The Death Of Su­per­man Lives: What Hap­pened? CS I: Kryp­ton

SFX - - Red Alert -

Sfilm that never was, due to be di­rected by Tim Bur­ton, pro­duced by Jon Peters, and star­ring Ni­co­las Cage as the Man of Steel – might have rede­fined Su­per­man for a gen­er­a­tion. It might have been a tur­key. We’ll never know as pro­duc­tion was can­celled three weeks be­fore cam­eras were due to start rolling. Now Jon Sch­nepp, di­rec­tor of the Me­talo­ca­lypse car­toon, has turned movie ar­chae­ol­o­gist with his doc­u­men­tary The Death Of Su­per­man Lives: What Hap­pened?

Sch­nepp funded his cin­e­matic ex­ca­va­tions through a Kick­starter cam­paign and set about track­ing down peo­ple who had worked on the pro­ject, in­clud­ing pro­duc­tion de­signer Rick Hein­richs and cos­tume de­signer Colleen At­wood, all the while aim­ing for the big names. “I thought I would be able to make the film in eight months, which was highly stupid of me,” he says. “This is just not pos­si­ble with doc­u­men­taries. The first year was mainly in­ter­views with just a few artists who had worked pe­riph­er­ally on the pro­duc­tion. It was very hard to get in con­tact with Tim Bur­ton, with Kevin Smith [ who wrote the first draft of the screen­play], it was par­tic­u­larly hard to get

sci- fact! in con­tact with Jon Peters, any of the main, big peo­ple. You just can’t cold- call them.”

Fi­nally one of Bur­ton’s team replied, say­ing the di­rec­tor was in­ter­ested, but very busy for sev­eral months. How long could Sch­nepp wait? “I said, I can wait for­ever,” says Sch­nepp, whose per­sis­tence was re­warded with both an in­ter­view and ac­cess to Bur­ton’s archive of pro­duc­tion art. “It was like open­ing the door to the Raiders Of The Lost Ark tomb,” he says. “Just an in­cred­i­ble ar­ray of art­work that no one has ever seen. It’s beau­ti­ful and eye- open­ing and trans­for­ma­tive. That’s when I felt, ‘ Wow, I re­ally have a film here that will be worth see­ing.’”

While Ni­co­las Cage de­clined an in­ter­view, Sch­nepp now had ac­cess to 45 min­utes of test footage fea­tur­ing Cage try­ing out dif­fer­ent cos­tumes. “It was the most in­cred­i­ble fly- on- the- wall ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause you’re there in 1997 and 1998 while they are talk­ing about mak­ing Su­per­man,” says Sch­nepp. “We have him in the film talk­ing about Su­per­man as Su­per­man and as Clark Kent. To me it was the holy grail of footage.” The Death Of Su­per­man Lives: What Hap­pened? comes to VOD on 9 July.

Rde­but in De­liv­er­ance as the nice guy who du­elled with a banjo- pluck­ing lo­cal. Some 15 years later he bagged the role of one of the ’ 80s great vil­lains as RoboCop’s evil cor­po­rate mon­ster Dick Jones, the Se­nior Pres­i­dent of OCP who was un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously fired – then oblit­er­ated – at the end of the film. “Hol­ly­wood had type­cast me as a boy scout kind of guy,” he tells Red Alert, “so when I got to play Dick Jones it all of a sud­den opened up whole new sys­tems for me – I much pre­fer play­ing bad guys!” Cox later re­united with RoboCop di­rec­tor Paul Ver­ho­even on To­tal Re­call, and now tours ex­ten­sively as a mu­si­cian ( see www. ron­ny­cox. com for info and videos). He will soon be seen op­po­site Michael Dou­glas in Be­yond The Reach, re­leased on 31 July.

I f Dick Jones hadn’t died, would you have wanted to re­turn to the role?

It was funny. When they were go­ing to make RoboCop 2, the pro­duc­ers called me up. I don’t know how se­ri­ous they were, but they said, “Ronny, we’re go­ing to make RoboCop 2.” I said, “Yeah, I died.” They said, “They put RoboCop back to­gether, how would you feel about play­ing RoboVil­lain?” So they were think­ing about re­con­sti­tut­ing Dick Jones and hav­ing him be ro­botic too.

I s there any­thing you wish was real i n

RoboCop? It’s a cau­tion­ary tale for us all. You look around at how mil­i­tarised our po­lice forces are and how this cor­po­rate world is run­ning ev­ery­thing – I think it presages the fu­ture pretty darn well.

Did you get any sou­venirs from the set?

Ac­tu­ally I did. The scene at the end when they shoot Dick Jones and he goes out of the win­dow, they ac­tu­ally set up this in­cred­i­ble shot and it ended up not work­ing. They made a lit­tle dummy of me, an ab­so­lute replica with the three- piece grey suit. It looked ex­actly like me. It was only about I think 18 or 20 inches high, and they built the build­ing that scale. Un­for­tu­nately it didn’t work, but they gave the dummy to me. It was kind of freaky to have a lit­tle Ronny – I have a maid and she wouldn’t even go in the room where I kept it be­cause she thought it was haunted!

What would i t say on Dick Jones’ grave­stone?

“I was right!”

It’s alive!

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