surprised when the moderator then said we were going to see the first half of the episode that would air the next day. The entire crowd was…and it was amazing to watch it with a room of crazy SleepyHeads who all reacted to the same things. As you’ll see in Sage’s recap later this week, the episode did not disappoint. The presentation ended at a perfect stopping point for the episode that had the crowd SCREAMING for more. “Want to see the rest of the episode?” teased Mark Goffman. The crowd cheered. “Tune in tomorrow night at nine.” Well played, you bastard.
– Mark said that with Season Two being 18 episodes, they are going to air 11 episodes straight through December (NO BASEBALL HIATUS GUYS!!!) and then come back for an uninterrupted 7 episode run (probably in February? Mark didn’t have a date). The season is currently building towards a spectacular midseason finale, so keep your eyes on Episode 11.
– Len and Mark also said they were incredibly proud of the Season One finale and how Sleepy Hollow has had the ability to knock fan expectations on their heads, but still keep it to where you can look back and see that the seeds were planted the entire time. Nothing is unintentional or accidental in Sleepy Hollow. Pay attention to everything.
– Len and Mark stressed how it was always very important to them that they have some sort of scene where Ichabod encounters the oddities of the Modern World. Later this season we’re going to see Ichabod encounter a yoga studio…and much to the delight of the crowd…KARAOKE. No one was more thrilled with this news than Orlando, who cackled about that for the rest of the panel.
– We learned that Ichabod’s famous Donut Hole rant (Len’s favorite Ichy Modern World Moment) was added in when they found that the episode was a little short on time. Other favorite moments the panel mentioned included the Yolanda scene, the Ichabod vs. scotch tape moment (which Len actually thought had been cut, proving that he really DOESN’T know what airs in the final cuts), and Ichabod not knowing how to reverse the ambulance when he rescued Jenny in the season two premiere. Orlando’s favorite moment? “I can already tell you it’s going to be karaoke.”
– During the fan Q&A, a person who had been in the press session, got up and asked for the panel to sign the book we had all been given. I thought this was tacky for MANY reasons, principally that he was a member of the press and had just had an hour with everyone on the panel and therefore took time away from another fan (which is always my biggest pet peeve in Q&As). Secondly, everyone knows you don’t ask for signatures. The warm-up guys TELLS you not to do so. So this member of the press is throwing massive amounts of shade at you, sir. Bad form.
– When a fan asked the cast what they would do if they turned out to be villainous, Orlando said “Honestly, I’d like to get Moloch pregnant. Maybe my love would turn him.” Someone get on that fanfic, STAT.
– “Very special bugs shooting this season,” Sakina said, when asked about shooting on location in the woods. “I cover myself in DDT and I STILL get covered in bites.”
– On the very impressive Frank sequence in this week’s episode, Lyndie said: “It was shot very close to my house. One day, I was walking along with Katia (Winter) and I thought we had stumbled upon a horrific car accident. Turns out, it was just us.”
– One fan got up and asked if there could be a musical episode, given that Tom and Nicole were excellent singers. The panel was flummoxed by this news. “I know Nicole can sing,” said Lyndie. “It’s TOM that I’m concerned about.” Len promptly pulled out his phone and said he was texting Tom about this. Minutes later, Tom replied, much to the delight of the crowd. “There are many things you don’t know about me” was his PERFECT response. I can even hear him saying it in my head.
– “If he’s a dancer, I need to see Tom Mison drop it like it’s hot.” Orlando Jones, winner of this panel.
– One fan got up and said what the whole room was thinking. “Len Wiseman, you are FINE.” Len, bless him, took it in stride. I mean. You can’t argue with a factual statement.
– The panel ended with Team Sleepy expressing their gratitude to the fans. Much like the cast of The Walking Dead, you can tell that the Sleepy Hollow cast and crew truly is a family, given that they all shoot and live together in Wilmington for 7 months out of a year. There is a lot of love and a LOT of hard work on that set, and they are so grateful that the fans love it as much as they do. Here’s to the rest of the season!
– We swept through the floor one last time to take advantage of some exhibitor fire sales; grabbed a few last-minute cosplay group shots; and then left NYCC 2014 for the final time. Luckily, we had some support for the comedown. Liz organized a Sleepyhead meet-up at (where else?) The Headless Horseman pub down near Union Square, where we reunited with the ladies we met in line as well as others. We swapped stories about our press session experience and some other fans’ surprise cast run-ins; geeked out over the incredible first half preview of tonight’s episode; and cheered every time the promo aired on the bar’s big screen.
– Sleepy is a relatively young fandom, but it’s a fantastically welcoming one. We’re always surprised to hear that people look forward to our coverage, so thanks to all the Sleepyheads who shamed us on our way out for our late recap of last week’s episode. It’s a humbling compliment. (And look! Kim got the recap up, so your shaming worked!)
– After the Sleepyhead meet-up, there was one thing left to do: pack ourselves in on Kim’s couch for The Walking Dead premiere. No spoilers here, but let me just say that I didn’t think I had enough emotion left in my body after the previous four days to feel the things that I did. (Also, check out our Instagram for our DELIRIOUS pre-episode video, which is a damn delight.)
Thanks to everyone who rode along with us as we tackled another New York Comic Con! There’s no experience quite like sharing your love for stuff with over 150,000 strangers. We love everyone in this bar. See you next year.