DVDInfo.be >> Artikel >> Interview >> INTERVIEW BRYAN SINGER & BRANDON ROUTH
Type: Interview - Datum: 2006-12-05 - Geplaatst door: Werner
Naar aanleiding van de release van Superman Returns, en uiteraard omdat het toch nog een beetje Superman-week is op DVD Info, hebben we voor U twee (Engelstalige) stukjes interview te pakken gekregen met refisseur Bryan Singer en hoofdrolspeler, Brandon Routh.

Superman had been missing from our movie screens for almost two decades, so the task of bringing back the Man of Steel in today's sophisticated world of special effects and big budgets would seem daunting for any director. Unless you are Bryan Singer, the 41-year-old filmmaker best known for his success with The X-Men, X2 and The Usual Suspects. Armed with a lifetime of passion for Superman and the know-how garnered from creating his own new franchise of superheroes, Singer discovered Brandon Routh as the new Superman and set about coming up with a story for Superman Returns that would restore him to his rightful place in movie history. Not surprisingly, the two-disk Special Edition DVD release of Superman Returns also features three hours of bonus footage, including; ten additional scenes which did not make the movie's final cut (one of which featured a love interest for Clark's mother, played by actor James Karen); Resurrecting Jor-El featurette and Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman Returns, which takes you on an in-depth behind-the-scenes journey of the making of the movie led by the director himself.

How much has this movie been a labor of love for you?
I grew up as a fan of the George Reeves' series as a kid when it was in reruns and I was also a big fan of Richard Donner's Superman the Movie from 1978. There hadn't been a Superman movie for quite a while and the franchise had dissipated, so I felt if I didn't take the opportunity to try and make one then someone else might and it would be another 20 or 30 years before I'd get another chance, which was why I dove into it when I saw the opportunity.

How important was it for you to base your Superman in the real world?
What's exciting about Superman is that like any superhero movie, you have extraordinary characters relating to an ordinary world. For me at the center of this particular movie was the love story between he and Lois Lane and revisiting that and also a story of global reclamation. Here was a guy who understood his place in the world and amongst people and he has been absent for five years, so how does he find his place again? The public quickly loses interest in their heroes and celebrities very quickly these days so how do you gain that back? That's an impetus for the story and that's why I threw some new elements in the mix, like Lois Lane's relationship and her child and things that had not been explored in the 80 years of the comic series.

What does your Superman movie bring to the overall legacy?
It re-establishes the character and puts a new face on him in the face of Brandon Routh, and introduces a new cast of characters and shows you what Superman can do today, thanks to the cutting edge of visual effects technology with making someone fly and the cape and the sheer display of Superman's strength and abilities. He's a difficult character to write for because he’s so awesomely powerful and unstoppable and the challenge is displaying these ideas visually while at the same time creating vulnerabilities that make him relatable the way the X-Men are and the way Spider-man is.

Is that why you wanted a very detailed documentary about the making of the movie on the DVD?
Absolutely. As a film fan and a fan of the process and someone who respects and adores the fans as a core audience, I have a great reverence for fans since the X-Men movies and being in Australia making this movie, there was a kind of theatre that occurs during the making of one of these event pictures that is something interesting to witness. A lot of characters behind the making of the film are quite interesting in themselves. So I had the benefit of a team I trusted to record everything, from embarrassing moments to creative epiphanies as they were happening. so the series of documentaries could be a unique glimpse into the process that I wish every fan or budding filmmaker could have. It shows how film is a great collaborative effort. I call it the humanization of the film making process, but it's done in an entertaining way a little like reality television!

What else can we find on the documentary?
How we did certain things and how chaotic the process can appear in creating something that seems so purposeful. And you’ll see some bloopers in one of the documentaries. I was even allowed to use some bloopers of Marlon Brando, which I found when I went through his original footage. There are very candid moments with my cast and myself that if it wasn't for my trust for my documentary team, I wouldn’t have allowed on the DVD. It's what happened so I decided to let it on the DVD and let people have fun with it. It also shows that we take the work very seriously but we don’t take ourselves as seriously and that's fun for an audience to watch.

