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Superman V: The Sordid Story

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the sad-sad-world dept.

Movies 396

ThePuceGuardian writes "With Superman Returning from development hell next summer, perhaps Slashdot's readership would appreciate this summary of the 10+ years spent in development, and the sequel that never quite was. Years of stupidity and outright seething contempt for the fans who were expected to shell out for the franchise are detailed, from the Kevin Smith era, through Tim Burton and including 'McG's short but not short enough association with the project. The summary ends in mid-2004, which is about a decade after the whole sordid affair should have been capped off, and right before the current production started up.I just have to include this quote: "Michael Bay was offered to direct the film again, but he felt the script violated the essence of Superman and refused the offer." WhenMichael Bay declines your project for reasons of artistic integrity, I think it's time to consider a new line of work.."

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How old? (4, Funny)

sqeaky (874667) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128171)

If superman returns he had better do it with a crutch and dentures. He should also be the strongest guy at his retirement home :)

link slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128189)

mirror? it's already fuxed

Re:How old? (1, Redundant)

Hulkster (722642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128278)

BAH, Puny Human Cape Man not strongest.
Hulk is strongest! [komar.org]
Hulk SMASH Superman in shuffleboard games at retirement home.

Will Chris. Reeve be playing Superman? (1)

ysegalov (849765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128300)

Maybe Marlon Brando will also get a part?
seriously, who besides Gene Hackman survived from the original 1978 cast?

Re:Will Chris. Reeve be playing Superman? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128372)

Margot Kidder is still bouncing around. Last seen doing cameos on Smallville.

Re:Will Chris. Reeve be playing Superman? (1)

Class Act Dynamo (802223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128734)

Yeah, but she's had a lot of problems. I don't think subjecting her to the rigors of filming a full length movie would be a good idea.

Re:Will Chris. Reeve be playing Superman? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128377)

marlon brando will be in the new movie, they're using footage from the older superman films, hes playing the same part (jor-el)

Re:Will Chris. Reeve be playing Superman? (1, Interesting)

vegetasaiyajin (701824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128443)

Maybe Marlon Brando will also get a part?

Believe it or not, Brando will get a part. I read in wikipedia a few days ago that they will use unused footage from Superman II.

So? (5, Insightful)

3CRanch (804861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128180)

I think it's time to consider a new line of work..

And yet it'll be sure to bring in wads of $. I honestly don't believe that most movie goers give a rats nut about artistic anything. Just give them lots of flash, explosions, and the occasional breast and all is good.

All the lack of artistic interpretation will guarantee is that it'll not win an Oscar...

Re:So? (5, Funny)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128199)

I have no idea what you're talkin...Hey, look! Shiney!!!!

Re:So? (1)

megaversal (229407) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128226)

"lots of flash, explosions, and the occasional breast"

I believe you just described Michael Bay's entire career, hence why it's so scary that he turned this project done.

Re:So? (3, Funny)

Peldor (639336) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128283)

Isn't it obvious? Not enough breasts!

Re:So? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128236)

Agreed. Movie producers will get a new job when their current one stops reeling in the dough. And not one minute before.

Re:So? (3, Informative)

gordo3000 (785698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128248)

because we can all agree that the top grossing films [the-movie-times.com] ever had absolutely no artisitc value? note, that link goes to inflation adjusted box office numbers. Looking at it the other way, while not a level playing field, would have me agreeing with you.

Re:So? (2, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128480)

Try sorting by the domesting box office returns... not the 'adjusted' ones.

It's not pretty. Moviegoers are, by and large, dumb.

(the world box office returns aren't much better, but at least LOTR gets second...).

Another way to read it... (1)

geeber (520231) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128259)

Is that the script is excellent and Bay is so clueless that he passed on a great possibility.

Just trying to remain positive...

Re:So? (2, Interesting)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128484)

I saw something on TV the other day. An ad. it was for some Superman something.

They had him flying with the Sun rising behind him. Then they had his dad sending 'his only son' to Earth because Earth needed him. I had to do a double take to see if I was watching Comedy Central.

Re:So? (1)

DoctorFrog (556179) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128666)

All the lack of artistic interpretation will guarantee is that it'll not win an Oscar...

Your faith in the Acadamy is touching. Misguided, but touching.

Re:So? (4, Funny)

phlegmofdiscontent (459470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128791)

Hey, I don't know about you, but I'm a discerning moviegoer. I demand more than the "occasional" breast.

"the script violated the essence of Superman" (4, Funny)

prsce96 (815315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128181)

Did the script use Kryptonite for that?

Behind the scenes blog (1)

pluckey (918518) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128207)

I've enjoyed watching the behind-the-scenes video blog of the making of "Superman Returns", available at http://www.bluetights.net/>. It looks to be an interesting movie; the blogs are entertaining in their own right, watching the antics of director Brian Singer.

Re:Behind the scenes blog (4, Informative)

pluckey (918518) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128247)

Ok, so here's a better link to the aforementioned video blogs: http://www.bluetights.net/bulletin_list.php [bluetights.net]

Michael Bay turned it down? TWICE? (4, Funny)

TPJ-Basin (763596) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128209)

Yeah, if the director of Armageddon says, "this is just too goofy", then it's time to shelve the whole thing.

Superman V? (4, Funny)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128215)

Superman V? But there was never a Superman IV. I saw a movie once called Supermaniv that looked like a Superman film at first, but it obviously was not a Superman movie.

Re:Superman V? (1)

vegetasaiyajin (701824) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128503)

Superman V? But there was never a Superman IV.

There was. It was so crappy, you probably thought it wasn't a superman movie.
Anyway, the new movie will be a sequel for Superman 2.

Re:Superman V? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128770)

ya think, Captain Obvious ?

Re:Superman V? (2, Interesting)

ZiggieTheGreat (934388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128521)

Am I the only one that remembers Superman IV the Quest for Peace, where Superman threw the nukes into the sun and out came the Sun man?

Re:Superman V? (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128651)

I think some people found it such a traumatically bad film that they repressed the memory.

Re:Superman V? (1)

Viper Daimao (911947) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128679)

ok, worse sequel, Superman IV or Highlander 2?

Re:Superman V? (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128716)

No contest. Highlander 2 is a lot worse. At least Superman IV didn't screw with the plot of previous films, so can comfortably be ignored.

Re:Superman V? (4, Funny)

ValuJet (587148) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128812)

I hate to break it to you, but that movie was never made.

Yes you may have some sort of recollection of a something like this but get this. It didn't happen. You may be able to provide a link to IMDB or even a link to a torrent of the movie and all I have to say to that type of information is LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALAALALA

Michael Bay (5, Informative)

Life700MB (930032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128227)


When Michael Bay declines your project for reasons of artistic integrity

What's the problem with Michael Bay? Let me see [imdb.com] .

# Armageddon (1998)
# Pearl Harbor (2001)
# Bad Boys II (2003)
# The Island (2005)

Oh, now I understand...
--
Superb hosting [tinyurl.com] 2400MB Storage, 120GB bandwidth, ssh, $7.95

Re:Michael Bay (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128293)

Should you be modded up for making a good point or modded down for spamming?

Re:Michael Bay (1)

permaculture (567540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128399)

"Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies?"

- lyric from 'The end of an act' song by Trey Parker and Matt Stone on the Team America sound track.

I don't care... (2, Funny)

tawsenior (910269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128229)

what it took to get here as long as it get's back to what Superman is about. I just want to see a good retelling of the story. No camp please.

Re:I don't care... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128281)

I just want to see a good retelling of the story. No camp please.
Yeah. Comic book characters are one of the most misunderstood parts of our population and it's time to treat them respectfully and realistically.

Re:I don't care... (4, Interesting)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128289)

I just want to see a good retelling of the story. No camp please.

You're kidding, right? Superman is, in the end, a big goofy boy-scout in blue tights. He's not a sophisticated urban socialite with a dark secret like Bruce Wayne; he's an all-American country boy who does what's right, by golly! You can't get away from the silliness by going nasty and gothic, like you can with the Gotham crowd; Superman will always be a bit camp.

As for a retelling of the story: which story? Superman has been in thousands of stories. Personally, I was never too keen on Superman solo; he worked best for me in the context of the Justice League, where the permanent tension between him and Batman made things a lot more interesting. I'd like to see a film of The Dark Knight Returns, which really gets to the heart of what both Superman and Batman are really all about...

Re:I don't care... (2, Interesting)

tawsenior (910269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128419)

Sometimes people get a little carried away in analizing what other people are trying to say. I put out a simple post and away you go. I personally like all of the variations of the Superman story from the original comic up to and including Smallville. It's the journey that Clark Kent/Kal El must make to become Superman that is the backbone of the story. Nature vs. nurture. In many of the modern retellings, Krypton is less than an ideal place or society. Clark must constantly battle his genetic nature with the nurturing upbringing his Kansas farm life has provided. While one makes him strong the other makes him compassionate. By 'no camp' I mean that I would like it to be a good superhero story. Let's leave today's Richard Pryors out of the story. A good Superman / Batman team-up would be nice.

Re:I don't care... (3, Interesting)

DoctorFrog (556179) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128764)

I personally like all of the variations of the Superman story from the original comic up to and including Smallville.

My absolute favorite variation is Kim Stanley Robinson's short story "Ubermensch!", in which a slight variation in timing causes Kal-El's lifeboat to land on a farm near Kleinberg in Germany, instead of Smallville in America. (keep in mind when 'Superman' first appeared.)

If you haven't read it, look it up - it's not just a gimmick, the story has depth.

Re:I don't care... (2, Interesting)

flyinwhitey (928430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128549)

I was discussing this with a friend recently.

Superman's best stories, to me, have always been the "end of the universe, so let's call Superman" type. That is, Superman is such a powerhouse, that it takes an exceptional situation to bring out his best.

