“I think like any genre, the movies have to be good and you have to keep the audience engaged. One of the things that we’re doing when we’re bringing together the DC Justice League Universe is we’re creating not only stories that work for the individual film but they have some resonance to the other films that we’re doing. And I’m hoping that what’s also gonna keep the interest very keen is we’re telling hopefully compelling stories. I mean, one of the great things about dealing with superheroes in general, at least from our standpoint, is they’re both inspirational and aspirational characters, so you’re hoping that the audience is gonna want to be like some of them but you’re also hoping that the audience can relate to some of them, that if we make their stories compelling and relatable, interesting and emotional, that you’re going to really want to spend more time with them. So you talk about Man of Steel and I felt that Clark’s relationship with both of his fathers was pretty emotional and you can relate, certainly people who lost a loved one can relate, and we all have at some point in our lives lost loved ones. So I think even with Batman v Superman we wanna have characters that touch us, and if we can continue to make films like that, the I think they’re sort of ‘genre proof’.”
That's Charles Roven, producer of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, on the subject of how to keep the superhero genre relevant and interesting to mass audiences. The question was posed to him by Collider, as part of a general sweep of the industry that's been on the move since Steven Spielberg predicted that folks are going to start getting tired of films based on comic books. Raven knows a thing or two about the superhero genre, especially considering he produced Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy- a trio of films that elevated the genre to unforeseen heights.
The producer had a lot to say about Batman v Superman, the movie that he and WB/DC are banking on to use as a launchpad for an entire "DC Justice League Universe" of films, as he puts it.
“You will definitely understand when you see the movie why we call it Batman v Superman… I’m excited to have people see it. I think it’s really a wonderful film. I think Zack [Snyder]’s done an amazing job, all of the actors who are in it, we were so lucky. Just think about the cast that we have, from Ben [Affleck] to Henry Cavill, to Amy [Adams] to Jesse [Eisenberg] to Jeremy [Irons] to Larry [Lawrence] Fishburne. Just amazing, and they all really bring it. Really great. Very happy.”
As for when we'll get another visual sample of these great actors bringing it, Roven reveals that we should be getting a new trailer before 2015 bids adieu.
"Honestly, you’re going be seeing something very soon… I don’t know how you define soon but certainly before the end of the year, how about that?”
But what if that's not enough? What if the movie isn't enough? Fans are so excited about the prospect of seeing the Man of Steel and The Dark Knight sharing the screen that they may demand more, MORE, MORE!
Well, Roven hints that there could be something special on the way for obsessives. After all, the film had a very long shoot. There were lots of ideas, and world-building components included in the film- and it's likely that some had to get trimmed along the way. Roven implies that an extended cut may be in the cards.
"I don’t know if you’ll ever get the 4-hour version, but there may be something that’s coming along that might be slightly less long than that.”
At one point the interview veers into the direction of what skeptics have been saying about the film- namely that the film may be attempting to do too much, and may suffer from being overblown with ambitions that exceed what can adequately be done in a single movie.
"I don’t think that’s an issue for this film at all. I really don’t… I think that the film is called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, so there’s a reason it’s called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and not Dawn of Justice: Batman v Superman. So you’re gonna invest mostly in Batman v Superman and I think that you’ll find other characters in there that you hopefully will want to see more of.”
He likely believes this won't be an issue because of how happy he was with the shooting script, which he credits to a great combination of David S. Goyer's story and Chris Terrio's ability to make the whole thing fly.
"First of all, Chris Terrio is a fantastic writer, [...] he won the Oscar for Argo. David Goyer is a fantastic writer, and I think that we were very fortunate that even though it wasn’t a collaboration it was a very good blending of the two guys’ talents."
Roven then delved into how the film balances out the more grounded approach used for Man of Steel- an approach that was an extension of what the Nolan films attempted to do- with the more fantastical elements that are going to become necessary now that we're welcoming characters like Wonder Woman and Aquaman into the fold.
“Let’s start with what we’re doing with Man of Steel, because Chris’ Dark Knight trilogy was actually different in the sense that the Dark Knight trilogy had no superheroes in it, none whatsoever. It had a man who made himself both mentally and physically into the best a man could be, and the villains in that were also humans who whether they were aberrated or not were also heightened in terms of their ability to accomplish their goals through their own methods. Very real, very grounded, but of this Earth.
"On Man of Steel we also tried to make things feel as real as possible, but we took you to Krypton. We started on Krypton, we gave you Krypton technology and Krypton science and we tried to do it in a way that if there was this planet, what was their culture, what was their language, what were they thinking about, what was their science, what was their technology. And we did try to make that real but we were also taking you into an alien world, and I think we’ve tried to follow that, so make it feel grounded but also otherworldly. So whatever we do with any of these characters we’re gonna want them to be grounded, we’re gonna want the science to feel real whether it’s of this world or not of this world.
"We tried [to make it all feel real] when we brought it here, when Zod came here, we wanted to make sure that we followed that. We actually talked about what would that technology translate to here. And I think you’ll see in Batman v Superman we stayed true to that, we were attempting to stay true to that, how are things affecting Superman here, Batman is still human, he’s not Meta, he’s just a human, Wonder Woman is Meta, if you will, although some might think that she’s a God.”
Lastly, on where the film is at this very moment, Roven says that it's going through an extensive post-production process. A post-production that requires work to be done on about 1,500 special effects shots. The producer says, even at this stage, there are still discoveries to be made about the world you're building.
"I love the development process, I’m really happy with the pre-production process. I’m not crazy about the production process, because it’s really tense for a producer, particularly when you have a great filmmaker working on it. But the post-production process is so great because you’re shaping something, right? You shot it, and you shoot –if you’re smart- more than you can use because you want the ability to shape it. So part of the process of looking at all these cuts is you start with the longest version of the movie that you could possibly have and then hopefully it’s gonna be painful to bring it down to some sort of size, and you’re learning wonderful things about your characters that you shot. Because even though you have a script which is your blueprint, the actors bring so much and when you have a visual filmmaker like Zack, just what he’s shooting brings so much. So the process is a very rewarding one to go through, seeing your first cut to what is very close to the last cut.”
So, there you have it. The latest on DC's biggest film to date, and one that's sure to have tongues wagging for quite a while once it's released on March 25, 2016.