Being the geekiest panel at Comic-Con's Hall H takes some work, but for our money, the honor goes to the LARP horror-comedy "Knights of Badassdom" and their Saturday nerdfest. For the uninitiated, LARP stands for "Live Action Role-Play," so picture Dungeons & Dragons with costumes and foam swords on a battlefield off a highway somewhere (you'll recall some of this from the subplot and ending of "Role Models"). Before the panel began, actual LARPers in costume led the audience in a shout of "huzzah!" and director Joe Lynch clearly was in awe of his film's Hall H presence, walking on stage and saying, "Holy shit! Hall H rules!" Clearly ecstatic over being at Comic-Con as a presenter rather than an attendee, he said, "I'm LARPing right now, I'm role-playing, I'm a director. That's what we're trying to get across right now: that you can be someone else."
However, this film appears to have far more humor than his last directorial effort, "Wrong Turn 2: Dead End." "Knights of Badassdom" stars Ryan Kwanten ("True Blood") as Joe, a LARPing newbie who joins his experienced roommates Hung (Peter Dinklage) and Eric (Steve Zahn) after his girlfriend Beth (Margarita Levieva) dumps him. A spell the LARPers cast accidentally awakens a succubus in Beth's body (now known as "Succubeth"), and she's hungry for nerd flesh.
"Oh my god, we're making 'Braveheart,' but with foam swords," Lynch said of the attitude on set. "The point is we wanted to make sure that it was faithful to the LARPing community as possible. If one person grabs a foam sword at the end of the movie, we've done our jobs." "Knights of Badassdom" also stars Jimmi Simpson ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"), Danny Pudi ("Community") and, much to the delight of the Comic-Con audience, "Firefly" alum Summer Glau. Though Levieva's Succubeth is the film's primary villain, Simpson's character isn't one of the good guys, even though he's a fellow LARPer. "He's a terrible man. Spoiler alert," Simpson joked. "I play a lot of terrible men, generally. I wanted this guy to be different, so Joe and I discussed that he could wear a headband. So he's a terrible man with a headband."
Best known for playing another nerd, Abed on "Community," Pudi said, "I think Abed would be in this movie. This has been the year of Dungeon and Dragons and LARPing for me....I think he would have loved this movie. He would also be great at keeping track of who was really dead."
And how about those deaths? No one in the primary cast is safe thanks to Succubeth's hunger. "We actually did the scene where I had to eat [someone's] heart," Levieva said -- and we've redacted the name to save you from the spoiled fate of the Hall H audience. "And I ended up biting through it, and the prop guys were like, 'What happened to the heart?' 'Well, I ate it.'" Her director agrees that the "Adventureland" actress really went for it. Lynch laughed: "Margarita was like, 'More blood! Put more blood in my mouth now.' "
"Game of Thrones" actor Dinklage ruled the LARP training that the cast did before filming began. "The Dinklage destroyed us all," Lynch said. ""It's made of foam," Dinklage explained of his weaponry and his go-getter attitude. "You don't have to be safe. There's no safety meeting."
Lest real LARP enthusiasts be worried, Lynch and the cast were nothing but complimentary about the numerous, real LARPers in the film."Those LARPERs were the best scene partners in the world," Michael Gladis ("Mad Men") said. "They're the soul of the film." And Lynch definitely knows his audience; from the screams and knowing laughs for LARP inside jokes, there were more than a few fans in the room. "The whole film is about wish fulfillment," Lynch said. "Be all that you can't be. Where else but Comic-Con?"
[EW Photo Scan from Dread]