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Interview: Bryan Singer for Superman Returns

By Paul Fischer Friday June 16th 2006 02:42PM

Bryan Singer may have had pressure to appease X-Men fans when he brought X-Men to the silver screen, but as he confessed to Paul Fischer, mutants pale in comparison when it comes to a Man of Steele, Lois Lane and a bald-headed villain named Lex.

Question: How does it feel to have finally accomplished this dream of yours, to make a movie as a fan of the comic strip?

Singer: At the moment, I'm very physically exhausted. I don't have much perspective, unlike the actors and a lot of the other participants who've wrapped up, last night, finally, I finalized my last CBB we call them, visual effects shots 'could be better' and that's, last night was the last one and, we just did a shot to honour the last shot and I was at a film house all the night before trying to make sure you had a film to see.

Question: So how much perspective are you allowed to give yourself as a film maker when you are also an ardent fan and there's so much history riding on this?

Singer: It's a delicate balance which I learned while making the first two X-Men films. It's just, and I hope I succeeded, but it's a constant balance

Question: This one has more riding on it than X-Men. You must be terrified.

Singer: Constantly, constantly debating nostalgia over, what an audience today expects from Superman and what people who grew up with the character expect from Superman. I want this to be a movie that teenagers will go and say, "Wow it's cool". They've never seen things like this happen on a screen before but at the same time I want a grandparent to be able to bring their grandkids to go see it. Each has a special unique experience and you're never going to please everybody all the time but when it comes to Superman, you've got to please a lot of people.

Question: Were you a little disappointed that the film has been cut down from its original two hours and 45 minutes?

Singer: No, not at all. I don't desire to have exceedingly long movies. I've never made exceedingly long movies. The first X-Men was 80 minutes or something like that. What happened was, I had this cut and it was time to now sit with an audience and it's what I call a friends and family screening where a number of people sit there, and as I'm watching it, I looked at certain things in it and felt certain things and one of those was really tough because it was a return-to-Krypton sequence, a whole sequence in space, very expensive, elaborate sequence but in the context of this movie, it just didn't it just wasn't necessary and it wasn't important and afterwards it could live in some other dimension, somewhere we could show it.

Question: Could it be on DVD?

Singer: Well, yes, and also in 3D. It would be amazing in 3D and what Imax has done, this has been my latest, and I don't want to get into what ... because I don't know if I could or how I could do that, but I think it could exist in the future but in the context of the movie, that and a few other pieces just were not right, and when you feel it in the audience and you've got, it and you just look at your friends and sit down and ask for straight answers from friends you trust and you say, "OK, boom, boom, boom" and those 15 or 20 minutes came out like, no problem.

Question: Talk about the casting process for a movie like this, and the particular challenge you have in casting a very iconic, actors to play very iconic characters.

Singer: Well because they exist in your collective consciousness, I found it better in the case of Wolverine and also Superman, is casting people who are not necessarily recognised or well-known therefore it isn't such and such playing Superman or Wolverine. And it's not any, through any original wisdom on my part.

Question: Christopher Reeve

Singer: Casting Christopher Reeve - same age, same situation, different background but different circumstances.

Question: While you were doing Superman, you were very busy doing previews on Logan's Run, you put a lot of time and effort on that, writing. Are you or are you not going to direct Logan's Run?

Singer: At the moment I'm not, at the moment I'm buying myself sort of a vacation of the mind. I need to because this film and all the things I was doing simultaneously with this film were a monumental stress to me, both physically and mentally and as of last night, the last CBB, I'm, I need to take a, I need to do a tour and talk and things and I'm more than happy and excited to do that because I'm proud of the movie, but I have to take a mental break and actually not have any scheduled demands. Something comes up, and on vacation so I'll probably want to go back to work at some point but for that movie, that's a huge movie, potentially a huge movie and I was not ready to dive into it.

Question: Following up on that actually, you talked about how exhaustive this process was, you even had to take some time off during the production.

Singer: Yeah, I wrapped up a little early and I came back.

Question: Is there anything you could have done to lessen that exhaustion? A movie like this

Singer: Yeah, absolutely. Well, half and half, part of it is just exhausting, you just have to deal with it. Two, I could not have produced a six-hour mini series for the Sci Fi network, I could have not had a series on the air and I could have not been producing other, developing other things and dealing with the global brown management of the character which I feel very responsible for and I want to make sure images and objects are all done right or I could have not produced a documentary. I could have also built in a break time in the middle and I should have done that, and that's why at about day 95 I said, I have to stop because I'm going to start wasting money. And contrary to what you might read in the paper, this was a pretty fiscally-responsible movie and made it, and things, and I feared that I was starting to shoot things that weren't going to be in it. I needed to step back from the movie so on day 107 I came home, exhausted, and just took a little time to look at the movie and then went back to Australia and finished it up, which was really, really, it worked out really well because I ended up shooting one day of pickups in Los Angeles. We had one day with Brandon on stage, close-up and a pan, then another close-up.

Question: The sequel, now, you've obviously learned a lot during this. Making the sequel would obviously be a lot less demanding do you think?

Singer: I hope so but you want to of course top yourself. I tried to do that with X-Men and make a bigger, better movie, so I'd probably try, ultimately try and do the same thing so who knows how difficult it would be.

Question: And will you come back?

Singer: I don't know . Unlike actors who sign multi-pictures, I do these things one at a time because you never know how you'll feel after you're done and you don't want to commit yourself so right now I just need to, we're discussing it, and we're discussing if and when that would be, and that's another reason why Logan's Run makes it difficult because of the scope of the two movies. I just don't know, I just don't know.

Question: Was Australia a cost-effective thing?

Singer: Very much, cost.

Question: Would you go back again?

Singer: Yeah, sure.

Question: What was, what are the advantages of shooting there?

Singer: Weather, weather, money and a great crew, great crew. I mean our crew was amazing. And then I got a lot of folks off Kong, New Zealanders coming in and great Australian crew and they're phenomenal.

Question: What did you think about X-Men 3?

Singer: I loved it, it's great. I thought it was great. You've got so many characters that have to be serviced and then you have to introduce new characters. It is a monumental task and on that level I was incredibly impressed. Then I saw it, it was fun, I had a great night seeing it because I ran into Brett who was theatre hopping.

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