David S Goyer on writing Superman: Man Of Steel

News Simon Brew 2 Oct 2012 - 06:25
Superman: Man Of Steel

Screenwriter David S Goyer has provided some clues as to the direction of the Superman reboot, Man Of Steel...

We're under a year away from the return of Superman to the big screen, with reboot Man Of Steel scheduled for release on June 14th 2013. Screenwriter David S Goyer penned the script for the film, which he and Christopher Nolan worked on the story for. Nolan and Goyer had collaborated, of course, on the Dark Knight trilogy before that.

Goyer has been at the Rome Fiction Fest to talk about his new project, the TV series Da Vinci's Demons. And while he was there, he was asked about the new Superman film.

"What Christopher Nolan and I have done with Superman is trying to bring the same naturalistic approach that we used adopted for the Batman trilogy", he said.

"We always had a naturalistic approach, we want our stories to be rooted in reality, like they could happen in the same world we live in. It's not that easy with Superman, and actually this doesn't necessarily mean we will make a dark movie. But working on this reboot we're thinking about what would happen if a story like this one actually happened. How would people react to this? What impact would have the presence of Superman in the real world?"

He added that "what I really like to do is write 'genre' stories without a cartoonish element".

This all ties in to what we either knew or suspected about Man Of Steel, and was certainly reflected in the first trailer we saw.

The full discussion with Goyer will test out your Italian, and you can find it over at BadTaste.It.


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really excited to see how they approach this. I know it's almost sacrilege to say and we are looking through a 30 years lens but the original superman is two movies for me. the first half is excellent and I think similar to what Goyer and Nolan are striving for here but the minute he lands in metropolis i hate the change in tone, with this cartoonish, comedy tone hitting (Otis anyone) even Hackman's Lex Luthor was off for me and the shift in tone was jarring for me so I'm really looking forward to this new version

why do they think it should be 'based in reality' it's based on a comic for god's sake, it's meant to be colourful and loud and full of outlandish characters, i really hope this does well, as i'm a big fan of DC's cast of superheroes, but i have a suspicion it will leave me cold the same a Nolans Batman, take a leaf out of Marvels book and get someone who knows comics and put them in overall charge.

that's a sweeping generalisation about how comic books should all be interpreted in film, surely the film maker should be allowed to film the story how THEY think will tell a compelling story. To say all comic films are meant to be colourful and outlandish is as wrong as saying they should all be dark and serious. I love the serous takes as do a great many people, i also loved the Avengers as did a great many people.
There is room for both styles and attempting to define how all comic book films should be is just ridiculous and I'm glad to be witnessing a time in comic book movies where we are getting consistently high quality films whatever style the film maker has chosen to use

I'm really hoping they add in some element of Frank Miller's Superman from "The Dark Knight Strikes Again", a whore for humanity, although they could really only do this if they had a couple more movies under their belt. Hopefully we get a Nolan Batman-Superman crossover one day, and if they do, give us this.

With Nolan producing, and the king of action films directing, I am expecting one HELL of a ride.

All hail Zod!

I'm fully behind filmmakers doing creating their own visions for comic book movies but I agree with the OP to the extent that by being too realistic you lose a lot of what makes comics work.

When working in these genres a certain level of suspension of belief is required and generally accepted as long it follows an internal logic and doesn't break it's own rules.

Whilst I can appreciate the purity of vision in Nolan's Batman movies they too left me cold and feeling like I could just have been watching any old Hollywood action movie (It did feel most like James Bond though). I know there are plenty of people out there who do like it, but I'm not one of them.

The other problem with the realism aspect as well (especially with Batman) is that it followed its own logic so tightly to the nth degree that it recognised the toll it would take on a human body with all the fighting Batman does which rendered him effectively useless after only a few confrontations and then threw that logic out of the window when Bane broke Batman's back. Are we supposed to believe that after showing us he need leg braces to function as Batman that without them he could suddenly make that leap out of the pit and then turn up to fight all-comers in the finale?

I look forward to Man of Steel just because I want to see another big screen interpretation other than Donner's. Finger's crossed they won't foul up a story about a man who is bulletproof, fires lasers out of his eyes and can fly by making it too realistic.

"How would people react to this?" Is there really any other starting point when it comes to writing superhero stories?

I can't help but think about how his approach was for the upcoming Godzilla. H was 1 of 3 writers involved. But Edwards has come out stating how ground the film will be. So it just seems like he's gone with a similar approach, minus the Nolan

Sounds good. You can't have a Silver Age type Superman on screen these days; it won't work. It has to be rooted in a sense of realism.

... The Avengers is the film you're looking for then :D

... in other words, "copy" what others are doing. Then I can hear the cries of "Hollywood has run out of ideas". You want colorful, you have The Avengers. I myself like my stories as real, or grounded as possible, of course within the boundaries of each world. I mean you can't go totally realistic with Superman, but you can exactly think how would our world be if someone like Superman (and his enemies) did exist

works ok for xmen and spiderman. i think all the nolan style does is remove the fun. that trailer for superman does not say superhero movie. it looked like an early 70's depressingly existential movie. i never understand the bizarre notion of rooting something as audacious as superheroes in "reality". the whole point is for it to be fantastic.

My sentiments exactly

A story about a Super powered alien who disguises himself by wearing glasses cannot be rooted in reality.

The Nolan Batman movies did really well, which has led studio execs to believe that they were succesful because they were "dark." That's only a part of it. In my opinion, a comic book movie will be most succesful if it follows the same tone and themes that are present in the (succesful issues) of their respected comic books. Avengers and the Nolan Batman films were both very succesful, yet followed completely different tones. Neither would have worked if done like the other.
The recent Spiderman movie was mediocre at best. The Spiderman comic series (check out Dan Slott) has a light and even cartoonish feel to it, even during tense situations. That's why the "wannabe dark and emo" take on Webb's movie didn't "feel right." On one hand Peter Parker is talking about his powerful enemies with a depressed look on his face, and then in the next scene, a cgi cartoon lizard in a labcoat is crawling on the cieling.
Superman in the comics have a lot more in common with Spiderman than Batman (even though they do appear together in some issues). The only way this movie will work is if it balances the realism without being "dark" just because it's trendy. The movie definitely should not be a live-action cartoon, but Superman wasn't designed for arthouse cinema. Certain character developments, sets and scripts are better suited for "dark and gritty" than others.

I think a movie about The Sentry would be far more interesting than another movie about Superman...everyone's favorite nearly omnipotent alien (with the heart of gold) who finds himself regularly being outsmarted by a bald human badguy

Super Hero Movie isn't a genre.

it's not?

No, it's not. It's simply fantasy. There are many ways of doing fantasy, so there are many ways to do a 'superhero' movie. 'Superhero' in this case defined by it's America comic origins. Nolan and Goyer's interpretation has more in common with Peter Jackson's naturalistic approach to the Lord of the Rings than Silver-Age comics/movies.

Execs only see 'dark', and I think we might be to blame for that perception. All writers see is naturalistic writing, not how dark the lighting is.

Initially, I thought the exact same thing. But when you see the Marvel universe as a whole, with an actual Cap America being around in WW2 and stuff ... earth's population would have a VERY different sensation of all the events in the films with that background. The reaction to Iron Man was almost realistic and from that point on, the average Joe on the street would just register each new appearance of a superhero or monster with a shrug.
The only thing I would expect in the REAL world is a massive increase in weird religions ... praying to Thor or Hulk. Seriously.

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