‘Man of Steel’ Will Feature a ‘Different Take on Clark Kent’

Published 2 years ago by

Man of Steel Henry Cavill Diane Lane Man of Steel Will Feature a Different Take on Clark Kent

While the world prepares for Man of Steel‘s pulse-pounding action, and the chance to see Zack Snyder’s take on Superman on the big screen, the other side of the superhero’s identity is being seriously overlooked. Although the first photos and video of Henry Cavill on set implied that Clark Kent’s Metropolis alter ego would indeed be a character alongside Superman, evidence has been hard to find since.

According to newly released comments from both Snyder and Cavill, there’s a good chance that the ‘mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent’ may not be involved at all. At least, not a version that audiences will be expecting.

In an on-set interview with Collider, Zack Snyder was quick to evade questions about the Clark Kent side of the superhero’s identity – a tradition that has held, as audiences still know very little about Clark’s pre-Superman activities. We know he’s bearded and on a journey to find himself, but what happens to his identity once the red-and-blue suit gets thrown on is still unknown.

Man of Steel Clark Kent Journey Man of Steel Will Feature a Different Take on Clark Kent

In fact, it would be fair to say that at this point, given what we know, the ‘secret identity’ of Superman may not even play a major role in Man of Steel at all. As Snyder explains, the lack of a recognizable incognito Kent is yet another case of the filmmakers’ wish to make the hero’s origin story a bit more realistic:

“I’ll only say that I think in a lot of — well, definitely in the movies — he always jumps straight from childhood to Clark.  Like, he jumps from sort of his teenage version of himself to the adult version of himself.  Frankly, The Daily Planet Clark, that happens pretty quick.  I just think that our Clark, he’s not fully realized and I think — by the way, that’s huge information — but I think that’s the big difference.  That’s why there’s this talk about who Clark is.

“In a lot of ways, the movie really is about the why of Clark, not to say that this kind of bumbling — I don’t want to call him bumbling — his mocky, nerdy Clark is…  But that’s not the Clark that we went after or are going after.  We’re going after sort of a different, there’s a different take on Clark, how Clark is.”

Now, for those who aren’t the most hardcore fans of Superman comics we should clarify that the ‘identity’ of Clark Kent/Kal-El is a tricky notion. It’s generally accepted that Clark began as simply his Smallville self, engaging in heroics when needed, despite his parents urging restraint. Thus came the need to create a public face – Superman – where he could exhibit his own personality while wearing the suit and cape. But to live a normal life, Clark changed his Kent identity into that of a clumsy, uninteresting and disguised ‘everyman.’

Man of Steel Adoption Story Man of Steel Will Feature a Different Take on Clark Kent

That works just fine in a traditional ‘secret identity’ story, but when family, relationships and realism are factored in – all the elements Goyer, Nolan and Snyder are emphasizing – things begin to get messy. Did Superman get noticed in civilian clothes first, or the suit? When he goes home to Smallville, does he remain in disguise, or get to be himself (and obviously Superman)? It’s not hard to see why tackling all of these issues can be challenging, and frankly, not particularly gripping for mass audiences looking for a ‘blockbuster.’

So we’re not shocked to see that the reason behind a lack of ‘mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent’ in marketing may be due to the fact that there won’t be one in Man of Steel; not one fans would recognize at any rate. Instead, Snyder’s comments imply that Man of Steel will fill in the gaps writers tend to skip over.

Audiences may react differently to seeing Clark and Superman less rigidly defined, but realism dictates that splitting a life down the middle isn’t easy. That idea of an identity in flux – at least for the first movie in the franchise – helps shed light on some of Cavill’s quotes as well. When asked how the actor is balancing the relationships with Lois Lane in and out of the super-suit, his response was cagey:

“Superman, Clark and Lois, the key to making it work?  Hm… let me think about that so I can give you a decent answer… I mean, the easy answer is acting, but there’s a fine balance between — again, I’ve gotta be careful what I say here.  There’s an honesty to Clark, Kal-El — Kal-El’s the better way of saying it because he is both Superman and Clark — there’s an honesty to him which crosses over on both—I don’t like to use the word identities, but I will because I can’t think of a better one.  So, it is not that tough to make that swap and change.”