What other behind-the-scenes stuff was important for you to include?
We have footage of Brandon Routh leaving the United States for the first time, going to Australia to shoot the movie and unlike other actors who've played Superman, before the physical training and discussions began, he was about as unknown as you get. So it's amazing to see a guy go from being an unknown to Superman and watching it take place on our documentary footage as we follow his journey. You even get to see interviews with Brandon before his final screen test, and he has no idea that I've already decided he has the role so he's in this state of hoping.

What can you say about the deleted scenes on the DVD?
Those were scenes that were entire scenes. I don't like to put little pieces of things cut out on the DVD so I chose entire scenes that had to be cut purely for the length of the film, and they play like individual separate scenes and play really well. I'm glad people will see James Karin, the Ben Hubbard character, who is in a deleted scene as a love interest for Martha (Eva Marie Saint). We'd been friends for many years so that was one of the most difficult phone calls I had to make, that he'd been cut from the film. But he was understanding and wanted what was best for the film so it's nice for me to be able to honor him by putting those scenes back on the DVD.

What about the documentary about how Marlon Brando made it back in the movie?
We did some very unique work in this film taking two-dimension material and creating a person from almost nothing. There were no scans or cyber scans from 1977 of Jor-el so it was purely a recreation of a person who is not with us anymore and he's in the role saying lines he’d said in a completely different context that I found in his London ADR sessions and original footage. It was a really amazing way of having him come back and almost scary in a way, because if we can do it with Marlon Brando we can do it with Bogart and all the others too!

You give cameos to Jack Larson and Noel Neill, who played Jimmy and Lois in the original TV series. Any other homages?
I knew Jack Larson and he was a sweet gentleman so I wanted him in the movie as Bo The Bartender, a famous character in the comic book lore, and I knew Noel had done a cameo in the Superman-movie so I thought it would be great continuity connecting the George Reeve series I loved so much with the first movie and then with this movie. Also one of the throwbacks to the original film was the idea that Ben Hubbard and Martha were dating so that's another reason I'm glad that scene is on the DVD because that was hinted at in the first movie when Clark goes off to the city.

How different is it to take over someone else's franchise rather than start your own with the X-Men movies?
It's very different, which is why I did not simply remake the 1978 film. So much of that film is considered classic and I wanted to reference that and sequel-ize it in a way, but at the same time reintroduce a new, fresh universe. So it was a constant fight of balance within myself. I think the next Superman movie will be easier because I now have a starting-off point like I did after making the first X-Men movie.

Are you happy with Brandon as Superman?
I was prepping the movie for months and working with the script and designers on the set and all the time thinking if I don't find this guy, I'm going to have to pull the plug on this thing – and I would have walked away if I didn't have the right guy. Brandon was the right guy and I think the public now agrees with me too.

Are you happy to remain part of the Superman family?
Yes, I worked very hard on this movie so I would love to continue. Each film, like X-Men was a huge education and enabled me to do the groundwork so I could open myself up on the second one, and here I did a lot of groundwork on the first so that part of wanting to do the second one is to honor all the work I did on the first one.

Brandon Routh is only 27, but he's already earned his place in Hollywood history as the man who brought Superman back to the big screen. Almost two decades after Superman IV: The Quest For Peace was released - marking the last time that the late Christopher Reeve donned the red cape – newcomer Brandon Routh, a Des Moines, Iowa native with only a handful of TV roles on his credits, stepped into those very big shoes in Superman Returns, a film directed by Bryan (The X-Men) Singer and co-starring Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane and Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. This time, the Man of Steel returns after a long visit to the remains of his Planet Krypton ready to reclaim the love of Lois Lane and become the world's savior yet again, only to find things are very different to when he left. The two-disk Special Edition DVD release also includes three hours of bonus features, including: ten additional scenes which did not make the movie's final cut (one of which featured a love interest for Clark's mother, played by actor James Karen); Resurrecting Jor-El featurette and Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman Returns, which takes you on an in-depth behind-the-scenes journey of the making of the movie led by director Bryan Singer.

What do you think of the DVD special features?
They're great. I like being able to see the deleted scenes, especially the stuff on the farm with the character Ben Hubbard, so we can get James Karen back in the movie! He did a great job and seeing his scene with me and with Eva Marie Saint was really nice to watch. And all the footage about the making of the movie was really fun too.

Did you learn anything about the movie watching the DVD?
You do pick up things that maybe you didn’t know before. Bryan Singer does a great job narrating the documentaries and leading everybody through. It's pretty understandable the way he explains the technology that’s used and the movie-making magic.

