Superman Returns (2006) Poster


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Will Smith was offered the role of Superman/Clark Kent but declined, saying: "You mess up white peoples' heroes in Hollywood, you'll never work in this town again!"
During filming, Kevin Spacey would drive around in a golf cart ("Lex's Super Buster") dragging a stuffed Superman doll behind on a rope and yell "Superman Must Die" with a megaphone.
When Clark is walking around the office with the TVs displaying news reports (after Luthor steals the kryptonite) the news reports can be heard mentioning the city of Gotham, home of the Batman.
Amy Adams auditioned for the role of Lois Lane. She later eventually played Lois in Man of Steel (2013).
Bryan Singer wanted Christopher Reeve to make a cameo appearance in the film but Reeve died before filming began. Singer then decided to dedicate the film to him.
When Bryan Singer became interested in possibly hiring Brandon Routh, he arranged for them to meet in a coffee shop. When they met at their table, Routh stumbled and spilled hot coffee all over the table. Although he panicked, thinking he had just lost the part, Singer laughed and said it actually helped him get the part. The incident convinced Singer that Routh could pull off the clumsy, bumbling Clark Kent.
Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey signed on without having read the script.
DC Comics' character Aquaman is on Jason's pajamas.
Dedicated to Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve.
The stars on Clark Kent's ceiling are astronomically correct.
The last line of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) (the one before "Returns") is Superman saying to Luthor, "See you in twenty." That scene was filmed in 1986. Coincidentally, twenty years later, in 2006, the next Superman Returns (2006) movie was released.
Brandon Routh, who plays Superman, is two years younger than Tom Welling, who plays the teenage version of the same character on the TV series Smallville (2001).
The role of Lex Luthor was always intended for Kevin Spacey. The production schedule was adjusted to accommodate Spacey's six week break from his duties as the Old Vic theater director.
The tattoo on the back of Brutus' head is a fairly accurate representation of the clown makeup worn by John Wayne Gacy, a notorious serial killer.
A break-in on the set of Superman Returns (2006), in which the crew's walkie talkies were stolen, forced filming to be halted. Pranksters caused chaos during a stunt sequence, being filmed in Martin Place, by shouting "cut" and "action" over the airwaves. The thieves with the walkie talkies listened in to much of the night's filming to learn key phrases which they later yelled at key moments. The mischief almost caused serious injury, with the night's filming centering on a Mustang car jumping down steps and landing between extras. It stopped a number of times.
When Tim Burton was attached to direct, the Superman costume was all dark blue, featured a blood-red cape, and featured the classic "S" symbol in the form of daggers.
Bryan Singer is on record as saying Superman Returns is a loose follow-up to Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980), but does not follow those movies' continuity strictly. It ignores Superman III (1983) and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). However, there is a reference to Supergirl (1984), which was released between the later two: a radio announcer reports Superman is off on a space mission to a far away galaxy.
During Brandon Routh's screen test, people would come up to him between takes and tell him how much fun filming in Australia would be and what a great opportunity playing Superman would be. Routh was confused as he was under the impression that he hadn't officially got the part yet, and he was starting to get a little nervous that people might be jinxing him. It turns out Bryan Singer pretty much made up his mind at that point on who he was going to cast.
When Superman saves Perry White from the falling globe off the roof of the Daily Planet, he resembles Atlas, a mythological figure who bore the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Milliskin, a type of cloth, was used as the material of Superman's suit. Unfortunately, this cloth restricts movement when new. Worse, it sags after being worn and becoming comfortable. As a result, 80 suits, 100 capes, 30 boots and 90 belts were made.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Bryan Singer discussed a scene that was in an early draft of the screenplay but never filmed: "At one point," the director recalls, "I had a scene in the script which I never shot, and I probably was never going to shoot, where Superman would be standing - after flying around rescuing people at night - would be standing at dawn at Ground Zero. Sort of standing there, almost as if to say, 'If I had been here, this might not be.'"
It took twelve years and three vastly different directors to finally get the project off the ground.
Hugh Laurie was cast first in the role of Perry White. However, the popularity of his TV show House M.D. (2004) caused schedule conflicts. Frank Langella was then cast.
While the project was under Brett Ratner's supervision, actors Josh Hartnett, Paul Walker, Matt Bomer, Brendan Fraser, Ashton Kutcher, David Boreanaz, Ian Somerhalder, Henry Cavill, Jerry O'Connell and Hayden Christensen were considered for the part of Superman. Brett Ratner left the project primarily because he and Warner Bros. executives could not agree on whom to cast as Superman. Henry Cavill later landed the role for the Superman reboot Man of Steel (2013).
Tim Burton's "Superman Lives" was far enough into pre-production at the time it was canceled that the studio had already designed a teaser poster to be displayed in theatres. It consisted of a stylized silver "S" shield set against a black background, with the phrase "Coming 1998" displayed across the bottom third of the poster. Finalized copies of the poster were printed up, but it's unclear how many were made before the movie was called off.
Jude Law was Bryan Singer's only choice to play General Zod. After Law turned down the role several times, Singer eliminated the character from the script.
In an interview on Larry King Live (1985), director Bryan Singer said that had he not had access to John Williams' original music, he would not have done the film.
The chemical name of Kryptonite is given as "sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide with fluorine." In 2007, Dr. Chris Stanley of the London Natural History Museum discovered the very same mineral, albeit without fluorine, in Jadar, Serbia and named it Jadarite. In reality, it is a white powder rather than a green crystal.
