Interview: Zack Snyder Says ‘Superman’ Will Be His Most Realistic Movie Yet

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 5:03 pm,

Earlier today we had the opportunity to speak with Zack and Deborah Snyder at the Los Angeles press junket for his new film Sucker Punch (stay tuned for our coverage of that event).

In the midst of our exploration into the world of fantasy and action that is Sucker Punch, we were able to ask Snyder a bit about his upcoming addition to the Superman franchise, Superman: Man Of Steel.

When asked if he would be utilizing some of the dynamic and innovative visual techniques we have come to expect from him as a filmmaker, Snyder replied that:

I think the visual style of “Superman,” though I can’t say for certain as it’s early, but I kind of feel like — and I did say to the studio – that what’s cool for me and interesting, and odd, is that “Superman” is probably going to be the most realistic movie I’ve ever made. It’s kind of fun that the most realistic movie I probably will make is a movie called “Superman.” Which shows how crazy my other movies are. Because I guess for him to be credible… He gets more credible by the reality that you can bring to him, you know emotionally, and visually, I think.

When asked what sort of physical preparation Henry Cavill would face for his role as Clark Kent/Superman, given the months of training the young ladies of Sucker Punch went through in preparation for that film, Snyder replied laughingly, “Henry’s gonna be hitting the iron pretty hard.”

Snyder’s wife, Deborah, stressed that “he’s working right now.” In fact, the moment they hired Henry they had him meet with Mark Twight of Gym Jones (who had trained all of the actors in 300) and Damon Caro, who does all the fight training.“They’ve put him on a plan,” she continued, “he’s started in England and as of April 1st we have him full time with us for all that training.”

From the sound of it, the man of steel may be a larger, and more combative, version of the character than we have seen to date.

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  1. I find it utterly amazing that “Superman fights no-one” is a valid movie concept.

  2. I see people calling Superman lame and goofy. This upsets me a great deal.
    Just because someone isn’t dark and mysterious, doesn’t battle inner demons, and isn’t miserable all the live long day, he cant be cool?
    This says a great deal about people, rather than it does about the character.
    Superman was my hero growing up, sure I liked other superheroes, but Superman was the one that I truly considered to be a hero. I looked up to him. Still do in a way.

    Our world could do with a real Superman.

    • DSB, He’s always been cool to me.

  3. I dont think Superman is lame or a bad super hero, its the villains are what makes Superman lame. Outside of Lex Luthor, Zod and Doomsday (and possibily Brainiac) where else do you turn to for good villiany in superman? I have been an advocate for a long while of comic based films/TV shows to at some point during the series introduce a new villian stricly for that series, that can put into the comics afterwards. This worked out really well for Harley Quinn, who’s inception was derived from the The Animated series. I believe that creating some sort of villian for the new film would be a bold and succesful move, no expectations or set precedents for the villian. It would be something fresh and breath some life into a deflated series.IMO
    I do agree that going for a “realistic” approach for Superman is a terrible idea. It will not work hands down!

    • top ten superman villains


      Lex can barely be considered a villain. hes a main character anymore.

      nuff said

      • I know right….he’s always there when something is something going on.

        • I hope you’re a chic nukman…only they say “I know right”

  4. I share the same opinion of a few others here. When it comes to Superman I don’t want realistic. I want an all out superhero movie. Christopher Nolan has given us a superhero based somewhat in the real world and I love it but I want Snyder to go to the other side of the spectrum with Superman. Don’t get me wrong, I am not looking for something like Shumackers fever dream Batman films but I don’t want to see Batman Begins all over again with Superman. You have a superhero with the most amazing powers and the craziest villians to work with so run with it please. Snyder allready made his realistic superhero movie Watchman. I want to see the out of this world Superman I grew up with in the comics…

  5. Its tough to find the basis for evil villians these days when our leaders are doing such a great job.

    • I think the Villain should be Obama in this reboot…

      • Haha he could turn out to be one of Darkseid’s puppets ;)

        • I’m willing to bet he has an Omega brand on his skull!

