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BREAKING: Henry Cavill Lands Superman; Macho British Actor To Play American Icon; Past Contender For Batman & James Bond

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures have found their new Man of Steel. Deadline had been hearing for the past weeks that British actor Henry Cavill was the frontrunner for the much coveted Clark Kent/Superman role in this much anticipated reboot. But as of last week, Warner Bros film chief Jeff Robinov hadn’t seen Cavill’s or the other screentests and made his decision in recent days. Repped by CAA, Cavill, known for his portrayal of Charles Brandon on Showtime’s The Tudors, just wrapped production on The Cold Light of Day and stars in the upcoming Immortals opening this fall. Directed by Tarsem Singh, Caville in Immortals plays the he-man Greek  warrior Theseus who battles mythological gods including Poseidon, Zeus, Minotaur, and Herecles. Given that set up, Warner Bros clearly has chosen a more macho leading man for Superman than the previous Brandon Routh or even Christopher Reeve. ”He’s got an amazing quality. He doesn’t look too much like Reeve and Routh but he’s big and strong and he has a very modern feel to him,” a Warner Bros exec just told us. “We’re really going to try and make Superman as contemporary as possible.” And just like it did with Christian Bale in the Batman reboot, the studio has gone with a British actor. In fact, Cavill also auditioned for the Batman role but lost out to Bale in 2005. He also was a contender for James Bond but was deemed too young and lost out to Daniel Craig. Clearly, Cavill is a franchise waiting to happen. He also has a past with Superman. Before Bryan Singer came on to direct Superman Returns and cast Brandon Routh, Cavill had been one of the frontrunner choices for directers Brett Ratner and McG when they were going to helm the picture. That Superman was younger, and this time, the intention was to cast an actor near 30. Cavill, who will be 28 this year, was born in the Channel Islands and his film credits include The Count Of Monte Cristo.

The new film from Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures is being produced by Christopher Nolan (It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s Chris Nolan! He’ll Mentor Superman 3.0) and directed by Zack Snyder, who made this statement: “In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time, and I am honored to be a part of his return to the big screen. I also join Warner Bros., Legendary and the producers in saying how excited we are about the casting of Henry. He is the perfect choice to don the cape and S shield.” Warner Bros, Nolan, and Snyder cast a “wide net” to find the next Man of Steel. Last November, insiders told Deadline that the studio was open to creating a star as it rebooted the Superman franchise: specifically, that the actor would either be a discovery or on TV but likely someone who isn’t well known yet. And he’d be in the age range of 28-to-32. The studio considered hundreds of young actors before making a decision just like Sony Pictures did before choosing Andrew Garfield. There was buzz on actors like Armie Hammer, the strapping 6’5″ actor from The Social Network who was eyed to play Batman in a Justice League movie that Mad Max helmer George Miller was poised to direct, and True Blood’s Joe Manganiello, who claimed during a recent movie junket that he’d been considered, and Ian Somerhalder of The Vampire Diaries.

While the Batman films have been populated by established stars Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and now Christian Bale, Superman has always lent itself to discoveries. Christopher Reeve was a find in the Salkind franchise, as was Brandon Routh in the Bryan Singer-directed Superman Returns. (Before Routh got the job, Matt Bomer was eyed seriously by almost-directors McG and Brett Ratner.) Even on the small screen, the original Superman TV series star George Reeves and Smallville’s Tom Welling and Lois & Clark‘s Dean Cain were discoveries. The lone exception we can recall was the time that Tim Burton tried to put together a Superman film with Nicolas Cage, an effort that failed because the budget became so high. And then Josh Hartnett was courted during the Ratner version (that got scrapped when Singer took over), but Hartnett didn’t take the role, even though he stood to potentially make $100 million for three pictures if all had been made. Trust us, the new guy is going to get hired on the cheap.

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EXCLUSIVE: Casting Search For Superman Begins

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros, producer Chris Nolan, and director Zack Snyder have begun to cast a “wide net” to find the next Man of Steel. Insiders tell us the studio is open to creating a star as it reboots the Superman franchise: specifically, that the actor will either be a discovery or on TV but likely someone who isn’t well known yet. And he’ll be in the age range of 28-to-32. The studio expects to look at hundreds of young actors before making a decision. Agents who are readying candidates note that hiring an established series regular might not even be possible. The film will likely begin production around next June, and that shooting schedule could wreak havoc with fall prime time schedules. The studio has to meet that production start date because some of the rights are in jeopardy in 2013.

The Superman search will likely take time to play out, as did the hunt for the new Spider-Man which went to Andrew Garfield. There will be inevitable buzz on actors like Armie Hammer, the strapping 6’5″ actor who played Cameron. And Tyler Winklevoss in The Social Network and who was eyed by the studio to play Batman in a Justice League movie that Mad Max helmer George Miller was poised to direct until … Read More »

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SCOOP: Zack Snyder Directing ‘Superman’

Mike Fleming

UPDATE & EXCLUSIVE: I just spoke with Zack Snyder, who confirms that as soon as he completes post on Sucker Punch, he’ll move right into Warner Bros’ long awaited next Man of Steel movie in development with Chris Nolan and David Goyer. “I’ve been a big fan of the character for a long time, he’s definitely the king of all superheroes, he’s the one,” Snyder, who directed Watchmen and 300, told me. “It’s early yet, but I can tell you that what David and Chris have done with the story so far definitely has given me a great insight into a way to make him feel modern. I’ve always felt he was kind of awesome. I’ll finish Sucker Punch and get right at it.”

EXCLUSIVE: Zack Snyder has been chosen to direct  the new installment of Superman for Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures. Snyder was on a short list of directors that I recently revealed met with the studio as well as producers Chris Nolan and Emma Thomas. Other choices at the time included helmers Tony Scott, Matt Reeves, Jonathan Liebesman, and Duncan Jones. I think Snyder is an inspired choice. He is a cornerstone filmmaker for Warner Bros., a visual stylist whose efforts for the studio include 300, Watchmen, and the upcoming Sucker Punch. Deadline revealed back on February 9 that the DC Comics … Read More »

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Chris Nolan Looks For ‘Superman’ Director

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Brothers film execs are telling Deadline there will be major announcements involving DC characters coming in 4 weeks. But I can tell you now that Superman producers Chris Nolan and Emma Thomas are getting closer to resuscitating the Man of Steel. I’m told they have begun meeting with a short list of directors for the job of directing Superman, the picture which will be financed by Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures. On the list: Unstoppable‘s Tony Scott, Let Me In director Matt Reeves, Battle: Los Angeles helmer Jonathan Liebesman (who just got the Warner Bros/Legendary job of directing Clash of the Titans 2), Duncan Jones, who just directed Source Code, and Sucker Punch helmer Zack Snyder. As Deadline first revealed back in February (Chris Nolan Will Mentor Superman 3.0), Nolan came up with an idea that put the Batman director in a godfather position on Superman, which besides from the Batfranchise is the linchpin of DC Comics franchise characters. David Goyer wrote a script. Several of these directors have movie commitments like Liebesman, which make then unlikely.  Nolan has already started meeting with candidates and will submit his choice to the studio within the next few weeks. Warner Bros and Legendary have to get the picture made by 2012, because the studio … Read More »

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