MAN OF STEEL Q&A with Henry Cavill, Zack Snyder, Russell Crowe & David Goyer


MAN OF STEEL's Amy Adams reveals 3-year-old daughter grabbed Superman Henry Cavill's firm behind while Russell Crowe admits he never saw any of the Superman movies during the very entertaining MAN OF STEEL press conference. The cast and filmmakers gathered at the Warner Bros. studio lot to discuss their experience bringing back Superman to the big screen and other funny moments from the making of MAN OF STEEL.

Hear from the new Kal-El Henry Cavill, director Zack Snyder, Russell Crowe and others in this 45-minute Q&A from the MAN OF STEEL press conference. Diane Lane ("Martha Kent"), Michael Shannon ("Zod"), Antje Traue (Zod's lieutenant), screenwriter David Goyer, producers Chuck Roven, Debbie Snyder and composer Hans Zimmerman also joined Crowe, Snyder, and Cavill to answer questions about the movie and how each helped in bringing a different kind of Superman to life.    

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Man of Steel movie General Zod and his henchmen

Q: In deciding what the structure of the movie was going to be and who was going to be the main opposing force in the film, what was it about Zod that made you say 'yeah that's the story I want to tell?

Zack: I think the cool thing about Zod, he offers a real threat to Superman. A physical and emotional threat to Superman that is much stronger then any earth bound threat. He's able not only to match him physically but also represents his people, he's a hard opponent that way.

Q: I enjoyed that Zod had a real reason for doing what he was doing, he had a nice organic reason for what he was doing.

Zack: Michael and I talked about it in the beginning that we wanted Zod to be... his point of view to be pretty clear in that he didn't want anything that possibly...if this was happening to your planet and you were trying to save the people that you loved. what lengths would you go to?

Q: It's a great Lois Lane and it was a Lois Lane we never seen before, can you talk about what attracted you to the part, Amy and how you see this Lois as different from previous ones.

Amy: I grew up watching Superman and loving the characters and I let it be known that when I auditioned several times, this was my third time. So thank you Zack for letting me play Lois. When I talked to Zack about this incarnation of Lois, what I loved was that she was still this intrepid reporter, that she was somebody that was going to be apart of the solution not just part of the problem. She was going to have more of an inner track on Clark and sort of be on the inside as oppose to be on the outside, and I really liked that and I thought that was a very unique idea. I really loved that Zack wanted it to be this really big, amazing film but was also very important to him to focus on the characters and the truth, grounding the characters in reality as much as possible in this amazing world that he created.

Q: What I got from watching the film was the humanizing of these characters and these characters we have seen before. Lois wasn't one dimensional, she was a real person.

Amy: Yeah, he wanted all of the characters to have a really true heart beat and we spent a lot of time talking about that and that impressed me about Zack.

Q: Because music plays a big part in this movie, so personally for Superman what music would be on his iPod? What hip hop music would he listen to to make him feel super?

Zack: You mean like his locker room music?

Henry: That's a really good question and one which I don't really have the answer for right now. Maybe like a whole bunch of Hans Zimmer score.

Zack: Like "Black Hawk Down".

Henry: Yeah, "Gladiator".

Hans: No, I think that's on Russell's iPhone. I don't know, the whole point was that we were trying to give him some custom music I believe and I hope that we succeeded.

Q: Henry there was a lot of CGI but how was it doing the flight scenes? Also you guys are both super heroes and fight in a particular way so was there some martial arts mixed with something different?

Henry: Flight for one…there was a lot of rehearsal involved. When it came to actual super speed flight it was mostly belly pan work. Belly pan is the mold of the front of a persons body and you lie in it and a special gimble created so there's a guy in a green suit and a green screen moving it depending on Zack's direction and I just have to imagine what it's like to fly. We had lots of help from Zack's sort of imagery attached to it and his direction. There was also a lot of wire work that we did during the whole stunt process, that was incredibly complex and the guys tested it amazingly. A guy called Jim Churchman just did a fantastic job on the wires. That was probably the funnest part for me in regards to flying because I got to be 40 feet up in the air and sort of just completely out of control, well someone else's control thank goodness. That was the stuff that made you feel like flight and Superman.

Michael: I think the important thing to remember was that on Krypton Zod does not have any super powers, he's just a General. He's been training for a long time, whooping butt for a long time there on Krypton. Then he comes to Earth and goes through a similar thing that Kal-El goes through when he comes to Earth. It's basically acclimating to the environment. But yeah, Zod has probably be doing those moves since he was a little boy probably.

Q: Antje, have you done a movie before with heavy fight sequences before?