  6. Dr. Sam. I really look to your comments on other posts because of your concise and thought out opinions but have to adamantly disagree on your repeated reference to it being a origin story. We won’t be seeing a rocket landing or baby Supes again. Its more like a drawn out Year Two story that we will see. And we haven’t seen that in any shape or form, even with Smallville (or as I call it, Superman-child). We will see a smart Clark Kent that is debating internally about what he is meant to do with his inhuman abilities. We will see as close to a comic book version of Ma and Pa Kent. Vital and earnest, and willing to advise him but in the end they let him make his own decision. We won’t see a overly confused or unconfident Clark, We will maybe see him flying uncostumed in Smallville and acting like a novice superhero who is getting his bearing. A natural and realistic progression of his character. And then we see him leave for Metropolis. We might even see why he is motivated to go to Metropolis in the first place. And how does everyone react to his leaving Smallville. Not just his parents but the townspeople of Smallville who he has interacted with his whole life .
    There is the surface to this that looks like it rehash what has come before though a lot of this was overlooked in the Christopher Reeves movie, so a more fleshed out exploration of this at the start of the movie would be cool. A second stage to his transition from nameless hero to actually being called Superman.

    Having said all that, I don’t want this movie to be overly bogged down in dramatics, and will pay to see bad ass Superman who is global in his reach and will fight a super-villain worthy of him. But agree that Lex should not be the main villain (wouldn’t it be interesting if Armie Hammer played him?). But if his beginning was also explored. All the other movies just gave us Gene Hackman as is, with little concrete story. We could see another villain as Supermans main antagonist this time around, but behind it all we see a young Lex culminate his power and maybe a later movie we see him step up and fight our favorite Kryptonian.

    • Oh I know we won’t be seeing his ship or Krypton, I don’t think WB have the rights to that anymore.
      And while you’re probably quite right about it being a “Year Two” scenario, I have two things to say.
      One it’s not needed. I just watched Batman 89. You see the character of Batman in less than five minutes, in most comic book movies we have to wait an hour or more to actually see our hero because Hollywood thinks we can no longer accept a story unless it’s explained to the fullest. Why not just have him as Superman at the very beginning?

      Two. Pretty much everything you described, well, that’s Smallville isn’t it?

      • Yes. Reading the whole list all I was thinking was “Smallville. Smallville. Smallville.” If they want to make Smallville: The Movie, then just admit it up front. It’s not like nobody will notice and it won’t be what everybody talks about. Just get the topic out of the way. Snyder should just come out and say, “We are taking the sprawling 10 year saga, and condensing it into a trim 2 hour film. It’ll have better effects and a tighter storyline. Enjoy.”

  7. Whatever WB does, do NOT let Sony Imageworks do the VFX. Their work as the lead VFX house is atrocious. Look at Superman Returns, Green Lantern, Harry Potter 1. If for whatever reason they do have to use them then use the VFX Supe, Ken Ralston. I looked him up on imdb and his credits are stellar.

  8. I never thought of Superman as dumb. He is a farm boy. A little naive at times and idealistic but he has the common sense intellect of country people.

    The real problem with doing an interesting story for Supes is that he has too many damn powers. Just one of his powers could defeat most villains. So the movie makers have to fudge things a bit by having the villain use trickery or hold his loved ones hostage or use kryptonite to take away his powers. That makes for a lame story.

    You want to see Superman go all out with all his powers against someone who can take it and dish it right back at him. This is why Superman II is the best of the previous films.

    • Thandrale,

      Yeah, that’s because over the decades they made him stronger and stronger, to the point where they kind of painted themselves into a corner. The original Superman was nowhere near as strong as present-day comic book Supes.


      • Yeah. He started out jumping instead of flying and lifting a car was difficult for him. Now he could defeat most villains by just flying out of range and incapacitating them with heat vision. Making him invulnerable was probably the biggest mistake. There’s no way to put him in any real danger.

      • Vic and Thandrale…

        You’re right that the original Superman was more limited, but moreso in terms of abilities than actual power. As the character evolved, however, he DID reach the point where he could literally split a planet in half or live in the Sun. When John Byrne and company rebooted him, they brought him back down to Earth, so to speak. He actually can no longer hold his breath indefinitely and does (with alarming regularity) run into situations he cannot handle alone or in one fell swoop.

