After standing on line for an hour, I finally got in to the Empire Stage 1-E for the Birdman panel (which was probably the panel I was the most excited to attend). When the time came, moderator Chris Hardwick was introduced. He then showed the first 10 minutes of Birdman (which were awesome). Afterward, stars Michael Keaton and Edward Norton were introduced. Keaton talked about how he was offered his role (director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu wouldn’t tell him about the movie until they met in person). Norton talked about wanting and getting to meet Inarritu. They agreed that the movie feels like one continuous shot. Keaton joked that he’s been giving lectures on how the movie was shot. He also said that he feels the movie is so good that he’s actually seen it in its entirety more than once (something he doesn’t usually do).
Norton said that he saw Birdman in the exact same theater that David Fincher had screened Fight Club for him 15 years ago, and that he walked out after the end of each screening with the same reaction: “What did I just watch?” Keaton said that he was proud of the Batman films he did with Tim Burton. He also said that Inarritu was uncompromisingly bold with his approach to Birdman. Norton said that his character has a love/hate relationship with Keaton’s character (with an emphasis on hate). Norton described the two as two roosters who’ve been thrown into a pit to fight each other. Another clip from the film was shown, and Hardwick joked that Norton spends a lot of his time on screen in his underwear. Keaton said that he felt the film was about ego and how it can get the best of people.
Norton agreed, then added that all of the characters are fully three-dimensional. He felt that director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki made as great a technical achievement with Birdman as he did with Gravity, and that film schools will be dissecting Birdman for years to come. Keaton talked about working with Emma Stone, who he felt was great to work with. He said that their scenes were funny but hard to watch. He also said that the rehearsal process was very in-depth. Norton mentioned that he grew up on graphic novels. Keaton talked about the first time he met with Tim Burton to discuss Batman. One more clip from the film was shown, followed by the theatrical trailer. Keaton and Norton thanked everyone afterward for coming to the panel. I went to the back after that to get a NY Comic Con exclusive Birdman poster. I then went back to get a seat closer to the front for the next panel.