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David S. Goyer Reveals Approach and Take on 'Man of Steel'

"We're approaching Superman as if it weren't a comic book movie, as if it were real."

Superman may be one of the most recognizable characters created but bringing him to the big screen isn't exactly an easy feat. We're talking about an incredibly powerful guy from another planet that wears red and blue tights. With past attempts at live-action Superman productions, how will Man of Steel compare?

The answer might surprise you.

In an interview with Empire Magazine, David S. Goyer reveals quite a bit.

We're approaching Superman as if it weren't a comic book movie, as if it were real. I adore the Donner films. Absolutely adore them. It just struck me that there was an idealist quality to them that may or may not work with today's audience. It just struck me that if Superman really existed in the world, first of all this story would be a story about first contact. He's an alien. You can easily imagine a scenario in which we'd be doing a film like E.T., as opposed to him running around in tights. If the world found out he existed, it would be the biggest thing that ever happened in human history.

It does make sense. For the average person in a movie to accept superpowers is one thing. Having them accept alien life is another. We've seen plenty of stories in comics and movies where the townsfolk fear those that are different. Seeing a hero do...heroic things could be easy to accept. When you throw in the fact they're an alien, that should bring about a new level of fear.

There is more of an unknown factor thrown in. The idea that an average person could somehow gain powers through an accident or genetic mutation might be easier to accept than actual alien species. Who knows what their presence could mean for the rest of mankind.

The idea of Superman being an alien has always been a great plot device. Superman is more human than most of those around him, despite being from Krypton. Seeing how the filmmakers capture this will be interesting.

There might be some that feel the alien angle shouldn't be a focus but it isn't something we've really seen in the Superman movies before. Perhaps now is the time.

Man of Steel opens in theaters on June 14, 2013.

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Posted by Trevel8182

He talk's like he's the first person after Donner to retell Superman's origin.

Posted by blur1528

First contact stories and be really compelling and interesting. This will be a fresh take and definitely break the mold of the other films which I think is needed at this point. I look forward to it.

Posted by Lvenger

This answer makes a lot of sense and sounds like a very innovative take on how to do a Superman movie. Superman's presence would arguably be one of the greatest events in human history and seeing how the world reacts to his presence would be a great plot point. I like the sound of this. If Snyder, Nolan, Goyer and all the production staff can pull this off, I'll be blown away by the film as it's just how a Superman film should be like. But do balance Superman's human side too.

Posted by capelesscrusader

@Trevel8182: Cinematically, he is. The abysmal "Returns" did not touch on the origin story.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

I suppose it's realistic that you might wake up one day and your best mate has had a sex change >_>

Posted by MuyJingo

"We're approaching Superman as if it weren't a comic book movie"

God damn it. Female Jimmy Olsen, Black Perry White....why?

What's worse is this is maybe going to be in the new JL movie, since they are waiting to see how it performs before going ahead.

DC should just let Marvel make their movies.

Posted by Captain13
Edited by StMichalofWilson

I like this aproach. I believe this will be a great movie.

Edited by Manhunter2070

I think people get too freaked out when film makers say they're going away from the comic book tone. 
  
I always liked this recent Christopher Nolan quote: 

The term “realism” is often confusing and used sort of arbitrarily. I suppose “relatable” is the word I would use. I wanted a world that was realistically portrayed, in that even though outlandish events may be taking place, and this extraordinary figure may be walking around these streets, the streets would have the same weight and validity of the streets in any other action movie. So they’d be relatable in that way. - Chris Nolan
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Posted by Decoy Elite

Really, not wanting to make a Superman movie idealistic? 
I'm not liking the sound of this...

Posted by InkInk

I really do not know how to feel about this. I mean I am starting to think that if Snyder does not have a page by page interpretation of a comic series (similar to Watchmen or 300) he just screws things up. I mean he is a visual director not and if Suckerpunch should us anything is he can't write a story to save his life. I fear this will become that.

Posted by LordRequiem

Someone that uses "it just struck me" twice in one paragraph doesn't strike me as being all that intelligent.

Posted by Lvenger

@MuyJingo said:

"We're approaching Superman as if it weren't a comic book movie"

God damn it. Female Jimmy Olsen, Black Perry White....why?

What's worse is this is maybe going to be in the new JL movie, since they are waiting to see how it performs before going ahead.

DC should just let Marvel make their movies.

I agree on a female Jimmy Olson but I see no problem with Laurence Fishbourne as Perry White. As long as he acts like Perry that's all that matters. With Jimmy his character and personality traits are linked to being a male character.

Posted by dondave

Cool Idea

Edited by lrtaylor02

@InkInk: The version of Suckerpunch that was released wasn't actually what Zack Snyder wanted. The production company wanted things changed and the end product was what we saw. So I don't think that movie is a good barometer of his writing. But he didn't actually write Man of Steel. He directed it. David Goyer wrote it, and he also worked on the Dark Knight Trilogy.

This is a quote from an interview. People don't speak in paragraphs...they write in paragraphs. So, unless this interview was via email, than that's a moot point. It's also common for people to use fillers (either words or phrases) when they are speaking off the top of their head. It's not a reflection of an individual's intelligence.

I think this is an intriguing approach to telling the story. It hasn't been done before, so I'm looking forward to seeing this!

Posted by dvorak

I want to say that this approach to the story was already told. Maybe in the 80's? Can a hardcore Supes fan back me up here?

Posted by millennium

i like the fact that dc / wb are trying to do something differnet in their comic movies by going at it as if it ISNT A COMIC BOOK MOVIE becouse we all saw what happend to green lantern when they did go all comic bookie on us i just hope that it works for superman

Posted by kennybaese

The most interesting part of Superman for me is the way he influences the world around him, so this approach has me excited. It definitely shows both Goyer and Nolan's influence on the movie. Nolan's Batman movies were less about Batman and more about the symbol that Batman was. The same seems to be holding true for Man of Steel, which has me very interested in it.

Say what you will about Snyder's movies, I think he's a fantastic visual director and he's proven that he can handle adaptations well (I like 300 better than the book it's based on and I thought Watchmen was great as well), so I'm excited to see how cool he makes this movie look.

Edited by Onemoreposter

I'm getting less and less excited about this movie. It might be good. But I'm starting to doubt if it can be great.

Superman is suppose to be "fantastic" in every sense of that word. You can't grind this character into reality because he's completely unreal. A man from another galaxy who looks exactly like us and can fly is a stretch in itself but then you have wizards and imps and bottled cities and time traveling compatriots to boot.

Now you can make a serious movie. In fact I'm all about that. You should always take your characters and your story line seriously. Donner's films (while awesome) weren't overly serious or dramatic (can you read my mind?). However, this is starting to look a bit too dark to me, too cynical. Goyer said it himself, there is a sense of idealism in Donner's films. I don't think that there's anything wrong with that. Actually, I think it's almost wrong to try and handle superman without a sense of idealism about these characters and the world in which they live. Ultimate goods and evils and the best of humanity, that sort of thing.

We'll see though, I'm trying to remain optimistic.

Posted by ltbrd

i think you are all taking his comment out of context. Its not about how Superman acts in the film but about how everyone else acts. In the Donner movies everyone knows he's from Krypton, due to his interview with Lois, and nothing more is said of it. Its as though the fact he isn't human doesn't matter. Even after Zod takes over the White House nobody looks at Superman with speculation. In that sense the films are very idealistic in how the world reacts to Superman. the comics have always had a different approach, especially since 1986, where many in the world view Superman with suspicion and doubt. Lex Luthor is the prime example but governments, and by extension their militaries and agencies, do as well. Does this make the comics dark? Absolutely not. It makes perfect sense that Superman would not be completely trusted given his level of power and alien origin. so if the comics aren't dark why do we all jump to the conclusion the movie will be? because the military won't trust him? because people at first would be afraid of his presence? these are natural actions that we would fully expect in the real world. that doesn't make them dark. nor does it change how Superman acts. yes, its clear he hid his powers much of his life, but we already see from the trailers that Superman's idealism is near identical to the comics. thus idealism is still in the film because it comes from the main character himself. this entire idea simply smacks of Superman, through his deeds, overcoming the inherent fear and prejudice he's initially met with to become the world's hero. i don't see any ideal missing from that. i see drama, struggle, overcoming challenges.......everything you would want in a great story. so let's not be quick to start throwing around the "dark" label just because a movie won't be sunshine and roses (in many ways it seems to have replaced automatically labeling something as "emo" when a little emotion is displayed) and look at the comment for what it is; using real world expectations to enhance the story and connect people to it on a greater level than simply being character fans.

Posted by jointron33

People thinking this means it is out of character are straight up stupid as hell.

Posted by Smart_Dork_Dude

@ltbrd said:

i think you are all taking his comment out of context. Its not about how Superman acts in the film but about how everyone else acts. In the Donner movies everyone knows he's from Krypton, due to his interview with Lois, and nothing more is said of it. Its as though the fact he isn't human doesn't matter. Even after Zod takes over the White House nobody looks at Superman with speculation. In that sense the films are very idealistic in how the world reacts to Superman. the comics have always had a different approach, especially since 1986, where many in the world view Superman with suspicion and doubt. Lex Luthor is the prime example but governments, and by extension their militaries and agencies, do as well. Does this make the comics dark? Absolutely not. It makes perfect sense that Superman would not be completely trusted given his level of power and alien origin. so if the comics aren't dark why do we all jump to the conclusion the movie will be? because the military won't trust him? because people at first would be afraid of his presence? these are natural actions that we would fully expect in the real world. that doesn't make them dark. nor does it change how Superman acts. yes, its clear he hid his powers much of his life, but we already see from the trailers that Superman's idealism is near identical to the comics. thus idealism is still in the film because it comes from the main character himself. this entire idea simply smacks of Superman, through his deeds, overcoming the inherent fear and prejudice he's initially met with to become the world's hero. i don't see any ideal missing from that. i see drama, struggle, overcoming challenges.......everything you would want in a great story. so let's not be quick to start throwing around the "dark" label just because a movie won't be sunshine and roses (in many ways it seems to have replaced automatically labeling something as "emo" when a little emotion is displayed) and look at the comment for what it is; using real world expectations to enhance the story and connect people to it on a greater level than simply being character fans.

Took the words right out of my mouth. Superman is Superman, it doesn't matter if people around him don't trust him. He's there to inspire people and help the world. If some are afraid then that's very much understandable. Besides, it's not like they can really DO anything to him since I highly doubt Kryptonite will be in this movie and if it is it'll probably be an after credits thing with Luthor and a hint at Metallo.

Posted by Smurfboy

Very excited!

Posted by RedOwl_1

I'm very excited :D

Posted by RedHush1

Come on people -_- Christopher Nolan did the same thing to the Batman movies. He made them realistic. He might've said in different words but he still did. The only unrealistic characters in those movies were maybe like Ra's Al Ghul and Scarecrow. Bane, Joker, and even Two-Face were all realistic in some way. Bane is looking to do anything to get the girl he loves. Joker is what represents a psychotic in the real world. Two-Face is a good man gone bad driven insane by loss. I think a realistic Man of Steel would be very interesting. Because come on you think some alien is going to learn on Earth and we're all going to be like OMG HE'S AMAZING! Hell no we're going to be like AHHHH! RUN FOR OUR LIVES! So I like the approach he is taking and I'm sure it'll be good I loved Zack Snyder's Watchmen, and David Goyer wrote the story for the Dark Knight Trilogy and where those amazing? HELL YES! So I have full faith in these two men.

Posted by FatihBATMAN

Yes please remain optimistic, I certainly am.

Theres just one thing thats bothering me, its that Supes suit is a bit washed out, too "dirty" its not majestic enough if you feel me hehe

Posted by DarkShadows

Getting more excited for this movie.

Posted by darkman61288

@Onemoreposter: I agree Superman is supposed to be the ideal superhero, so to have this dark a Superman may be a turnoff.My biggest worry is that when the movie is released that non Superman fans wont see it because they feel that Superman is too goody goody. And the Superman fans will not like it because it will be too dark.

Posted by saoakden

I am very interested to see how the movie plays out. It sounds cool and the picture of Superman in cuffs makes me wonder how that happen. I just hope for a couple things. 1. The movie to be good. 2. Hope its good reviews from the critiques.

Superman is an awesome character, so he deserves an awesome movie. I'm going to see it when its gets released in theaters.

Posted by Onemoreposter

@darkman61288 said:

@Onemoreposter: I agree Superman is supposed to be the ideal superhero, so to have this dark a Superman may be a turnoff.My biggest worry is that when the movie is released that non Superman fans wont see it because they feel that Superman is too goody goody. And the Superman fans will not like it because it will be too dark.

Chris Evan's played Captain America as a goody goody boy scout and that movie made hundreds of millions of dollars. Personally I didn't think it was that great of a film, but it lets us know that movies with altruistic "boy scout" type heroes can still rake in the cash.

Posted by Gambit1024

I'm totally ok with this.

Posted by AmazingWebHead

Realistic instead of comic book movie, huh? I can't believe I didn't see that coming, what with Chris Nolan attached to it.

I just hope they don't make it too realistic, or we'll never get to the f*$%ing Justice League.

Posted by namtabmi

...I predict awesomeness. Realistic approach stops it coming across childish and kind of stupid. With the people they've had working on the movie I don't see how it will be bad at all...unless they left their brains at home that day.

Zack Snyder -- 300, Watchmen

Christopher Nolan -- Yes, he may be a producer, but he'll still have an influence on the movie.

David S. Goyer --Was involved in writing The Dark Knight Trilogy! (With Nolan (and his brother?))

The movie is in good GREAT hands.

Posted by TheCowman

"We're approaching Superman as if it weren't a comic book movie, as if it were real."

Isn't that what just about everyone says about their comic book movie?

Isn't that basically what Micheal Bay said about the Transformers movie?

I'm not putting the movie down or anything; its got plenty of talent behind it and will probably end up being pretty good. I'm just kinda sick of that phrase in general. What does that even mean, anyway? Does it mean less super-powered action? Does it mean muting the character's abilities, like the Batman movies? Seems kinda contradictory for a Superman movie.

Or does it mean darker story tones? Less neat and idealistic?

If that's the case, then I have to ask.... have any of these people read a modern comic book? When I hear a movie person say that they're making their comic book movie more realistic, that says to me that their idea of the hero is firmly set in the golden and silver age of comics. And yeah, I'm sure the movie is super-realistic compared to those. But modern comics have kinda got the "darker tones" thing down already. Maybe movie people could check some out. They're actually pretty good. They at least made these characters popular enough to have movies made about them.

Posted by Press Oblivion

If this movie TANKS we're never going to see a Justice League Movie.

Posted by davidgrantlloyd

Good stuff. The alien angle is definitely worth exploring IMO. I like it.

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Posted by Gambit1024

@Press Oblivion said:

If this movie TANKS we're never going to see a Justice League Movie.

It won't. I'm positive.

Posted by colonyofcells

Smallville tv also did a realistic approach and explored the problems of an alien on earth and I am ok with this approach. If the government finds out Superman is an alien, I can understand that the government might want to put superman inside a bubble or maybe rocket Superman out to space to keep humans safe from alien germs. My guess is the power levels will be more realistic, maybe Iron Man level powers only so maybe kryptonite won't even be needed but Kryptonite can be used as an energy source for weapons maybe. If Superman is too powerful, better do it as a fairy tale or fantasy tale. Maybe they will put a beard on Clark to make the Clark disguise more believable.

Edited by StayclassyMarvel

You guys, Christopher Nolan is babying this movie himself. I have the utmost confidence in Man of Steel. Could not be more excited

Posted by lightsout

I'll probably love it because I'm such a huge Supes fan, but that said...

There's instances that movie version > book version...but comics will ALWAYS be better than movies (based on comic characters). I don't care about seeing them in live action, I'll take an animated series/movie for that - at least they stick to the same relative script. Yea, all that crap probably would go down if Superman was real, but part of the appeal (at least to me) IS the ideal that he would bring people hope and they'd recognize him as an ambassador of good will. It's part of the escapism of comics & fantasy in general. A more clearly defined black & white, instead of the frustrating grays we deal with in real life.

And until reading the first batch of comments....I had no idea they changed Jimmy to a girl.....WTF?!? It's the SMALL details that make the most sense to keep (like lois's hair color, etc). They can at least use a certain logic to tell the story as if it happened in our world, but why F with the mythos past that??? @_@

Posted by GodDamnIronMan

I can see how the first contact thingy will cost the movie for 1 hour...

1) 1st 45 minutes talk about Young Clark

2) 45 hour talk about adult Clark at Daily Planet and relation with Lois

3) 30 minutes of "First Contact"

finally, 15 minutes of action scene....

Posted by colonyofcells

Can have tons of humans rushing to the flying saucer for first contact with Zod and Faura, and all of the humans are roasted with heat vision. ouch. Maybe the movie will end with Superman deported out of the earth, ET goin home ?

Posted by KnightofSteel

If this does well, and they make a sequel, I hope they introduce Brainiac -- about time he gets some big screen love.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Yes, a "first contact' approach would definitely be the way to work this and make it relevant to today. Goyer I believe is right though..the old approach to making a Supes movie just wouldn't work now. Not phased one bit by this fact though. I'm still psyched!

Posted by Maxman3

I'm really tired of the "real world" superhero film. The implication is always that comic book stories are completely outlandish by there very nature. Which every comic book fan will tell you is completely untrue. Can we just have a Superman movie. Because an alien planet that blows up and an invasion by General Zod is not "real world". Superman is the representation of idealism it's what makes the character. So if you want to make something so different why not go on and create a new concept for movie goers instead. One thing these directors and writers need to learn. These characters aren't just costumes and names. They have personalities and view that make them who they are.

Posted by colonyofcells

The 1938 Superman was more realistic and was treated as a criminal by the police. For the movies, I prefer the military continue to try to destroy Superman since nobody with great powers should be allowed to operate independently by the military. I see a real world Superman as being treated as a terrorist always bec. Superman will threaten the powers in control of America.

Posted by FrankenKong

If its gonna be anything similar to Superman: Earth One Im sure it will be epic. I would also love to see a totally different movie based on DC Comics Presents: Superman - Secret Identity . Would be freakin sweet movie. If the Justice League movie takes off and makes it big they should also make Elseworlds movies. Same for Marvel to start making the "What If's?" movies.

Posted by Senno

I can see bits of this in the recent trailer - it showed Superman essentially being held by Military forces, which is likely due to the fear of him and his kind.

Edited by colonyofcells

If they want to be realistic, they should get rid of Clark working as a reporter. Since Superman and Clark look the same, it won't be possible for Clark to work as a reporter. Superman will need to cover most of his face if he wants to mingle with people. Once Superman shows his face, everyone in Smallville would know that Superman used to be Clark Kent.

Posted by G_Money_Christmas

I don't care how they do it, as long as it's an awesome movie. Superman needs a good modern day movie for himself.

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