The stars and director of the latest Superman incarnation, Man of Steel, got a rousing reception from fans when they walked the black carpet at the Sydney premiere which filled seven cinemas. Russell Crowe, director Zack Snyder, and the other stars were all good value and happy to talk about anything.
Russell Crowe – Hello Shane, how are you mate?
SAB – Good mate. All these big movies you’re a part of, you must be giving out a lot of those Rabbitohs hats on sets? (Russell passionately part-owns Rugby League team, the South Sydney Rabbitohs)
RC – (Laughing) Absolutely, yes but nothing is bigger than a Ridley Scott set though. That set the record on ‘Robin Hood’. I said, let’s get everybody a hat. The guy working for me just went white, so I said ‘Whats the problem’, but there was this crew of 1,600. So I just went OK, it’s a tradition. We got to give them a hat. It’s good though, I find it cool to introduce people, particularly North Americans, to the grace and glory of the great game of Rugby League.
SAB – Playing Superman’s dad, your scenes really stood out emotionally.
RC – He loved his son and planet and had to make a decision that even his wife was unsure about. I haven’t seen the film in 3D yet so looking forward to it tonight.
SAB – With ‘Noah’ coming up, what have we got to look forward to?
RC – Wow, oh where do I start? I think Emma Watson (co-star) is a very fine young actress. Jennifer Connolly plays my wife, it’s directed by Darren Aronofsky, it’s like nothing you have ever seen trust me. Nothing like you could imagine it is. People have this idea of Noah in terms of his benevolence because he looked after all the animals, you know, but he also stood by and let the whole population of the earth die. So he is a man driven by a direct connect to his god or his creator.
SAB – Well Aronofsky is certainly the director to accomplish it. Your career is on another roll mate.
RC – He is a very interesting and unique man to work for. Cheers Shane
Next up was director Zack Snyder
SAB – Hi Zack, firstly how is the 300 sequel looking?
ZS – I am just finishing it up now, looks amazing, you will like it.
SAB – Did Man of Steel always have that title or was it tinkered with?
ZS – No it always was. We definitely did not want to call the movie Superman because he is not Superman yet in the scheme of the movie. I like the fact it is Man first, then we figure out the rest. He comes who he becomes. That was really the idea and I think it’s a way to get into the character too. Another thing is it kind of erases the frequency of notions of what you’re about to see.
SAB – Why do you think people just keep coming back to these movies with superheroes, especially recently with darker versions?
ZS – I don’t know, I guess as I love the modern mythology that really attracts me because I feel like that’s a way to entertain. Although things change as during World War 2, say you could have a picture of Superman choking Hitler and that would be OK but now people are a little bit more afraid of their superheroes. I think it’s really interesting, the dark side of these characters.
SAB – Dawn of the Dead, great film! What was Sarah Polley like to work with as the heroine?
ZS – Sarah is awesome, hard working but also completely on the level as she is a genius director too. She’s amazing on set as far as figuring scenes out, a great asset and so good in the movie.
SAB – It’s a genre you should go back to.
ZS – I would love to if I have time.
Henry Cavill strolls over and says hello.
SAB – You were very good, a strong presence. How did you feel while making such a big film for audiences and a huge fan base?
HC – I did the best I could do. I just did that so all the other pressure involved rolled along but didn’t affect me. I didn’t dwell on it. Instead, I just decided to just do my thing and focus on being the character.
SAB – You were great in Whatever Works I must say. Working with Woody Allen must have been a good experience?
HC – Thanks, much appreciated. He was a good director and absolutely great experience yeah (nodding).
SAB – You wore Christopher Reeve’s original costume in a screen test. Was that a little daunting?
HC – During the screen testing process, they had a Christopher Reeve ‘replica’ suit which I had to wear, not an original.
SAB – What is acting to you – an art form or an amazing job? How do you see it personally?
HC – It’s an amazing job absolutely and an art form when done properly. You basically get to have a lot of fun playing dress up. You can’t be so cut and dry in any one character. I simply enjoy combining all elements.
Then along came Jack Thompson, Aussie legend and among many films, had a crucial role in Star Wars Episode 2.
SAB – You have worked with some excellent directors (John Woo, George Clooney, Baz Lurhmann) to name a few.
Jack Thompson – Clint Eastwood is probably one of my favourite ever directors. Being directed by a man who is also a fine actor, they understand their actors and he manages to get what he wants without making a big thing of it.
SAB – You seem to have the American accent perfected now after all these years.
JT – If you don’t have an American accent down pat, you would only ever work here.
SAB – What’s up next for you, any more international productions?
JT – I just came back from working with (director Bruce Beresford) in Louisiana, a piece for HBO, a new Bonnie & Clyde with Emile Hirsch as Clyde Barrow, with William Hurt also in the cast. It will be good.
