Zack Snyder’s kryptonite is pressure. As a big-time Superman fan, the visionary director of “300” and “Watchmen” was determined not to let himself down, or the deep-pocketed accounts at Warner Bros, let alone a legion of loyal ‘Superman’ fans, by crafting a weak ‘Superman’ movie. Fortunately, as Mandy Griffiths discovers, ‘The Man of Steel’ is rock-solid.
Is it exciting for you to see it all come together?
it is, it is… I’m not gonna lie (Laughs). You design these sequences, you talk to the guys, you work it out and then you shoot it and it just comes together. Actually…the first time you see it you really feel it, you know have something, but I guess then it becomes abstract because you’ve watched it a thousand times. It’s when you show it to someone who cries or laughs when you show them the scene that you know you have something. That’s when it’s like ‘Oh my god, this is awesome!’
Speaking of, how did you settle upon Henry Cavill for Superman?
Henry was pretty much a favourite right out of the box.
My casting director told me about him – he’d been kicking around Hollywood a little bit, but I wasn’t that familiar with him -and said I had to see him. He sent over an audition of himself on tape, and he was just awesome. Saw some of him on Tudors, too. So I said ‘Okay, we have to bring this guy over’ – he was in England – and once we did we got him in the Christopher Reeve (Superman) suit and knew straight away that ‘This guy is Superman’.
Did you wrestle much over the tone of the movie?
It was pretty much intuitive. From day one I decided I was going to ground it, make it more realistic and set it in our world. Superman is, let’s admit it, kinda outrageous in his abilities and we thought it’d be interesting to get into the guy’s head somehow – see how he thinks and feels; that’s hard to do, especially in a very stylised movie like this, so that’s why we decided to shoot the movie using hand-held cameras. And it sort of evolved from there.
You’ve done some amazing stuff with Krypton – which we’ve never seen, to any great extent, on film before.
I was super into Krypton. It was the first thing I drew – I drew all the storyboards myself – and I had such fun with all that; I knew it would look cool on film. I even had a lot more of it – more storyboards of Krypton, and more of it in my script, but I didn’t want people asking ‘Is this whole thing gonna look like Krypton? [Laughs]
I remember when I was talking to my kids about Krypton. They had no idea Superman was from another planet; they hadn’t even heard of Krypton. That’s when I knew we really had to make this movie, because kids really have no idea about the story.
I saw some references to TVs ”Smallville”in the movie…
Ya know, [TVs Smallville is] in the Superman mythology now. I was interested in that kind of homage to the mythology. I feel it’s not so much about paying more homage to the series, it’s just in the vernacular of Superman now.
Did you feel pressure trying to please all the fans?
Yeah, I guess so – and I’m a fan, so I put the pressure on myself. I knew it could be really cool, but I also knew we had to get it right. I knew there was massive potential for this to be a disaster, but also massive potential for this to be super great.
I hear the sequel has been greenlit, and you’ve already got your villain and setting laid out?
I’m going to be a hundred percent honest with you, I haven’t yet gotten to speak to the studio about all these awesome details (because I’ve been overseas on the junket). So my hope is, when I get home I can sit down with everyone and it’ll be like ‘Okay, so what are we going to do?.. we need to do something…
What are the questions you’re going to have answer next time out?
‘We almost destroyed the world last time, now what!?’
Does ”Man of Steel” lead to ”Justice League”? We all caught the nod to Batman in it…
I really wanted to expand the DC Universe and I really wanted to make sure, in Superman’s world, that all that is a possibility.
Give it time, hey?
Yeah, and people have been like ‘there’s no kryptonite in the movie’ and ‘there’s no Lex Luthor in the movie’, and by no means am I saying those things don’t exist, I’m just saying he didn’t run into them here [this time].
“Man of Steel” is now showing