‘Man of Steel’ Interview: Workouts, Rivalry & the New Suit

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 30th, 2013 at 12:34 pm,

Man of Steel New Suit Close Up Man of Steel Interview: Workouts, Rivalry & the New Suit

As the release of Man of Steel slowly approaches, it’s becoming more and more evident just how high the filmmakers have aimed. Not only is the film attempting to introduce a new Superman, a new origin story, and lay the foundations of a Justice League universe, but it’s also trying to do justice to serious real-world issues.

Superhero movies have had varied success when it comes to teaching the audience about life, love, and anything other than CG set-pieces and cool costumes. But according to producer Deborah Snyder, from its leading men to the wardrobe department, the effort has been made to keep old fans on board as they take the character to some groundbreaking places.

Much has been made in the past few weeks of the many kinds of story Man of Steel will tell – with ‘superhero’ not largely claimed to be among them. Screenwriter David S. Goyer has explained how his experiences make the movie a story about fatherhood and how the realistic approach makes it a ‘first contact’ story, and now producer Deborah Snyder is adding her own take.

Man of Steel Adoption Story Man of Steel Interview: Workouts, Rivalry & the New Suit

In an interview with SFX, Snyder explained that even though Superman once stood for ‘truth, justice and the American way,’ he is the quintessential immigrant, and helps form a very different idea of family:

“Someone said to me it’s the greatest adoption story in all of history. I think that’s an interesting way of looking at it – maybe because I was just in the process personally of adopting my two children. The people of Earth adopt him and he adopts us, as well. A lot of the messaging in this film is about family, and who makes you who you are.”

While Snyder’s comments reiterate Goyer’s claim that above all, Superman is a character who embodies hope, they also prove that the filmmakers are trying to add something new to the Superman mythology for a modern audience. It’s true that these same themes have been explored in recent years by several comic book writers (be sure to read our Man of Steel comic checklist), but for many casual fans, the more dramatic facets of the character aren’t well known. Hopefully, that’s about to change.

Superman Man of Steel Arms Crossed Man of Steel Interview: Workouts, Rivalry & the New Suit

Looking the part of Superman is ultimately a task that falls on the shoulders of star Henry Cavill – shoulders significantly bigger than the actor has ever sported. Zack Snyder clearly prefers that his actors match the physique and size of their comic book counterparts, and Cavill has obviously done everything possible to evoke the ‘body-builder’ look of modern Superman comics.

But Snyder explains that for both 300 (2006) and Man of Steel, having actors in peak physical condition isn’t just for looks – it’s all about performance. It also helped fuel the rivalry between Kal-El (Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon), even if Cavill’s muscles didn’t allow him to coast once the shooting started:

“He’s a giant, but we really put him through the motions. The training for the role was so much a part of the process of making the film. The guys carried themselves differently as they went through their process of transforming their bodies. It was a really important part of the preparation. You saw Michael’s posture change. As we went along in prep he kept becoming more and more Zod-like, and I’d say the same thing about Henry too. It’s like they would carry themselves differently. It wasn’t that they were wearing a padded suit, they actually filled the suit, but it did something to their performance at the same time, and I think helped them get in the head of their character.

“Mark Twight, who trained them, usually pitted them against each other and would post their scores on the board. They’d do the workout and the timings or the weight would be up there for everyone to see. It keeps everyone kinda honest, I think, but also competitive.”

Henry Cavill Compares Man of Steel to The New 52 Superman Man of Steel Interview: Workouts, Rivalry & the New Suit

The most recent trailers have shown that even if Michael Shannon’s history as a character made him an unlikely choice for Zod, he’s bringing something new to the iconic villain. Threatening Earth is hard to pull off in any circumstance, so the fact that Shannon could do it while wearing a skintight motion capture bodysuit is even more impressive.

man steel general zod tv spots Man of Steel Interview: Workouts, Rivalry & the New Suit

As Snyder explains, Shannon may not be the most well-known of the film’s star-studded cast, but he was the perfect choice in the end:

“Michael Shannon is again such a respected actor. He had never done something of this physicality before, so it was challenging for him. All his armour is CG, so he embodied this role by looking at the pictures of what he was going to look like, and how he would move in his armour when he was in a mo-cap suit. You need someone who’s super-seasoned as an actor to pull that off, and he really does.

