Today, Yahoo! Movies helped to promote this coming Tuesday’s release of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel by holding a fan Q&A event hosted by filmmaker comic geek extraordinaire Kevin Smith (which you can watch a repeat of HERE). Many fans had their eyes on the event in the hopes that it might potentially divulge even some limited details for Man of Steel‘s 2015 sequel, right now only known as Batman vs. Superman.
The event began with an extremely enthusiastic opening by “guy thrown off of a plane, so not flying” Kevin Smith, who flew in from North Carolina after shooting the first week of his new film Tusk, and introduced the players of the event: director Zack Snyder (whom Smith really seems to admire), the lovely Amy Adams, and the Man of Steel himself, Henry Cavill.
Right away, they started rolling questions in, with the first being for Zack Snyder, asking where he gets his inspiration to make a film like Man of Steel. Snyder said that he gets inspired by drawing a lot, but also found a great deal of inspiration in the iconography of Superman. Snyder identifies himself as a fan of the character, but also said that he can’t “direct by committee” and has to feel his interpretation of the character and let it fall into his place once he learned the established mythology.
Adams said that she had a great deal to draw from for Lois because that’s a character she grew up with. She noted that the true challenge was in not getting overwhelmed by the wealth of material related to the characters, and “live in” the story being told in this particular work. Cavill said he wanted to take as much inspiration from the comics as he could, but also wanted to live in the moment of this story as Adams did. He also said his inspiration was drawn “by the love” for Superman worldwide.
The next question was directed toward Cavill, who asked about learning any martial arts for the fighting scenes in Man of Steel. He said that for his previous movie, he learned a base of many martial arts, who then was told by Man of Steel’s stunt coordinator to forget everything he knew. He said that Superman would likely not have learned a martial art, which made it easier for him.
The next question for Snyder revolved around what the Kryptonian Codex was, and he explained that the skull was the first Kryptonian they could identify in their evolution. That raw material was held in the skull, which would be extracted into the genesis chamber creating the different classes of Kryptonian citizen. He also reasoned that there might be other bones from the same skeleton in other Kryptonian genesis chambers. Smith commented on how that was an extremely specific answer from the director, to which Snyder said he “loves” making the surrounding mythology of a film “bulletproof.” Snyder then made a curious mention of Lex Luthor, saying that Luthor “loves to call [Superman] an alien.” Hmm…
Adams named her favorite scene for the film after Superman defeats Zod, and how she arrives to comfort him, before Snyder introduced a short video package talking with General Zod himself, Michael Shannon. Shannon was asked what his biggest inspiration for Zod was, and he said that more than any other character he’s played, he had to really rely on his imagination, since there’s no one else in existence like Zod. Shannon said that he read about Ulysses S. Grant to get a greater idea of the “General” title, and the responsibility that comes with it. He also cited some of Terrence Stamp’s performance from Superman II.
Shannon’s next question asked whether or not he felt Zod had just reasoning for everything he did, to which Shannon replied that it was basically all perspective. He said that the only thing he did that was “undeniably villainous” was murdering Jor-El, where he let his passion take completely over. Snyder revealed that Shannon’s role in Revolutionary Road was one of the deciding factors in his decision to cast the actor as Zod.
Adams also made mention of her one-off role in the first season of Smallville, and that any time the role of Lois came up in an audition, she would audition for it, then gushing for a bit about how much she admires the characters of Superman and Lois.
Cavill told an interesting story about meeting Russell Crowe while he was in boarding school, and he went to say hello. Crowe gave him some acting advice, and received a card from him encouraging him to start his acting career. Then, a decade or so later, Crowe remembered Cavill from that experience, and they were able to talk as friends.
The event then went back to the conversation between Snyder and Shannon, and received a question about Superman killing Zod, since “Superman never kills Zod.” Shannon had a relatively cavalier attitude about it, saying that he felt it was the natural progression of this particular story. Snyder then called the solution Superman explored in that scene was representative of a comic book Superman, that he feels is more “practical” then the Superman depicted in the Christopher Reeve films. Snyder then said that you “may” see the repercussions of that in the next film.