If you need Superman, it means that everyone else failed to get the job done.

Give me that story (death of Superman for example) and you'll get my money. What I absolutely DO NOT want is another "evil bald guy outsmarts Superman" story, mostly because the idea of Lex Luthor as Superman's arch nemesis has always been laughable.

 

Re:I don't care... (2, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128664)

Ummmm, you gotta problem with All-American country boys who do what's right, nance?

Obligatory bashing of anti-red-state-biases aside, the most interesting themes in the Superman canon have to do with nature vs. nurture. Superman could be GENERAL KAL-EL (as in "KNEEL BEFORE..."), he's got the super powers and all -- but he uses them for good. Why? Because it was the way he was raised. Lex Luthor, all-natural, Earth-grown, smartest guy in the room, driven to be The Best, like some Ayn Randian proto-protaganist dropped on his head at an early age, and he's Capital-E Evil. Why?

The Silver Age scripters had Superboy accidentally causing Lex's baldness, and so turning Lex into his nemesis-for-life, running around in purple and green spandex and controlling giant robots in a neverending battle to defeat his foe. That, of course, was just silly. Under John Byrne in the 90's, Lex became an Evil Corporate Dude (evil corporate dudes being all the rage in the 90's, but becoming sillier and more trite each passing day), and again, Superman with nothing but the talents granted him by a yellow sun could defeat all Lex's plans for "taking over" Metropolis. Why is Lex evil? IS Lex evil? And who's a better role model for Earthlings, a self-made small-s superman with a more, shall we say, subjective perspective of morality, or a space alien with magical powers rocketed to earth from a dying planet whom we can never strive to be like, but who has an unwavering code of Judeao-Christian honor and corn-fed American Way ideals?

Me, I'm backing Kal-El all the way, even if it does cost an arm and a leg for him to phone home. But the opportunities for a good writer to tell a Superman story that transcends merely depicting our boy hurling buses into the lights at Times Square and cringing before kryptonite are clearly there, and nothing has to be "dark" or "gothic."

I'm thinking Fleisher, and Art Deco, and whatever you do, don't lose the spit-curl.

Re:I don't care... (2, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128692)

Leave it to a Batman fanboy* to do his best to belittle Superman. Don't forget that Batman spends just as much time gallavanting around in blue tights (or black depending on DC's mood at the time). If movie producers can make a good story out of man whose parents are killed as a child so he decides to dress like a bat and run around at night as a vigilante, then surely they can sqeak out something decent about an alien who grows up on earth and decides to use the advantages he has over others to fight crime. It doesnn't have to be campy and there doesn't have to be any "by golly" about it.

FWIW, I'm not a huge fan of either. Make mine Marvel.

*You get the label as a Batman fanboy because of how often you mention Batman. You mention that you like Superman better in the Justice League but then only because of his contrast to Batman. And then in the discussion of a Superman movie you mention you would most like to see a Batman movie (though the source material you mention is one of the best Batman stories).

Re:I don't care... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128345)

Warner Bros: Request denied.

IMDB info (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128249)

IMDB info about this movie can be found here [imdb.com] .

Top 3 billing:

Kevin Spacey .... Lex Luthor
Brandon Routh .... Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman
Kate Bosworth .... Lois Lane

Posted anonymously 'cause I don't need the karma.

While the website is getting pounded.... (2, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128274)

While I can't read the story because the server is currently in flames, the plot summary does sound a bit interesting. I like the idea of a world where superman, isn't needed. Having said that, he'll be needed by the end of the film. And couldn't they have gotten the same actors to reprise their roles? Except Christopher Reed of course, what with him being bound to a wheelchair before dying. In fact, the only one who IS reprising his role is Marlon Brando. And he's been dead for a year now. Now THERE'S dedication to his role.

Re:While the website is getting pounded.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128361)

I like idea of a world where commas, aren't needed.

Re:While the website is getting pounded.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128410)


W00t! It's got Raelee Hill [google.com] in it!

Re:While the website is getting pounded.... (1)

solive1 (799249) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128413)

I'm not too sure... from IMDB:

After a long visit to the planet Kypton, the Man Of Steel returns to earth to become the peoples savior once again and reclaim the love of Lois Lane. instead of...

...based on D.C. Comics' 1993 series in which Superman was killed by a creature named Doomsday and then brought back to life more powerful than before.

Now you could argue that a 2 - 3 hour movie couldn't do the Doomsday/World Without a Superman/All the Fake Supermen/Return of Superman plot that took up countless comic books justice. I think I'd rather see them try, or make multiple movies out of it. A series of movies seems to be the hot thing right now (LotR, Harry Potter, Narnia, etc.). Of course, the quality of the movies is always in question, but done right, I think it would produce a much better product than "Clark leaves for a while and comes back."

Re:While the website is getting pounded.... (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128766)

Ok, a question from a non-Superman follower...

How the hell does he return to Krypton?! Wasn't the whole planet going kablooie the whole point of him ending up on Earth in the first place?! Isn't that where Kryptonite comes from (as in, peices of Krypton)?

Like I said, I'm not actually a follower of the Superman storylines, but that's one hell of a retcon!

Re:While the website is getting pounded.... (0)

hjames (70941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128415)

Thats Christopher Reeve, not REED, you insensitive clod!

Re:While the website is getting pounded.... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128421)

Christopher Reed? Surely you don't mean 'Pete' from this movie:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108002/ [imdb.com]

And of course Supe will be needed at the end of the film. It is, after all, a story about him.

And I'm not so sure you'd want all the original actors back -- Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) has been through some rough times... "dirty, frightened, and paranoid" according to police: http://bipolar.about.com/cs/celebs/a/margotkidder. htm [about.com]

If the name of the URL doesn't tip you off, well, you'd better call the Superfriends.

Re:While the website is getting pounded.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128425)

it's Christopher REEVE, dumbass.

Director (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128287)

On the other hand, I notice Bryan Singer is directing it. That's got to count for something.

It's a bird... It's a plane... (0, Offtopic)

protocoldroid (633203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128294)

It's a.... cluster fudge!

Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (4, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128302)

Honestly, IMHO the first was the best of a pretty sorry lot. I don't recall two and three even showing up in theaters. I think I must have caught them on some second rate cable movie channel. I vaguely recall three being so bad that it made me walk out of the living room. And... I guess there was a four at some point?

I mean look, the whole concept of Superman is fatally flawed to begin with. He's pretty much indestructable, so having him fight regular criminals makes for a pretty boring movie. So before you're even out the door you're having to invent increasingly powerful villians for him to do battle with. Problem is, once you're that powerful, why be a villian anyway? You can already do whatever you want. Anyone worth Superman's effort to be fighting should be busy running for Congress anyway. Everyone knows that's where you go if you want to be able to do some real damage...

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (1)

servo335 (853111) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128337)

I have to disagree with you. Superman 2 was a "good" film. Superman was portrayed as being more human then any other hero.

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128351)

Anyone worth Superman's effort to be fighting should be busy running for Congress anyway. Everyone knows that's where you go if you want to be able to do some real damage...

Which is why Lex Luthor is president now.

You're right about Superman being overpowered, though. The series tends to suffer from occasional bouts of Dragonballitis. Oh, here comes yet another insanely powerful enemy...

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128400)

> Which is why Lex Luthor is president now

Nonsense. Lex Luthor was a fiendishly clever meglomaniac.

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128487)

Nonsense. Lex Luthor was a fiendishly clever meglomaniac.

Not sure if you already know this - hard to detect through raw text - but that wasn't a dig at Bush. Lex Luthor has actually been president of the United States in recent comics; a quick check of Wikipedia reveals that he became POTUS in 2000, and went on the run in 2004 after all his evil started to come to light.

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (1)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128376)

You don't recall II??? Possibly the greatest super hero movie ever made IMHO. Suyperman vs. the Super Villans. KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (1)

Quinn (4474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128759)

Zod is great, and I can't shake childhood memories of how awesome the second one was, but I actually watched it recently and was surprised how bad it was. Technically, the first is far superior.

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (4, Informative)

drewcaster (517860) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128422)

Anyone worth Superman's effort to be fighting should be busy running for Congress anyway. Everyone knows that's where you go if you want to be able to do some real damage...

Ironically, the book Gladiator on which Superman was most likely based (written in 1930 by Philip Wylie) featured a "superman" archetype going to congress and trying to strongarm them into disarming. Kind of a naive, idealistic view for 1930...

I don't recall two and three even showing up in theaters.

Superman II grossed over 100 million. It was a hit by all accounts and is considered by many to be one of the best superhero movies of all time. The franchise jumped the shark with Superman III which co-starred *Richard Pryor*.

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128427)

Power is not just about brute force.

If you had a bad guy who could control Superman's mind, that'll be interesting. Of course the bad guy wouldn't be so stupid as to do that at the start.

Think of someone like Professor Xavier in X-Men, but just gone bad. You'd become very powerful politically and financially fairly quickly. If you're smart enough you would hide the fact that you have psionic powers.

But then again, from the movies Superman arguably has psionic powers - after all he wiped Lois Lane's memory or something like that. Superman having psionic powers would also help explain why people can't figure out he's Clark Kent - even though its just a silly pair of glasses as a "disguise" ;).

Actually if he did have psionic powers he'd probably keep them secret too. You can have lots of brute force etc, and people don't mind that as much, but when you can see what people are thinking, and even change their thoughts, then people will feel a fair bit more threatened, even if you are the "good guy".

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (1)

GauteL (29207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128439)

"He's pretty much indestructable, so having him fight regular criminals makes for a pretty boring movie"

I agree. The one remaining problem for him was that he couldn't do several things at once, so he had to make a decision whether to save the world or his girlfriend. Sadly, the makers of Superman I ruined even this problem by making him capable of turning back time.

