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June 30, 2006   

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'Superman and I have a lot in common'

Prem Panicker in Los Angeles

He is an only child, an adopted child brought up by foster parents, with blue eyes and a forehead broad enough to serve as landing pad for an errant lock of hair.

He is not Superman -- merely the supremely talented director tasked by Warner Brothers with the job of redefining the ultimate superhero for a new generation.

It has been a decade since director Bryan Singer gained international acclaim with The Usual Suspects (prior to that, the 1993 feature Public Access took the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance film festival).

He went on to make the blockbuster X-Men before pulling off a cinematic rarity -- its sequel was rated even better than the original.

Together, the two films earned him a reputation as a master storyteller.

Despite the street credibility, he was not the first choice for the Superman project -- merely the one who finally got the much-shelved film off the ground.

Producer Jon Peters recalls first hearing the story Singer wanted to tell: 'I remember getting goose bumps and feeling Wow... that is right on the money. The story is contemporary, emotional, action-packed and a love story, too. It hits all the bases we want in a Superman movie.'

Singer is an unabashed fan of Jaws (the name of his production company, Bad Hat Harry Productions, is taken from a line in that film), with a keen awareness of a comic hero's iconography, and a willingness to retell the story in fresh and different ways.

He also proved he could hold down a big movie -- his X2 was the first feature in history to open on screens worldwide on an enormous scale (93 territories).

Getting a chance to define Superman for the new generation is, Singer says, an all-time high. "There's not a country you can go to where they don't know Superman. You could probably take the 'S' shield into the jungle and you'll have fifty-fifty recognition. In that way, he is a global Super Hero."

In the picture: Brandon Routh (who plays Superman), Kevin Spacey (who plays Lex Luthor) and director Bryan Singer on the sets of Superman Returns

Also read: Superman Returns on rediff.com

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