Batman v Superman
Your checklist of vital info for the hero hitch- up.
1 Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice unites DC’s heaviest hitters in live action for the first time. We could have witnessed the spectacle a whole decade earlier: Troy helmer Wolfgang Petersen nearly teamed the caped titans in 2004, working from a screenplay by Seven’s Andrew Kevin Walker. Reportedly targeting Jude Law as Superman and Christian Bale as Batman – now there’s an idea – the project succumbed to development hell’s special brand of Kryptonite.
2 In May 2013, mere weeks before the official greenlight, Man Of Steel star Henry Cavill told SFX he was up for encountering his Gotham City counterpart in the Super- sequel: “They are two different sides of the same coin and their methods are entirely different. And I think it would actually make for an interesting story as to why they were going head to head and how. I think that would make a great story.” He knew all along, didn’t he?
3 Brace yourselves for a quantum collision. Director Zack Snyder promises the movie “literally takes the Man Of Steel and Batman universes and explodes them.” Flagrant misuse of the Hadron Collider, we’re saying… 4 Snyder tells Forbes magazine: “After Man Of Steel finished and we started talking about what would be in the next movie, I started subtly mentioning that it would be cool if he faced Batman… Once you say it out loud, then it’s kind of hard to go back, right?”
5 A longtime comics fan, Snyder respects the power of the weaponsgrade iconography in his hands. “I understand the canon. I’m not crazy. I know what these characters need from a mythological standpoint.” So rest easy: no disco rollerboogie sequences for our noble heroes.
6 Frank Miller’s groundbreaking graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns is a major inspiration for Snyder – he once dreamt of adapting it for the big screen – but expect its ideological clash between a grimly fanatical Batman and a governmentsanctioned Superman to be tempered for this tentpole blockbuster.
7 This Batman will, however, skew older than traditional screen incarnations. He’ll be “tired and weary and seasoned and been doing it for a while,” says Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara. Sparing us another origin tale – how many more slo- mo shots of Martha Wayne’s flying pearls can the world take before armed rebellion? – the movie will bring us an older, more battle- weary take on the Gotham guardian. “It’s cooler to see a crusty old Batman beating the snot out of guys,” says Snyder.
8 Potential Bat- men included Ryan Gosling ( Drive), Joe Manganiello ( True
Blood), Richard Armitage ( Spooks) and Max Martini ( Pacific Rim). Matthew Goode ( Watchmen) was also a contender for Superman in Man Of Steel. Jonah Hex’s Josh Brolin told Yahoo, “Me and Zack had a conversation about it, and there were several reasons why we said it wasn’t the best idea on both sides. I had mine and Zack had his.”
9 Ben Affleck proved to have the right jaw of justice. “We wanted a guy who had a certain age and a certain gravitas to what he had done in terms of his recent work,” says producer Charles Roven. “If you take a look at The Town and Argo, he plays a couple of serious guys in those movies. He’s a big man. He’s also a mature man. As you see him and Henry together, one definitely has much more experience just by looking at him. That’s what we wanted, particularly juxtaposed against our Superman.”
10 Affleck’s appointment to the Bat- cave triggered the kind of nerd- storm not seen since the days of Daniel Craig ’s enlistment as 007. One petition went up on the White House website, begging President Obama to “denounce the selection of Ben Affleck”. Affleck laughed it off. “I understand I’m at a disadvantage with the internet,” he told Playboy. “If I thought the result would be another Daredevil I’d be out there picketing myself.”
11 The Argo star confesses he initially shared the internet’s misgivings. “When they asked if I would be Batman, I told them I didn’t see myself in the role and I was going to have to beg off. They said I’d fit well into how they were going to approach the character and asked me to look at what Zack Snyder was doing. The stuff was incredible… It was a unique take on Batman that was still consistent with the mythology. All of a sudden I had a reading of the character. The idea for the new Batman is to redefine him in a way that doesn’t compete with the Bale and Chris Nolan Batman but still exists within the Batman canon.”
