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Welcome to Sanditon‘s Joel Bryant speaks to Hypable about auditioning with Allison Paige, his frustrations with his character, and what it is like playing the “bad Mayor.”

Joel Bryant portrays bad guy Mayor Tom Parker on Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ spinoff Welcome to Sanditon. While Sanditon is picking up in plot, Bryant took the time to speak exclusively with Hypable about his experiences on Welcome to Sanditon, how he dealt with fan expectations coming off The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and much more.

Hypable exclusive interview: Joel Bryant

What was your audition process like?

I saw the posting and immediately submitted for it. I didn’t recognize the title of the project, but I saw Bernie Su and Jenni Powell attached to it, and that it was a spin-off of Lizzie Bennet. I’d work with those two on anything, and the LBD connection only sweetened the deal.

My manager actually called and said, “Um, I’ve just got a call for this audition. For something called Sanditon.”

And I said, “Yeah. I’m going in on that one.”

He said, “You sure? It’s just a web series-”

“Absolutely! Not only do I know Bernie and Jenni, I know they make good stuff. That people actually watch. And it’s a spinoff of a hugely successful web series. Yes, I’m reading for it!”

The audition was pretty to-the-point. I read for Margaret, Jay and Stuart. At the callback, Jenni and Bernie joined in. Plus, I got to read opposite Allison Paige. It was so fun and so comfortable. There’s nothing better than going into a room where you know people and can play and have fun and get a chance to really nail the part.

Did anyone sit you down and explain the level of fan response that ‘Welcome to Sanditon’ would probably receive, based on ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries’?

Oh yes! That was the whole first half of our rehearsal. When I got there, I met Kyle and Lenne, and then Jay, Bernie and Margaret started giving us the run-down on the amazing fanbase. Truthfully, you learn to take things with a grain of salt in this industry, but their summation – and warnings – were on-the-nose.

What has your experience of the fandom been?

Nothing short of awesome! Which is refreshing in this age of internet anonymity and accessibility. As soon as the first episode aired, it’s been nothing but positive interactions on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, you name it. Of course, anything with the hype of an LBD spinoff would have it’s work cut out for it to meet expectations, but even if they critique, the fans are sincere and invested. And so dang nice. Thank you!

I’ve heard nothing but positive towards us “newbies,” and one of my greatest joys has been following the RP building of Sanditon by the fans from afar. It’s mesmerizing!

I’ve been GIFed, glittered, followed, liked, and welcomed. Even as the “bad Mayor.” This kind of fandom is something one could get used to…

Do you follow your character’s transmedia interactions on Twitter, Facebook, etc.?

I try to follow @TomPofSanditon, but it’s hard. For two reasons. First, there’s just so much to follow with Sanditon and its “residents.” Honestly, I don’t have enough time to invest all 24 hours into it. I do my best to see what Tom’s up to, but there is so much interesting stuff going on in make-believe Sanditon.

Secondly, wow, is he frustrating on Twitter! Which is a testament to the writers. He’s kind of been exposed as being not as “tech savvy” as he thinks he is…which frustrates those of us who have a working knowledge of this social media thing. But he makes me laugh. Which is about the most narcissistic thing I’ve ever said…

Were you familiar with ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ before beginning this project?

Absolutely! Anyone who works in the New Media space was immediately aware of it. There is so much content out there that as soon as something breaks from the pack and becomes a bonafide “hit,” then it turns some heads. I didn’t watch it from the beginning but had to tune in to see what the fuss was about. And it’s place on the pedestal is well-deserved. It’s such a brilliant concept and execution! The good stuff should be unavoidable, right?

What was your previous experience with Jane Austen and ‘Sanditon,’ prior to beginning?

I had absolutely no knowledge of Sanditon. So its concept was lost on me while I was auditioning. And thankfully I’m not the only one, even among Austen-ites, so that statement isn’t totally sacrilegious. As far as Jane Austen goes, I had read Pride & Prejudice and certainly seen its TV and film incarnations, as well as Emma and Sense & Sensibility.

Truth is, I didn’t read as much Austen when I was growing up. I wasn’t necessarily the demographic. I was more into comic books, Ralph S. Mouse, and Choose-Your-Own Adventures. But I’m always re-watching Pride & Prejudice because it has a permanent place on my DVR – with a shout-out to my wife for that one!

Finally, where else can fans find you? Any upcoming projects?

