Image Credit: Armando Gallo/Retna Ltd“Super-awesome. Super-excited.” Filmmaker Zack Snyder says the phrase at least three times in a brief conversation about his new film project: Superman, to be produced by Christopher Nolan, the director of Inception and The Dark Knight, and written by David S. Goyer, who also penned Batman Begins. Of course, “super-awesome” is one of the few things Snyder can say about the hush-hush endeavor, which Snyder will begin working on right after wrapping work on his upcoming sci-fi fantasy Suckerpunch, in theaters next March.
Synder first began talking with the Nolan and Thomas about helming a cinematic revamp of the DC Comics legend last month. “They’re just super-smart, super-educated about the character. It was an amazing conversation and it went from there,” says Snyder, whose current movie, the animated Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, is now in theaters “I’ve been a fan of the character for awhile. It’s really a treat and super-delight to do this.” He pauses, then adds with a laugh: “By the way: There’s going to be very little I can say here, just so you know.”
The movie — which will be financed by Warner Bros. and Legendary Films — has no cast, and no official start date. The last time Superman was on the big screen: 2006’s Superman Returns, starring Brandon Routh and Kate Bosworth and directed by X-Men’s Bryan Singer. The film grossed $391 million worldwide, but was considered a disappointment among comic book fans despite many admiring reviews. After discussing a possible sequel with Singer, Warner Bros. decided to take a step back and reassess. Earlier this year, the studio decided to bring in Nolan to produce a rebooted franchise and Goyer to write the script.
So what’s the Zack Snyder vision for Superman? Again, too early for him to say. But don’t expect the man who helmed the revisionist superhero epic Watchmen (adapted from the acclaimed comic saga by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons) to go all post-modern on the Man of Steel. “They are totally different characters, totally different worlds,” says Snyder. “I wouldn’t want to compare them at this point.”
Snyder’s comic book passions do run adult and edgy; he cites alternative, underground-minded comics like Heavy Metal and Cobalt 60 as formative influences. But he says he’s long had a keen interest in Superman, especially as a cultural icon. “I’ve followed Superman over the years,” he says. “I wouldn’t say I was a huge devotee, but I’ve kept an eye on the character in the pop culture, and as the pop culture has regarded him, for the past 10 years, especially. I think there’s a real opportunity here. He’s in the perfect place to do something.” When asked to elaborate, he says: “Think of where Batman was when Chris took that on earlier in the decade. I think Superman is in a very similar place, in terms of being available and in terms of his relationship to where the culture was at that time. Superman is right there. He’s ready. And can I be any more cryptic?”
Asked if he’s ready to take on another comic book franchise that will be eager anticipated — and intensely, obsessively scrutinized — by fans, Snyder says: “All I can is that this is super-awesome, and I’m super-excited, by every aspect of this. He’s Superman. He’s the king of the superheroes.”