        He IS much more able than his original incarnation (though, perhaps, still not substantially more powerful), but he is NOT as powerful currently and recently as he was before the Byrne reboot.

        • Archaeon,

          Thanks, I haven’t picked up a Superman comic in a LONG time. I actually have that Byrne “reboot” run stashed away somewhere.


          • I highly recommend reading the initial run for pure entertainment value…Seeing Lex actually figure out, computationally, that Clark is Superman and then REJECTING that idea because of how absurd it seems to his overzealous ego is absolutely priceless.


  9. Ant’s (you razest baztard) here’s my vision,, lol,,
    The NEW villain for Superman.
    The US President (could be Danny Glover or Wesley Snipes) once upon being sworn into office is taken over by a reptilian alien creature bent on taking over the world.

    Not only does Superman have to take him and his staff of frogmen out he has to take over the tv media channels and FOX because they slam him as a terrorist the entire film.

    Even when the dust settles and the reptillion invasion is stopped Superman is still held on charges of going against congress and the voting procedure. Yadda yadda,,, he doesn’t care, the final scene he breaks out of jail, laughs and flys away.
    My reboot vision,,, :)

    • LOL…Kinda like Hancock shoulda done when he was in jail…

  10. I think by “realistic” it means that aesthetically it will look more like a traditional movie (like Dark Knight, Spider-Man, Iron Man, etc) as opposed to what Snyder usually does visually in stuff like 300 or Sucker Punch. I mean, this is Snyder’s most realistic movie. The guy hasn’t done any realistic movies. I actually think that giving it a realistic feel will help the film overall. It doesn’t mean that he’s going to make the characters realistic, just the look and feel of the movie. I mean, Star Wars is conceptually unrealistic with lightsabers, space ships, Jedi Knights, etc, but the original trilogy was successful for several reasons. One of those was the fact that the three movies were filmed on sets and locations. This is probably what Snyder means. I think a lot of this movie will be shot on a real set as opposed to the blue screen of 300.

    • Hmmm, I doubt that, Blue/Green screen is what filming is about these days.

      • Well I’m sure that they’ll use blue/green screen but what I meant was the look of it will be more realistic as opposed to the “living comic book” aesthetic of 300

  11. Ah yeah Hancock. Totally forgot about that film.

    Now I remember. All those weeks in therapy out the window.

    Thanks. :)

    • I’m here to serve as your memory 790!!

  12. Chris Nolan+David Goyer+Zack Snyder = Superman film Dream Team!

    • Chris Nolan isn’t involved anymore people!!!

      • That’s what’s such a shame. :(

      • Hey foopher, aren’t you and DrSam glad Chris Nolan is producing this movie?

        Wow, I’ve never seen 2 people get that shade of red before.


      • foopher is smoking crack.
        chris nolan is still producing, no news of his departure has yet surfaced, which logically leads us to assume that he’s still on board.

  13. marvelsux,just looking at your name ,
    I detect a slight BIAS!

  14. Once again to voice disapproval over the choices of Snyder and Cavill, but it’s done now. It will be interesting to see what his vision of a realistic Superman movie is. To me that premise would see Superman in similar situations such as the conflict in Libya, trying to stop disaters such as hurricane katrina, earthquake in haiti and the recent disasters in Japan. On that basis I will credit Singer for the plane rescue post 9/11 in Superman Returns.

    To me Superman is still the greatest superhero around, and still has the best origin story.

    There is nothing wrong with him being immensley powerful, and I find it suprising that while people bemoan his abilities, they’re more content with the likes of Thor and Hulk who have less clear weaknesses than Superman does.

    I appreciate that writers over the years feel that depowering him makes things more dramatic and thrilling, but this is a mistake. If you have an extremely powerful hero the solution is simple – make the villains even more powerful.

    What made Dragonabll Z so compelling was the fact that the hero would initally get crushed in any first encounter with the villain – to the point of almost certain death. The hero then recovers, improves and then comes back even stronger.

