Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Kevin Smith On Zack Snyder, 'Man of Steel', And 'Justice League'

We back Kevin Smith against a wall to
talk about 'Man of Steel'

It is standard practice for journalists to look back when new buzzworthy stuff is happening. It's kind of our bag. Instead of just covering the news, we like to catalogue and revisit everything that has come before. On some level this makes sense so we can continue to contextualize things through a modern lens. Then again, it also helps us create "lists," which is really just lovely bait for Web traffic. In this way, we're kind of like the best of obsessive nerds who keep lists, but this is especially true for big, buzzworthy movies.

So it goes with Man of Steel. Just as we prepare to see whether Zack Snyder's take on the character redefines the hero and sets the stage for a Justice League movie, everyone is taking another look at previous Superman treatment. For instance, head to MTV Geek to check out my interview with the last movie Superman, Brandon Routh.

Kevin Smith is one of those dudes who will always be linked to Superman movie lore (which, in turn, is part of modern Hollywood lore), and he's worth chatting up anytime a new Supes film project pops up. Back in 1996, Smith's geek cred had become well-known due to Mallrats -- before everyone was a geek -- and was hired to re-write Superman Lives/ Superman Reborn, a vehicle that would be directed by Tim Burton and would star Nicolas Cage. Smith was a hired gun who had to fulfill a lot of dictates on the rewrite (like Superman in a black costume who doesn't fly that fights a giant spider). Smith's draft was eventually discarded by Burton, who inevitably left, as did Cage.

No big spoiler, but the movie never happened. He talks about it in this video:

But Smith, who would go on to write comic books, occasionally direct some more movies, launch a successful podcast network and create AMC's Comic Book Men, is still rightly known as a geek and connected to Superman.

So it seemed only natural to ask him about Zack Snyder's Man of Steel. That, and the fact that Gillette just used him to pontificate on how Superman shaves.

Anyhow, I've had the chance to chat with Smith quite a few times. He's one of the best interview subjects, and just genuinely a nice guy with a foul-mouth. Back at New York Comic-Con last October, before he or any of us had seen Man of Steel, when we were all still checking out first glimpses of Snyder's vision, Smith went on record to predict good things for the movie. For a bonus round, he also went on to talk about a Justice League movie.

Here's his take:

I trust Zack Snyder. I'd trust Zack Snyder with my wife’s life and my child’s life if I had to. He’s a talented individual and knows how to tell a story. I saw the first teaser for the movie and thought I was fucking watching an Irish Spring commercial but then I go, ‘Oh, I see what you’re going for here.’ 
I trust him, man. I think he’s amazing. He’s the dude that – you know how Marvel has Joss now? DC should just put a harness around Zack Snyder and be like, 'Do every one of these big books, every one of the DC books.' I think he did a great job with The Watchmen. I know it’s not a DC book, but I think he did a great job with 300. I think he’ll do a great job with Superman. 
I think, obviously, DC’s New 52 loosened us all up about what Superman is because Grant Morrison’s redefined it a few times at this point, but even most recently, in the new books. So you won’t have so many people going, ‘Where’s the Dick Donner Superman?’ A lot of our generation that’s what we were looking for. We thought we wanted it on the last movie, and that’s what Bryan Singer gave us. And when he gave us exactly what we all thought we wanted, a lot of people bitched or yawned. 
So it’s nice to see Zack coming in with a shake-up take that isn’t the same fucking story we’ve seen in film. I trust that he knows what he’s doing. I think it will be really fucking cool. I’m not even a Superman guy. When it comes to those characters, he’s not way up on my list but he’s an icon, I’m a DC guy, and I hope they do him well. Because that means they get one step closer to doing Justice League. 
If I’m DC right now and Warner Bros., I’m stealing every idea from Marvel films. I’m not even fucking being shy about it; I’m being like, ‘Oh, that’s how you make a billion dollars or more? Fuck it, let’s go.’ Just steal their plan. It’s a great plan. You start making your movies separately, bring them all together in a fucking team movie, go back out to separates, come back in as a team movie. Hopefully they can pick up on it soon and there’s no such thing as, ‘you can’t steal a good idea.’ Shit, that’s what this country, this world, is founded on. Take a good idea and make it just a little bit like your own. Let them do that. 
DC and Warner, if they ape the Marvel model, I know every fanboy in this room will be happy, and I think the box office would be a lot happier too, man. And I’m not saying it all begins with Zack Snyder, because I’m not going to put the pressure on him for this Man of Steel flick, but he’d be my choice. 
Him, or I’ll tell you, fucking Timur [Bekmambetov], the guy who did Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Give that guy a Justice League movie. Holy shit, man. Just visually arresting; he knows how to fucking what to do with that camera, and brings you into the story right away. I mean, he did Wanted. He knows how to do a comic book movie already with villains and heroes and shit. 
I don’t know, that’s what I’d like to see. I know nobody asked, but I look forward to [Man of Steel].