There is only so many times you can see him struggle as someone tricks him to expose himself to kryptonite.

--
Gaute

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (1)

mrgreen4242 (759594) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128486)

That's a really interesting point. In fact I was just considering this the other day while watching the Gilmore Girls (stop laughing). There was a commercial for Smallville, which I have never watched. In this commercial they show a ~17 year old Superman who seems to have all his powers (super speed, strength, xray vision, impervious to bullets, etc) and some girlfriend who is kidknapped by an evil villian. Ok, so how exactly do you stop Superman from thwarting your crimes? Either you have to be, as you say, a super villian, and at that point why bother, or you have to hide your doings from Superman, as in this episode of Smallville. Ok, it's a pretty trite plot device (I've kidnapped XXX and you only have 24 hours to save her, but yo don't know where I am hiding! BWAHAHA!), but it works. The question is how many times does can you make this work? Isn't Smallville in it's 3rd+ season? How many times have they used something like this to make some drama for a problem Superman couldn't fix?

In any case, I think you are dead on about Superman being flawed. To make it interesting you have to have him battle super villians, and at that point, why not just have some not so super people pitted against one another so there is some chance the character is mildly (a) interesting/dimensional and (b) relatable?

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (2, Informative)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128630)

Actually, I think Smallville is in it's 5th season.

And they have done a pretty darn good job actually. They have several villain type situations:

a) Superman encounters regular criminal mob often jeopardizing his friends. He is also trying to keep his powers underwraps and out of observation.

b) The meteorite rocks that came from Krypton with Superman cause mutations in humans. Often resulting in super-powered villains. (Or more usually people who's emotional instabilities become super-powered.) The overweight girls who gets such a super-high metabolism that she loses 100lbs overnight. But it keeps speeding up. So she starts sucking the fat directly from other people's bodies.

c) The third and most interesting villainry was done so with ingenius intuition. They made Clark Kent and Lex Luthor "best friends" and the strain of the divergent relationships and conflicts and dishonesty on both parts makes for some interesting tension and episodes.

d) The last set of villains are his kryptonian influences (father, sexy kryptonian wanna be girlfriend, etc) who tend to have a low regard for humanity.

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (1)

Zangief (461457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128526)

Well, in the comics, until last year, Lex Luthor was President of the United States...

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128744)

Well, in the comics, until last year, Lex Luthor was President of the United States...

That's called art imitating life. ;)

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128608)

Smallville has solved the problem of invulnerability by introducing relationship drama and emotional damage. It's very teen friendly and has a hot cast but basically it's Clark's relationship with his parents, friends, etc that make or break the show. I think Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this best. Smallville's not as good.

Physical fighting and damage are passe especially for a superhero movie. The trailer I saw had a voiceover from Jor-El about why he sent Supes to Earth. I hope the movie is more about that kind of thing than about explosions.

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128712)

The trailer I saw had a voiceover from Jor-El about why he sent Supes to Earth.

To wipe out the inhabitants so that the Kryptonians could sell the planet off for development, right?

... Huh? Oh, sorry. Wrong superpowered space baby from vanished planet. My bad :)

Kne.eeee.eee.eel Before Zod. (1)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128727)

I don't recall two

Kneeeeeeeeeeeel Before Zod.

This has to be the most memorable line in movie history, after Khaaaaan!!! [khaan.com]

Re:Kne.eeee.eee.eel Before Zod. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128781)

"Oh God"

"That's Zod"

Re:Has Any Superman Movie Not Sucked? (4, Informative)

mblase (200735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128746)

I'm not a Superman reader, but what little I've read ("Kingdom Come", a few others) showed me that Superman's story potential is based around his ability to do pretty much anything versus his unwavering willingness to do good and never let anybody die.

The best stories seem to be built around villains who can manipulate Superman's desire to protect everyone from harm--good, bad and bystander--while they do whatever else they want to do. Superman will torture himself looking for another way in order to avoid killing people, no matter how villainous they may be. It's a bit cliche, but it does make him vulnerable.

As Jack Handy said.... (2, Funny)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128327)

..."I wish I had a Kryptonite cross, because then you could keep both Dracula AND Superman away.".

He also said "You know what would make a good story? Something about a clown who make people happy, but inside he's real sad. Also, he has severe diarrhea.". So if Superman had a diarrhea (You could say a SUPER-diarrhea!)... We clearly need Jack Handy to redo the script of Superman V!

Who will play the villain(s) (1, Insightful)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128374)

My guess is that they won't be able to resist the urge to use terrosits in the enemy / villian role. It's perfect for this type of movie. Anyone with half a brain will remember how awful the first 4 were and skip it. The ones with half a brain or less are bound to rush out to see a movie with an (all american) hero cracking some (middle eastern) terrorist head. I'll eat my hat if I'm wrong. (I'm really hoping the article didn't mention the story line now ;o))

ObLink. (4, Informative)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128386)

http://www.superdickery.com/ [superdickery.com]
Superman is a dick.
(Now I'd LOVE to see a movie that contains a good compilation of events from this site.)

Failing upwards (1)

hublan (197388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128389)

Jon Peters [imdb.com] is producing it. Better expect that giant spider by the 3rd act and a no-fly zone.

Tim Burton (4, Interesting)

Jumbo Jimbo (828571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128393)

I went to see Tim Burton talk (when Sleepy Hollow came out a few years ago) and he said he felt that he had helped create a monster by re-energising the superhero francise with Batman.

With Batman, he'd had a free hand to make it the way he wanted. However, the success of Batman meant that each future superhero movie had to not only make a decent film, but have characters and vehicles for Burger Kig tie-ins, action figures, etc.

So when he was offered the chance to direct Superman, he told us that it came with so much extra baggage that he couldn't make it the way he wanted to at the same time as keeping corporate partners happy. But he felt it was his own fault, partially, caused by his Batman movie's success back in '89.

moD up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128402)

it's going, gerandstanders, the Fortunately, Linux

So how did Bryan Singer get into this? (2, Interesting)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128405)

I read, ok I skimmed the article and out of all the shenanigins it describes it doesn't go into how the current script and director, Bryan Singer, came to be. If even half of what is described in the article is true it's an understatement to say that it took a miracle for this movie to ever get made.

My initial impressions of the story that did develop from the point Bryan Singer joined were very negative, but after watching Bryan's video blog of the production, reading everything I could on the web and having seen the teaser trailer it looks like Bryan Singer has done the impossible and made a good movie. It appears to keep the best elements of the original movies -- Brando and Reeve's iconic performance, the generally serious treatement given to the Superman mythology, and breakthrough special effects -- while losing the slapstick comedy that worked in the 70's but doesn't work with a modern audience (Bryan is quoted somewhere that the comedy of the original series just wouldn't work today).

That said, it could be we've only seen the polish on the turd, so to speak and the finished product may very well suck. I thought he did an excellent job on Xmen and the follow up, X-2, so he certainly has the pedigree to produce a good comic book based movie.

Sell out the Logic (2)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128414)

They keep rewriting this story so much that it really is starting to make no sense. But the current problem is that in Smallville Clark Kent couldn't fly when he was younger. But in the teaser trailers he can seemingly jump football fields at a time.
Lois & Clark had him married, he came from Krypton as a fetus or as a boy in a spaceship. And I think he died once. What the hell is going on?

Will this take place before or after the Marriage to Lois? Will it say that ever happened or just write it off as "no one will remember" I really didn't care about the outcome of Lois & Clark, but I care for some continuity in my stories.

Re:Sell out the Logic (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128578)

Will this take place before or after the Marriage to Lois? Will it say that ever happened or just write it off as "no one will remember" I really didn't care about the outcome of Lois & Clark, but I care for some continuity in my stories.

Superman has been going for eighty years, in comics, radio, TV serials and movies, at least two alternate universes, and through a Crisis on Infinite Earths. Don't expect full consistency in his history :-)

Even his powers have changed over time. Didn't you ever think that 'able to leap tall buildings in a single bound' was a strange way to describe a guy who can fly?

Re:Sell out the Logic (1)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128631)

Yeah, but I just figured that was some 1950's "you can't say a man can fly!" quasi-censorship.

I don't expect full consistency (the whole pre/post Crisis storyline shows that is but a dream) but you can't give the man powers when he is 15 in one story and then take them away in another. You can't have the man married, then pretend it never happend (which it should not have in the first place). I can't say I read all the comics and know the every detail of the story of Superman, but from what I do know his most amazing superpower is the ability to change anything that has happened, into something that will make more money.

Re:Sell out the Logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128742)

I think that the 1990s Spider-Man TV cartoon handled this quite well with their interpretation of the clone wars. Spidey exists in many parallel universes, all sharing many common elements, but diverging in key aspects. Like the existence of Gwen Stacy, who seems to have been eradicated from the Spidey story over time in favor of MJ. Or the death of Ban Parker, in the universe where Peter Parker/Spidey is most successful, Uncle Ben isn't dead. What I enjoyed best about it was that in one universe Spidey only exists as a character in movies.

Re:Sell out the Logic (2, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128787)

You can't have the man married, then pretend it never happend (which it should not have in the first place).

Yes. You. Can.

You can do whatever the hell you like. Superman is too big now to be constrained by continuity. Nobody has read all the comics, seen all the shows, listened to the fifties radio serial. If you have a cool Superman story to tell, then tell it, and don't be concerned if some nerd complains that it contradicts Action Comics issue 145, page 4, or something someone once said in Smallville. Did Superman marry Lois or not? Or did he go off with Wonder Woman? Did he ever fight Batman? Do the other heroes even exist? Just how powerful is Superman? All up to the writer.

