Actors McG was screening before his departure include Jason Behr and Jared Padalecki for the role of Superman, Scarlett Johansson for Lois Lane, and Shia LaBeouf for Jimmy Olsen.
When Tim Burton was attached to direct the Superman costume was all dark blue, featured a blood-red cape, and featured the classic "S" symbol in the form of daggers. Burton also wanted to cast either Ralph Fiennes or David Duchovny as Superman. While the project was under Brett Ratner's supervision, actors Josh Hartnett, Paul Walker, Matt Bomer, Brendan Fraser, Ashton Kutcher, David Boreanaz, Ian Somerhalder, Henry Cavill, Jerry O’Connell and Hayden Christensen were considered for the part of Superman. Brett Ratner left the project primarily because he and Warner Bros. executives could not agree on whom to cast as Superman. Matthew Bomer was considered for the role of Superman when Brett Ratner was to direct. Will Smith was offered the role of Superman/Clark Kent but declined, saying: "You mess up white peoples' heroes in Hollywood, you'll never work in this town again!" James Caviezel expressed great interest in the role of Superman, but director Bryan Singer refused to cast him because he felt that Caviezel was "too famous" after starring in The Passion of the Christ .
Actresses being considered for the role of Lois Lane when McG was to direct included Elisha Cuthbert, Claire Danes and Keri Russell. Mischa Barton and Keira Knightley were considered for the role of Lois Lane when McG was attached to the project. McG and Jon Peters tried to get Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Lopez, and Catherine Zeta-Jones for the role of Lois Lane.
Anthony Hopkins was set to play Jor-El of Krypton, but after Ratner left, Hopkins did the same. Johnny Depp was considered for the roles of Lex Luthor and Jor-El when McG was attached to the project. Billy Zane was once considered to play the role of Lex Luthor when McG was attached to the project.
Jude Law was Bryan Singer's only choice to play General Zod. After Law turned down the role several times, Singer eliminated the character from the script.
Actors including Eric Christian Olsen, Topher Grace, and Shawn Ashmore were being considered for the role of Jimmy Olson before 'Sam Huntington' was cast. Shawn's brother, Aaron Ashmore, later portrayed Olsen in "Smallville".
Hugh Laurie was cast first in the role of Perry White. However, the popularity of his TV show "House M.D." caused schedule conflicts. Frank Langella was then cast.
Oliver Stone, Michael Bay, Robert Rodriguez, Martin Campbell, Shekhar Kapur, and Stephen Norrington all turned down the chance to direct throughout the ten-year project development.
Jack Larson, who plays Bo the Bartender, played Jimmy Olsen in the "Adventures of Superman" (1952) TV series.
The role of Lex Luthor was always intended for Kevin Spacey. The production schedule was adjusted to accommodate Spacey's six week break from his duties as the Old Vic theater director.
The appearance of Superman in the silver suit right after crashing back to Smallville is a direct nod to the Kryptonian costumes of the 1978 Superman film which were made out of a screen material that, despite it's glow, appeared dark gray when not properly lit.
The truck which Martha drove during the opening was the exact truck used for the first Superman movie. The producers managed to find that truck and rented it for use.
The new Panavision Genesis camera was constructed based upon feedback of director Michael Mann and director of photography Paul Cameron during the production of Collateral. The feedback was documented in American Cinematographer, June 2004 issue. It has features that were missed out in previous models (HDR-950) including support of standard 35mm spherical lenses, full color bandwidth, and better ergonomics. Eight units were used for the entire production. Despite being the first movie to use this camera, other titles including Click and Scary Movie 4 were shot later but released earlier.
The reappearance of Superman in Metropolis by saving an crashing airplane is a direct nod to an episode of Paul Dini's Superman The Animated series titled: The Last Son of Krypton Part 2 as well as an episode of the Fleischer-animated Superman called Japoteurs.
Brandon Routh's sister Sara was one of the choir members for the production orchestra.
Bryan Singer was still under a three-picture deal with Fox from X2 when he decided to jump ship to direct this movie. As the consequence, his deal was terminated and one of his under-development projects with Fox, Logan's Run was ultimately shelved and the third X-Men picture was under jeopardy. The vacant's director's role for the third X-Men would go to Brett Ratner who lost to Singer for the first X-Men movie.
