“Superman II — The Richard Donner Cut” will be released by Warner Home Video on Nov. 28 and Donner tells me the fans are responsible for it.
He stopped directing the first “Superman” in 1978 in order to complete getting more footage from Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman together — while he had them — for “Superman II.” He then returned to complete the film. He says, “I banned the Salkinds (producers-financiers) from the set (of “Superman II’) and they fired me. I had 75% of the movie taken away from me as they then hired Richard Lester to direct it. He didn’t like any of my footage so it laid in a vault all these years. But the fans knew about it (the footage) and they started such a clamor, so Warners (Home Video) decided that I could re-constitute my film. Michael Thau edited and shot some new opticals. I never thought it could happen. Tens of thousands of feet of my film were found around Europe. We even used a screen test I had made with Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder before the film started. The time lapse in their looks is obvious, but that’s O.K.”
Donner says he receives nothing for redoing his film. “But that’s O.K. All we care about is making good films and having a good time.” However he’ll protect himself in any future films. He’ll talk about this at the Nov. 2 DGA screening and Q&A with Pete Hammond and costars Margot Kidder and Gene Hackman. Donner has two projects perking with writers Richard Wenk and Channing Gibson. And he and his “Lethal Weapon” filmmaking pal of over 20 years, Mel Gibson, are teamed again for “Sam & George.”