The dawn of The Su­per di­rec­tor

It may have started with Man of Steel, but Zack Sny­der has quickly be­come the go- to man to bring comic book su­per­heroes to li fe on the bi g screen

WKND - - Hollywood Fram­ing He­roes - By Ian Spell­ing

Zack Sny­der stands at the cen­tre of what’s of­fi­cially re­ferred to as “the DC Comics Ex­tended Uni­verse.” He’s di­rected the up­com­ing Bat­man v Su­per­man: Dawn of Jus­tice, is pro­duc­ing the up­com­ing Sui­cide Squad, Won­der Woman, The Flash, and Aqua­man, and will re­turn to the di­rec­tor’s chair next month for Jus­tice League, Part I, which he’ll fol­low up with Jus­tice League, Part II.

It all be­gan for Sny­der with Man of Steel ( 2013). That film, which in­tro­duced Henry Cav­ill as Clark Kent/ Su­per­man, elicited only av­er­age re­views but grossed more than $ 668 mil­lion world­wide, paving the way for Dawn of Jus­tice and the im­mi­nent pa­rade of se­quels and spin- offs which will be re­leased dur­ing the next sev­eral years.

“Lis­ten, I had an amaz­ing time with Man of Steel,” Sny­der said. “The thing that I think I learned most… It was an in­ter­est­ing job, be­cause it was the dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing a gun for hire and tak­ing full own­er­ship of the di­rec­tion and what we’re do­ing now, where we’re go­ing now with Bat­man v Su­per­man: Dawn of Jus­tice and th­ese other films. “I loved the Man of Steel story that Chris Nolan and David Goyer had come up with, and it was fun to do that,” he said. “But it’sit s fun to now go into un un­charted ter­ri­tory with th­ese char rac­ters.”

Out this week­end, Dawn of Jus­ticeJ pits su­per­hero against su­per­hero, as the masked vig­i­lant te Bat­man ( Ben Af­fleck) leaves Gotham to con­front Su­per­man ( Cav­ill)C in Me­trop­o­lis, the lat­ter’s home turf. Bat­man be­lieves tha at Su­per­man is too god­like for his own good — or for the good ofo his adopted planet and its peo­ple.

Those two alone would make forf a volatile story line. Add in an as­sort­ment of al­lies s, trou­ble­mak­ers and pure vil­lains, in­clud­ing Won­der Woman ( Gal Gadot), Lex Luthor ( Jesse Eisen­berg), Aq qua­man ( Ja­son Mo­moa), Cy­borg ( Ray Fisher) and th he Flash ( Ezra Miller), and things get more comp pli­cated. Throw in Perry White ( Lau­rence Fish­burne e), Al­fred ( Jeremy Irons) and Martha Kent ( Diane Lane), and there’s more than enough ma­te­rial for two movies. That’s not even men­tion­ing Dooms­day, played by Robin Atkin Downes and mil­lions of dol­lars’ worth of vis­ual ef­fects. Dooms­day serves as the mas­sive threat who may com­pel Su­per­man and Bat­man to for­sake their own dis­pute to tackle the com­mon dan­ger.

Sny­der speaks with un­abashed en­thu­si­asm about ev­ery el­e­ment of Dawn of Jus­tice. He’s a fan craft­ing a movie for fans like him, a geek blessed with the op­por­tu­nity to re­alise his dreams on the sil­ver screen.

“The thing that I love about the idea of Bat­man ver­sus Su­per­man is that we re­ally have a land­scape and a world that, right off the bat, is in­trigu­ing and ex­cit­ing,” Sny­der said. “It’s in­trigu­ing and ex­cit­ing to be in a uni­verse where Bat­man and Su­per­man and Won­der Woman ex­ist within the same re­al­ity. That was the real step­ping stone, the real bridge that al­lowed us to move for­ward.

“Man of Steel al­lowed a re­al­ity where Bat­man could ex­ist,” he said. “Just for me as a film­maker, I think that turn was re­ally a big rev­e­la­tion for us as we went for­ward. We­said, ‘ Okay, Bruce Wayne was there in Me­trop­o­lis when Zod ( Michael Shan­non) and Su­per­man were fight­ing. Their worlds are con­nected.’

“Then, as we re­ally start ed to drill down on that sort of idea, it re­ally beca ame clear that we were headed for an ex­cit­ing confr ronta­tion be­tween th­ese two ti­tans,” Sny­der con­tin nued. “It was ex­cit­ing to not only ma­nip­u­late that ex­pe­ri­ence, ma­nip­u­late the con­flict, but also to stoke it and to en­cour­age it thro ough, maybe, a lit­tle guy named Lex Lutho or.”