These words appear on Martha Kent's Scrabble board the night Clark/Superman returns: paddings, dawnings, squirms, jets, fax, fare, rarer, nary, revere, bent, jag, drag, oho, way, men, tee, hod, voiced, hill, zoo, quoit, foot, feet, view, kir, alienation. A few of the words - jets, fax, revere, dawnings, alienation - may deliberately presage themes and plot points in the movie.
When Clark is walking around the office with the TVs displaying news reports (after Luther steals the kryptonite) the news reports can be heard mentioning the city of Gotham.
Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey signed on without having read the script.
It took twelve years and three vastly different directors to finally get the project off the ground.
Tim Burton's "Superman Lives" was far enough into pre-production at the time it was canceled that the studio had already designed a teaser poster to be displayed in theatres. It consisted of a stylized silver "S" shield set against a black background, with the phrase "Coming 1998" displayed across the bottom third of the poster. Finalized copies of the poster were printed up, but it's unclear how many were made before the movie was called off.
When Bryan Singer took over this project, he immediately brought over his production staff consisting of cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel, composer/editor John Ottman, production designer Guy Dyas, and writers Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty from X2 to meet Warner Bros.' release date for the film.
The crew in Tamworth grew their own corn. It took twelve weeks for them to get the corn just right.
The Kent farm was originally built on a sound stage and was then disassembled, moved to Tamworth, Australia, and reconstructed and redressed.
The movie was filmed in Sydney, Australia at Fox Studios. The Kent family home was filmed in Tamworth, Australia.
DC Comics' character Aquaman is on Jason's pajamas.
The publish date of "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman" is 14 February 2006.
Lex Luthor says, "To the primitive mind, any sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic," which is a paraphrase of an Arthur C. Clarke quote, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" ("Profiles of the Future," 1961). Clarke is mentioned in the closing credits of the film for this reason.
Newton Thomas Sigel initially planned on shooting the film in 65mm in order to achieve the "glossy" look he was aiming for. This idea progressed far enough that extensive filming of 65mm test footage was done during pre-production. Sigel eventually abandoned the 65mm format after being repeatedly told that "nobody projects it anymore".
The last line of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) (the one before "Returns") is Superman saying to Luthor, "See you in twenty." That scene was filmed in 1986. Coincidentally, twenty years later, in 2006, the next Superman movie was released.
There is a framed photograph of Glenn Ford (Jonathan Kent from the original Superman (1978)) on the piano during the reunion scene at the Kent farm. In a delete scene from Clark's bedroom, more photos of Glenn Ford can be seen. These were created by the graphic design team during the film's production, as seen in Bryan Singer's on-line video journal #21 "In Graphic Detail", and were digitally enhanced to include Eva Marie Saint as Martha and young incarnations of Clark.
Eva Marie Saint (Martha Kent) made her cinematic debut in On the Waterfront (1954), coincidentally opposite the late Marlon Brando (Jor-El).
In one scene photographs of Superman rescuing a woman in a car are shown. The pictures are an homage to Action Comics. The shot of Superman holding the car above his head is a direct reference to the cover of Action Comics #1 from 1938 where Superman is seen for the first time.
The building used for the exterior shots of the bank robbery scene is University House in Newcastle, Australia, which is home to the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music (among other schools of the University of Newcastle). Francine Bell, who portrays one of the news anchors in the film, is a well-loved Voice tutor at Newcastle Conservatorium, although none of her scenes would have been filmed at University House.
This is the first film to use the Panavision Genesis HD camera. Developed jointly by Panavision and Sony, it was the latest of the specific 24p HD used by the likes of George Lucas and Robert Rodriguez, among others.
Contains 1,400 VFX shots
All previous scripts revolved, in one way or another, around the death and subsequent return of Superman. Jonathan Lemkin wrote a draft in which Superman impregnates Lois before he dies, she gives birth soon thereafter (also dying in the process), and a fully-grown new Superman emerges to save the world. Lemkin's work was quickly discarded.
