Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Superman movie

Jenica and I just got done watching the original Superman: The Movie (1978), its sequel, Superman II and last year's Superman Returns. Watching them all and ruminating on the pros and cons of each film got me thinking. What if I had the means to make my own Superman movie?

The reason I'm speculating on this possibility is how frustrated I've been since I was about 10 or 11 with the ending to the original film. Turning back time to fix everything that happened? Wouldn't the dam still burst? Or are people drowning while Superman is talking to Jimmy and Lois in the middle of the desert? I was somewhat placated when I discovered the story behind how that ending got slapped on the film (it was supposed to be the ending for the sequel -- Superman does it so Lois doesn't remember that he's Clark Kent--and they were shooting the sequel simultaneous to making the original), but it doesn't change the fact that I still can't watch an alternate cut where it isn't the way the movie ends.

Don't get me wrong. I really do love the first film...I cry when Superman catches Lois falling from the helicopter, and I honestly couldn't tell you why. I remember the day I saw the original with clarity; looking in the Calgary Herald to see a large quarter page advertisement (I used to love reading the Herald's entertainment section as a kid, just to look at the film advertisements) of the crystalline S-emblem. I nearly died. I remember running to my dad and pointing it out (we were only visiting and who knows how long it would take for this film to reach Medicine Hat?). And then the afternoon matinee that followed. My dad and I, just the two of us, seeing Superman: The Movie. But turning back the world and Superman and Lois in the sequel having sex are two things which have tainted my love for these films. Yes, I said tainted.

And Bryan Singer didn't make my Super Universe much better with his Superman Returns. Sure, he didn't totally screw it up, but neither did he add anything to it, outside a great plane catching scene. And seeing the original again reminded me how much Christopher Reeve embodied Superman where Brandon Routh is really more of a Superyoungadult. Never mind that Singer compounded the taint by building on the Superman and Lois mattress dancing incident. So he's got two apologies to make to me; one, for leaving the X-men franchise and two, for giving Superman a kid...I dread the sequels...

So I want my crack at making a Superman movie. I want my chance to do what I'd do.

I think I'd be looking to work on a combination of Tom DeHaven's novel, It's Superman! and Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's graphic novel Superman for All Seasons, which would make the film a period piece in the 1930's which I really think would work. Not so much as a kid's Superman movie...more like Batman Begins really. For Superman I'd want someone with classic old movie features...but he's got to be young, in his late 20's. Lois Lane is a really firecracker in DeHaven's book, reminscent of Jennifer Jason Leigh in the Hudsucker Proxy. I hear Alexis Bledel is nearly done with Gilmour Girls...

Both works look at the beginning of Superman's career, from his departure from Smallville to his first defeat of Lex Luthor. They're both quality narratives with lots of great Superheroics. The advantage of an adaptation is you already know you have a great story. Finding a Superman for my film would be tough - Sale's drawings are of a very husky, broad shouldered Superman. Closer in build to Dominic Purcell than Christopher Reeve. And again, in his late 20's. I would also try for a very stylized approach to the film, ala Sin City and 300. Seems like the cool thing to do when adapting graphic novels.

In either case, it's the story of how it all begins, which is really the story most of us care about. Once Superman is up and flying, there isn't much that can hurt him, so the storylines ending up relying on more human drama than the mythology is meant to contain, unless you're going with DeHaven's approach by revisioning the characters who make up the mythology.

Bottom line? We're all more interested in seeing Superman catch a falling plane than we are in seeing him deal with angst. Superman doesn't have angst...that's Batman. And romantic turmoil is Peter Parker's department.

Tell Singer he's off the project and Gotthammer's on. Sure, I don't have any directorial experience, but Singer obviously doesn't have any comic book geek experience. I have a PhD in that, which will more than make up for my lack of directorial chops.


  1. i thought superman returns had some cool insight to the character. it wasnt a full on action movie, but there was a lot of emotion and solitude that i thought was a breath of fresh air.

    i hope singer makes a sequel and goes all out on it.

    your version does sound pretty cool though.

  2. I personally would have spent more time on the plot of Superman Returns than on the codpiece but hey... that's just me. I found Superman Returns to be a total non-event. Kate Bosworth as Lois is like enlisting a bobblehead doll to act out a dramatic charcter arc. And Dude Who Played Superman? Well I don't even remember his name so that should say something right there.

    Gotthammer, I'm with you. Bryan Singer was so good to the X-Men and he should never have abandoned them. I'd hire you to re-envision Superman. Especially if you could re-envision it as cool, moody, full of action, SuperChild-less, and stylized. Then I'd hire you AND double your paycheque!

    Now if only I were a studio head...

    You know who'd make an interesting Superman? (Whoever said "Nic Cage" can shut the hell up right now.) Patrick Warburton. Hehe. Okay, okay... what about the guy who plays Nick Stokes on CSI? I like him. He's not late 20s but he's young enough, broad of build, hunky without being pretty, and a decent actor.

    Anyway, back to planning how best to fuck over the Trekiverse in the Crypt... mwahahaha!

  3. Okay. Pat's a little old, but he's got the look I would want for the part. Plus he's already played the Tick. I should add I'd be trying to evoke some of the look from the Max Fleischer cartoons - some art deco, etc.

    And Nick Stokes definitely has the build. He could easily look 20's with some makeup. If we buy Veronica Mars as a teenager...we'll buy Nick as a 20-something.

  4. Nick Stokes' real-life name is George Eads. I think you have a winner, Gotthammer!

    Follow this link to see him looking particularly pensive, hunky, and even (dare I say it) super...