32 Amazing Things About The Superman Movies.
This article is based on "Superman Trivia - IMDB", "Superman II Trivia - IMDB", "Superman III Trivia - IMDB", and "Superman IV Trivia - IMDB". If you're interested in reading more, check out the links at the bottom of the article.
2/32 In Superman II the scene of Ursa killing the astronaut by kicking him in the crotch was edited out for screenings in Japan because of Japanese sensitivity towards dominant women.
3/32 Reeve based his characterization of Clark Kent on Cary Grant in Bringing Home Baby. He received criticism for portraying Kent as a bumbling nerd but felt there needed to be a stark contrast between Superman and his alter ego.
4/32 Superman III was released on Superman's 45th anniversary in 1983.
5/32 Due to disagreements about budget and scheduling Richard Donner was replaced mid-way through filming Superman II. Creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz, editor Stuart Baird, and Gene Hackman refused to continue filming without Donner so Hackman's scenes were filled with a body double and voice overs. Donner was asked to direct Superman IV but declined.
6/32 Marlon Brando sued the producers $50 million over grossed profits gained from Superman, claiming he had not been paid his percentage of the profits. In response the producers cut him from Superman II and replaced all his scenes. In the end Brando received $14 million for Superman II and his footage was used in Superman Returns.
7/32 Christopher Reeve gained over 30lbs during pre-production of Superman, going from 170lbs to 212lbs to avoid having to use a muscle suit. He worked out so much during production that they had to reshoot scenes from the beginning of filming.
8/32 Reeve was slated to direct a fifth Superman film featuring a different actor in the title role if the fourth film was successful, but since the fourth film was a box office flop the project never materialized.
9/32 Reeve fully believed in the power of Superman, saying "I have seen first-hand how Superman actually transforms people's lives. I have seen children dying of brain tumors who wanted as their last request to be able to talk to me, and have gone to their graves with a peace brought on by knowing that their belief in this kind of character is intact. I have seen that Superman really matters. They're connecting with something very basic: the ability to overcome obstacles, the ability to persevere, the ability to understand difficulty and to turn your back on it."
10/32 Superman II director Richard Lester had never heard of Superman before he was hired as a replacement for Richard Donner on the film. He said comics books weren't allowed in his house as a child.
11/32 The scene in Superman II where Lex Luthor escapes from the prison yard was inspired by a recent real life prison escape where 3 IRA prisoners escaped from Mountjoy Prison by a helicopter lifting them out of the yard.
12/32 A group of children once recognized Reeve at a park and purposefully threw their Frisbee over a fence so that Reeve would have to fly after it. Reeve responded that he couldn't fly since his cape was in the washer and they let him simply climb over the fence for it.
13/32 Margot Kidder, who plays Lois, accidentally punched Sarah Douglas, who plays Ursa, during a take in Superman II and knocked her unconscious.
14/32 Reeve was a licensed hang glider pilot which proved useful for the first Superman movie when the crew was still trying to figure out the distinctive movements of Superman in flight.
15/32 On the first day of filming Superman II set designer John Barry collapsed on the set of Empire Strikes Back and died from meningitis.
16/32 Marlon Brando refused to memorize his lines for Superman in advance so cue cards had to be placed around the set for his convenience. In the scene where he puts Kal-El in the escape pod he read his lines from the baby's diaper.
17/32 Anti-smoking campaigners protested Superman II because the largest sponsor of the film was Marlboro, who paid $43,000 for the brand to be shown 22 times in the film.
18/32 Christopher Reeve was 24 years old when he was cast in Superman, making him the youngest actor to ever play the part. He was also the first actor to play Superman who was born after the character was created in 1938.
19/32 Superman and Superman II each won a Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film. Superman was nominated for 3 Academy Awards: Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Sound Mixing but didn't win any. However it did win a Special Achievements Award for the film's visual effects.
20/32 Pre-production for Superman included fly testing and set construction in Italy. Marlon Brando found out he couldn't film in Italy due to a warrant out for his arrest from a sexual obscenity charge from Last Tango in Paris so production moved to England. They lost $2 million on fly tests and had to replace Guy Hamilton as director since he couldn't work in England due to his status as tax exile.
21/32 Christopher Reeve was paid $250,000 each for Superman and Superman II, while Marlon Brando received $3.7 million and Gene Hackman received $2 million for just Superman.
22/32 Gene Hackman refused to cut off his mustache or shave his head to play Lex Luthor. Director Richard Donnor proposed that if Hackman cut his mustache, Donner would too. It ends up that Donner didn't have a mustache at all and was just wearing a false mustache to make Hackman shave.
23/32 Richard Pryor admitted that he thought the screenplay was terrible but agreed to do Superman III because he was offered $5 million.
24/32 Steven Spielberg was offered the chance to direct Superman but producers weren't willing to pay the salary he asked for. They decided to wait and see how "this fish movie" turned out. Jaws was a commercial success and Spielberg chose to accept other projects instead.
25/32 When Reeve was filming Somewhere in Time he attended a screening of Superman with the cast and crew at a local theatre. Halfway through the film the sound went out so Reeve stood up and delivered all the lines.
26/32 The original title of Superman III was "Superman vs. Superman." When the producers of Kramer vs. Kramer threatened a lawsuit it was changed to Superman III.
27/32 Superman was filming in New York City on the night of the 1977 blackout and offered their generators to the New York Daily News so they could still go to print.
28/32 After Superman III was a box office failure Reeve was reluctant to do a fourth film. He agreed to it on two conditions: he would have input in the story and the studio would finance one of his projects: Street Smart. He regretted the choice saying, "Superman IV was a catastrophe from start to finish. That failure was a huge blow to my career."
29/32 During the scene where Superman and Lois go flying together in Superman, there's no cut between Superman flying away and Clark showing up at Lois' door. This was done by using a prerecorded movie of Superman flying away which played on a screen with Lois standing in front of it. She then walked away from the balcony, crossing the screen into the set with her apartment to reveal Reeve fully dressed as Clark Kent.
30/32 Superman and Superman II were shot simultaneously. When Richard Donner was fired and replaced with Richard Lester, Lester had to go back and reshoot almost all of the footage directed by Donner in order to receive full credit as director.
31/32 Christopher Reeve was destined to play Superman. He was born September 25, 1952, less than a week after the premiere of Adventures of Superman.
32/32 Superman IV was hampered by budget constraints leading to lower quality production value. Reve said that if the scene where Superman lands on 42nd Street and gives a speech at the United Nations had been a part of Superman it would have actually been shot on 42nd Street with hundreds of extras. Instead it was shot in an industrial park in England with less than a hundred extras and a few pigeons.
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Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.