“It’s funny, because he’s the nicest guy, but sometimes on set he would be super-serious. He’d be in character and I’d be like ‘Oh my goodness, he is super-scary!’ And then all of a sudden he would finish the scene, he’d break a joke and you’d be like ‘Oh, that’s Michael, he’s funny…’ I forgot that because he’s kind of terrifying too! He just has this intensity that he brings to the role.”

Both actors seem to be rising to the occasion and are more than happy with how it’s turned out. Balancing big action and big drama is always a difficult task, and fans won’t have to wait much longer to see how Snyder and co. have managed. If it all works out, the sky is the limit for the creative team. First things first, of course.

What do you think of the multitude of themes encapsulated in Man of Steel’s story? Are there any aspects of the film you’re still not sure of, or are you counting the days to release? Share your own thoughts in the comments.


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

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: SFX

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
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  1. Michael Shannon seems like he’s going to be the highlight of the film for me, everything Snyder says about him in the interview, you can totally see in the trailers. He’s intense, serious, terrifying, everything I think Zod needs to be.

    I’m glad they’re fitting themes and real world problems in the movie. I feel like this is going to be one of those movies I have to watch a second time so I can fully understand it and fully enjoy everything it has to give.

    REALLY hoping it lives up to its hype.

  2. > REALLY hoping it lives up to its hype.


    Been so disappointed with movies as of late (IM3, STID).

    June can’t get here fast enough!

  3. You know, I’d love to know their workouts just because Michael looks big and has that insane definition going on, especially in his arms compared to seeing him in movies like Take Shelter.

    I saw Henry’s workout for Immortals and that looked pretty basic compared to what I imagine he went through for this movie since he too looks a lot bigger than he ever has.

    • It’s not really about the workouts, that’s the easy part. It’s the nutrition and supplementation that is more beneficial if you want to put on size.

      • Very true but I just wonder since Snyder mentions a competition between them and have a curiosity about what they did both before production and during filming.

        • The trainer he mentions they trained with runs a gym called GymJones. It is kind of like Crossfit, which is an amped up version of circuit training where you race to complete a workout for time or as many reps as possible in a given amount of time. That is how they competed and posted their “scores.”

      • Translation: “It’s mostly about the steroids used.”

        • Translation: “Dude is either a fat sedentary slob or a skinny weakling making up jealousy fueled excuses for others’ success through hard work and discipline.”

          • +1

  4. I liked Shannon in Take Shelter.He has that power to express emotions, and as far as the story goes i like how they didn’t rush with the villains and instead had decided to fit them in the story.

    • Funny thing is, I saw Take Shelter and didn’t find it to be that good. The story seemed to plod along at a slow pace, the ending wasn’t very satisfactory and Michael Shannon was just as monotonous as he is in Boardwalk Empire. Only the cafeteria scene stood out for me, the rest of it just seemed to be beautifully shot and lit really well but without much in the way of plot substance or standout performances other than the one I just mentioned.

      That’s why both myself and my brother groaned when he let slip a few years ago during an interview that he was about to start filming as Zod because we felt he wouldn’t do justice to a normally commanding presence like Zod is portrayed to be.

      Judging by the trailers though, I’m genuinely intrigued and looking forward to yet another Goyer-written villain that stands as a total badass in every sense of the word alongside The Joker and Bane.

      • Take Shelter was a perfectly paced, haunting film that lingered in me for weeks afterwards. Shannon’s slow descent into madness was brilliant in its subtly and showed courage that you rarely get to see explored on film these days.

        • I think that’s the thing, it was incredibly subtle but also incredibly forgettable.

          • So it’s only good acting if they’re screaming & telling?

  5. Kneel before Zod!

    • I’d kneel before Supes lol

  6. Ever since I saw the teaser trailer during TDKR I have been looking forward to this film so much. Can’t wait!

    • Seems so long ago now doesn’t it? Although admittedly, I spent more time talking about the brilliance of TDKR than the MOS teaser they showed before the movie and I haven’t really been that excited for MOS until maybe a month or two ago.

      That’s not to say I don’t think the movie will be good, it’s just that the only movie I’ve spent more than two months getting excited and hyped for was TDKR (followed production from day one online and spent a year devouring Batman-News tidbits daily and came out of the movie relieved that it was just as amazing as I’d anticipated).

      MOS won’t let me down, I know that for sure.

      • “Brilliance of TDKR”??? Ummmm…

        • Yep, great ending to a great trilogy. Maybe not the best movie of the three but definitely worth the wait and so good I had to see it multiple times before anxiously awaiting the DVD release so I could watch it again.

          It had so much subtlety as well as metaphor with an ending that cleverly left it up to the viewer as to what Bruce Wayne’s fate was (with debate raging to this day about whether he survived or it was just Alfred’s imagination).

          I think Mark Kermode once described the Dark Knight trilogy as “great art house movies with popcorn flick budgets that work on every level thanks to an amazing cast, a brilliant director and the best cinematographer working in Hollywood”.

          I will always maintain that anyone who didn’t “get” TDKR or who thinks it was a terrible movie are entitled to their opinions but just don’t seem to understand what makes a great movie or how character development should be handled properly or the complexities involved within the stories.

          I imagine those same people will also complain about MOS if it has a lack of explosions and huge set pieces to make room for the actual characters and the attachments to them that Goyer and Snyder are intent on providing.

          • The fate of Bruce Wayne in TDKR was clearly explained on-screen.
            The problem with its metaphor is that it lacked subtly. After everyone raved about the political metaphors hidden throughout TDK, the filmmakers got way into themselves and over did it with TDKR.
            It had an asinine plot, riddled with more holes than Swiss cheese. Goyer & Jonathan Nolan pretty much slapped the script together, as John was focused on his tv series and David went full into M.O.S.

            TDKR desperately tried to outdue it’s predecessor and eventually lost focus on what made the first two great.

            • cranium7…

              I respectfully disagree about TDKR. I found it quite well put together with a logical plot and great characterizations. I actually found it to be the best of the three DK films.

              …but to each, his own.

          • I also thought it was a great ending, one of my favorite endings of a film to be honest. Loved how they handled it, the way it concluded the story and gave the viewer a satisfying goodbye to the characters all the while giving off a sense that the characters will surely be continuing the journey and the legend of Batman even if we won’t be able to see it. Don’t know if that makes any sense aha.

            I think some people’s hatred for the movie was due to not only the expectations being considerably high but the type of expectations they had. A lot of people probably expected The Dark Knight Part 2 sorta thing, but in the end they got a completely different type of movie. I remember watching the first few trailers of Gangster Squad and was expecting a gritty and serious drama but ended up with a spoof of the genre which annoyed the hell out of me. I enjoyed it for what it was the second time I watched it though. I just hope what happened with Gangster Squad doesn’t also happen to Man of Steel.

          • Agree 100%. Had to watch it about 5 times before everything began to connect with Begins. Better movie than I originally thought and that was pretty good.

            • TDKR was a f***ing travesty the way they s**t all over Bane. They did that character absolutely no justice. Thankfully Nolan isn’t a fan of comics so he’ll likely never do another film based on one.