“I connect with both equally.  I really want to explain why because I’ve got a great answer, but I’m going to give away plot points.”

Man of Steel Easter Eggs Trivia List Man of Steel Will Feature a Different Take on Clark Kent

To us, that sounds like Cavill is refusing to acknowledge that the two characters – Superman and Clark – are separate identities at all. Again, it’s not shocking to hear that Snyder is avoiding the minutia of Clark’s glasses, changing hairstyle and slumping posture – since the film tells of Superman’s first public reveal, all of that would come later anyway. But after so many on screen incarnations, a complicated Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El is something we’d welcome, if handled properly.

If our suspicions are accurate, and Man of Steel may not heavily feature a bespectacled Clark Kent as an intrepid reporter, then questions will need to be raised. Is the dual identity a problem to tackle in the inevitable sequels? How will Clark’s desire to be a journalist be handled? And most importantly, how will Lois Lane’s inability to recognize Clark as Superman be handled with any sense of realism? Could she be in on the secret?

What do you make of these latest comments? Have you had enough of the clumsy and bumbling Clark Kent, or was that one of the more charming aspects of the character in your opinion? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Man of Steel will be in theaters on June 14th, 2013.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Collider

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
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  1. I just really think this movie is going to be amazing! :)

    • With ya there!

    • Well, it can’t possibly suck more than Iron Man 3 did…. but who knows? maybe they’ll make Lex Luthor and Brainiac good guys… lol

      • I actually wouldn’t hate this…

    • The best Superman ever!

  2. Thank goodness! If studios take comic book movies seriously then I think people will too and it will help them connect to it. The Donner films were great for the time it was made, but with the advancement in effects and the evolution of story telling, there is no reason to portray Clark Kent in a manner that is un-relatable. Maybe he should not even have a secret identity? Clark Kent can just be the earth persona he is most used to having grown up with that identity for most of his life.

    • You are right they should stick to these times, they should make Clark a hipster.

    • Sort of like Goku is the Earth name used by the hero in Dragonball while his Saiyan name is Kakarot, as revealed when Vegeta arrives on Earth to battle him for “betraying his heritage”.

      • remember Dragonball took elements from Superman

        • Well obviously since Superman came out in the 30s and Dragonball in the 80s (although most elements of Dragonball were inspired by Journey To The West, which came out centuries before).

          I really have no idea why you even brought that up as if I somehow didn’t know that. I was merely commenting on another popular comic book character who chose to prefer the name given to him by his Earth “family” since he had more ties emotionally to Earth than his actual planet of birth and how that could be a major theme in the MOS movie(s).

          • damn, you beat me to it. :(

        • It took it’s main elements from “Journey to the west” by Wu Cheng’en which is about the ancient mischievous Monkey king. He’s called “Goku”, which translates as “Monkey”. He rode on a cloud and had a staff that grew to any length as well as super strength and a pig for a friend.

          Akira Toriyama even made a parody character of Superman called “Suppaman” in his manga “Dr Slump”.

          • The “Goku being an alien” thing didn’t even turn up until after the original run of “Dragonball” had finished. It was only when “Dragonball Z” started that the story went in another direction.

  3. Honestly, I always found the idea of a bumbling journalist hard to swallow.

    He looks like Superman but has glasses and regular clothes on. How would that be difficult to notice?

    Again, that’s why I liked Batman more because he wore a cowl and as Bruce, the public persona was that of an arrogant rich kid. It also reminds me of a cool picture and story I heard last summer from a festival featuring Metallica as the headliners and during one band’s performance, James Hetfield put on a mask and snuck into the mosh pit to enjoy the band as a fan and decided to mess with someone by tapping them on the shoulder and doing other things with this person none the wiser until asking a security guard after the masked guy had left and being told “Yeah, that was Hetfield”.

    Someone with a high public profile hiding his identity under a mask to avoid being recognised so that he could enjoy a show as a fan of music and not a celebrity. Pretty much trying to have a normal life, even if it was for 30 minutes.

    Realistically, I’d like Lois to know who Clark Kent is just like she did in Smallville and some comic books but I’d also like to see less emphasis on Clark unless they come up with an amazing way of doing it right.

