SAN DIEGO – Robert Downey Jr. said he wish he could don a Mexican wrestling mask and stroll the Comic-Con floor to check out all the collectible toys and geeky-cool stuff. Peter Jackson joked about ducking out of a discussion with director James Cameron — which drew thousands of fans to the San Diego Convention Center's largest meeting hall — to walk the floor with fewer crowds.
Stars love Comic-Con — and not just because it's a great place to promote their movies. They're moved by the passion of the fans, and it seems to rejuvenate their own passion for working in film.
Fans at the pop-culture convention "not only celebrate fantasy and science fiction and fantastic worlds, but they celebrate each other, and they celebrate their geekness, and there's a sense of solidarity," said Cameron, who premiered footage from his anticipated 3D sci-fi adventure, "Avatar," to conventioneers on Thursday. "And what this group does is they make filmmakers do better. Because if you don't live up to their standards, you're not going to get past this. This is the launch pad right here."
The stars of "Twilight" — Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart — said fans' overwhelming response at Comic-Con helped make their first film such a success. Kristen Bell, a veteran of five Cons, said, "it's the best place for super-fans."
Director Tim Burton, who showed a piece of his forthcoming "Alice in Wonderland," said he first came to Comic-Con as an aspiring filmmaker in the 1970s.
"I saw a slide show for the first `Superman.' People were very passionate about it and it kind of scared me," he said. "It's a very pure form of passion that it transcends business and anything else. Passion is a very good thing. And that's why you make movies that you hope people respond to, and so it's good to see and feel that energy here."
Actor Ben Foster, attending his second Comic-Con, also felt the fear.
"It's a zoo. It's a Halloween zoo," he said. "I have no idea how to process this place. It's funny. And then you have these waves of fear. ... I'm not accustomed to seeing this many people dressed up in samurai outfits and aliens, all in one space."
Comic-Con continues through Sunday.
AP Entertainment Writer Ryan Pearson contributed to this report.