Wednesday, October 05, 2011

It promises to be choice

Thanks to a nosey paparazzi photographer with a telephoto lense, we now have confirmation that Russell Crowe will be appearing as Jor-El, Superman's Kryptonian father, in director Zac Snyder's forthcoming Man of Steel. The costume design looks pretty impressive. Rather than being made from white reflective tape, it almost looks like a suit of armour, with the distinctive "S" shaped crest of the house of El emblazoned across his chest.

Those of you with long memories will recall that in Superman: The Movie (1978) and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (1980/2006), Jor-El was played by Marlon Brando, and he earned a then massive salary of $3.7 million for less than 30 minutes of screen time, plus a percentage of the gross.

Metaphorically speaking, this will not be the first time that Marlon Brando has cast a shadow over Russell Crowe's career. In his native New Zealand, in 1982 Crowe released a single, I Wanna Be Just Like Marlon Brando under the stage name Russ Le Roq. This was of course many years before he formed his critically unacclaimed band, Thirty Odd Foot of Grunt. In Peter Weir's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), Crowe played the role of Jack Aubrey, captain of the HMS Surprise. You can see the influence of Brando's portrayal of Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) in Crowe's performance.

The previous attempt to restart the Superman franchise, Superman Returns (2006), wasn't a bad film by any means, but its box office results were disappointing. This explains the decision to do another origin story rather than a continuation of previous films, and to choose another director who on the basis of 300 and Watchmen, seems to have a good grasp of the comic book and graphic novel genre.

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