Today, September 25 would have been Christopher Reeve’s 66th birthday. In tribute to the great man, CloserWeekly’s Ed Gross has published an article which delves in to his legacy as Superman… and beyond.
Director Richard Donner, who ultimately cast Christopher in the dual roles of Clark Kent and Superman, explained that the casting process on the first film was pretty much a nightmare.
“We had seen just about every actor imaginable, from television to motion pictures to everything else,” he recalled. “Nobody fit the costume. Nobody could fly. If you saw Robert Redford flying, it would be Robert Redford flying. There was no sense of reality. That was the key to it, the flying. You had to believe that a man could fly. I tested quite a few of the actors, but nothing worked. The producers even sent over their dentist. I swear to God that’s true.”
Script Consultant Tom Mankiewicz added, “We didn’t know who would possibly play Superman. We had Jon Voight in the wings for a lot of money while we were trying to find somebody.”
Things were looking pretty hopeless until Christopher walked into the casting office. “I met Christopher Reeve in New York,” reflected Donner. “I had gotten a call from someone who said, ‘There’s a kid who’s terrific. Would you like to see him?’ He was about 20 or 30 pounds lighter, his hair was a sandy color and he had dressed in the burliest clothes he could find to make him look good. He just had this great look and I gave him my glasses to wear and he looked so much like the part it was unbelievable. Nobody wanted to go with him because he was an unknown, but the idea to me was that we should go with an unknown so that you could make it believable. It ended up just that.”
“I still have photos from his screentest,” he warmly added. “He was this string bean, this skinny, skinny kid in blue leotards with an ‘S’ cut into the front of it, sweat pouring out from his arms, and black shoe polish on his hair to give it a black look. But he swore to me he was an athlete and that he could put on weight and build up, so we hired him. We gave him a given amount of time, set him up with this Olympic body trainer and poured all kinds of protein into him, and one day he flew in to our office and was perfect.”
Read the full article at CloserWeekly.com
Consider making a donation to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation as your way of paying tribute to Christopher Reeve on his birthday.