The polar bear shot was meant to be in a studio
[Note: Long-time Super-producer Jon Peters has wanted an armed polar bear fight outside the Fortress of Solitude in a Superman movie, and in Man Of Steel, he finally gets his wish. Well, in a way...]
Zack Snyder: "Unfortunately there was no battle. It was funny because when I was drawing the storyboards I was laughing to myself, drawing the thing. We didn’t shoot it but I had drawn it as this dolly move where we were with a polar bear and he’s lumbering across the ice and he finally jumps and leaps and splashes into the water. It proved to be a lot more difficult to photograph than I had imagined, and I definitely did not want to do a CG polar bear.
"So in the film that is IMAX footage that we got from this documentary about the polar regions. They spent six months on a Russian icebreaker looking for polar bears and we just weren’t gonna do that. We had it worked out that we were going to bring the polar bear and put all these ice floes on stage and shoot him with a green screen behind.
"We were training him physically to leap - we were training a polar bear to jump from ice floe to ice floe. It was also dangerous to film him. There’s only one guy who has a polar bear in Canada, and as we talked to him about it, things got more and more dodgy. It sounded really easy at first. He was like, ‘Oh yeah, just put him over there and he’ll jump in, but no one can be in the room, and you have to put these electric things around so he won’t murder everyone.’ I said, ‘Has this bear been trained? Are we safe?’ And he said, ‘You’re safe. Unless of course he sees you, or he notices something shiny like a flash of light or something.’ In film production, that stuff happens all the time. So he goes, ‘Yeah, there is a chance he could maul us all but...’ And I said, 'Maybe this is not what we should be doing.' Then we found the footage and it was okay."