Casting Begins for Unknown ‘Man of Steel’; Superman Lawsuit Moves Forward

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 9th, 2013 at 1:24 am,

superman casting begins lawsuit moves forward Casting Begins for Unknown Man of Steel; Superman Lawsuit Moves Forward

With production on Zack Snyder’s The Man of Steel being fast-tracked for a December 2012 release date, one can expect a flurry of frequent casting announcements in the coming weeks and months. The obvious questions being, who will play Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Lois Lane, the as-yet-unnamed super-villain (Lex Luthor, Brainiac, General Zod, or even Parasite), and the titular character himself, Superman?

Well, forget all those rumors about Jon Hamm, Brandon Routh, or whoever you’ve had your heart set on playing the man of steel in The Man of Steel – because casting is only just now getting underway.

According to Deadline, Warner Bros. is casting a wide, err, casting net in their search for the perfect Kryptonian super-man – with an eye on hiring either a television actor or a complete unknown.

Apparently, the studio is seeking actors between the ages of 28 and 32—too young for Jon Hamm and too old for The Social Network star Armie Hammer (who himself was up for the role, long ago, of Batman in George Miller’s now-deceased Justice League of America). Of course, this doesn’t mean that Hamm is out of the running completely, it just means that the possibility he’ll star as The Man of Steel is all the more unlikely. Other casting possibilities include True Blood’s Joe Manganiello, 34, who recently claimed to have been considered for the role, and The Vampire Diaries’ Ian Somerhalder, 32, neither of which particularly scream “Clark Kent” or “Superman” to my comic-book-nerd eyeballs.

In fact, my personal favorite would be Matthew Bomer, 34, star of USA’s White Collar (and once upon a time, Chuck), who is basically the spitting image of Superman/Clark Kent – if a little physically unimposing. He was originally Brett Ratner’s top choice when Ratner was hired to help the movie that would eventually become Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns – and he even starred as Superman in a series of Japanese commercials for Toyota. I’m just saying, a good idea never stops being a good idea.

The casting news comes just a day after a federal judge lifted the delay for the infamous Superman lawsuit, which, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “will allow Warner Bros. to proceed with key depositions of the families of Man of Steel creators, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel.”

Basically, this means that the conclusion to this lawsuit, whatever the hell that may be, will come sooner rather than later. Previous rulings have tended to side with the Siegel family, rewarding them with rights to certain facets of the character, including his costume, his alter-ego (Clark Kent), Lois Lane, their reporter jobs, his Kryptonian origin, et cetera. This is because the original Action Comics #1 was created and sold by Shuster and Siegel to DC Comics.

jerry siegel and joe shuster creators of superman Casting Begins for Unknown Man of Steel; Superman Lawsuit Moves Forward

Other elements of Superman’s character, including Kryptonite, Lex Luthor, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, and Superman’s powers related to vision and flying, will continue to be owned by Warner Bros. and DC Comics because they were created as work-for-hire after the initial purchase.

This will inevitably kick-start fan-conversations painting the families of Shuster and Siegel as evil, greedy jerks hell-bent on stealing their precious character from them. Listen, I love Superman as much as the next guy, and I certainly don’t want him to be anywhere but at DC Comics, but the law is the law. If there was no work-for-hire contract, then Warner Bros. and DC have nothing to go on. You, me, the families of Siegel and Shuster, and everyone you’ve ever met would be a fool not to retrieve the rights that are rightly theirs. Superman isn’t your character until he returns to the public domain, which, with the way our Congress works, will likely be never.

The hope is that Warner Bros. and the Superman creators’ families could work out some sort of deal that rewarded both sides—Warner Bros. with the character of Superman and the families with their just dues. But as this lawsuit becomes more and more vicious, one wonders if that’s even a possibility anymore?

superman with thors hammer and captain americas shield Casting Begins for Unknown Man of Steel; Superman Lawsuit Moves Forward

Depositions of the families of Siegel and Shuster are expected to begin immediately. If the Warner Bros. legal team fails, there’s a good chance you can say goodbye to Superman as you know him starting in 2013 – just after The Man of Steel hits movie theaters. Tick, tock.

