Gene Hackman may have retired from acting, and lead a mostly private life since stepping back from the Hollywood mainstream, but he made time to relay a humorous anecdote about Superman director Richard Donner, honoring the legendary cinematic icon after his passing.
When news of Donner's passing broke on Monday, social media was flooded with sympathy from fans, colleagues and many of the stars the director had worked with and influenced over the decades including Antonio Banderas, Steven Spielberg, Zack Snyder and many more.
Gene Hackman, who played Lex Luthor in Superman, mourned the director with a more traditional interview, being someone who has never felt the need to join the social media train. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Hackman remembered this.
"I showed up for the first day of make-up tests for Superman with a fine Lex Luthor moustache I'd grown for the role. Dick, wearing his own handsome moustache, told me mine had to go. He bargained to lose his if I did mine. True to his word, he celebrated my last razor stroke by gleefully pulling off the fake whiskers he'd acquired for the occasion. Dick made it fun, and that's why the films turned out that way, too."
Hackman's memory of the director is not the only story to resurface following his death, as a clip of Richard Donner speaking in a "making-of" documentary about the movie was shared between a number of fans. In the clip, Donner recalls his reaction to learning just how much money Marlon Brando was being paid for his part in the film, which amounted to $3.7million and an 11.75% profit cut for the grand total of 13 days work in the role of Jor-El, Superman's father.
"When I first came on the picture and I heard how much Marlon Brando was paid for it, I was really upset, because it seemed like much more money than anyone is worth," Donner said in the documentary. It was later he would correct himself and confess, "But then working with him and seeing him on film, to me, he is underpaid."
The passing of Donner saw many producers, directors and stars reliving their own memories of him, how he had either helped them into the industry, championed their work or simply added some inspiration with the movies he made. While there are many directors who are often said to be hard to work with, Donner seems to have been one that would always go out of his way to make sure that everyone was given a chance to do what they wanted in the industry, and if he could help them, he would.
Marvel boss Kevin Feige posted a heartfelt statement, detailing how Donner helped get him his first office job in Hollywood, an nurtured him through his early years. Justice League director Zack Snyder simply commented that Donner "helped me believe". With such a public outpouring, it is clear to see the great loss that has come from the death of Donner, and it seems like there is a big hole in Hollywood following his passing. This story originated at The Hollywood Reporter.