Tagged: zack snyder

New trailer for “Man of Steel”

Here’s the latest trailer for “Man of Steel.” The Superman reboot, due next summer, is directed by Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen” and “Sucker Punch”) and produced by Christopher Nolan (duh). The Nolan involvement, in particular, gives us hope that the latest attempt at forcing a Superman movie will finally prove worthwhile.

Remember, the last decent Superman film (“Superman II”) came out in 1980. Since that movie came out, we have seen two crappy sequels, one so-so sequel/reboot (“Superman Returns”), 14 seasons of live-action television (“Lois and Clark” and “Smallville”) and at least two aborted cinematic nightmares (the Kevin Smith/Tim Burton version and the J.J. Abrams version, both of which would have been SO BAD in SO MANY WAYS, if the scripts are to be believed) (and that doesn’t even account for all of the other Superman film ideas/projects that went nowhere, by the way). That is a long, long, long time without what can be accurately described as a high-quality caliber of live-action Superman.

Superman is an unusually hard nut to crack, at least in terms of superheroes. The character is inherently disinteresting, or at least less interesting than Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine and the other top-tier comic book heroes. The first “Superman” movie, released in 1978, worked at the time (and still operates as the inspiration for every single superhero origin movie released since), but we have entered an era where that doesn’t cut it. Making a decent comic book movie (see: “The Amazing Spider-Man”) doesn’t rev anyone’s engines or rake in jaw-dropping numbers; you need to deliver something different, something special (“The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man,” “The Avengers”).

Superman, the godlike guy with so many powers it becomes dull and the vanilla main story, is not that intriguing of a central character. But as “Iron Man” proved, the comic book character doesn’t need to be tremendous for the movie to work. All it takes is an interesting take. Nolan seems to have brought his trademark seriousness and realism to this project, and he and Snyder have assembled a stellar cast around Henry Cavill (Amy Adams plays Lois Lane, Michael Shannon is the bad guy, Russell Crowe is his birth father and Kevin Costner and Diane Lane play his adopted human parents). I’m still not convinced Superman is an essential big-screen character, but this trailer shows a lot of potential. It looks like it could finally make the strained efforts at rebooting the franchise worthwhile.

Hey, speaking of unnecessary sequels and rushed productions…

Wasn’t I just saying something about unnecessary sequels and rushed productions? This story has a little bit of both.

The gist: Vulture reports that Warner Bros. has offered Guy Ritchie the job directing “Xerxes,” the sequel to “300.”

The intrigue: Zack Snyder directed “300,” and has been developing “Xerxes” with Frank Miller. Why is Warner Bros. offering his job to someone else?

The twist: There are a few reasons. For one thing, Warner Bros. needs Snyder to focus on the “Superman” reboot. They have to get the film into production soon, or they lose the rights to the estates of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. And Vulture cites insiders who say the new “Superman” script “suffers from major third-act problems.”

Also, Warner Bros. is reportedly unhappy with “Sucker Punch,” Snyder’s forthcoming fever dream of a movie, which would make him 0-for-3 his last three times at bat (“Watchmen” and that godforsaken talking owl movie both made some money, but not nearly enough).

Why we care: Well, there’s a hope that the “Superman” reboot doesn’t suck. After all, Christopher Nolan worked with David Goyer on the script. (This is where I feel obliged to remind you that, while I am a big Christopher Nolan fan and have liked pretty much everything he’s done, his movies have tended to start strong and encounter some third act troubles; most notably “Batman Begins,” the last time he took a David Goyer idea and worked with him to expand it.)

But again, this is the problem with rushed movies. Warner Bros. doesn’t have a great concept and great director for a new “Superman.” They have a narrow window of time to launch this new thing or they financially suffer. The movie gets a release date, it gets a production schedule and, hopefully, everything else can be worked out along the way. This is troubling.

Also, why in the world is there going to be a “300” sequel? Let’s worry about that one later, I guess.

(Also, Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” sequel has a subtitle: “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.” So I’m guessing that movie’s third act twist is that Moriarty got performance enhancers from BALCO or something.)

