Quint at Comic-Con: Bryan Singer and SUPERMAN RETURNS footage!!!
Published at: July 17, 2005, 2:17 a.m. CST by staff
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with the first of a couple of reports from today's (Saturday's) mega-super huge day at the San Diego Comic Con 2005. I saw tons of stuff today, but I'm going to start with the first and possibly most anticipated panel of the day, if not the whole Con: Bryan Singer's presentation and Q&A for SUPERMAN RETURNS.
Bryan Singer came out from Sydney and talked a lot about the film to the fans, answering questions both positive and negative about everything from SUPERMAN to LOGANS RUN to X-MEN. Below are the tidbits from the Q&A as well a description of the footage he showed (!!!).
-At the beginning of the panel Singer fumbled and called SUPERMAN Jor-El instead of Kal-El and got scorched a bit by the geeks. Singer hurried to correct his mistake by saying how nervous he is addressing a room of 6500 geeks about a huge comic book movie. He quickly corrected himself and shot off some quick SUPERMAN facts in order to prove his worth to the crowd again.
-When asked about the inspiration for the design of the film, Singer said primarily Alex Ross' SUPERMAN art, Max Fleischer cartoons and the '78 Donner films as well as early Action comics. Said he used those as the "spring-board."
-When confronted about changing the look of the SUPERMAN costume, he said that every visual incarnation of the character has looked different, from George Reeves to Christopher Reeve. He felt the silk-screened symbol on the chest was dated, so he opted for the raised S. He also built the suit around Brandon Routh, so it's specific to him.
-One person asked about LOGAN'S RUN and how different from the original film or the original novel it was going to be. Singer said it'll be a mix of the original film, book and his own ideas. He also said an idea was floated about the palm crystals being under the skin. Singer's response wasn't positive. "Dude... they're the palm crystals. They stay above the skin. This is Logan's Run!"
-SUPERMAN RETURNS will be over 2 hours long.
-The look of the film (thanks to this new Genesis HD camera) will look like REBECCA in color or a 1940's love story.
-SUPERMAN 2 acts as a sort of very vague history, but Donner's SUPERMAN is the main history, slightly referenced in the film (we saw one of those references in the footage shown, but I'll get to that in a minute.
-Jor-El will be in the movie briefly. And, yes. It is Brando, but not a big CGI Brando man walking around, although there was some CG altering to his face... Singer said we'd see why.
-Regarding Lex Luthor: Will be less comedic than Gene Hackman's Luthor, but there's still humor with him and the character. And yes, Kevin Spacey shaved his head bald for the role!
-John Ottman's the composer for the film, but they will incorporate John William's SUPERMAN theme regularly.
-A fan brought up Kate Bosworth being so young for a seasoned reporter. Singer insisted that she plays it with maturity, but he does understand that he's having to ask the audience to suspend their disbelief a little in order to have a young cast that can potentially continue on for many more films before they outgrow their roles.
Singer showed a few minutes of the film and I have to tell you... 95% of the reservation I had about Routh in the role of SUPERMAN is gone now and most of that has to do with his voice. He still looks like a supermodel in some scenes, but his voice is definitely not a 20-something model's little voice. It's a very close approximation of Christopher Reeves' voice and speech pattern (at least as Clark Kent) without being a direct mimic. There's an averageness, a deepness that I wasn't expecting from the look of Routh.
Specific scenes set up were landscape shots of the Kent farmhouse and Superman's return. You see Ma and Pa Kent react to the unseen meteor crashing back at the farm and Ma Kent at the crash site, inspecting it. This scene was played almost like a horror movie with the audience seeing a naked arm reaching out to her turned back and toucher her elbow. She jumps.
We see bits in the farm, like Clark waking up in his room. I could have sworn that an older picture of Ma and Pa Kent (one of them much younger) had Glenn Ford as Pa Kent...
There's some dialogue about "What did you find?" With Clark responding how he was the last, that it was barren. I'm assuming he's searching for the spot where Krypton once was.
Over this whole bit there is Marlon Brando's monologue from SUPERMAN with Williams' score soft in the background.
It is established that both Superman and Clark Kent have been absent from Metropolis, with Superman getting a sort of cold reception upon his return and a line of dialogue from Jimmy Olson about his buddy Clark having been gone for a few years.
There is some drama with Lois Lane introducing Clark to her hubby (Cyclops) and "munchkin" (kid), all of which has happened since SUPERMAN left. Lois has an argument with Perry White about why negative Superman (Superman Returns? Did we really need him in the first place? type stuff) articles are being nominated for awards when it's clearly not the right thing. Later on we get Frank Langella's Perry White again, this time with him saying to Lois, "Three things sell papers: Tragedy, sex and Superman!"
Routh's Clark looks great, just like it did when all those onset bits snuck out. It's his Superman that still has that 5% of me worried. There's one shot of him in the Superman suit where he's standing in the back of a room or something... and he does a total runway model turn and a quasi-ZOOLANDER face as he turns to leave.
That's about the worst of it for me, which is good. There were a few things that really, really blew me away. One, it was just super fucking cool to see Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, bald as a baby as he overlooks some machinery (not exactly sure what it was, but it was massive) and, with a slight look of awe on his face, holds a crystal up to his face, the light reflecting off of it onto his face.
Spacey looked killer. He's gonna make a great Luthor.
The climax of the footage is what impressed me the most... It was a shot (could have almost been a still piece of art and it may well have been, but it moved in the next cut) of Superman hovering in space, his cape flayed behind him, not flapping. He's got a great Superman pose going... elbows pulled next to his ribcage, fists clenched and facing up, one leg straight, toe pointing and the other raised, bent at the knee. I've seen some artwork of this pose... Supes in space... Pretty sure it was Alex Ross... nevertheless, this was gorgeous.
He's overlooking Earth and suddenly points himself down and in a flash zooms back down into the atmosphere, a sonic boom trailing him.
It'd be a big load off of a lot of fans if they released this footage. The S on the chest looks bigger than in the promo pics... still not too hot on the burgundy red of the suit, but if the performance is hit squarely on the head then I can overlook that.
Hopefully we'll see it premiere, much like Singer's X2 Comic-Con trailer from a couple years back, online in glorious, official, quicktime. Until then, I hope you've gotten a taste of what we all saw through this report. If you want a glimpse at Routh as Clark and Supes (at least in early readings) you can click here to go to Bluetights.net for the newest production diary!
I've got one or two more I have to do before crashing (and I'm crashing hard, by the way). But before I go, I wanted to post a funny picture. Feel free to compete with talkbackers below in a caption contest. You win nothing but the esteem of your kinsmen, but I figured this might make for some fun. Enjoy!