News Column

'Man of Steel' introduces a brand new Superman

June 14, 2013


June 14--BURBANK, Calif. -- Director Zack Snyder wanted his take on Superman to be all-new, separate from any other film incarnation. Thus, "The Man of Steel" has no John Williams score or references to the Christopher Reeve films of the 1970s and 1980s.

The story of an infant from another planet being sent to Earth, where the child becomes a superhuman who fights for what's right, is based on the comic-book origins by creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. But the story gets a modern update in the screenplay by David S. Goyer ("Batman Begins").

Zack Snyder assembled an all-star cast for the film, including Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Superman's father on the planet Krypton; and Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Jonathan and Martha Kent, the Kansas farm couple who find the baby.

Snyder said his philosophy with the film was to act as if no previous Superman films had ever been made.

"We wanted to act as if we had found these comic books under our bed and said, 'Hey. This would be a cool movie. We should make this Superman into a movie,'" Snyder said at a news conference promoting the film. "Because we had sort of taken that point of view, there was no cherry-picking of stuff."

Henry Cavill, who dons the red cape in "Man of Steel," was considered for Superman back before "Superman Returns" hit theaters in 2006. Brandon Routh was eventually cast in that movie.

Stepping into the role in 2013, Cavill said he didn't look at the performances of Reeve, Routh or anyone else to inform his "Man of Steel" performance.

"I did not take anything from the other actors who have played it before," Cavill said. "As an actor, the way I do it and the way I viewed it, with all the actors that have come before, is that it's their interpretation of the source material, with the source material being the comic books."

Cavill said taking pieces from previous Supermen could have led to an inconsistent feel.

"I wanted to have my interpretation, not out of a sense of ego, but a sense of the fact that it might be a disjointed performance, if I have someone else's personality and their influence affecting the interpretation of the character," Cavill said. "So, I just went straight to comic books. Yes, I have watched the older movies, but I did not apply those performances to mine."

The story of the film recounts Superman's origin and early adventures, but isn't drawn from any one Superman story. Cavill said he looked internally to guide the journey of young Clark Kent discovering who he was.

"As far as the conflict that he went through or the journey, it wasn't about classic Superman material," Cavill said. "There's a lot of difference -- when you see Clark traveling through the world trying to work out what and who and why he is. I didn't go to source material for that. I applied my own life to it."

Cavill said life as an actor can be a lonely existence, similar to Clark Kent's journeys during the first part of "Man of Steel."

"You spend a lot of time by yourself, and you meet new people," Cavill said. "You make temporary family. You love them, and then you never see them again, potentially, apart from the odd news conference. And you just apply that to the character; and that's exactly what he experiences, is new groups of people constantly, and then disappearing, and having to introduce himself to these other people, and prove to them that he's a nice guy and that he tries to do all the right stuff."


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