*As “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” prepares for a global invasion of movie theaters, the moment is not lost on those who can’t wait to see the dark knight and the man of steel appear in an epic showdown made for big screen consumption and the launch of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).
For Laurence Fishburne, who plays Perry White, the moment has been a long time coming.
“I’m really more of a fan. I’m a comic book reader and a collector and have been since I was a kid,” the actor confessed at a recent press conference. “Really for me, it’s a movie I’ve been waiting to see for 35 years. I can’t even believe I’m in the movie.”
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Inspired by Frank Miller’s graphic novel “The Dark Knight Returns,” “Batman v. Superman” takes place after the events of 2013’s “Man of Steel” and finds Batman (Ben Affleck) facing off against Superman (Henry Cavill) under the fear that the Kryptonian’s actions are left unchecked while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat is created by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) that puts mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before. As a result, Superman and Batman set aside their differences to save the day with the help of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). The legendary amazon’s appearance marks her big screen debut as well as the arrival DC comics’ iconic trinity of superheroes when they band together to take on the new threat.
For Gadot, it was a “huge honor” to play Wonder Woman and bring the premiere female superhero to life.
“I’m so happy to be the one to tell the Wonder Woman story,” said Gadot, who shared that she did watch a couple of episodes of the classic Wonder Woman TV series with Linda Carter after landing the part. “It’s such an important story to be told. I’m grateful for it, but I think it is important for girls and boys to have a female strong superhero to look up to and the more the merrier and there is plenty of more room for women to come. I’m very, very happy to be a part of that.”
For the new film, Snyder does double duty with reintroducing Batman and Luthor to the masses as well as opening the door for the launch of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Once the idea of pitting Batman and Superman against each other took root, Snyder’s thoughts immediately turned to populating the DCEU with Wonder Woman and DC’s legendary roster of characters.
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“I think the thing that’s interesting about the process with this movie and the way that it’s evolved is that the idea of having Batman fight Superman. It was then only that we were like ‘so that complies that a universe exists where batman and superman exist together,’ Snyder said as he touched on his obsession with debuting the trinity in “Batman v. Superman.” “Once that sort of idea had taken route and existed as reality, I was really obsessed with and I had Ben obsessed with the idea of seeing the trinity and really wanted to see the trinity. That being Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman in a single moment. That was the thing that I was really interested in trying to get into this movie. Not that I didn’t have enough to deal with already, but I thought that would be a cool thing to see.
“Those conversations are what really led to this dawn of justice kind of subheading for the film, that we could now begin to talk about or have conversations about the fact that the Justice League or the DC Universe now could evolve from this,” he continued.
“At the same time, I think we wanted to set up and introduce these characters, but we also had a really rich story to tell,” added Snyder’s wife Deborah, who also serves as producer on the film. “So it was a careful balance about telling this story, the Batman and Superman story and giving a little hint and a tease to the story of the Justice League that’s yet to come.”
As a comic book fan, Affleck’ s interest in “Batman v. Superman” was piqued when he heard the project would be influenced by “The Dark Knight” Returns.”
“I had read when I was a kid ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ where Frank Miller did this comic where Superman in fact fought Batman and it was really original and interesting and turned the genre on its head. It was morally grey and it changed the way I saw comic books,” he said. “I had been familiar with that idea for a long time and when I heard that this was the idea of this movie I thought ‘That’s brilliant’ because this is one of the great ideas in comics that hasn’t been mined yet for films.”
“I knew the comic book, especially the Frank Miller one and also the relationship in the comic books between Batman and Superman,” Cavill added. “The idea was nothing but exciting because we’re opening up the cinematic universe for all of DC.”
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Although action will be heavy in “Batman v. Superman,” the movie’s story touches on a variety of heavy themes such as god vs. man, family and the consequences of one’s actions. When asked about balancing the action with the themes presented, Zack Snyder referenced the tone of the film as his basis for dealing with “comic book characters of this magnitude.”
“It is a balance but I think that when you look at the tone of the movie to me, I’ve always been interested. Tone to me is the number one aspect of the film that I really am interested in and this movie is, at the same time a deconstruction as it is a construction,” he said. “It is self reflective in some subtle ways…“I think that Chris Terrio has written an amazingly intelligent script about what it means, what power is, what justice is, what are relationship to these mythic characters are. Is it a relationship between god and man? All these questions, you know,” continued the filmmaker. “I think that to me that that’s the balance, more than the balance between action and drama. That’s natural to the story. You run into conflict, but to me, this movie is fun because I got to have fun with these characters to tell maybe a slightly bigger story than just Batman vs. Superman.”
“I think to put to these characters in a real world, I think that they’re easier to relate to,” Deborah Snyder explained. “We can never imagine what it’s like to have super powers, but if we see them going through struggles. If we seem them kind of messing up and picking themselves up, I think that’s really relatable and I think we like to see stories that mirror ourselves.
So when it’s all said and done, what would be the perfect headline for Fishburne’s Perry White to use for “Batman v. Superman”? The answer may not be as obvious as you would think.
“The obviously one would be ‘Batman vs. Superman: Battle of the Century.’ [Laughs] That’s the obvious one,” the “Black-ish” star stated. “The not so obvious one or I guess the one that’s more appropriate to the movie is ‘Batman vs. Superman: Man vs. God.’ It’s apropos to the film and its kind of the theme that’s running through that fight. When they’re at it, that’s batman’s beef.’
“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”is in theaters now.