    Everyone has already mentioned how thrilling Superman II was in having three powerful adversaries. On this discussion alone we’ve all talked about how we want Brainiac, Darkseid, Metallo, Doomsday etc. This is because these guys can all defeat and kill Superman, so you have the sense of danger and jeopardy right there.

    Infact having Superman as powerful as he is, gives you a larger diversity in terms of the type of enemy he comes up against. Think about it, he can face extra terrestial beings, cyborgs, fantastical monsters, mutants wizards etc,

    So then stop having him stare at Lois Lane’s house for half the movie and being taken to hospital and start giving him some seriously powerful enemies. More creation & imagination less inhibition, that’s the key..

    And to add finally that the Smallville final will definitely be superior to this reboot, but then that was never in question.

    • I’ve never understood anyone who says “having him stare at Lois Lane’s house for half the movie”, that happens in two scenes and cant actually be on screen for more than 2-3 minutes!

      • I think the actual seen is about 20 seconds. Supes wasn’t trying to be a voyeur, he was concerned for Lois’ happiness.

        • That was always my opinion as well. he just wanted to make sure she was happy, he loved her but she had moved on. I found this to be perfectly reasonable. I think it was also an issue of him seeing what Richard was like at home, to see if he was a good enough guy to be with the woman he loved.

          • It was still creepy to have him watching people in their home who didn’t know they were being watched.


            • Vic, i don’t know if it is fair to say that what Superman was doing in this case was ‘creepy’ per say.I think it important first and foremost to remember the type of unique entity Superman is…I mean were talking about someone who’s perception of reality is far higher than are own! While he can not read minds.The Man of Tomorrow can however, “Here what people say, when they think no on else is listening.See what people do, when they think no one is looking in thier direction…” Its b/c of this, that i have for some time now, thought it absurd when some try to act like Superman is naieve about human nature and he has his head in the clouds and BATMAN is the one who really knows, ‘what’s what…’

              In the Graphic Novel: Identity Crisis, Green Arrow says something to the affect of an inuendo, that Superman chooses to ‘see no evil, hear no evil’.I don’t know about that, but its food for thought…

              These are my thoughts; Grant Morrison had some interesting things to say about Superman’s Perspective, on the Blu-Ray of All-Star: Superman.

              Dr.SamBeckett and Kahless, that’s an interesting take that you have on that scene, that hadn’t truly occured to me.Well done ^_^

          • Yeah, but I don’t recall Lois actually giving him permission to check up on her like that… There is still the issue of invasion of privacy, which, I don’t care how “concerned” you are about somebody, you don’t do without their consent… Of all the things that Superman can do with his fantastic powers, I thought that was pretty lame… Like Stan Lee penned in X-Men #1, when he described Cyclops’ eye-beam like using a laser to cut a birthday cake…

    • I’ve been saying something similar for quite some time. With today’s effects technology, a Superman movie should be extraordinarily epic; I’m talking Infinity Gauntlet epic; cosmically shaking; gates of heaven quaking; towers of eternity falling…..EPIC!!

      One of my sons and I argue sometimes over who would win in a fight: Superman or Gokuh. I always choose Superman, even though in an actual fight, neither one would try to kill the other. But with the way they are wimpifying Superman, I just wonder if Supes would win against Gokuh.

      • The Bizarro Supes would crush him lol.

    • The only power I would get rid of is super-hearing. If he can hear people dying every minute of every day, then there is no excuse for him to waste time being Clark Kent, or having a life, or eating or sleeping, or doing anything but being Superman 24/7. Without super-hearing, he has to be informed by news reports, or social media, or his own journalistic investigations, that a crises has occurred. During the time that he is waiting for that report, he gets to live his own life. Yet another reason I hated Superman Returns and that awful scene talking about hearing everyone. I hate this whole Superman = Jesus thing.

      • I always thought his hearing is like his vision powers. He has to concentrate to use them.

        • It is…That’s why he IS able to have relatively “normal” moments in his life.


          • Still he could just fly all over the earth at super speed knocking out anyone who was committing an obvious crime and be back in time for lunch with Lois.

            Or fly into space and scan the earth with telescopic vision and hit them with a mild shot of heat vision.

