With names like Jurassic Park‘s Jeff Goldblum, Rosemary’s Baby‘s Mia Farrow, Robocop‘s Peter Weller, and Smallville‘s Tom Welling, Laura Vandervoort, and Michael Rosenbaum, as well as The Goonies cast members Sean Astin, Ke Huy Quan, and Cory Feldman on hand, there was a little something for everyone.
John Travolta’s Q&A brought out a huge crowd at the Cineplex Events Main Theatre in Room 106 of the north building, as droves of fans piled in for the panel, which was moderated by Entertainment Tonight‘s Digital Reporter Morgan Hoffman.
Compared to most of Fan Expo’s Q&A panels, Travolta’s only ran for roughly 30 minutes and featured no fan questions. A good chunk of the Q&A was spent on Travolta relaying his appreciation for the fan experience, and how that directly affected his performance for his upcoming film The Fanatic. Travolta spoke at length about the film and the creative process behind it, as well as Travolta’s previous relationship with director, and former Limp Bizkit frontman, Fred Durst.
The discussion then shifted to his work process and how Travolta chooses his roles, particularly the freedom he finds in taking on villainous and darker roles. He also spoke on those freedoms being more abundant on smaller projects in which studio interference isn’t as high. All in all Travolta talked about being in a great spot where he is right now, and how appreciative he is of all the love he received during Fan Expo, as he is new to the convention circuit.
With his panel coming to a close, the hall was quickly emptied for the final panel of the day, the anticipated Q&A with the Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi. Easily the biggest Q&A of the event, Whovians (fans of the Doctor Who television series) packed room 106.
The punk rock Doctor made an electric entrance as the crowd greeted the actor with thunderous cheers.
Among the moderator’s questions were some of his favorite deep cut moments of Doctor Who as a lifelong fan of the show, and what makes a good Doctor Who episode. Some of his favorite moments came from the show’s earlier years, which influenced what he finds to make the most compelling aspects of the show: thrills, scares, bad special effects, and a sad/melancholic ending.
He was then asked about his input and influence into this unique look for the Doctor, as each incarnation of the regenerating Time Lord has its own style and quirks. Admittedly, Capaldi wanted something rather simple for his darker Doctor, in contrast to some of the more recent versions. He wanted something slightly edgier and harder, resulting in his rather simple look in comparison to David Tennant and Matt Smith (the 10th and 11th Doctors respectively).
Capaldi also spoke lovingly of Doctor Who production designer Michael Pickwoad, who passed away earlier this year, praising the late crew member for his ability to do more with less. It’s a quality that is essential for anyone working on Doctor Who, as the show is famous for the grand stories it tells, in spite of the small budget the show was given before its revival in the mid-2000s.
After these quick questions by the moderator, the floor was opened up to the long line of fans eager to have their questions answered. Many fans shared their appreciation for his turn as the Doctor, especially those who were introduced to the show thanks to Capaldi. For many, he was their first Doctor and he left quite an impression on many fans.
One of the highlights of this portion of the panel were his recollections and stories of companion and co-star, Jenna-Louise Coleman. During Coleman’s on-again, off-again appearances on the show, Capaldi took the opportunity to have fun with his co-star. He recounted how during the time they were looking for a potential replacement for her, Capaldi suggested a name he knew would annoy Coleman. She in turn showed up to a shoot one day wearing a mask of Capaldi’s suggested actress.
Another fun story Capaldi shared was a period in which he and Coleman had to be separated for different shoots as each actor would be filming different episodes. He revealed that Coleman would send him videos of her singing “All by Myself” on set, in between takes, and he would do the same singing a similarly themed song.
The panel continued on the same themes as Capaldi answered the fans’ curiosity with more behind-the-scenes stories, and hypotheticals involving the show. As the panel came to a close, so did the convention as fans emptied the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, bringing an end to the 25th Fan Expo Canada.
With another successful show coming to a close, here’s hoping to 25 years (or more) of continued fun at Fan Expo. ~Paolo Maquiraya with photos by Joanne Chu-Fook