http://www.comics2film.com/FanFrame.php?f_id=19443 Superman Returns: Daily Planet Details Designing the new newsroom. by Steve Head var tcdacmd="sa=a;sz=3;ad"; May 11, 2006 - The first Superman movie "almost feels like three different films," says co-screenwriter Mike Dougherty. "You have your space opera at the beginning, then your rustic western prairie film, and then you go to Metropolis," home to the mammoth building, and the mythical newspaper of record: The Daily Planet. Co-screenwriter Dan Harris admires the first movie's presentation of The Daily Planet, noting its style was influenced by the era. "You can feel that that news room is a 1975 news room." For director Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, the filmmakers put their all into creating a new Daily Planet, with grandeur and detail that, says Harris, reflects "our time." Since Superman Returns takes place a couple years after Superman II - thankfully presupposing the third and fourth movies don't exist - production designer Guy Dyas says some design elements "had to stay the same. But, he says, "I had a lot of freedom on the Daily Planet." Beginning pre-production, Dyas spent two weeks in New York photographing architecture with Singer. "Dan and Mike were writing the script in a hotel room, and every now an then [Bryan] would say 'Let's go around and look at some buildings.' We'd just go around and pick out elements he really liked." [SIZE=-2]Warner Bros.[/SIZE] For the building, with its grand doors and foyer, Dyas admits the new design was influenced in part by architect Frank Lloyd Wright's Johnson Wax Building. "The idea here is that this building was created in the '20s" and since then "some modernization was done." For detail in the foyer and corridors, the production re-created numerous framed newspapers from the first movie, with headlines such as 'Lex Luthor Gets Life' ("with Kevin Spacey in the photograph with his bald head") and 'Look Ma, it Flies!' "We mixed them with real historical events, so it wasn't just all about Superman. There's real history, then the odd one about Superman. We really tried to tie it into the real world." A key set for the movie, of course, is the newsroom. Here, Dyas started from scratch, envisioning a it "the way I think it should have been designed the first time." His early concept sketches encapsulated the elements from prior development attempts. "All the drawings" and "all the inspiration for what the Daily Planet should be." One important task for Dyas's artists was to create scenic window backings, painted canvases that look real enough to convince the audience (and the actors) that the newsroom is on the 68th floor. "When you have a set like [the newsroom] you have to make this huge trans-light that goes all the way around, so, when you look through the windows you're not looking out at a green screen." Dyas opted to go with paintings because "I wanted to go a little bit old school and make [the actors] feel like they were really there." As some of you know, Superman Returns was filmed using high-definition video cameras, which capture the best possible image. That's great for cinematographers, but problematic for production designers. "I had a lot of sleepless nights worrying about how some of the old scenic techniques wouldn't work with this new digital camera," says Dyas. "They really pushed the idea of the detail." That being the case, the required high level of detail for the Daily Planet set will be a visual boon for fans. "If you look in the background of some of the frames you'll see all sorts of crazy details which allude to the DC world." You'll see, among many items, phone books from Gotham; a clock in Perry White's office that offers the time in Gotham; and an actual, intricately detailed, fold-out Metropolis street map. "We designed everything in the Daily Planet" right down to "Lois Lane's business cards." (Says Kate Bosworth, "I'll be sitting at Lois Lane's desk and she's got he little business cards that say 'Lois Lane' and I'll just be thinking 'Oh my God! This is amazing!'") With this attention to detail, Dyas says, "You have to be really careful when designing these kind of sets so that it doesn't look too contrived. This is really what the newspaper offices look like, just piled up documents. What I like about this is that hopefully it's attractive to look at, but it has a sense of practicality to it." How's this for practicality? Producer Chris Lee says the Daily Planet's newsroom set is ready for use if they need it for the next movie. "It's what we call 'fold and hold.' We took it all apart, and it's all boxed up nicely in containers. Hopefully, if we get to make any more movies, it will be available to us."