Archive for February, 2014

Greetings couch potatoes! Geez it seems like months have gone by since my last post. I deeply apologize for not meeting my own “weekly update” schedule. There were holidays and birthdays and all that. But mainly it’s because this is one of the big ones! This is one that I wanted to put a lot of thought into to make it as absolutely perfect as possible. This character holds a lot of importance to me so it had to be just right. And in light of recent casting announcements on that “other” movie I figured it was just the right time to put this one up. So without further stalling for time, I give you The Man of Steel:

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Superman has had a long, sordid history with film over the last 25 years (give or take). 1987 saw the end of the Christopher Reeve era of Superman films with the very ill received Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. Following that was a 19 year period of trying to revive the Man of Steel’s film presence (not counting the forays into TV with Lois & Clark and Smallville, of course). At one point it was all but settled that Tim Burton would be directing Superman Lives, an adaptation of the Death and Return of Superman storyline, with Nicholas Cage as Superman. Ultimately that film never happened and I’ll touch on some of my theories as to what happened to it in a later blog.

The most recent attempt to bring Superman back to the silver screen was the Zach Snyder directed/Christopher Nolan produced Man of Steel. The film was a commercial success and earned a fast tracked sequel in the form of the tentatively titled Batman Vs. Superman. Despite being such a success, however, the film did take a lot of liberties with the mythology and proved to be extremely controversial with longtime fans of the character. Although still being an enjoyable film despite all of it’s controversial points, it doesn’t seem like a fitting film for the character or a jumping off point for a new universal franchise to challenge Marvel and Disney’s Avengers series.

So continuing with my Casting Couch series – currently having Guillermo Del Toro’s Green Lantern: The Emerald Dawn and David Fincher’s Batman in the can – we’re moving on to what I, as a hardcore fan of the character, envision the perfect Superman film being. As with those two films, I’m still going to point out the three things that Man of Steel did wrong, in my opinion, that would be corrected this time around. 1.) Man of Steel was way too artsy. That isn’t to say it was a bad thing. It worked well for THAT movie. However, the sepia tones and a lot of choices made with the cinematography were very specific to that one, self contained film. If you want to have a movie that will interact with other movies then they all need to look the same. You can watch any movie from the Avengers line and know that they’re all apart of the same universe. 2.) Superman’s moral compass will be more dominant. Too much carelessness happened in MOS. And, not to get off on a tangent, I understand why they did it. He was just becoming Superman. He was learning. However, Superman isn’t a learn-on-the-job character. A major part of who he is and why is because of his upbringing. A proper Superman – even in his first outing as such – wouldn’t let so many people die or make so many mistakes. Because even though he hasn’t been a superhero that long he has been a good person, with a sense of right and wrong and what to do, for the last 30 years. 3.) The supporting cast is actually going to play into the story and their reason for being there will make sense. Man of Steel had a lot of characters that seemed like they were dropped in just because you can’t imagine a Superman film without them. But they didn’t do anything. Their involvement seemed forced and awkward. The main story seemed to be about how Lois Lane somehow found out who he was over the course of a 5 minute montage based on loose information with no paper trail to follow and everything else (and everyone else) was just kind of there.  The ideal Superman film would use the backup characters appropriately as part of the story.

One of the things that I did like about Man of Steel that I would carry over, though, was that Clark Kent’s young history was done in flashbacks. Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie had already done the whole “three act play” method and Smallville was entirely centered on the young, soon-to-be, Superman. So it wasn’t necessary to spend so much time on the awkward school years. I would do that again. Only showing flashbacks that seem necessary at the time. But I would even push it one forward. I wouldn’t start the movie on Krypton. General Zod has already been done twice, which means he wouldn’t need to have any involvement this time around. At least not till a third or possibly even fourth movie. So without needing to set you up with his backstory, the Krypton stuff becomes something that Ghost Dad Jor-El can detail in a brief montage at the Fortress of Solitude. I would start this movie with a young-ish Clark on his Superman: Birthright style world travels, saving people where he needs to, while following a beacon to what will eventually be the Fortress. Some flashbacks will play out in the first 30-45 minutes before becoming a fluid course of events.

Phew! Sorry….I am just really going on and on with this one. Superman is a topic near and dear to my heart and I really want to get a lot of info in as to how I would do the (in my humble opinion) perfect Superman film. So with all of that said, I give you….the PREMISE!!!!

Clark Kent travels the world, following a strange beacon emitting from a device found in his alien ship. Along the way he uses his unique abilities to help those in need. In so doing he meets Lex Luthor, an up and coming industrialist that is overseeing a mining operation that his company is sponsoring. Clark helps out when a catastrophic event occurs in the mine. The incident inadvertently leads Lex and his team to discover a strange green mineral he’s able to develop into an almost limitless power source.