            There really isn’t any reason not to have a near crime free planet with a superman in residence.

            You certainly would not have a world like today. There was a comic called Miracleman that showed just how fantastically the world would change with a superman like character on it. He basically became a god and earth a paradise.

        • Then he is a callous monster for not concentrating and using it every minute of every day. Does he have a schedule? “Every other hour, I’ll turn on my super-hearing. Anybody who dies in the meantime is just SOOL.” or “I want a dinner night out with Lois, so I’m not going to use my hearing. Anyone who dies in the meantime is just SOOL.”

          Knowing how moral Superman is, wouldn’t he be trying to use this power all the time? To the detriment of having any sort of life? It’s a power that either destroys his ability to be Clark Kent, or turns Superman into a callous monster, who wouldn’t exercise a simple use of his power to save people’s lives.

          • Well think about it. How many conversations can you pay attention to in a crowd? You can hear all of them but you probably can only focus on a couple.

            • THAT is the point. He literally cannot be everywhere at once, whether he hears the trouble or not. He does try to take on the biggest problems…except that (certainly in the last five to ten years, though I believe longer) he actively avoids involving himself in political or religious conflicts (though trying to save lives as a neutral party whenever possible). It’s easy to say that because he’s so powerful, he can AND SHOULD simply take of the world’s problems, but he is NOT a god or a politician. That is part of what makes him a hero.

              Consider this example of why his independent actions MUST remain tempered: Superman dismantles the Libyan military and brings Qaddafi to court of international justice to be tried. Okay, great…right? Except that NOW the terrorists of the Middle East know that Superman will involve himself in their part of the world, politically…They will feel no compunction escalating their attacks and will likely attract new members who think a false god, a pretender deity, is targeting them. America will feel compelled to either order Superman to put them down or try to reign him in…

              I’ll tell you–that’s just the beginning of ONE scenario–think of the horrors involved in coming to rely on him. “Superman Returns” momentarily touches on that very idea. “Kingdome Come” runs full force with that idea (though, to be fair, it does involve other heroes). “Irredeemable” from another publisher also concretely presents this problematic concept of relying on a godlike being but takes it one hundred steps further…What if he went rogue? Guess what one of the primary factors is in this epic disaster? The Plutonian (the “Superman” analogue) has no real life outside his heroics. He TRIES to but fails miserably.

              A being like Superman NEEDS A LIFE INDEPENDENT OF HIS TIME SAVING THE WORLD. Otherwise, madness WILL follow.

      • Why should Superman save anyone? Kurt Busiek explores the idea of an all powerful superhero with an extreme sense of moral responsibility who spends his every waking moment saving people in Astro City. Smallville also explores the idea. Both show that a hero who spends all of his time rescuing others is heading for a nervous breakdown since no matter how hard they try they can’t save everyone. So, give Supes a break. He needs to connect with people and have some kind of life or he will go crazy or give up.

      • Superman775, were mortal and mortals are suppose to die…Though it is understandable that we try to remain in this world until were ready to leave ;) Now if one was as powerful as Superman and had a strong sense of responsibility, as well as a high value of wisdom, he or she may be inclined to strongly consider developing a ‘Policy on Intervention’.For it is possible for such a being to view are species in some ways, the same way as those who make wildlife animal documentries, view thier subjects…

        As much as they may come to care for these creatures, they are there to only observe and document thier lives, ( like The Watchers of Highlander: The Series) their joys, pains, hardships and struggle to survive and quest to thrive in thier habitat. I see no reason why a Superman like being, being protector and defender of carbon based life and having a hands off approach on some other matters, has to be mutally exclusive.As the clone Superman put it in Superman: Doomsday, after he saved an elderly woman’s cat.”I’m here to help.But while I’m here saving your cat, my assistance may be required on more pressing matters!”

