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
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,
BRINGING COMICS TO LIFE: 1 and 2 Ben
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...