Michael Shannon Discusses Fighting Russell Crowe, the Phanton Zone and Whether or Not Henry "Superman" Cavill Will "Kneel Before Zod" in Man of Steel
10.27.11 by BJSprecher
Comic book movie fans have been hotly debating the reason for Henry Cavill's scruffy look in director Zack Snyder's Superman franchise reboot, Man of Steel, since the first "spy" pics of the actor emerged from the Alaska set earlier this month. The debate intensified recently when more photos from the set showed Cavill's Clark Kent was still sporting a scraggly beard and a tattered pair of pants, with no sign of the character's signature spit-curl and glasses, let alone the red-and-blue longjohns that are the trademark of the "Man of Steel."
Our best guess is that good ol' Clark is on his "vision quest" to figure out who he is and what he should do with his Kryptonian superpowers, but without the opportunity to question Cavill or Snyder, we remain just as in the dark as everyone else. However, one of the principal actors in the movie has been making the rounds recently, which has afforded various media outlets the opportunity to pick his brain about all of those little nerd facts that comic book movie fans live and die for.
While doing promotional interviews for his new movie, Take Shelter, Academy Award-nominated actor Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) — who stars in Man of Steel as the evil Kryptonian General Zod, originally played by Terence Stamp in Superman
and Superman II — discussed beating up Superman's (biological) dad, the Phantom Zone and whether or not he will recite that classic Zod line, "Kneel before Zod," in Man of Steel.
Earlier this month, actor Russell Crowe gave comic book movie fans a treat when he stepped off of the set to smoke a cigarette and revealed that Jor-El, Superman's Kryptonian father, will be sporting bad-ass battle armor instead of the unisex tunic that Marlon Brando wore as Jor-El in the original movies. This immediately led to speculation that Jor-El would be a more physical character than he has previously been portrayed, which was confirmed by Crowe himself when he tweeted a few weeks later that he had just spent "umpteen hours fighting Michael Shannon." Of course, Crowe is notorious for being a scrapper, so that doesn't necessarily mean the two actors were fighting on-camera, but Shannon recently confirmed to DigitalSpy that Jor-El and Zod will have a major throwdown in Man of Steel.
[Russell and I] do have a fight sequence in the film. We worked on it for a long time, we rehearsed it for a long time, then you shoot it and it's done. It's kind of strange to put all this work into something that's going to be maybe a minute long [on film].
As for battling Superman, Shannon said that he's only shot "one scene" with Cavill so far.
We have a lot together, we just haven't shot it yet. He seems very appropriate for the part, he's a big fella and he's very handsome and charming, so it's certainly understandable why they cast him. But I'll always have a soft spot for Christopher Reeve.
In a far more entertaining interview with SoccerAM, Shannon patiently played along with the gang when they joked about his costume and "laser eyes," but then revealed that we will be seeing one of the most important parts of Zod's mythology in Man of Steel, the Phantom Zone prison that Jor-El exiles him to for his crimes against Krypton.
That whole set-up is going to be a little different [than in the original movies].
Finally, Empire proved it has its finger on the pulse of the nerd generation by asking Shannon the one question any self-respecting Superman fan would ask him if they had the chance: "Have you practiced the point and the kneel movement yet?" That question, of course, refers to Stamp's Zod telling Superman (Reeve), "Kneel before Zod," in Superman II. Unfortunately, Shannon implied that the classic scene may not be re-created in Man of Steel.
No, its not a sure thing that there will be any kneeling in the film, its not a dead issue, but its not a certainty, you know. Maybe I'll make people stand on their tippy-toes, just to change it up. "Stand on your tippy-toes before Zod."
Man of Steel was written by David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight) from a story he conceived with producer Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises). The cast includes Amy Adams as Lois Lane; Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Superman's adoptive parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent; Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet; and Ayelet Zurer as Superman's Kryptonian mother, Lara Lor-Van.