9:49pm PT by Hilary Lewis
'Batman v. Superman' Premiere: Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Other Stars Talk Expectations, Character Inspirations
The $250 million Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice brings the Caped Crusader back to the big screen and is expected to usher in Warner Bros.' DC era of films, including the upcoming Justice League superhero ensemble movies. The film also finds actors like Jesse Eisenberg and Gal Gadot stepping into the iconic roles of of Lex Luthor and Wonder Woman, respectively, with Gadot's superhero making her first big-screen appearance.
So how are Batman v. Superman's actors handling the heightened anticipation and fan expectations for the high-profile title?
"Well, one breath at a time," Diane Lane, who plays Martha Kent, said on the black carpet ahead of Batman v. Superman's New York premiere on Sunday. "I don't really know. I'm enjoying it. It could be a peak experience of my life and I really want to be present for it and savor it."
Eisenberg seemed to agree that that level of interest was exciting.
"It's wonderful," he told The Hollywood Reporter of the anticipation and expectations for the movie. "Normally you're in a movie and you're begging people to look at it. And this is the exact opposite: You have to keep everything a secret. So it's certainly a relief to be in something that's not only really great and that you're proud of but that other people are interested in as well."
As for Superman himself, Cavill wasn't sure how he was handling the anticipation for the film and put the question back to THR. "Do I seem like I'm dealing with it well?" he asked. "Then I'm dealing with it well."
There are still many mysteries remaining surrounding the storyline and some of the characters, particularly about the role played by Scoot McNairy, rumored to be playing Jimmy Olsen until recent reports identified him as Wallace Keefe.
But McNairy himself wouldn't reveal any specifics to THR, or at least, "Not if I want to be employed in the next 10 years," he said laughing.
All he would say about his part was, "I had a wonderful time playing it, it was incredibly challenging for me. And I had a great time working with Zack and the crew and everyone who was involved, down to the grips, the stuntmen, those guys were awesome. I haven't seen the film. We shot it a lot in CG and green screen, so it's a new movie for me as well."
Producer Charles Roven said that while the Batman v. Superman team "respect[s] the canon" and wants "to honor the fanbase," they can't let fan expectations "guide what you're doing creatively."
"We're the guardians of the story we're creating and when fans get bits and pieces of casting and rumors of what's happening, they really don't know the whole thing," he continued. "Only we know the whole thing and we have to make sure that as much as we love them, they don't allow us to unintentionally be knocked off of our path."
As for protecting the movie's secrets, Roven pointed out that while people try to reveal those, true fans don't want to have the film spoiled.
Lane seemed to take the same attitude, saying she saw maintaining the movie's mysteries "as protecting a surprise."
"I don't think of it as a secret. There's no such thing as a secret," she added. "It's hopeless as a secret. Also [characterizing something as a secret is] like daring them to get it. The point is protecting people's enjoyment of the film."
Roven said the film would be successful if fans and newcomers enjoy it.
"The movie will be successful if both those who have been fans of the material appreciate it, have fun with this, walk out and talk about it, but also those who have never seen a Batman movie, a Superman movie, a Wonder Woman TV show, they decide to come take a look and they are also won over and moved by it," he said, "because we really tried to make a film for everybody."
Fans have already gotten a good look at Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, and the Israeli actress explained that she worked with director Zack Snyder to create a grittier, more realistic superhero.
"I think mainly Zack had a very clear idea of the Wonder Woman he wanted to bring to the big screen, and I had to embody everything he wanted me to be, give my own notes, my own input, and just go for it," Gadot told THR. "For me, Wonder Woman is just such an amazing character: She's all about love and justice and truth and compassion and equality, and I didn't want her to be too polished. I didn't want her to be too perfect. I wanted people, men and women, to be inspired by her and to be able to relate to her, and I wanted to make her muddier, dirtier, to give her some edge, give her some attitude, and I think we were able to do it."
Eisenberg said his version of Superman's nemesis is also more grounded in reality.
"I think the character is drawn very differently this time," he told THR. "The character I play is a kind of realistically, psychologically tormented person. He's not a campy, confident villain. I think he's really struggling through some existential crisis that he deals with in very unhelpful ways."
Holly Hunter, who said she felt a sense of freedom in playing a new character in Sen. Finch, also tried to reflect the characteristics of Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, who she has a couple of scenes with, she said. "He embodies many qualities that I wanted to inhabit: a sense of optimism, a neutrality, nonpartisan," Hunter explained. "I mean, he's very reasonable and curious about other people and calming — I wanted to bring those kinds of things."
Batman himself, Ben Affleck, cautioned that the movie isn't "overtly political," telling a group of reporters that taking that approach "would be a mistake. I don't think you want to get pedantic with a movie like this; I think that's dangerous."
"This is a movie that has a substance to it," he continued. "I don't think it's preachy, but I do think it raises the question of what happens to us when we become afraid of one another, which is a very current theme."