Who is Salt? That’s the question surrounding the next film up at the Con. Although, to be honest, the answer seems pretty obvious to us: It’s Angelina Jolie, who’s here alongside director Phillip Noyce, Priducer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and improbably tall spellcheck nemesis, Liev Schreiber. The trailer for Salt gets people into the spirit of things and it's straight into the panel.
It probably goes without saying that Jolie’s entrance causes a geekgasm of tsunami-like proportions as she walks onto the stage. She’s the biggest star at this year’s Con and the fans here gave her a suitably A-list welcome, screaming an assortment of largely unintelligible greetings – most of which we’re assuming were complimentary. The person to Empire’s left is bouncing up and down like some kind of incontinent jack-in-the-box and… yes, he appears to be crying. At this point we’re feeling a little uncomfortable.
Schreiber steps in to joke that the recent US/Russian exchange of spies was the most elaborate marketing exercise for a film he’s ever seen. Oh Liev, you wag you. There’s little preamble from the host and it’s almost straight over to the audience. Hats off to the procession of fanboys who queue up behind the mike, all of whom have so far managed to keep themselves under control when faced with the object of all their sweaty fantasies. Hang on, this one looks a bit stalky…. No, no it’s all right, he just wants to know if she hurt herself while doing her own stunts.
“Actually yes! I had to jump through a door and shoot sideways and I rolled right into a desk and split my head open. I was bleeding everywhere! I thought I had a concussion and couldn’t hear anyone but it turned out I still had my earplugs in from firing the gun. So I was fine!”
Isn’t she charming? You know, if this laptop wasn’t so cumbersome Empire might just get up to ask something inappropriate ourselves. That is unless…. Yes, definitely dodgy this one – just look at that facial hair. He’s approaching the mike, he’s opening his mouth. And… nothing. Whatever he was going to say he got cut off by the guy who vets potentially rapey outbursts and the host hastily redirects one to Phillip Noyce. Nice save.
Another one for Angie. We missed the specifics but it went along the lines of “why are you so great, I think you’re awesome.” Hard-hitting stuff, this. Paxman could learn a lot. “Angie, I love you!” Says the next one. Oh come on, we’re pretty sure that’s not even a question.
A few queries about filming process and the shoot follow, but let’s be honest, these are all thinly veiled excuses for people to talk to Angelina – Honestly, do they honestly think a question about camera technology is usually prefaced with “uhhhh, this one’s for Angelina”? Unfortunately the host insists on reassigning them to Noyce and Di Bonaventura so they can feel like they’re contributing. Denied!
A guy in a Punisher costume has just asked what firearms Jolie got to use. There’s applause for his commitment to character but by the slightly crazed look on his face we’re beginning to think it was a serious question. Perhaps someone should call Homeland Security. Still, Angie’s game for it.
“I got to play with just about everything,” she says. “Including a fire extinguisher in a way I had never thought to use it. I’m picking up just about every gun, picking things up off soldiers and stuff. Hand-to-hand was my weapon of choice though, you know we’re basically just running around and punching each other.”
And with that image the Most Beautiful Person In The WorldTM leaves the stage. Or at least she tries to – about a third of the hall immediately rushes the stage to try and get a snap of her on their cameras - presumably planning to photoshop themselves in later. Salt is out tomorrow here in the States. Something tells us there will be at least 4000 people there on opening night.