How Richard Donner Saved Superman’s Catastrophic First Scenario

Just before being included in “Superman,” Donner recalls, he rode atop the glory of his career. He’s just directed “The Omen,” a huge hit for the studio, and has officially exploded. It’s a shame, perhaps, that when Salkind called, he didn’t know who he was. But he was immediately drawn to the sane man.

“I’m short-tempered. It was just a peak in my life, because I’ve done a lot of dramas and then ‘The Omen.’ I got a lot of calls and I didn’t know where I was going. And then I got this call from Alexander Salkind. He said, ‘Do you know who I am?’ and I said, ‘No. Why are you calling me?’ He said, “I’ll do it. I am a producer. Have you ever seen “The Three Musketeers”?” And I said, ‘The way I hear it, they tried to release a second picture without paying the actors.’ He said, “Well, that’s a long story. I’m doing “Superman”. I don’t have a director and I’ll pay you a million dollars.”

Donner happily accepted. Savvy enough to be aware of multi-image deals, he asked if he’d be in for a sequel. The answer is yes, that’s fine. Salkind also stated that Marlon Brando participated in a few days of filming, and that Gene Hackman was also present. Perhaps a little alarming for Donner is that filming was set to start pretty badly right after that phone call. Donner recalls asking Salkind what the script was like, and Salkind described it as “perfect”.

The script, Donner recalls, was not perfect. How Richard Donner Saved Superman’s Catastrophic First Scenario

Fry Electronics Team

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