          • @dazz

            i have agreed with alot of your comments on SR, but i have to say that statements like-”I will always maintain that anyone who didn’t “get” TDKR or who thinks it was a terrible movie are entitled to their opinions but just don’t seem to understand what makes a great movie or how character development should be handled properly or the complexities involved within the stories.”-are very condescending, if not downright insulting.
            i “got” TDKR very well, in all it’s piss-poor story telling grandeur, including, but not limited to:

            alfred whining about bruce being a lazy bum, then he gets all the intel about bane,(worlds greatest detective my @$$!) then whines about bruce taking up the batman mantle again, and quits. WTF!

            bane and co manage to somehow break into the stock exchange, presumably the night before, and manage to hide several motorcycles, that they use to make their getaway after holding the exchange hostage while they did a false trade causing bruce to lose HIS ENTIRE FORTUNE!, yet the SEC allows this questionable trade to go thru even though. WTF!

            The CIA just taking 3 hooded people on board their plane from some agents they dont even know, and nobody even checks to see if they are restrained properly, or even call someone in langley, or dc, to see if this should even happen.

            i’m not making any of this up, it’s actually in the film.

            to say that i am somehow less of a movie fan because i dont like this film is just nonsense. i am not sheeple. i can make up my own mind. the 1st 2 were amazing, but this one fell on it’s face, imo.

            • Both a scholar and a gentleman. Well put.

              • thank-you, but my wife may disagree on the gentleman thing. oh well…

      • TDKR was amazing? Which one did you see?

  7. Belt? What “belt”? There is a weird torso girdle of sorts but I’m not seeing a belt anywhere. The costume would have looked better with a red belt like the new 52 version to break up all that dingy blue.

  8. I can’t bloody wait for this movie. I have been following this for nearly two years now, I can barely stand it any longer now that it is, finally, nearly here.

  9. I think this will be fantastic can’t wait

  10. june 14th is soooo closeeeeee

    • 17 days….

  11. Now I dont see people complaining about the suit, or that they change the gender of a character, or that Amy Adams is not the right choice for Lois…its all in the past now.

    • Kinda what I like when there’s only a few weeks before a movie is released. Little things like that start to go unnoticed and everyone starts to really focus on the bigger picture.

    • dont forget the always controversial race reassignment of perry white.

      personally i like all the changes i have seen and look forward to this as much as i did waaaaaay back in ’78 (11 years old) when superman:the movie opened. i did believe a man could fly!

  12. Anyone happen to know where that first picture is from? I’m not sure if it’s the lighting, or if it’s been retouched, but the blue in that costume looks way better than the darker blue, IMO. It’s closer to the traditional Superman blue while still being darker and not garish. Really liking it, now I’m wondering how it’ll look in the movie.

    Overall, Man of Steel’s build up has been a huge roller coaster ride for me. I like the creative team, so I was really excited at first. Then I saw the first couple of trailers that had this really grim and moody tone that didn’t sit right for me, like they’d lost focus on what Superman as a character stands for. Almost like the marketing team cut it focusing too much on nailing a Nolan/Dark Knight vibe. The last trailer and TV spots, though, have really emphasized that really important aspect of Superman being a symbol of hope for humanity, and now I’m fully onboard the Man of Steel train. Can’t wait for this one to hit theaters!

    • I have heard that his costume gets brighter when he’s using his powers. Don’t know if that’s true but, I have noticed that the colors seem brighter in some shots than in others.

    • You actually might be in luck… that first picture is a screenshot from the TV spot. Which I think is one of the coolest non-superpowers scene (i.e. no flying, or superspeed effects). It’s a split-second scene, but in that shot that the picture is from, Superman is sitting down chained with handcuffs or something. He leans forward with a bemused smirk and jerks his hand up, breaking the chains like styrofoam. It’s actually a good show of Superman’s true strength (and attitude towards all the human handcuffs nonsense) in a split moment, with good use of practical effects.

      The shot wasn’t even half of a second. Look up Man of Steel – UK TV Spot @ 23s.

  13. My biggest fear is that they’re building up the movie so much that even if it the best comic book film ever made, it still won’t live up to the hype. I hope & pay no new trailers get released; I’m afraid I may have already seen too much. The teaser where I saw Supes first take off, I was sold.

