Thursday, 29 May 2008


The complete shooting script of the much anticipated return of the most illustrious icon of US Pop Culture is now available with scenes cut from the final version of the movie, exclusives interviews and a very interesting selection of storyboards. An instructive and useful look at Superman returns, the movie directed by Bryan Singer.

« But I always had a notion for a Superman film - that Superman would be gone somewhere and then would return... » (Bryan Singer, interviewed by David Hugues, Superman returns - The complete shooting script)


« There's a Superman for every generation. » (Michael Dougherty, co-writer, interviewed by David Hugues)

The process of producing a Hollywood blockbuster is as painful than thoughtful (or at least should be... Thoughtful, we mean) and there's no reason for the return of the Man of Steel on the big screen to be the exception to this rule. Especially when the last opus of the franchise to date was Golan & Globus's Superman IV - The Quest for peace (1987). With the triumphant rise of the dvd and the internet as an essential marketing tool the most intimate stages of a movie production are no secrets anymore for the cinema buff. And long after the on-screen release of the finished product, « Special-exclusive-alternative-director's cut-collector-de luxe » dvd editions allow easily to play to the What, if? Game.

But the most effective tool to understand the complexity of the art to deliver a blockbuster remains the movie script, remember The Avengers (1998), written at a time where movies and tv's addicts didn't have the slightest notion of what a dsl internet connection would be and where VHS was the king of the world.

« ... and that's what's great about publishing the full script. The return to Krypton is not in the movie, for example. » (Dan Harris, co-writer, interviewed by David Hugues)


« There are a lot of scenes in the script which have not made into the movie, because the movie would have been three and a half hours long...» (Dan Harris)

One cannot help to be perplex in front of the current propension of the movie industry to devise blockbusters of more than two and a half hours then stories would do with 90 minutes or 120 maximum (with a great deal of patience and without poker). The final version of Superman returns is 154 minutes long, a length which implies a lot of crucial if not drastic choices from Bryan Singer and his team from the very beginning of the film, particularly with an estimated budget of 270 millions of US dollars. A notable case of editorial sacrifice comes just after the opening credits with the abandon of the travel of Superman to his native Krypton - replaced in the movie by the cynical but funny scene of Lex Luthor (with a wig) in Vanderworth Estate.

«... and all good men deserve a second chance » (Gertrude Vanderworth, woman of faith)

Let's face it. The differences between a shooting script and what comes to the screen are always fascinating. From the conversation between Martha Kent - our man in red and blue's adoptive mother - and her friend Ben Hubbard (who said « a little less conversation, a little more action »?) to details like Lex whistling Sympathy for the Devil soon after the last breath of Gertrude, or lines from the scene of the foreign news bulletins. Or how Lex managed to send Superman away in search of the ghosts of Krypton (« Oh yeah. All these photos? These stories about Krypton still existing? It was me »).

These elements and more make of Superman returns - The complete shooting script not one more book related to a movie franchise but an amazing and revealing travel into the core of a blockbuster production. It's a production diary in its own respect.


« Lex, we only have six of those. » (Kitty, lost... with the other)

Superman returns is a very long movie but the complete script, as proposed by Titan Books, attests of the sincerity of Mr Singer and Warner Brothers, as the final result is the fruit of complex editorial decisions and not of a kind of a « pre-complete edition dvd » spoiler syndrom. Superman returns - The complete shooting script is an essential companion of the film.

But that's not enough for Titan. After exclusive interviews of Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris and the script itself comes an interesting selection of scenes from the storyboard: Lex gets funded (Lex with Gertrude Vanderworth), The Bank Robbery and Catching the Daily Planet Globe. The Bank Robbery looks as spectacular on paper than on screen and Lex gets funded deserves a particular attention. Note specially how Bryan Singer dropped the idea of Lex kicking the dog but had no objections about the concept of Kitty's pet as a lunch a la Survivor (Scooby snacks revisited?)

A Hero's welcome, A Man of Steel returns...

« In the tradition of films past, Superman flies into the heavens. He smiles at us, then turns and soars toward the sunrise. »

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