Comics artist Bryan Hitch (The Ultimates, the April releasing America’s Got Superpowers) recently spoke at a screening of my fave film, Superman: The Movie. Most of his speech won’t be new to fans of the classic movie, but the transcript is a good read.
It was to be a fee of a million dollars for two movies and star Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman and Nick Nolte.
The first problem Donner tackled was the script, bringing in Tom Mankiewicz to do a complete rewrite. Though they both stated that nothing had been used from the Puzo-Newman script, Mankiewicz was denied a writing credit by the Writers Guild of America and so appears on the film only as “Creative Consultant.”
It was Mankiewicz who suggested the individual Kryptonian Crests on each of the council members to justify the “S” emblem on Superman. It was he who created the whole Judeo-Christian aspect of the Superman mythology, with Jor-El as God who, after casting out Lucifer/General Zod’s evil, sends his only son to earth; extending the metaphor further in the second movie as Superman gives up his power, dies, for Lois only to be resurrected three days later.
Donner was determined that though the film could and should be fun, it should also be serious. It should feel real. The production’s buzz word was verisimilitude; the appearance of truth or reality and with Mank’s new script and Production designer John Barry extraordinary sets, the film was in good hands.
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