Clark follows his beacon to the arctic where he finds the Fortress of Solitude and begins a journey of discovery into his origins and his purpose for being on Earth, as well as what his destiny may hold.

5 Years Later, Clark joins the Daily Planet and makes his presence known as Superman. Lex Luthor, untrusting of this mysterious savior, joins forces with General Sam Lane to use his energy resources to develop weapons that may aid in taking down this “alien threat.”  But who else, or what else, is lurking in the shadows with their eye on Superman?

So now comes the part that I’m sure you’re all just dying to see. Who is going to be in this film? Well wait no longer loyal couch potatoes!!!

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J.J. Abrams – Director

I know what some of you are thinking. “WHAT?!?! REALLY?!?! The guy that wrote Superman: Flyby?!?!” For those of you not thinking that, let me explain. JJ Abrams wrote the script for an unproduced Superman film tentatively titled Superman: Flyby. It was an origin story where Jor-El was the king of a Krypton that didn’t explode. Instead it fell under civil war by Jor-El’s brother, Kata Zor. In the film, Lex Luthor is a UFO hunting government agent, Clark joins the Daily Planet to get closer to Lois Lane (who “saved” him from a bully at a frat party years earlier), Jimmy Olsen was gay and Superman fights his cousin Ty-Zor, who had come to earth to reclaim him for Krypton. The film ended with Superman going back to Krypton as a cliff hanger for a sequel.

So yeah, with that in mind, I can see how some people may question my choice here. However, Abrams proved recently with his Star Trek reboot that he’s fully capable of telling a compelling, action packed spectacle of a film that honors the source material while being it’s own fairly unique thing. As long as someone else with a passion for the material is writing the script then Abrams is definitely the guy to direct.

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Matt Bomer – Superman/Clark Kent

Just look at that strong hero jaw! Casting Superman is actually a pretty difficult thing to do. It has to be a fairly unknown person to be believable. Also, let’s face it. Nobody will ever be able to beat Christopher Reeve. He had a charisma about him that simply was Superman. I did enjoy Henry Cavill as a larger, more hulking, Ed McGuinness type of Superman. But I feel like people need a Superman they can relate a little more to. Someone with a charm that can lower your guard and make you feel comfortable. Matt Bomer shows in his show White Collar that he has that calming charm and charisma. Even though he plays a thief he has the ability to make you trust him. He also showed as Agent Bryce Larkin on Chuck that he can handle the action side of things extremely well. And Bonus Points, he was the voice of Superman in the animated film Superman: Unbound and had actually auditioned for the role for Flyby.

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Lauren Cohan – Lois Lane

Lois Lane is a strong, independent woman. One of the first in popular culture, in fact. To play her you need someone who can really pull that off believably as well as have good chemistry with the leading man. Amy Adams played a really strong Lois Lane in Man of Steel but I felt like she had zero chemistry with Henry Cavill. To the opposite, Kate Bosworth had good chemistry with Brandon Routh in Superman Returns but didn’t really come off as an appropriately strong and capable Lois Lane. Lauren Cohan has always played strong willed characters, whether she’s the high end thief who sold her soul on Supernatural or the heiress to a criminal organization on Chuck. She also always has good chemistry with the men she works with. Especially on her current gig as zombie apocalypse survivor and loyal girlfriend, Maggie Green, on The Walking Dead. She definitely has all of the qualities needed to be our intrepid reporter.

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Billy Zane – Lex Luthor

In the past 20 years there really has never been a doubt as to who the perfect Lex Luthor could be. Kevin Spacey did a great job as the maniacal property schemer type of Luthor in Superman Returns but we’re going to go with the evil businessman version. Traditionally bald actor Billy Zane is a shoe in. Don’t let his B-Movie filmography fool you, either. He’s an exceptional actor that even played a suave and arrogant rich villain with a temper in Titanic that almost mirrored Clancy Brown’s Lex Luthor from Superman: The Animated Series.

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Sam Worthington – Metallo/John Corbin

One of the biggest complaints of Superman Returns was the lack of action. It was more of a dramatic piece paying homage to the Donner film. Man of Steel had no shortage of action as it featured General Zod and an army of Kryptonian foot soldiers. We can’t do Zod again. Luckily, Superman’s rogues gallery of villains is virtually untapped on film. Enter John Corbin, a soldier who – after being fatally wounded in battle – becomes the guinea pig in a RoboCop style procedure that see’s Lex Luthor’s kryptonite weapon implanted into his chest and used as a super powered rival to Superman. Not to get into typecasting, but Sam Worthington has already shown that he can handle the half man/half machine role well in Terminator: Salvation. He can also play the troubled and morally conflicted type well, as shown in Avatar.