New “Superman” might not feature Lois Lane

There were rumors earlier this week that several actors (including Rachel McAdams and Jessica Biel) had been invited to read for the part of Lois Lane in the new “Superman” movie. Now Variety reports (via DH) that Lois Lane isn’t actually the female lead in the movie. They also reported three actors being considered for the as-yet-unnamed character: Diane Kruger (“Inglourious Basterds,” the “National Treasure” movies), Rosamund Pike (“An Education”) and Alice Eve (“She’s Out of My League”). The three were born in Europe (Kruger is German, Pike and Eve are British), so expect more pearl-clutching and trendspotting any day now.

Kruger has the highest profile of the three due to the “National Treasure” films, appearing in a Best Picture nominee and her L’Oreal campaign. But Pike is the most interesting contender. After appearing in 2002’s dreadful “Die Another Day” as a Bond girl, she has done a lot of good work and gotten a lot of notice for supporting turns in smaller movies (2005’s “Pride and Prejudice,” “An Education,” “Made in Dagenham,” “Barney’s Version”). I know the least about Eve, but she was up for “X-Men: First Class” and “Captain America,” so clearly the studios like her.

So here’s what we know: The female lead won’t be Lois Lane. That doesn’t mean Lois Lane won’t appear in the movie, but they could be casting Lana Lang (Superman’s childhood sweetheart) or another character entirely. And Variety also reports that director Zack Snyder is looking to cast his villain, but goes into no further detail about the character.

Henry Cavill is Superman

Ladies and gents, we have a Superman. Henry Cavill will play the Man of Steel in the upcoming (and as-yet-untitled) “Superman” film directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan.

My first and only memory of Cavill was his role in 2002’s “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Though just 18, he was decent as the son of Dantès and Mercedes. The British actor is largely known these days for “The Tudors” or to any “Stardust” fanatics out there. Really, Cavill’s biggest claim to fame until this point was a succession of near-misses: The guy was up for the last “Superman” reboot before Bryan Singer came on board and made “Superman Returns,” he was considered for “Casino Royale” before Daniel Craig was cast and he one of the guys Christian Bale beat to get “Batman Begins.” In other words, he’s always been the guy who almost was.

Who did Cavill beat to get the role? Heat Vision says his closest competition was Matthew Goode, who costarred in Snyder’s “Watchmen.” Goode even reportedly backed out of consideration for the title role in “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” to stay open for this movie. The other actors considered largely fit what we’ve heard before: Matthew Bomer (also an also-ran who was nearly Superman the last time around), Armie Hammer (the Winklevii in “The Social Network”), Joe Manganiello (“True Blood”) and Colin O’Donaghue (who just costarred in “The Rite”).

An interesting aside to this news: Cavill is the first foreign-born actor to play Clark Kent. Actors born or raised in England now portray Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, the exalted trinity of American superheroes.

It’s hard to have a concrete take on this casting news one way or the other. Cavill has worked for years, but it’s very hard to look at an actor’s past performances and determine if they will be a great Spider-Man or Catwoman. Every Superman prior to this point has been largely unknown (whereas Bale and all of his predecessors in the cowl were established pre-“Batman”). Frankly speaking, the character is pretty damn boring. There’s a reason he’s called the Big Blue Boy Scout. Whereas Batman is all pent-up insanity, and Spider-Man is all neurotic, woe-is-me guilt, Superman is just a dull dullard who Does The Right Thing. I don’t know what is in the script or how much they try and give Clark Kent some layers, so perhaps Cavill winds up giving surprising depth to a new take on the character.

A word of caution about the movie, currently scheduled to come out in December 2012. Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. auditioned actors late last year, and Cavill met Snyder face-to-face for the first time earlier this month when the actor was invited back. The final casting decision was only made last week. There was a report last October when Snyder was hired that they picked him because they needed somebody who could quickly churn out the movie despite a rushed and iffy script. Remember, Warner Bros. has to get a new “Superman” in production this year as part of the lawsuit filed by the heirs to Superman creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel. All of that suggests that they are rushing this thing. That doesn’t mean Cavill will be bad, nor does it mean the movie will be a mess; it just means we should temper our expectations with the knowledge that this thing might not be finely-tuned when it flies into theaters.

The new “Superman” movie is in Zack Snyder’s hands now

The new “Superman” movie is all Zack Snyder’s now. Christopher Nolan, who with David Goyer pitched the new take on the Man of Steel to Warner Brothers, has handed the project off to him and is focusing on “The Dark Knight Rises” from here on out. This isn’t entirely unexpected, given that he has his own superhero movie to ramp up (the script is done and casting is underway for the next Batman movie).

