Some preliminary news on Zack Snyder's Superman: Man of Steel production has fluttered its way out on the interwebs over the weekend. Coming from Crain's Chicago Business website that Plano, Illinois is going to host at least some of the production for WB's newest superhero summer tentpole will be doing some shooting under the production title "Autumn Frost", though they might be playing slick and changing that code name up now that its been leaked out.
With Warner Brothers looking to sink just south of $200 million into another Superman story for the big screen. Its still not as much as they pissed away at Bryan Singer's The Notebook-esque version of the last son of Krypton in 2006's Superman Returns (some wish it would go away) where WB dropped a whopping $209 million when all said and done.
Still the approximate $176 million said to be allotted for S:MoS is beginning to float about in hiring pre-production staffing in the Plano area. Looks like Illinois is gonna have some extra money coming in to the local economies thanks to this production along with the third Batman film prepping.
Christopher Nolan is producing this venture so it definately shows that Mr. Nolan seems to have a hard on for the "Land of Lincoln" as SUV's decked out in "Gotham City PD" paint jobs have been seen around the suburbs of Chicago in the past week or so which may be explained by the close proximity of the two movies so he can bounce between the two, supervise the Man of Steel shoot when need be while still giving his full attention to The Dark Knight Rises.
Not much is known about the Superman shoot plot-wise which was written by David S. Goyer who also collaborated on The Dark Knight script for with Chris Nolan and his brother Jonathan. We are starting to get casting news trickling out including some heavy hitters and goes as follows:
-Superman:Henry Cavill( who had been up for the Batman role at one point along with many other prominent starring roles will finally get to show his leading man skills)
- Martha Kent: Diane Lane
-Jonathan Kent: Kevin Costner( honestly didn't see that coming but then again I guess seeing as how young Clark Kent grew up on a farm in Smallville makes me think they are shooting for some Field of Dreams throwback memories with Costner's addition to the cast)
-Lois Lane: Amy Adams ( this one is freshly making the rumor rounds as of today 3/27/11, we'll have to wait on conformation in the coming days but sounds legit)
As far as villains roles being cast there has been talk of Michael Shannon(Revolutionary Road) in talks for a villainous role but no one has been named thus far officially.
I'm really hoping they aren't going for another "Vs. Lex Luthor" story even though no one has done the character right. Gene Hackman and even Kevin Spacey were far too wacky in their respective turns as Lex. I always thought that Superman had all the muscle and morals which were his strengths as a character then Lex needed to be treacherous, devious and almost Superman's intellectual superior which is what made him so dangerous. It wasn't the simple fact that he would just whip out Kryptonite and boom The Man of Steel crumpled like aluminum, more it was that he would outwit his "musclebound boy scout" nemesis. Otherwise Lex Luthor is robbed of depth and in turn devoid of a worthy cinematic villain.
So if this is the case we need someone fresh to fight Superman.
Brainiac is a logical choice since he also is a super intelligent sentient being who knows Clark/Supeman's true origins and weaknesses.
Or perhaps since this is a Zack Snyder movie afterall we want action then there could be Doomsday, the one creature who "killed" Superman though to do the death of Superman story proper their would have to be crossovers with other DC characters to really show the impact of his death and a Christopher Nolan Batman really wouldn't jibe all that well with Superman vs another alien creature story, Green Lantern could show up and make sense since that movie looks goofy enough to work in that context.
Or Bizarro might be another way to go, again would make for good fight scenes but also a convoluted story in under 2 1/2 hours.
There could be a Darkseid as the villain but I am still left wondering if this version of Superman is going to keep in the spirit of Nolan's Batman trilogy as far as tone, i.e. set within real world guidelines. No wacky running around the earth against its rotation to turn world back time-wise, in essence time traveling. I'm guessing it will be more based in the current world of science and such.
EIther way we need lots of action because that was THE major downfall of the Singer Superman Returns. It was too much Lois Lane and Superman looking so sad. Not to mention that shitty scene where he flies up above the Earth and listens for someone who needs his help. He hears all this war and atrocities but instead decides to go for Kitty Kowalski's run away car( which was a ploy from Lex Luthor) Booo-urns.
We already know we will get some nice slo-mo fist impact shots which Snyder is becoming famous for.
Personally, I'm going to be very curious to see if Warner Brothers sticks with its original budget after Zack Snyder's "Girl Interrupted add a dash of Lord of the Rings meets Sin City and ground up Alice In Wonderland filtered through the steam punk aesthetic" movie Sucker Punch debuting in the #2 spot its opening weekend and general bad reviews minus the boys over at www.rottentomatoes.com who seemed to get what Snyder's intent was.
One have to think that Warner Brothers would get skittish if Sucker Punch continues to under-perfom(relatively 19 million is hardly tiny money) or the execs at Warner Brothers have such faith in the property of Superman, Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder or a combination of any of those three.
If that is the case I sure wish Paramount would get their asses in gear and follow suit with World War Z.
We'll see in the coming weeks what other coconuts shake out of the Man of Steel tree. Can't say I'm totally sold on another Superman story, besides Batman I've never really found any of the DC characters to have very engrossing villians. In the DC universe Batman got the most interesting foes. Maybe thats why Lex Luthor is everyone's default villain.
Not many people think Zack Snyder has what it takes to tell a enriched story. They see him more as an effects driven director who value's cinematography over an engrossing story.
After seeing The Watchmen I found more faith in him than most and with Christopher Nolan overseeing the production to hammer story over special effects I think I might walk out of S:MoS with my inner geek satisfied.
Fingers Crossed and keep your eyes on Illinois.