Making Of...
Making Of...

Superman II Behind The Scenes

AKA:
Superman II Picture
1980
Sarah Douglas and Terence Stamp star as the super-villains
Go behind the scenes and learn what went on during the making of the 1980 Action / Adventure movie starring Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder et al.
Kidder made no secret of her resentment toward the producers for firing Richard Donner and, in large part, resulted in the Lois relationship being shucked in Superman III for Lana Lang.
Due to the dueling directors, Richard Lester and Richard Donner, it was unclear who'd receive ultimate directing credit on the film though it went completely to Lester without even a nod to Donner in the credits.
Lester's views on small-town America were more shaped by the Dukes of Hazard than Donner's Rockwellian imagery, as the villains land in East Houston, Idaho to begin their rampage. The British shoot showed through badly in several of these scenes with a little boy as an extra speaking in a clear English accent notwithstanding that they were in Idaho.
The scene where Supes flies to the tropics to pick flowers for Lois was, in reality, intended as a working vacation for cast and crew.
Actor Gene Hackman did not return for the second film and all his scenes were originally filmed by director Richard Donner. Existing scenes that required Hackman used a look-alike and a voice impersonator to add any lines needed.
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Deleted Scenes
When movies are made, scenes are often left on the cutting room floor.
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Alternate Versions
Sometimes, there will be several versions of a movie floating about on cable, tv or video etc. Other times, a Director may release a special cut of the movie.
There is significant Donner footage and it does exist somewhere in the Warner Brothers vaults that never made it into the film even as it was extended on television. In Niagara Falls, Lois discovers the secret not because of the pink bear, but because she shoots Clark. Clark chastises her that, had he not been Superman, he'd be dead and Lois responds: "With a blank?" This scene was actually used in casting for the role of Lois Lane and you can see several actresses in addition to Margot Kidder acting in this scene with Clark on Side B of the Superman Special Edition DVD.
Also, Donner shot a scene where Lois jumps out of the Daily Planet building, hoping for Clark to go super and catch her, but Clark uses super breath to slow her descent and aim her toward a fruit cart. Still shots of some of these scenes have been published in Starlog magazine and online.
On its maiden television outing, as with Superman I, Superman II contains extra footage, this time about 20 minutes extra. Ironically, some of the footage added actually makes the villains, especially Ursa, MORE violent. At one point in the added footage, Ursa thrills at the prospect of "MEN ... to kill!"
The one really OK piece of added violence in the extended film takes place when the small town boy with the English accent tries to get help by riding off on horseback and he's killed when Non chucks a police siren at him. "He was only a boy," a cut extra says. "Who will never become a man," Ursa replies coldly.
Rather than detail all of the added footage, I'd point you to Superman Cinema.net and Superman Homepage for detailed discussions of the added footage with pictures.
The reason that all 4 Salkind produced Superman films contained added footage on their maiden voyages (Superman, Superman II, Superman III, and Supergirl) was because the more Superman on screen, the more money the Salkinds made. They slavishly held onto the television broadcast rights even when they had to sell pieces of the film back to Warner Brothers, so it was a simple matter of dollars and cents that resulted in alternate cuts of the films.
In a 2004 interview, Margot Kidder claimed that there are indeed enough scenes shot for this sequel by Richard Donner "somewhere in a vault" to make his own cut of the film. A website therefore started a petition for Warner Bros. to allow and sponsor Donner with his own cut of Superman II (1980). This claim proved to be correct and the footage was re-edited into Superman II (2006).
Contributed by: annericelover
With Richard Donner's version of Superman II finally released, here is the list of the scenes cut by Donner (from his cut of the film) and Lester. Unless otherwise noted these scenes can be seen on their respective versions' DVD's.

Richard Lester Scenes:

1. A scene in the Fortress of Solitude in which Superman is taught by Lois not to overheat when baking a Souflle.
2. A scene not shown in the deleted scenes on the 2 Disc Lester edition, but can be seen in one of the documentaries on the box set, shows General Zod ordering Non to hearl the Police Siren at the young boy so hard that it kills him. this prompts a citizen to say "He was only a boy, " and Ursa responding "Who will never grow to be a man."

Richard Donner Scenes:

1. More of Lex and Ms. Teschmacher going "North"
2. After visiting the Fortress Lex and Ms. Teschmacher have a fight which ends with Teschmacher calling it quits with Lex(which explains why she is suddenly not in the film).
3. A scene showing Jimmy with his new camera and attempting to show it to Clark
4. After the fight Lex is shown trying to negotiate with Superman to not be arrested by the "Arctic Police" when he is taken away, Superman flies Lois to an area away from te Fortress and destroys it.
5. Instead of the Super-Villains destroying Mount Rushmore, we see the President watching them destroy the Washington Monument.
6. The ending in the original film was originally meant to be in this film. Here after Superman drops Lois off at her loft he goes and spins the world backwards. We than see all the destruction the fight caused being fixed and reverting back to the point of the Supervillains being encased back in the Phantom Zone(making it possible for a Super return).
7. After the world turning backwards, we see Ms Teschmacher breaking Lex out of jail a different way an once again leaving Otis.
In the beginning of Superman II, the explanation for the release of the three supervillians is different.

Donner's version is that when Superman saved Hackensack, NJ, the missile was deflected into outerspace, exploding near and releasing the villians from the phantom zone. Lester's version has Lois on assignment in France. With a nuclear bomb attached to the Eiffel Towers elevator, superman gets Lois off, then sends it straight up into outerspace, and its' explosion sets free our villains.

This was caused in part by a radical change of story direction in Superman: The Movie (1978), during production. The original ending for had Superman saving Lois before she died in the car and setting free the villains from the phantom zone with the missile explosion. This set the scene for the sequel (filmed largely at the same time).

During production, they decided to use the original ending for the sequel, (which was Superman turning back time so that Lois would "forget" that Superman was Clark Kent) as the ending for the first movie so that he could bring her back to life. This change was made because the filmmakers considered it a much better ending.
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Superman II