WonderCon put in their schedule that Bryan Singer would speak
at a panel for Superman Returns, they also added the promise
that he had a special surprise in store. Of course, speculation
ran high that Brandon Routh would make his first convention
appearance, especially since last year, Christian Bale dropped
in at the last minute.
So indeed, after showing a slightly more refined version
of the footage he presented at Comic-Con last summer, Singer
introduced someone "…who had really worked hard on this
film," Brandon Routh.
It was a shot of adrenaline for the convention. Though
Wondercon had been pleasant, it also seemed like many companies
had decided to wait until the New York Convention to make
any major announcements.
Then came Superman Returns.
Afterward, Bryan Singer and Brandon
Routh sat for a joint press conference. An old
hand at this, Singer seemed fairly relaxed. The new Superman,
Routh, stammered at times but appeared very thoughtful about
his role and the responsibility that comes with it.
Press: Could the two of you talk about your
evolution together with the character?
Bryan Singer: My process began with seeing Brandon
in an early tape that he had done previously for the role,
a screen test actually, and a tape he had done for another
role. We had a meeting in a coffee shop where we talked
for a couple of hours about the character, about his history.
It was good for me because I get to know the person. When
I find the traits in a person, I get to find the character.
I cast him, but didn't share it for several months. Then
we started talking about the process.
Brandon Routh: As we talked more, we understood
each other more, which is a great thing. We talked a lot,
whether it was a sit down for two hours or…and we'd actually
talk about scenes. Every couple of days we'd update our
background and say "hey."
We were in Sydney for two months before we started shooting.
We would talk about (moments with Clark) and such. What
was great is that we were never set in stone. There was
always the door open for change. For new creations to happen
on the day, when shooting a scene five or six times one
way, if it wasn't working, Bryan would stop and figure out
what wasn't right. And change it so it was.
Bryan Singer: We also had a lot of discussions about
the physics of Superman. What is hard for him to lift? What's
effortless? In theory his strength can be infinite, but an
actor still has to embody that.
Brandon Routh: You don't want everything you lift
to look the same. You have to make sure he has the right
posture on take-off, landing and doing turns...
Press: Can you talk about the reshoots? Did you
have to do a lot?
Bryan Singer: We did not. We have only one pick-up
day in Los Angeles, but that was it. What I did was I switched
my schedule. I had shot for 107 days.
Originally I was going to shoot for 128 days, but I was
so exhausted and the process was so long that I started
to lose my objectivity. So I shortened the schedule and
started shooting for the 107 days, then came back to Los
Angeles for 3 and a half weeks. Then I went back and finished
the schedule in Sydney.
I think there's one thing I may have to do, as far as
pick-ups, but no reshoots.
Press:So that was just a misperception?
Bryan Singer: There are a lot of misperceptions.
I'll give you another one, which is that some idiot wrote
something that this is 250 million dollars, which is the
most absurd thing I've ever heard. I'll tell you exactly
what the budget is, 184.5 million dollars, and with effects
it may still be a few million over that, which is still
a great deal of money, but by no means what that guy wrote.
It was just an irresponsible journalist at a specific
trade that I'm trying not to name! I don't know, maybe he
was talking about Australian dollars, or something.
Press: How do you feel about it, Brandon?
Bryan Singer: He's Superman. He doesn't have to worry
Press:Brandon, how hard was it to see yourself
as an action figure?
Brandon Routh: It was easy. Actually, it wasn't,
now that I think about it, because it was a long process.
I did a lot of body molds and body scans. A lot of that
information went into making this thing. They came to me
with little heads, Mattel heads. I'd have to check out the
piece, and say it was a little long, or boxy.
I had to make sure it looked like me. I had approval of
certain things. Sometimes they'd get it right and sometimes
they'd have to take it back. Dissecting my face…"well, that's
not right," it was crazy because, am I objective?
Bryan Singer: No, no, it's really important, for
merchandising. You have to make sure things looked right
with the suit. It's your body.
Brandon Routh: Making sure the cape was right,
and sometimes the belt would be curved when it was supposed
to lie flat…
Press: What was it like as a relative newcomer
to work on a big-budget movie with an actor the caliber
of Kevin Spacey?
Brandon Routh: Kevin was great. Kevin would say,
"you know, sometimes it's a crazy life that we have that
we get to be actors." He was looking ahead. As soon as he
wrapped, we said "congratulations," and he was out the door.
He had to hop on a plane to London to be in a play.
It's a great thing to deal with working with that caliber
of actor on my first film. The whole cast was pretty big.
Press: With this being Wondercon and both Kevin
Smith and J. J. Abrams are here, both people who worked on
different scripts for the film, have you spoken with them?
with Courtney Ford
Bryan Singer: Kevin I know, but I have not spoken
to him since I got here. I don't know J. J.
Brandon Routh: I just met him today. He says he's
excited to see the film. He was part of the beginning of
the process for me, because when I came on it was with his
script. The first time I developed Superman for the camera
was with that script.
Press: The issue of camp humor has always been
a sticking point for comic book movies. Even the original
Superman had some sort of campy humor to it with Lex Luthor.
Bryan Singer: There's a bit of a nod to that. It's
one of the reasons I cast Kevin. Because he has that wonderful
ability to bridge the line between whimsical humor and sadism
in his performance. And I think with Lex it's kind of fun
to be able to explore both sides.
In terms of films I've made, it's certainly the most humorous.
And romantic. So there's humor, and I hope we've held over
the best bits from the Richard Donner and Gene Hackman interpretation,
but we also have a potentially more sadistic Lex.
Press: Can you talk a bit about what your expectations
will be for the film both creatively and commercially?
Bryan Singer: First of all, my goal is to make
a good film and try to be open about the process. We have
an Internet presence and I think you begin by working with
the core audience, the fans, and work your way up from there.
Primarily, the goal is just to make a good film. If the
film's good, then the expectations will be met. I'm not
trying to compete with anything. It's why I'm not remaking
Superman: The Movie. This is a sequel, if you will.
Press: If you're not trying to remake the original
Superman, what are you trying to communicate emotionally
with this film?
Bryan Singer: The time felt right to re-experience
this character. It's time to address and celebrate in some
way people's connection to Superman, and how the character
has evolved from 1938 to now. In some way celebrate that.
Some of it will look familiar physically and emotionally,
and some of it will be new.
Brandon Routh: There's a lot of discussion about
"is it the right time?" There are many who are huge fans
of Christopher's performance and don't want anyone else
to come in and attempt to recreate that, which is not what
But with that in mind, I think what's important for everyone
to learn is that there's always a time for change. Instead
of always thinking that things will change for the worse,
there are a lot of things that can be changed for the better.
Especially with a character like Superman, who brings such
joy and inspiration to the world. It's important to keep
that out in the public eye.…
Bryan Singer: For Superman.
Brandon Routh: It's always time for Superman.
Press: Every film is a collaborative effort.
For example, you might be serving the needs of the studios,
but at the same time you need to serve the needs and wants
of the comic book community. Which ones do you feel is more
difficult to deal with?
Bryan Singer: I feel more pressure from the comic
book community. I serve the comic book community. The studio
understands my responsibilities and supports me one hundred