“A green suitcase or a bagel with Brando’s voice…”
While researching the first Superman movie (aka Superman: The Movie), I came across several interesting and sometimes hilarious/too-good-to-be-true factoids about the film and cast. (Note: these are all from Wikipedia).
1. Sam Peckinpah, legendary filmmaker of violent epics like The Wild Bunch, was considered as director – but “dropped out when he produced a gun in a meeting with Ilya (Salkind, one of the producers).”
2. That Brando! “In early 1975, Brando signed on as Jor-El… He horrified Salkind by proposing in their first meeting that Jor-El appear as a green suitcase or a bagel with Brando’s voice…”
3. A list of actors rumoured to have considered, or been considered for, the role of Superman: Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Paul Newman, Bruce Jenner, Patrick Wayne (son of John), Neil Diamond, Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Caan, James Brolin, Lyle Waggoner (Wonder Woman’s love interest in the ’70s TV series), Christopher Walken, Nick Nolte, Jon Voight, Perry King, Kris Kristofferson, Charles Bronson, and Ilya Salkind’s wife’s dentist.
4. Darth Vader trained Superman. When Christopher Reeve was deemed too skinny, David Prowse (Darth Vader, but also a bodybuilder/weightlifter) was hired on to put him through a training program.
5. Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams were buds. The future Superman and the future Mork studied together at Juilliard; in some classes they were the only two students. According to Wiki’s page on Reeve: “In a meeting with (instructor) John Houseman, Reeve was told, ‘Mr. Reeve. It is terribly important that you become a serious classical actor. Unless, of course, they offer you a shitload of money to do something else.'” Also, this: “Lynn Stalmaster, the casting director, put Reeve’s picture and résumé on the top of the pile three separate times, only to have the (Superman) producers throw it out each time.” Also, this: “He (Reeve) based his portrayal of Clark Kent on Cary Grant in his role in Bringing Up Baby.” In general, Reeve sounds like a pretty awesome dude and a real mensch. I recommend reading the Christopher Reeve Wiki bio.