Superman ditches the tight reddies
movies: Man of Steel saves the world by design.............
UNLIKE the Superman suits worn in the past by George Reeves, Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain and Brandon Routh, the outfit actor Henry Cavill squeezes into in Man of Steel is missing something.
While Reeves, Reeve & Co wore their underpants on the outside, Man of Steel’s costume designers James Acheson and Michael Wilkinson found that each time they refined their version of the suit in the design process, Superman’s briefs became briefer.
In the end, it was decided to completely remove the superhero’s tight reddies.
British actor Cavill, 30, didn’t mind, although the tightfitting suit made from foam latex with a chrome finish was missing something else that would have come in handy during the long days on the film set. ‘‘The lack of a fly on it didn’t help out,’’ Cavill says. Devised by one of Hollywood’s top superhero screenwriters, David Goyer, the new film’s story begins on Krypton where chaos – and tight latex suits – reign. Superman’s biological father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe, see report, Page 10), and the planet’s military leader, General Zod (Michael Shannon), slip into their own latex suits.
Audiences also discover the ‘‘S’’ on the superhero’s chest doesn’t stand for Superman, but is the heraldic sign of the house of El.
The film opens with fisticuffs between Crowe and Shannon, and a large chunk of the rest of the movie involves an epic Earth-shaking showdown between Cavill and Shannon.
US actor Shannon, 38, who scored an Oscar nomination for his performance opposite Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in 2008’s Revolutionary Road, admits to being ‘‘very nervous’’ meeting Crowe.
‘‘I had never met him before this picture and have admired his work over the years,’’ Shannon says.
‘‘The first thing we did together was work out. We went in and got really sweaty. It was very unglamorous, but a nice way to start things off because it kind of removes this movie star aura.
‘‘He was very friendly and approachable and we had dinner a couple of times. Jor-El and General Zod at one point are friends, so we had to build that up.’’
The latex suits might have made the many fight and action scenes difficult and toilet stops infrequent, but the actors agree the costumes helped them mentally transform into their characters. ‘‘The suit, it’s a very special thing,’’ Cavill says. ‘‘When I put the suit on of a morning it really did transport me to the character. There’s so much that has gone into the design. It is incredibly regal as it is, but there’s something else you can’t really explain.
‘‘I think it is the love you have for the character. It did make it truly special. It’s not just putting on a costume. It was something more than that.’’
Man of Steel opens today.
Above: Henry Cavill as Clark Kent and Diane Lane as Martha Kent in a scene from Man Of Steel. Right: Cavill, sans underpants, as the new-look Superman.