When Bryan Singer became interested in possibly hiring Brandon Routh, he arranged for them to meet in a coffee shop. When they met at their table, Routh stumbled and spilled hot coffee all over the table. Although he panicked, thinking he had just lost the part, Singer laughed and said it actually helped him get the part. The incident convinced Singer that Routh could pull off the clumsy, bumbling Clark Kent.
Promotional material was shipped to cinemas in the UK under the title "Red Sun".
Bryan Singer wanted Christopher Reeve to make a cameo appearance in the film but Reeve died before filming began. Singer then decided to dedicate the film to him.
Marlon Brando posthumously reprises his role as Jor-El with some help from VFX. Rhythm & Hues took footage from Superman movie and hand-modeled and animated a CG-replica of his face upon the footage. It was then textured and new mouth shapes were then animated onto the model.
The production of the film occupied seven sound stages and two workshops for eight months at Fox Studios, Sydney in 2005.
Workers constructed 7km of road and planted 15 hectares of corn to recreate the Kent farm. This is especially a difficult task in that the farm was created during a 7-year drought in Australia.
Milliskin, a type of cloth, was used as the material of Superman's suit. Unfortunately, this cloth restricts movement when new. Worse, it sags after being worn and becoming comfortable. As a result, 80 suits, 100 capes, 30 boots and 90 belts were made.
In an interview on "Larry King Live" (1985), director Bryan Singer said that had he not had access to John Williams' original music, he would not have done the film.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Bryan Singer discussed a scene that was in an early draft of the screenplay but never filmed: "At one point," the director recalls, "I had a scene in the script which I never shot, and I probably was never going to shoot, where Superman would be standing - after flying around rescuing people at night - would be standing at dawn at Ground Zero. Sort of standing there, almost as if to say, 'If I had been here, this might not be.'"
Dedicated to Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve.
The space shuttle engineer was played by Richard Branson, the owner of The Virgin Group. The monitors inside the jet display the words "Virgin Galactic", the name of Branson's commercial spaceflight company that will utilize the SpaceshipOne crafts, which are launched from the underbelly of an airplane, much like the space shuttle in the film.
When Lex and his henchman enter the museum in Metropolis, the two people that are already there (and they tell to leave) are actually Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris, the screenwriters.
Brandon Routh put on 20 pounds of muscle for the movie.
A sign in the plaza of the Daily Planet building reads, "Shuster Square." This is a reference to Joe Shuster, one of the co-creators of the original Superman character.
Noel Neill plays Gertrude Vanderworth. She played Lois Lane in the 1950's TV series and the 1940's movie serial. She also played Lois Lane's mother in Superman (1978).
Gertrude Vanderworth, the wealthy, dying widow (in the opening scene with Lex Luthor), is played by Noel Neill. Noel Neill portrayed Lois Lane in the 1950's Superman TV series starring 'George Reeves'. Prior to the TV series, she had played Lois Lane in the 1948 feature length film "Superman" and its 1950 sequel, "Atom Man vs. Superman." Both movies starred Kirk Alynas Superman.
The two fighter planes escorting the space plane are Lockheed Martin F-35s. At the time of the release the F-35 was still in production. The first real F-35 would not fly until December 2006, nearly six months after the release of the film.
Superman foils the shooter with the chain gun at the Newhart Federal Bank. On "The Bob Newhart Show" Bob Newhart's office was located at the Bay Federal Bank Building. *In one of the scenes with Lex's Train set a sign saying 'Smallville' can be seen briefly.
According to an article in the 12 September 2005 issue of Newsweek, the biggest question concerning Superman's costume involved the size and shape of the bulge in the front of his tights. Costume designer Louise Mingenbach finally decided on a bulge that wasn't too big. "Ten-year-olds will be seeing this movie," she explained.
During filming, Kevin Spacey would drive around in a golf cart ("Lex's Super Buster") dragging a stuffed Superman doll behind on a rope and yell "Superman Must Die" with a megaphone
During Brandon Routh's screen test, people would come up to him between takes and tell him how much fun filming in Australia would be and what a great opportunity playing Superman would be. Routh was confused as he was under the impression that he hadn't officially got the part yet, and he was starting to get a little nervous that people might be jinxing him. It turns out Bryan Singer pretty much made up his mind at that point on who he was going to cast.
