Zack Snyder recently sat down with us to explain why his Superman reboot will be a huge departure from his ultra-stylized movies like Watchmen and Sucker Punch, why he chose Kevin Costner and Diane Lane for Superman's parents, and more!
We interviewed Snyder during yesterday's Sucker Punch press junket. We'll have more on Sucker Punch later in the week, including additional interviews with the cast and crew, but first we wanted to share Snyder's thoughts on Superman.
Sucker Punch is PG-13, but it could very easily be R-rated, and it's very much in keeping with the violent, very stylized approach we've seen in your earlier films. How are you going to make that style work when it comes time to do Superman?
Well I feel like what we're trying to do is we're going to make him as relevant as we can, as culturally relevant as we can, and I don't know if that sort of big blue boy scout image... does he work today? That's the question, and I'm not going to answer that here, but you sort of start to think about that and if that makes sense to a modern Superman.
Are you trying to fit Superman into your aesthetic, or change your approach to fit the Superman mythos?
I feel like, I mean I've said to the studio that this will probably be the most realistic Superman movie ever made. It takes place in the real world much more than [my previous films]... I mean, I've just never had the subject matter that needed that, you know what I mean? Like everything I've done up to this point really has the benefit of existing in a stylized world. It's fun for me that the most realistic movie, the movie that I'd say I'm making in the most realistic way of any movie I've ever done is a movie called Superman! That's kinda fun!
So you're working from what Christopher Nolan has done with the Batman movies?
I wouldn't say, "Oh, that's what Chris did with Batman...", but I'm just saying that makes sense to me for the character. Because I'd say that the thing that makes him real, and the thing that makes Superman awesome, is if you feel like he's real, what makes him real is that he exists in a world that you can say, "Oh yeah, I've been to that grocery store, I've been to that."
Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as Superman's parents are the only two people who have been cast in beyond Henry Cavill as Superman. What was the thinking in going with relatively young actors for those parts?
Well, Costner's 57.
But it's a young 57...
Oh sure. My idea was that Superman's parents should be vibrant, like real people, not like some doddering ancient cliché.
Which is what we've sort of seen in the previous Superman movies...
Yeah, completely. I think the thing you realize when you look at Diane and Kevin, in our decision to cast them so far, you sort of get a sense of how tonally we're looking at the movie, and what you realize is that those guys are serious actors, and we're taking this shit fucking seriously in terms of the tone of having those guys. You're talking about having a situation where whatever the action is or whatever the drama of the movie is, our first priority is to make sure it's rendered in the most realistic way we can get at.
We were wondering if you've had a chance to check out the recent animated adaptation of Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman, which has been called the definitive Superman story.
I have not seen it, I'm happy to see it, I do want to see it, I just haven't had time. Yeah, absolutely. And by the way, I'm a fan of Grant, of All-Star Superman, I think it's cool, although I'd say... that's the big version of Superman, you know that's a stylized world. But awesome, and very sort of telling [about the character]. We're treating the concept of Superman as if there's been no Superman movies up till now, we're trying to take that tack — that this is the first Superman movie and no other ones exist. Not to take anything away from those movies, because they're great, but it's sort of the way you have to do it, otherwise you're really not starting over, you're really just a slave to whatever's happened in the past. But that doesn't mean that we don't respect the canon and we don't understand the canon, that we know what the requirements of Superman are without it also being the same old Superman.
Superman image by Alex Ross.