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Anton Yelchin – Jimmy Olsen

Can you believe they didn’t have Jimmy Olsen in Man of Steel?! Instead you had that pointless intern, Jenny Sometits. I could understand if there was a valid reason for having her instead of Jimmy but she didn’t do anything. She was just a random face in the crowd who got her ass stuck in some rubble when Superman knocked half of Metropolis down. Jimmy is an important part of the Superman mythology. He’s the “every man” that you’re supposed to be able to relate to. When kids read the comic they wanted to be friends with Superman. Recognizing this, DC Comics gave you “Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen.” To play this iconic role we’re going with JJ Abrams alum, Anton Yelchin, who showed as Chekov in the reboot of Star Trek that he can easily play the young, eager and smart supporting type. Another veteran of Terminator: Salvation, he’s also able to show off being loyal and brave when he needs to be.

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Bruce McGill – Perry White

There’s not a lot to say about Perry White. He’s tough. Authoritative. Compassionate. He’s hard on his people but he also loves them. These are all traits that character actor Bruce McGill can easily handle. He also happens to be a spitting image of how Mr. White is often drawn. He’d play the character in a similar way to the late Lane Smith (who did the Daily Planet chief admirably in Lois & Clark) whom he ironically co-starred with in The Legend of Baggar Vance.

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Ed Harris – General Sam Lane

I enjoyed the character of General Swanwick in Man of Steel. The idea of Superman revealing himself and not being trusted by the US government was an admirable part of that film and something that I’d also like to explore. But I would not have created the character of Swanwick. I’d go with the existing character of General Sam Lane. Not only does he have bad history with Superman in the comics but his involvement would add a level of drama to Lois Lane. To play this pivotal supporting role I’m going with Ed Harris. He’s great character actor of both heroes, villains and misguided moralists. He especially showed his military leader chops, as well, in The Rock.

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Scott Bakula – Jonathan Kent

Jonathan Kent is a huge part of Superman’s story, even if he doesn’t have a lot of screen time on film. Kevin Costner did a fantastic job, even if his version was a little more cynical than others, and I especially love Smallville‘s John Schneider. To play Jonathan Kent you need to portray a guiding influence but more than anything you need to be a loving father. I can’t think of any actor – other than the two previously mentioned who have already tackled the role – better suited than Scott Bakula. Never mind Quantum Leap or Star Trek: Enterprise, check out his fatherly episodes of Chuck. That’s all you really need to picture one hell of a Jonathan Kent.

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Julianne Moore – Martha Kent

Much like Jonathan, Martha is a loving mother more than anything else. Julianne Moore has that kind of role plastered all over her filmography from Boogie Nights to The Forgotten…even to the remake of Carrie for all intents and purposes. She has that ability to genuinely show those maternal instincts and give incredibly dynamic and dramatic performances. She could easily be the troubled and protective mother all in one.

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Daniel Craig & Lena Headey – Jor-El & Lara

Lastly, to play Superman’s Kryptonian parents we have James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, and Queen of Sparta as well as the TV version of Sarah Conner, Lena Headey. Similar to Man of Steel and Superman: The Movie, Jor-El and Lara will appear throughout the movie in Krypton flashbacks and as ghostly holograms in the Fortress. Craig has that striking, blue eyed hero look that screams Superman’s dad. Similarly, Headey has shown in 300 and Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles that she, like Julianne Moore, can be the strong willed maternal type. Not to mention that her Greek get-up from 300 even gives some resemblance to some artists versions of Lara.

And that brings us towards the end of the casting for Superman

And much like the Batman Casting Couch, we’ll conclude with:

The Stinger

When the movie comes to a close, Metallo is beaten by Superman, who is herald as hero. General Lane is humiliated for his efforts against the Man of Steel and heads back to his office for some solitude. Waiting for him in the shadows is…

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Robin Givens – Amanda Waller

One of the leaders of the mysterious government organization known as Checkmate and founder of the super villain black ops team – The Suicide Squad. Waller has appeared in previous DC incarnations such as Smallville, Arrow and Green Lantern. To play her here I’m looking toward Robin Givens who played an exceptional and rather shady CIA director for a couple of episodes of Chuck (and yeah…I’m aware that Chuck has popped up a lot in this list. It was never intended to be a reunion of any sorts. It just so happens that a lot of people I would have chosen naturally have landed on that show). Givens is direct and hard hitting and a natural choice for Director Waller.

General Lane approaches Waller in his office and after some banter about what she’s doing there and the events that happened in the film, Waller hits him with some blackmail and an ultimatum. Just before she leaves we get this little delivery:

LANE: IS THIS WHERE YOU THREATEN ME AND WAIT FOR ME TO MAKE A MOVE?

WALLER: THERE ARE NO MORE MOVES TO MAKE GENERAL… YOU’RE IN CHECKMATE…

dun, Dun, DUN!!!

Thanks for sticking with me on this rather long one, dear readers. I hope you enjoyed it. Come back next time when I bring you The DC Universe Part 4 – Wonder Woman.