A film adaption is in the works for Superman Vs. the KKK, which chronicles the true-life story behind the making of a 1946 radio drama where the Man of Steel takes on a thinly-veiled version of the Ku Klux Klan. The iconic DC Comics superhero, of course, has had an interesting history long before Christopher Reeve donned Superman’s costume on the big screen for the first time in the 1978 Richard Donner classic. Picking up on the popularity of the DC comic book, the character most famously appeared on TV series Adventures of Superman from 1952-58 starring George Reeves.
But before that, listeners heard the superhero’s voice as part of the syndicated radio drama The Adventures of Superman, from 1940 to 1951.
According to Deadline, Rick Bowers’ young adult novel – Superman Versus The Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic Superhero Battled the Men of Hate – is being produced by Lotus Entertainment and PaperChase Films. Deadline says the movie will follow a former KKK member who goes undercover in Atlanta in 1946 to work with the Anti-Defamation League, as well as become a producer on Superman radio show. Producer Marc Rosen says:
“Fighting the forces of evil with brain over brawn, artists taking down bullies and the power of a good piece of content, it’s a real case of truth being cooler than. We’re excited to develop the thriller elements of the film in the vein of The Departed and Mississippi Burning.”
Hollywood has produced some fascinating tales about the making of several iconic films over the years, most recently with the FX TV series Feud: Bette and Joan, which explored in depth the poisonous rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, starting on the set of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?. Another notable behind-the-scenes movie came in 2006 with Hollywoodland, which looked at the mysterious death of George Reeves (Ben Affleck) and largely centered around the actor’s work on the Superman TV show.
While Focus Features obtained the rights to include the Superman property in the film’s plot, it will be interesting to see how much, if any, of the rights to the visual references to the Man of Steel will obtained for Superman Vs. the KKK. Granted, the film sounds like it will be more about the making of radio drama than the actual Superman drama itself, so it’s not vital that any Superman imagery be included. There’s no denying, though, that it would be a lot more interesting to Superman fans if the film includes sequences that imagine the Man of Steel in action.
Certainly the producers are already addressing these issues, whether it be with Warner Bros. or whomever holds the rights to the radio drama; and fans can only hope they reach some sort of serviceable agreement for what promises to be another interesting peek into Superman’s past.