What is Caffeinated Clint’s Greats?
I’ve had plenty of emails from you guys asking such questions as “Who were your favourite actors growing up?”, “Do you have a favourite movie?”, “You’re producing films now, any particular film that inspired you to take that road?” and “Hey man, Got Kristen Stewart’s phone number?”, and it gave my an idea – why not profile some of my favourite films? (It saves me from flaming a pimply, unintelligent publicist or another fresh-from-junior-high exec over some harebrained remake he’s just greenlit for a couple of weeks, after all) and in doing so, why not make contact with some of the people from these films?
Title : Superman
Year : 1978
Director : Richard Donner
Starring : Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure
“Superman II” was the first of the “Superman” films that I saw theatrically (I was a little too young to catch the original ”Superman” at cinemas – though, if memory serves me right, I may have caught it years later in a double feature… not sure) – and boy was it a magical bloody experience. Dick Lester’s film may have been the lesser of the first two “Superman” movies, but Christopher Reeves’ Kryptonian Avenger, Margot Kidder’s husky hottie Lois Lane, and Marc McClure’s jester-esque Jimmy more than made up for any behind-the-scenes Frankensteinien efforts that went on in order for the film to make its release date. But still, “Superman” (1978) was a much more epic movie than Lester’s poorly-received sequel – it was, quite simply, the best superhero film ever made at that point, not to mention one of the best films of it’s year. And no surprise either – it was written by Mario Puzo (“The Godfather”).
Marc McClure. Do I really need to say anymore? Do I need to take a picture of my 1978 ”Superman : The Movie” calendar with the man’s face hogging the vast majority of the June page? What if I directed you to a link baring the trailer for ”Back to the Future”? Lent you my copy of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”? Shit, of course you know who Marc McClure is, he’s, well… he’s Jimmy Olsen!
… and I don’t think Marc McClure would mind at all that most of us don’t know him by name but by a fictional character from a long-running DC comics series. But that, I say, is a testament to Marc McClure. It’s a testament to the man’s performance in Richard Donner’s “Superman” and it’s three sequels (Marc also reprised the role for the ill-fated ”Supergirl”) that he’s gone down in history as ‘Jimmy Olsen’. You think Jimmy Olsen, you don’t think Shawn Ashmore, you don’t think Michael Landes, you don’t think Justin Whalin, you don’t think Sam Huntington (and, by the way, all those guys were great – but they just weren’t McClure), heck, many of you reading this page would never have even seen Jack Larson in the role… you think Marc McClure. Am I right? I mean, he really embodied the character. He was, for all intents and purposes, the dimish cub reporter who hung around big guy Clark Kent like a bad smell.Maybe he was a bit taller than the character on the page. Maybe his hair was a bit curlier than Jimmy’s from the comics. And maybe he seemed a bit older than the comics’ incarnation. But, from “Superman” (1978) onwards – Marc McClure was Jimmy Olsen.
A couple of years later I spotted McClure again – this time as Dave McFly in ”Back to the Future”. ”Back to the Future” was being previewed a couple of weeks prior to it’s wide release- and in this case, previewing on the back of a ”Weird Science” session. Yep, how good was that double feature!? We all know what became of that little Michael J.Fox film, and we all know what became of Michael J.Fox, but what about McClure? I took this opportunity to look up one of my favourite actors of the ’80s.
Caffeinated Clint : Firstly, I have to make a confession : I’ve been watching a lot more ”Supergirl” lately than I’m proud to admit. But, believe me, if I had the choice it’d be ”Superman”… not ”Supergirl” playing repeatedly in the Morris lounge-room, but it’s the only film of the whole “Super” series that my two-year-old daughter wants to watch! What do I do!?
Marc McClure : They did such a good job with product placement in Supergirl that I’m afraid your daughter has no way out!
Caffeinated Clint : Yes, I noticed more than a few billboards in there.
Marc McClure : A&W Root Beer must have been so proud that there logo appeared on the brand new t shirt of the guy sexually harassing our girl in blue [Laughs].
Caffeinated Clint : That’s classic!
Marc McClure : I have a lot of good stories and memories from that film.
Caffeinated Clint : I bet you do… I’ve heard the production was quite troubled.
Marc McClure : Yep, but let’s see, advice…take [your daughter Charisma] away from her flat screen and threaten to take away anything that is important to her unless she sits through the entire Superman and Superman 2:The Donner Cut.
Caffeinated Clint : Oh, that might work! “Unless you watch Superman take on Zod, you can’t play with your Dora the Explorer doll tonight”.
Marc McClure : I’d say the theatrical version of Superman 2 as well, but It would only be cruel if you made her watch the Richard Lester version of the film.
Caffeinated Clint : Oh hell yes. As I stated above, You’ll forever be Jimmy Olsen to me. Does that bother you?
Marc McClure : Jimmy Olsen has never been a bother to me, he’s a good likable person that all people feel safe with…it is a pleasure to have him in my life.
Caffeinated Clint : When you weren’t shooting Superman movies did you try and do projects that would offer you the opportunity to play vastly dissimilar characters to Jimmy?
Marc McClure : This question refers to Chris Reeve I take it?
Caffeinated Clint : Yes, in some respects, and Reeve did a good job of trying to distance himself from the character in his off-time I felt – “Street Smart”, “The Remains of the Day”, “Switching Channels”…
Marc McClure : …He definitely went to the other side of the room as far as characters. Me? I have always stayed close to home.
Caffeinated Clint : Reeve seemed to have a real appreciation for the Superman series… and it’s legacy… do you?
Marc McClure : Superman, in any form, is an attraction to me and always will be.
Caffeinated Clint : Which is why you jumped at the chance to do a guest spot on “Smallville”?
Marc McClure : Smallville was cool. I’ve got a story there too, but I must let it go.
Caffeinated Clint : Okay, we’ll discuss that after the interview. Let’s move on to “Back to the Future”
Marc McClure : Oh, we just did some Back to the Future thangs for the 25-Anniversary DVD release!
Caffeinated Clint : Great. Must’ve been a hoot to reunite with the cast for the doco?
Marc McClure : I especially love Wendie Jo Sperber, my sister in the films…
Caffeinated Clint : Eric Stoltz was playing Marty McFly before he was fired and replaced by Michael J.Fox. Do you recall working with Eric at all?
Marc McClure : Yeah, Eric was hangin’ for a while and then my brothers changed, but it was all meant to be.
Caffeinated Clint : Even Eric admitted that, that he couldn’t imagine “Back to the Future” without Michael J.Fox. So tell me, what are you up to nowadays?
Marc McClure : The band is back together and we be a rockin! I also got involved in Short Films, which I think have a powerful future. I’m looking for a train outta L.A too.
Caffeinated Clint : I know the Amtrak does a daily service to San Diego? That’s a nice ride. Oh maybe just holler for your old friend Superman? Marc, thanks for the chat man.
Marc McClure : Respect Everyone and Love Thy Neighbor!