Richard Donner Talks Superman, Zod, & Henry Cavill

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Richard Donner Talks Superman, Zod, & Henry Cavill

Post  non_amos on Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:15 am

http://splashpage.mtv.com/2011/06/07/superman-richard-donner-man-of-steel-zod/

Richard Donner On 30 Years Of Superman, The 'Man Of Steel' Reboot, And Re-Cutting 'Superman II'

Posted 10 hrs ago by Rick Marshall in DC Comics, Hot Stuff, News

SupermanYou don't need to be a die-hard fan of the Man of Steel to get excited about today's release of "Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology (1978-2006)."

A massive collection that features the last three decades of big-screen, live-action Superman adventures (everything from "Superman: The Movie" through the recent "Superman Returns"), the new anthology gives the high-def treatment to all five of the films, as well as alternate versions of "Superman: The Movie" and a special cut of "Superman II." The collection also includes a long list of documentaries and bonus features that will make comics and movie fans drool.

In the run-up to the release of the anthology, I spoke to celebrated "Superman: The Movie" director Richard Donner, who made the world believe a man could fly more than 30 years ago.

MTV NEWS: I didn't really grasp how much is packed into this collection until I had it sitting in front of me. It's impressive! How does it feel to see a franchise you started so long ago get this sort of treatment?

RICHARD DONNER: It was extraordinarily exciting. It's another world, what the studios are doing with these things. It's very exciting, and anybody who says different is full of sh--. [Laughs]

MTV: Looking at the list of films here, I didn't realize there were so many cuts of these films and alternate material...

DONNER: Me, too. There were a lot of cuts I never knew existed...

MTV: What can you tell us about "Superman II - The Richard Donner Cut"?

DONNER: When I did "Superman," we were doing the first film and the second at the same time, and the producers really put us up against a wall in delivering the pictures on time. At a given point, we had to stop shooting the material for "Superman II" and just concentrate getting "Superman" out into theaters on time. So we shot everything that we could with principals like Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman and people like that, put in the can, and then work like hell to get the first film into theaters — with the full intention of going back and finishing "Superman II."

But I had never gotten along with the producers — in fact, I didn't even talk to them. In their great good taste, since the first picture was such a success, they decided they wouldn't need me anymore and fired me. So I never ad the opportunity to go back and finish my picture with "Superman II."


MTV: So how did you finally get back to it?

DONNER: There's a young film editor and director named Michael Thau, and he kept calling me and telling me there was a big groundswell of people who want to see your cut of the movie. I said, "It's never going to happen, and while I appreciate it, it's a thing of the past."

Then one day he called me and told me the studio has stepped in and they want to do my cut and release it as a feature. So, 25 years later, we stepped up to the bat. It was a bitch, because most of that stuff had disappeared — he found a lot of it in Europe. It was a delight to see this thing happen, though. It was put together with spit and nails, because a lot of footage was never shot. A lot of the picture is made up of stealing from the first film and — believe it or not — putting together screen tests that we made look like the real thing.

MTV: Content-wise, how does your cut of "Superman II" differ from the original theatrical version?

DONNER: When I first got the original screenplays from the producers, they were well written, but they were totally a different approach than I would've taken to the subject matter. They were parodying a parody, and a little silly. I felt that this character, who had been part of my life since I was a kid and certainly part of Americana since the '30s, you have to give him some respect. So we tackled it and rewrote everything. When they finished "Superman II" without me, they went back to what their original concept was and made it kind of silly. So we worked very hard to eliminate that, and I think we did a pretty good job.

MTV: Well, one of the things that makes "Superman II" notable is that it featured the debut of Zod, who was so popular that he made the rare leap from the screen to comics. Now that we know he's also going to be in the new "Superman: Man of Steel" reboot that's coming up, do you feel some pride in seeing the character continue on and have such a legacy?

DONNER: No, not really... He's Zod. He doesn't belong to me. He belongs to the world of Krypton and he's just another part of the Superman anthology of villains. The best part about Zod is that he makes an incredibly worthy adversary for our hero. That's why he's so great.

