GR COMIC CON 2015: Mark Ryan Panel

Photo via @markryan243 on Twitter

Photo via @markryan243 on Twitter

When I walked into my first night at Grand Rapids Comic Con 2015 on Friday night, I had not planned on attending actor Mark Ryan's Q and A session. We were running late and I wanted to take in as much of the Con itself as possible, preferably whilst eating copious amounts of Tom + Chee. Luckily life had other plans and as I wandered past the room hosting Mark Ryan, I was drawn in by the sound of laughter and a British accent. God, I am a sucker for accents. 

Ryan was both engaging and interesting. One of the first things he said the surprisingly sparse crowd was "Ask me questions or I'm just gonna start asking you!" He held good to his word and would begin singing or pointing people out when there was a lull in discussion. Mark also expressed a great sentiment - that he loved being around fans because he is a fan. He shared a story about meeting Sir Anthony Hopkins as a great example of his own fandom. Stories were a hallmark of this Q and A, with no quick replies from Ryan on anything. He didn't just explain, he informed.

Promotional art for King Arthur: Director's Cut (2004)

Promotional art for King Arthur: Director's Cut (2004)

The best moment for me personally was hearing him talk about his work on the 2004 film King Arthur. Ryan was the fight director and sword master for the movie, one whose Director's Cut both Grant and I feel is criminally underrated. He shared stories of custom crafting blades to fit the actor's styles, working with the over 900 extras on set and even got into the Disneyfictation of the film. See, the theatrical version released by Disney which essentially tanked had no blood, gore or balls to it. It was a plain, vanilla version of the film. However the director's cut, which has an R rating, is phenomenal. Blood, gore and plenty of balls (not literally) made the R rated version far superior and Ryan spoke to that plenty. 

Mark fielded plenty of questions about his work with Michael Bay, who he mentioned repeatedly was a really nice guy and easy to work with,. His love for his character on the Starz pirate series Black Sails was great to hear and his description of the work as "being dressed like pirates and just blowing shit up" got a big laugh out of the whole room. When asked about his Transformers work, Ryan was equally enthused. The man clearly loves his job and it shows in his words and his expressions. 

Mixing humor with trademark British charm and wit, Mark Ryan did an excellent hour with fans. He was actually told it was time to stop, but continued to treat us to a song. For a panel I admittedly had no intention of attending when my day started, I am glad I wandered into that room. Thanks Mark Ryan and thank YOU British accent. You win again.