Jeffrey Taylor is a staff writer/moderator at The Superman Homepage, co-host of From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast, available at the Superman Homepage, iTunes and The Superman PodcastNetwork.You can find his new Man of Steel Countdown column here at Movies.com every other Tuesday.
As the year closes out, it’s amazing to think about all the things that have happened in the world of Superman on film in 2011. January began with rumors that Natalie Portman knew nothing about the rumors concerning her potential casting as Lois Lane, and Jon Hamm finally put to rest the that he had NOT been approached to play the Man of Steel.
But there was PLENTY going on with the film as the year continued. Most of the cast has been announced and principal filming is almost complete. Even though 2013 is shaping up for “The Year of Superman,” 2011 was certainly a good year for fans.
Here’s what’s been happening in the world of the new film this fall.
Amy Adams has been photographed on set sporting her traditional red hair instead of the classic brunette usually associated with Lois Lane. So unless some rogue costume designer thought it would be neat to put a brown wig on her, she will definitely be a red-head in the film. Don’t forget that Noel Neill also had red hair in the George Reeves Adventures of Superman TV series from the 1950’s. And that’s the same series that brought us the tag line “Truth, Justice and the American Way.”
Adams also co-starred in the Thanksgiving release of The Muppets. Traditionally, actresses hit big-time stardom AFTER playing the character, and I’m discounting Kate Bosworth from Superman Returns because she wasn’t a) that well known, or b) right for the role.
Julia Ormond was originally cast as Superman biological mother on Krypton, Lara. However the role was recast as Ayelet Zurer, best known for Angels & Demons, Munichm and Vantage Point. Despite an unfavorable and unsubstantiated rumor that won’t be repeated here, the reason for Ormond’s last minute recasting has not been revealed. All we know for sure is that it wasn’t a scheduling conflict directly related to her film work.
Russell Crowe was photographed in costume as Jor-El. If you look closely, he appears to be wearing a suit similar to Superman’s under his Kryptonian armor. At the same time, the photos from Plano, Illinois last summer clearly took place in the middle of a battle, and Superman’s suit appeared untarnished. So we can be sure that his costume is meant to come from Krypton, and not something Ma Kent threw together with her sewing machine.
Crowe also tweeted during his days filming. It appears that Jor-El will have quite the battle on his hands before sending the baby Kal-El to Earth. Also, the classic plotline where Jor-El tries in vain to save Krypton will be part of the film. Although many classic Superman details have been altered, Crowe inadvertently confirmed this one.
In an Entertainment Weekly article with Michael Shannon about playing General Zod, he explained that he would wear two costumes and that one would be skin-tight, just like Superman’s and Jor-El’s, although probably a different color like the black one Faora was wearing under her armor in the photos from Plano, IL. His other costume will be CG based and he briefly explained how uncomfortable the CG suit was.
Shannon also revealed that he was feeling the pressure to live up to Terrence Stamp’s performance in the first two Superman films, but that his version will be considerably different. He found Stamp scary, but he’s taking the role in a completely different direction and doing very little actual research that could hobble his take. By comparison, think of Jack Nicholson’s Joker from the 1989 Batman film next to Heath Ledger’s. In addition, the Phantom Zone will have a completely different appearance in Man of Steel.
Henry Cavill starred as Theseus in the new film Immortals, earlier this month. The worldwide release led to a stint of interviews with the actor for online publications, magazine and TV. Of course they discussed that film, but he also fielded questions about Superman.
Cavill was relieved at the positive fan reactions to his casting as Superman and his look as it was revealed in the leaked photos. He had seen the costume in many incarnations while they were testing different variations, but was excited when he finally saw himself in the completed costume. This also debunks the popular theory that DC Comics and Warner Brothers had planned together to dispose of Superman’s trademark red outer-underwear. A number of fans still believe the comics were changed to reflect the film or vice versa despite claims on both sides that they each came to the decision independently.
That’s it for the big news releases this fall, but there are some huge rumors about the (hopefully) inevitable sequel.
Again, this is RUMOR ONLY. Not to say there no chance of truth to it, but let’s not forget that the first movie is still filming and the filmmakers are busy enough without making decisions for the next installment.
Michael Cerveris (TV’s Fringe) is on the list of actors considered for Lex Luthor in the next film. While the villain for the sequel has most likely not been chosen, even behind closed doors, there’s still a small chance that Lex Luthor could appear in the first film. He most certainly will be part of the franchise, but not brought to prominence until the second film, so it’s a question of casting. If Luthor’s role is large in the sequel, it would be unwise to cast him too early in case the actor is question doesn’t fit the part when the screenplay is finally written.
Speaking of writing, rumor has it that Warner Brothers executives have been highly impressed with the rewrites by the Muroneys (the husband and wife team behind Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) and the assembled footage they’ve seen that they may be interested in preparing for the sequel before the first film releases. Since filming will complete in early 2012 and the release won’t happen until mid-2013, Snyder and the actors could start up again as early as January 2013.
Rumored screenwriters on the top of Warner’s list for the sequel include Steve Kloves (The Harry Potter films), Travis Beacham (Clash of the Titans) and Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi).
Personally, I would rather see Warner Brother cull their top comic writers for the sequels, but it’s too early to guess what will happen. For now, we can only hope that Man of Steel is an amazing film that spawns a successful film franchise.
Next time: I’ll be looking at some of my all time favorite Superman stories that may have influenced the upcoming film and throwing out a few holiday gift ideas for the Superman fans in your life.
What is your favorite Superman story?