Bryan Singer was given a simple task: resurrecting the film franchise of the most popular superhero ever. That moment of truth arrives when Superman Returns, easily the most anticipated movie of the summer, flies into theaters on June 30. However, the man-of-steel production didn't stop the director of The Usual Suspects and the first two X-Men films from working on other projects. No, he has juggled exec-producing duties for Fox's House as well as the Sci Fi Channel miniseries The Triangle, for which the DVD will be released today. TVGuide.com spoke with Singer about the Bermuda mystery, his feelings about X-Men 3 and a little rumor we heard about Superman Returns.
TVGuide.com: So were you interested in the Bermuda Triangle mystery before becoming involved with The Triangle?
Bryan Singer: Yeah, since I was a kid I've always found it fascinating. I think originally it was from the In Search Of series and later from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
TVGuide.com: How did you and Dean Devlin (Independence Day) come together on this project?
Singer: Well, Dean and I were looking for something to do together because we've been friends for years. And Dean kind of humorously suggested, "We could do a miniseries." He said, "For example, what if we did a miniseries about the Bermuda Triangle for the Sci Fi network." He had just used it as an example, but I said, "Fine. Why don't we do that?" It just sounded right and I was suddenly interested.
TVGuide.com: Since The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil, you've been mostly involved in fantasy fare, House excluded. How has that become your focus?
Singer: When I was a kid, that was the stuff I gravitated to. I was a Trekkie. I'd wait around the block for the next Star Wars or Indiana Jones film. So those are films I imagined myself making when I dreamed of having the ability to make films.
TVGuide.com: With all the preproduction and shooting for Superman Returns in Australia, how much time were you actually able to spend with projects like House or The Triangle?
Singer: A good amount. With House, I'd get all the scripts as they came in, as well as the rough cuts. On The Triangle I would get all the dailies from South Africa and do my Triangle business by phone between 3 and 4:30 in the morning.
TVGuide.com: So when did you sleep?
Singer: I would sleep from 11 to 3 at night and then from 4:30 to 6:30 in the morning. But what I found more cumbersome than managing the other products was the industry around Superman. Global brand managing and approvals for tie-ins, all the peripherals around Superman were unbelievable. Being so far away made it even more frustrating.
TVGuide.com: What's the current status of Superman Returns?
Singer: I have a cut of the film that I like. I'm now trimming it and completing the 1,500-plus visual effects.
TVGuide.com: You did video journals throughout the production on Bluetights.net. Why is it important for you to keep the fans involved in the filmmaking process?
Singer: I think there's a kind of theater when you're making a film that's very exciting. To not afford fans access to that would be a crime. If I could have them come visit and observe the shooting in person, I would do it, but it's difficult... and so far away.
TVGuide.com: You left the X-Men franchise for Superman. Frankly, would you like to see X3 fizzle?
Singer: No. Frankly, I've been friends with [X-Men 3 director] Brett Ratner for years, and the cast and I are still very close. I have tremendous fondness for the X-Men universe and I put six years of my life into it, so for it to go in a negative direction would make me feel pretty bad.
TVGuide.com: I was just hoping you'd trash it so I'd have a juicier interview.
Singer: Sorry. Actually, I just talked to Brett last week about the movie. It makes things less weird that we have a good relationship. Also, I just saw the trailer and it looks great.
TVGuide.com: The word is that you somehow brought back Marlon Brando to reprise his role as Jor-El. I was under the impression that he's dead.
Singer: He is. What we did is we went back to [footage from the original Superman] and re-created Jor-El using computer technology based on references to the Richard Donner film.
TVGuide.com: So basically, you have a computer-animated Marlon Brando in the movie?
Singer: Yeah, I guess you could call it that. The challenge is that when you have an actor, you can scan them using a cyberscan and a lumispheric scan to re-create them all the way down to the pores on their tongue or the hair on their ears, but since we didn't have Brando, we didn't have the actor. All we had was reference photography and film footage, so we had to reconstruct him in a computer. It was very challenging.
TVGuide.com: Well, Terrence Stamp is getting on in years. If you want to bring back General Zod, it might be best to get cracking ASAP. Getting the look of Zod's glittery getup right could be tricky.
Singer: Thanks. I'll keep that in mind.