Zack Snyder to Take a Different Approach with ‘Superman’

Visionary director Zack Snyder took some questions about his upcoming Superman movie at a recent press junket for his latest film Sucker Punch and had some interesting things to say about his approach. So far in his career we’ve seen Snyder do a lot of surreal, ultra violent, ultra stylized action stuff. That’s fun and all in its proper context, but it doesn’t explain how it got him the job of making a Superman movie. When asked about what his approach to this film would be, Snyder said, “I feel like, I mean I’ve said to the studio that this will probably be the most realistic Superman movie ever made. It takes place in the real world much more than [my previous films]… I mean, I’ve just never had the subject matter that needed that, you know what I mean? Like everything I’ve done up to this point really has the benefit of existing in a stylized world.”

When the project was first being put together, word was that Christopher Nolan was overseeing it and it was going to take a similar approach to the material that he took when making Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. While Nolan is a pretty universally beloved filmmaker, it seemed like the studio was missing the boat. Just because gritty and street level worked for Batman doesn’t mean it’s going to work for Superman. They’re two completely different characters. And once Snyder’s name was attached to the project, it fanned the flames even more that this was going to become some sort of weird, dark version of the Superman mythos.

When asked if he’s following the lead of what Nolan did with Batman, Snyder says, “I wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, that’s what Chris did with Batman…’, but I’m just saying that makes sense to me for the character. Because I’d say that the thing that makes him real, and the thing that makes Superman awesome, is if you feel like he’s real, what makes him real is that he exists in a world that you can say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve been to that grocery store, I’ve been to that.’” Okay, so while Snyder seems to be harping on cultivating a sense of realism, he’s yet to use the words “gritty” or “dark” to describe his approach to the material. I’d say that’s a good sign, and a pretty decent indication that he “gets” Superman.

When talking about the actors cast, he once again brought the subject around to realism, “I think the thing you realize when you look at Diane and Kevin (Lane and Costner), in our decision to cast them so far, you sort of get a sense of how tonally we’re looking at the movie, and what you realize is that those guys are serious actors, and we’re taking this shit fucking seriously in terms of the tone of having those guys. You’re talking about having a situation where whatever the action is or whatever the drama of the movie is, our first priority is to make sure it’s rendered in the most realistic way we can get at.”

It sounds to me like Snyder is taking the right approach to this material. I’m kind of reassured about where this film is headed after reading these comments, though I’m still not sure how many more super hero movies I need to see in the near future. I feel like in the last ten years we’ve gotten enough for a couple lifetimes. What do the readers think? Are you guys still excited for upcoming DC and Marvel stuff like this? Also, for more info about why Superman’s parents are so young and what Snyder thought about All Star Superman, head over to i09 and read the rest of the comments.

Weaned on the genre films of the 80s. Reared by the independent movement of the 90s. Earned a BA for writing stuff in the 00s. Reviews current releases at

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