Elements of the film are from a 1993 rough-draft screenplay. The same year DC Comics publishes Superman's death and later return. As well as the 55th anniversary for the character.
The chemical name of Kryptonite is given as "sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide with fluorine." In 2007, Dr. Chris Stanley of the London Natural History Museum discovered the very same mineral, albeit without fluorine, in Jadar, Serbia and named it Jadarite. In reality, it is a white powder rather than a green crystal.
Lex's computer map on the boat shows Metropolis in the real-world location of Bayonne, New Jersey.
A break-in on the set of Superman Returns, in which the crew's walkie talkies were stolen, forced filming to be halted. Pranksters caused chaos during a stunt sequence, being filmed in Martin Place, by shouting "cut" and "action" over the airwaves. The thieves with the walkie talkies listened in to much of the night's filming to learn key phrases which they later yelled at key moments. The mischief almost caused serious injury, with the night's filming centering on a Mustang car jumping down steps and landing between extras. It stopped a number of times.
The tattoo on the back of Brutus' head is a fairly accurate representation of the clown makeup worn by John Wayne Gacy, a famous serial killer.
Jack Larson, the original Jimmy Olsen in the George Reeves television series, appears as a bartender who serves to Clark and Jimmy.
Kevin Spacey convinced Bryan Singer to cast Kate Bosworth for the role of Lois Lane after her performance in Beyond the Sea (2004).
Brandon Routh auditioned for the role of Superman when McG was attached to direct.
When Superman saves Perry White from the falling globe off the roof of the Daily Planet, this is a reference to Atlas, a mythological figure who bore the weight of the world on his shoulders.
The stars on Clark Kent's ceiling are astronomically correct.
It's the first Superman film to be rated PG-13. All the previous Superman films were rated PG.
After showing Lois Lane why he thinks the world needs a savior, Superman returns Lois Lane back to the roof of the Daily Planet. You then hear the musical motif from the first Superman movie "Can You read my Mind", when Superman first took Lois for a flight.
Despite the fact that this film ignores Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, a brief reference to the events of said film remain. As Clark is rushing through the Daily Planet, he passes several old headlines framed on the wall. One of them mentions Superman saving the Wall. In the aforementioned film, Superman uses telekinesis to rebuild the Great Wall of China after Nuclear Man destroys it. It also references Supergirl (1984), where a radio announcer reports Superman is off on a space mission to a far away galaxy.
Frank Langella's character, Perry White, was played on "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" (1993) by Lane Smith. This is actually the second part the actors have shared. Previously, they both played former President Richard Nixon.
The set design for the offices of The Daily Planet, with its mushroom-shaped columns, were inspired by architect Frank Lloyd Wright's S.C. Johnson Wax building in Racine, Wisconsin.
Brandon Routh, who plays Superman, is two years younger than Tom Welling, who plays the teenage version of the same character on the TV series "Smallville" (2001).
There are numerous references to specific Superman comic books. Superman recreates the cover of Action #1 in one scene, and the entire "Space Plane" sequence was from the Man of Steel miniseries in 1986, explaining how he first met Lois Lane.
After Superman stops the airplane crash, he says to the passengers (including Lois Lane), "I hope this doesn't put any of you off flying. Statistically speaking, it's still the safest way to travel." Superman said the same thing to Lois after rescuing her from the helicopter crash in the original Superman (1978). And, as in the first movie, Lois faints just after Superman flies away.
After Lex Luthor and his gang steal the meteorite at the museum, a broken glass has the year 1978 written with the description of the meteorite; which was also the same year the first Superman came to theaters. Not only did it say 1978, but it had "Addis Ababa" above the year, which is where Lex Luthor found the kryptonite meteorite in the original Superman (1978).
Superman's space travel to Krypton is similar to the one he took in the "Superman" (1996) episode "Little Girl Lost". In that episode, Superman's trip to Krypton did not take years and he discovered a female survivor in a nearby solar system, Kara, who would eventually become Supergirl.