I'd complain if an episode of Smallville contradicted something established in an earlier episode of Smallville, or if two comics in the same line contradicted each other... but I don't worry about cross-consistency. Every writer has grown up with Superman and has their own Superman in mind, and as long as their own Superman stories are reasonably internally consistent, and hold with the basic principles of who Superman is, then that doesn't bother me.

Site's dead - who's McG? (1)

mccalli (323026) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128470)

Since I can't read the article to find out, can someone please tell me who McG is, as referred to in the summary? To me McG means Patrick McGoohan, and I'd actually like to see him get involved with the films.

Cheers,
Ian

Good question. (1)

raygundan (16760) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128561)

MacGyver, maybe?

Re:Site's dead - who's McG? (2, Interesting)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128658)

McG is a director of music and skating videos who somehow ended up directing theatrical films, the likes of which include the two Charlie's Angels movies.

Obligatory Christopher Reeve Joke (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128477)

What's black and sits at the top of the stairs?

Superman in a house fire.

The bottom line... (-1, Troll)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128563)

...is that Superman was intended primarily as an interpretation of the American volksgeist, IMHO. The image of him swooping in and saving the day could be seen as a direct symbolic justification for American imperialism and foreign interventionism...and we've seen how well that turned out.

I find a number of other comic characters interesting in direct proportion to the degree that their humanity is developed. To me Superman has never really been anything more than a walking American flag...so given that, it was virtually impossible for me to sustain much interest in him. With characters like Spiderman or Batman, it's possible to see them as somewhat more nationalistically neutral, but Superman and Captain America in particular are pretty much pure (and vulgar, most of the time) manifestations of jingoism.

Superman Returns will probably fare acceptably at the domestic American box office, but my guess is that in the current climate, international audiences will see it as at best culturally irrelevant, and at worst possibly somewhat offensive.

American nationalism has always been something which the rest of the world has largely considered ugly...but that has become more true than ever before in the last three years.

Re:The bottom line... (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128681)

I never liked Superman because he was too perfect. Someone with that kind of power remaining uncorrupt just never jibed with reality. Superman has been redefined though. Shows like Smallville have been rehabilitating Superman into a more believable character. Older comics seemed to gloss over Superman's internal motivations. But that is changing. Even so, most of the time writers still blame Superman's moral missteps on foreign elements such as red kryptonite or mind controlling aliens.

Won't comment much on the anti-American rhetoric buuut....at least we are trying to do something. Add to that we are very open about our own problems and choose to face them rather than hide them or pretend they don't exist.

Re:The bottom line... (4, Insightful)

flyinwhitey (928430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128682)

"The image of him swooping in and saving the day could be seen as a direct symbolic justification for American imperialism and foreign interventionism."

"American nationalism has always been something which the rest of the world has largely considered ugly...but that has become more true than ever before in the last three years."

Excellent observations, and they'd be relevant if Superman weren't created by a Canadian.

Nice anti-us troll though, way to try to slide it in there.

Re:The bottom line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128689)

Yeah and European Imperialism of the 1400-1900's were a picnic and a sense of joy to you I bet. Shut the fuck up, it's a movie. Oh and suck my cock and Zonk's cock!

Re:The bottom line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128695)

There is also Wonderwoman

Re:The bottom line... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14128805)

It's a children's story about a guy who jumps real high, runs fast, and can't get shot who beats up bank robbers. Get over yourself.

Slashdotted: Text from TFA (Part 1) (5, Informative)

RicochetRita (581914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128733)

It seems to be Slashdotted...

I found this online: the stange and evil tale of the production of Superman V. It spans decades, $50,000,000 is spent before they even have even settled on a writer or director. It's so horrible. It's out of date as it stops in the middle of 2004, but it's so horrible, you have to read it.

The whole thing started in 1987. The Israeli producing team of Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus (who were cousins, by the way) had bought the film rights to Superman from Alexander and Ilya Salkind, the obnoxious father-son duo who made the first three films. WB gave Golan and Globus' production company Cannon Films $40 million bucks to make Superman IV, and Golan-Globus took the money and spent it all on their other pictures. They only spent $17 million on Superman IV, chopping out key plot sequences (a grand total of 45 minutes' worth of critical story material was excised) and gutting the FX in order to keep the costs down. Anyway, Superman IV bombed because of the hack job Golan-Globus did on it. But since they still had the rights to Superman, they decided to make a fifth film for release in 1989, with Captain America (the one with Matt Salinger and Ronny Cox) director Albert Pyun at the helm. They also planned to reuse all the edited material from Superman IV and to recast Superman with another actor (their antics on IV left Reeve outraged with them). However, Cannon fell on hard times and Golan left to make his own company, 21st Century Films (which went under in the early '90s--he's since re-founded Cannon), and the rights to Superman reverted back to the Salkinds. This was when Superboy was in full swing on TV, and the Salkinds decided to restart the Superman film series using Superboy as the prequel. Hence, Superman comic scribe Cary Bates and his Superboy writing partner Mark Jones were drafted to write a script pitting Superman against Brainiac in a story set in the bottled city of Kandor. Under the working title Superman: The New Movie, this film was to have been released in 1994, with Superboy star Gerard Christopher taking over for Reeve as Superman. (To this day, the deleted footage from Superman IV remains unaccounted for.)

Well, 1993 rolled around, and WB bought all the non-comics rights to Superman lock, stock, and barrel. WB forced the Salkinds to pull Superboy from the airwaves completely so as not to interfere with the planned Lois & Clark series (which Gerard Christopher auditioned for, and was turned down because he'd played Superboy--that's how Dean Cain got the part), and scrapped the Bates/Jones script. Deciding to base the movie on the "death and return" story from the comic books (they figured that the big sales figures the story racked up would translate into box office success), WB turned the project over to their pet producer Jon Peters--an illiterate, violence-prone wild man (I wish I was making this up, but I'm not--this is all true, every word of it) who got his start as Barbra Streisand's hairdresser/lover and produced the Tim Burton Batman films. Peters, who hates the classic Superman in every way imaginable, set out to reinvent Superman in the "sex, killing, rock & roll, and whatever movie was a hit last weekend" style that all of his movies are based in. So he hired Jonathan Lemkin to write the script.

Lemkin's draft had Superman dying in battle with Doomsday, but managing to impregnate Lois as he's dying by way of Immaculate Conception. Lois is killed off later in the story, but not before giving birth to a baby who grows 21 years in three weeks' time, and takes over as the new Superman and saves the universe from Armageddon. Lemkin's script--which even he proudly boasted was campy and silly--was scrapped because WB thought it was too similar to Batman Forever. So Peters hired porn veteran Gregory Poirier--who scripted Peters' Rosewood, and has since written the bomb See Spot Run and served as writer-director on the much-derided Tomcats--to start over. Poirier's script had an angst-ridden Superman visiting a shrink in order to deal with his feelings of being an outsider and a freak by virtue of his alien heritage, ditching his red and blues for a black suit, using Kryptonian martial arts, and being killed by a Doomsday who bled kryptonite, Brainiac, the Silver Banshee, and the Parasite. WB liked the script, but when Kevin Smith was offered to be a consultant on the film, he blasted the script for its lack of respect for the source material. (Poirier took offense at Smith's reaction, claiming that he "would never stoop to Kevin's level by dissing another writer's work.") Smith made such a convincing case that WB hired him to write the film.

And this is where things got REALLY ugly. First off, Smith was taken aback when Peters asked him, in all sincerity, "'Kal-El'? Who's this 'Kal-El' guy you keep mentioning in the script?" Then the insanity really started to take over. Peters demanded that Superman be stripped of his red and blue suit, arguing that the suit was "too pink, too f@ggy." WB also demanded that Superman undergo a costume change, even ordering Smith to describe the soon-to-be-trashed red and blue duds as being "'90s-style." So Smith was forced to have Superman ditch his red and blues (which he grudgingly deemed "'90s-style") early on in the script and switch over to the black and silver suit from the "death of" story as his permanent gear (ironically mirroring Poirier's earlier script). Peters also hated the FX in the 1978 Superman film with Chris Reeve, so he wanted to get rid of Superman's ability to fly. So Smith tried to get around this by portraying Superman as a red blur while in flight, creating a sonic boom every time he took off (he took this from The Dark Knight Returns). Peters then told Smith to have Brainiac fight polar bears at the Fortress of Solitude, demanding that the film be wall-to-wall action. Smith thought it was a stupid idea, so Peters said, "Then have Brainiac fight Superman's bodyguards!" Smith responded, "Why the hell would Superman need bodyguards?" Peters wouldn't let up, so Smith caved in and had Brainiac fight the polar bears. Then Peters demanded that Brainiac give Luthor a hostile space dog as a gift, arguing that the movie needed a cuddly Chewbacca character that could be turned into a toy. Then, after watching Chasing Amy, Peters liked the gay black character in the film so much that he ordered Smith to make Brainiac's robot servant L-Ron gay, asserting that the film needed a gay R2-D2 with attitude. Then Peters demanded that Superman fight a huge spider at the end of the film, which Smith refused to do--he used a "Thanagarian Snare Beast" instead. (However, Peters did manage to recycle his spider idea and use it in Wild Wild West.)