12 Christian Bale is happy for Affleck to inherit the cape and cowl: “Our thing ’s finished, we’ve always declared it’s finished and it should be passed on to another actor and it will be again after him. The only thing I said to him is just make sure you can take a piss without anyone having to help.”
13 Plumbing issues aside, the new Batsuit “has a logic to it,” says costume designer Michael Wilkinson ( 300,
Watchmen). “It’s very tight. It’s a very gritty, real, contemporary world. That’s what I had in the back of my mind when I tried to think of a Batman that works for that universe.” The suit’s steel- grey- and- black colour scheme nods to Frank Miller’s dour, camp- repelling interpretation in The Dark Knight Returns.
14 Nutritionist and fitness instructor Rehan Jalali is ensuring Affleck is in crimebusting shape. “Big, muscular, yet lean and good body symmetry,” he says. “Going for the real- life superhero look!”
15 Dawn Of Justice also sees DC icon Wonder Woman making her bigscreen bow. GI Joe: Retaliation’s Elodie Yung and Quantum Of Solace’s Olga Kurylenko tested for the Amazon uberfrau but the role went to Israel’s Gal Gadot, best known from the Fast And The Furious franchise.
16 While Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and Lost’s Terry O’Quinn were the populist faves for Lex Luthor, the signing of Jesse Eisenberg proved that the filmmakers had a fresher, more 21st century take planned for Superman’s eternal nemesis. Riffing on Eisenberg ’s Oscarnominated turn in The Social Network, this Lex is positioned as a callow and ambitious new- tech mogul with more than a pinch of Zuckerberg about him.
17 “I will treat it like it’s my own role,” Eisenberg tells IGN. “There’s no way to play the history of the character played by other people, unless you do some kind of wink, but that doesn’t seem like a responsible way to act… you just kind of treat it like a character, and that’s the best course of action, I think.” No word on whether this Lex will be chrome of dome or fully follicular. 18 Jeremy Irons is the latest ageing Brit thesp to find employment in
stately Wayne Manor. The Reversal
Of Fortune star becomes the fourth big- screen Alfred, described by Zack Snyder as “Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure.”
19 Holly Hunter’s also in the mix. Rumours are she plays the DCU’s Leslie Thompkins, a medical doctor and an old friend of the Waynes who shares Bruce’s dark secret and patches him up after particularly violent crime- smashing sessions. Kind of like Bat- BUPA. Other cast
members include 300’ s Callan Mulvey and The
Wolverine’s Tao Okamoto.
20 Hans Zimmer returns to score this four- colour showdown. He faces the challenge of creating a Batman theme that’s an equal to his work on the Nolan trilogy. “It’s a different Batman,” he says. “I don’t want to go and appropriate that and put that into the other Batman.”
21 Principal photography began in October 2013 at a football stadium in East LA, doubling for one in Gotham City. We’ll see a match between the home side and a rival team from Metropolis State University. Warning: metaphor.
22 Zack Snyder is aiming for the epic with the film’s Detroit shoot. One sequence reportedly calls for 8,500 extras – the casting call insisted on people with a military background. At least they know how to take orders…
23 As the title hints this movie is very much a primer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League. We’ll finally see the big- screen DC Universe expand, exposing a pantheon of other superheroes in the shadows. New York stage actor Ray Fisher plays tech- augmented Teen Titan Cyborg, foreshadowed by the throwaway mention of STAR Labs in Man Of Steel, while Jason Momoa is a cert for Aquaman, bringing the fish of justice to the fists of justice.
24 So what’s the plot? It’s a formidably tight- lipped shoot but one rumour has Lex Luthor plundering DNA from General Zod’s corpse to create the ultimate threat to his red- andblue nemesis… Alternatively he creates an app and triumphantly cries, “Behold, the power of social media shall destroy you, Superman!”
25 Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice opens in the UK on 29 April 2016.
Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman, minus the red and blue spangles. Look at that chin. Look at that chin! That’s a Bat- chin.
Even Supermen can feel a chill… Ben Affleck is not Matt Murdock.