In 1978, Richard Donner made us believe that a man could fly with his seminal film Superman, starring Christopher Reeve. And the legendary director has been making classic motion pictures ever since. With a resume that also includes beloved movies such as The Omen, Ladyhawke, The Goonies, Scrooged, The Toy, Maverick and of course, the Lethal Weapon series, Donner has definitely left his mark as one of the most popular and successful directors of the 20th century. But Donner, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, hasn't made a picture since '2006s 16 Blocks and he has essentially decided to retire from directing movies...Or at least studio produced projects, for now.
We recently had a chance to catch up with Richard Donner while he was out promoting the 25th anniversary of The Goonies, which will finally be available on Blu-ray November 2nd. The director relayed to us his disinterest in continuing to make films with the current Hollywood studio system, and that at this point in his career he only wants to focus on projects that he is passionate about and can produce independently.
We asked the legendary filmmaker if there are any such projects that he is currently developing that might pull him out of semi-retirement to direct one last time? "I have a script that I am dying to do because it is a Western by Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential). It's brilliant but it is a Western so it is hard to get up. Casting is going to be a bitch," he continued. "It's got to be a young, college age kid from New England. It's brilliant and it's a character study. It's about an incident that happens during the Civil War." We followed up by asking Donner to tease us with the project's title. "The High Lonesome," he replied.
Finally, since Donner is so closely associated with his work on Superman, still to this day, we wanted to find out if he would be involved at all with the new Superman film that Warner Bros. is producing?
"No, they haven't even asked me to read it," he replied, "It's Warner Bros.," joked the director. We followed that up by asking Donner what he thought of the studio's choice to have visionary filmmaker Zack Snyder (Watchmen) take over the franchise?
"Well, I think he could do a great job. You know he's certainly a good director and hopefully he's got a good handle on it," answered Donner. "I mean I thought Bryan (Singer) did a wonderful job with the other film (Superman Returns). You could just do massive action and blow up stuff, but he chose to do the characters more, although he had some beautiful stuff in there. So I hope nobody tries to compete. I hope Zack doesn't try to compete and I don't think he's that kind of director. I don't think he's going to want to compete with the best effects out there. I'm tired of it already. I'm tired of those ... what are those machines? Transformers! Really, I mean they were great but lets settle back people and focus on the characters. The characters in Superman are just wonderful."