    I’d like to think of the Daily Planet as being not the place he works as a civilian but a safe house he can hide in when necessary.

    • That would be a great idea if Louis knew Clark’s secret in the movie

    • i honestly feel they could go the MR IMpossible route (from Invincible a stay home dad who is an author) he doesnt wear a mask no one prettymuch bats an eyelid because realistically speaking NO ONE is looking for “him” &providing no one really knows what Clark looks like since he left smallville on his walkabout/self discovery (esp with THAT beard)… theres no reason to believe he cant go unnoticed by keeping a low profile

      his work for the daily planet (if indeed at all) could come as freelance or even staff blogger who works offsite &submits his work via email

  4. How many times have we heard that this Superman & Clark Kent will be different?

    • Not enough…Why?

  5. I can see Lois being in on the whole thing. In the comics she was well aware of who Superman/Clark was. I mean, they lived together. It would be easier for him to pass off an alter ego (aka nerd Clark) if Lois could play along and help turn people off his trail.

    That being said. I feel the mild-mannered reporter (or some incarnation of that) will make his debut at the end of this movie, after Kal-El has “found himself.”

    • My thinking too. A nice scene at the end of him pursuing a career in journalism – assuming we understand why – would be a nice touch. Again, how Lois reacts will be interesting, but it could be a very cool place to leave the story.

      • The only way I could accept him becoming a journalist is if he decides (and says this in the movie) to try and “help the little guy” who otherwise wouldn’t have the spotlight due to them being the sort of mundane, every day heroes.

        Like I said though, I’d prefer if The Daily Planet was used more as a safe house for Superman more than his actual place of work and if they were determined to include his journalistic career then it should be done with Clark partnered with Jimmy Olsen in by-lines so that Jimmy can report on things for the paper/digital version of the paper on their site and include Clark’s name on his stories to prevent people getting suspicious if someone happens to purposefully search for Clark Kent stories and finds that they are few and far between due to him having to disappear a lot as Superman.

        Again, it would make it realistic and prevent large gaping plot holes.

        • There is a way they could do it…just have him become a freelance journalist where he wears a more elaborate disguise the very few times he has to interact with the people at the daily planet …I guess just to pick up his check. His relationship with Lois could be sort of by e-mail and occasionally personally. As to what that disguise could be, he should not only have glasses but perhaps false teeth and dye his hair blond. In the movie the Color of Night, one of the characters (Jane March) does this and I was totally fooled.

          • Birthright did it pretty well and I’m saddened that Snyder seems to have ignored that. Clark was wandering the world as a freelance journalist and a fisherman simply decided to join the Daily Planet because it was a world-class newspaper that got him the latest news quickly.

  6. So long as they’re using the more assertive investigative reporter Clark from Lois and Clark, the animated series and the last 30 years of Superman comics I’m fine. I’m sick and tired of the public ignorant view of ‘Clark Kent da wimpy disguise!’ from the 1978 movie.

    Yeah, Quentin Tarantino. You were right. 30 years ago. But when you gave that explanation of what Clark Kent is you were behind the times.

  7. They are branding prescription eyewear (Warby Parker) for this film, with “Clark Kent” styling… but he’s not going to wear any?

  8. of course I’m not going to be a dumb ass journalist, that was always very silly in all the other movies, REALISM REALISM REALISM! is the word that we’ve been throwing around since the beginning, how is a dumb reporter with glasses gonna hide my identity REALISTICALLY?

    everybody needs to forget about the clumsy reporter because this is a new era for me, THE MAN OF STEEL. If I wanna be a reporter trust me I’m not gonna be a dumb one.

    • Hey Kal! So don’t throw me into the sun for saying this… but, going by that photo… I think that is the sexiest version of your Earth mom to date.

      I’d have no problem breaking a sweat to plow her field.

  9. You know what?

    Yeah, maybe he’ll be Clark at home, Superman everywhere else and Clark Kent the journalist doesn’t even need to physically be at The Daily Planet any more unless flying there to save the day in full battle outfit.

    With today’s media being written in the field and emailed in, that’s the perfect way of keeping Clark and Superman separate from each other without anybody figuring out the truth.

    Maybe that will be the way modern audiences see the characer portrayed?