Earlier in the afternoon I met up with Zack for a brief chat.
SAB – How often did Russell mention his football team around the man of Steel set?
ZS – Of course he did all the time. We were all very excited about it, I knew he had the team already but we mucked about on set with a rugby ball. It was within the culture of the crew.
SAB – It was nice to hear Carla Gugino’s voice as Kelor in the movie. I picked up on it straight away. Was she ever considered for the role of Lois Lane?
ZS – Nice, nobody has noticed that yet, that’s a credit to you. She was busy and of course, I had thought about her a little bit but I really wanted Amy badly because I thought she was the perfect Lois. Then Carla was in town once and I asked her, could she come and do this teeny little bit and I love her so much I had to have her on board.
SAB – The script has some serious tones. Were you aware of not having too many lighter moments?
ZS – We really wanted to be serious and treat him realistically. For me, the irony of the movie is completely, there is NO irony in the movie. I wanted to make it mythological – sound was the most important thing to me.
SAB – The truck driver scene did bring the whole cinema into laughter or cheers. Was that scene originally written like that?
ZS – (Laughing) It was one of those scenes I worked hard on with David (Goyer) to do a slight wish fulfilled moment I felt would kind of help the audience get on board with him (Clark Kent) before displaying his powers. It’s like that one thing in the movie that someone gets their comeuppance who needs it. It was good fun.
SAB – Is the internet your friend or enemy when making a potential blockbuster? Do you manage your information differently?
ZS – I try not to pay attention to it while in production, you can’t please everybody. You have to trust that you’re going to make something that I think people are going to enjoy and that the internet will sort itself out. There is such a varied opinion, it can be daunting you know.
SAB – Your thoughts on current 3D trends and badly done conversions?
ZS – My feeling is that I shot the movie in 2D and got it converted by a company called Legend 3D. In my opinion, they did an amazing job. I can’t imagine anyone shooting 3D because of what can be done now with conversion and the ridiculous extra expense of actually shooting 3D is on set.
SAB – Did the ‘shaky cam’ affect your decision?
ZS – Not really, all those rules are gone. When 3D returned, it was thought, you can’t do hand held. Now no one cares, we are instructed to do anything you want, it will look good in 3D. Which I think is correct right? At first they said 3D will change filmmaking. But I said no, that’s wrong, its like saying Dolby (sound) will change filmmaking. You want it to be a tool for the filmmakers, not a noose around our necks.
SAB – Before Henry, was there any other actor considered, or came close to being cast as Kal-El?
ZS – Honestly no, of course there were people we were talking about but once we got Henry in the suit and evaluated it, he was the man.
SAB – The trailers were cut to perfection, really intense without giving too much away bringing the audience into what the film was going to be. Did you have a say in those?
ZS – Of course, I am very hands on with the marketing materials. I had a friend of mine who was just down the hall, so they were made with a direct feel for the movie.
SAB – Hans Zimmer’s score was great, but was there any thought of sampling or adding John Williams classic Superman theme at any point?
ZS – Once we decided to pretend that there had been no movies made except for this one, to introduce the Superman character, once we did that we knew it was impossible to add it. We needed it to be all reinvented including the score. We used to play it for ourselves on set at times but never in context to the movie.
SAB – Was there an inclination to show more of the past ties between Jor-El and General Zod?
ZS – Not really, we didn’t know how much time we were going to have for the Kryptonian part of the movie. Michael Shannon (Zod) and Russell Crowe are so strong in their performances to imply a long drawn out history between the pair. I think those guys did a really great job in relationship intensity.
SAB – How many costume prototypes were there?
ZS – Oh boy (looks up thinking). When you start talking about 3D models created and hand made or even illustrations, it’s got to be in the hundreds until we finally got down to that suit. The thing about the suit is from the beginning, we knew it was going to be cultural to Krypton not the blanket sewn by Marth Kent version. So that informed our chosen design, whatever changes you see in the suit from the old suit, a lot of it is done as a skin suit that all of Kryptonians wear. They are all different, Jor-El has a different version of it on, Zod has a different version, all variable, it’s basically what they all wear all of the time, traditional attire.
SAB – Finally, your wife is your producing partner. Do you have to agreee with everything she has to say?
ZS – (Laughing) You know, she and I have an amazing relationship. In the movie business, you do take your work home. There’s no two ways about it. I can wake up in the middle of the night and say, ‘Oh my gosh, we should do this’ and she will just go, that’s great now go back to sleep. However, she makes a note of it and it’s happening so I think we agree on everything, of course not. She and I are pretty intuitive on how we work with each other and it makes for a strong ‘circus family’ travelling around.
Man Of Steel is in cinemas now.
© Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.