When offered the director's chair, Bryan Singer rejected J.J. Abrams script as too far a departure from the source material. Abrams story re-imagined Superman as a Kryptonian prince sent to earth as a baby to avoid an impending civil war between king Jor-El and his brother Kata-Zor. Raised as Midwestern teen Clark Kent, and in love with his high school sweetheart Lois, Superman becomes humanity's defender when Kata-Zor invades Earth, aided by CIA Agent Lex Luthor, who is actually a Kryptonian in disguise. The film ended with Superman returning to Krypton to rule over his people after the death of Jor-El. Singer disagreed with these changes to one of America's most well-known characters, and decided instead to pursue a storyline to act as both a sequel and a re-make which would honor the character's history, as well as the popular films by Richard Donner.
Anthony Hopkins was set to play Jor-El of Krypton when Brett Ratner was attached to direct.
The publishing date of "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman" is 14 February 2006.
Bryan Singer was still under a three-picture deal with Fox from X-Men 2 (2003) when he decided to jump ship to direct this movie. As the consequence, his deal was terminated and one of his under-development projects with Fox, a remake of Logan's Run (1976) was ultimately shelved and the third X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) picture was under jeopardy. The vacant's director's role for the third X-Men would go to Brett Ratner who lost to Singer for the first X-Men (2000) movie.
Lex Luthor says, "To the primitive mind, any sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic," which is a paraphrase of an Arthur C. Clarke quote, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" ("Profiles of the Future," 1961). Clarke is mentioned in the closing credits of the film for this reason.
In a scene in the paper room, several cities are named off. One of them is Gotham from the Batman series.
In interviews, Kal Penn revealed he originally had a much greater role. It would have been revealed that his character was a disgraced former Daily Planet science reporter who was bribed by Lex Luthor to plant false evidence of Krypton's possible survival, thus inspiring Superman to leave Earth and explore Krypton's ruins.
These words appear on Martha Kent's Scrabble board the night Clark/Superman returns: paddings, dawnings, squirms, jets, fax, fare, rarer, nary, revere, bent, jag, drag, oho, way, men, tee, hod, voiced, hill, zoo, quoit, foot, feet, view, kir, alienation. A few of the words - jets, fax, revere, dawnings, alienation - may deliberately presage themes and plot points in the movie.
Kevin Smith's original script, to which Tim Burton was immediately attached, was the 1993 comic book story arcs "The Death of Superman" and "The Return of Superman". After a lengthy development process, Warner Bros. chose not to go with Smith's script and hired other writers, such as Alias (2001) creator J.J. Abrams, to revive the series.
Brandon Routh's sister Sara Routh was one of the choir members for the production orchestra.
Director Bryan Singer decided on using stock footage of Marlon Brando that was originally shot by Superman (1978) director Richard Donner for the Singer version. Brando and Christopher Reeve were once filmed interacting for Superman II (1980), but due to a lawsuit against the Alexander Salkind and Ilya Salkind for a percentage of the sequel, the scenes were deleted and re-shot with Susannah York as Kal-El's mother Lara.
All previous scripts revolved, in one way or another, around the death and subsequent return of Superman. Jonathan Lemkin wrote a draft in which Superman impregnates Lois before he dies, she gives birth soon thereafter (also dying in the process), and a fully-grown new Superman emerges to save the world. Lemkin's work was quickly discarded.
A sign in the plaza of the Daily Planet building reads, "Shuster Square." This is a reference to Joe Shuster, one of the co-creators of the original Superman character.
In one of the scenes with Lex's Train set a sign saying 'Smallville' can be seen briefly.
Kevin Spacey convinced Bryan Singer to cast Kate Bosworth for the role of Lois Lane after her performance in Beyond the Sea (2004).
Brandon Routh put on 20 pounds of muscle for the movie.
Jim Caviezel expressed great interest in the role of Superman, but director Bryan Singer refused to cast him because he felt that Caviezel was "too famous" after starring in The Passion of the Christ (2004).
The Kent farm was originally built on a sound stage and was then disassembled, moved to Tamworth, Australia, and reconstructed and redressed.
Workers constructed 7km of road and planted 15 hectares of corn to recreate the Kent farm. This is especially a difficult task in that the farm was created during a 7-year drought in Australia.
The space shuttle engineer was played by Richard Branson, the owner of The Virgin Group. The monitors inside the jet display the words "Virgin Galactic", the name of Branson's commercial spaceflight company that will utilize the SpaceshipOne crafts, which are launched from the underbelly of an airplane, much like the space shuttle in the film.
Lex's computer map on the boat shows Metropolis in the real-world location of Bayonne, New Jersey.
Actors including Eric Christian Olsen, Topher Grace, and Shawn Ashmore were being considered for the role of Jimmy Olson before Sam Huntington was cast. Shawn's brother, Aaron Ashmore, later portrayed both older brother Henry James "Jimmy" and younger brother James "Jimmy" Olsen in Smallville (2001).
Reportedly, Frank Langella was instructed to play the role of Perry White much more calm and laid back than previous portrayals. In an effort to avoid any comparisons to J.K. Simmons' now iconic portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man (2002) films. Ironic, considering the fact that Jameson appeared over 20 years after White in comic books, and was created as a Marvel counterpoint to DC's newspaper editor.
Alias (2001) creator and writer J.J. Abrams wrote a complete shooting draft of the script, which both Brett Ratner and McG were planning to shoot when they both left the project for both creative and budget reasons.
There are numerous references to specific Superman comic books. Superman recreates the cover of Action #1 in one scene where he holds a car above his head, and the entire "Space Plane" sequence was from John Byrne's Man of Steel miniseries in 1986, explaining how he first met Lois Lane.