    (And I really have no idea if that’s been done in the comic books because like I said before, I never really liked Superman so I never read any Superman stories)

  10. I think this film will establish by the end of it that only the government and Lois Lane will know that Superman is Clark Kent. Perhaps by the conclusion, his heroic deeds will prove himself to the gov’t and they will have a deal with him where he can keep his ‘Clark Kent’ identity as long as he continues to serve the country. The reason the general public won’t know him is because they will never get a proper look at his face.

    • Unlikely

  11. I wouldn’t be surprised if Clark’s Journalism career ends up being some sort of online contributor. I mean, with print media going by the wayside in reality, maybe the Daily Planet finds itself moving to a digital format and pays Clark that way. Clark wont have to actually go there and be seen by people on a regular basis, but he still meets with Lois, who maybe knows his secret and helps him create Clark’s identity. And that’s the connection between the two of them. She falls in love with him because she knows he’s Superman, and he falls in love with her because she helps him establish some kind of normalcy with his alter ego. She helps the wandering nomad to feel connected and normal.

  12. I don’t think reporter Clark Kent will show up until the very end… introduced to Lois as the new guy by Perry White.

  13. I’m not sure what to expect from this movie any more, it just better be good, and I mean very good, whatever it is.

  14. I never bought nor have I ever liked the nerdy, bumbling fool Clark Kent
    who had his worst manifestation in the Christopher Reeve incarnation.
    My favorite Clark Kent is the counterpart to my favorite Superman
    and that being the Clark Kent as played by George Reeves.

    Reeves played him as a real man with a big secret and how
    he kept the secret was part of the drama and best of all
    he knew the audience was in on it and played to it too.

    • I agree that Reeves played an excellent Clark, but I also appreciated Reeve’s portrayal for certain subtle elements…His expression when he secretly caught the bullet during that mugging near the Daily Planet was priceless. It was Clark being the REAL Clark for everyone EXCEPT Lois. I thought those moments were played perfectly by Reeve.

      • The Reeve’s real Clark moment there was great.
        And I agree Reeve played it perfectly too.

    • Thank you. Thank you THANK YOU! Granted…Christopher Reeves gave an iconic performance as Superman, but he (the films) gave Clark Kent short shift. To me, Clark Kent was always the more interesting personality so I could never understand the necessity of shifting the character from “a mild mannered reporter” to a weak bumbling idiot. That’s NOT the Clark Kent any George Reeves fan could accept.

  15. this version of superman is gonna feel real

    • I think that is the whole point. Superman Returns tried to rehash the past Superman where we all went along with his absurd costume that in the real world would not fool anyone. But that was a different time. The challenge for this generation is to make the story more relevant and realistic INSTEAD of trying to repackage the same formula like Superman Returns tried to do. That to me is progress and I welcome it!

      • Agreed!

  16. It makes sense to me. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to stuff the self you’ve been most of your life into this disguise and then have to make the person you’ve always been a fool just so someone doesnt recognize you. I imagine that Clark would have to make this transition slowly after he took on the role of Superman. It would be very difficult to act like a clumsy, slouched goofy reporter for a person who’s never had to, and in the mean time been trying to find himself along the way.

    • I can sort of sympathise with him though because I’ll admit, I’ve done that exact thing for years. Hiding my true self because it stopped me from having friends because they didn’t share my way of thinking and my interests while having to pretend to be this goofy, clumsy oaf that used self-deprecating humour to try and become popular.

      It’s tough to have a persona that everyone knows you for and you have to live up to on a daily basis.

      • @Dazz
        True that. I know how you feel because I’m leaving it. :)

  17. I, who did not like any of the previous Superman movies, am actually looking forward to this one!

      • I’m with Goldilocks here.

        The first was decent, the second was better but neither have aged well and I only like them because of nostalgia and not because they were actually good.

        3 and 4 were bad, Returns was terrible and way too long.

        • I was ecstatic with Superman I…SUPERMAN…FINALLY on the BIG SCREEN (pre-cable era)! They confused me with II, when Clark reveals his TRUE IDENTITY to Lois and turns himself into a muscle bound weakling. Should have called that flic, “Superman Whines”. They completely lost me when Superman brings Lois back to live by…eh…turning back time through rotating the planet BACKWARDS? Give me a break. Superman “jumped the shark” in “Superman Meets Richard Pryor”. “Man of Steel” seems like it’ll correct those misguided efforts.