Antje: No I haven't never before. That was probably the biggest movie I've done when it comes to action sequences. It's almost sort of like a dance, it's been choreographed pretty much to every detail and you rehearse that for hours, weeks, and months and then you stand in front of the camera and it's quite amazing when everything comes together, the costume, makeup. It's been an amazing moment.

Man_of_Steel_movie_images2Q: Henry, did you feel some sort of responsibility playing Superman and how did you find your way into this iconic character?

Henry: First I don't think it's about finding my way into an icon. Playing an icon, you don't try to be an icon because that defeats the purpose. The responsibility attached is enormous and the realization that it actually really, really, matters meant that I wanted to put the most amount of work into representing the character properly. That specially applied when I was working out in the gym, when you feel you can't push any harder and you can't lift anymore weight. You think, hold on a second you got to look like Superman there's a whole lot of people out there who are relying on me to be that super hero. So it really helped to push those extra few reps and just become that character.

Q: Clark spent his childhood being told he couldn't fight but is then placed in a situation where he has no choice. How does he break through that?

Henry: He broke through it in the period where gets the sage advice from Jor-El and it's there where he really gets to test himself. When it comes to the fighting aspect, it's not really a matter of choice you have to and when it comes to characters like that, it's not OK now I got to sort of change my thinking and just respond accordingly and that required fighting.

Zack: Don't forget that the first punch that he throws is in defense of his mother so it's not like a....

Henry: It's instinctual

Zack: Yeah

Q: I don't think we have ever seen Kal-El or Clark this conflicted about his existence and who he is. Where any classic Superman material helpful in exploring that and Amy I know you're daughter is only three but what was a bigger deal to her? Superman or the Muppets?

Amy: She really liked Henry in the suit, I have to say. She did try to give him a cheeky grab which was really funny. She wanted to touch the suit and she just happened to be rear-end height and… she's going to kill me when she's older…so she reached out and gave it a little touch. She's really into Muppets. She just saw me in the Muppet Party so today she asked me if I was going to work with the Muppets and Miss Piggy. I would say Muppets, but she's probably on the fence.

Henry: As far as the conflict that he went through or the journey, it wasn't about classic Superman material. So when you see Clark traveling through the world and trying to work out what and who and why he is, I didn't go to source material for that, I just applied my own life to that, as actors it's quite a lonely existence unless you have someone traveling with you the entire time. You spent a lot of time by yourself and you meet new people and you make temporary family and you love them and then you never see them again, potentially apart from the press conference. You just apply that to the character and that's exactly what he experiences. New groups of people constantly and then disappear again and having to introduce himself to these other people and prove to them he's a nice guy and tries to do all the right stuff and all of a sudden disappears again. So it's just that lonely aspect that I apply to it oppose to any classic Superman material.

Russell: I have a question for Chuck. This is a really important question Chuck and I hope you can give me some guidance because children across of America and particularly my children need to know when the Jor-El lego figure will be available?

Charles: I hate to let you down about this but I actually don't have that date but I know it is eminent.

Russell: Apart from the mini-ness, it's a really good likeness.

Charles: By the way your mini fig is amazing. Have you seen your mini fig?

Russell: No

Charles: You'll love it!

Q: Jor-El is pretty involved in this movie compared to the original film where Brando just came in an shot a bit but Jor-El is really the soul of the movie. What was the experience for you just being that?

Russell: I have a confession, mind of just get it out, I've never seen any of the other Superman movies. Haven't seen one with that fellow in it or the new young fellow, I didn't see that either. I didn't have any references in terms of cinematic experiences. The only Superman reference I have is the black and white Superman TV show that was on TV after school when I was a kid. So I really had nothing to draw on. The simple thing for me is I read the script and thought it was a complex and really cool story in and of itself. And I thought the problem that Jor-El faced in terms of his decision as a father was a very interesting thing to do and get involved.

Q: For Zack and David, you both have adapted super hero or comic books before into films, can you talk about the challenges about taking on the Superman franchise and your decision to not include Lex Luthor as a character in this first film?

David: It's a huge challenge, I remember 5 or 6 years ago someone asking me at a Batman junket whether or not I would want to do Superman or not. At the time I said no but it's an enormous responsibility. People have a proprietary relationship with Superman. A lot of people would say that's my Superman but you would think there's the Reeve Superman from the 50's, the Fletcher Superman, Lois and Clark Superman, and the Donner Superman. It's important to respect the iconography and respect the cannon but, Henry was talking about this earlier but at the same time you have to tell a story and once you sort of land on who you think the character is and what his conflicts are, you have to let that lead you and have to throw all that other stuff away and not be worried about this epic responsibility or it will just crush you and paralyze you.

