SAN DIEGO — Director Bryan Singer is a man who's feeling the pressure. The 39-year-old mastermind behind the comic-book-turned-blockbuster-film franchise "X-Men" has been hard at work, on location halfway around the world filming the top-secret "Superman Returns," due in theaters next year.
"At any point — at every point — I [feel] overwhelmed," said Singer, who had just flown in Saturday morning from the Australian "Superman" set to attend the 2005 Comic-Con convention (see "Jack Black, Natalie Portman, Rob Zombie Animate Comic-Con"). "Every day there's a new challenge or a new element or a thing that makes you say, 'Whoa, is this going to work? OK, how do we overcome this and get from point A to point B,' which is sort of what filmmaking becomes after a while.
"I've always been a fan of the original 'Superman' series," he continued. "The George Reeves [1950s TV] series, the Richard Donner 1978 film. I've always had an idea for how I would make a Superman film if I was given the opportunity, and suddenly the opportunity presented itself and I leapt on and took advantage of it." As a result, Singer had to bail on spearheading the third "X-Men" installment, "X3." That duty ended up falling into the hands of Brett Ratner (see " 'Rush Hour' Director Ratner To Helm 'X3' "), who, coincidentally, was initially slated to direct the original "X-Men" movie.
Singer previewed a three-minute clip of the new "Superman" flick for several thousand eager fans at Comic-Con and drew a standing ovation from the crowd. Details of the film's plot have been, for the most part, kept tightly under wraps during production, but the director recently told USA Today that the upcoming installment will be primarily a love story, as Superman (played by newcomer Brandon Routh) returns from a six-year absence to find his love, Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), with a new boyfriend and child.
In April, fanboys and girls were given a first sneak peek into the classified project when a series of photos from the film's set were unveiled to the public (see "Check Out The New Clark Kent: 'Superman Returns' Photos Released" and "At Last! Man Of Steel Photos Surface").
Singer said that finding his perfect leading man was the most arduous part of the film's process. "Casting the lead and making sure I had Superman [was the most difficult part], but I felt I did with Brandon," he said. "And then just gearing up for a project of this magnitude was hard. It's certainly the biggest film I've ever made."
The director says he aspired to stay true to the comic-book character that millions of fans — including Singer himself — had grown to love through the years. "The comic has gone through so many evolutions over the decades that it really depends which comic you're a fan of — Action comics, Superman comics, Alex Ross comics. It depends," he said. "But I think this film will capture the essence of who Superman is and was. At least, you know, one can only hope."
The savvy Singer isn't putting all his eggs in one basket, however. Aside from five films currently in development, he is also executive producing the FOX drama "House" ("a project I'm very, very proud of," he said), and will start producing another series for the Sci-Fi Network.
And after "Superman," will there be any more comic-book film projects in the works for Singer?
"No, not at the moment," he laughed. "This is enough. Three [big] movies, two franchises ... that's pretty big for one guy."
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