With Man of Steel now playing around the world, I figure it’s finally time to post my exclusive video interview with director Zack Snyder. As most of you already know, I think Man of Steel is one of the best superhero movies ever made and one of the best films of the year. And while I hate watching the box office for any movie, I’ll admit I’m following the worldwide grosses because I desperately want a sequel and a Justice League movie.
During the interview, Snyder talked about the length of the first cut, deleted scenes, whether he will release an extended edition on Blu-ray, Easter Eggs, how he thinks they need to make another Superman movie before Justice League, and more. Hit the jump to either read or watch what he had to say.
Question: You have to show the studio the rough cuts and you have to show the movie. Warner Bros. had a hard time – besides Batman – making super hero films work, recently. When you showed them the rough cut of Man of Steel, did they offer you Justice League in the room or was it later that day when you got a text saying, “For the love of God, we need you to continue?”
ZACK SNYDER: “Please help us with this!” Listen, the truth is that–
And I say this as a fan and at a studio level, you deliver the goods.
SNYDER: I understand and I think that’s true. Listen, I said to them, “My feeling about the DC universe and about Superman in general, is that Superman’s gotta work.” Right? When Superman works, then you can talk about your Green Lanterns and your Aquamen and whatever else you want to do. Right?
SNYDER: And Wonder Woman, all that. But until that day, it’s really kind of a non-starter to try and say, “Oh, we should be trying to figure out our Justice League film.” That was the thing I said to them. I go, “Guys! Let’s get freaking Superman on its feet and then if he works and everyone loves him, then yeah. We’ll see.”
Everyone’s going to love him, you nailed it. I say this with all sincerity. When you were first offered the gig was there a lot of hesitation or was it one of these things where you’re secretly smiling, “Holy shit! I was just given the Ferrari?”
SNYDER: A little bit. I was a little bit like, “Wow! Are we going to make a Superman movie? Honestly? Superman? That’s awesome.” I remember Damon [Caro] and I were on set and we were doing our Smallville battle and Henry [Cavill] was standing down the road. And Damon – stunt choreographer and site coordinator that I work with in all my movies – and we were looking down the street and I could see Henry in his costume and I was like, “We’re making a Superman movie.” And he’s like, “This is ridiculous!” You know, it’s kind of a little dorky but it’s awesome.
I kid you not, I’ve done a lot of set visits in the last eight years and Man of Steel was easily on the level of Watchmen, for me – which by the way, weird that you did both. But I interviewed Henry, sitting there in costume, and as a long-life Superman fan, I was losing my mind.
SNYDER: You were like, “What did you say? I’m not really listening.”
I was geeking out hard.
SNYDER: I agree, we have that same thing. There was the coolest shot I did of one of the stunt guys – Jor-El’s stunt double – standing in the skin suit, he had the “S” on his chest, it was black, with a Kryptonian rifle and I took a picture of it. And I was like, “What is that? It’s like Superman with a space gun! I don’t know what the heck this is but it’s awesome!”
When you first got in the editing room, how long was your assembly cut?
SNYDER: I think it was about 3 hours and 10 minutes, something like that.
How long was your first cut?
SNYDER: Just under 3 hours.
SNYDER: We didn’t cut out any scenes, except for one. We cut one small scene out. There’s nothing missing.
Here’s the thing, I love Watchmen but I love the director’s cut – there’s few scenes that are key to making the film even better. Could you see yourself eventually doing a quote-on-quote extended cut of Man of Steel?
SNYDER: Yeah, I guess. I really feel like–
Because it moves fast.
SNYDER: It does move fast. I suppose but it got to the point – I guess, also because we edited so hard and we were in it so long – so for me, it happens incredibly organically now. Even though it feels fast–
I totally follow but there are moments where they’re talking and all of a sudden you know, the film moves. For fans like me – superfans – another 10-20 minutes, I would have no problem with it.
SNYDER: Of course not! I don’t know. I’m going to give that some thought but we really got to the point where – because there’s not cut. It’s not like the studio is forcing us to cut it.
But you do agree the audience, generally 2:20 is where they tap out.
SNYDER: They can, it depends if it’s a sequel. On a sequel you tend to give – you can get a little longer, you know what I mean?
Sure. I’m just saying, I’d love to see more footage and I’m hoping that you put some of that on the Blu-ray and I think we should announce now that you’re putting it on the Blu-ray.
That was noncommittal. I know you’re putting together the home video thing, is there going to be stuff like that, that fans can look forward to?
SNYDER: Yeah. I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff. There are a bunch of Easter eggs in the movie that I think is hard to see them.
I found one very obvious one.
SNYDER: Which one?
I don’t want to say anything but I found one that was very easy to spot for my eagle eyes and I know about one in Smallville. But I’m curious how many more there are.
SNYDER: There’s a fair amount more, I think. There’s one really epic one that no one’s seen. There was a guy in Toronto that I was talking to – one guy had seen it.
Is it one that people are going to freak out for?
SNYDER: I think the implications are pretty insane.
Was it your Easter egg? Was it the studio’s Easter egg?
SNYDER: Oh no, it was all mine.
So this is all stuff you’ve put in?
SNYDER: Yeah, yeah. They don’t know, they have no idea, they don’t even know it’s in there.
Nolan had the Batman trilogy and you obviously delivered an awesome first installment. You obviously spent three years making this thing – it’s a huge chunk of time. Do you envision for your next film – if this is like the billion dollar movie, if it makes crazy money – could you see yourself jumping right back into a sequel? Being serious, if they offered you Justice League, could you see yourself spending more time in the DC universe?
SNYDER: I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I feel like there’s more to say with Superman for sure. And I think that if fans were into it and the studio was into it, I’d really be interested in trying to figure out what else to do with him. I think there’s more to do, because it’s naive and ridiculous for me to go like, “No, it’s one Superman movie.” That’s a joke, really?
Well, if Chris Nolan can do three Batman movies and he’s like the god of filmmaking right now, I think fans are going to be very happy with what you’ve delivered. I’m just curious if it’s something that you want to – because he bounced, no one went from Batman to another film, back to Batman.
SNYDER: Yeah but it’s a different time now, as far as the expectations for the superhero movies and what’s going on over at Marvel. I don’t know that the appetite – if you were to make another Superman movie, you need to get on with it. Chris was able to spread out over 10 years and that’s only three movies.
He started before the curve, before the superhero genre really exploded.
SNYDER: Yeah, now it’s like crazy. And I think that there’s an expectation that you – the way Marvel’s like, the fans are getting a movie every whatever–
Twice a year now.
If they did offer you Justice League and they offered you a Superman sequel, which is the one that gets your attention?
SNYDER: Completely hypothetically, I feel like you gotta get Superman a little further down the road before you can do a Justice League movie.
They’ve talked about Justice League for 2015 and that seems a little soon.
SNYDER: Yeah, I don’t know who “they” are.
That’s what the studio’s talking about.
SNYDER: Yeah, they’re… yeah.
I guess you’re saying that you could see yourself doing a sequel and then perhaps…
SNYDER: I don’t know. All I’m saying is that you gotta get Superman further down the road.
What prop did you take home?
SNYDER: I have the Kryptonian rifle at the house.
Have you seen Man of Steel? If so let everyone know what you thought of it here.