Q: As a writer when you strip it down what do you think is Kal-El's ultimate struggle?

David: For me it was very simple, and it's interesting that this occurred while I was writing this script. It's a story about two fathers. While I was writing this script I became a step dad and a dad and my own dad died. I never thought that my own experiences would find their way into something like this but if you boil it down to that, it's a man with two fathers and he has to decide which kind of linage he has to choose. My Kryptonian father or my Earth father and in the end it's kind of both that make him the man that he becomes.

Q: Henry have you taken anything from other actors that have played him before and how did you want to be different from them?

Henry: I did not take anything from the other characters that played it before. As an actor, the way I do it and the way I viewed is that all the actors that have come before, it's their interpretation of the source material, source material being the comic books. And I wanted to have my interpretation not out of a sense of ego but in a sense that it might be a disjointed performance if I have someone else's personality and their influence affect the interpretation of the character. So I went straight to the comic books and saw the older movies but I did not apply those performances to mine.

Diane Lane and Henry Cavill in MAN OF STEEL

Q: Diane, did you feel your character felt Clark had to keep this secret. What do you think Martha's take is?

Diane: Well the first time she sees the suit is kind of the answer to the question. I love that line that we've managed to come up with where she says 'nice suit son.' Because it's been waiting to be revealed and if anyone is holding their breath anymore than mom. I can't imagine who it would be, talk about your son coming out. It's kind of built in, sorry Chuck. So yeah I'm sort of relived and grateful and a bit overwhelmed by the havoc that it has brought coming out of the collapsed house. I love the metaphor of the family album that one would grab, what does one grab in a tornado or when something like that happens to your home. It's the memories and it's the value system of human life and what is the value system of human life really and the imprint that we provided to Clark.

Q: This question is for Michael Shannon, you have the ability to play evil like no other, where do you go to channel that evilness and who packs a better choreographed punch? Eminem in "8 Mile" or Henry in "Man of Steel?"

Michael: Satan, yeah that's where I go for my evil. I get my bucket and I go down to the well and I say Satan are you down there? I've got to be evil today and I lower the bucket down into the well and the lava comes back up and I drink it and it hurts but then I take some Alka Selzter and some Pepto Bismol. No, I don't know, I really don't know. It couldn't be anything further then who I'm actually am. I'm kind of just a tall, lanky, goofy person and then I do these other things and...I don't even necessarily think of it as evil. I keep cracking my brain and saying was my guy in 8 Mile evil? Why do people keep saying I'm evil? I don't get it. It's like when people say Van Holden, he's so evil, I'm like look at all the other men on Boardwalk Empire, lets line them all up shoulder to shoulder. Now you're telling me that Van Holden is the most evil person on this television program. So I don't really know. In terms of choreographed punches it's no secret to anyone in this room that I'm much stronger then Henry is. There were a lot of ice packs back at the hotel for Henry.

Q: What about you and Russell?

Michael: No Russell. Russell really kicks my butt in this movie. I mean he's the Gladiator so what are you going to do? Oh then 8 Mile, that fight wow what a walk down memory lane. That's more of an awkward fight really. I mean that's that kind of awkward fight you have when you just had sex with some dudes mom.

Q: For Russell and Diane, you played such convincing and heartfelt parents in different places and different times but what did you go to each of you, your own parental skills, your own feelings about your children to get to that point.

Diane: That's a sweet question and a nice one to take a whack at. Well I think in some ways you answered it really well because it's a hybrid of many things but certainly once you're a parent  it inforMichael everything that you do. This is such a unique scenario having an alien come into your barn and raise it and happens to be a very beautiful human specimen. Actually it has a lot of other things going on. You know the challenge and the back story that Zack and Kevin and I really enjoyed  discussing which was not part of the script is imagining what it would be like to temper a young persons attitude adjustment that's required in the rearing of children when they have the powers that Clark has. It was fun having those conversations and you can fill in the blanks and maybe there will be some funny ones written for future story plots. I feel the love that one has for one....once you fall in love with a being that needs you, you imprint and you want it to represent your belief system and how does that manifest and what is sacred to you and that winds up being conveyed eventually when you're not even there to see it. That's the hope of parenthood, so A for effort and there you have it.

Russell: I had a very interesting experience being a father on this movie, I think Zack employed four babies as the recently born Kal-El and unlike my own experiences as a father of two, I've managed to get all the piss and the poo even though I'm pretty slick with a nappy but on this movie I got farted on first and that was OK, pissed on and that was a little bit convenient then the topper happened under those hot lights. It was after lunch, to be expected and I got a handful of the essential Kryptonian material. So I learned a lot, I had new experiences as a parent on this movie that I hadn't previously had so thank you Zack.