        There is a perfect episode of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, that adresses your post.Season 3: Episode 2: “Ordinary People” as Lois was want to say to Clark on many occasions,”I don’t think you could let the world get by on its own for two whole days!” This is a great episode btw, Teri & Dean’s chemistry in it, is off the charts! ^_^

        But on another note, i must confess, if i was blessed with Superman’s powers myself: one of the things that would give me great pause in revealing myself to the world, would be the consequence of that decision.When people are in trouble, they call a friend, 911 or cry out unto God…From that day forward i would have to live with the knowlegde that many people’s last thoughts and hope before they died, is that “Superman will save me!” That’s enough to almost break one’s heart.

    • i agree with u 100%,no love storie please,if they make this movie have superman be so wimpy,and lovie about his girl,its time to make him kick some ass,we need a tough superman in this movie,and as for smallville cant waite to see last show,i hope we dont see him in the suite the last 20 secs of the show,at least give ous 5 to 10 min actually fighting,and yes flying of air play,heck we have only been waiting 10YEARS.

  15. Yes, Sam fair enough, it was an exaggertaion, but you get the jist of what I was saying. People wanted to see a strong-willed dynamic version of Superman, lots of scenes, of him saving people and perfoming heroic acts. As Kahless sys we should’ve got something epic!! (The plane rescue wasn’t enough for me.) You never had such a voyeuristic scene with the Christopher Reeve films, so why with this Superman Returns.

    He supposed to be a saviour for the world, there are far bigger things going on in the world than what Lois does with her family. Any affection or angst towards Lois should be seen through Clark Kent not Superman.

    Exaggerated point or not it still didn’t excuse the stupidity being taken to hospital, the fact that only Lois had access to see him, the kid etc,

    Asfor Superman vs Goku, It’d be extremely close but I go for Superman who has the egde in speed – Goku relies more on teleportation – and the fact that Goku’s Super Saiyan powers can only be sustained for a certain time, especially the 3rd level which is more suited for Other World.

    • In the comic, he is in love with Lois, and that’s why he is always saving her; the movies are no different. Also, Lois was always the one who got the exclusive on Superman and that’s why she was allowed to go into the room.

      Now about Gokuh; he was able to hold his super saiyan powers for days with Gohan when they were training for Cell. Only when he was super saiyan 2 was he only able to hold it for limit periods. At Gokuh’s highest (SS 4 I believe), he strained picking up a building. That alone puts Superman ahead since he can move planets (at least in the comics).

      Is my geek card showing yet? :-)

  16. All good stuff Kahless, nice to see another Dragoball Z fan on the site. Agreed on the battle with Cell though we must rememebr Goku’s withdrawal from the battle after being pushed to the limit. Gohan eventually had to take over…

    Back to the relevant subject, we all got that Superman was in love with Lois Lane in the Christopher Reeve films, it just wasn’t laid on as thick as per Superman Returns. Yes she got the exclusives but she also told everyone why the world didn’t need Superman, so it didn’t make sense.

    For me, there’s no way Superman would’ve been taken to hospital anyway, his body would’ve been moved to a hidden government facility to be studied.

    I just hope we get more of Superman being a hero with this reboot..

    • Gokuh knew that Gohan had the ability to be even stringer than him when Gohan showed great power during the first fight with Vegeta (before they went to Naimak). He just wanted Gohan to see Cell in action and figure out his weakness.

      I get your points about the hospital. They probably would have taken him to a more military-type hospital. And I too would love to see more hero action but he still needs to be Superman, the genius as well as the brawler.

  17. it would be nice to see superman fight doomsday. it would lead to more movies and it would also bring the technology to new limits. it could even start the justice league movies. or at least something along those lines.

  18. not to crazy about the choice for suppy but I wasn’t crazy about Ledger as the Joker and we saw how that turned out…anyway I would LOVE to see Suppy fight Darkseid and some of his cronies, or Doomsday, or maybe even Solomen Grundy… with the technology at our disposal we should be able to have one of these epic fights come to life on screen.

  19. After seeing Sucker Punch, I’m horrified to think Zack Snyder could mess up Superman for me. 300 was great, Watchmen was watchable, Sucker Punch sucked the bag.

    I hear he’s going to adapt the Tim Hawkins book Hellbound after that……..I really hope his work doesn’t continue to slide before he gets to that one.

    Let’s hope Christopher Nolan get’s the nod over Zack, for both.