If you follow some of my work on here at IJM, you may notice a recurring passion of mine — Superman. So, you can appreciate it is with some trepidation that I attempt to bring out the points that I think should be dealt with when developing and producing the next Superman film. It appears, under the tutelage of Christopher Nolan, to still be in the writing phase at the moment. But we know with the various legalities going on in the background, DC and Warner Bros are setting it firmly in the forefront of their minds.
Straight off the bat, the film needs to be an origin movie. People are way too quick to dismiss this by saying that we know of Superman’s back story. The problem is, when they say “we,” they are talking about fellow comic book geeks and nerds. As powerful a force and movement as my fellow geeks may be, we are not the deciding factor when it comes to box office sales. The mainstream audience need a reason to invest in the character again. They can’t be sold on “go watch Superman: The Movie.” That was over 30 years ago. People always just seem to want to get to Superman in his red and blue, soaring over Metropolis and not worry about building up to that point. Yes, putting an origin into the movie may eat into valuable superhero-type shenanigans time, but it is a necessary foundation to build on if you want Superman to be a successful franchise.
Lex Luthor should be in Metropolis. Before Superman comes along, Luthor views it as his city. He should be the unscrupulous business man who, not unlike Superman, has two very different public and private personas. His role should be as the puppet master of the events in the movie but taking a step back as his latest “creation” Metallo, takes on the big blue boy scout during the final climactic battle through Metropolis. Yet ,still by the end of it, Luthor is still too savvy and smart to be tied to the events that, thankfully, the Man of Steel has averted. Thus allowing him to continue his sparring and mind games with Supes in future installments. I would love to see someone like Michael C. Hall take on the iconic bad guy. He seems able to exude the incredible intelligence and menace that is constantly simmering underneath that bald head.
We need to have all the other key players. Jimmy Olsen should be a genuine friend of Clark Kent’s not just an annoyance, but still the source of some comic relief in the Daily Planet scenes. For Jimmy, I would love to see what Michael Cera could do or the oft-mentioned Anton Yelchin.
Perry White would be holding court over everyone at The Planet. How he is portrayed though would need some fine tuning due to his character being close in style to Spider-Man’s J. Jonah Jameson. And after such a memorable turn by J.K Simmons in the recent Spider-Man trilogy as the cranky newspaper editor of The Daily Bugle, White would need a tweak to stand separate from his Marvel Comics counterpart.
For Perry, I’d use somebody who — due to scheduling problems with the newly-launched “House M.D.” — was unable to take the part in “Superman Returns.” I would love to see Hugh Laurie in the role.
Of course, the love of Superman’s life, Lois Lane should be there. Lois should still have that spunky attitude that makes Clark/Superman smile in equal parts love and resignation that she’ll never change. I also like the idea of her being an Army brat. Have her mention that her father is the famous/infamous General Sam Lane. It explains why she acts like she does and also opens up possibilities in future installments for a family reunion.
Now, Lois can be a tricky one to cast. We want someone with attitude but not to the point of freezing out the audience and making us struggle to recognise what our hero sees in her. I would go for either Rachel McAdams, Kate Beckinsale or Zooey Deschanel. If I was pushed I would choose Deschanel.
To be continued next week with Krypton, Smallville, The Kents and Superman …
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