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'X-Men' Director to Take on 'Superman'

After a couple of false starts, "Superman" is ready to leap to the big screen again with a new director: "The Usual Suspects" filmmaker Bryan Singer. (search)  

The role of "Superman" himself, however, has not yet been determined.

Singer, 38, has already proven adept at comic-book adaptation with "X-Men" (search) and "X2: X-Men United." He said the original Christopher Reeve (search) movie is a favorite.

"My interest in 'Superman' dates back many, many years," Singer said in a statement late Sunday. "In fact, it was the (1978) Richard Donner classic film that was my day-to-day inspiration in shaping the 'X-Men' universe for the screen. I feel that 'Superman' has been late in his return and it is time for him to fly again."

Recently, "Charlie's Angels" director McG (search) dropped out of the current "Superman" project, making way for Singer to take over. Tim Burton, who re-imagined "Batman" in the late 1980s, took a run at a re-imagined "Superman" around 1996 with star Nicolas Cage, but the movie fell apart in pre-production.

Singer's "X-Men" movies, from the Marvel Comics universe ('Superman' is from rival DC Comics), helped ignite the current trend of superheroes who battle super-ordinary life problems while grappling with eccentric bad-guys.

"We have always been committed to bringing 'Superman' back to the screen, and we're very happy to have Bryan on board this project," said Jeff Robinov, production chief for Warner Bros. Pictures.

Jon Peters, whose credits include 1989's "Batman" and the 1988 TV retrospective "Superman: 50th Anniversary," will produce the new 'Superman' movie.

The Man of Steel hasn't been the star of a feature film since 1987's "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace," despite aggressive efforts by Warner Bros. to resurrect the series.

"Superman" does live, however, on the small screen. The WB network's "Smallville" has become a hit by chronicling the teenage years of Clark Kent as he grows into his powers.