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Old 05-29-2006, 03:02 AM   #1
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Default Singer Toying With Possible Sequel Villains Already?

The New Big Blue
Bryan Singer envisioned a more human hero for �Superman Returns�


Photo by David James
He may be more vulnerable, but he's still pretty tough

ith more than 1,400 special effects shots and a final budget � according to its director � a bit over its green-lit figure of �exactly $184.5 million, but still well south of $200 million,� you might expect the hard sell from Bryan Singer on Superman Returns Warner�s reboot of its venerable superhero franchise. You might expect lots of wonkish talk about advances in CGI and eye-popping spectacle.

You would be wrong.

Describing the summer�s biggest action film as �certainly the most humorous and romantic� of the movies in his canon, Singer instead stresses its emotional relevance and familial rootedness. In fact, he even claims one of the reasons he took on Superman Returns was to help better get his head around the complex visual palette and landscapes of his long-in-the-works remake of Logan�s Run � surely the first time a film of this scope and cost has been described as having training wheels.

The biggest reason Singer had for doing the film, though � thus opting out of completing his X-Men trilogy � was his tremendous affinity for director Richard Donner�s 1978 original. Singer cites that, alongside Steven Spielberg�s Jaws, as one of the reasons he got into filmmaking in the first place.

�The time just felt right to re-experience this character, to address and celebrate people�s collective memory of him and how he�s evolved to now,� Singer says. �The adult Superman follows very much the journey that the younger Superman did, but the idea is that everything�s changed and is off a bit, that the dilemmas have become more modern. It becomes a movie about relationships and family � despite Lex Luthor and the villainy of it all.�

Aiding Singer�s intensely personalized vision is a decidedly neoclassical appearance, in terms of the movie�s cinematography and art design. �We were going for a soft, romantic look,� the director admits. �I call it Rebecca � (But in Color) � just a very soft image. And what�s great about the Genesis cameras we used is that they give you a lot of texture in the blacks and grays, and colors too, and we�re grading [the film stock] in a way that�s meant to further capture, in a sophisticated way, the romanticism of the 1930s.�

While he�s coy about certain specifics � in pleasant conversation he pauses and backtracks liberally, at one moment grinding to a halt for several seconds before confessing that he can�t continue a point of comparison without giving away a crucial revelation � it�s no secret that the film�s story grounds Superman�s plight in some very relatable, human stumbling blocks. Following a self-imposed absence of five years, Superman (newcomer Brandon Routh) returns to Earth to find a world that�s passed him by. While grappling with nemesis Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey, reuniting with his Usual Suspects director), he must also contend with the heartbreaking realization that the woman he loves, Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), has moved on with her life and even has a son.

How will hardcore comic-book fans react to disruptions in the traditional Superman storyline like Lois�s child and other updated tweaks?

�I like to think they�ll appreciate [the modern touches],� says Singer. �There are always some fans that will have a very strict interpretation of what a movie should be, and perhaps they�ll only find parts of it that they will respond to. There are very few true, insurmountable obstacles for Superman, and frankly, on a personal level, the child is a huge obstacle for him to reconcile.�

Though he�s not contractually obligated for a sequel, Singer feels invested enough in the character to want to return and says that a vacation will help recharge his creative batteries and provide valuable perspective and fresh ideas. �I think the film plays out really, really well, and offers a lot of places to go,� he says. �The Superman villains have never been as iconic and memorable as, say, the Batman villains, so it might be harder to make sense of them for a larger audience. But I would be anxious to explore the idea.�

Superman Returns opens June 30.


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