What are your thoughts on the Warner Bros. decision to cast a relative unknown? Good move? Bad move? And how about the news of the Superman lawsuit going forward? Would you be bummed or ecstatic (or utterly indifferent) if the creators’ families took Superman to Marvel Comics circa 2013? Let us know in the comments!

Sources: DeadlineThe Hollywood Reporter

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  1. Um, how can they just take Superman to Marvel? He’s synonymous with DC, and the move to Marvel would most likely shake up EVERYTHING, even the entire DC Universe, wouldn’t it?

    Also, where did you get that picture of Superman? I thought that the DC and Marvel universes were separate.

    • Yeah that picture is really interesting.

      • Probably from the DC/Marvel crossover in the 90s by the look at the artwork.

        And yes it would shake DC to the core, and Marvel if they would take it which would be stupid not too. But dont worry the likely hood of that happening is slim.

        Come to think of it, it would be interesting, especially with everything that has happened to the two in the past few years. Marvel did take Animal-Man, or i think that is his name…no it was Miracle man or stomething like that and he is an old (70s/80s) character.

        If I’m wrong on that last bit, please someone tell me, I am a bit rusty.

        • It was Miracle Man. It is also why Alan Moore hates Marvel because they forced him to change the name of the character from Marvel Man. Then again, DC sued Fawcett over Captain Marvel because they claimed he resembled Superman. And the snake eats his own tail until it disappeared.

          • I think Moore fell out with Marvel mainly over them stiffing him on the Captain Britain reprints. Miracleman opens up another can of worms entirely, as his dispute there lies with Eclipse Comics over non-payment, and even with artist and co-copyright holder Alan Davis. Amongst others. Ironically, Marvel recently reprinted some of the original Marvelman strips from the 1950s, but the ownership of the ’80s revival seems to be all over the place.

            • What The Big Dentist said. As for the 80s revival, it’s unclear if this is the case, but Marvel claims to have the rights to it, and that they’re just slowly rolling everything out.

                • Granted that piece is nine years old and Davis may well have come to some arrangement with Marvel by now, but I suspect Alan Moore is still as intractable as ever.

    • The picture is from the crossover that Carlos Pacheco & Mark Waid did a few years back with Marvel & DC.

      • Actually, it’s from JLA/Avengers by Kurt Busiek and George Perez. Fantastic book, by the way.

        • Sorry, forgot.

    • DC did it with Captain Marvel. I’m sure, if given the chance, Marvel would find a way.

  2. Thank Zod that means Jon Hamm can’t be Superman.

    • Agreed I’d hate to see a talented actor who looks like superman playing superman that’d be awful.

      • John Hamm looks nothing like Superman. Just because he’s got black hair doesn’t mean he looks like Superman. And he’s too old anyway.

  3. What is the Siegel estate doing with superman anyway? Nothing.
    As for casting, if only there was someone as huge as superman often is in the comics, but had some acting chops as well. Damn skinny actors.

    • The Siegels can’t do anything with Superman until 2013. Rest assured, they will if they get the chance.

      Also, Superman really is one of the leaner superheroes. It doesn’t make sense for him to be ‘huge.’ Muscular, sure, but not huge.

  4. I’m going to reuse some comments that I posted earlier on another website…

    This is RIDICULOUS. Superman is a part of our cultural consciousness, and he is far bigger than his creators. Once something you create becomes that gigantic, that phenomenal, it ceases to be yours, and you should be proud that something you made has had such an impact on so many people. Furthermore, the people in this lawsuit had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of Superman anyways. Sure, they deserve a BIG paycheck, but not the rights (and I’m sure that’s about what’s going to happen…the heirs will get a huge amount of money, but DC/WB will retain the rights to the character).

