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Man Of Steel Producers Interview: Charles Roven And Deborah Snyder
Should we expect ice breath in Man Of Steel 2?

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Zack Snyder's wife and producing partner, Deborah Snyder, was joined by long Super-producer Charles Roven to help make Man Of Steel happen, and in the following interview they suffer the slings and arrows of the Empire Podcast interviewing process to talk Krypton, 'cape culture' and cellophane glyphs...

Man Of Steel Producers Interview: Charles Roven And Deborah Snyder

Why was now the right time for Superman to return?
Deborah Snyder: Well I think it's about time that this character was made relevant to a whole new generation. There's a generation of kids that are wearing T-shirts with the glyph but don't necessarily know the Superman story. And it is the 75th anniversary as well...

Charles Roven: We also really wanted to make sure that we brought the character and made him more relatable. When Superman started about 75 years ago, as Debbie said, it was a much more innocent time when things were more black and white as opposed to... complicated. So we felt that the character, in order to resonate better, needed to be brought into a new century. We needed to give him some challenges that were reflective of our times.

Snyder: I also feel like for the first time we're seeing his struggle to do good. That sometimes when you are doing good, it's difficult. And sometimes when you are different, you get bullied as a child. There are a lot of struggles that he faces. That's something that an audience member can grab on to because maybe they know what it's like to be bullied or they know what it's like to be lost in the world or looking for their place. So I think that makes him really interesting in this version of the movie.

And was that part of the reason to bring Krypton in it more, because we see him much more torn between two worlds. I mean that's like a major theme of this film is he's got to make a choice.
Roven: Exactly, and it's a complicated choice as I said earlier. In the past there hasn't been any decision really: there's good, there's evil, let's combat evil. Here even though the methods might be questionable, the point of view of Zod is at least worthy of discussion, as when you get down to it he's trying to save his race, his people.

How big were the goosebumps when you first heard the score?
Snyder: Huge! I think that Hans did an amazing job and I think that sometimes the simplicity of parts of the score just resonate so emotionally. That piano theme for Clark, to me, it's simple at times and then it builds as he becomes Superman. It's almost like the music goes on this same journey as the character.

Roven: I have to say Hans is a genius, and he really goes to amazing lengths to create originality in his scores both in terms of how he musically links notes but how in terms of the sounds that he tries to create. I really recommend for everybody to get the deluxe edition because on it there are several videos into the mind of Hans and how he creates some of those sounds. It's really fascinating.

Did you have any Easter Eggs that you snuck in in particular or did you just leave it to those guys?
Snyder: I think we all talked about them.

Roven: Always.

Snyder: David had some in the script, Zack as he draws would come up with something and he would run them past us, 'What do you think?' And we'd be like 'Ooh, that seems cool.' It's always nice to have those little things that maybe people don't notice right away and then they see after maybe a second viewing or someone catches it, and that's kind of fun.

How did you go about getting such an impressive cast? Kevin Costner turns in a particularly impressive performance, for example...
Snyder:
We actually did talk about the ice breath and it didn't seem as cool as the heat. I mean, maybe later, hopefully, at some point if this movie does well.
Yeah, and it's amazing because his screen time actually is not that large but his performance and what he does resonates so much that you feel him through the entire movie. We just got so lucky. The combination of having this character that has sustained for 75 years that has touched so many people but also the script that David Goyer wrote with really rich characters, we were pinching ourselves when everyone was signed on to do it, we couldn't believe we were getting this cast.

Roven: I have to say I think a lot of that has to do with Zack, also, because everybody realises what an amazing visualist Zack is and how amazing his action set pieces are. But he was the one in the room that got those amazing actors to see his vision and they signed on. He is really great with those characters.

Were certain powers, such as ice breath, always off the table?
Snyder: We actually did talk about the ice breath and it didn't seem as cool as the heat. I mean, maybe later, hopefully, at some point if this movie does well, maybe there could be things that happen in the future but you couldn't do everything in one movie.

Roven: We really wanted to focus on those powers that were relevant to telling a story.

So there's no grabbing a cellophane S off his chest and then throwing it at people like a discus then?
Roven: That's not even in any portion of the cut. No you don't have to worry about that!

Snyder: A lot of people have asked, 'What's your favourite superpower?", and X-Ray vision isn't something that I'd wanna see. It's kind of scary!

How did you deal with Zod's past?
Roven: Well again, once we took the leap to say we were going to try and re-imagine the character of Superman we know that from the pantheon of guys that he had to grapple with - nemeses, villains, antagonists... whatever you want to call them - we were going to have to pick one for this particular story, and he seemed to be the perfect one for where the story needed to go, the choice that Clark has to make, why he has to make those choices, and we feel that the film and the script did a great job of creating an individual Zod that's very different from what Terence was doing.

Snyder: We couldn't just be like, 'Oh, we'll take a little bit from this and from that". It had to be, 'No, this is the beginning, the new beginning.'

I think a problem for Superman on the comic book page over the years has been that he's so powerful that it's actually quite hard to come up with a credible threat. And the great thing about having another Kryptonian is that that immediately solves that problem. Lex Luthor, for all his machines and all his brainpower, he's a guy, and Superman could if he wanted squish him. Whereas Zod, that's a force to be reckoned with.
Roven: That was also definitely a factor in the decision, so I mean all roads led to Zod and the Kryptonians who surround him. Particularly Faora, who we think is a really also extremely interesting character.

How involved were you in created Krypton?
Snyder: Alex McDowell, our production designer who we worked with on Watchmen, is really great about all the detail. The depth of creating the world and the details make it so you're so immersed that you just believe it. And that was everything from the costumes, making sure that his suit related to other people on Krypton - it was a cape-culture. We created a Kryptonian language with these linguists we hired and they came on board and there's actually some worlds scrawled in various places on the sets. To me that was really fun to see this place that we haven't seen before, to come up with these creatures.

Roven: We needed a Kryptonian language because of course they would their own language, and if there's a glyph on Superman's chest, well, where did it come from? So it's the symbol of the house of El but Zod's got his symbol and Faora's got her symbol and so on and so forth. But once we knew Krypton was exploding, we had to work out what was the source of the problem on that planet. We wanted to not only make it relevant to that planet we wanted to somehow tie it back to our planet.

I mean, you mention cape culture and I've got to say we've all seen The Incredibles, featuring Edna Mode the designer, who said said, 'No capes!' And it does cause him a couple of problems in this movie.
Snyder: So here's the thing, when we took on the problem of 'What do we do with the suit?', the one thing that we all agreed upon is that it had to be recognisably Superman, you had to be like, "That's Superman." We felt like certain things could be changed but we felt like the cape was a very important part of the suit. The colours were a very important part, so we couldn't change that, and yes there's been much debate about the underwear outside the costume and we tried really hard for that but that kind of fell by the wayside.

Roven: But we did keep the red boots.

Interview by Helen O'Hara

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