    • You’ll always get the hipsters and bandwagoneers who will hate it for whatever insane and nitpicky reasons. TDK and TDKR had them, IM3 had them recently so I can guarantee MOS will have them too.

      They won’t even be good reasons to point out either, it’ll be something like “Zod’s haircut wasn’t right” or “Superman wouldn’t do that, they ruined the character, screw you WB/DC, I won’t watch any more of your movies”.

      That’s why I’ll avoid reviews on here from now on because it’s ridiculous when I like a movie and see pages of hate from people who clearly didn’t understand some aspects and somehow feel wronged to the point where anyone who disagrees with their opinion that “this movie sucks, what a let down” is somehow trolling and ends up being harassed and bullied by the hatemongers.

      Or the other way round when it comes to The Avengers and people are afraid to say anything less than positive because it seems you can’t have a differing opinion without being jumped on and beaten around the head repeatedly and forced to enjoy something like some kind of Orwellian nightmare come true.

      That’s actually the one thing I hate about Screen Rant, some of the people who comment on articles have turned the site into a thing where if someone doesn’t agree with their “Avengers good, TDKR bad” view then they should be excommunicated to a Soviet gulag until they’ve learned to agree and chant that as a slogan to others as a warning to fall in line or else be shunned like some kind of leper.

      • Funny you mention ‘Avengers’. I remember being blown away and feeling extremely entertained in the theater. But after that, I never was able to get myself to watch it. It just has no repeat value for me, and the more I look back at it, the more it feels like a popcorn flick. I think the reason it made so much money is the fact you had so many separate cinema franchises in one movie in a way that worked. But when I’m on a flight, when given the choice, I *always* find myself watching Batman Begins and not Avengers.

        • It’s funny that you mention the Avengers because I remember hating the hype it was getting. When I saw it myself, it completely surpassed the hype in my opinion which is a rare thing. I can watch the Avengers over and over again at anytime. It has nothing but repeat value for me. For some people, it feels like a popcorn flick. For me, it’s an instant classic and deceptively complex.

          • I was just the opposite. Avengers was a big let down after the hype. To me, a good movie is one I want to watch over and over. I have seen the Avengers once.

            • That’s why I hated the hype. Hype is more prone to ruin a movie experience than enhance it. It’s the same with Man of Steel, can’t stand the hype. I would like for it to be a great movie first, but people are giving it all kinds of accolades because of the highly impressive trailers. Compare it whatever movie they’ve been jaded by or calling it the best of something. Calling any film the greatest movie before even seeing it is definitely not something I can ever get behind. I remember when some people were trying to say that Superman Returns would make more money than Titanic. Sounds very silly now but that’s what hype does when it runs unchecked.

          • complex?? lol, you must be very stupid to digest that straight forward storyline

        • That’s pretty much how I feel about that Avengers. I bought it on blu ray but I have yet to watch it again.

  14. I’ve been on board with this since day one and feel like every step they have taken has been spot on to create a great modern superman story. The suit looks great, cavill looks ripped straight out of the comic pages, every bit of casting is great especially Shannon, cavill, Costner, and crow!. And that last trailer with Zod and the “you are not alone” transmition…prob the best trailer I’ve ever seen!

  15. I got goose bumps watching the trailer in the theatre. First time that has ever happened, and I am a huge Batman fan.

  16. I think the thing I am most curious about is how they can incorporate a DC universe into the movie. If you think about it the movie was shot over six months ago. I don’t think there was already in place a plan as to what an expanded universe would be like. So its not like they already have a cast for the other characters that will make cameos. So I want to see how they reference the other heroes/villains aside from shots of a Lex Corp logo. assuming they have a sequel, I hope they can do for Lex Luthor, what the Dark Knight did for Joker. This may sound a bit out there but I think someone like James Gandolfini could redefine the character…would also make a great Kingpin.

  17. 1 7 days and. counting ….