What do you think about people watching the movie for the first time on DVD and getting all these special features too?
For me it's very exciting because as a movie fan myself it's one of my favorite things to do, to watch the special features and the behind-the-scenes documentaries that have been done on films I get on DVD. It is exciting to see how movies are made and how we make this stuff come to life before your eyes, so that's great. And it's very cool because there are people who never got the opportunity to see the movie in the theatre and while that is the way it was meant to be seen, it makes it available to a broader audience, people who can't go to the movies or don't have the funds to do that, so DVD is an easier choice.

Have you played the new Superman Returns video game yet?
Yes, it was much easier than I thought it would be, which is nice! It's weird seeing me in the game and playing a creature that is me - that was more surreal than playing with the physical toys of me because I'm actually speaking and you can really move around as Superman, so it's very cool and very realistic, I think.

Are you getting used to being part of the Superman family?
I think so. I've been embraced by all the wonderful people I've met who worked on the films or TV shows before and they're all very kind people who love Superman and what Superman is about so I'm very excited to be a part of it and share in that spirit and promote that spirit. I learn things every day about what a blessing it is to be this character and keep moving this legacy along. I do feel a part of it and I'm eager to be even more a part of it.

How did you feel when you recently attended the premiere of Richard Donner's long-awaited version of Superman II now also released on DVD?
It's a very cool experience being a part of that, knowing there is so much history with this character before I even set foot on this earth and before I became involved in the film as well. It gives it great richness for me. I had the opportunity to meet Richard Donner, which was the first time I ever met him, at the premiere and also Margot Kidder, so that added a lot more to the family, so to speak. And it was a very cool experience as a fan being there and watching my Superman in a whole new way.

Do you feel devotion from the Superman fans?
These people have been fans for generations and I think that's as it should be with a character as powerful as Superman, for the things he stands for. So I think it's important we have fans who are tried and true. It's really inspirational for me as well that so many people are so excited about such a positive role model and that’s what keeps me going.

How does it feel being in a movie with Marlon Brando too?
It's very cool. Any time he's around it adds another level of craft so that was fantastic. There is a whole neat thing in the special features about that journey and Jor-El and Brando's influence on the film, which I think fans will find really fascinating.

What do you think your film adds to the legacy?
I feel like we've re-established the franchise and effectively put Superman back and made a mark on the world again with him in a way that people can respect. I know some people complained there wasn't enough fighting and action and villains in the first film but what Bryan did, which was his genius, was to create this world which we could all believe in and he based it in a kind of reality so that when we introduce those characters we don't feel like it's a big sci-fi epic, not that there is anything wrong with a sci-fi epic, but it just adds more heart and more emotion to a film of this genre and makes it more epic in my opinion. So I think he's laid a great foundation for future Superman films.

Richard Donner said he had tears in his eyes when he saw your Superman because you had the spirit of Chris Reeve. What do you think of that?
That's a huge compliment to me and in my ability to bring that energy and spirit that Chris did so wonderfully to the screen. It was never my intent to copy but certainly to have his energy and great spirit, so if I could pass that along to Richard and anybody else watching, I'm happy to do that. It means we are on the right track.

Do you still remember the first time you flew?
Yes, it was the rooftop scene, coming off the side of the balcony flying down to Lois and it was a bit nerve-wracking because I had to do that and deliver lines and I wasn't well practiced at that! I also remember the first day we filmed me in the suit. I wasn't flying but we were all really excited, even the crew, to finally reveal the costume and see the real Superman back on a film set again.

Which scenes are you most proud of?
I really like the final scene with Tristan (Lake Leabu, who plays Lois's son Jason) at the end of the film because it's a really human, emotional scene and I got to test my acting chops a little without flying. I also quite liked the scene where Superman is getting beaten up! That was a great challenge for me doing all that physicality and working with Kevin Spacey, who was fantastic.

What was the most challenging scene?
I'd say probably all the water scenes were most challenging. I was 15 metres below the water and I had to let go of my air and trust that the great scuba divers were going to be there off-camera to feed me the air after I held my breath for 30 seconds and spun around underwater like I was floating. I didn't have my contact lenses on either, so I couldn't see anything, which was frightening!

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