I’m always very active online on Facebook and Twitter. I’m also on Tumblr, LinkedIn, you name it…though I use those less (unless I’m seeing what WTS fans are mocking up on Tumblr). My YouTube channel is just a collection of YouTube vids I’ve done and/or been in. And finally, you can always check out my website. It has more videos, more info, and a direct link to my wife’s work…which is amazing!

Also, if you’re in LA, I’m in a well-reviewed play at the Zephyr Theatre. Hit up The Boomerang Effect for more info on that. I’m in the run until July 13 and it’s Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm.

Photo: Courtesy of Joel Bryant

Sherlock finally made it to Hall H at Comic-Con and the creative team brought a few surprises. Steven Moffatt, Sue Vertue, Mark Gatiss, Amanda Abbington, and Benedict Cumberbatch were on hand to the thrill of fans.

Benedict Cumberbatch and crew definitely know how to work a crowd. Here are the top highlights of the panel that played to a crowd of thousands.

1. Season 4

They are currently two weeks from finishing Sherlock season 4. Cumberbatch said that “a lot comes home to roost this season… it’s ballsy.”

They have 26 pages to film this Tuesday. Cumberbatch states that the monologues are very challenging and take a lot of work.

As for actors’ favorite lines this season:

Gatiss: “Sherlock.”

Abington: Not a line but a beckoning gesture.

Cumberbatch: Can’t say.

Key names for next season (change from doing key words):

  • Moffat: Smith
  • Gatiss: Thatcher
  • Vertue: Sherinford

2. Keeping the show fresh

By not making as many episodes, the creators feel they actually keep the quality. They joked that under normal standards they’ve actually made about half a season of a standard TV show, or 13 episodes.

There are no plans for any other Victorian Era shows. Moffat feels that it would be less interesting if the mind palace returned there.

3. Learning curves and drugs

Gatiss stated that with 90-minute episodes you “really have to put [Sherlock and Watson] through the ringer.” Moffat added that because of this, Watson has to evolve. Watson can’t keep being amazed by Sherlock. As for Sherlock, “he can’t be the weird scary amoral man we met in the first episode… geniuses learn… he has to learn.”

Sherlock’s drug addiction comes back when he is not working. It’s hinted that the addiction will be a bigger issue this season than in the past.

4. The coat and the hair

There is apparently a big debate every year over changing the iconic coat. Sue Vertue wants to change it, and Steven Moffat wants to keep it. Benedict Cumberbatch dove into the debate stating, “I’m quite hung up on the coat…. but sometimes it has to come off.” The audience reaction was predictable.

Cumberbatch joked that he loved playing Sherlock in the Victorian era because of the slicked back hair. In the modern era it takes forever for his hair to get done. On a serious note, he loved the more straight-laced, clipped version of Sherlock.

5. First ‘Sherlock’ season 4 trailer

The teaser trailer featured this phrase over and over: “Something’s coming. It may be Moriarity, maybe not.” Literally every character we know and love looks like they are scared, angry, or worried on an epic scale.

One of the best moments is Mrs. Hudson saying with supreme venom to Mycroft, “Get out of my house you reptile.” Watch below:

6. Improv and family

There is actually, according to Cumberbatch, very little improvisation on set. It’s about how to do what’s there, and not messing with the script. He firmly believes that what is there is what is needed for the show.

Cumberbatch genuinely loves having his mom and dad play his TV mom and dad. Every now and then he can see his mother struggle to call him “Sherlock” and not “Ben.”

7. Mary in the know

Abbington didn’t know she was an assassin until well into the last season. When she found out, she told partner Martin Freeman, “My God, [the fans] are going to hate me.” Despite this, she loves the flawed characters of the series.

8. When will the series return?

No date was given for either the BBC release date or the PBS release date. We only know that it will premiere in 2017.

9. The dog photo

According to Cumberbatch the dog (depicted above) was a nightmare. “The dog wouldn’t fucking move,” he said. The companion was supposed to drag Sherlock all over London, but the dog didn’t like people, concrete, crowds… really anything about an urban setting.

Moffat and Gatiss resorted to writing a new scene on the spot to account for the lack of the dog’s interest in roaming. According to Gatiss all it did was drool on the concrete.

10. Future seasons?

Touching on the future of the series, Moffat stated, “Why is everybody assuming they survive season 4?” Gatiss joked, “We’re skipping season 5 and doing season 6.”

Moffat clarified that — contrary to recent reports — he never said that this season would be the last one (He’s right: All he said was the schedules of Cumberbatch and Freeman are only getting more difficult to work with). Gatiss added that they want to do more seasons, and they hope that they are able to.