The crew in Tamworth grew their own corn. It took twelve weeks for them to get the corn just right.
Actors McG was screening before his departure include Jason Behr and Jared Padalecki for the role of Superman, Scarlett Johansson for Lois Lane, and Shia LaBeouf for Jimmy Olsen.
Eva Marie Saint (Martha Kent) made her cinematic debut in On the Waterfront (1954), coincidentally opposite the late Marlon Brando (Jor-El).
Johnny Depp was considered for the roles of Lex Luthor and Jor-El when McG was attached to the project.
The movie was filmed in Sydney, Australia at Fox Studios. The Kent family home was filmed in Tamworth, Australia.
Newton Thomas Sigel initially planned on shooting the film in 65mm in order to achieve the "glossy" look he was aiming for. This idea progressed far enough that extensive filming of 65mm test footage was done during pre-production. Sigel eventually abandoned the 65mm format after being repeatedly told that "nobody projects it anymore".
According to an article in the 12 September 2005 issue of Newsweek, the biggest question concerning Superman's costume involved the size and shape of the bulge in the front of his tights. Costume designer Louise Mingenbach finally decided on a bulge that wasn't too big. "Ten-year-olds will be seeing this movie," she explained.
Brandon Routh auditioned for the role of Superman when McG was attached to direct.
Frank Langella's character, Perry White, was played on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993) by Lane Smith. This is actually the second part the actors have shared. Previously, they both played former President Richard Nixon.
The train set was provided by the German train model manufacturer "Märklin". The set featured 280 meters of track. Train scales of both gauge 1 as well as H0 were used to realize the different filming perspectives. It took 14 weeks to construct the train set.
The location where Lex Luthor intends to create his new landmass is given as 40°N 73°W. This site is actually about 56 miles East of Seaside Heights, NJ.
Mischa Barton and Keira Knightley were considered for the role of Lois Lane when McG was attached to the project.
The reappearance of Superman in Metropolis by saving an crashing airplane is a direct nod to an episode of Paul Dini's Superman (1996) cartoons titled: The Last Son of Krypton Part 2 as well as an episode of the Max Fleischer-animated Superman called Japoteurs (1942).
When Bryan Singer took over this project, he immediately brought over his production staff consisting of cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel, composer/editor John Ottman, production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas, and writers Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty from X-Men 2 (2003) to meet Warner Bros.' release date for the film.
The first Superman film to receive a PG-13 rating by the MPAA. All the previous Superman films were rated PG.
The set design for the offices of The Daily Planet, with its mushroom-shaped columns, were inspired by architect Frank Lloyd Wright's S.C. Johnson Wax building in Racine, Wisconsin.
Billy Zane was once considered to play the role of Lex Luthor when McG was attached to the project.
McG and Jon Peters tried to get Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Lopez, and Catherine Zeta-Jones for the role of Lois Lane.
Oliver Stone, Michael Bay, Robert Rodriguez, Martin Campbell, Shekhar Kapur, and Stephen Norrington all turned down the chance to direct throughout the ten-year project development.
Promotional material was shipped to cinemas in the UK under the title "Red Sun".
Elements of the film are from a 1993 rough-draft screenplay. The same year DC Comics publishes The Death of Superman. As well as the 55th anniversary for the character.
This was Jack Larson's first film since Johnny Trouble (1957) 49 years earlier.
Luthor's henchman Stanford is played Kal Penn (real name: Kalpen Modi), who has a similar name to Kal-El, Superman's identity in Kryptonian.
Actresses being considered for the role of Lois Lane when McG was to direct included Elisha Cuthbert, Claire Danes and Keri Russell.
The new Panavision Genesis camera was constructed based upon feedback of director Michael Mann and director of photography Paul Cameron during the production of Collateral (2004). The feedback was documented in American Cinematographer, June 2004 issue. It has features that were missed out in previous models (HDR-950) including support of standard 35mm spherical lenses, full color bandwidth, and better ergonomics. Eight units were used for the entire production. Despite being the first movie to use this camera, other titles including Click (2006) and Scary Movie 4 (2006) were shot later but released earlier.
The building used for the exterior shots of the bank robbery scene is University House in Newcastle, Australia, which is home to the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music (among other schools of the University of Newcastle). Francine Bell, who portrays one of the news anchors in the film, is a well-loved voice-tutor at Newcastle Conservatorium, although none of her scenes were filmed at University House.
Contains 1,400 VFX shots
The production of the film occupied seven sound stages and two workshops for eight months at Fox Studios, Sydney in 2005.
The two fighter planes escorting the space plane are Lockheed Martin F-35s. At the time of the release the F-35 was still in production. The first real F-35 would not fly until December 2006, nearly six months after the release of the film.
This is the first film to use the Panavision Genesis HD camera. Developed jointly by Panavision and Sony, it was the latest of the specific 24p HD used by the likes of George Lucas and Robert Rodriguez, among others.
In the scene after the kryptonite is removed from Superman's back, the date over the headline SUPERMAN DEAD on The Daily Planet reads: VOL. LXII, NO. 34 FRIDAY SEPTEMBER, 29TH 2006 35 CENTS.
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Jack Larson:  the original Jimmy Olsen from Adventures of Superman (1952), appears as a bartender who serves to Clark and Jimmy.
Noel Neill:  as Gertrude Vanderworth. She played Lois Lane in several 1940s and '50s productions, and played Lois Lane's mother in Superman (1978).
Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris:  the two writers of the screenplay make an appearance as school kids making notes as Lex Luthor arrives to steal the meteorite and shoos them away.
Guy Hendrix Dyas:  Production Designer: one of the journalists of Daily Planet who first notices the tremor at the building.