  18. If anything, Man of Steel sounds like its an overload of different stories and visuals. That can be difficult to pull off; I guess come June we will know if they have managed to do so.

  19. It’s not just MoS, but any movie, can any movie live up to this kind of hype?
    Or, is it bound for a let down?

    • The Avengers did, at least in my opinion.

    • please stop talking about mandarin

  20. @Are there any aspects of the film you’re still not sure of, or are you counting the days to release?

    Don’t care for the actor playing Superman, don’t care for the script, dislike this version of perry white or jenny olsen.
    The action & CG looks great but i’ll pass.
    I’m not counting the days & i’m not caring.

    • I’m just interested in seeing the action. I think the other parts of the movie will be great like the origin, emotional, shared cinematic universe, etc. but really, I just want to see Superman versus Zod and the Kryptonian army because that part looks great.

    • …and yet you’re here wasting your time (and ours) making pointless comments. Hmmm…

      For my part, I’ve been quite impressed with everything I’ve seen and heard about MOS. I cannot wait for June 13th.

      • Archaeon, my sentiments exactly.

      • You’re the one who wasted their own time not me.
        The article asks for comments & thoughts so i shared mine. It’s your problem if you dislike them.
        Sorry @Archaeon we all can’t be a fanboy like you.

        • Nope…no particular waste of time for me. You, however, don’t seem even really to care about this film (as you, yourself, pointed out), so I wonder why you found it worthwhile to make a comment that contributes NOTHING to our discussion of the film.

          As for being a fanboy…nope. In terms of being a FAN: Of Superman? Very much so.

          Try again. ;)

          • LOL Our discussion ?
            Sorry but No body forced you to read or reply to a comment that wasn’t even targeted at you.
            So you wasted your time @Archaeon

            I didn’t because i like the special effects & action of it because it looks intense but don’t care for much else in the movie thus this isn’t a day1 must see.

            If you feel i wasted YOUR time then you are absolutely free to skip over & not reply to any comments made here.
            No one is forcing you to read or reply to anything.

  21. Deborah Snyder… who is she to be talking about Superman? She didn’t write it. She isn’t directing it. She should stay behind the scenes instead of trying to share the limelight. Now I really do NOT want to see this film.

    • @MintCondition
      She is the Producer of the Movie. She has every right to promoe the movie.

      • He’s trolling, ignore the weirdo.

    • oh my god! a producer talking up a film they helped produce. the nerve! someone call the high elders at once!

  22. Hate that “Fanboy” is an insult nowadays.

  23. MAN OF STEEL will make Over $1 BiLLiON Dollars Worldwide, Henry Cavill is a Great Actor & Amy Adams is a Multi-Oscar-Nominated-Actress & Very Beautiful Plus Multi-Oscar-Nominated: C-NOLAN is The Writer & Producer, i think The New Suit Looks Great & Much Better than The Old Light Blue Suit that Looked Like a SMURF & with The OutSide UnderWear was Real Bad, i Will See MAN OF STEEL in 3D.

  24. He didn’t do the a standard 5 x 4-6 rep routine, he trained at Gym Jones (the crossfit-ish guys that trained the actors in “300″)

    There’s some info about here:

  25. Well after firs hearing about the movie a few years ago now I have been excited about this movie, and today I finally got to watch and it was amazing I think they have done a great job, for my 7yo boy who has watched the old supermans with me to see something more up to date was amazing reminded me of myself when I first watched chris as superman!! I hope this truly does get the credits it deserves the action, fight scenes, story, suit was excellent.
    I hope this will be the start of a great trilogy and the ending leaves it wide open for more. Going to go back and watch it again. Well done for a truly epic movie MOS lives on again.

  26. Just got back from a pre-screen of Man of Steel. It was amazing! I can’t think of any other way to describe it. I hope you all enjoy/have enjoyed it. :)

  27. Really great post. As a personal trainer I can honestly say i think your right about a lot of these methods. You see so many websites that offer personal training but they turn out to be professional fitness fraud. Thanks for the post!