Man of Steel is about to hit theaters faster than a speeding bullet, and once people have had a chance to get re-acquainted with Superman – as imagined by director Zack Snyder and writers Chris Nolan and David S. Goyer (of Dark Knight fame) – we know they’re going to want to learn more about what went into making the biggest Superman movie of all time.
To that end, we’ve rounded up quotes from the Man of Steel press conference, which included the likes of Chuck Roven (Producer), Debbie Snyder (Producer), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Russell Crowe (Jor-El), Henry Cavill (Superman), Zack Snyder (Director), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Michael Shannon (Zod), Antje Traue (Faora, Zod’s henchwoman), David Goyer (Writer), and Dark Knight Trilogy composer, Hans Zimmer.
Before we delve into the press conference, check out this gallery of new Man of Steel limited edition posters, courtesy of Mondo Tees:
Man of Steel Press Conference
Producer Deborah Snyder, Director Zack Snyder and Screenwriter David S. Goyer discussed the massive task of re-inventing Superman for a new era, and how they went about it:
Deborah Snyder: I think when you start thinking about the magnitude of who this character is and how big it is and how big the responsibility is, you can really get yourself paralyzed. So what you have to do is break it down piece by piece and just look at it as the process. First, it was getting the story right, and at its core I think Superman has been around for 75 years because of the story. Then it’s about day to day seeing what task is at hand and choosing the right people to bring Zack’s vision of it to life. Casting these wonderful people, the right people to bring these characters, to make them alive. Choosing the right composer to making the music as powerful and moving as it should be. I think you just have to look at it day by day piece by piece.
Zack: …Debbie and I went and had lunch with Chris and Emma [Nolan] and we talked about this Superman project. I remember the first time when we were setting the meeting it was like, ‘Hey, you guys want to have lunch and if we talk about Superman is that weird?’ We thought, ‘No, no, Superman is cool.’ I was worried about Superman honestly as a project because it was a thing that I was interested in. But then on the other hand, I was scared because Superman is Superman. It seemed at the time like a lot of work to make work, though I will say after I read David’s script and after talking to Chris, there was no fear in the script and the idea. The idea was very straightforward and very confident and I think that’s what gave me this feeling of confidence that I felt like there is a thing in there to make cool, there’s a thing in there that I’m interested in. Maybe I need to just let go of the fear of this icon.
I do like Superman as a character and I have followed him throughout the years. The fear for me was that, could I honor what he’s been and what he has the potential to be? I think David did an amazing job with the script and that was in there—we just had to go after it. I think the vision was sort of an unapologetic Superman movie that we wanted to make. I felt in the recent past, people have been apologizing for Superman a little bit for his costume, for his origins, for the way he fits into society. We just wanted to say ‘No, no. This is the mythology and this is how it is, and it’s supposed to be this way.’ And I think that’s kind of the movie we made. We wanted to enshrine him where he belongs—and whether or not that’s making it too important, I don’t know, but it was the way we wanted to do it. It was fun to do.
David S. Goyer: It’s a huge challenge, I remember five or six years ago someone asking me at a Batman junket whether or not I would want to do Superman or not. At the time I said no. It’s an enormous responsibility. People have a proprietary relationship with Superman. A lot of people would say that’s my Superman, but there’s the Reeve Superman from the ’50s, the Fletcher Superman, Lois & Clark Superman, and the Donner Superman. It’s important to respect the iconography and respect the canon, but…at the same time you have to tell a story.
And once you sort of land on who you think the character is and what his conflicts are, you have to let that lead you. You have to throw all that other stuff away and not be worried about this epic responsibility or it will just crush you and paralyze you… For me it was very simple: it’s a story about two fathers. While I was writing this script, I became a step-dad, and a dad, and my own dad died. I never thought that my own experiences would find their way into something like this, but if you boil it down to that, it’s about a man with two fathers and he has to decide which kind of linage he has to choose. My Kryptonian father or my Earth father? And in the end, it’s kind of both that make him the man that he becomes.
Henry Cavill also addressed the intimidation of taking on such an iconic character:
Henry: First I don’t think it’s about finding my way into an icon. Playing an icon, you don’t try to be an icon because that defeats the purpose. The responsibility attached is enormous and the realization that it actually really, really, matters meant that I wanted to put the most amount of work into representing the character properly… What would people do otherwise apart from talk about it? I don’t necessarily think that he speaks to the outsider alone, he speaks to everyone—or that ideal speaks to everyone. We all need hope no matter what century we are in, whatever state of life we are in, whether we are going through tragedy or not. It’s just hope that everything will be okay, and if tragedy and disaster happens I hope we can overcome it. I don’t believe it’s solely for those who are outsiders and those who think they’re alone. It’s for everyone.
As far as the conflict that he went through or the journey, it wasn’t about classic Superman material. So when you see Clark traveling through the world and trying to work out what and who and why he is, I didn’t go to source material for that, I just applied my own life to that. As actors, it’s quite a lonely existence unless you have someone traveling with you the entire time. You spent a lot of time by yourself and you meet new people and you make temporary families and you love them. And then you never see them again, potentially, apart from the press conference. You just apply that to the character and that’s exactly what he experiences. New groups of people constantly, and then disappearing again and having to introduce himself to these other people and prove to them he’s a nice guy who tries to do all the right stuff. And then all of a sudden, he disappears again. So it’s just that lonely aspect that I applied to it opposed to any classic Superman material.
One of the surprising things about Man of Steel is that it borrows the Batman Begins style of non-linear narrative when establishing character and backstory during the first act. Goyer and Snyder addressed the reason why they chose such an approach:
David: Anytime I’ve been involved in a non-linear story, you start it in a linear manner first just to make sure it makes sense. Then you chop it up and move it around and that was a process that we started when Zack came on board, and some of it shifted as we were moving along.
Zack: I think that it’s a cool way. You’re with Clark and he’s making his way and you’re sort of getting these cool insights into the why of him. I think it’s fun to do it in that way, rather then when he’s facing a decision. You get to see the why of why he’s making those decisions. Presenting it that way allows the momentum of the story to keep going and you also get an insight into the man in a way that is interesting. It serves the movie in a really fun way, too.
David: Also, I think it was arresting to go from the craft impacting in Kansas into—boom!—33 years later he’s on a crab boat and just sort of playing with peoples expectations.
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