The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Numerous homages to the original Superman (1978) film include:
  • The appearance of Superman in the silver suit right after crashing back to Smallville is a direct nod to the Kryptonian costumes of 1978 which were made out of a screen material that, despite it's glow, appeared dark gray when not properly lit.

  • The truck which Martha drove during the opening was the exact truck used for the first movie. The producers managed to find that truck and rented it for use.

  • After Superman stops the airplane crash, he says to the passengers (including Lois Lane), "I hope this doesn't put any of you off flying. Statistically speaking, it's still the safest way to travel." Superman said the same thing to Lois after rescuing her from the helicopter crash in the original. And, as in the first movie, Lois faints just after Superman flies away.

  • There is a framed photograph of Glenn Ford (Jonathan Kent from the 1978 film) on the piano during the reunion scene at the Kent farm. In a deleted scene from Clark's bedroom, more photos of Ford can be seen. These were created by the graphic design team during the film's production, as seen in Bryan Singer's on-line video journal #21 "In Graphic Detail", and were digitally enhanced to include Eva Marie Saint as Martha and young incarnations of Clark.

  • Marlon Brando posthumously reprises his role as Jor-El with some help from VFX. Rhythm & Hues took footage from the 1978 movie and hand-modeled and animated a CG-replica of his face upon the footage. It was then textured and new mouth shapes were then animated onto the model.

  • After Lex Luthor and his gang steal the meteorite at the museum, a broken glass has the year 1978 written with the description of the meteorite; which was also the same year the first Superman came to theaters. Not only did it say 1978, but it had "Addis Ababa" above the year, which is where Lex Luthor found the kryptonite meteorite.

  • After showing Lois Lane why he thinks the world needs a savior, Superman returns Lois Lane back to the roof of the Daily Planet. Subsequently, the original film's musical motif "Can You Read My Mind", when Superman first took Lois for a flight, can be heard.

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