SAN DIEGO: It was whisky-a-go-go at San Diego Comic-Con Thursday as Halle Berry downed a huge glass of neat bourbon during a boozy panel for her new movie “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.”
The sequel to 20th Century Fox’s hit 2014 spy thriller sees its heroes from the “Kingsman” secret service team up with their American counterparts, posing as liquor distillers.
So moderator Jonathan Ross handed out a bottle for the cast and crew to share onstage.
But while Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum poured themselves mouthfuls in shot glasses, Tatum half-filled a pint glass for Berry.
The panelists and Ross taunted Berry, chanting “Chug! Chug! Chug!” as the crowd cheered — so the 50-year-old Oscar winner stood up and finished off her drink in one go.
“‘Kingsman’ and Fox films would like to remind you to drink responsibly, not like Halle Berry. She’s a professional, she can handle it,” quipped Ross, a British TV host and the husband of “Kingsman” screenwriter Jane Goldman.
While Berry spent much of the panel with her head in her hands, thousands of fans in the San Diego Convention Center were treated to exclusive footage from the US$140 million movie, which opens on September 22.
One high-octane sequence saw Egerton’s character Eggsy speeding in a taxi cab through London before careening into a lake, while in another he trades blows with Tatum, who still has the physique he sculpted for the “Magic Mike” films.
While he has clearly bulked up for his own role, Egerton admitted that he was “nothing in terms of strength” compared with his co-star.
“All I will say is don’t get into a fight with Channing Tatum,” he added.
The panel kicked off an afternoon of sessions in the 6,500-seat Hall H — the nucleus of the four-day Comic-Con convention, where big-name stars drop by to promote their films and TV shows.
Other highlights included a Q&A with the cast of “Teen Wolf,” — which is set to end its six-year run on MTV in October — and a sneak peek presentation by Netflix of David Ayer’s new action-thriller “Bright.”
“Teen Wolf” showrunner Jeff Davis delighted Hall H with audition footage of the main cast from before the show’s 2011 debut, as well as a new trailer made exclusively for Comic-Con.
Next up, Ayer and his star Will Smith flew the flag for Netflix, which has come in for criticism for premiering movies simultaneously on TV and in theaters — unlike Amazon, which leaves a 90-day gap before the home release.
“It’s interesting to be at the forefront of a new way to consume entertainment. I’m extremely excited to see where this thing goes,” 48-year-old “Independence Day” star Smith said.
Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight,” “Dunkirk”) said in an interview with IndieWire earlier this week that he would never work with Netflix because of its “bizarre aversion to supporting theatrical films.”
But Ayer (“Suicide Squad”) praised the streamer for giving him “all the tools, the resources to make this movie.”
“The environment on set felt like an independent film,” he said.
Since its humble beginnings in 1970 as a convention of a few dozen geeks swapping superhero magazines, Comic-Con has exploded into one of America’s largest and most spectacular pop culture events.
From Thursday it is expected to welcome 135,000 cosplayers, movie executives, sci-fi fans and bloggers to feast on all manner of panels, screenings and other fan events and attractions.
Warner Bros. takes over Hall H for two hours on Saturday, with comedian Chris Hardwick hosting, to pull back the curtain on its highly anticipated slate of both DC Comics movies and non-superhero offerings.
The lineup will include Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” based on the Ernest Cline novel, with the legendary director himself appearing alongside Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn and T.J. Miller.
Fans are also hoping for more footage from the long-awaited “Blade Runner 2049,” Alcon Entertainment’s sequel to the 1982 cult classic, which goes 30 more years into the future.
Stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford are expected to attend as well as Robin Wright, Lennie James, and director Denis Villeneuve.
From the DC universe, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher will talk all things “Justice League” and there will be an early look at director James Wan’s “Aquaman.”
On the television front, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” returns to the convention on Friday to celebrate its penultimate season as the world’s most successful TV show.
Meanwhile AMC will stage panels devoted to “The Walking Dead” and its spin-off, “Fear the Walking Dead” zombie horror shows, which are both on breaks.