But this is our first chance to see how Nolan The Producer operates w/r/t Nolan The Auteur. We never really knew if he was going to be the kind of producer who checked in on the project and still worked on it while making his own movies or what. His wife/producing partner, Emma Thomas, said he’s the kind of single-minded guy who can only do one movie at a time, so it’s all Batman for him (and Thomas, and writer David Goyer). Keep that in mind as more and more bits start to leak out about casting, plot details, costumes, et cetera for the new Superman flick.

Darren Aronofsky might direct “Wolverine 2,” and oh by the way some “Superman” reboot tidbits

Since he didn’t get the “Superman” job, Darren Aronofsky is now in line to direct “Wolverine 2,” reports Vulture. Yes, the fact that he could direct the first sequel to a prequel while a different prequel in the same franchise is filming is…less than inspiring, considering Aronofsky’s talent, that’s actually not the most interesting thing in that story. According to Vulture’s sources, the new “Superman” script is not that tremendous, and they mostly went with Zack Snyder because he would get it done in time (whereas Aronofsky would want to spend time massaging the material and getting it right, which is a trait you never want in a director of a movie).

The main reason for the time crunch, of course, is that Warner Bros. has to get the new movie filming by 2011 or they lose the rights to the “Superman” movie franchise.

Also! The “Superman” script reportedly deals with Clark Kent traveling around the world as a journalist, deciding if he wants to become Superman. That is in no way similar to “Batman Begins,” which featured an extended stretch where Bruce Wayne traveled the world, learning how to become Batman. If the “Superman” movie has Kent go to Bhutan and run into General Zod, only Zod is pretending to be somebody else, and Zod trains him and then turns out to be the villain, it might appear Chris Nolan and David Goyer are taking their “let’s reboot it like ‘Batman Begins'” mandate a little too seriously.

Anyway, Darren Aronofsky is a great director who is right now about to release a film heavy with Oscar buzz (“Black Swan”), but he might direct Hugh Jackman’s muttonchops next year. Now you know.

Zack Snyder to direct new “Superman”

Zack Snyder, the filmmaker behind “300” and “Watchmen,” is going to direct the new “Superman” movie.

Snyder has an interesting resume. He started off with commercials (natch) before moving to the big screen with 2004’s “Dawn of the Dead,” which was far better than it had any right to be. He hit it big with 2007’s “300,” an adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novel that earned more than $450 million worldwide.

The most intriguing connection between filmmaker and genre is Snyder’s 2009 adaptation of “Watchmen.” The Alan Moore graphic novel, considered one of (if not the) masterworks in all of comics, was a bleak deconstruction of the superhero genre. Snyder made a faithful — probably too faithful — adaptation, which was largely notable for being a dark superhero work coming so soon after the mega-success of “The Dark Knight.”

Now, in one of those funny things that happens in life, Snyder is moving from superhero deconstruction to the archetypal superhero. The new film will be produced and shepherded by Christopher Nolan and written by David Goyer (the pair, obviously, contributed to the change in Warner Brothers’s fortunes with their “Batman” diptych).

Here’s the thing: I’m not sure there’s any director who could have instantaneously revved up my interest in a new “Superman” movie. The character is, quite frankly, among the dullest around. But he’s not just a superhero. He’s a global icon, an archetype, a touchstone and an image that transcends genre.

But with Nolan involved, there’s an instant level of trust and interest. Snyder just adds to that. He’s made some eclectic films (he just released “Legend of the Guardians” and has pop fever dream “Sucker Punch” due next March), but he knows his way around arresting visuals and big screen gravitas. I know, I know, the immediate joke: Will everything be in super-duper-slo-mo? I have faith that Snyder will bring a fitting style to the screen, and I also have faith in Nolan with this pick. And Snyder has experience with big budgets, big effects and big fanboy expectations. Not many filmmakers could reasonably tackle this with such a high upside.

Snyder confirmed the news via Twitter. According to one report, the film will feature General Zod. Snyder says they’re targeting a holiday 2012 release. And now the rest of the pre-release circus begins — casting rumors (Jon Hamm?), storyline rumors, et cetera. [Deadline]