MTV: What do you think of the upcoming reboot of the "Superman" franchise and the new lead, Henry Cavill?

DONNER: It's going to be really tough on this guy, but he's a wonderful actor and has a great director working with him. I think they'll do a sensational job, because I truly believe their dedication to the product is honest. That film that they're making, they believe in it, and that's all you need: a good director, and to believe in your project. You can't ask for more.

MTV: Well, as a comics fan, I've always been interested in your work with Geoff Johns, too. Geoff's had so much success lately and has been getting more and more involved with movie and television projects there, do you think you'll ever collaborate again?

DONNER: Oh, gosh. I have no idea. I love Geoff, as you know. He's like my kid brother, my son, whatever... I don't know whether we'll work together again, because I think it's a new world out there, and he's a part of that. I think the company was extraordinarily smart to take advantage of the fact that this kid really knows the subject. We did a comic book together — we wrote together — and I think that might be where it ends. We'll remain dear friends forever.

MTV: Do you have any advice for the new "Superman: Man of Steel" team? What would you tell Zack Snyder about bringing the character to the big screen again?

DONNER: The only advice I have is to tell them good luck and go make a damn good movie. They're filmmakers and they wouldn't be doing this or getting this job if they weren't well qualified to do it. I look to them to show me something new and something different, and totally respect what they do. I don't think I can help them in any way except by patting them on the shoulder and wishing them all the luck in the world. In the business today, there are so many bright, quick-witted, talented young people coming up that all I can do is sit back, watch, and wish them luck.

MTV: Superman can be a tough character to wrap your head around as a creator of any sort. He's an alien, he's nearly invincible, and so forth — so that can make it difficult for people to relate with him. Why do you feel you had such success with him? What did "Superman: The Movie" teach you about making movies?

DONNER: Well, any film you do, you have to totally believe in it. It's a major part of your life. It's frightening how destructive it can be, because you are so committed to it, and it will take up so much of your life. But the thing as far as Superman goes is, as far as I'm concerned, you must see this world as a reality. This has its own world and its own place in time, and its own space, and it's real. The minute you don't take it seriously, there's a terrible chance it will destroy itself.

MTV: You've worked with Superman now, and served as executive producer on some of the "X-Men" movies, too. Is there any comic book character you'd still love to get your hands on, given the chance?

DONNER: No. I've had it in that area. After I did the first film, I got offers galore to do nothing but things like "Superman." But I've been there and done that, and you're always looking for something different and a little bit of a challenge. When I was a kid, my hero was Superman. There were others — I liked Flash Gordon, for instance — but do I want to make movies about them? No. I'm happy to sit back and wish everyone who does do those pictures all the luck in the world.

"Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology (1978-2006)" hits shelves on Blu-Ray today, June 7. You can get more information about it — including the long list of special features — at www.SupermanAnthology.com.

Let us know what you think of the interview in the comment section or on Twitter! You can also follow me, Splash Page editor Rick Marshall, on Twitter!

There's also another article:

http://www.thewrap.com/movies/article/superman-director-richard-donner-grilled-smashing-phones-choosing-reeve-28037?page=0,0

'Superman' Director Richard Donner Grilled on Choosing Christopher Reeve, Smashing Phones

By Jordan Riefe

Coming off “The Omen,” Richard Donner was the hottest young director in Hollywood when the father-son production team of Alexander and Ilya Salkind offered him a million dollars to direct “Superman.”

The granddaddy of today’s big-budget superhero movies -- streeting Tuesday on Blu-ray for the first time -- starred Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando, and grossed over $300 million worldwide in 1978.

Here, Donner recalls his phone-smashing fights with the Salkinds, casting Christopher Reeve and Marlon Brando, and spawning a new genre.

Can you talk about laying down the paradigm for the genre? “Superman” is the first big-budget superhero movie.

