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Monday, February 13, 2006


SAN FRANCISCO -- Following the Superman Returns panel on Saturday, star Brandon Routh and director Bryan Singer sat down with about 30 media members to discuss the film.

Following is an edited transcription of that press conference

Question: Could you talk about how you two came together and how the process?

Singer:My process began with seeing Brandon and an early tape he had done previously for the role, a screet test actually, and then a tape of him doing another role with lines I was familiar with. And then we had a meeting at a coffee shop and talked for a couple of hours about the character and his history, which is good for me, because when I get to know the person and help find the traits within the person that apply to the character, and that sort of my deciding moment, although I didn't share it for several months to cast Brandon. And then we started talking about the process...

Routh: As we talked more, we understood each other more, which is a big thing. We talked a lot about, whether we sat down for two hours or in passing, we talked about scenes. Every couple days, we'd update and or I come back. We talked about decisions that Clark was making of Superman was making. So that was a big part of growing.

What was great was that nothing was ever set in stone. There was always room for change, for new things to happen on the day. It might have been doing a scene five or six times one way and it just wasn't working and we stopped and figure out what it was we needed to change.

Singer: There was a lot of discussion on the physics Superman -- what is hard for him to lift, what is effortless and to what levels of effort different things were. That was always a point of conversation. In theory, his strength can be somewhat infinite, but an actor has to embody that.

Routh: You don't want everything he lifts to look the same.

Singer:Or how you fly...

Routh:Or take off or turn.

Question: How much re-shooting did you have to do?

Singer: There were none. We're probably going to do one day of pickup in Los Angeles. What I did was I switched my schedule. I had shot for about 105 or 107 days, and originally I was going to shoot for 128 or 130 days. Instead, I stopped. I was so exhausted and the process was so long, I started to lose my objectivity. I shortened the schedule, and stopped shooting after what I believe was 107 days and came back to Los Angeles for about 3 1/2 week and then went back and finished the schedule in Sydney.

I think there's one thing I may go pick up, but it would be an afternoon. It's the least amount of pickups, I guess re-shoots you would say, since Usual Supsects.

Question: It's a misperception then...

Singer: There's been a number of misperceptions. I'll throw another one day you. Some idiot wrote somehwere that the movie was $250 million, which is the most absurd thing I've ever heard.

I'll tell you exactly. The movies was budgeted at $184.5 million. And we'll probably climb, with visual effects and variables that occur with a movie of this magnitude with 1,400 visiual effects, to still south of 200 million, which is a great deal of money, but it's by no means what was published. I'll dispell that.

It was just an irresponsible journalist at a paper. I can tell you which one.

Question: It was a total fabrication?

Singer: It's an idiot journalist at a paper. At a specific trade that I'm trying not to name. I don't know what, if he was talking about Australian dollars or something.

Question: Brandon, what's it like being turned into action figure?

Routh: It was easy. Acutally it wasn't, now that I think about it. It was kind of a process because I did a lot of body molds and body scans. A lot of information went into make the figures.

They came to me to approve heads, the Mattel head, and apparently since it has to fit on the neck piece, they had to make the jaw bigger. I said, "My jaw's not quite that boxy." But there are some things they can't get past.

But I think everything looks pretty good. Although one of the hardest parts of the job is to make sure things look like me. I have approval of certain things. Sometimes, they're very good and sometimes they have to come back. It's dissecting my face, and going, "Well, that's not right" and "Am I being objective?"

Singer: Actually, I was pretty impressed. Very often they would bring me stuff for me to approve, head pieces, casts, image likeness for merchanding and process, and they'll have given me your nose. And ultimately Brandon's not tasking the likeness of himself, it's the likeness of Superman.

Routh: If the cape is right, if the belt is curved up and rather than flat like it's supposed to be.

Question: Brandon, as a young actor, what was it like working with Kevin Spacey?

Routh: Well, Kevin was great. Kevin would say a couple of times, "Isn't this a crazy life that we have that we get to be actors?" He was living a hectic schedule. He was there for a month, I think, and then he had run out the door after finishing.

We played his going-away video and everybody was like, "Congratulations, wrap on Kevin," and then had to fly to London to be in a play.

The times that we got to talk were nice. It's a great thing to be able to work with that caliber of an actor in my first film. The whole cast was pretty great.

Question: Kevin Smith and JJ Abrams both are at WonderCon and had worked on scripts for Superman. Had you spoken to either of them?

Singer: Kevin, I've known for years, but I haven't spoken to him since the movie yet. I have seen him here. (To Routh) And you talked to JJ today. What'd he say?

Routh: He just said he's excited to see the movie. And that he was excited to meet me as well. In a sense, he was part of the beginning of this process for me because when I came on it was his script. So my first incarnation of developing Superman under any kind of camera was under that script.

Question: Even the original Superman had some campy humor in it. How do you approach that?

Singer: There's a bit of a nod to that. One of the reasons I cast Kevin is because he has this wonderful ability to bridge the line between whimsical humor and sadism in his performance. And with Lex, it's kind of fun to be able to explore both those sides.

Of the films I've made, this is certainly the most humorous and romantic. And a lot of that, is like Brandon was saying, with layers of paint of the incarnations of Superman, so that's a holdover from the Richard Donner interpretation. But we also have potential for a more sadistic Lex.

But there's a bit of it. We walk the line.

Routh: There are nice pieces in there, nice homages, without being too much.

Question: Bryan, can you talk about how you're dealing with the expectations for this film, both creatively and commercially?

Singer:First and foremost, I'm trying to make a good film. And try to be open about the process; we had an Internet presence. Your core audience is your fans and you work your way out from that.

But really, I'm just trying to make a good film. If the film's good, then people will feel their expectations are somewhat met.

I'm not trying to compete with anything. So I'm not trying to remake Superman: The Movie. That's why this puts that in history; it's a sequel if you will.

Question: What was the overriding core you were going for with the movie?

Singer: The time felt right to re-experience the character. That's said often. But my goal is to address and celebrate in some way people's collective memory of the character of Superman and how he has evolved from 1938 to now. And in some way, celebrate that.

Some of that will look familiar physically and emotionally. Some of it will be new. That's the ultimate intention.

Routh: I think there's a lot of discussion if it's the right time. People who were huge fans of Chris Reeve's performance, not wanting anyone else to come in attempts to re-create that, which is not we're doing. But with that, what the most important thing for everyone to learn, is there's always time for change. If you don't allow for change in the world... There's a lot of things that can change for the better. Instead of always thinking that things are always going to change for the worst, there's a different attitude about things.

Especially with a character like Superman, who brings such joy and inspiration to people of the world. It's important to have somebody keep that out in the public, out in the public eye. I think there's always time for Superman.

Question: You have a lot of masters to please. Which is more difficult, the fans or the studio?

Singer: Well, I feel more pressure from the comic community. I serve the comic-book community, and the studio understands my responsibilities and supports me 100 percent.

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