Bryan Singer Talks 'Man of Steel' and Reactions to 'Superman Returns'

The director reveals why he didn't cast Henry Cavill in 'Superman Returns', when he was vying for the role with Brandon Routh.
Before Man of Steel premiered this past summer, the last time we saw Superman on the big screen was in director Bryan Singer's 2006 adventure Superman Returns. The director recently conducted an interview with Empire Magazine, where he spoke about his reaction to Man of Steel for the first time, while revealing why he didn't cast Henry Cavill as his Superman, when he was up for the role with the actor who eventually won the part, Brandon Routh.

When asked about his thoughts on Man of Steel, the director revealed how impressed he was about the movie, although there are things he would have done differently.

"I am in awe of the world building and the scope of that picture. It's tough for me. I'm not a critic and it starts to get into a weird thing where one director is talking about another director. I know how hard it is to make a movie, especially one of these movies and especially a Superman movie, and there was so much I was impressed with in that movie. There were things I might have done a little differently just because of the way I view the character. Don't misinterpret that as me not liking something. It's not 'Bryan Singer's review of Man of Steel'!"


Fans may not know that Henry Cavill was in contention to play Clark Kent in Superman Returns, before Brandon Routh ultimately won the role. The director revealed that he didn't cast Henry Cavill because he didn't fit into the Christopher Reeve mold of the character.

"I think Henry Cavill is great. I knew Henry. He and I were friends years ago. Oddly enough, the reason I didn't cast him was because I was making a sequel to Christopher Reeve and I wanted somebody who embodied Reeve more."


When Superman Returns was released in 2006, many fans called it one of the worst superhero movies of all time. Bryan Singer revealed that, while he understands some of the criticism, he said that the movie was made for a certain type of audience.

"Half of that I understand and half of it I never will. It was a movie made for a certain kind of audience. Perhaps more of a female audience. It wasn't what it needed to be, I guess. I think I could lop the first quarter off and start the movie a bit more aggressively and maybe find a way to start the movie with the jet disaster sequence or something. I could have grabbed the audience a little more quickly. I don'y know what would have helped. Probably nothing. If I could go again, I would do an origin. I would reboot it."


Although a sequel to Superman Returns never happened, the filmmaker said that he planned on introducing the villain Darkseid in the proposed follow-up, while revealing that they planned on using Man of Steel as the title for the sequel.

"That was the title. Actually, my buddy, one of my two best friends, came up with that. We did explore it a little. Just hammering out ideas. I think Darkseid was going to be the villain. It was pretty world-destroying, actually. I ended up having the opportunity to go and make Valkyrie, and I think the studio lost interest at that point," he reveals. "I can't say it was all the studio's fault and I can't say it was all my fault. It just fizzled out."


Bryan Singer's next superhero adventure, X-Men: Days of Future Past, hits theaters on May 4.

Man of Steel was released June 14th, 2013 and stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Antje Traue, Harry Lennix, Richard Schiff. The film is directed by Zack Snyder.

Superman Returns was released June 28th, 2006 and stars Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, James Marsden, Parker Posey, Frank Langella, Sam Huntington, Eva Marie Saint. The film is directed by Bryan Singer.



Sources: Empire Magazine

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Comments (20)

  1. skywise

    ugh ...horrid typos.

    6 months agoby @skywiseFlag

  2. skywise

    @shuabert I enjoyed Man of Steel because of the massive damage it whoed these characters were capable of and that is something I have really wanted to see. They strayed a little from the true character of Supes though like we mentioned below. Both fils had their ups and downs (like any film I suppose).

    I am really excited for Ant Man. I am a huge fan of Edgar Wright. Cant wait to see his take on it.

    6 months agoby @skywiseFlag

  3. joelseph

    I think X-Men 3 was a worse movie for Singer leaving the project. I loved x-men, and X2 was even better, X3 felt lost. Then Singer went to Superman and gave us the plot of Superman, ie real estate land creation Lex as the only villain, Supes wanting but not getting Lois. We were ready as a movie audience for the spectacular villains from the Superman stable. Man of Steel gave us Superman2, really ready for a Superman movie that movie that moves up past 1981, I am ready for Brainiac, Metallo, Darkseid, Kalliback, anybody with great powers than Lex's intellect or a re-tread of Zod.

    7 months agoby @joelsephFlag

  4. Josh

    @skywise Not just more like the comic book, but more old-school feeling because it was made to be a direct sequel to Superman 2. I think it was that element, that it felt kind of classic and lighter that turned some people off.
    Man of Steel had that tone that I think a lot of people want out of their comic book films in a post-Dark Knight world, where every hero needs to brood and be serious. It's part of the reason I'm so looking forward to Edgar Wright's take on Ant-Man, because I know how good he is at balancing weightier themes with a really fun, silly aesthetic that never feels bogged down by its own pretentiousness.

    7 months agoby @shuabertFlag

  5. skywise

    He seems to be quite humble about the whole thing and I find that impressive.

    @shuabert I agree with you about Singers grasp of the character. Although I was not REAL impressed with his movie he did manage to create a superman that I felt was more like the comic book man of steel.

    7 months agoby @skywiseFlag

  6. gumperman

    Nice, I was wondering what Singer thought of Man of Steel. Though I like Singer as a director, even more so than Snyder, I was dissapointed with Superman Returns when I first saw it. I watched it a few more times since, I even own it actually, and think it is just okay. Furthermore, I have liked Singer's films he has made since and look forward to his return to the director's chair with X-Men: Days of Future Past & Hopfully X-Men: Apolcolypse. That being said, I LOVED Man of Steel!! It was what I had hoped all along in a new Superman film, that I thought was absent from Superman Returns, and I was proven wrong by my hesitance with Snyder as the director, which I am thankful for. To me it was defiantly the best film of 2013!

    7 months agoby @gumpermanFlag

  7. Josh

    Singer has a far better grasp of character than Snyder does, who just wants to ow things up, which is why Superman Returns is a superior movie to Man of Steel.

    7 months agoby @shuabertFlag

  8. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    Never really a problem with it being a sequel to Superman 2, it was simply following the same blue prints as the last two with Lex Luthor needing to conquer land and the big bad guy being a giant kryptonite island. Hell, Singer and WB should have used the Superman Lives script and be a much better film in its own right. But I've detailed everything wrong with the movie in my review of it last year. Wasn't a complete disaster, but missed an opportunity.

    7 months agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  9. Dfella504

    no can't agree wit that..tired of seeing sups as jus sum in love jack off..i like cavill sups more hardcore kick ass...aware of how powerful he is..not worrying about da love of his life...and was getting tired of those old lex luthors..i need a lex like in justice league cartoon..season vet, aware of his mind and power and his fortune

    7 months agoby @dfellaFlag

  10. Replicant

    The main problem with Superman Returns is that it was a sequel to Superman 2, so it was very hard to market and very hard for younger audiences to get into.

    It makes a nice trilogy when you put it together with the first two Reeves films, but the world needed a reboot and that's where Man Of Steel succeeded.

    7 months agoby @felipe-11Flag

  11. CoreyB

    Meant to say Zimmers score

    7 months agoby @CoreyBFlag

  12. A7sus4

    @redcameraman me too

    7 months agoby @a7sus4Flag

  13. A7sus4

    In my opinion, while neither really does it for me and their kinda polar opposites (part of their relative weaknesses), Superman Returns is a better movie than Man of Steel.

    7 months agoby @a7sus4Flag

  14. CoreyB

    Good read and singer is a better film maker than Snyder imo but i still enjoy Snyders work. I remember when Returns came out and it was never considered bad... I think it has like a 77% on rotten tomatoes...? How is that bad? I liked MOS for sure and Sommers score was epic but id say Returns had the better story. Both films not bad and both entertaining. Im excited to see what Snyder has in store for this world and im excited Singer is back w xmen . Stand up guy with some solid answers for the interviewer

    7 months agoby @CoreyBFlag

  15. Sean

    Man of Steel is a better Superman movie then Superman Returns and that's all there is to it.

    7 months agoby @themoviefanaticFlag

  16. ObiWanShinobi

    Man of Steel is worse. @therealGoku

    7 months agoby @ObiWanShinobiFlag

  17. Writer220

    Well I like Bryan Singer and enjoyed SR, I guess it's got a cult following. Also on that note MOS is just as good to me, since I actually enjoy Zack's films.

    7 months agoby @writer220Flag

  18. Dumbumm

    I can't stand this men!

    7 months agoby @DumbummFlag

  19. T. King (Red Camera Man)

    I LIKED "Superman Returns" for Christ's sake.

    7 months agoby @redcameramanFlag

  20. The Real Goku

    Brandon routh did an ok job. But the movie was definitely horrible. Shame on the writers and directors for superman returns

    7 months agoby @therealGokuFlag