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Trivia about Superman II.

  • Originally, Richard Donner had filmed Superman talking to his father for Superman II (1980), but Marlon Brando sued for (and won) a percentage of the profits of the first film, so the producers had his scenes removed, and they were replaced by those with Superman's mother instead. The lawsuit also resulted in him receiving a share of the proceeds from this movie - even though he doesn't appear. These scenes with Brando appear in Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut and can be heard briefly during a scene in Superman Returns
  • Tom Mankiewicz was hired to oversee the script originally written by Mario Puzo for the original Superman (1980), which of course was to be made simultaneously with its sequel. Thus, the script had elements of both films in it. Mankiewicz eliminated most of the camp elements that Puzo had inserted in the original draft and went ahead with the filmmakers' decision to keep the religious allusions of the Superman story in the script. Specifically, there are elements of the Second Coming of Christ in the Superman saga ever since it first appeared in comic book form in the 1930s. Among the similarities to the Second Coming are: 1) Jor-El (God) casts out Zod (Satan) from Krypton (Heaven); 2) Jor-El's speech as he and Lara say goodbye to Kal-El "...The son becomes the father and the father the son...."; 3) The ship that brings Kal-El to Earth is in the form of a star (the star of Bethlehem); 4) Kal-El comes to a couple unable to have children "...How we prayed and prayed the good Lord see fit to give us a child...."; 5) Just as there is not much known about Jesus during his middle years, Clark Kent travels into the wilderness to find out who he really was and what he had to do; 6) "...You must live as one of them but always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people Kal-El, they wish to be, they only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you, my only son." There would have been more religious references in the sequel if director Richard Donner would have been allowed to play out the story of Superman's fall and resurrection and his battle with evil in 'Superman II'. Unfortunately, he was fired and replaced by Richard Lester, who did not respect the Superman character or the mythology.
  • Original director Richard Donner left the production due to a clash with the producers, the Salkinds, over the material.
  • US-born Director Richard Lester , an American expatriate living in England, claimed he had never heard of the Superman character before being hired to replace original director Richard Donner for the sequel as comic books had not been allowed in his house when he was child. Many critics believe that Lester's lack of understanding of the character of Superman bordered on disrespect, which was most apparent in the next sequel, Superman III, which he directed entirely on his own.
  • Director Richard Lester was not sympathetic to the epic look that original director Richard Donner had given the original Superman: The Movie , saying that he did not want to do "the David Lean thing". Imposing his own control over the Superman saga, Lester took advantage of the death of Donner's cinematographer, Oscar-winner Geoffrey Unsworth, to stamp his own look on the sequel. Lester decided to scrap most of Unsworth's footage, which created an epic stateliness through the use of a gliding camera and unique colors for different locations, and hired potboiler director Michael Winner's cinematographer, Robert Paynter, to create a comic book-style that would evoke Superman's roots in comic books. Lester deliberately wanted to break the stylistic "American epic" mold created by Donner and, with Paynter, set out to recreate the look and feel of a comic book. For this reason, Lester did not use his own long-time collaborator, lighting cameraman David Watkin, as Watkin's photographic style was too classical, and thus not adaptable to a comic book aesthetic. Working with his Lester, Paynter and his camera operator Freddie Cooper developed a different type of framing from the original, but one that was ideal for their concept of a comic book film: They replaced Unsworth's gliding camera with horizontal panning and static framing to evoke comic books and comic strips, with their static frames that are crammed with people and objects. Similarly, the composition of shots the trio developed for 'Superman II'. had objects and people crammed into the frame. To further emphasize comic book composition, the action was photographed from one angle, to give the film a desired flatness. (Harkening back to the technique of the early sound era, Lester's films had always been shot with three cameras simultaneously filming the action all at one time, with two cameras for close-ups and one for the long-shot (the establishing shot). Actors do not like this technique as they do not know when their close-ups are being filmed, and must be "on" constantly, rather than saving their best takes for the close-ups. Lester's technique added to the friction on the set caused by Donner's firing, with Margot Kidder particularly disliking Lester as a director.) Paynter's palette consisted of pastel colors to suggest the color of comic books. The theatrical gray skies of Paris, the rainbows of Niagara Falls and the Caribbean colors of St. Lucia were thusly rendered with a comic book look. Whereas Unsworth had given every new destination Superman visits seem like an awe inspiring new discovery, Lester and Paynter showed Superman having as easy access to far off lands, just as he did in the comics. One minute he's in France, the next in Metropolis, and so on, without any second thoughts. Unfortunately, Lester's disdain for Superman as an American epic masked a certain disrespect for the enterprise, and his comic book aesthetic backfired badly with the next sequel, Superman III (1983), which was routinely panned and underperformed at the box office.
  • The scene where General Zod, Ursa and Non use their super-breath to create a storm in Metropolis was shot over three freezing November nights at Pinewood Studios in England. During that time, director Richard Lester improvised most of the jokes that you see in that sequence.
  • In a 2004 interview, Margot Kidder claimed that there are indeed enough scenes shot for this sequel by Richard Donner "somewhere in a vault" to make his own cut of the film. A website therefore started a petition for Warner Bros. to allow and sponsor Donner with his own cut of Superman II (1980). This claim proved to be correct and the footage was re-edited into Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut.
  • When Cosmonaut Boris (Jim Dowdall) meets General Zod on the moon, the approximate Russian translation is, "What is your name? Identify yourself!"
  • Giving credence to Margot Kidder's 2004 claim that enough footage exists for a Richard Donner directed cut of Superman II (1980) to be released, the 1984 ABC Television broadcast of the film used over 30 minutes of footage deleted from the theatrical release, almost all of it Donner-directed footage. Among the scenes deleted but used in the ABC print of the movie Superman flying past the Concorde (a scene intended for the first film). Extra dialog between Luthor and Otis in the jail. Extra dialog between Luthor and Eve flying to and within the Fortress of Solitude. The death of the young boy trying to escape East Houston, Idaho The soufflé. A scene between Superman and Lois. Nearly fifteen minutes of extra footage with Gene Hackman, including a pivotal scene within the Fortress where Luthor begs forgiveness from Superman and The Man of Steel decides to risk trusting him.
  • The original script had the nuclear missile from Superman releasing Zod and companions from the Phantom Zone.
  • Actor Gene Hackman did not return for the second film and all his scenes were originally filmed by director Richard Donner. Existing scenes that required Hackman used a look-alike and a voice impersonator to add any lines needed.
  • In an early version of the script, there were four Kryptonian exile villains instead of three. The fourth member, Jak-El, was supposed to be an evil prankster and source of comic relief (a similar character to Riddler in the Batman series). In an early script, he is described as 'A psychopathic jokester, whose pranks and "practical jokes" are only funny to him when they cause death and suffering to others, this is JAK-EL.' The character was later dropped and never cast.
  • Towards the end of the movie, when Clark Kent enters Daily Planet floor to talk to Lois for the last time, there is a sign in the background on the white board that reads "Daha iyisi olamaz". It is in Turkish and means "It can't get any better/There can't be anything better".
  • In a very unusual move for an event film of this scale, Warner Bros. released the film in Europe at the end of 1980 and in the U. S. about seven months later, in the summer of 1981.
  • Two "James Bond 007" veterans contributed to the screenplay for this movie, although neither is credited. George MacDonald Fraser co-wrote Octopussy; Guy Hamilton directed _Goldfinger_, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun. Moreover, Tom Mankiewicz - an uncredited co-screenwriter of the original Superman - also co-wrote the latter three 007 films.

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