Last night's Knights of Badassdom panel didn't just unveil the movie's trailer; we also got to see a clip showcasing Peter Dinklage's fake sword-fighting prowess. We also learned just who all the characters are in this faux-medieval adventure comedy.
The clip the panel showed is called "Training Time", and it features Peter Dinklage's Hung teaching Ryan Kwanten's Joe the LARP rules of sword-fighting. Hung's preparation involves ingesting a big bag of shrooms and doing some light limbering up in front of their van. Hung brandishes twin swords and tells Joe to pick up his own sword, but Joe is distracted by fellow LARPer Gwen, played by Summer Glau.
Just as Gwen and Joe seem on the verge of making a connection, Hung bursts in and hits Joe all over the place, rendering him "dead." As Hung pulls Joe to the ground, Gwen yells, "Finish him!", and Hung pretends to rip off Joe's head and spread his guts all over the ground. It's a fun little scene that's nicely elevated by the performances, particularly Peter Dinklage, who really gets across Hung's glee at fake ripping off his friend's head.
The panel also revealed a few key facts about the various characters and how they all fit together. Ryan Kwanten's Joe is the character most people are going to identify with - he's not a member of the LARP community, and he's only there because his best friends are trying to help him get over a brutal breakup and the continued failure of his heavy metal band. While he finds the whole LARPing experience strange at first, he quickly starts to realize what his friends Eric (Steve Zahn) and Hung (Peter Dinklage) see in all this...at least until Eric accidentally summons a succubus with the help of a real spell book, which takes the form of Joe's ex-girlfriend Beth and goes on a rampage.
Regarding Hung, director Joe Lynch explained the character was originally envisioned as "a fat, 6'4" Asian guy" before the writers suggested they offer the part to Peter Dinklage. Lynch acknowledged that the casting change does rather alter the implied meaning of the character's name. In any event, Dinklage explained that Hung is pretty much the exact opposite of Game of Thrones's Tyrion Lannister, as Hung has a big heart and is "completely miscalculating." Dinklage said Hung is "maybe not the sharpest knife in the drawer," and that he blurs the line between reality and LARPing with a lot of help from narcotics.
Not a lot has been revealed about Summer Glau's character Gwen, but the panel revealed a few key details. Glau explained that Gwen is essentially midway between Joe and the serious LARPers. She's there with her hardcore LARPing cousin Gunther, and she alternately can either get really into the fantasy or be reserved or cool. Glau said she finally gets to play a character who smiles a lot and is basically normal, marking a pretty big departure from her usual roles.
Community's Danny Pudi explained his character Lando has a lot in common with his Star Wars namesake, calling him a rogue, a thief, and a scoundrel - in fact, Pudi said that Lando isn't really friends with anyone, and he's pretty sure the guy just lives in the woods between LARPs. Mad Men's Michael Gladis plays the king, and Joe Lynch said Gladis really got his Henry V on, basically turning into Orson Welles when it came time to give the big, rousing pre-battle speech.
Jimmi Simpson - best known for playing Liam McPoyle on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - said Ronnie Kwok is a big departure from all the terrible characters he usually plays, in that now he's a terrible character who wears a headband. Simpson explained that Ron funds the entire battle, and that this gives him status that he could never hope to have in the real world. He explained that Ron considers Joe his rival and sees the LARP as an opportunity to finally best him.
Joe Lynch explained that this movie is all about respecting the LARP community - he declared, "If one person grabs a foam sword after seeing the movie, we've done our job." He explained that the movie is fundamentally about wish-fulfillment, that you can become someone else, if only temporarily, and why that can be a good thing. He also promised an epic heavy metal soundtrack for the movie. In fact, the film's composer - Bear McCreary of BSG fame - has put together an entire metal orchestra to score the movie.