    I hate to come out on WB/DC’s side, because they ARE very very rich, and they will remain very very rich whether they get to keep the rights to Superman or not. To me, it’s not really about them, it’s about US. Nobody would have a dime in relation to Superman if it weren’t for the fans. We put billions of dollars into the franchise, and as such WE deserve to have Superman in a place where he will be best kept. And it looks like that place is at Warner’s and DC, where they can continue giving us Superman stories to enjoy, and where he can remain part of the Justice League and the vast DC universe. At the end of the day, Superman doesn’t belong to his creators, nor does he belong to WB/DC, he belongs to us. We have invested in him, we have made him what he is today, and we have the most to lose if the rights to Superman are taken from DC. And that just isn’t fair.

    • I agree with you Vincent. But hey, what’s more American than a lawsuit in order to gain wealth as a result of the hard work of a dead relative?

      • As opposed to a corporation profiting off of something they didn’t create?

        • Besides, the original creators of Superman sold their rights to the character of Superman to DC back in the 40′s or 50′s (can’t remember which decade), then after the release and success of “Superman the Movie” in 1978 suddenly they sued for the rights back. They were awarded $20,000 a year in royalties and given credit to the characters creation (in anything Superman related the “created by Jerry Seigal and Joe Schuster” pops up.)

          The way I see it is, they may have created Superman, but after selling their rights to the character, they shouldn’t be entitled to jack squat. The family is just trying to strike it rich. They were already given the rights to the Superboy character a couple of years ago. What more do they want?

          • You. Can’t. Sell. Your. Rights. To. Having. Created. The. Character. You can sell publishing rights, which don’t last forever. If they’d have created Superman under work-for-hire, you’d be right. They didn’t.

    • @ Vincent

      I somewhat agree. :-)

      In terms of copyrights for the Siegel and Shuster families. The rights to royalties YES. The rights to ownership NO.

      DC have explored and added more to the mythos of Superman over the decades than the initial basic conception by Jerry and Joe.

      • The original creators sold the rights to DC back in the 40′s or 50′s, any judge should see that the Seigal’s shouldn’t get squat.

        • You don’t sell rights. You sell the right to publish. If I sell the publishing rights for my book to a publishing company, they can publish it for so long and then the rights revert back to me.

          • You are correct. However, this is all a little bit trickier because of the nature of comic books. When you write a book, the company is just selling that book as it is for however many years before you get the publishing rights to it back. In the case of Superman, though, Siegel and Shuster outlined a character and a variety of other writers have spent the last 72 years adding to that under the DC banner. If I wrote an outline for a novel, and then other writers spent decades fleshing it out, I would probably just let it go rather than trying to pull my slight base (without which everything else falls apart) out from under all those other writers who, quite frankly, put a lot more work into it than I ever did.

            • It’s more like if you wrote a novel and then a bunch of authors wrote sequels to your novel without you really ever seeing a penny of it (which is an exaggeration, as they’ve seen more than pennies, but in comparison to the overall, it’s basically not even pennies).

              • I agree that they should get payed a lot more in royalties. WB/DC owe them a lot. My view is just that I HOPE that the heirs (not the judges) realize how important Superman is, and allow DC to continue publishing him. Which I think is the most plausible ending to all this. The heirs will get enough of the rights that DC couldn’t do anything without coming to some sort of an agreement, but DC would also retain enough of the rights to make the character borderline useless. So, hopefully, Time Warner will have to sign a gigantic check, but Superman will continue as he currently exists. That way the heirs win, the fans win, and the entire DC universe won’t fall apart.

                • “The heirs will get enough of the rights that DC couldn’t do anything without coming to some sort of an agreement, but DC would also retain enough of the rights to make the character borderline useless.”

                  That’s just not true. As I understand it, the heirs would have a majority of the rights. Superman. Most of his powers. The costume. His origin. Lois Lane. So what if they don’t have Lex Luthor, Jimmy Olsen, flight, and super vision? They would be able to publish Superman and DC would not.

                  Believe me, I hope Superman stays with DC. But it would behoove them to work with the heirs to do so.

                  • A guy from another planet in an iconic costume who works for a newspaper, is pretty much invincible, and is in love with some girl isn’t incredibly compelling. Those are all very important to Superman, but they’re not enough to carry him in this day and age.