Zack: I just want to add to the tapestry of your life as best as I can.

Q: For Mr. Snyder and Mr. Goyer one of the most simple sources of beauty in this film was the non-linear narrative, can you talk about when that came across and how you decided to go that route?

David: Anytime I've been involved in a non-linear story, you start it in a linear manner first just to make sure it makes sense then you chop it up and move it around and that was a process that we started when Zack came on board and some of it shifted as we were moving along.

Zack: I think that it's a cool way're with Clark and he's making his way and you're sort of getting these cool insights into the why of him. I think it's fun to do it in a way...rather then...when he's facing a decision you get to see the why on why she's making those decisions. Presenting it that way allows the momentum of the story to keep going and you also get an insight into the man in a way that is interesting. It serves the movie in a really fun way too.
David: Also I think it was arresting to go from the craft impacting in Kansas into boom 33 years later he's on a Crab boat and just sort of playing with peoples expectations

Q: The film was basically you're guys baby, how do you bring something of this magnitude with 75 years behind it, how do you bring it to life and maintain it and stay true to the vision you had for it?

Debbie: I think when you start thinking about the magnitude of who this character is and how big it is and how big the responsibility is you can really get yourself paralyzed so what you have to do is break it down piece by piece and just look at it as the process. First it was getting the story right and at it's core I think Superman has been around for 75 years because of the story. Then it's about day to day seeing what task is at hand and choosing the right people to bring Zack's vision of it to life. Casting these wonderful people, the right people to bring these characters, to make them alive. Choosing the right composer to making the music as powerful and moving as it should be. I think you just have to look at it day by day piece by piece.

Charles: Obviously a lot of what Debbie says holds true for me as well. I was fortunate that there was already an existing draft of the screen play when I was asked to join the process and was very excited about the potential. Excited  because of the challenge and a bit scared because of the challenge but those....that scareness is what makes something worth doing. We were really, really blessed that we had a, it doesn't happen all the time but we had the exact same vision of what we were trying to accomplish. The vision that we followed which was ultimately Zack's was in concert with everybody working on the movie it was really a great process. In that sense, not withstanding the fact that we shot a huge amount of days even though, almost three times the normal shooting schedule and the post production process because of the visual effects that took an extraordinary amount of time. Doesn't really matter how expensive the movie was you never really have money to get it all done. It was still one of the most pleasurable experiences that I've had because there was never any doubt that we were all pulling in the exact direction.

Q: Do you ever look at stuff on the script and say I don't know how we're going to pull this off, then you figure it out and say I can't believe we pulled that off.

Charles: All the time.

Debbie: Well I think the visual effects, just the action sequences and the fighting and flying that Zack had envisioned and worked on with DJ our visual effects supervisor and Damon out fight choreographer and stunt coordinator, they were so challenging and it was pushing the limits it was built on things we have done in the past but it definitely pushed them further. You do have to have this leap of faith because you set out to have this plan to how it's going to be done and you're moving forward with this plan but you don't exactly know how it's going to end up in the end and you're just relying on all these amazing artist and visual effect houses to pull through and you have faith in them.

Q: Henry can you settle the debate over the internet on how Superman does shave? On a serious note I love the idea that you have to give them hope and it's important because it speaks to those who feel like outsiders.

Henry: I think some things better remain a mystery what would people do otherwise apart from talk about it. I don't necessarily think that he speaks to the outsider alone, he speaks to everyone or that ideal speaks to everyone. We all need hope no matter what century we are in, whatever state of life we are in, whether we are going through tragedy or not. It's just hope that everything will be ok and if it is tragedy and disaster happens I hope we can overcome it. I don't believe it's solely for those who are outsiders and those who think they're alone. It's for every one

Q: It's the first cinematic portrayal of Superman that doesn't fit in and it weird him out that he doesn't fit in and he kind of doesn't want it so watching that struggle was really great.

Zack: Yeah, but you think that Superman...because in your mind you think oh everything is going to be great, he can fly and everything. That's awesome but then you say wait a minute it also makes you different and that's...

Q: Someone said there was no mention of Lex Luther but I thought there was some sort of strong reference.

Zack: What I was going to say about Lex Luther was...there is a kryptonite question too that floats around the Lex Luther question too. Someone asked me there's no Kryptonite and there's no Lex Luther, well OK within the parameters of this story there's no kryptonite or Lex Luther not to say they don't exist in the world. That's an entirely different question.

Q:We keep hearing the term Zack's vision and hearing about this film for a few years. What were the magic words that got you this gig?