I didn’t know what I was making. Simply, it was a comic book, don’t forget it’s a comic book. But it’s got to have its own sense of honesty. It’s got to have its own sense of reality. You can laugh with it, you can’t laugh at it. And the characters had to have some true emotions. I tried very hard to have the love story because if there’s a love story you’d be committed to the two of them and therefore you’d care about him and you wouldn’t want to see any harm come to him, which made Lex Luthor heavier. But then we gave Lex Luthor Oits, which lightened that up. But it was a thin line we walked. We didn’t know what the walk was, but we walked the walk. And it happened to turn out, much to our surprise, to be well accepted.

Can you talk about casting the movie? I understand they were considering Paul Newman or Robert Redford, which sounds hilarious.

It is.

Can you talk about some of the other names and how casting played out?

That was before I came on board. They were preparing this film for two years. But when I came on board, I wanted an unknown because I thought it’d be pretty tough convincing an audience to see Redford in a Superman suit flying. Not that he’s not a great actor, but I figured an unknown could make it work. And when we met Chris Reeve, you’d never think of him as Superman cause he was 20 or 30 pounds lighter than he was when he played the role and he had honey brown hair. But he was an actor and he convinced me that he could do it.

Can you talk about bringing Brando in and didn’t Chris Reeve insist on having a line with him?

I was as star struck working with Brando as anybody else. And Chris wanted to have a scene with Brando. There was something that he had to do with Marlon. There was one line ...

I think the line was, “Who am I?”

Yeah, “Who am I?” or something.

And a video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TTgZ0xhBNTI



Comments? I originally found this at duh Homopage of course:

http://www.supermanhomepage.com/news.php?readmore=9877#comments

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Re: Richard Donner Talks Superman, Zod, & Henry Cavill

Post  webhead2006 on Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:31 am

I read the first story from cbm early yesterday. Didn't see the second one myself. But some interesting stuff there from donner on all the trouble he had behind the scenes.

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Re: Richard Donner Talks Superman, Zod, & Henry Cavill

Post  thecolorsblend on Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:25 am

Richard Donner to MTV wrote:http://splashpage.mtv.com/2011/06/07/superman-richard-donner-man-of-steel-zod/

DONNER: But I had never gotten along with the producers — in fact, I didn't even talk to them. In their great good taste, since the first picture was such a success, they decided they wouldn't need me anymore and fired me. So I never ad the opportunity to go back and finish my picture with "Superman II."
As much as I love STM, I really wish Donner would shut the fuck up about stuff like this. He shit-talked the Salkinds to every hackjob reporter with a typewriter. What the hell did he think was going to happen?! People get fired for lesser offenses than that all the time so what exactly was supposed to make Donner unfreakingtouchable?

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Re: Richard Donner Talks Superman, Zod, & Henry Cavill

Post  Apologist Puncher on Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:11 pm

thecolorsblend wrote:As much as I love STM, I really wish Donner would shut the fuck up about stuff like this. He shit-talked the Salkinds to every hackjob reporter with a typewriter. What the hell did he think was going to happen?! People get fired for lesser offenses than that all the time so what exactly was supposed to make Donner unfreakingtouchable?

It goes beyond just Donner bad-mouthing the Salkinds. Why do you think Gene Hackman REFUSED to shoot ANYTHING with Richard Lester? He saw first-hand what they put Donner through, and was not happy about it at all.

The Salkinds WANTED Donner to do what he did so they could fire him, all because they knew they couldn't make him quit.

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Re: Richard Donner Talks Superman, Zod, & Henry Cavill

Post  thecolorsblend on Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:12 pm

Apologist Puncher wrote:
thecolorsblend wrote:As much as I love STM, I really wish Donner would shut the fuck up about stuff like this. He shit-talked the Salkinds to every hackjob reporter with a typewriter. What the hell did he think was going to happen?! People get fired for lesser offenses than that all the time so what exactly was supposed to make Donner unfreakingtouchable?

It goes beyond just Donner bad-mouthing the Salkinds. Why do you think Gene Hackman REFUSED to shoot ANYTHING with Richard Lester? He saw first-hand what they put Donner through, and was not happy about it at all.

The Salkinds WANTED Donner to do what he did so they could fire him, all because they knew they couldn't make him quit.
I'm not excusing the Salkinds from anything. It sounds like, for their participation, the shooting of STM was a real mess and a lot more difficult than it maybe needed to be.