                    For one, a Superman who can’t fly is like a Green Lantern without his ring, or a Flash who can’t run. But, more importantly, the superhero is defined by his conflicts. Without having weaknesses, or his arch-nemesis, Superman has no emotional draw. Sure, they could come up with new weaknesses and a new rogue’s gallery, but how many people are willing to buy into something that totally destroys a 72 year-long canon? From a business perspective, as well as from the perspective that they do have a responsibility to their fans, it just wouldn’t make any sense for the heirs not to work with DC.

                    • As offended by the concept as I might be, heck yes I would still read a comic where an old-timey Superman fights Doctor Doom and Galactus and the Hulk and occasionally teams up with Captain America, Spider-Man, and Thor.

    • @Vincent

      *stands and starts clapping slowly*

    • Well said!

    • You’ve just explained why Superman belongs in the public domain and not to the greedy Time Warner / DC company.


      • Indeed.

    • I’m sorry, but the law is more important than you wanting Superman not to leave DC. Creator’s rights are more important than what you “think” you’re owed with regard to the character. It’s not about “us,” and you, as a fan, and me, as a fan, don’t “deserve” him if they’re not ours to begin with.

  5. Amen to casting Matt Bomer! He would be great.

  6. Gerard Butler for Superman!!! Haha

  7. I think they should cast an unknown.

    And if the heirs of Siegel and Shuster take Superman to MARVEL in 2013, I would declare that as an absolute act of stupidity.

  8. Wow glad Bob Kane and his family after he died were never like this.

    • That’s because Bob Kane was smart enough to not sell all of the rights away to DC comics and then expect it back. Bob Kane always owned rights to the character of Batman.

      Jerry Siegal and Joe Schuster sold the rights of Superman to DC comics when they got tired of writing the character back in the 40′s or 50′s. So unlike Bob Kane’s family who is entitled to royalties, the Siegal’s shouldn’t be entitled to squat because their Dad sold the character’s rights away decades ago. Jerry Siegal already tried to sue to get it back in the 70′s, all he got was creator credit and $20,000 a year.

      • Well, if Warner Bros. loses, they’ll be getting a lot more than 20 k a year in 2013.

  9. I think Woody Allen should play Superman. Just a thought.

  10. Bomer would be great!

  11. I guess Tom Welling will be their last choice if they don’t find anyone; tv actor between 28 and 32.

    • Yeah, that won’t ever happen. Ever.

    • I’d prefer the movie never happen than Welling be cast. Might as well make a B movie 30 mil superman flick if your gonna cast an awful actor like him.

  12. Bomer would be really good! He looks the part and he is a good actor.

  13. Dig that Captain-Super-Thor pic….;)

  14. I would be shocked if Superman were to leave DC. But I’d be even more shocked that someone would be willing to buy him. If I’m right, I’m pretty sure the heirs only have the rights to the elements included in Action Comics No.1. What’s the point in owning ‘Superman’ if all the things that make him Superman – from the logo on his chest to the villains that he fights to the powers that he fights them with – aren’t there? You’d just end up with a lot of angry fans and the death of one of the greatest comic book creations of all time. Then who’d win?

    • I’m pretty sure in 2013 the Siegels would own the costume and every power except for flight and heat/x-ray vision.

      I mean, the reality is, had DC been kinder to the Siegels/Shusters over the years, and kinder to their families, this probably wouldn’t even be an issue. Creator rights trump the fans’ anger. If the law was based on how a bunch of people “felt” about a certain issue, well, we’d have a really worthless legal system.

      • Sorry, I probably wasn’t very clear, I just meant that the heirs probably won’t take Superman away from DC not that it shouldn’t be allowed. Another thought, surely only Marvel could pay them enough to prise the character away from the DCU, but would they want to? They might like to prevent DC from using him by owning the rights themselves, but they would have a hard time selling him to the Marvel fans. He just wouldn’t fit alongside the likes of Iron Man and Captain America. It just seems like good business sense for the Siegels and Shusters to sell him back to DC and demand some royalties, rather than selling him to someone else.

        • He could fit in one of the multiverse, or whenever Sentry comes back they could change it and make it that its Superman.
          But I agree it would be hard for them to sell it but they could do it.

