The humans behind Marvel's Inhumans
Stars of Marvel's Inhumans, which opens in Imax cinemas this week, are enemies in reel life but buddies in real life
San Diego Comic-Con, the annual comic book geek's convention, is the logical place to debut yet another Marvel Cinematic Universe show.
And so Marvel's Inhumans got its splashy presentation there last month, boasting the fact that it will be the first TV series to debut on Imax screens.
The first two episodes - shot with the new Alexa Imax 65mm cameras - will run exclusively at Imax cinemas for two weeks here starting Aug 31, before it premieres on the small screen on Sept 29.
According to the Marvel comics on which the show is based, the Inhuman royal family, which had been living on the dark side of the moon, escapes a military coup and flees to Hawaii.
Every member of this race has to go through a process called Terrigenesis once they turn 14, which may bestow them with superpowers or turn them into monsters.
The king of the Inhumans is Black Bolt (Anson Mount, the lead from the western drama Hell On Wheels), who does not speak because his superpower is his voice, which can cause destruction with the slightest whisper.
His younger brother Maximus, played by Iwan Rheon - best known for his turn as Game Of Thrones baddie Ramsay Bolton - gets the short end of the stick with Terrigenesis by losing his Inhuman gene. He becomes, disappointingly, a human with no special abilities.
Perhaps because of that, he is his brother's enemy and an outcast in their society - and conflict ensues.
Marvel's Inhumans had already run into problems with underwhelming panels at Comic-Con and the Television Critics Association press tour, where they wrapped early as the questions from the press were not to the cast's liking.
Journalists who watched an early version of Inhumans found its visual effects and characters lacking.
However, when US actor Mount, 44, and Welsh star Rheon, 32, sat down to talk about the show at the Bayfront Hilton hotel, they were enthusiastic about the show.
How well do you both get along in real life?
MOUNT: Iwan does not drive so he bummed rides off me a lot.
You grow a mutual respect which translates onto the screen. And it is important because the characters do respect each other.Iwan Rheon, who plays Maximus in Marvel's Inhumans, on his relationship with co-star Anson Mount
So we really had a good time getting to know each other, which I am thankful for, because there came a point in the season where we really needed to be able to trust each other.
And I feel like that helped the chemistry.
RHEON: Yeah, it was really convenient to have a chauffeur (laughs). So having those moments really did benefit us.
Maximus loves his big brother dearly. It is just that he does not agree with his policies.
We found some touching moments that you need to find without words. It was a lot of gestures, which I think created a beautiful dynamic.
Anson, how hard is it to act without speaking?
MOUNT: I have lines, I just have to translate those lines and get them into my hands (he uses a sort of sign language).
It was the primary reason I took the role, because I did not think I would ever run up against an acting challenge like this again.
I determined from the get-go that I was going to take it seriously and it was going to be an actual language. I wasn't going to fudge it and just repeat 10 to 15 signs.
I borrowed some of the underlying rules of ASL (American Sign Language). I will show you; I keep it on Google Docs. (He pulls out his cell phone and scrolls through umpteen pictures of signs.)
I just started from day one and kept a glossary throughout the entire thing. It was the most fun yet most difficult part of the job.
Getting your mind-mouth connection into a mind-hand connection was so much harder than I thought. I have to rehearse it to the point that it was in the muscle memory of my arms and hands, so that I could actually pay attention to what was going on in the scene. It was not easy. But I am getting better at it.
Iwan, would you be a good leader in real life?
RHEON: I think I am good with people. I probably would not be a fantastic leader, I am probably a bit too lazy, to be honest.
I like to listen to people and have empathy and allow people space to be themselves and respect everyone. So in that sense, maybe I would be an okay leader. But I would have to work a lot harder (laughs).
Marvel chief honcho Stan Lee, who introduced these characters in 1965, said he tries to create stories that reflect the state of the world. How does Inhumans fit in?
MOUNT: It can serve as an interesting metaphorical platform for the ongoing conversation about migration, anti-immigrant sentiment and this recent rise of a hermetic attitude in the US.
I think it could be a distant and strange enough story to allow that conversation to happen.
What superpower would you like to have?
RHEON: Teleportation. Everyone says flying, but I think teleportation would be a lot easier, although you might get fat because you would never walk anywhere (laughs)."
MOUNT: A lot of people want to be invisible, but I live in New York and I think I would get run over pretty quick.
I really like this world, and I am sort of halfway through this roller-coaster ride, and I would like it to last longer so maybe I would become immortal or something.