The panel kicked off with the trailer for Jake Paltrow’s new film Young Ones. Afterward, the panelists were introduced: director Jake Paltrow and stars Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. While discussing the film, Paltrow said that he was more interested in making more of a western rather than a heavy sci-fi film. Smit-McPhee’s character was said to have the biggest arc in terms of the changes he has to deal with along his journey. Shannon said that it was different playing a father now that he actually has kids (he said he approached it differently when playing a father prior to having kids of his own). The robot mule was then discussed. Paltrow said that they tried to give it a personality without actually giving it a personality. They talked about the very real environment that they shot in (including finding a spot on a mountain to go to the bathroom).
Smit-McPhee said that his role was very challenging and he was very excited to take it on. Paltrow said that he settled on shooting in South Africa after plans to shoot in Spain fell through. Shannon, Hoult, and Smit-McPhee agreed that filming in their environment really helped with their characters. Hoult felt that his character was one who felt cheated by the world. Paltrow mentioned that he actually shot the movie on film and anamorphic scope. He tried to find the right balance between the various genres of the film: science fiction, western, and family drama. He also said that his favorite kind of science fiction is the one that deals with issues in a contemporary setting. A clip from the film was then shown, followed by questions from the audience.
Shannon was asked about the spectrum of characters he’s played throughout his career (specifically from Take Shelter to Man of Steel). He said that one character was subtle and one character was definitely not so subtle (he mentioned that being the general of an entire Kryptonian army doesn’t leave much room for subtlety). Paltrow described Shannon’s character in Young Ones as a heroic father. The actors talked about what drew them to the script (the story and the characters). Shannon talked about his characters from Revolutionary Road and Take Shelter, then joked that General Zod makes a cameo in Young Ones. The cast also talked about the scorpion-catching that went on during filming in the South African desert. They then thanked everyone for coming. Fans were instructed not to rush the stage after the panel, but half of the audience did so anyway.