        • I agree with Ben. Superman would be a tough sell to Marvel fans many of whom also read DC books as well.
          I think the guys at Marvel have too much respect for the history of the character and for DC to buy it.

          • You really don’t know much about the comic book business. They’d snatch him up in a second. Make up some story about how the old fashioned Superman got blasted through universes into the “real” world, AKA the 616 Marvel Universe. I’m not saying this is going to happen, I’m just saying Marvel would absolutely make it happen if they had the chance.

      • Seigal and Schuster sold the rights of Superman and everything involved with the character to DC decades ago. It doesn’t matter how they were treated, if you give up the rights to something, you can’t cry and demand it back later.

        • Again, you can’t sell your “rights.” Like with any publishing company, you sell publishing rights, which eventually revert back to you. It’s your copyright forever and ever and ever and ever–UNLESS you signed a work-for-hire contract ahead of time. They didn’t do that. It’s their copyright.

          • Don’t waste your time with this fool, Ben.

      • “If the law was based on how a bunch of people “felt” about a certain issue, well, we’d have a really worthless legal system.”

        Yes, thank God we don’t live in the kind of country were people’s feelings on certain issues determine the law. I mean, can you imagine if, say, certain laws were outlined and people were allowed to put down on a piece of paper whether or not they agree with the law, and whether or not that law passes would be determined by how many people responded favorably or unfavorably to the law? That would just be complete anarchy!

        • Yeah, it would. We’d still have slavery.

          Keep in mind, I said the law shouldn’t be determined by how a bunch of people felt, i.e. forty-thousand fans. If all the people everywhere felt a certain way about a certain issue, then obviously the law would reflect that.

  15. For all who asked: The picture is from JLA/Avengers, I believe it was Kurt Busiek and George Perez. Early 2000s. Notable for the fact that I believe it is still in continuity.

  16. The Lawyers…

    • LOL

  17. Uh, didn’t read the article properly. Just waking up.
    Can some ‘powers that be’ delete my comment please?

  18. The heirs want the copyright,
    So that DC will pay them some ungodly sum to get it back.
    So eventually DC will win one way or the other.

  19. Never once have I ever thought of Matthew Bomer, but now that you mention it Ben it’s a pretty good choice. Not my first, but if he bulks up a little he could be a great fit. He’s a perfect fit for clark and with a little more mass could be a good superman and he is a very good actor as well. New name to my top 5 choices. Thanks Ben

    • You’re welcome!

    • Is Bomer tall enough though?

      • Not really according to IMDB he is 5’11½”.

        • I don’t know. To me, that’s tall enough for the screen.

  20. Armie Hammer as Superman and Jason Segel as Bizarro.

  21. glad it hear casting is starting up. Can’t wait to see who chris and zack chooses. They are both good guys and I am sre they will pick a good actor. Hopefully he will have the right look, and acting skills. I also like the target age they are going for. It works well character will likely be 30 so they could play with someone younger play older or a slightly older play younger in the cases if armie hammer or joe mangianello ended up getting cast. I hope it doesn’t get to dragged out and we have casting before end of the yr or by end of jan.

  22. I was hoping for Tom Welling or Brandon Routh, i got a bad feeling about this. It’s that darn Superman curse. j/k I might skip this reboot. Atleast i’ll have Green Lantern & Flash to look forward to & Marvel Studio films.

    • yh Tom Welling would do good in this1

    • You can also read the history of all the copyright issues on Wikipedia. It’s pretty interesting.

    • Really, Gary? A site that is 100% dedicated to Superman has more information about this than a general movie news site? Color me shocked. SHOCKED, I say!


      • I don’t like the news I see on that site saying Zack wants Matthew Goode as superman.I will be passing on the reboot then

    • @ Scottgia3

      He would have my vote. I would of liked to see both him & Erica Durance reprise their roles for the reboot. I agree he’s grown into the role, & Im sure he picked up tips from Christopher Reeve when he guest starred on the show. Personally (imo) with Smallville coming to a end, and with this being a reboot, i thought it would be easy & a great idea to have the film take place couple years after Smallville’s finale since Clark will be known as Superman etc.

