We got a chance to talk to James Darling and Se Young Kang, the young couple featured in Morgan Spurlock’s latest documentary, COMIC CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE about their romance, fan culture, and what gets them excited.
To Se Young: How did you feel after James proposed?
As soon as he asked, it was like tears. That was all that was going on. …It was so weird to me because the whole weekend he had been acting so weird and [had been] wanting to get away from me and not wanting to hang out, which was really unusual because we always do everything together. It was a big relief.
James: I was off orchestrating the proposal! In the moment, even though there was so much attention around it, it still felt like it was just us two, and then I had to update the Facebook profile.
Did you have the intention of proposing when you were first cast?
James: There was a casting call on Ain’t It Cool, “share your stories and what you’re planning to do this year at Comic Con”, and I had been thinking about proposing at Comic Con for a couple months and then I just thought, “Yeah, I should do it”! Sharing my plans with the casting people [made me realize that I] can’t back out of this now!
How did you convince Se Young to go along with it without telling her?
James: [We were asked] if we could make an audition tape, [and I thought], “How am I going to play this with her”? What I told her was that since we had started dating at Comic Con the year prior, they were interested in following a Comic Con romance.
Se Young: I think [at the time] I was more [likely] to buy it because we both work in media, so we understood [where we would fit in], you have the comics person and the cosplay person, and we’re the movie people – and we’re dating.
James: So we filmed the audition tape where we kinda talked about ourselves and our interests and our relationship…and then I covertly [added on to the tape with my plan].
How did you guys meet at Comic Con?
James: We were both going to school at UC Santa Barbara. I was just starting my Master’s and she was finishing her Bachelor’s, so we actually met on campus, but we discovered that we were both going to Comic Con…so it isn’t quite true that we met at Comic Con, it was more like our first date.
Se Young: And he was saying (jokingly), “Oh there’s this girl I have to meet up with, I don’t know if I can hang out…”
James: There were a whole bunch of friends, some girl friends!
Talk to us about Kevin Smith and your wedding. What was it all like?
James: We followed up with Kevin Smith’s people and they offered us, he has a podcast where he marries people, Smarried.
Se Young: It’s in this adorable little black box theater in LA, but we wanted a wedding.
James: For both of our families, since we had had the geekiest engagement possible, we wanted to have one aspect of our marriage that was a little more traditional, and we both lived in Santa Barbara, so we lived in a destination wedding [location], but for our honeymoon, Harry Knowles, who runs Ain’t It Cool News, invited us to his Butt-Numb-A-Thon at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin.
What are you guys looking forward to in next year’s Con?
James: Right now, we weren’t able to get tickets!
Se Young: It was so hard!
James: Morgan’s made some promises, but I’m really excited for THE HOBBIT at the end of the year.
What do you think about the scale that the Con has grown to and has the “cross pollination” of fandoms been working?
James: A lot of people like to blame Twilight. I’ve been going for about seven years, and [back then] it didn’t sell out, but since more and more people have become aware of it…
Se Young: I think because geeks are geeks and that’s what we do, we feel very enthusiastic and possessive of the things we like. If it gets some twelve year old girl whose only read Twilight to become interested in something else that’s geeky or gets her into sci-fi or fantasy, I think it’s a good thing. [Yes,] it’s annoying when there’s so many people, but it’s a good thing.
James: I think that because there’s so much going on, you can make the Con whatever you want, but part of that experience is that in order to get into that panel that you really want to go to, there’s something beforehand that you have to line up for and see. Through that, you get…content that you weren’t necessarily seeking.
Se Young: Because you’re next to so many people for so long, whether its in line or [sitting next to them], there’s going to be something you talk about, even if you just file it away for later, [thinking], “I’m gonna go buy that toy,”. I think it’s happening on a smaller scale.
Did you guys experience the stabbing that happened at the Con?
Se Young: [That happened] right before he proposed! It was so scary! They had to get rid of the camera crew because they didn’t want to have cameras there.
James: Everything was delayed! There was definitely, in the immediate aftermath, [I was very uneasy], and I know that…Morgan had to go and…Morgan wasn’t with our crew [at the time] and the only time I saw Morgan the whole weekend was when he came down to Hall H to negotiate to get the camera crew back in. As soon as things started up again…the mood changed pretty quickly.
COMIC CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE is now playing in select cities, and is available On Demand, via iTunes, Amazon, XBOX Live, and The Playstation Network! Make sure to read Brandon’s review from Fantastic Fest!