Sherlock will be back in 2017. What do you think of the first season 4 trailer?

Marvel presented at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday evening and offered new looks at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and more.

“We only want to come to Hall H when we have a lot to show you,” teased Marvel’s Kevin Feige at the start of the panel. Indeed, they had a ton to offer — including news of a new Marvel theme park attraction!

Everything we’ve learned at Marvel’s SDCC panel

  1. Marvel kicked off their panel with a new logo and updated fanfare by composer Michael Giacchino.

  2. Black Panther had some casting news to share: Lupita N’yongo will be playing one of the guards at Wakanda named Nakia. Meanwhile, Michael B. Jordan will be playing Erik Killmonger. We also received brand new casting news: Danai Gurira has joined the movie — She’ll play Okoye, head of Dora Milaje! Finally, a new logo for the film was revealed:

    black-panther-logo-sdcc-2016

  3. Thor: Ragnarok unveiled a behind-the-scenes look at the new film which included a look at Cate Blanchett as Hela. They also showed a documentary-style clip (think The Office) explaining where Hulk and Thor were during the events of Captain America: Civil War! In it, Thor had a tiny bed for Mjolnir and a crime board that tried to connect the Infinity Stones and discover their purpose. There is also mugshot of Loki. Like Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok had a new logo to show off with a retro looking subtitle:

    thor-ragnorak-new-logo-sdcc-2016

  4. Doctor Strange’s portion of the panel kicked off with a smoke and laser show to introduce Benedict Cumberbatch.

    Tilda Swinton was also at the panel and spoke about the Ancient One. “The truth is, anyone can be The Ancient One,” she said. A clip from Doctor Strange was also showed in which Steven Strange meets Tilda’s character (It won’t be online).

  5. Thankfully, a brand new and wholly epic Doctor Strange trailer was released. Watch below:

    A new poster was also unveiled:

    doctor-strange-sdcc-poster

  6. Next up was Spider-Man: Homecoming. Director Jon Watts described the film as a high school movie about a 15-year-old Peter Parker who’s in the 10th grade. A new clip was unveiled and had a strong John Hughes vibe — Peter Parker is just your average high schooler trying to get through the day. There was also this great moment:

  7. Next up: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which kicks off a few months after the first movie. The entire cast was there to introduce a new scene in which a very adorable Baby Groot helps Yondu and Rocket break out of prison. Baby Groot even has a little outfit! Adorably, the Ravengers — who captured Yondu and Rocket — refuse to hurt Baby Groot because of how cute he is.

    This movie got a new logo as well.

    guardians-of-the-galaxy-sequel-new-logo

  8. Speaking of Marvel’s space dramedy, the studio also confirmed rumors of a Guardians of the Galaxy theme park attraction. It’s called Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! and debuts Summer 2017 at Disneyland’s California Adventure theme park. Sadly, it’s replacing the classic Tower of Terror ride. Check out a behind the scenes video of the attraction:

  9. Marvel ended their panel by confirming that Brie Larson will play Captain Marvel, as was previously rumored. She took the stage to say hi to the adoring audience, and participated in a giant Marvel selfie:

All in all, Marvel had a ton to share. What do you think of all the developments?

DC kept the trailer train trotting along today with an all new trailer for Suicide Squad!

Though Suicide Squad is just a few weeks away from hitting theaters, DC kept the momentum going today with an all new trailer featuring music from the soundtrack, new footage, and a better look at what exactly we can expect from the upcoming villain-focused super hero movie. Check it out below.

The new (and likely final) Suicide Squad trailer comes after surprise premiere of the Wonder Woman trailer and an even bigger surprise with our first look at the Justice League trailer. As with the other trailers today, this one debuted publicly alongside its Comic-Con Hall H premiere.

In this trailer, we hear a lot from Will Smith who plays Deadshot and arguably the most decorated and respected actor among the cast. “They’re gonna blame us for the whole thing. We’re the patsies, don’t forget. We’re the bad guys.” The trailer is jam-packed with all of the villains and their powers and skills on full display.

We also get a better look at the leader of the pack, Jared Leto’s The Joker. “I can’t wait to show you my toys,” Leto’s Joker says while slapping around a man.

Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn also gets a lot of screen time in this trailer. Though, most of it features close ups of her back side, which stays close to the adult, rugged tone of the other trailers we have seen thus far.

There’s no doubt that fans will be flocking to theaters rooting on the bad guys when Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 5th. Suicide Squad features

What did you think of the thrilling, action-packed trailer for Suicide Squad?