Marlon Brando’s depiction of Jor-El in the 1978 movie Superman made an enduring impact on the world of film. His authoritative demeanor and profound seriousness brought authenticity to the character, transforming Superman’s paternal figure into an iconic figure. Brando’s acting introduced complexity and emotional depth to the superhero genre, establishing a formidable benchmark.
Marlon Brando amassed a substantial fortune for his portrayal of Jor-El in the 1978 film Superman, and director Richard Donner initially harbored significant concerns about the hefty paycheck. The legendary Donner, who also directed the renowned Lethal Weapon franchise, along with numerous other celebrated projects, passed away in 2021 at the age of 91.
Superman Director Felt Marlon Brando Was Underpaid
In an earlier behind-the-scenes look at the making of Superman, Donner expressed his initial astonishment at Brando earning $3.7 million and receiving 11.75 percent of the film’s profits for just 13 days of work, deeming it exorbitant.
“When I first came on the picture and I heard how much Marlon Brando was paid for it, I was really upset, because it seemed like much more money than anyone is worth,” Donner said. But then he admitted, “But then working with him and seeing him on film, to me, he is underpaid.”
Brando commented on the substantial compensation for his exceptional talent, suggesting that everything, including cars, hula hoops, and even seemingly frivolous pursuits, has a market value. He drew a parallel between actors and rock bands, implying that both could spark trends and command high prices.
In that same feature, Donner and Brando were captured collaborating on scenes featuring the prominent cue cards in the background—Brando’s well-known method. While some attributed this to Brando’s alleged reluctance to memorize lines, the actor who portrayed Jor-El clarified during the feature that the cue cards enabled him to deliver dialogue in a more authentic manner, avoiding a rehearsed and artificial tone.
Christopher Reeve Did Not Enjoy Shooting With Marlon Brando
When Marlon Brando took on his role in the 1978 film, he had already solidified his position as one of the industry’s premier actors. In contrast, Christopher Reeve was a relative newcomer to the film world, with the 1978 movie marking only his second significant on-screen venture.
His collaboration with the legendary star wasn’t particularly enjoyable, and Christopher Reeve didn’t hold back when discussing his Superman co-star. He remarked that the actor had “copped out in a certain way,” implying that Marlon Brando was no longer in the commanding position he could have been.
Reeve expressed his delight with his experience working on the film, but he believed that Brando, known for his role in The Nightcomers, merely took the paycheck and departed. Reeve voiced disappointment that despite Brando’s undeniable talent, he seemed unwilling to invest any effort into his craft.
Superman is available for streaming on HBO Max.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter