Here is an interview with Jon Schnepp, director of Grimm Fairy Tales, about making the upcoming documentary called The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?
Here's another interview with Jon Schnepp...
Nerdist.com: Okay Jon, let’s get it straight from you. Why are you obsessed with a movie that for all intents and purposes should never have gotten as far as it did?
Jon Schnepp: Actually, I’m of the opinion that this movie should have been made. If this film was made, it would have changed the way a lot of films were done in the future (now our past), and opened up a lot more creativity in the realms of filmmaking and approaching the ideas of adaptation. Just imagine how different superhero films, and genre films in general, would have been. The ripple effect is staggering! This film is a perfect example of many other projects that were stopped after a considerable amount of work had been done, and this project especially holds a certain appeal to me, because it would have been going in a different and unique direction with a character that had been around for at that time almost 60 years. All the artwork slowly released over the last fifteen years, especially after the release of “Superman Returns,” really made me want to know more about this unmade project.
Nerdist.com: You’ve traditionally worked in animation and illustration; what makes you want to pursue a documentary?
Jon Schnepp: I’ve cut together several BTS docs in the past as well as having edited features and many TV series, and have found that, to me, making a documentary is in many ways very similar to making a narrative. It’s all about story, and successfully telling it, be it from a script with actors, props and sets, or in animated form, segmented into storyboards and radio plays and final composites. The documentary also allows interesting and unique story breakdowns, flashbacks, flash forwards, voiceover, and combinations of stills, video, film, and animation. In other words, it’s going to be very exciting and creatively rewarding to me to make this documentary now.
Nerdist.com: What phase of pre-production are you in?
Jon Schnepp: I’m still researching and setting up interviews, and am waiting on hearing back from several folks. I have the spine of the documentary completely laid out, with its beginning, middle, and end, plus lots of fun surprises. I’m approaching this story much like a private investigator, with many of the stories to be told out of sequence, intercut with both the future and the past, and to eventually add up to the “why this did not happen” at the end. Think about this documentary as a slice of various perspectives creating a whole, told with interviews and animation and recreations.
Nerdist.com: Has anyone involved in Superman Lives contacted you to get involved with the documentary, and who are you pursuing or hoping will sit down with you?
Jon Schnepp: Actually, lots of people involved in the making of Superman Lives contacted me through the Kickstarter, as well as fans who have been collecting images over the years just like me. I have gotten okays for interviews from several of the main people involved in this project, but I’m still waiting to hear back from Nicolas Cage and Tim Burton.
Nerdist.com: Have you heard from Warners or DC?
Jon Schnepp: Not yet, but I will be talking with them eventually. I am not making a negative or “slam” documentary; In fact, quite to the contrary, I’m going to be showing the creative process, from inside the studio perspective, and how projects become a reality or how they eventually transform into something else. WB and DC should be quite happy with what I’ve got planned, and I hope they will give me full access to the materials I’ll need to make this doc stand out.
Nerdist.com: It would seem like they were far enough along in pre-production that some behind the scenes stuff may have been shot for the film; Any chance of you getting access to that gold mine?
Jon Schnepp: I’m hearing lots of things, from sets to costumes, from many different people, so I’ll be putting on my fedora and getting all “archaeological” very soon.
Here's a new interview with Tim Burton...
Huffington Post: Speaking of the fickle nature of moviemaking, someone has started a Kickstarter campaign for a documentary about Superman Lives
. Have you head about that?
Tim Burton: Somebody told me about that. It might be more interesting than the movie, that's for sure.
They (Warners) put a lot of money into Superman Lives
. What's interesting, too, is if we had been able to make the movie the way we wanted to back then. It was like Batman
all those years ago; there was always a bit of controversy. Like, "Oh, it's too dark," it's like, well, now it looks like a light-hearted romp. We were trying to explore the more human side of the character and get into that whole thing. You know, whatever. There's all sorts of forces at work: Where the studio's at, the chemistry of the people and the producers. I think that's why it's hard to understand why certain things go down.