Superman Returns Set Visit Report - Interview Preview

By Steve Younis

Superman Returns On January 1st I presented to you a brief preview article telling you about my "Superman Returns" Set Visit back in late July 2005. I can now present you with some further details from the interviews I participated in from that Set Visit.

On the second day of this 2 day event we were taken to the Australian Museum where they were filming a scene that, in the movie, would be within the Metropolis Museum. The scene involved Kevin Spacey (as Lex Luthor) with his entourage (consisting of Parker Posey as Kitty Koslowski and four henchmen, including Kal Penn as Stanford) entering the Metropolis Museum. While this scene was being set up and worked on, we located ourselves in another part of the Australian Museum to conduct interviews with other cast members, most notably Brandon Routh and Kate Bosworth.

In way of previewing my full report (which will include all 9 interviews) to be presented in the coming months, I'm presenting below a few quotes from some of the interviews to give you a taste of what you can expect.

Brandon Routh

Brandon Routh (Kal-El, Clark Kent, Superman)

Q: Were you a Superman fan growing up?

Brandon: I was. I was growing up. I've told this story many times, it'll probably appear everywhere, but when I was five or six, first time I was gonna see "Superman", I was dressed up in Superman pajamas that I had, and a cape, which my mom still has. And I was jumping around the house, jumping on furniture, so excited to finally see the movie. I got so excited that I gave myself a migraine. Migraines have something do with Superman obviously. When I get very excited or something, I do that to myself. And I was so excited that I was basically sick to my stomach for the first half of the movie. Sitting in a daze on the couch watching the movie. I think I got better towards the end. So I was a huge Superman fan when I was younger.

Bryan Singer (Director)

Q: You said that you were going to be using John Williams score in certain ways but also that the Fleischer cartoon and George Reeves series inspired the look of the film and the feel, so have you ever thought of using any of their thematic cues?

Singer: I thought of that, the one from the Fleischer cartoons, which is really weird, because if the Fleischer cartoons didn't have that theme going in them, they'd be really dark. Because you just watch them and they're like really intense and graphic too. In anything he's doing, the interactions or the way he transforms, he doesn't quickly "woosh," it's all very, because he was rotoscoping and some of the first rotoscoping ever done, the music was very uplifting. I'll talk about John [Ottman] and that's his universe & his palette, but I'm sure I'll expose him if he's not already to some of that material, but we have cameos from Noel Neill and Jack Larson, in our backdrop you've Siegel here, Shuster there, so I'm sure that'll find its way in, we just have to see about certain rights issues and who has what, what's available and stuff. But the John Williams score is important even without being able to use- even though John Ottman has created an original score and new thematics, without being able to use some of the John Williams themes, I'd be reluctant to do the movie because, to me, they're like Star Wars.

Space Ship

Guy Dyas (Production Designer)

Q: What about the look of the Donner movies, did you use that as influence?

Guy: Yeah, absolutely. I watched them just continuously for a long time, and John - John Barry was the designer on the first film, and there were certain things that I felt, personally, had such an iconic image to the general public, things people will remember. For example, the Fortress of Solitude - it's very difficult to go in and say "Okay, I'm just gonna completely redesign the Fortress of Solitude and make it into something else," because I think you'll probably upset a lot of people, and you may also take them out of the story. Bryan's story relies heavily on a lot of people already knowing what the Fortress of Solitude is, so it's important from a storytelling point of view that some of the things in the designs have to stay the same. I had a lot of freedom, for example, on the Daily Planet. We started from scratch and designed the Daily Planet the way I think it should have been designed the first time. They perhaps didn't have the time, didn't have the money, perhaps they didn't want to spend their money on that. I don't know what the situation was with Richard's film, but certainly this time around it was very important for the Daily Planet to be a complete entity unto itself with a history. We designed everything in the Daily Planet from Lois Lane's business cards, we had an internal office telephone list, which everybody had. I mean everything.

Daily Planet Globe

Louise Mingenbach and Dan Bronson (Costume Designers)

Q: What's the cape made out of?

Dan: The cape is made out of a... it's interesting because the cape tables are 12 feet wide. We had to have the wool milled in France 102 inches wide. Most of the time when you buy wool that's 44 to 60 inches wide. We couldn't have a seam in the cape, so we had to have this specially milled. It's a latex base that takes about 3 lay-ups of latex that we....and there's a pattern. You can see there's a little diamond pattern on the cape. We made these huge mold tables where we put the predetermined....we've got about 3 different widths of capes depending on if it's a beauty cape, if it's a hero cape, if it's a flying cape or a high speed flutter cape. So they're all different widths and different weights and we used different linings. But for the beauty cape, it's this wool laid into this latex texture that you see on the outside.

I look forward to being able to present to you the full 12-part report with the complete interviews.

Steve Younis