As if that wasn't enough, WB tried to force Smith to eliminate a critical story sequence where Lois and Clark's relationship hits a standstill during a picnic dinner at Mount Rushmore--the most acclaimed moment in the script--because they thought it ran too long and distracted from the "toys, toys, toys" mentality Peters was aiming for. Smith protested, and the studio finally gave in, allowing the scene to stay. When all was said and done, Smith's script was severely compromised by the time it came to its second draft (and it reads that way, too), but WB liked it enough to give it the green-light. When it came time to cast Superman, Peters wanted to cast Sean Penn, because he "has the eyes of a killer and the charisma of a caged animal," per his performance in Dead Man Walking. But when Nicolas Cage offered his services as either Luthor or Brainiac, Smith pleaded with WB to cast Cage as Superman, feeling that Cage had the gravitas to pull the role off. Peters agreed, for totally different reasons. "Being an outsider and feeling like we don't belong is the essence of Superman," Peters boasted, saying that Cage could play up the alien side of Supes. (In later interviews, Smith changed his story, claiming that he had suggested Cage as Brainiac and that it was Peters' idea to cast Cage as Superman.) Smith tried to get his friend Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, Spy Kids) to direct the film, but Peters and WB saw the film as a vehicle for Tim Burton, who they hired shortly after Cage. Burton, having been given almost total creative control, hated Smith's script because it was too faithful to the comics (Burton doesn't read comics, and he always brags about it). So he fired Smith and trashed his script, hiring his Batman Returns crony Wesley Strick to "reinvent" Superman per Burton's vision. All the while during Burton's time on the project, WB promoted it by claiming it was "not the Superman you know." (According to AICN, Akiva Goldsman of Joel Schumacher's Batman films and Spider-Man scripter David Koepp were briefly considered for the job before Strick was chosen.)

So what was Burton's vision? Not much different from Peters', in fact. Burton hated the flying FX in the 1978 film, too, so he didn't want Superman to fly. Instead, he put Superman in a Supermobile. (Seven years later, AICN revealed that Burton and Peters had also planned on having Superman teleport from place to place in lieu of flying.) He also hated the classic costume, too, hence the oddball designs he proffered in its place, all of which would have featured silver-relief versions of the ElectroSupes S-shield and armored, treaded boots similar in design to what Michael Keaton wore as Batman:

1. A partially translucent suit that would allow full view of Superman's internal organs, as reported by Cinescape in late 1997 as Burton's plans for the film kicked into high gear. (Although word from within the Burton camp confirmed that Burton was indeed hoping to do this, the design was apparently never committed to paper--leaving some people following the project wondering if Burton was really going to use the translucent suit or if it was just a hoax. Nevertheless, Burton's diehard fans adored the idea, praising it as total genius and the height of coolness. Superman fans, on the other hand, were left scratching their heads over it.)
2. An all-black, alien-looking suit that would have resembled a "cool cross" between Edward Scissorhands, the WB movie Batman, and a Borg. (At one point, this was what Burton's Superman would have started the film off in.)
3. A metallic silver healing suit/body armor with details that would have made Superman's body look robotic. (An action figure prototype of Nic Cage as Superman wearing body armor was made, but it looked nothing like the design as described and featured the usual red/blue/gold Superman color scheme.)
4. An all-dark blue suit with a "blood-red" cape. (This would have been the standard Superman suit used in subsequent films.)

(I should probably mention that the last three of these designs were reported by Superman CINEMA and the Superman Homepage.)

As if that wasn't enough, Burton was also opposed to the casting of Cage, who's a diehard comic book geek and was protesting Burton's planned changes. Even though he put on a public face of being delighted with the casting of Cage, Burton was privately trying to get Cage fired and replaced with Ralph Fiennes, and he kept trying to do so all the while he was on the film. Hulk Hogan was then approached to play Doomsday, and he immediately agreed (this was reported on the WCW/NWO site at that time by NWO spokesperson Jeff Katz). However, Burton envisioned Doomsday as being "kinda chunky" and told Hogan to gain weight for the part. Hogan blew a fuse and turned Burton down flat, so Burton had Doomsday redesigned to look like a cybernetically-enhanced Rancor (the design was shown at Fabio2's now-defunct Superheroes at the Movies site and at former Superman comic book artist Kerry Gammill's web site--he was one of the film's conceptual designers) and dropped the idea of casting Hogan. Jim Carrey was briefly considered to play Brainiac--envisioned by Burton in a variety of weird forms, one of them an Independence Day rip-off (the design of which was also shown on Fabio2's Superheroes At The Movies site) and another a green head in a glass ball balanced on a black pyramid--but Burton made a handshake deal with Tim Allen to give him the role. (Allen said to the Chicago Sun-Times, "I'll shave my head in a second!") Burton also made a handshake deal with Chris Rock to cast him as Jimmy Olsen, who Burton envisioned as a smart-@$$ street-punk type. (Burton had wanted to cast Marlon Wayans as Robin in Batman Returns, but WB wouldn't let him.) In a related story, Comics2Film reported that Jack Larson, who played Jimmy on the George Reeves Superman TV show in the 1950s, expressed interest in playing Perry White because he was a huge fan of Rock, but nothing came of it. Then Burton made similar handshake arrangements with Kevin Spacey (who had previously been rumored to voice Brainiac at one point) and Cameron Diaz to cast them as Luthor and Lois, respectively. AICN reported that Barry Corbin (Northern Exposure) offered to play Perry White, but no official casting for the role was ever made public. He also intended to shoot the Metropolis exteriors in Pittsburgh, making use of the Gothic buildings there.

Meanwhile, Jon Peters saw a group of Shaolin monks performing on Jay Leno, and liked them so much that he tried to get them cast in the film. He also tried to have the Eradicator--now renamed "K" by Burton (to be voiced by Jack Nicholson, who had been previously rumored to play Luthor) and reinvented as a shapeshifting robotic Alfred to Superman's gadget-dependent Batman (swear to God, I'm not kidding; Burton and Peters' Superman was to be reliant on Batman-esque Kryptonian gadgets and technology, as reported by Superman CINEMA and Superman-V.com)--tote around an "Eradicator Stick," because he saw visions of posters and toys based on it. And the Eradicator wasn't the only computerized character to be radically reconceived; Burton planned to end the film with Luthor and Brainiac amalgamating to become a single villain called either "Luthinac" or "Lexiac". (The concept art by Pete Von Scholly, shown at the Superman V.com site, depicted "Lexiac" as a gigantic slug-like creature with Luthor's face.) But the most controversial thing Burton did was brag to a radio news service in Texas during an interview that he intended to play up "Superman's darker, more murderous side" and that he hoped Cage was up to the task of portraying that aspect of Superman. Also, Michael Keaton announced to MTV that he was going to be in the film (he and Burton are pals--he only did the Batman films as a favor to Burton; he actually hated playing the role and said so to E! when Jack Frost was released), but when asked if he was going to play Batman, he said, "Not exactly." In fact, Burton had cut Kevin Smith's hoped-for Batman cameo out of the film, so nobody has any clue who Keaton was to play.

[Before I go any further, I should probably explain why Burton and Peters' Superman was going to be gadget-dependent. A scoop from Ain't It Cool News in November of 1997--believe it or not, I actually printed some of this stuff out and saved it when it first broke--discussed Burton's plans thusly: "Burton's master plan is to reinvent the Superman franchise with this film. Tim is aiming to change the current comics' idea of Superman by blending his style with some of the earlier ideas in the Superman comics. Meanwhile, some Superman elements he's completely getting rid of. Now, I'm not privy to those changes yet, but I am told he will be getting a ton of flak for doing so...." Superman CINEMA confirmed this, saying that Burton's plan was to shave Superman down to his 1938 power levels. Which explains the Supermobile and gadgets, I suppose.]

(cont...)

Re:Slashdotted: Text from TFA (Part 2) (5, Informative)

RicochetRita (581914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128755)

TFA continued...

Anyway, the Strick script--which Burton adored--was rejected by WB. (In fact, low-level WB execs--then-WB head honchos Bob Daly and Terry Semel were in total support of Burton-Peters--were calling up Kevin Smith and complaining about how Burton and Peters were screwing up the project.) So Burton hired Akiva Goldsman--one of the writers initially considered to replace Kevin Smith--to rewrite Strick's script. Goldsman's rewrite was rejected. Then Burton hired Ron Bass to rewrite Goldsman's rewrite of Strick's script. Bass's rewrite was rejected. Then Burton hired Dan Gilroy to rewrite Bass' rewrite of Goldsman's rewrite of Strick's script. For the moment, WB was appeased. Meanwhile, Burton kept changing his mind about the film's design scheme, and was constantly ordering the art teams to change whatever it was they were doing every day and telling them they weren't doing things the way he wanted. Cinefex Magazine ran an article about Burton's slave-driving the art team, and concept designer Sylvain Despretz went on record as saying that the designs Burton and Peters wanted had little or nothing to do with either the comic books or with the traditional Superman image.

[However, Despretz thinks that movies based on comic books are what's dumbing down cinema--he doesn't believe comics deserve to be translated to film--and he said flat-out that the fans' complaints about Burton's attempted changes to Superman were petty and unimportant. "It's just a movie, everything they were complaining about was inconsequential," he claimed. So really, he and Burton-Peters were on the same page the whole time. Ditto for his fellow concept artist Rolf Mohr, who shared his lack of respect for the Superman character and stated that he went out of his way to avoid being influenced by the comics. Concept artist James Carson was even more anti-fan, asserting that if the fans don't like WB's intended radical changes to Superman, they should pony up the money and make their own Superman movie. Toy designers for Hasbro who were working on the film also complained about the fans, asserting that they should just get over the changes and accept them. Another designer, Brian Lawrence, justified the changes by saying that it was best to think of Burton's Superman as a completely new character who just happened to share the same name as Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's creation. The only member of the art team who had any respect for the material and the fans was the aforementioned Pete Von Scholly, who openly stated that Burton and Peters were going about the project the wrong way and that it should have been turned over to fans of the comics from the start. He still feels that way, especially in light of the recent developments on the film.]

