As much marketing hype gets unleashed on its attendees every year, the San Diego Comic-Con really is about fandom – the convergence of members of a community who share interests, dissect minutiae, and champion their obsessions. In May, one of their biggest obsessions – The Avengers – made a historic splash at the box office, and it continues to grow both in financial success and esteem as its theatrical window starts to close and release on home video approaches.
To commemorate both Comic-Con and the film’s enormous appeal, Marvel Studios invited fans to participate in a scavenger hunt which led them to a screening of Item 47, a “one-shot” short film which appears on The Avengers Blu-ray (read our report on the screening here). The following afternoon, Movies.com sat down with the film’s stars, Jesse Bradford and Lizzy Caplan, for a fun conversation about their own fandom.
Movies.com: How geeky are your appetites?
Jesse Bradford: Mine are pretty nerdy, frankly. I mean, I’m not a big comic book nerd, but I love cartoons. Guitars – that’s what I nerd out on, guitars and like weird rock-and-roll trivia and information.
Lizzy Caplan: “I just like nerd out on information.”
Movies.com: You’re like Neo from The Matrix.
Caplan: (laughs) In so many ways. I mean, I don’t necessarily consider myself a nerd, but I play a lot of Ping-Pong – I find that to be extremely wonderful.
Movies.com: Is there an obsession you have, or something you could easily get drawn into a four-hour conversation about?
Caplan: I can’t imagine caring about anything so much that I could talk to somebody for four hours about it.
Movies.com: Well, I only have three hours and 50 more minutes of questions, so I hope you’re ready.
Caplan: Oh my God.
Movies.com: Do you like music, or movies, for example?
Caplan: I’m a huge reality television connoisseur – I find it completely fascinating. Fascinating!
Bradford: What’s your favorite?
Caplan: Well, I don’t totally want to blow my cover about what kind of stuff I watch. But I feel like I watch it in as intellectual a way as possible – I analyze these ridiculous shows.
Bradford: Can I just throw out one and we’ll talk about it later – Hoarders?
Caplan: Not a Hoarders watcher.
Bradford: God, I could watch Hoarders all day every day for the rest of my life.
Caplan: I don’t like the ones where the people have like serious psychological problems.
Bradford: No, they’re the best ones!
Caplan: No, I can’t do it. It gets too dark.
Bradford: It gets so dark! I love Hoarders, man.
Caplan: Although like Gold Rush Alaska, that’s great. They give up everything – everything! – they have trying to strike gold in Alaska.
Bradford: I bet nobody does it.
Caplan: Well, I don’t want to spoil it for you.
Movies.com: By the way, it’s great to hear you say you’re not geeky. Because nerds hate it when extremely attractive actresses say, “Really, I’m extremely awkward, and I like all of this comic book stuff.”
Caplan: I know who you’re talking about when you say that. I totally agree with you, and I find that people who identify proudly as nerds, then you’re not really a nerd. It’s not like this badge of honor.
Bradford: It isn’t a pleasant experience.
Caplan: It’s like, “Oh, I’m sorry your childhood was so rough.”
Movies.com: Or in my case, adulthood.
Caplan: Oh, well, video games – I enjoy video games. That’s something. But I’m not like, “Yeah, I’m f**king playing video games and I hang out with boys all of the time! I’m so cool!”
Bradford: You don’t make it part of your identity.
Movies.com: You should talk like that more often, though.
Caplan: “Man, I’m such a nerd!” Like I’m in a bikini and high heels, going, “I’m such a geek, guys.”
Bradford: I like that the fan base here is so knowledgeable, and so deeply immersed. They love all of this sh*t so dearly – and you’ve got to respect that.
Caplan: Yeah, it’s a lovely thing. It’s a lovely thing that you nerds like. I feel like it’s important to add to that though that I don’t think I’m cool, either. I just float in the ether.