Adventures of Kevin Burns
part 3: Putting Together the Definitive Superman
1, part 2
Did anything about this documentary surprise you?
shows us his fanboy credentials...
There was the stuff I hadn't seen. There wasn't too much,
honestly, that I didn't know. It was funny. I knew enough
about Superman's story that the outline pretty much followed
what we talked about.
I was very intrigued,
if you want to know the truth of it, at the making of the
Christopher Reeve movie. I knew a little about it, but when
you're sitting there interviewing Richard Donner and Ilya
Salkind and Tom Mankiewicz and Margo Kidder and Jackie Cooper…that
could have been a two hour doc right there.
The making of
the original Christopher Reeve Superman is a great
story, just how that movie got off the ground.
Peters, who is a legend in many many ways. And looms large
in the mythos of Superman, I mean good and bad. He has always
been kind of a loved and hated character. Everything from
the former hairdresser who lived with Barbra Streisand to
the guy who did Batman, and of course he and Peter
Guber at Columbia Pictures. Then the infamous stories about
him on the earlier drafts of the (Superman Lives)
script and incarnations of the film.
It was fascinating
to meet him. Of course, having him come into the studio
two hours after his ex-wife had exited, Lesley Ann Warren.
I don't know any reason why they didn't know they were in
on the same day, but we certainly didn't want to invite
any problem, some reason why either might say, "oh, they're
coming in, then I'm not coming."
It was kind
of cute. We knew that they were both coming in that day.
Lesley Ann Warren I knew because we had done her Biography
on A & E.
What I didn't
know was that there was a television version of the Broadway
musical. I didn't know until we started the production;
Mark McLaughlin, a wonderful researcher, found it out and
tracked it down to the fellow Norman Twain who had produced
And he literally
had what could be the only copy of it, a two-inch videotape
that was in a tape storage somewhere. He unearthed it and
was very nice to let us license it for virtually nothing.
We cleared the songs, and it stars this guy named David
Wilson, whom we found. We didn't interview him, but we did
track him down because we had to clear him. Loretta Swit
was in it, and Kenneth Mars, David Wayne and Lesley Ann
Warren. Just fascinating.
Wilson in musical tights.
Of course, I've
seen it, and it rivals the Star Wars Holiday Special.
McCaw: I think it's now available on home video.
Burns: Not legally. It's not officially available, but
it is hysterical. It's played the way it was intended to
be played. The thing was shot in four days and aired at
11:30 at night on ABC, and then was never seen again.
(It turns out that the CD of the original 1966 Broadway cast is legally available here!)
that was kind of cool. Finding Superpup in color,
that was cool. Finding out that the negative to the Fleischer
cartoons were with Warner Brothers. That was really cool.
transferred in high definition for the doc, that was really
cool. They look unbelievable. Image Entertainment put out
a really nice set, the nicest set that I've ever seen, of
the shorts. But the ones we got from Warner Brothers took
our breath away.
McCaw: So are you going to press them to put
They are going to put them out. It was nice to get the clips
we could put in the documentary. What was really wonderful
about the documentary was, well…
Dreams I shot the interviews in high definition. It
was the first time I'd ever done anything like that. When
it came time to master the show, it was mastered in regular
anamorphic, and it was NTSC. It was not high definition.
We down-converted all the interviews. Lucasfilm archived
all the interviews in Hi Def, but the show was not.
this show delivered in high definition. Everything mastered
in Hi Def, up-converted or down-converted. It was logistically
very big and expensive, and made everything more difficult.
But the results were really jaw-dropping.
drooling for the Hi-Def.
First of all,
the Christopher Reeve movies. Smallville, which I
think after Season 1 was pretty much mastered in Hi Def.
Certainly, Bryan's movie. The stuff is just beautiful.
the old George Reeves television show was digital transfers,
not Hi Def transfers, it was astounding how good a lot of
those old episodes look.
In fact, tomorrow
night (actually, last Wednesday) we're having a screening
on the Warner Brothers lot. It's sort of a cast and crew
thing; we invited Brandon and Kevin Spacey might show up.
Of course, Bryan and I will be there. It's basically a thank
you to the cast and crew. Richard Donner is supposed to
mean to come off as a fan of Bryan, because that's not what
I am - I'm a friend of his, but I'm not a fan. But as grinding
as it has been for him to do the feature, and he's working
unbelievable hours, the poor guy should be in a hospital
bed, he's just obsessed. On everything.
of this movie, every shot, every effect, every pixel, he
goes over with a fine-toothed comb, over and over and over.
He wants it to be perfect. He's haunted by the responsibility
of it. Again, he just appreciates what responsibility he's
not intimidated by it. In other words, he's up to the challenge
of it. It's almost like he's been hired to exercise his
vision, so he squeezes that vision from himself every single
4: Seeing the new movie and walking through the past...