Zack: Kickback I think was the word. Debbie and I went and had lunch with Chris [Nolan] and Emma [Nolan] and we talked about this Superman project. I remember the first time when we were setting the meeting it was like hey you guys want to have lunch and if we talk about Superman is that weird? We thought no, no, Superman is cool. I was worried about Superman honestly as a project because it was a thing that I was interested in but then on the other hand I was scared of because Superman is Superman and he...Its seemed at the time like a lot of work to make work though I will say after I read David's script and after talking to Chris there was no fear in the script and the idea. The idea was very straight forward and very confident and I think that's what gave me this feeling of confidence that I felt like I can....there is a thing in there to make cool, there's a thing in there that I'm interested in. Maybe I need to just let go of the fear of this icon. I do like Superman as a character and I have followed him throughout the years. The fear for me was that, could I honor what he's been and what he has the potential to be? I think David did an amazing job with the script and that was in there we just had to go after it. I think the vision was sort of an unapologetic Superman movie that we wanted to make that just didn't.....I felt in the recent past people have been apologizing for Superman a little bit for his costume, for his origins, for the way he fits into society. We just wanted to say no, no, this is the mythology and this is how it is and it's suppose to be this way and I think that's kind of the movie we made. We wanted to enshrine him where he belongs and whether or not that's making it too important I don't know but it was the way we wanted to do it. It was fun to do.
Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder on set of MAN OF STEEL

Q: The music in the film was great. Can you talk about how you guys came up with the score.

Zack: Before we began working on the music we got questions about the music from when we announced we were going to make the movie. You get on the phone and you think you're going to talk about 'oh, you're going to make a superman movie that's great what's your take' but it was 'are you going to use the music from the other film?' From the John Williams score. I was like 'oh God we haven't shot a frame of film we don't know that' but we knew that music was out there and it's a strong piece of music but because our philosophy out there was to act as if no films have ever been made, we wanted to act like we found these comic books underneath our beds and say 'hey this would be a cool movie, we should make this Superman into a movie.' Because we have sort of taken that point of view there was no cherry picking of stuff. You couldn't go 'hey it would be cool if we just borrow these other stuff.' We knew that everything was going to be from zero. I was hoping we would talk earlier think Chris when you're down there talking to Hans about your other movie could you twist his arm or bribe him somehow into working on the superman movie. I don't know exactly how it was said but for whatever reason he agreed so I don't know if there's pictures or...

Hans: Well I wasn't reluctant I kept...not like Russell, I have seen the other Superman movies and I just think the John Williams movie is incredible. So a couple of things happened, Chris [Nolan] said to me c'mon you can do the Superman movie and I said no I can't do the Superman movie because the big difference is when you went into Warner Bros. with the idea of a Superman movie, you actually had an idea, I have nothing. Then Zack and I started talking and his vision is completely and entirely the only reason why the score exists because he took me by the hand and told me this is what I want to do. Then I said yeah I can feel that. The other thing is he's a great artist, he doodles, he draws, that's a great language for me because, David [Goyer] forgive me for this, but the way we started was I said I don't want to read the script tell me the story. Then I knew what was at hand and we knew one thing.. here's the thing I know what it's like to be a foreigner; what it's like to be an outsider; I have no super powers. The other thing that I felt, both Zack and I felt was really important was this idea of hope, that we would celebrate something, we would celebrate an America that has not been celebrated in so long and just be genuine and write from the heart. Then came the moment after three months of procrastination where Zack said 'hey do you got anything yet?' I told him well I got some sort of post-its that I got on the Friday. Then Zack said 'I love post-its, I love doodles, I'll be down on Tuesday. Then afterwards he confessed that Chris said if you're not going down there to Zimmers place you're never going to hear anything. So that's how we did the score.

Zack: It's funny too because one thing I think is interesting is one thing that comes through the score is...there's big events in the film and score is amazingly supportive of those events but the thing that I think Hans did that's amazing is and we talked about it even before I heard it we said it would be cool if the score, if the Superman score was humble, there was humility in the score. Like the Superman theme if you will if there was humility in it which is really hard, it's abstract, I just said humility and now make that into music whatever that means. Thank God I'm not a musician because I would never do that to him right. I would probably laugh but then you hear it and it's in it. He says he doesn't have any super powers but then you hear whatever that is and you say 'wow that's humble.'

Hans: Well I have a lot to be humble about and it's me playing the piano, one of the things I have to be humble about is my piano playing. And it's totally weird because all these great pianist are trying to play this tune and they just didn't sound right. It had to be the bad right hand.

 MAN OF STEEL takes flight in movie theaters June 14.


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