Snyder mentions that he talked to Hans Zimmer about scoring the film before they’d even shot a single frame, and the conversations they had in bringing the music to life. Snyder also mentions that if Zimmer returns to score the sequel, he would have to come up with a new musical theme for Batman, leaving behind his work on Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of films.
Smith then asked about Metropolis, and how many people actually died in the final fight. Snyder said something around 5,000 people was practical, and that this was a big part of the fight. “We see all these superhero movies,” and in The Avengers, nobody even mentions the amount of people dying. “It’s not just fun to crash around in the city, there’s a human price.” Smith then added that because this is an origin story, Superman has no experience in taking a fight elsewhere, especially when he’s pretty much outgunned by Zod in this confrontation.
A question for Cavill asked what he’d hoped to convey with the public with the depiction of bullying in the film, and Cavill said that the major part of it was covered by young Clark: “even if someone tries to make you feel diminished, don’t let your ego take over,” since it will become a vicious cycle. He then had to stand up to a bully, which showed both the paths of taking the high road, and standing up to the bully taking it to its natural conclusion.
Snyder was asked about the difficulty in designing the suit, and said that he was very involved with it. Snyder said he wanted to make the trunks work, but that he wanted to ultimately get away from the legacy that the trunks were a product of in the Victorian era. He also said he wanted the suit to feel like an extension of his body. The cape was “very often not real” in the film, where most of the time it was inserted via digital effects. Smith described this film as “cape pornography,” and that if you love capes, it doesn’t get any better than Superman’s first emergence from the Fortress in Man of Steel.
Smith then noted that all of the panel are “headed back to battle” soon with the film’s sequel, and Snyder talked about creating an image for DC’s We Can Be Heroes campaign focused on the new film, and asked some artists to create paintings for the spirit of that kind of conflict, introducing some paintings by great artists to benefit the campaign. Snyder then said that the fun of the idea of the new film is to play with the perhaps-antagonistic relationship between the two fabled heroes, seeing how they “emotionally fit together.”
With that, Smith bequeathed the hopes and dreams of comic book fans to Zack Snyder. Overall the event was fun, with only a couple of curious mentions relating to the new film, but it didn’t tell us a whole lot that many didn’t already know. Though, the We Can Be Heroes paintings look pretty interesting.
In other Man of Steel sequel related news, The Wrap is reporting that Girls star Adam Driver is up for the role of Dick Grayson/Nightwing in the upcoming film. Latino Review’s El Mayimbe first reported the rumor that Nightwing would be appearing in the film, and that the relationship between Grayson and Bruce Wayne would be one of separation and estrangement. While in the comics Grayson graduated to the role of Nightwing in an amicable fashion, the kind of relationship as is posited in these rumors is very similar to the way it was portrayed in The New Batman Adventures episode “Old Wounds,” where Dick becomes disillusioned with the methods and practices of his mentor, and leaves his role as Robin in protest.
Driver is the first, and so far only name floated for the rumored role, which would represent Dick Grayson’s cinematic return since 1997’s infamous Batman and Robin. Rumors of Nightwing appearing in a film go back to at least a couple of years before the release of The Dark Knight Rises, when rumors arose of a Titans related film with Nightwing in the lead.
Driver is definitely an interesting choice, and his age in relation to Affleck’s makes the timeline for a Batman/Robin partnership in Gotham seem pretty plausible. Dick Grayson is one of my absolute favorite comics characters, and is certainly a pillar of the DC Universe as fans have known it for decades. With the potential for a cinematic DC Universe coming to light, the inclusion of Grayson gives potential for him to fulfill the same role on film that he does in the comics. Nightwing has friends in all corners of the DCU, and with all the rumors coming about from where WB might exploit the DC library through TV properties and a potential Justice League film, Nightwing is recognizable enough to be a great tool for cross-pollination between properties.
Sebastian Stan, who plays Bucky Barnes/the Winter Soldier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, originally signed a deal for 6 appearances. The upcoming film in April will only be Stan’s second Marvel appearance, and how the Soldier appears in the rest of the Marvel U remains to be seen. The connective tissue, though, should prove very interesting, and may be one of the places that DC can learn from their competition.
What do you think about the Man of Steel Q&A as well as the Nightwing rumors?
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