    • Because it’s not going to happen. Smallville fans said the same thing before Superman Returns, over and over, ad nauseum. It won’t happen. He has too much baggage and as the television iteration of the character. Why would Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder want to creatively piggy-back off of a ten-year-old television series? They wouldn’t. And they won’t.

  23. I hope this lawsuit destroys this movie.

    Zack Snyder is not a good suit for this movie, David Goyer is not a good suit for this movie, Christopher Nolan is not a good suit for this movie, and the one person who IS a good suit for the movie has been brushed aside.

    F!ck these people destroying my hopes.

    • @ Steve

      As much as i liked the character and grew up with him, i have to admit i agree with ya. With everything goin lately, i just have a bad feeling about the whole thing. Like Spider-man, i may pass on this one.

      • @WallyWest

        Yeah these guys are fine on their on but they are much more a suited to DARK, gritty films. I’ve never seen a light-hearted film made by any of these people.

        Zack Snyder – Watchmen, DotD, Sucker Punch, etc
        Chris Nolan – Memento, Insomnia, Prestige. Ineption, Batman trilogy
        David Goyer – Blade, Batman, The Unborn etc

        This is not Superman.

        Bryan Singer was a great fit – tonally at least – for Superman (X-men had great blance of comedy and action). A shame he isn’t returning but there you go.

        • @ Steve

          Yup. Im not interested in Superman being darker, that’s not him. There can be story plots for the film with Character’s like Darkseid that would make the film seem darker but not the hero himself. I understand why WB wanted the Nolans due to the Batman films, but Superman is like the other side of the coin. I thought Superman Returns was a ok film but i felt Singer made it look too much like Richard Donnor’s original film in a way. I liked his intentions of having it take place after Superman 2 & some friends and i felt like sequels could still of followed aslong as Superman’s kid wasn’t seen again, he can be mentioned by name but not seen on screen since that didn’t go over so well & of-course have Superman face-off against physical threats like Brainiac & Bizarro as i read was rumored back then. It is a shame & i figured it would be easier for WB and fans to go ahead & have this reboot excist and take place sometime after the last episode of Smallville since its coming to its end. Imo, Tom Welling & Erica Durance would be great on the big screen reprising their roles, not to mention Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor in a sequel. Thats just me and i know others feel the sameway and wouldn’t mind. Anyways, doesnt matter now.

          • @WallyWest

            Yes I agree, Batman is NOT Superman. Supes was createdas an icon of hope for the future after the Depression/Wars etc. It’s not MEANT to be a dark character.

            And yes, That’s what I loved about Singer’s effort – it was nostalgic but moved the story on – and they had the big brass cohonas to introduce a very contravercial element of a child.

            Whatever you say about the film, whether it worked or not – it was brave.

            What I don’t agree with is Tom Welling on the big screen.
            I really don’t understand how you can see Welling as Superman.

            I love Smallville He’ a great Clark for that universe, but he looks way too boyish for Supes. I couldn’t take him seriously as a legendary hero, like Christopher Reeve or even Routh (Yes Routh is much better than Welling in my opinion! lol).

            Besides, I haven’t really seen a stand-out performance by Welling in the 9 and a half years :S

    • I hope you don’t get attacked for your opinion scottgia3. I’ve noticed a real escalation in fanboys lately. They were always known for their rough and ready attitude, but lately, I’ve been seeing some real unhinged behavior. Maybe it’s coincidence. Maybe it is the economy and general malaise, getting to them. Maybe I’m just paying more attention. This isn’t limited to Superman fans. I’ve seen it in Spider-Man forums and Supernatural forums and general fanboy new sites and comic book sites, and everywhere else. I don’t know what is going on with fanboys lately.

      • I’ve been on the internet my whole life. This is nothing.

    • LOL that picture looks stupid Hamm is to old they are looking for someone 24 to 32

  24. I’m honestly surprised that Welling wouldn’t be a prime candidate.

    • How about because Welling is a terrible actor maybe?