Nicolas Cage, having been fighting tooth and nail against Burton and Peters' vision of Superman (even though he'd been putting on a happy public face about working with them), angrily demanded that he be allowed to wear the classic Superman costume and fly. So WB relented much to Burton's dismay, ordering up a rubber Superman suit and flying FX tests. (According to Superman CINEMA, a chintzy, Sam Jones-as-Flash Gordon-type Superman suit was dished up as well, but it went over like a lead balloon.) However, when Cage tried on the rubber suit, it looked stupid. And when they stuck a long-haired wig on him, it looked even worse. And after Burton and Gilroy were finished with their rewritten script, WB looked it over and loathed it. Even worse, all of Burton and Peters' screwing around and causing trouble resulted in the film being budgeted somewhere between $140-190 million. So, in April 1998, just weeks before the film was to start shooting, WB put the film on indefinite hold. By this time, about $30-40 million (including the pay-or-play contracts for Burton and Cage--$20 million for Cage, $5 million for Burton) had already been spent on the project, with nothing to show for it. [It's well over $50 million now, given all the stupidity that occurred beyond this.]

It was at this point that Lorenzo DiBonaventura, a then-WB exec who was a long-time ally of Peters, joined the production and openly supported everything Burton wanted to do with Superman. It was with DiBonaventura that Burton and Peters had Gilroy rewrite the script completely, mixing and matching elements from the Strick, Goldsman, Bass, and Gilroy drafts into a single script. The end result had Jor-El inventing Brainiac, only to abandon him when Kal-El is born. Brainiac is jealous of Kal-El, so he blows up Krypton. However, Kal-El is sent to Earth, so Brainiac vows to hunt him down and kill him. Jump forward 30 years. Superman--who's been having a full-blown sexual affair with Lois--is forced to reveal his true identity to her when she finds out that Superman's escape rocket landed on the Kent farm. (In this script, the Kents were long dead, and Superman himself had absolutely no clue as to his origins--not even knowing about the existence of the rocket--until Lois found it.) Anyway, Brainiac comes to Earth with a kryptonite-bleeding Doomsday and merges with Lex Luthor--who in this draft was basically portrayed as the Joker in a business suit, and who also found out about Superman's rocket landing in Smallville in this draft--to become "Lexiac." So Lexiac tricks Superman into coming to the LexCorp tower, where Doomsday kills him in combat and runs off. (He never shows up again in this draft.) Then Lexiac seizes control of all the world's nukes and seduces Lois...who's pregnant with Superman's love child!!!!! Meanwhile, Superman is revived by "K," the combined, still-living essence of Jor-El and Lara. Initially powerless upon his rebirth, Superman is told by "K" that all he needs to do is have faith in himself, and so regains his powers by sheer force of will (yes, yes, I know he's supposed to get them back by exposure to sunlight, but bear in mind what we're dealing with here). And so Superman engages Lexiac in combat and saves the world with one second left on the nuclear clock, separating Brainiac and Luthor, who has no idea that he was possessed by Brainiac. And while Lois and Clark are undecided if they want to get married or just live together, all that matters is that they're happy.

This was the script Burton proffered in late 1998. WB loved it, but Burton's egotistical attitude was wearing thin on them. It came to the point where Burton started smart-mouthing them, trying to bully them into giving him his way. As such, WB finally fired him in late '98/early '99. (Burton was furious over this, and tried to pin every bit of the blame for Superman Lives' lack of progress on WB and paint himself as a total innocent in his book Burton on Burton. Needless to say, everyone knew he was lying thru his teeth, and blew him off. Burton also claimed to Howard Stern that the WB execs at one point wanted Superman to wear basketball shorts and flame-boots. Considering that he was still trying to play the total innocent, I'd say this claim is pretty suspect.) Peters and DiBonaventura--who had become Peters' co-producer on the film--continued to polish the Gilroy draft, deleting the Lois pregnancy at WB's behest. Meanwhile, an aspiring screenwriter/comic book geek named Alex Ford tried to talk WB out of the Peters/Burton/DiBonaventura plans for the movie, instead proposing a series of 6-7 Superman films. He went so far as to write a "Year One" script heavily based on the comic books and featuring Luthor and Metallo--posing as a superhero--as the villains. But WB, being so enamored of Peters, refused to even consider the Ford script and trashed it. Peters then tried to get Michael Bay, Brett Ratner, Steven Norrington, Shekhar Kapur, and Martin Campbell to take over as director, but they hated the script and turned the project down. So the Gilroy script was dumped in late 1999, and William Wisher was hired to start over. (Around this time, comic book writer/artist Keith Giffen tried to sell Peters and DiBonaventura on a Superman script treatment he wrote featuring Lobo as the primary villain, but was snubbed. Of course, his Superman was the classic version, which may explain why Peters and DiBonaventura blew him off.) However, with The Matrix being a big success, Peters and DiBonaventura decided that Superman should ditch his red and blue in favor of Matrix-like duds. As such, press blurbs for the new script announced that Superman would be killed off and reborn in a brand-new incarnation, and that the new script would recreate Superman "sans the tights and more Matrix-like." Oliver Stone was then approached to direct the film from the Matrix-ized Wisher script, but he ultimately turned it down.

In the meantime, WB heads Bob Daly and Terry Semel--Peters' best friends and staunchest supporters--jumped ship from the studio after Wild Wild West bombed, and were replaced by the equally pro-Peters team of Barry Meyer and Alan Horn. Cage got fed up with the whole thing, and finally quit in mid-2000. So Peters reportedly offered Russell Crowe $30 million to play Superman, but Crowe wasn't interested. (And if you thought the backlash against Cage was bad, the backlash against Crowe was even worse--people were hoping Dennis Quaid would be cast as Luthor so they could root for the bad guy to win.) The Wisher script was tossed out, and Paul Attansio was then hired to rewrite the script, now retitled Superman Destruction (boy, THERE'S an ironic title). Then in July 2001, as Planet of the Apes was being released, the now-defunct Coming Attractions site reported that WB made a handshake deal with Tim Burton to rehire him to take over the film should POTA make over $150-200 million at the box office, with Dan Hill, David Nutter, Benjamin Melniker, and Michael Uslan as his producing team. (In fact, WB wanted to rehire Burton after Sleepy Hollow proved successful.) Promising Burton even more creative control than he had the last time, WB apparently offered to cast Jim Carrey as Brainiac and David Duchovny as Superman to sweeten the deal. However, POTA didn't do the big business WB was hoping for, so Burton was given the boot again. And so Peters and DiBonaventura hired McG of Charlie's Angels to direct the film, and McG was (a) aiming to make a Superman movie in the spirit of Charlie's Angels and Tomb Raider and (b) had offered the role of Lois to Catherine Zeta-Jones (formerly one of Jon Peters' many girlfriends), Cameron Diaz, and Jennifer Lopez. (This news hails from Superman CINEMA, by the way.)

Along the way, Attansio delivered a 50-page treatment for the film, but it was never used. For a while, it was rumored that Scott Rosenberg (Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead, Con Air, Gone In 60 Seconds) was going to rewrite the script, but instead Peters and McG hired JJ Abrams (Felicity, Armageddon, Alias) to write a new script that reportedly ignored the "death of" story and remade Superman in a "lighter, funnier McG-style." This was expounded upon in the February 6, 2002 news report run by Superman CINEMA, in which a source within WB not only confirmed McG's hiring and first brought up the campy music-video approach he was said to be taking, but that he was being given a limited amount of time to get the project up and running. If he didn't get the project going, the story went, he'd have been fired, albeit paid for his services in full. USA Today reported that both Brendan Fraser and Will Smith were rumored to be candidates to play the Man of Steel. (The Smith rumor bore some credibility, as he's already done two pictures with Peters: Wild Wild West and Ali.) And Abrams said that his Superman would fly and wear a costume, which ultimately proved to be true. However, he--working alongside Peters and McG--changed pretty much everything else about Superman. But I'll get to that in a bit.

At any rate, WB adored the Abrams script, which is planned to be the first in a trilogy, and scrapped comic book junkies Wolfgang Petersen and Andrew Kevin Walker's planned World's Finest movie (a Batman vs. Superman project) in favor of the Abrams material...although they later hired Akiva Goldsman--who seems to keep showing up like a bad penny in this grisly mosaic--to rewrite Walker's script. (Making matters uglier, Lorenzo DiBonaventura, who supported the Petersen project and was lobbying to replace Alan Horn as WB's top dog, clashed with Horn over the decision and finally quit his executive job, opting for a producing career. It was a bizarre case of two Peters-pushers vying for control of the company.) However, with an increasingly busy schedule and not having any interest in making the film in England at Pinewood Studios, McG bailed from the project. Michael Bay was offered to direct the film again, but he felt the script violated the essence of Superman and refused the offer. Rob Bowman, Michael Mann, Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher, Kevin Reynolds, and Stephen Sommers were all considered as possible directors, but Rush Hour's Brett Ratner--once rumored to be Burton's replacement--signed up, gushing with praise over both the script and over Peters, whom he claimed "reminded" him of himself.

During the "who's gonna replace McG" fiasco, it was rumored by Coming Attractions that Peters was bailing on the project and would be replaced by a three-man team consisting of longtime Superman geek Richard Donner (the director of the 1978 Superman starring Christopher Reeve and the director of the Lethal Weapon movies), David Heyman (producer of Harry Potter), and Barrie Osbourne (producer of The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings)...which, of course, proved to be totally false. In fact, Donner had begged WB to let him take over Superman from Peters (and also Burton, during his time on the project) and let him make a faithful rendition of the character, just as he did in 1978. For those very reasons, WB turned him down SEVERAL times, standing by Peters' revisionism. M. Night Shyamalan (writer-director of The Sixth Sense and the comic book themed Unbreakable), who adores Donner's Superman and is a comic book geek, also tried to wrest the project away from Peters and make a faithful version of the Man of Steel. Again, he was turned down by Alan Horn in favor of Peters. Comic book fan Joel Silver (producer of the Lethal Weapon series and The Matrix) also tried to take over Superman from Peters on the very same grounds that Donner and Shyamalan did, but was again turned down in favor of Peters. (It didn't help that Silver is a longtime enemy of Peters, either.) Yes, folks, you heard me right. WB HAD NUMEROUS OPPORTUNITIES TO LET FANS OF SUPERMAN MAKE THE FILM, AND MUFFED THEM BECAUSE THEY CAN'T AND WON'T SEE PAST PETERS. Rumors abounded that Anthony Hopkins would play Jor-El and that Keanu Reeves would play Superman. Ratner confirmed Hopkins but refuted Reeves, claiming that he wanted an unknown. And then Ain't It Cool News got a hold of Abrams' script...

