In 2013, following the success of Christopher Nolan’s gritty, grounded Batman trilogy, Zack Snyder gave a similar treatment to Superman with mixed results. Man of Steel has been praised for its unique visual style and Henry Cavill’s irresistible charms, but criticized for fundamentally misunderstanding Kal-El by making him a mopey murderer.
Anyway, regardless of fans’ individual thoughts on the movie, it was a big enough box office hit to launch the DC Extended Universe. Snyder’s team went to painstaking lengths to bring his vision to the screen. So, here are 10 interesting details from the making of Man of Steel.
10 Henry Cavill Previously Auditioned For Superman Returns
Before landing the role of Clark Kent in Man of Steel, Henry Cavill missed out on the same role during the audition process for Superman Returns. Technically, he auditioned for a different Superman project that was eventually retooled into Superman Returns.
Either way, he didn’t land the part and, as a huge fan of the character, he was pretty devastated. So, he was ecstatic when he did get the role on his second try and reportedly called all his friends and family when he found out.
9 Ben Affleck Was Offered The Chance To Direct
Before Zack Snyder was hired to direct Man of Steel, the job was offered to Ben Affleck, who was hot off a Best Picture win for his acclaimed directorial effort Argo. However, he turned down the offer because he’d never made a movie with so many visual effects shots.
8 Zack Snyder Wanted To Keep Superman’s Red Trunks
One of the most glaring omissions from Superman’s costume in Man of Steel is his red trunks. His whole suit is blue, which is at odds with the traditional design.
Apparently, Zack Snyder wanted to keep the red trunks, but the visual team drew up 1,500 designs and the red trunks didn’t look right on a single one, so he decided to cut them.
7 The First Cut Was Three And A Half Hours Long
According to Man of Steel’s editor David Brenner, the first cut of the movie was three and a half hours long.
The final cut is 143 minutes long, more than an hour shorter than its initial runtime, so the movie had to undergo some difficult cuts.
6 Henry Cavill Insisted On His Superman Having Chest Hair
Henry Cavill’s chest is naturally hairy, and he insisted on leaving it that way when he played Superman, because he wanted to challenge the notion that muscular men need to have hairless chests.
The actor used “The Death of Superman” storyline as an example from the comics in which Supes was depicted with a hairy chest, which helped to convince the producers to let him keep the chest hair.
5 Pharrell Williams Can Be Heard Drumming On The Score
When Zack Snyder and Hans Zimmer were working on the score for Man of Steel, they needed some drums for one track and decided to assemble a team of who they considered to be the world’s greatest drummers.
These drummers all played in their own distinct styles on a single track. The drummers featured included Pharrell Williams, John Robinson, Trevor Lawrence, Jr., Sheila E., Danny Carey, and Matt Chamberlain.
4 Christopher Nolan Objected To Superman Killing Zod
Far and away the most controversial scene in Man of Steel – and maybe in any comic book movie ever made – is when Superman breaks General Zod’s neck, killing him. As comic book writer Grant Morrison pointed out, the killing was avoidable, as Supes could’ve just covered Zod’s eyes.
Producer Christopher Nolan, who also has a story credit on Man of Steel, objected to the scene and wanted to change it. His co-writer David S. Goyer managed to change his mind by convincing him that it would show that Superman is an inexperienced, unrefined hero at this point.
3 Matthew Vaughn And Mark Millar Planned An Eight-Hour Superman Trilogy
Prior to Zack Snyder, David S. Goyer, and Christopher Nolan putting together Man of Steel, Matthew Vaughn and Mark Millar were planning to make an epic eight-hour trilogy that would tell the entire story of Superman’s life.
From his childhood on Krypton to being the last remaining life on Earth after the Sun goes supernova, their Superman trilogy would’ve covered Supes’ whole existence. They wanted to cast Daredevil star Charlie Cox as Clark Kent, but the project never came to fruition.
2 Henry Cavill Said The Shirtless Scenes Were The Most Difficult Part Of The Shoot
When he began getting in shape to play Superman in Man of Steel, Henry Cavill refused to take any performance-enhancing drugs, and he also refused to let the VFX team touch him up, because he felt it would be dishonest.
This meant that the shirtless scenes were the most difficult part of the shoot, because he had to look like he’d been touched up in post without being touched up in post.
1 Matt Bomer And Zoe Saldana Could’ve Played Superman And Lois Lane
When Brett Ratner was lined up to direct the Superman reboot (thank God that didn’t happen!), his top choice for the role of Clark Kent was Matt Bomer. However, when Zack Snyder took over, he chose Henry Cavill for the role.
Also, if Amy Adams had turned down the role of Lois Lane or been unable to make the shoot, the runner-up who was set to take her place was Zoe Saldana, who went on to play a much more substantial comic book movie role as Gamora in the MCU.