MovieWeb sits down with director Bryan Singer at WonderCan to talk Superman Returns
After a long conversation with over 3,000 fans, Bryan Singer and Brandon Routh retreated to the lower key comfort of a press conference where they went into a little more detail behind Superman Returns.
Brandon Routh had to wait 7 months to find out if he had the role. That was the easy part. As tough as it may have been to film a gigantic movie with a resume of just a few small TV credentials, the real challenge comes in the face of filling the shoes of a pop culture super icon. But in regards to this, and the comparison to Christopher Reeves, Routh states "There's always time for change...There's a lot of things that can change for the better, instead of [assuming] things will always change for the worse... Especially with a character like superman who brings joy and inspiration to the world."
Another man fighting the kryptonite of comparison is director Bryan Singer. With comparison comes expectations: Between his vision and the comic book. Between his vision and the previous movies. Between his vision and entertainment itself. But Singer talks with casual confidence of these things. "First and foremost, I'm trying to make a good film. We try to be open about the process, we have an internet presence. I believe the core audience is the fans and you work your way up from that." Singer adds "The time felt right to re-experience this character."
And with that understanding comes the details of making Superman believable. "We also had a lot of discussions about the physics of Superman...What is hard for him to lift? What's effortless? In theory his strength can be infinite, but an actor still has to embody that."
But a hero is only as good as his villain, and that villain comes in the form of a bald Kevin Spacey. But how does it compare to the campy humor of the Gene Hackman original? "I'm not remaking Superman: The Movie," Singer says, alluding to the fact that Superman Returns keeps the history of Superman 1 and 2. This gives Lex Luthor connective tissue to how he plays the part now; after being in jail a number of years, his character is much darker and more sadistic. But will we lose humor entirely? "That's one of the reasons why I brought in Kevin, because he has a wonderful ability to bridge the line between whimsical humor and sadism in his performance. I think with Lex it's kind of fun to explore both those sides."
New changes also came in the form of how the movie was shot, this time utilizing the Genesis Digital Camera System by Panavision instead of traditional 35mm film. After spending a significant amount of time with it, Singer states "[Film is] dying, it's not dead- yet. I will work in it again, but more for a creative compulsion as opposed to a necessity." He adds "[With digital] there's a certain kind of clarity that goes to IMAX better, different formats better, it goes to film better. You just pop a tape in! Just don't kick water into it like one of our actors did."
Routh also experienced something new: being a one man focus group on the accuracy of his action figure likeness. "They came to me to approve heads... One of the hardest parts of the job is making sure things look like me."
New actor, new story, new format. Changes aside, "My goal is to address and celebrate in some way people's collective memory of the character Superman and how he's evolved from 1938 to now. Some of it will look familiar physically, emotionally. Some of it will be new." But can anybody be free of pressure when working on one of the original pop culture icons? "I feel more pressure from the comic book community. I serve the comic book community. The studio understands my responsibilities and supports me 100%."
Sidenote: Singer denied rumors that the movie cost $250+ and confirmed in was more in the range "south of $200 million."