One thing most comic book fans always want to know: how familiar are the cast and filmmakers with the source material they’re adapting?
Henry: I did not take anything from the other characters that played it before. As an actor, the way I do it and the way I viewed it is that all the actors that have come before, it’s their interpretation of the source material—source material being the comic books—and I wanted to have my interpretation. Not out of a sense of ego, but in a sense that it might be a disjointed performance if I have someone else’s personality and their influence affect the interpretation of the character. So I went straight to the comic books and saw the older movies, but I did not apply those performances to mine.
Amy Adams: I grew up watching Superman and loving the characters and I let it be known that I auditioned several times—this was my third time. So thank you, Zack, for letting me play Lois. When I talked to Zack about this incarnation of Lois, what I loved was that she was still this intrepid reporter, that she was somebody that was going to be a part of the solution not just part of the problem. She was going to have more of an inner track on Clark and sort of be on the inside as opposed to being on the outside, and I really liked that and I thought that was a very unique idea. I really loved that Zack wanted it to be this really big, amazing film, but that was also very important to him to focus on the characters and the truth, grounding the characters in reality as much as possible in this amazing world that he created…he wanted all of the characters to have a really true heartbeat and we spent a lot of time talking about that, and that impressed me about Zack.
Russell Crowe: I have a confession, might just get it out. I’ve never seen any other Superman movie. Haven’t seen one with that fellow in it, or the new young fellow—I didn’t see that either. I didn’t have any references in terms of cinematic experiences. The only Superman reference I have is the black-and-white Superman TV show that was on TV after school when I was a kid. So I really had nothing to draw on. The simple thing for me is I read the script and thought it was a complex and really cool story in and of itself. And I thought the problems that Jor-El faced in terms of his decisions as a father was a very interesting thing to do and get involved.
With parenting clearly being a theme of the film, how did Superman’s parents (Russell Crowe and Diane Lane) approach that very human and grounded side of the film?
Russell: I had a very interesting experience being a father on this movie, I think Zack employed four babies as the recently born Kal-El and unlike my own experiences as a father of two, I’ve managed to dodge all the piss and the poo even though I’m pretty slick with a nappy. But on this movie, I got farted on first and that was okay. Pissed on and that was a little bit inconvenient. Then the topper happened under those hot lights. It was after lunch, to be expected, and I got a handful of the essential Kryptonian material. So I learned a lot, I had new experiences as a parent on this movie that I hadn’t previously had—so thank you, Zack.
Zack: I just want to add to the tapestry of your life as best as I can.
Diane Lane: …Once you’re a parent, it informs everything that you do. This is such a unique scenario having an alien come into your barn and you raise it and happens to be a very beautiful human specimen. Actually, it has a lot of other things going on. You know the challenge and the backstory that Zack and Kevin and I really enjoyed discussing—which was not part of the script—is imagining what it would be like to temper a young person’s attitude adjustment, that’s required in the rearing of children, when they have the powers that Clark has.
It was fun having those conversations and you can fill in the blanks and maybe there will be some funny ones written for future story plots. I feel the love that one has for one. Once you fall in love with a being that needs you, you imprint and you want it to represent your belief system. How does that manifest and what is sacred to you? And that winds up being conveyed eventually when you’re not even there to see it. That’s the hope of parenthood. So A for effort and there you have it.
…I love that line that we’ve managed to come up with where she says, “Nice suit, son.” Because it’s been waiting to be revealed, and if anyone is holding their breath anymore than mom, I can’t imagine who it would be. Talk about your son coming out! It’s kind of built in—sorry, Chuck. So yeah, I’m sort of relived and grateful and a bit overwhelmed by the havoc that it has brought. Coming out of the collapsed house, I love the metaphor of the family album that one would grab. What does one grab in a tornado or when something like that happens to your home? It’s the memories and it’s the value system of human life. And what is the value system of human life, really? And the imprint that we provided to Clark.