...and all hell broke loose. AICN's review by Drew "Moriarty" McWeeny blew the lid off the Peters/Abrams/McG teaming by revealing the MASSIVE changes planned for the trilogy. The details of the script were as follows:

1. Krypton doesn't explode. Instead it's a Naboo rip-off overrun by robot soldiers, walking war machines, and civil war (can you say, Star Wars: Episode I?). Jor-El is literally the king of Krypton and leader of the Kryptonian Senate (thus Superman is a prince), and he and Lara send Kal-El to Earth because he is "the One" whom a prophecy states will save Krypton from destruction (rip-off of The Matrix). The villains, Jor-El's evil brother and nephew Kata-Zor and Ty-Zor, take Jor-El prisoner and send probe pods out to find and kill the baby Kal-El. 14 years later, Lara and her shell-less turtle servant Taga (shades of Jar Jar Binks) are found by Ty-Zor, and Lara gets tortured to death.
2. Superman's costume is a living entity housed in a can, and it climbs onto him when he needs it. He first discovers it in a closet when he's 14 (Jor-El visited Earth and picked the Kents out to be Kal-El's new parents, leaving them his picture, some S-shield metal pieces signifying the virtues Kal-El must represent, and the costume), and the costume rips his clothes off and stuffs him into itself. So teen Clark is flying around in a suit that's way too big for him.
3. Lex Luthor is an evil CIA agent obsessed with UFO phenomena. When Superman reveals himself to the world, Luthor demands that the government allow him to hunt Superman down and kill him. The government refuses, so Luthor allies himself with the evil Kryptonians out to kill Kal-El...because Luthor himself is an evil Kryptonian, working undercover as a human to set up an invasion of Earth!
4. All the Kryptonians get into airborne kung-fu fights straight out of The Matrix. Even Luthor gets in on the act at the end of the script.
5. An aerial kung-fu fight between Superman and Ty-Zor results in Superman being lured into a trap: Lois is drowning in a tank filled with kryptonite. (This begs the question of how there can be kryptonite when Krypton didn't even explode, but....) Superman is given a choice: save her and die from radiation poisoning in the act, or stand by and watch her drown. So he goes in, saves her, and dies. Jor-El magically senses Superman's death from across the galaxy, commits hara-kiri with a rock he sharpens in his prison cell, goes to Heaven, and talks Superman into coming back to life so he can fulfill the prophecy of saving Krypton from its civil war. So Superman's soul returns to his body, and he proceeds to trash Ty-Zor and his cronies. And at the end of the film, Superman flies off in a rocket to save Krypton (which is where the second film is planned to take place).
6. A dialogue scene at The Daily Planet implies that Jimmy Olsen--a horny skirt-chaser in the comic books--is gay, as Abrams describes him as "effeminate" and Perry White rags on him for having a boyfriend.

(cont...)

Re:Slashdotted: Text from TFA (Part 3) (3, Informative)

RicochetRita (581914) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128774)

Even more of TFA...

At any rate, this script sparked a horrific backlash in which the feedback was 95% negative (very, very, very few people liked it). An Internet petition was soon set up, garnering over 12,000 signatures and angry comments to date (including outraged responses from comic book pros Mark Waid, Stan Lee, Ron Lim, Kevin Smith, Tom Sniegoski, Ian Hannin, Tom Orzechowski, Mike Allred, and Larry Hama). But the outrage was swiftly silenced when WB dispatched Abrams to call up AICN sitemaster Harry Knowles--who himself reacted negatively to the script--and spin-doctor him into supporting the project. (An October 1, 2002 scoop at Superman CINEMA exposed Abrams' call as a PR stunt by WB to shut the fans up.) In his call, Abrams admitted that the script was the real deal, and claimed that the negative reaction to his script was due to Moriarty "having an axe to grind." The reason he gave for the script's poor quality was that he wrote it in four weeks, and he justified the changes he made to Superman by claiming that he doesn't want to "plagiarize Richard Donner's Superman" (which is a pretty neat trick, as every other incarnation of Superman followed the source material just as much as Donner did, and since the destruction of Krypton and the like is in the comics). At any rate, he claimed that the death scene was cut solely for time and pacing reasons, that WB ordered him to change Luthor back into a human, and that the "gay Jimmy" stuff was intended as verbal humor. Otherwise, he dismissed inquiries about the script's most visible flaws (Krypton not exploding, Superman's costume being alive, etc.) with a "We'll see."

Well, his "we'll see" turned out to be a "screw you," when WB sent out press releases touting the new script as a bold "re-imagining" of Superman and lavished praise on Peters and Abrams for masterminding said "re-imagining" together. (Abrams later bragged that he wasn't the least bit bothered by the negative feedback, and that he'd gotten far more accolades for his script than brickbats.) Furthermore, AICN's 10/2/02 "Weekly Recap" reported that WB immediately began pre-production on the film, with more talk of the film being the first in a trilogy. Even worse, the spin-doctoring worked, as Harry Knowles sold out Moriarty and reversed his stance completely, praising the Abrams script to the skies and bringing the fan uprising to a screeching halt. In fact, the fans did a total 180 and started supporting the script, proclaiming that change is good and so long as Superman himself stays the same personality-wise, any change WB makes is OK by them. Pretty soon, those opposed to the "re-imagining" were reduced to a much-mocked and derided minority. (The fans also started voicing claims that the traditional Superman "has had enough of a chance and is now a failure," and that these changes were just what the doctor ordered to make the character a sensation again. Any criticisms of the project were condemned by the fans as ignorant, ignoble, needlessly negative and faithless, and "being afraid of change." Worse still, many fans adopted the attitude that anyone unhappy enough with WB's plans to avoid the Superman movie has no right to utter one word of complaint about the project, that you can only complain about the movie so long as you go to see it anyway--in simpler language, you must be a two-faced, spineless WB tool in order for your opinions to be respected. This attitude is still in full swing, most notably on the message boards at Superhero Hype and Superman CINEMA.) As a capper to this whole mess, Superman CINEMA reported in a 9/27/02 scoop that the current brass at WB knows absolutely nothing at all about Superman; not only have they never read the comics, but they've never even seen the Christopher Reeve movies or any other incarnation of the character. This is why they're so supportive of the Peters/Abrams script; they're every bit as ignorant about the character as Peters is. Anthony Hopkins signed up to play Jor-El in the film soon afterwards, but admitted that he had yet to read the script. Which should have been a warning sign....

However, the short-lived backlash left a mark on WB, as the spin-doctoring became even more desperate. Brett Ratner, in a web interview following Abrams' snow job on AICN, claimed that the script would feature the explosion of Krypton and Luthor being a human. However, he tried to claim that the Abrams script was a fan-made phony cooked up "by someone with too much time on their hands"...which, of course, was a bald-faced lie, as Abrams shamelessly admitted to AICN that the script was legit. He also claimed in that same interview that he had the power to "do whatever the **** I want" on the film, which the few fans still opposed to the project took as an insult (and rightly so). Furthermore, Alan Horn claimed to the Dark Horizons site that WB agreed with the fans about Luthor needing to be a human, but he still praised the script to the skies, gushing about how "fresh, funny, and action-packed" it is, and he made a point of avoiding any mention of the script's other controversial elements. (As you might have already guessed, WB was slinging a line of BS.) Speaking of AICN, a report on The Passion of the Christ indicated that Ratner was eyeing Jim Caviezel for the role of Superman. Nothing ever came of it; nor did discussions with British actor Ian Hart (Professor Quirrel/Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone), Aussie actor Ryan Kwanten, Kip Pardue (Driven), Dominic Purcell (John Doe), Mark Ruffalo (You Can Count On Me), Tom Guiry (U-571, Black Hawk Down), and Barry Watson (7th Heaven) for the role. Rumors of Jeremy Piven (Black Hawk Down) as Jimmy Olsen and Val Kilmer as Ty-Zor went nowhere. In the meantime, the project was slated to begin shooting in January 2003, which some fans spoke out against, voicing concern that the project would be rushed. However, Ratner pushed on, hiring Dante Spinotti (Red Dragon) as the film's cinematographer, Jay Stern (Rush Hour) as the executive producer, Vicky Thomas (High Fidelity) as the casting director, and Arthur Max (Gladiator) as the production designer. That, and the announcement (via Dark Horizons) that the film might be called Superman: The Flight and that the flying scenes would be accomplished by having a stunt double do a series of "super poses" and superimposing a CGI Superman "skin" over him. Peters also pulled a major scam job on Christopher Reeve when he offered him a consultant position on the film; Peters claimed that Petersen and Walker's World's Finest movie was HIS project, and that a documentary on Reeve "inspired" him to drop the idea and go with a "more uplifting, spiritual story." And Reeve fell for Peters' snow job, hook, line, and sinker. (The truth is, Peters had no involvement whatsoever with Petersen and Walker's film...but given his bond with Alan Horn, it's very likely indeed that he had a part is giving those two men the shaft in favor of his own project.)

