T Nation

Superman 5 - Warner Bros. FINALLY makes it Official..

After days and days of speculation and crazy rumors, Warner Bros has finally made a official announcement. Here it is my fellow T-kiddies:

"Warner Bros. has just issued a press release confirming that Brett Ratner will be the director of the new Superman movie, to be produced by Jon Peters from a script by J.J. Abrams. Jeff Robinov, the studio's president of domestic production, made the announcement this evening.

"J.J. Abrams and Jon Peters were given the daunting task of re-imagining the Superman epic and J.J. met the challenge, delivering a terrific script with emotion, depth and scale that bring new dimension to this legendary character. We couldn't be more pleased to entrust the next chapter in the Superman mythology to Brett Ratner, a dynamic director whose skillful blend of action, comedy and drama has captured the imaginations of audiences worldwide," said Robinov in the press release.

"Superman is an American icon and a timeless hero who shares a rich history with Warner Bros.," commented Alan Horn, president, Warner Bros. "We are very happy to be working with Brett, Jon and J.J. on this important new chapter in the Superman legacy."

The press release describes the new Superman film as a "re-imagining of the Superman legend" no less than twice.

SO, it's a re-imagining of the Superman story. Uh-huh and we ALL know what re-imagining did for Planet of the Apes. Oh, and folks, what it took to get from the VERY first announcement made about Abram's script to Warner Bros' announcement today, could very well make for a interesting movie. Yowza.

What I think will be interesting then, especially in light of the American Icon
status and in relation to events post Sept 11, is whether they beat the movie to death with overdone patriotic pro-US symbolism.

Question: Are movies like Superman, the correct place to go on a patriotic rampage??

Just my opinion, if they do any re-imagining, it should follow the same path that the show Smallville has taken. I don’t watch much television but I like that show more than most simply because of the thought that goes into each story line. They “re-imagined” Batman, The Mod Squad, and just like what you said about Planet of the Apes, to me they sucked. Why change up tradition just to be changing it? They stuck to the story for Spiderman and it paid off big time. They stuck with the script for X-Men and it worked. Why fix what isn’t broken?

Patricia, it is worse than you think. I do not know if you have read the blistering online script review that Moriarty did over at AICN, but the web film community has been massively up in arms over this for the last few days. The comic and film geek legions are pretty much foaming at the mouth over Abrams first draft. Moriarty’s review is worth a read, but it is probably too early to tell how the movie will turn out. If you have not already read it, check it out at www.aint-it-cool .com (take out the space after cool, if the forum trashes the special characters, the characters between aint, it, and cool should be dashes). The story is under the Moriarty of SUPERMAN headline. Should be an interesting few months.

Oh, Prof. X: there is talk even of ending “Smallville” early - since the series puts a dent into the story of “Superman 5”. And I LOVE “Smallville”. Great show. But, before you can say, “wha…the f^%k?” Here’s that synopsis:

First of all, the blame begins with "Spider-Man". Due to the unbelievable amount of cash this movie has wrought - worldwide - studio executives brains started to tingle with ideas of ANOTHER superhero franchise to begin or resurrect. Since Warner Bros. owns DC Comics, they have a huge opportunity here to bring the following to the big screen: Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Batman and Superman.

SO, the project that began a year ago and was unceremoniously dumped, Batman vs. Superman was brought back into action. Wolfgang Peterson was signed as director and "voilah" - things started happening.

Or so we thought. JJ Abrams submitted his script for Superman Lives(aka, Superman 5). And WB execs gathered to discuss: "Which has MORE franchise potential?" Their inevitable answer? Give Wolfgang the boot and director's duty for "Troy" and move on with Superman 5.

Ah, but then Lorenzo di Bonaventura, the studio's president of worldwide production announced his decision to leave WB. Due to inside creative conflicts. And this JUST keeps getting better!

A power play began with WB execs to gain Lorenzo's recently vacated position. This power struggle is going on even as I write this. And is the primary cause of so many conflicting reports regarding Abram's script (as in negative reviews), to who's going to don the red and blue suit.

McG had already been tied as director to Superman. However his duties with Charlie's Angel 2 wouldn't allow him to commit fully. SO, Michael Bay was thrown a "feeler" - like a "read this script, what do you think? Wanna direct?". And he has worked with Abrams before: on Armegeddon. Bay passed.

Even M. Night Shyamalan approached WB to wanting to discuss HIM directing Superman. And Joel Silver (one of H-Town's more powerful producers), got wind of this project and wanted to be involved. Which is where the Keanu Reeves as Superman rumor came from. You can't blame Silver, he produced two of WB's most successful franshices: Lethal Weapon and The Matrix (which starred Reeves). Why not get a piece of the pie from the strong possibility of a Superman success?

OH! But here is the GOOD one about "Smallville." The series (NOW beginning it's second season on WB) based on Clark Kent's humble beginnings in the small town of which the series' is named. A great show, indeed. Despite the critical and ratings success, it "violates the continuity" established in the movie and there is now talk of ending this show prematurely. To end this show, it would leave the field wide open for Superman 5's success at the box office (this is the thinking of the WB execs).

