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Logan Director Reveals How Donner’s Superman Inspired His Film

by  in Movie News Comment
Logan Director Reveals How Donner’s Superman Inspired His Film

James Mangold’s “Logan” is being heralded as a modern, darker take on superhero films, but also a quieter and more introspective one. There might be a reason for that: Mangold found inspiration for “Logan” in Richard Donner’s 1978 film “Superman.”

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Mangold spoke with Empire Online about “Logan,” revealing various facts about the film that marks the end of Hugh Jackman’s run as Marvel Comics’ begrudging superhero Wolverine. During the interview, Mangold made time to talk about his inspirations for the film — among them, “Superman: The Movie.”

“I think it’s something Neil Gaiman played with so beautifully in the original ‘Sandman:’ these are literally gods but they’re having fraternal squabbles. It’s like ‘Hannah And Her Sisters,’ but with gods. I think that’s humanizing. Richard Donner’s ‘Superman’ was extremely human to me – a different tone to ‘Logan’ by far, but still. Those beautifully-written scenes by Robert Benton between him and Lois Lane on the terrace, the beautiful humanity and simplicity of those scenes, and the lyrical joy of being swept in the air by a god who also happens to have a crush on [her], the contradictions in all of that are beautiful to me.”

Donner was tasked with directing the first “Superman” film adaptation in 1978. The film is largely considered the first true superhero movie, the tone of which continues to influence films today. Donner believed in portraying superhero without the campy tone that had pervaded the genre’s adaptation attempts at the time. Fresh off directing “The Omen,” Donner brought on “The Man with the Golden Gun” screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz for an extensive rewrite of the film.

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Donner’s “Superman” is heralded for its humanity and lowkey action. Roger Ebert placed “Superman” on his list of ten best films of 1978 and later went to add it to his more encompassing list of Great Movies. Ebert praised the film for its slow start; Superman doesn’t appear in his iconic blue and red costume until nearly an hour into the film. When he does, according to Ebert, Donner pulled off “a balancing act involving satire, action, romcom cliches and of course a full serving of cliches from hard-boiled newspaper movies.”

Presently screening in theaters, “Logan” is a production of Marvel Entertainment directed by James Mangold and starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant and Dafne Keen.

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