  18. Clark Kent is a story that’s been covered since ’78. I think it’s a good look that they’re focusing on the Kal-El aspect of Superman for once. Save Clark Kent for when Supes dealt with his internal conflicts and found the pep in his step.

  19. Honestly, I’d be fine if they just got rid of the whole secret identity aspect completely. I know it’s a huge element, but if the goal is to make Superman more “realistic”, then having him able to conceal his identity just by putting on a pair of glasses just isn’t going to cut it. I think it would be just fine to have him always be Superman. Whatever they do in the movie I’m sure will be good though. This is shaping up to be maybe one of the best comic-book films of all-time! I Can’t Wait!!

    • You want realism? A guy who had to be like Superman 24/7 would go mad from all the pressure and attention. That’s been explored several times in various media. As Superman Clark can’t be his real self. He can’t form close bonds and friendships with the people around him. He’s isolated from them by virtue of being a larger-than-life public figure.

      As Superman said “I AM Clark Kent. I’d go crazy if I had to be Superman all the time!”

  20. It seems like every superhero reveals his secret identity in every superhero movie these days, so Lois might as well be in on it up front.

  21. Sounds like WB/DC is appealing to the loner demographic again. Reminds me of Bruce Wayne’s self absorbed solo journey in Batman Begins.

    They must believe comic book fans are lonely misfit geeks. That may have been true in the 60’s but geeks are cool now with their own culture and societal norms.

    I can also see the signs of the hero cliche prototype coming through, which is expected with Superman’s well known origin story, and I hope they do something different this time with “The Hero’s Journey” monomyth.

    • Well I definitely fit into that “loner demographic” so interest is definitely piqued here.

      • Understood….. But don’t discount your friends here on Screen Rant buddy. Some of us are goofballs, but I’m willing to bet most of would be able to hang out without killing each other…….. Well……. Maybe a little bloodshed…… Ha!

  22. I could swear there was a clip of clark working as a crab fisherman in the first trailer that came out.

  23. How does Zach Snyder have such a terrible command over the English language? This man has to communicate with actors for Chrissakes.

    • It is Zack not Zach and chrissakes is not a word.

  24. I have not read all of the comment as I just wanted to get this down while I thought of it. For a CK persona, based on the fact that when he is in Superman form his hair is slicked back, he could have a particularly long fringe in amongst all that hair and that would cover up some of his face – this is then out of the way in Superman form as it is slicked back. Add some very oversized glasses that you can get hold of these days and put him in a very badly fitting suit. It is by no means perfect but for the big screen I don’t think people are going to rip a disguise like that apart, it is something that I feel is just accepted and known about the Superman character, when he is not superman he is a reporter and no one ever seems to notice, why would you look for supes in the Daily Planet office??

    I am all for the realistic approach that MOS is going for and I reckon it will be epic, but this plot point for me is being taken far too seriously as it is actually a floor that has been with the character from his conception. It is just accepted that people don’t recognise him and frankly the disguise is not important – the Clarke/Lois relationship is important as it is the backbone of the Superman/Lois relationship.

  25. I am really getting tired of people saying “Man of Steel is going be ground in the real world. It is going to be as real as possible.”

    Meanwhile, people are in the midst of rebuilding their lives.
    Young People are dying in the streets of major cities.
    There are terrorist who are out all over the world. People are getting hatchet attacked.

    But, “Man of Steel is going to feel realistic.”

    It is a Movie, nothing more, nothing less. There is no such thing a real Superman, just Heroes…Period.

    Real Heroes do their Job everyday, and most time it is thankless. When was the last time any of you appreciated how Firemen saved a bunch of children from a burning building.

    How many of you would walk past a homeless vet looking for something to eat, while you rush to go see a Superhero movie.

    For the love of God, look around your own hometowns AND BE A REAL HERO TO SOMEONE…Not give your worship to a fictional character.

    As much as I am a Superman Fan, I refuse to believe “How real it can be.”

