10 Things You Might Not Know About SUPERGIRL (1984) - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad

10 Things You Might Not Know About SUPERGIRL (1984)

Such a pretty world. I can't wait until it's all mine.

1. When Alexander Salkind and his son Ilya negotiated the film right for Superman from DC Comics the also purchased the rights to the whole Super-family, including the character of Supergirl. After the critical and commercial disappointment of Superman III, the Salkinds opted to make a Supergirl movie to freshen the franchise.

The producers attempted, and failed, to get the services of Richard Lester, who had directed Superman III and had completed the second film after their dismissal of original director Richard Donner (as we explored here). Academy Award winning director Robert Wise was also offered and turned down the director's chair. Eventually, French filmmaker Jeannot Szwarc was chosen to helm the film after he had come to the attention of the producers via none other than Superman himself, Christopher Reeve. Reeve had worked with Szwarc on the 1980 film Somewhere in Time, and had unsuccessfully earlier championed him to take the director's seat on Superman III. If the Salkind's were looking to placate Reeve with this casting (after he had made public his feelings toward Superman III), in the hope of him appearing in the film, it didn't work...

2. Christopher Reeve was indeed slated to have a cameo as Superman, which was included in the original screenplay of Supergirl, but he bowed out early on. In the Making of Supergirl documentary Szwarc says his departure was by “mutual agreement” and explained how his involvement would've changed the film...
“There were two major sequences which involved Superman. One of them was when Supergirl arrived on Earth – he welcomes her - and they fly together. And then later he loses his powers. He has become an old man. He has lost his immortality and he has lost his powers. And she goes and saves him. And through saving him gets the key to destroying the evil witch.”
Not wanting to recast their Superman, the screenplay was adapted and Reeve's non-appearance is explained via a news broadcast stating that Superman has left Earth on a "peace-seeking mission" to a distant galaxy.

Szwarc regretted Reeves early departure, feeling that his involvement in this film would have given the feature higher credibility.
“It had an impact on everything. I personally think it would have been a much richer film if Superman would have made an appearance.”
Helen Slater in Amy & The Angel

3. Hundreds of actresses tested for the role of Kara Zor-El/Supergirl/Linda Lee, with a final group of eight chose by casting director Lynn Stalmaster. Among the group were both Demi Moore and Brooke Shields, who were both ultimately rejected by both Ilya and Szwarc, who wanted an unknown actress. In the end they signed the first candidate Stalmaster bought to audition for them.
"I brought Helen in first. I decided to go for the knockout in the first round, and it worked.”
19 year old Helen Slater had just one acting credit to her name at the time of her audition, playing Amy Watson in the 1982 ABC Afterschools Special Amy & The Angel. She was paid just $75,000 for her role as Supergirl, whereas Christopher Reeve had been paid $250,000 for his debut outing as the Man of Steel.

4. Just like Superman: The Movie, Supergirl would not see the protagonist receive marquee billing, that honour here went to Faye Dunaway, who played the power hungry witch Selena. Dunaway was not the first choice for Selena as the role was originally offered to both Jane Fonda and Goldie Hawn, who both turned down the part. Dolly Parton revealed she was offered a huge $7 million to play Selena, but she also turned it down claiming that she couldn't play a witch, no matter how much money was offered.

5. Although she'd unsuccessfully auditioned for the part of Supergirl, the producers cast Demi Moore as Lucy Lane, but after delays to filming she bowed out to make Blame It on Rio. Maureen Teefy was then signed instead.

6. In a bid to bring more star power to the production, John Travolta was approached to play Kara’s love interest Ethan. He declined and Canadian actor Hart Bochner was cast instead.

Dudley Moore was then offered $4 million to take on the role of Zaltar. Although he expressed interest in the role, and reached the negotiation stage, he ultimately turned it down, with Peter O'Toole receiving the huge payday instead. Moore did, however, suggest Peter Cook for the part of Nigel. As Cook did appear in the film, it now seems a shame that the pair never reunited on-screen for this.

7. Aside from a publicity photo of Christopher Reeve as Superman, appearing as a poster in Lucy and Linda's shared dorm room, Marc McClure became the only real link to the previous three films. Here he makes his fourth of five appearances as Jimmy Olson, and in doing so ultimately became the only actor to appear in all of the original run of Super-family 1970s/80s films.

8. Supergirl had a budget of $35 million, slightly less than Superman III but still a hefty sum for a 1984 production. However, an awful lot of it was spent on salaries, rewrites, and inconsequential sequences that were eventually cut from the film. On top of that, the opening credits cost $1 million to construct, meaning that for the majority of shooting some very low-tech approaches had to be considered.

Case in point, when Kara arrived on Earth she explodes upward out of water. But instead of using actress Helen Slater in the shot, or a stuntwoman to fill in, a photograph of Helen Slater printed on a cardboard cutout and attached to a wire was employed!

9. In a once-seen-never-unseen moment, the original US movie poster incorrectly shows the Statue of Liberty holding the torch in her left hand.

10. Released into US cinemas on November 2st 1984, after an earlier UK debut in July of that year, the Thanksgiving release was not kind to Supergirl and, sadly, it was not a hit. Commercially or critically. Earning just $14.3 million at the box office and leading Alexander and Ilya Salkind to sell the Superman film rights to The Cannon Group, Inc, who produced the equally poorly received Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (although that did actually make money).

Supergirl was nominated for two Razzie Awards, including Worst Actor for Peter O'Toole and Worst Actress for Faye Dunaway, but Helen Slater found herself nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actress.

If there's one silver lining to the box-office disappointment of Supergirl it's that, not only did it nix any idea for further sequels (this film was billed as "Her first great adventure" with at least two more installments planned) but it also meant the Salkinds weren't tempted to explore the possibility of bringing another member of the Super-family that they had acquired the rights to back in that original deal - Krypto: The Superdog!

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad