From remakes of classic zombie films to CGI-led, testosterone-y swords and sandal pictures, to dark superhero deconstructions and animated adventure movies starring talking owls, filmmaker Zack Snyder's career has seemingly been all over the map, but the connective tissue has been a fantasy element that has consistently run throughout the work including his upcoming ladies-led steampunk fantasy actioner, "Sucker Punch."
And while his follow-up picture, another take on the "Superman" story, is already in pre-production and ostensibly a natural extension of his pre-existing oeuvre, as the Snyder's tell it, the iconographic super hero tale was not part of their game design.
"['Superman'] came out of nowhere really, it wasn’t what we had planned," producer Deborah Snyder said this past weekend in Los Angeles while promoting "Sucker Punch" (which hits theaters this weekend on March 25).
"We were talking about a few different projects," Zack said, hinting at the other films the duo were considering as their "Sucker Punch" follow-up. "And then 'Superman' came along and [Christopher Nolan] called us and said, 'Hey, do you want to have lunch and talk about 'Superman?' and we’re like 'Wow, that’s cool!' And 'Superman' made a lot of sense for me because after doing 'Watchmen'... you have to know the rules before you break them. Making 'Watchmen' really gives you the opportunity to really understand superheroes and Superman just demands a level of sophistication in order for it to be relevant and cool and modern and I think that makes sense to us as far as another [super hero film]."
While Snyder was obviously coy with details --"It’s super secret, beyond secret, you can’t even imagine how crazy it is that we’re talking about it right now," he said -- when asked how his vision of the Man of Steel would take "Superman" to the next level, he pivoted offering an analogy that hinted at what he perceived to be a wrongdoing in the current super hero millieu. He also managed to deliver a small swipe at two Marvel film franchises already out there.
"I’m a fan of 'Iron Man' movies, but really? 'Iron Man,' a whole franchise of movies, 'Iron Man 4'? Fair enough, but the fact that we don’t have a 'Superman' movie in the midst of this is crazy," Snyder said of the current super-hero movie craze. "It's would be like if we were making a movie about all the greek gods, but no one had made a movie about Zeus because they’re like, 'I don’t know what to do with him, he’s too awesome.' We’re at this point where all of these minor Gods have movies and franchises, and it just seems to me that it’s time to fix that."
"I think 'Superman' is broken and needs to be fixed, from a movie stand point," Snyder continued." "He is the biggest superhero on the planet, the father of every superhero. I'm like really 'Thor'? Like really? It's like the world is out of balance. It's like we lost our mind here people, 'Come on.'"
But Snyder says that he initially had reservations before they were pitched. "When Chris [Nolan] and Emma [Thomas] asked us to go to lunch they told us their story of what they wanted to do with 'Superman.' And before I was like 'I don't know'." Deb Snyder agreed, "I said to Zack 'I don't really know about this'. Well, lets go see what they have to say, and we both left saying wow. This is great!"
The director said Nolan and Thomas easily won them over and he sees "Superman" as another chance to make a super hero film minus the baggage that came along with Alan Moore's dense graphic novel. "I love superhero movies and the genre, "he said." [But] to make 'Watchmen' -- it [wasn't] really a love affair movie, you know which is fine, I have no problem with that when you start to think about it and intellectualize it. But ['Superman'] does give [me] a chance to sort of re-fall in love with the [super hero] world."
"Sucker Punch" hits theaters in wide release Friday, March 25th. -- Reporting by Leah Zak