Richard Donner Goes Into Detail About The Making Of ‘Superman The Movie’

Batman V Superman may be a critically maligned and polarizing film, but the good news is that for those who disagree with Henry Cavill’s and Zach Snyder’s version of Superman, there are plenty of on-screen performances to choose from that offer a different take on the caped crusader the Man of Steel. Besides long-time WB series Smallville and the iffy-at-best Brandon Routh vehicle Superman Returns from a decade ago, there is of course the beloved classic Superman starring Christopher Reeve as Superman and Marlon Brando as Jor-El. But the road to that film’s creation was bumpier and crazier than fans may realize, and now director Richard Donner is sharing details from the process for the first time in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

First off, the fact that he got called by producer Alexander Salkind and offered a million dollars on short notice to do the job is crazy enough. But then it gets crazier;

“There was a delivery guy at my door within an hour, with this script that was so thick and big you’d get a hernia from lifting it. And there were other things with [the package], and one of them was the Superman costume. So I sat down and read the script, and it took forever. It was the longest thing I have ever read. It was indulgent and heavy and had no point of view and treated [the comic books] with disrespect.”

It sounds like Donner getting attached to the project is the best thing to happen to everyone involved. The last thing anybody needs is another terrible portrayal of Superman. Besides the process of making the film, Donner gives some more fun details as well that most fans can relate to pretty well.

“I got a little stoned, smoked some weed, put on the Superman costume. I was in pretty good shape then. It was like elastic.”

Who hasn’t gotten high and wanted to put on an official Superman costume? I mean, come on.

“We were running late for the plane, and Mr. Salkind said, “I’ll have my driver take you.” We got into this big Citroen sedan, and the driver was [French president] Charles de Gaulle’s driver! He made it all the way from the Ritz to the airport in, like, 11 minutes.”

Nothing like being shuttled around Paris by De Gaulle’s personal driver. That’s what directing The Omen gets you, folks.

“We were traveling all over. We shot in New York. We shot in Calgary, Canada — which is where Smallville USA was. We had to go there eight months in advance to find the farm where Ma and Pa Kent live and plant rye, so that when we shot, it would be great flowing fields of wheat.”

Planting rye in a field eight months in advance so that it would look like a farm might seem outrageous, especially when there are pre-existing fields of wheat they could have to shoot in, but these details pale in comparison to some of the crazier events that happened while shooting.

Head over to THR for the full story and additional insight into how this could have gone terribly, terribly wrong. From Margot Kidder being forced to direct without contacts to Tom Mankiewicz almost getting stabbed at a dinner party to Christopher Reeve being a skinny blonde kid when he went into the audition, there are behind the scenes details that will entertain any comic book or film fan. What a great way to get Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Lex Luther out of your mind for a few hours.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)