[As a odd side note, the WB TV series Smallville, which at one point was believed to be WB's stealth plan to recreate Superman in Peters' vision due to its following Peters' old "no tights/no flights" dictates, was endangered by WB's infatuation with the Peters/Abrams script. Prior to AICN's scathing review of the Peters/Abrams material, WB was heavily considering canceling Smallville to make room for the new movie, feeling the film would make more money if there wasn't a TV show competing for the same audience. Smallville's production company Tollin-Robbins was furious over WB's plans, but it wasn't until the Peters/Abrams script leaked that the show was saved from early cancellation. As soon as AICN ran its review of the Peters/Abrams script, WB's plans to axe Smallville in favor of the movie were aired out in the open by Coming Attractions, and the resulting backlash forced WB to renege and loudly proclaim that they weren't going to can the show. They did, however, impose a significant restriction on Smallville; because the "re-imagining" is so dependent on having lots of living Kryptonians around, the show is not allowed to use any live Kryptonians for its own purposes. This resulted in a proposed General Zod episode being scrapped in its infancy.

Don't you just love studio in-fighting?]

However, from January to February of 2003, Ratner was strongly rumored to be on the outs with WB and ready to leave the project, with such names as Michael Bay, Joel Schumacher, Tarsem (The Cell and a bevy of MTV music videos), Joseph Kahn (Torque and a plethora of MTV music videos--he was a favorite of WB exec/Peters-pusher Jeff Robinov), David McNally (Coyote Ugly and Kangaroo Jack), and Antoine Fuqua (The Replacement Killers and Training Day) being bandied about as his replacement. Bay was the director most talked about, with AICN headmaster Harry Knowles trying to drum up enough support to ensure that he would replace Ratner and loudly asserting that if Ratner was scrapped and Bay took over, Superman fans would have cause to celebrate. (Of course, having been bought and sold by Peters and Abrams, Knowles made sure to conveniently avoid recognizing them as the other two-thirds of the problem.) Talk of Bay taking over escalated when casting negotiations with Josh Hartnett for the title role sparked rumors that Hartnett wouldn't do the film unless Bay was attached. Further, rumors spread that Joel Silver--one of the many comic book fans/filmmakers given a hearty "FU" from WB on this project in favor of Peters--was going to take over as co-producer and rein in the stupidity. Well, as with the Donner/Heyman/Osbourne rumors, the Silver rumor turned out to be utterly false, and Ratner came forward and claimed the rumors of Bay replacing him were equally phony. Additionally, he blamed AICN for the rumors, claiming it's nothing more than a "gossip site."

As if that wasn't enough insanity, Evan Marriott--Joe Millionaire himself--was approached to read for the title role, as were Ashton Kutcher, the aforementioned Hartnett, and Jude Law. Marriott later denied any involvement with the project, and the other three rejected WB's offer outright. (Oddly enough, out of all those casting choices, Kutcher and Marriott ended up being the candidates with the loudest and strongest fan support.) Additionally, longtime comic book fan David Boreanaz (Angel), who has long cited Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man as his dream roles, tested for the part but was barred from being cast due to Angel's shooting schedule. This angered Peters and WB, who wanted a big-name star in the role. According to the March 6th, 2003 edition of The New York Post, not only did WB voice its anger with Ratner for not being able to get a hot name attached to the film (they claimed to have "lost faith in him" when Hartnett turned the project down, claiming that Ratner was obviously "in over his head" on this film), and blame him for the slow progress of the "re-imagining," but Peters and Ratner were said to have had a massive shouting match in which Peters accused Ratner of getting too big for his britches. (I'll leave the irony of that scenario for you to judge.) In that same article, AICN's Harry Knowles took still more potshots at Ratner, claiming the director doesn't know squat about Superman (which we all knew already, given his enthusiasm over the Peters/Abrams script) and asserted that Ratner was so incompetent that he had to call up AICN to find out who and what the characters were.

As for the JJ Abrams script...well, nothing much changed between September 2002 and March 2003; Krypton still didn't explode (that was apparently being saved for the end of the trilogy), Superman's death and Jor-El's suicide/heavenly pep talk was still intact, Jimmy was still gay, the bad guys were still Superman's evil uncle and cousin, the Matrix-wannabe prophecy was staying intact, etc. The only thing that changed was Luthor, according to the now-defunct Last Son of Krypton website on 2/04/03; instead of being a Kryptonian masquerading as a human CIA agent, the December 2002 draft of the script (most likely the 3rd draft, as Abrams was working on the 2nd draft when the script was leaked to AICN) featured Ol' Baldy as a failed shoe salesman who's granted super-intelligence--and loses all his hair--when he's possessed by the spirit of a dead Kryptonian. It bears mentioning that the LSOK site, like AICN's Harry Knowles, was one of the loudest supporters of the "re-imagining" (as were Coming Attractions and Fabio2's Superheroes at the Movies--and as previously mentioned, Superhero Hype! and Superman CINEMA were and still are sympathetic to the Peters/Abrams approach), posting up a rave review of the first draft roasted by AICN. In this review, the site loudly proclaimed that while the "re-imagining" would stay 90% intact and WB is pushing ahead with this trilogy, the end result would still resemble "a more familiar, fresher Superman," citing Krypton's being destroyed at the end of the trilogy by the civil war as proof. The review also bashed recent comic book films like Spider-Man and Daredevil by claiming that these films will be soon forgotten because they're "too faithful" to their source material, and gushed that Peters and Abrams' changes to Superman were so good that "they could cast a kangaroo as Superman and the public would love it!" (Of course, this begs the question of how this movie could resemble the traditional Superman when it was clearly going to be the Peters/Abrams/McG/Ratner "re-imagining" and when Krypton's explosion was being delayed until the end of the trilogy....) However, the fans STILL refused to accept these reports, loudly insisting that WB already scrapped the "re-imagining" and that there was no reason whatsoever to be "hateful" toward the project. Even as late as July 2003, some fans were stupidly determined that the Abrams script was either a fake or had been scrapped, and asserted that there was only reason to be hopeful and excited about the movie. Nice to know the fans were so well-informed, eh?

(Some bizarre hearsay about the script popped up in the Talkbacks at AICN in early February 2003. A Talkback member known as "NeofromtheMatrix" claimed that he'd found out what Abrams' final draft script entailed. According to this guy, Luthor had been changed yet again, this time into a Sauron-like leader of the Brotherhood of the Illuminati whose plans for world domination are disrupted by Superman's arrival. So he and his followers use an ancient satanic ritual to create kryptonite, a force of pure evil--represented by its green glow--to counter the pure good of Superman. And like the evil of Sauron's ring attracts and tempts the Fellowship, this kryptonite attracts the evil Kryptonians hunting for Superman. This guy also claimed that the Superman costume is not only a living thing stored in a can that climbs onto Clark when he needs it, but it's now the actual source of his powers as well, like the super-suit in The Greatest American Hero and the living black catsuit in WB's planned "re-imagining" of Wonder Woman.

I e-mailed this "NeofromtheMatrix" THREE times, asking where he got this information, and never once got a response. So file this guy's claims under "BS.")

The casting lunacy for Superman continued, with candidates for the part including Brendan Fraser (again), Paul Walker (She's All That), Hayden Christensen (the Star Wars prequels), and Jerry O'Connell (Kangaroo Jack). However, two unknowns surfaced as potential candidates for the role: Matthew Bomer (Guiding Light) and Victor Webster (Mutant X). Webster in particular was very excited about the "re-imagining," gushing about how "moving and action-packed" Abrams' script is and discussing his vision of the Superman character...which, I'm sorry to say, was a rehash of Tim Burton's "Superman should be a lonely freakish misfit whose powers make him feel like he doesn't belong" shtick. He also talked at great length at how he would make Superman dark and gritty if he had creative control of the project...more Burton/Peters thinking. While Ratner liked Bomer and recommended that WB give him a look should they start considering unknowns, WB and Peters were hell-bent on putting a big-name star in the role, ANY big-name star (it wouldn't matter if he was appropriate to the role or not), so long as he'd agree to sign up for the entire trilogy. In an odd twist of fate, Superboy star and lifelong Superman geek Gerard Christopher wound up briefly involved in this gruesome fracas when Peters ran into his parked car, causing $7,000 in damages. Christopher offered Peters his services as the Man of Steel, but Peters blew him off with a "don't call us, we'll call you" line. (In retrospect, it's probably better this way; I doubt a hard-core fan like Christopher would have been all too thrilled with the Peters/Abrams "re-imagining.") Meanwhile, Lara Flynn Boyle and Keri Russell (who worked on Abrams' Felicity) were both been mentioned as potential candidates for Lois Lane, Charlie Sheen and Rob Lowe were both approached about playing Lex Luthor (Sheen told the Superhero Hype website that he was willing to shave his head for the part--shades of Tim Allen being chosen by Tim Burton as Brainiac), and both The New York Post and Access Hollywood reported that WB sent N Sync frontman Justin Timberlake a copy of Abrams' script in the hopes of persuading him to play the newly gay Jimmy Olsen.

Further, production of the film was pushed back to either August or November 2003 (there was some conflict over the dates) due to the lack of progress in the casting. Dark Horizons added more fuel to the fire with their March 11, 2003 scoop on the film, reporting that...

1. The rumors of Peters and Ratner having at it were all true, with Peters blaming Ratner for the re-imagining's failure to attract big-name stars.
2. Cinematographer Dante Spinotti was dropping out of the project.
3. A total unknown named Jeremy Lister (hailing from Australia) was WB's last-resort choice should none of the big-name actors they so desperately wanted all turned the film down.
4. The long-standing rumors of WB sinking a $170 million starting budget into this project were also true.

(concludes...)

Superman vs. Al-Qiaida (0, Troll)

Pork-Chopper (701450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14128754)

That would be awesome. And at the end superman throws Bin laden into a giant office tower and...oops.
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