Friday, September 11, 2009

'Pirates' on deck at D23 Expo

When looking to introduce your upcoming movie slate -- even to your biggest fans -- it always helps to have a pirate on your side. Especially if that pirate is Johnny Depp.

Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook announced today at the D23 Expo in Anaheim that "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" is on track to be the fourth film in the "Pirates" franchise and will open in the summer of 2011.

But, in this case, it wasn't what he said. (In fact, his exact words were: "And ... am I forgetting something?") It's how he said it.

At the close of the presentation "Disney Movie Magic: Inside the Disney Studios," the triptych of screens above Cook flashed the movie's title as the silhouette of Capt. Jack Sparrow sitting on a wrecked ship slowly revealed arguably the world's favorite pirate. (Capt. Hook was knocked off his perch once Johnny sauntered on deck.)

"Pirates of the Caribbean?" Cook asked Depp, who remained in character.

"I remember it," Depp quipped.

With the audience on its feet, at turns screaming and clapping, Cook continued, "Probably time for some rum."

"OK," Depp answered, eyes gleaming. "That's why I'm here."

Cook unveiled a glittering roster of stars during the presentation, held in the Anaheim Convention Center's arena. And we're not talking just one or two.
Those who made their way on stage included Robert Zemeckis, Tim Burton, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Jerry Bruckheimer (photo, left), Nicolas Cage (photo, right), the Muppet menagerie and Miley Cyrus (photo, center), who belted out her latest song, "The Climb."

Depp actually made an earlier appearance in the presentation, if only on screen, when Burton introduced his upcoming movie "Alice in Wonderland," which also stars Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter.

When Cook asked Burton about the actors involved, Burton said that he was happy to have great actors -- "great actors who don't mind looking ridiculous."

Referring to Depp, who plays the Mad Hatter, Burton continued, "He likes dressing up. But this will be the first movie where he looks exactly the way he really does."

Zemeckis arrived to tout his upcoming movie "A Christmas Carol," a 3D motion-capture movie starring Jim Carrey. (CC and I caught the film's train exhibit, which I posted about in May.)

"It's a timeless story," said the "Back to the Future" director. "It's a timely story, and a time-travel story. And you know how much I love time-travel stories."

In a poignant public return, John Travolta, Kelly Preston and their daughter Ella Bleu made a family-style appearance to chat about "Old Dogs," which stars all three of them (Ella Bleu's movie debut) alongside Robin Williams.

Travolta expressed his happiness about the movie and that it was a family affair.

"I've got my baby in it," he said, referring to his daughter. "And my other baby," he said while looking at Preston.

"It's a dream come true for me," said Preston, "because this is Ella Bleu's first movie, and I get to be with my beautiful husband."

Even Ella Bleu said this acting thing "is so much fun."

So, speaking of family, you might be wondering where the rest of my brood was while I was watching Hollywood A-listers walk on stage, one after the other.

Well, Ian and CC decided a two-hour-plus presentation wasn't for them and instead hit the convention center floor, where they danced to Radio Disney tunes, took pictures with Donald Duck, had a tea party inside one of the seven dwarfs' houses and generally rocked out to all that Disney had to offer, including the Baby Einstein playroom on the second floor.

All in all, it was an exciting day. I also got to hang out with a former colleague, Diane Garrett, who's been chronicling the four-day D23 Expo here.

D23 Expo (The number 23 represents 1923, when Disney got started)
Sept. 10-13
9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

The Anaheim Convention Center
800 W. Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92802
Tickets can be purchased here.


Pokie said...

Love, love, love CC on the red carpet. I wonder if we will be seeing more of this in the future???? Just don't become one of THOSE moms please. :)

g said...

Only recently discovered the magic wonderland of donuts that is L.A.

Great blog.

L.A. Story said...

Yeah, she looks pretty comfortable on that red carpet, huh? :)

And yes! LA is definitely a wonderland of donuts! Happy eating. :)


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