But I stand by my point that when you shit-talk your own boss in a way that will inevitably get back to them, what do you expect?

And something else, if all they wanted was to fire Donner, they had the right to do so at any time. I've always found it very telling that they didn't until after he shot his mouth.

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Re: Richard Donner Talks Superman, Zod, & Henry Cavill

Post  Apologist Puncher on Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:15 pm

thecolorsblend wrote:But I stand by my point that when you shit-talk your own boss in a way that will inevitably get back to them, what do you expect?

You expect professionalism from your bosses BEFORE it gets to that point.

And something else, if all they wanted was to fire Donner, they had the right to do so at any time. I've always found it very telling that they didn't until after he shot his mouth.

They waited until the time was right.

Nothing more, nothing less.

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Re: Richard Donner Talks Superman, Zod, & Henry Cavill

Post  non_amos on Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:13 am

Now Donner talks the Williams' theme:

http://www.ugo.com/movies/richard-donner-interview

A Soaring Score: Richard Donner on the Superman Theme
What flew through Richard Donner's mind the first time he heard John Williams' score?
By Jordan Hoffman 12 hours ago

The incredible Superman movie Blu-ray box set is currently out in stores and it is the biggest must-have for movie lovers in months. It features all five Superman movies, plus an extended cut of Superman: The Movie and the legendary "Richard Donner Cut" of Superman II.

I had the opportunity to speak to Dick Donner and the guy is a blast. I'll be highlighting moments from our conversation over the next few days, but I wanted to get rolling with what is, at the end of the day, my favorite element about the Superman films.

Jordan Hoffman: I have so many great memories and associations with the Superman films, but I think if somebody shot me up with truth serum and asked what is my favorite thing about these movies, I would have to go with John Williams’ score. It is, in my opinion, the best thing he's ever done. What was your working relationship was with him, and how did you feel the first time he played it for you? How did he play it? Did he sit at a piano; did he play you a tape?

Richard Donner: Well I never like to hear compositions on a piano or very bare, because I may not be that qualified to hear what the surround would be if it was a full orchestra. So with John you know we did what's called "spotting." We spotted the film and decided where we wanted music and what the music was supposed to do. And then he went home and he came back to London, and our first scoring session happened to be the opening title credits section. I was very nervous, obviously, and we sat down and this great orchestra was out there. John got up in front of them and he ran the film in front of us, and it was the zooming of the titles through the air, and the last title zoomed through the air and the title Superman came up, and it filled the screen and zoomed back a little. His music, and you can hear it today, actually said when it got to that word, dun-dun-dunn, and it said Su-per-mannnnnn. He actually said Superman with music! I was so friggin blown away I couldn’t believe it! It was magic.



Jordan Hoffman: Is that unorthodox to wait until the session for a director to hear something? Is that because you don’t like to hear demos?

Richard Donner: I did the same thing with Jerry Goldsmith on The Omen. He had described a lot of the things we wanted to do, and I would listen to him and I’d say I’d rather hear it. You gotta trust the people that you hire. Trust that what you’re going to hear is what you’re going to love, and if not, they’re the kind of people that are that flexible that understand you that they will make the changes, they will bend if they need to.



Also found at duh Homopage:

http://www.supermanhomepage.com/news.php?readmore=9885#comments

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Re: Richard Donner Talks Superman, Zod, & Henry Cavill

Post  webhead2006 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:54 pm

Some nice stuff on the music process back then.

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Re: Richard Donner Talks Superman, Zod, & Henry Cavill

Post  non_amos on Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:43 am

Though not another Donner rant, I found this link at duh Homopage:

http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=6588

It's about the making of the 1st film & it's far too lengthy to copy & paste, at least I don't wanna try it since I can't do the pics yet, & there's plenty of them! Various vintage posters & such even from the Kirk Alyn & George Reeves days. I haven't even had time to read it yet! I did bookmark it so I can come back to it Originally found at duh Homopage:

http://www.supermanhomepage.com/news.php?readmore=9899#comments

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Re: Richard Donner Talks Superman, Zod, & Henry Cavill

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