Tom Mankiewicz, Christopher Reeve, Ben Mankiewicz discussed on It Happened In Hollywood
Some great stuff in that story there first of all Mankiewicz not name definitely rings a bell. So who is he chip? Well Tom Mankiewicz was the son of Joseph. Mangku it's okay wrote and directed all about eve and then he's the nephew of Herman Mankiewicz. Who wrote Citizen Kane so quite a movie legacy and then of course Ben Mankiewicz is on Turner Classic Movies? Yes from Anklewicz. Those great uncle or something. I don't know I lost track. But they're all relate. Yeah so I love that image of Richard Donner putting on. This is a superman costume that they gave him running across the lawn to greet his friend and convince them to sign on to do this Rewrite it's quite the image. Yeah and then of course. He showed us a photo later of Christopher. Reeve wearing the costume. That was pretty great so Tom. Mankiewicz is on board rewrite it. So what would you think he meant by like a parody of Parody Lake campy probably and he didn't want that bright so Mario Puzo has written this campy version of Superman two hundred fifty Cami pages. Yeah what do you call it? A parody of parody and I think what he was trying to get at with banquets was something more rooted in reality. Something the audience can really attach themselves to write because until that point superman was a television show in the fifties but it wasn't a serious property and no one really took it that seriously now superman at the time was the TV show in the fifty s which the flying material that they gave us that they had been preparing production for a year. Was that kind of flying. It the guy laying on board with a couple of ropes and smoke being blown by him. I mean that's all they had. We had to start from scratch. Sorry I didn't mean to interrupt you know not at all. I'm curious you know so. People didn't take superman very seriously exactly from that. Show right. That was sort of just kitty stuff. But as a kid you did I remember as a kid. I took that seriously right that Jack Armstrong or whatever that allows the incredible hulk seriously but you watch it now and it's yeah so this was was there ever took the incredible I did. What was your childhood like? I was angry but I'm just wondering because it is still accepted as the template of these serious epic Blockbuster Comic Book Movies that have now completely taken over Hollywood. And I'm wondering if at any point you you all sat and said we can change the way people see comic books. We can make something you know real important and lasting. No no no no no because we hello there were made comic book movies before the TV shows. There were some that. Were done before Superman but I had not seen them. Our approach to it was that this had to have a sense of reality within its own reality and as I said You. Original script took this parody of life imperative on top of it so when it couldn't you couldn't treat it as a reality couldn't treat a love story is a love story. You couldn't treat Clark Kent Lois Lane in Superman has jules and Jim so we approached it just that this had its own reality. It's not real. But it's real within its own moments in time and that approach worked because like you said kids take it seriously and low. We'll seth was. They're taking it seriously. I was taking it seriously. So this tone that he struck really nailed it. Yeah all right. So the movies ago the rewrites happening and of course it came prepackaged with Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman. Right they were not negotiable. But who would want to negotiate nausea hanging in your movie so the problem was they needed a superman. Richard felt since they had two big stars. They didn't need a big star to play superman so they went looking for superman. When I came on the picture it had been in pre production for I think a year or two and They're casting was to approach stars. Who were they at the time? Paul Newman Redford stallone. I mean you name them and they they wanted those people because they wanted a name and I said look you've kind of Marlon Brando and gene. Hackman you don't need a name and not only that if we're GONNA make this thing work I just can't see Robert Redford in tights flying over metropolis. We have to find a new or a real superman and we lots of arguments as you can see. I didn't get along with them and Casting director I need some of my office. Lynn stall master two billion. Yes Oh great Greek theater and he said I saw this kid and I play downtown the other night and I want you to meet and I said swell and we were on the tenth floor of the Sherry Netherlands in New York of Summer Day. Windows were open in the window flies. This kid stands on them window Silva wind blowing in his hair. He steps in is you can fly. That's automatically gets you. The party's thank you know he sat down. Were you going this? And he was very skinny picture and his hair was going to light blond light brown rather put the whole thing was. He was so serious when he talked about the character. And when you read that all of a sudden it was like I'm hearing a myriad the way it was written by the way I wanted but I had a problem. The kid was skinny so that night I went to see him in a same play down in the village and he was wonderful. Really wonderful great presence so I called him back and I said listen. I don't know how are we going to do this? But we're going to build you up. If you he said I was a jock all my life he said and I and I was built up as another fifty pounds heavier. He decided to become an actor. I lost all that weight because I didn't want to. I can you put it back. He said I promise so. We hired him. I mean I shot a screen test with him in that outfit with perspiration rings under the things and Black Shoe Polish hair and my when he did Clark antiwar my worn rim glasses and when he came to England we put him with the actor that was in the wookey. What that Big Peter Mayhew? Yes he was a weightlifter in a body builder and he worked with Chris. And you could actually see a day by day as his body starting to come out so Had we find soup? And that's how I tested so many people because the studio wanted them tested including the dentist of the wife of the producer who physically looked like a mentoring but but poor guy was he was a good dentist has done this Sunday work. Stay away from it. Any fan boys listening. You have to be happy about some of the stuff to back up with. Christopher Reeves trainer to get him bulked up to play Superman seven foot two inch. I'm Peter Mayhew Tobacco King Out. Yeah and now. He's training Superman and a dentist. And then you get a bonus little story about the sleazy producers. Who Somehow got his wife's dentist audition. Yes with this Dennis. We can film seven Superman for the same price a cheap. And he'll do all of our team. That's probably the producers. Pitch all right moving right along so we have. Christopher Reeve this Very little known juilliard. Grad. Doing some local theater New York. Who's now superman right? And they need his romantic foil. The dog a journalist. Lois Lane Margot. Kidder was not necessarily the only choice. There were others and if you go online on Youtube you can see additions of some of the other actresses who tried to be Louis Lane. But here's how Richard got to the decision to cast. Margot we were watching. Some of the Screen tests. They have them on Youtube for Lois Lane. Lesley Ann. Warren wanted them right. Lesley Ann Warren. How about a glass of wine.