10 Things You Might Not Know About SUPERMAN RETURNS

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1. The last line in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is of our hero telling Lex Luthor, "See you in twenty." That was filmed in 1986, so it was fitting that the next Superman film came out exactly 20 years later in 2006.

But that wasn't the original plan, as it had taken almost 15 years, a variety of scripts and a host of very different directors linked to the project before Superman finally returned to the big screen. During this period Oliver Stone, Michael Bay, Martin Campbell, Robert Rodriquez, Tim Burton, McG, Brett Ratner and Wolfgang Peterson were all either attached to direct the ongoing Superman production or turned down the chance to helm it.

Then, in 2003, Bryan Singer conceived the story line of "Superman returning to Earth after a five-year absence" whilst he was filming of X-Men 2. Shortly after this Warner Bros. current Superman project collapsed (Superman: Flyby - you can read about that here) and Singer was invited to pitch his treatment to the company.

In July 2004 Singer signed on to direct the new Superman film, dropping out of his contract to direct the third X-Men movie. Fox were far from happy and responded by also cancelling his planned remake of Logan's Run.


2. Superman Returns director Bryan Singer believed only an unknown actor would be suitable for the lead part. Brandon Routh was chosen by casting agent Roger Mussendon from thousands of candidates interviewed at casting calls in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, thanks in part to his striking likeness to Christopher Reeve. Routh already had a little bit of history with the character of Superman, as he'd previously auditioned for the part of Clark Kent in the television series Smallville, but lost to Tom Welling, and he'd also met with director Joseph "McG" Nichol about playing the role in the cancelled Superman: Flyby.

3. When Singer became interested in possibly hiring Routh he arranged for them to meet in a coffee shop. When they met Routh stumbled and spilled hot coffee all over the table. Although he panicked, thinking he had just lost the part, Singer laughed and said it actually helped him get the role as the incident convinced Singer that Routh could pull off the clumsy, bumbling Clark Kent.

4. Claire Danes and Keri Russell were reportedly considered for the role of Lois Lane, and future Lois Amy Adams confirmed in an interview that she had also auditioned for the part. Adams had also auditioned for Lois back in 2003 when Brett Ratner was planning his cancelled Superman movie and appeared to be the front runner for the role in Superman Returns until Kevin Spacey recommended Singer to cast Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane because she co-starred with Spacey in Beyond the Sea as Sandra Dee.


5. Marlon Brando, who died in 2004, reprises his role of Jor-El from the 1978 Superman film through the use of previous footage combined with computer-generated imagery. This required negotiations with Brando's estate for permission to have his footage used. Singer explained,
"We had access to all of the Brando footage that was shot. There was unused footage that had Brando reciting poems, trailing off subject and swearing like a sailor."
6. Hugh Laurie was cast in the role of Perry White. However, after a delay in production the popularity of his TV show House M.D. caused schedule conflicts and Laurie pulled out. Frank Langella was then cast.


7. Singer originally planned for General Zod to appear in the film and offered the part to Jude Law. Law repeatedly turned the role down, and because Singer felt that because Law was the only actor he could envisage playing Zod that he had no choice but to completely cut the character from the script.


8. Milliskin, a type of cloth, was used as the material for Superman’s suit. Unfortunately this cloth restricts movement when new, and worse still it sags after being worn. As a result, Routh made his way through 80 suits, 100 capes, 30 boots and 90 belts during the course of the shoot.


9. In an interview with the Washington Post, Bryan Singer discussed a scene that was in an early draft of the screenplay but never filmed:
"At one point," the director recalls, "I had a scene in the script which I never shot, and I probably was never going to shoot, where Superman would be standing - after flying around rescuing people at night - would be standing at dawn at Ground Zero. Sort of standing there, almost as if to say, 'If I had been here, this might not be.'"
10. Despite doubling it's $200 million budget at the global box office, Superman Returns did not perform anywhere near as well as Warner Bros. had hoped it would. This meant the sequel, planned for 2009, was scrapped. Although no script was written Bryan Singer had a basic idea for the movie which would have been set a few years after the events of Superman Returns.
The 'New Krypton' that Lex created with Kryptonite and crystals stolen from the Fortress of Solitude has been steadily growing in space and is now about the size of our moon. 'New Krypton' comes to the attention of an unknown visitor from another planet, as a giant spaceship hurtles towards Earth Superman flies up to find out who is onboard. It turns out to be another Kryptonian.
After that details are sketchy but it's rumoured that we would've seen Brainiac on that spaceship. Of course instead of a sequel we got a complete reboot in the form of Zack Snyder's Man of Steel. Which is where we will pick up the Superman story tomorrow...

Previously
10 Things You Might Not Know About Superman: The Movie
10 Things You Might Not Know About Superman II
10 Things You Might Not Know About Superman III
10 Things You Might Not Know About Superman IV: The Quest For Peace
6 Unmade Superman Movies

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