James Gunn and Peter Safran under pressure: Casting the perfect Superman and Lois Lane for ‘Superman: Legacy’

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James Gunn recently accepted the role of co-CEO at DC Studios, he has been bombarded with questions about the comparison between MCU and DCU. Warner Bros. had high hopes for “The Flash” as a successful box office hit, but it did not meet their expectations. As a result, the pressure on James Gunn and Peter Safran, the new heads of DC Studios, has significantly increased. This increased pressure has also put a lot of emphasis on their upcoming project, “Superman: Legacy,” which will be their first movie together. One of the crucial aspects of the film is the casting of the right actor to portray Clark Kent/Superman and his counterpart, Lois Lane.

James Gunn, who is both writing and directing the movie, recently conducted screen tests on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank during the weekend of June 17. The details of the casting process have been kept highly confidential, with Gunn personally showing the edited footage to a committee of executives, including Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who will ultimately make the decision. While some information has leaked, the final choice for the actors has not yet been revealed.

James Gunn And Peter Safran Under Pressure: Casting The Perfect Superman And Lois Lane For 'Superman: Legacy'
James Gunn/Jordan Strauss

The Intense Casting Process for “Superman: Legacy”

According to sources, James Gunn conducted screen tests for “Superman: Legacy” with three actors and three actresses for the roles of Superman and Lois Lane, respectively. On the first day of testing, the actors were seen in predetermined pairs: Nicholas Hoult with Rachel Brosnahan, Tom Brittney with Phoebe Dynevor, and David Corenswet with Emma Mackey. They filmed several scenes, with the males portraying Clark Kent and the females portraying Lois Lane.

On the following day, Hoult, Brittney, and Corenswet did another round of screen tests, this time dressed in Superman costumes. Interestingly, only Emma Mackey returned that day to continue portraying Lois Lane alongside the actors.

It is important to note that while Mackey’s involvement on the second day could suggest she is a front-runner for the role of Lois Lane, it does not guarantee her selection.Finding the right actor for Superman is a complex task. In James Gunn’s vision for the film, the chosen actor must convincingly portray a Kansas farmboy, a reporter at a major city media outlet, and the iconic Man of Steel, capable of superhuman feats.

This casting process evokes memories of the auditions for the lead role in the 2011 film “Green Lantern,” where actors had to embody both the cocky pilot Hal Jordan and the masked superhero from the Green Lantern Corps. The final casting decision came down to Ryan Reynolds and Bradley Cooper, with the latter facing difficulties in the superhero costume tests. A similar situation could be unfolding in the selection process for “Superman: Legacy.”

James Gunn And Peter Safran Under Pressure: Casting The Perfect Superman And Lois Lane For 'Superman: Legacy'
Phillip Faraone

The Stakes for “Superman: Legacy” and the Future of the DC Universe

By Wednesday, James Gunn had a completed version of the screen test footage to present to Warner Bros. executives. A decision regarding the casting of Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane could be reached this week.

Once the decisions for the lead roles are made, James Gunn will swiftly move forward with the next phase of casting. Sources indicate that there is a shortlist for the villainous character Lex Luthor, with Alexander and Bill Skarsgard mentioned as potential contenders.

It remains uncertain if Nicholas Hoult, who initially considered the role before pursuing the part of Kent/Superman, would reconsider competing for the role of Luthor. Additionally, there are other heroes to cast, including members of the superhero group called the Authority. In the new storyline, Superman joins a world where superheroes already exist.

James Gunn’s goal is to commence filming “Superman: Legacy” in early 2024, aiming for a release date of July 11, 2025. The movie seeks to revitalize the DC characters and serve as a catalyst for an entire new slate of films. Previous attempts in the last decade to establish successful DC franchises were hampered by factors such as box office disappointment and changes in studio ownership. Warner Bros. is in the process of releasing the last three films developed under the previous regime.

Despite “The Flash” being considered the most promising among them and backed by positive test screening scores, it unexpectedly underperformed at the box office. Expectations for “Blue Beetle,” set to open in August and featuring Xolo Maridueña, the actor who will continue in the new DC Universe, are not exceptionally high.

Observers are also curious if “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” scheduled for release in December, can match the impressive $1.1 billion box office success of its predecessor, considering the five-year gap between films, which is a significant delay in the superhero movie world.

With a year-and-a-half gap between the previous regime’s Superman films and the upcoming installment, Gunn and Safran are aware that they need to make “Superman: Legacy” a standout blockbuster while also generating enthusiasm for the subsequent movies and shows in the DC Universe.

Nikhat Parveen
Nikhat Parveen
Nikhat Parveen is a Literature Enthusiast. She is Currently Pursuing her Bachelor's Degree in English Literature from the University of Delhi, India. She holds the position of Entertainment Writer at AWSMONE and also is a Published Poet. She has been working as a Content Writer and Interviewer for the past 3 years and as an Honorary Reporter.

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