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Words of Steel

Words of Steel

In an email interaction with JASKIRAN KAPOOR,screenplay writer David Goyer talks about Batman trilogy,reinventing Superman in the upcoming film Man of Steel and reaching out to people through his writings.

What were the challenges that Man of Steel posed for you as a screenplay writer?

Oh My God! It was the hardest thing I have ever written. I’ve spent more time on the first draft of the script than anything I ever wrote down. Having worked on reviving Batman,this was a much harder challenge. I believe,after Batman Begins,someone asked me if I would ever be interested in working on Superman. At that time,I said no because I thought it would be too big of a challenge. Also,I never had as close an affinity with the character as I had with Batman. We set out to make Superman more relatable and hopefully more relevant to modern audiences. Making a character with all these powers from another planet relatable is a much steeper hill to climb. Hopefully,we did it.

What kind of research goes

into planning for something

like this?

Well,the first thing you do is research. Obviously,the comic books,the original comic books and then I read some interviews with (Jerry) Siegel and (Joe) Shuster — who had created Superman — talking about this back in the ’70s,their points of reference for creating him and they talked about a novel by Philip Wylie called Gladiator. They talked about the Old Testament and the New Testament and epics such as Beowulf and Gilgamesh. So,I went back to some of these texts that were written thousands of years ago. They were about Gods,interacting with human beings — this was one level of research. Then I did a lot of research with the Department of Defence,and climatologists because we

have these things that take place in the North.

Did you have a favourite superhero while growing up? Was it Superman or The Hulk?


It was The Hulk first. While growing up I was picked upon and it was just the idea that I could turn into this giant grown human and beat up all the bullies. I think a lot of kids have that experience while growing up. Batman,because of all the gadgets and enough training,I could become

Batman. But you could never become Superman because he came from another planet. So the challenges that I had to address when I first put pen

to paper were ‘How do I make this guy relatable?’ and ‘How do I find

an emotion in to this character?’.

What do you think of Henry Cavill as Superman?

One of the incredible things about Henry is that he embodies Superman. He’s aware of the awesome responsibility of what it means to be portraying this character. Superman is an ambassador and Henry is very conscious of that.

You’ve worked in television and in films. Is there a big difference in writing for the two mediums?

In television production,turnaround is faster. Man of Steel was shot over eight-nine months which is the same production period for Da Vinci’s Demons,the show that I am doing now. With Da Vinci’s Demons,we’re telling one story over a period of eight hours and for films,we have to finish off our stories in two-and-a -half hours. We started Man of Steel before we started Da Vinci’s Demons and when we finished the show,work was still in progress for the movie. Television is like a sprint — fun,quick and liberating,while film is like a marathon.

Tell us about your favourite project till date.

My first Blade film will always have a special place in my heart because

it put me on the map and Batman Begins of course,because that had been a lifelong dream. Man of Steel,well,was the best experience of

my career.

Have you been to India before?

I have not. I’m dying to come to

India. It’s been a lifelong dream

of mine.

Any tips for aspiring writers?

Keep writing,keep re-writing. A lot of young writers just write the first draft and they say ‘I’m done’ and then don’t want to expose it to people and get any constructive criticism. Don’t give up what you know. I grew up reading comic books and never in my wildest imagination did I think I would move on to do movies. I’ve read Batman comic books,I’ve read Superman comic books and here I am,40 years later being involved in these films. People who write and direct films have to come from somewhere. I grew up in Michigan,USA and didn’t know anyone in the business. I’d never read a screenplay when I came to Los Angeles. So well,anything can happen.