Take everything Jon Peters says with a grain of salt. Remember, he’s the guy who wanted Kevin Smith to include a giant spider and talking polar bears into his Superman script. He’s one of those Hollywood producers who wears his lack of artistic sense like a badge of honor, the kind of guy who probably could have done just as well in any other field of business – like hairdressing, which was his profession before becoming a producer. He did Barbara Streisand’s hair before producing a record for her. That’s how Hollywood works. Peters, along with his blowhard ex-partner Peter Guber (now seen ridiculing Peter Bart weekly on Sunday Morning Shootout), ran Columbia Pictures for a couple of years, despite recurring rumors that he can’t read very well (see Hit and Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony For a Ride in Hollywood. Entertaining book).
So that’s the kind of guy Jon Peters is – semi-literate haircutter with a thing for giant spiders (he got one in Wild Wild West). He’s also beamingly optimistic about The Man of Steel, the supposed sequel to Superman Returns, which did modest business last year. Talking to The Hollywood Reporter, Peters says that there will be a script by the end of the year, and they’ll be in pre-production by January or February, which doesn’t leave Bryan Singer a whole lot of time to decompress from his next film, Valkyrie, which stars Tom Cruise. Here’s the full text of Peters’ remarks, which includes the usual apologist reasoning for why Superman Returns was not so good and comparing working with Singer to cutting Babs’ hair:
Right now, Bryan Singer is working on the story, and hopefully, that will be a script by the end of the year. And hopefully, we’ll be in preproduction by, say, January or February of next year. "Superman Returns" was an amazing effort. You’re talking about a story that’s been made before; you’re talking about the fact that we had to re-explore his youth, his origin. And now, the second movie allows us to go do things that people haven’t seen before. Bryan is the best director I’ve ever worked with. It’s very easy to produce or be with someone who’s a brilliant, brilliant person. I equate my relationship with Bryan to the relationship I had with Barbra Streisand. Barbra was so gifted that it was easy to be able to adjust a little bit here or there. With Bryan, it’s the same thing. He’s a great person, and it’s amazing cause he’s such a sweet guy. He’s almost like one of my kids, in a way.
I hate that excuse that they had to re-explore anything in Superman Returns. Superman and Batman are the two characters who least need their origins told – everybody on Earth knows their stories at this point. There was no reason for Superman Returns to be essentially a remake of the Donner Superman except for sheer fetishism.
So Peters keeps flying the ‘filming in 08’ flag. Considering Warner Bros just threw 90 million dollars at Peter Jackson to make an intimate, emotional drama, I guess I can believe they’ll part with 150 million more if they can be convinced that Singer and company will get it right this time. Maybe we’ll finally see those talking polar bears (I wonder if Peters will cry when he sees The Golden Compass).