What do Won der Woman and Luthor add to the story? ?

“The gods hav ve stood on the side­lines long enough, an nd it’s time we see what they’re about,” ” Sny­der replied. “Well,


Af­fleck as Bat­man and Henry Cav­ill repris­ing his role as Su­per­man in Sny­der’s newly re­leased Bat­man

v Su­per­man: Dawn of Jus­tice; 3 the di­rec­tor’s epic por­trayal of Frank Miller’s graphic novel, 300; 4 An­other comic — Watch­men — brought to

life by Sny­der 5 His first movie was the zom­bie hor­ror flick Dawn

of the Dead

it’s time we see what this one in par­tic­u­lar is about. Won­der Woman’s take is re­ally in­ter­est­ing. We don’t get to 100 per cent un­der­stand her mo­ti­va­tion in this movie, but we get a taste of it. And Lex… Look, he’s the pup­pet mas­ter, he’s the ge­nius, he’s… Lex.”

How Dooms­day fig­ures into the ac­tion of Dawn of Jus­tice has been one of the project’s ma­jor se­crets. Sny­der prefers to keep it that way, but he does ac­knowl­edge that Dooms­day — who was in­tro­duced into the comics in 1992 as the main vil­lain in the Death of Su­per­man story arc— is, as the fans would say, the film’s big bad­die.

“Just to talk in a way that doesn’t give too much away, I re­ally wanted the trin­ity and they needed a foe that could unite them,” Sny­der said. “And I turned to Dooms­day be­cause he rep­re­sents that ir­ra­tional el­e­ment. You can’t rea­son with him. He’s like a force of na­ture, and it would take three ti­tans to stop him.”

A great deal of pres­sure comes with the job of cre­at­ing a movie such as this one, par­tic­u­larly with so much — and so many other movies — rid­ing on it. Nonethe­less, Sny­der said, when he was in the mo­ment with Bat­man, Su­per­man, Won­der Woman, Lex Luthor and Dooms­day all in ac­tion, he could barely con­tain his in­ner fan­boy. In fact, he ad­mit­ted, he of­ten let his geek flag fly dur­ing the shoot and pur­pose­fully chose not to sup­press it while direct­ing.

“I have no is­sue yelling, ‘ This is ridicu­lously awe­some!’ if I see Bat­man in his cos­tume, stand­ing on the edge of a build­ing, or some­thing like that,” Sny­der said, laugh­ing. “I’m just like, ‘ Come on, guys, this is our job? This is ridicu­lous.’ So I don’t try to re­press it.

“Plus the guys I work with are pretty much dorks too,” he added, “so it’s not like this is a dis­ad­van­tage. I’m not hid­ing the real me from any­one. And the ones who’ve worked with me be­fore, they’re pretty much ex­pect­ing it any­way.”

Sny­der, who turned 50 on March 1, kicked off his ca­reer as a di­rec­tor and cine­matog­ra­pher for tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials. He made his fea­ture- direct­ing de­but with the rel­a­tively mod­est Dawn of the Dead ( 2004), be­fore launch­ing into mega- movies with the block­buster 300 ( 2007), went on to helm Watch­men ( 2009), Leg­end of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole ( 2010), Sucker Punch ( 2011), and then Man of Steel.

Sny­der paused for a mo­ment when asked if a part of him yearns to go back to some­thing like Dawn of the Dead, or if he’s per­fectly com­fort­able th­ese days steer­ing mega- movies. No, he said, he har­bours no de­sire to re­turn to more mod­est films. “I treat them ex­actly the same, to be hon­est,” said Sny­der, whose wife Deb­o­rah Sny­der, co- pro­duces all his movies. “The pro­duc­tion style we do on th­ese movies is ex­actly the same as on Dawn of the Dead. I haven’t changed any­thing about the way we shoot or the way we are on set or how we ap­proach all the scenes. I still draw all the sto­ry­boards.

“So, for me, it’s a very hands- on, bou­tiquey, per­sonal process,” Sny­der con­cluded. “I only have that one way of work­ing. So I feel like it’s very much a labour of love, even though we do get paid well. The ac­tual process it­self, for me, whether it be Bat­man v Su­per­man or Dawn of the Dead, it’s al­most ex­actly the same.”

— New York Times Syn­di­cate

I have no Is­sue yelling, ‘ This Is ridicu­lously awe­some!’ If I see Bat­man In his cos­tume...

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