    • This is what I said weeks ago on a MOS article, how the movie could show people inspired by Superman and hopefully do the same for the real world people who saw the movie.

      Just show people that no matter who they are, they have something special and can make a difference.

      Plus movies need to be grounded in realism to be accepted these days but are also used as escapism and a chance to get away from the horrors of the real world.

      • Problem is, it is not being Heroic in the saving lives way.


        Heroes came from every walk of life. A Nurse in the Army, had the rank of LT Was given orders to anyone Captain Jennifer Glidewell. was the Nurse who pretty much took charge of wounded people in the Pentagon. What she was doing was saving lives, when two 3 Star Generals walked over, she apologized for not being able to salute, they told her..”Captain, you TELL US what to do, or what you need.”

        Ever branch of Service was in the Air, Navy and Coast Guard Took the Rivers and Ports up and down The East Coast. Army and Airforce flew over the cities. You had pilots coming in from all over the country to give breaks.

        We saw a lot of Heroes.

        None of them were Justice League or The Avengers.

        • So it’s not ok to enjoy superhero films anymore?

            • Jeff its rediculous how far your taking a comment. Who gives a crap if they say its grounded in realism its not at all undermining the heroes in our real world. Movies are to be enjoyed and the more real they feel the more we can relate. Nobody is going to believe that superheroes are real but they can be inspired or better you give someone 2 and a half hours of enjoyment. You gave some great words about heroes but you decided to mix it with a comment that doesnt at all relate.

    • People grew up with these characters, people at the age 5 to 60 still look at the pages of a comic book to save them from maybe being lonely, left out or emotionally scared. These character might not be real but they definitely influence thousands to do the right thing and like you said be a hero. There’s a chance someone in the force may have been inspired by one of these characters when they were young and dreamt of doing what they’re doing right now. Things don’t have to be real to make an impact. It’s great that the writers are actually trying to fit real world themes and ideas into the movie, it’s a great way of getting through to the the audience even if a whole lot of them ignore all of the ideas and themes and focus on the action.

      • Well said.

    • @jeff w,no offence at all intended here, but we’re commenting on a dedicated MOVIE website.

      So surely it’s appropriate for the people on the site to comment/speculate on MOVIES they’re excited to see?

      Why would anybody be talking about anything else here?

      You have absolutely no idea what most of do with our spare time or professions.

      I’m very unclear on what you’re trying to say here.

      Obviously it’s just a movie. But you can’t chastise anybody for being vocally excited about the film and it’s tone on a movie website.

      • No Offense taken.

        Like I said, Enjoy Man of Steel for what it is, not what people think it is in the real world.

        From Synder to everyone saying “Man of Steel is Grounded in the real world.”

        That is 110% BS.

        • Its not 110% bs. Synder and everyone os talking about a movie. A movie can be grounded in reality. He never said it is reality its grounded in reality there is a big diffrence.

        • No offense, but I think anybody with common sense can understand what Snyder and everyone else is saying when referring to the film as being grounded in reality. In laymans terms, it’s as grounded as a film about super powered aliens can be. No charicatures of people, more reality based enviornments and reactions etc etc. It’s not rocket science, there’s no need to take offense or get wound up about it. There’s no need to take the term THAT serious, ESPECIALLY when we all know exactly what is meant.

        • All Snyder & Co. are saying is imagine the
          science fiction in this story is science fact.
          How would the “real world” react if that were
          true and how does Clark/Superman adapt to it.

          It is a perfectly valid creative approach and
          one not read anything more into it than it is.

  26. George Reeves Clark Kent was not a bumbling fool. I think the nerdy Clark just becomes caricature.

    I hope they have a clever way of concealing his identity beyond a pair of glasses but that would pose all of the same issues mentioned.

  27. If they don’t feel the need to have the typical Clark Kent, then I don’t think it will take away from the film completely. But for the sake of argument, if the film really wants to be real, then the idea of a non Superman identity would have to be broached eventually. He can’t be Superman all the time unless he doesn’t need food, which costs money, which can only come from a job.

    • …or unless he flys to his Mom’s house.

  28. I’m glad there taking this to another direction, yes the nerdy Clark Kent is tiring smart move from Goyer …MOS will rock !