With the “Superman II Special Edition” and “Superman II – The Richard Donner Cut” now out on DVD, one of its stars felt free to talk about her time on the set of the film, what it was like to change director’s in mid-stream and the fun she had working with Reeve, Kidder, Hackman, fellow Brit Terrance Stamp and how the idea of doing scenes with someone of Marlon Brando’s caliber made her get giddy and exclaim, “Oh my God. This is Brando!”
“First I have to say that I as the English contingent on Superman, I was totally out of the loop in terms of what was really going on. And I say that, because when we returned to reshoot some of the bits and bobs and complete Superman 2 the cast was quite rightly incredibly protective and upset about Dick Donner having left. From my own point of view I enjoyed working with him but at the end of the day I went home to my little flat in Shepherdâ€™s Bush and cooked my husband a meal, you know. I wasnâ€™t part of the big bonding experience that seemed to go on between all of them.”
“So when I got back, I just had a different director. A very, very different director, I have to say. But there was a lot of upset. I mean, I remember Chris [Reeve] and Margot [Kidder] being really, really, really very angry about the whole thing, and I wasnâ€™t really privy. I didnâ€™t really understand what was going on. I have to also say that as a young actress in England in the â€˜70s, I was so delighted that I was working that it didnâ€™t affect me in quite the same way as far as, if you like, taking sides. Because there was definitely a lot of political stuff that went on. A lot of people getting very upset.”
“I mean, it was months and months later before I came back, and suddenly I had a different director. And, of course, a director that I knew a lot about having been a great Beatles fan. I knew exactly who he was. But he had a completely different approach. And that, for me, was a shock to the system. I think to my American friends it was particularly a shock, because Richard Donner definitely had a laid back Californian approach. He was probably my first experience of a Californian. He thrived on Superman. But I remember I was fascinated because he wore blue-tinted glasses and I had never met anybody who wore blue-tinted glasses. And he had a very laid back, wonderful approach to everything. He was very much, â€˜This is something that weâ€™re all in together, and weâ€™ll sort it. And if we canâ€™t work out how you throw the bus across the street today, weâ€™ll do it next week.â€™ Whereas Richard Lester undoubtedly had a, â€˜This is what you do when you come onto the setâ€¦ you lift thisâ€¦ you throw thisâ€¦ and thatâ€™s itâ€¦â€™ approach. He had a much more technical approach which for me worked extremely well, because I work well when Iâ€™m told to do things, and this is how itâ€™s going to be. But he had a delivery which was, um, certainly without a lot of humour, I think it would be fair to say. Whereas Dick Donner was really a laugh a minute; a lot of fun to be around.”
“From my perspective there was a considerable difference. I was more used to the almost schoolmaster approach, but I didnâ€™t have a warmth with Richard Lester and I certainly wouldnâ€™t have joked around him, whereas it felt for me, much more relaxed with Donner. And I also felt a lot, um, not safer, really, but comfortable around him. They would go off in the evenings and everybody would go out, and hang out. And there was a terrific bonding that went on, that I didnâ€™t kind ofâ€¦ I wasnâ€™t part of that. For no other reason than I wasnâ€™t on location. I was living in London, and I went home down the Bush every night.”
To catch all that Sarah had to say about her Superman experience in this recent interview, visit SFX Online.