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.
After Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, it took almost 20 years for a new Superman film to be produced and released to theaters. During that time, DC Comics’ parent company, Warner Brothers, officially announced several different versions of their plans, but it was only Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns that came to fruition. The official announcements made fans think about the future of the character, leading to a number of rumors, only a handful of which were even remotely substantiated. Thanks to Kevin Smith, we know a great deal about one of the potential films, but even then, there were rumors of Will Smith playing Superman, Will Smith playing Lex Luthor and Will Smith playing Lois Lane. Perhaps one of these might have been a true studio consideration, but nothing was ever official.
As principal photography has finished this week, there have been even more outlandish rumors leading up to the June, 2013 release of Man of Steel. As fans, we’ve learned to differentiate rumors from official WB announcements, but some may still be true, while others have already been completely debunked. How are the film’s followers to keep up with it when we see a complete story breakdown one week and might miss the retraction the next? Well, look no further. Here’s a look at the rumors from the past months and whether they’re real, fake or still undecided.
First up we have www.IMDB.com, the Internet Movie Data Base, which operates just like Wikipedia where anybody who signs up can alter the updates. Several weeks ago, Jadin Gould was added to roster as a young Lana Lang and Jack Foley as Pete Ross. Both are characters from the classic Superboy comics who grew up in Smallville. In addition, Cooper Timberline and Dylan Sprayberry have been listed as younger versions of Clark Kent at ages 9 and 13 respectively.
The most surprising reveal is that Robert Gerdisch will play a young Whitney Fordham, which is similar to Whitney Fordman (with an “M”) who was an original character played by Eric Johnson in the first two seasons of TV’s Smallville. There’s also a chance that “Fordham” was simply a typo, so either name may stand in the film. Warner Brothers has not confirmed him, although it does seem likely. Gerdisch’s IMDB page hosts a photo of him with Man of Steel director Zack Snyder. He and some others have also been confirmed by their agents with Superman Super Site.
Let’s also remember that the movie has been filming under the title “Autumn Frost” in order to throw off mobs of followers. When Superman Returns came out, the audience was led to believe that Lois's son Jason was Richard White’s biological offspring, and not Superman’s. We could be in for a surprise.
The original date for the film’s release was December, 2012, but last summer, Warner Brothers officially announced that it would come out on June 14, 2013, giving the filmmakers additional time to work on post production. As the holiday 2011 season was ramping up, word got out that the studio had returned to their original time slot, but there was never anything to this rumor.
December, 2012 was never anything more than an arbitrary date. Both the studio and the filmmakers always intended to put the movie out in the summer. 2013 happens to be the 75th anniversary of the character, but that had little or nothing to do with the decision. Plus after the success of The Lord of the Rings, few major film franchises want to compete with The Hobbit. We can’t be sure where this came from, but it went away as quickly as it arrived.
Lex Luthor Appearance
Bradley Cooper was rumored to play a cameo role as Lex Luthor, presumably to set up the character for future sequels. Cooper is best known for his leading role in the Hangover films and a lengthy stint on TV’s Alias. The first time I heard about this, it was one of my editors asking me if I thought it could be real. I said no.
First, there’s nothing wrong with Cooper’s acting, but I hardly put him up to the caliber of the main cast in Man of Steel. Zack Snyder and his team have clearly looked for the most talented, trained and versatile actors to play the key roles for this film. Traditionally, casting Lex Luthor requires taking that to the next level and casting someone who doesn’t just play evil well, but can show every aspect of the character, including the part that can make the people of Metropolis love him.
Although we have no official confirmation either way on this rumor, Kurt Orzeck, a veteran Hollywood reporter claimed on Twitter that he could guarantee it was false.
I still believe it’s unlikely that Luthor will be in this film, even in a cameo, because even if Nolan, Snyder and possibly Goyer have an idea where the sequels might go, they’re working hard to complete the one film and they won’t trap themselves and cast such an important character until there’s a completed script that includes him. Many fans on the unofficial Man of Steel Facebook page are clamoring for Billy Zane, but I expect this creative team will still aim higher. If I were in charge of casting, my first choice would be Jason Issacs.
Professor Emil Hamilton
According to Variety, Richard Schiff will be playing Professor Hamilton in the film. Schiff mentioned in an interview with IAmRogue that he was cast over the summer, but wasn’t filming until the final six weeks. He also said he had scenes with Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Christopher Meloni, but stayed tight-lipped about the character itself.
In the comics, Hamilton spent most of his appearances as Superman’s go-to science guy who would often provide the deus ex machina explanations about how the villains could be stopped. But before he grew into that role, he first appeared in Adventures of Superman #424 and #425 in 1987 where he went mad from Lex Luthor stealing his patents, kidnapped a hooker and threatened to kill her. Let’s just say that prison can change a man. Later, in a mystery story from 2004-2006, Hamilton’s brain had been fried from too many trips to the phantom zone and he gave the Man of Steel a hard time as the super villain Ruin. The character was also tried twice in TV’s Smallville, appeared several time in Superman: The Animated Series from the late 1990’s and was in an episode of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, but once they used him for a one-time story, that creative team brought in someone named Dr. Klein to fill the scientific-explanation role.
So which version will we see? This film’s m.o. so far seems to be new takes on old characters while still paying homage to what has come before. This means that Hamilton’s character could be anything and everything we’ve seen before, hero or villain, or something different all together. And once again, Warner Brothers has not issued an official statement on the casting, but since it came directly from the actor, we should probably go ahead and believe this one.
Entire Plotline Leaked!!
I was so excited when I was searching online and found what might have been the entire plot of the film written out as a treatment at Comic Book Movie. It was epic and imaginative, plus it contained several moments that readers could confirm from the leaked photos taken by fans while the film was shooting on location because security couldn’t always block off every viewpoint.
I was excited because I knew it was fake and I intended to write out a lengthy annotated version that explained what I knew to be missing or incorrect. Last summer, I spent a day on the set where I learned a great deal about the film that I’m under an embargo not to discuss until Warner Brothers says so. Unfortunately, another knowledgeable writer beat me to the punch.
I went to sleep that night brainstorming how to tackle this article, but when I awoke, the author had come forward. It turned out that it was simply a lark written for fun by someone with the screen name “Vadakin.” He (or she for all I know) wrote it based on what little is known of the film. It was his/her idealized version of the plot that was never intended to fool people into believing it was real. Somebody found it, thought it could be real, and posted it.
The story is actually a very fun read and since we can all be assured that it contains little to no real spoilers, I recommend taking a look. The complete text can be viewed here.
Amy Adams Nude Scene
This rumor didn’t last long and didn’t spread properly. It seems a twisted fan decided to start this one out of sheer boredom. Although we can expect a PG-13 MPAA rating, we can also expect no nudity beyond Henry Cavill’s bare-chested scenes. There is zero chance that Amy Adams will appear topless in this movie, and I have proof.
I was so amused by some of these rumors that I started this one myself just to see what would happen and how hard it would be to gain the title of “unconfirmed source.” Nothing came of it, but it made me giggle.