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Comic Cons help Anthony Michael Hall keep it real

Longtime film and movie actor Anthony Michael Hall is one of dozens of celebrity guests scheduled to appear at Motor City Comic Con this weekend

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Actor Anthony Michael Hall can’t wait to meet you.

Not only has he been participating in comic cons across the country for several years as a media guest who meets fans, takes photos and signs autographs, but he’s gotten his Hollywood friends involved, too.

“I really fell in love with these conventions,” he told The Detroit News via phone this week. “We do them year round now because I just love hanging out with the people, away from Hollywood and New York.”

As a teenager in the 1980s, Hall played Rusty in “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and nerdy characters in John Hughes’ films “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club.” The same year he co-starred with Molly Ringwald and Emilo Estevez in the latter, and he also starred in the science fiction classic “Weird Science.”

For many of these pop culture and comic events that he does — including this weekend’s Motor City Comic Con at the Suburban Collection Showplace — Hall enlists his “Weird Science” co-stars Kelly LeBrock and Ilan Mitchell-Smith to join him. Fans can meet the actors individually or pose for a photo with all three for a higher price.

He said he got his two ex-co-stars involved with the con circuit via his own Iconic Management talent booking company.

“I pulled them both into this,” he said. “I started doing this and we loved it so much we started pulling friends in. So Kelly and Ilan, they’re doing these things year round.”

Hall said he likes to leave his booth when he can to look at the work of the comic artists, and he enjoys looking at the costumes and the family-friendly aspect of comic cons.

This weekend’s Motor City Comic Con has many actors and pop culture figures scheduled to appear. Fans can purchase photo ops or autographs. For example, it’s $40 for an autograph from or photo with Hall. Tom Payne, who is currently starring as “Jesus” on “The Walking Dead,” will cost $50 for an autograph or $70 for a photo. “I Dream of Jeannie” star Barbara Eden is $40 or $50 for a signature or photo, respectively.

“The bottom line is you have to be a person. Man, it’s a great reminder, you know, you just have to have fun and enjoy people and the experience of it is great,” Hall said about meeting fans. “I make money at these things, but the bottom line is the exchange with people is so awesome.”

Hall, 49, takes this realistic approach to acting these days, too. He takes the craft seriously, of course, but he readily admits that it’s a job.

“I’m a workman about it,” he said, citing fellow actor Danny Trejo, who told Hall he looks at acting like a mechanic telling him “I go where the work is.”

Hall agreed but acknowledged his “privileged beginning.”

“I start working with Mr. John Hughes, and you know it really kind of spoiled me because then after I had to become an actor,” he said, adding later that while the entertainment business is a “wonderful thing to be a part of ... I’m not beholden to it and it doesn’t own me.”

Hall’s role starring in the USA Network’s “The Dead Zone” series from 2002-07 is what got him started in the science-fiction/pop culture world of comic cons. After that he bounced around appearing here and there on “Community,” “CSI: Miami” and the Ben Affleck film “Live by Night.”

His most notable role as of late is in the upcoming satirical war film directed by and starring Brad Pitt. “War Machine,” out on Netflix on May 26, stars Pitt as Gen. Glen McMahon, a character loosely based on Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Hall co-stars as tough Gen. Hank Pulver, who is said to be loosely based on General Mike Flynn.

“It’s funny because the character originally had another name ... it was like Burger or something ... and then they changed it cause they saw what I was bringing,” he said. “Pitt started calling me ‘the pulverizer,’ just egging me on as my boss and co-star.”

“He’s everything that people think he is; he’s a real prince,” he said of Pitt. “He’s very responsible on set. He’s a really great guy, and I really learned a lot watching him every day, to be honest.”

Hall said he also shot some projects in Detroit over the last few years, but nothing he cared to name.

“I really love the D; it’s a great city,” he said. “People are real, and raw, it’s a great place. I look forward to coming back.”

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2402

Twitter: @melodybaetens

Motor City Comic Con 2017

Comic guests: Allen Bellman, Andrew Day, Bang! Media, Bernard Chang, Clare Kolat, Dave Acosta, Dina Karim, Frank Cho, Jerry Shirts, Katie Cook, Kyle Baker, Nicola Scott and many more.

Media guests: Anthony Michael Hall, Kelly LeBrock, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Sean Astin, Dennis Rodman, Barbara Eden, Kristy Swanson, LeVar Burton, Rob Schneider, Ron Perlman and “Walking Dead” actors Austin Amelio, Ross Marquand, Khary Payton, Michael Rooker, Scott Wilson and Tom Payne, plus many more.

Suburban Collection Showplace

46100 Grand River, Novi

motorcitycomiccon.com or (248) 426-8059

12:30-7 p.m. Fri., 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Sat. and 10:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Sun.

Admission: $25-$40 daily pass, $75 weekend pass. $10-$20 for ages 6-12. $199 VIP fan pass.

Photo opps: $10-$295

Parking: $5-$30 (cash only). $2 shuttle service available from Novi High School