Here are three things listed by an "inside source" of what is definitely known about the Abrams Superman script:

* Abrams script infringes on Superman's comic book origins;

* Abrams script has Superman fight "his cousin", and Lex Luthor is an alien;

* Novelist/screenwriter Michael Chabon is currently rewriting Abrams script.

I have since read that Chabon has denied that last tidbit. Oh, the crazy web that H-Town LOVES to weave!

Oh yeah, I am thoroughly aware of Moriarty’s review on AICN. It has desiminated a tidlewave of criticism, objections, derangement among the comic book world. The review was also online BEFORE WB’s official announcement. I thought it was rather early for AICN to be stepping in at this point - but then AICN has not been all that reliable of late. I think Harry has been distracted…

I think you’re right about AICN slipping. My guess is that they are the victims of their own success. Drew seems to be concentrating on his screenplay (rightly so), and Harry seems to be more concerned with various perks and his own press than really digging out the cool news. On the Superman front, I think it’s a bit irresponsible for them to suggest that fans go after JJ Abrams with pitchforks and torches at an unrelated event (which they basically did in today’s article). While the draft Moriarty reviewed is pretty odd, and takes some (possibly unforgivable) liberties with the characters, Abrams has done a good job with Alias, and seems to have an idea how to put together a story. If they can fix some of the egregious problems, and keep the good stuff (even Moriarty thought some of the script was golden), they may have a shot at something interesting. We’ll see.

JayM: Agreed (about Abrams’ script and AICN). I think, while being completely aware of the Superman movies by Richard Donner, he’s (Abrams) trying to do something a little different with the origin of Supes storyline. Maybe give it a “modernistic” appeal?

I had also read on a comic book studio's message board that Abrams has created a sort of "Dawson Creek Superman". Which makes me twinge. But I think this guy has based his opinion exactly on the Moriarty review, which was during that time of unrest BEFORE WB's official statement.

I'm choosing to wait and see. Afterall, we have Daredevil, Spider-Man 2, X-Men 2 to look forward to in the meantime. That'll keep me busy......

I don’t know who coined the term reimagined but many comic book heroes have had their origins retold many times. Spiderman’s was retold a few times and Superman’s has been done probably a dozen official times. Compare the 1938 Superman to the Silver Age Superman. It wasn’t until the 1940’s that Superman had heat vision, flight, and an origin. Compare Byrne’s revamp to the other origins. Smallville, which is a terrific show, has many similarities to that. Elseworlds open up a whole new can of worms. There have been Elseworlds where Lex Luthor was and alien. I can think of one which he was the ultra humanite (good story) and one in which he was really Jor-El (crappy story). So yes we should be concerned when it comes to re-imagining but it’s also an integral part of comic book story telling.

Superman was offered to Michael Bay at one point in this process but he turned it down. Would have loved to see that. As far as the current Supe script that’s on the table, I hear its horrendous, equipped with Lex coming from Krypton and being able to fly too.

Good points, Natt. I’m willing to bet that Abrams can pull it together. I have faith in his abilities - hell, I LOVE Alias (season premiere, BTW, is THIS Sunday night). What he’s done with the whole spy genre is turn is upside down and recreate it with this one series. And he’s done that so well.

I've got more news here:

Re: The Two Towers. Entertainment Tonight will be airing the brand new TT trailer TONIGHT.

Here's a juicy tidbit about "The Hulk". Josh Lucas (Major Talbot in The Hulk, also in Sweet Home, Alabama), talked about the CGI Hulk: "If it works, and I can't imagine that it won't because of Ang Lee, it will be revolutionary. It is revolutionary. "What you have here is a being that ranges in size, that will be in a room, involved in a space like this, where you see ? computer-generated ? that he has emotions. That his eyes are alive. He's got feelings. He's got terror. It's the technology of Jurassic Park times twenty. It's the same people who did that. But rather than that, here we have a real beast. You have a real being. And the way that they're doing it is incorporating emotions."

Danny Elfman is a busy man (as usual) he's scoring responsibilities are now with Chicago and just recently, Red Dragon.

Just read three horrible reviews (from private screenings), on The Tuxedo, Jackie Chan's next.

BACK to Superman 5: "Superman News" has just published a report on how WB is furious at AICN's (specifically Moriarty's report) review of the script. Go here to read more: http://www.deceptions.net/ superman/news/index.htm (space at "/" and "superman")

A interesting review of "Rules of Attraction" here: http://www.filmjerk.com/ reviews/rules.html (space at "/" and "reviews")

Eric Bana, who will be Bruce Banner in The Hulk, has now been cast as the Trojan Prince, Hector for the big screen flick, "Troy". He'll be joining Brad Pitt as Achilles.

And, I think this is good news: A draft for The Punisher has been turned in.

Come on kids, Superman is a wuss. Now, the Wonder Twins…