New York Daily News Archive
Before Mary Jane, the Mary Jane of spider-manthere was the Lois Lane of Superman. And before Amy Adams there was Margot Kidder. Depending on the generation you come from, you can have the scene of the inverted kiss between Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst or the scene of Christopher Reeve catching Margot Kidder in flight with that wonderful dialogue: I have you… You have me?… But who has you? Lane’s surprised face, journalist 24/365, is History of cinema. There have been and will be many Lois Lanes afterwards, but Margot Kidder makes it very difficult for all of them (have you noticed, by the way, the incredible resemblance of Bitsie Tulloch, the Lois Lane of Superman & Lois?). The most curious thing is that in April 1977, less than a month before the shooting of SupermanDirector Richard Donner still didn’t have his Lois Lane. It was Christopher Reeve who recommended Donner to give Kidder a chance. He had seen her in The carnival of the eagles and it had impressed him. The day he showed up to audition, Kidder was wearing a men’s Stetson hat and cowboy boots. She had been away from acting for some time, confined to a ranch in the Midwest. “I hired her because she was… Margot. Her personality flows when she acts, crazy and lively, and that’s what I wanted… For example, without her contact lenses, she just eats the walls. One day, she put the contact lenses upside down and had to work without them. A lot of people squint when they can’t see, but Margot’s eyes are always wide open. That look became part of Lois Lane, and I made it a law that Margot couldn’t wear her glasses of contact on the set,” Richard Donner said in an interview after the film’s premiere. Kidder spent a year and a half in London doing Superman. When she got back to Los Angeles, before the movie premiered, she was all over the magazines. She had become a Hollywood star without anyone seeing the movie yet. It was this expectation of hers that landed her the role of Kathy Lutz in the abode of fear. Superman premiered and became a hit. Margot Kidder had a contract to play Lois Lane in at least three films while Alexander and Ilya Salkind were in charge of production.
Kidder returned in the fall of 1979 to finish filming Superman II. Part of the film (well more than part, 75% of the film) had been shot at the same time as the first installment (in fact, in the end it was decided that the end of Superman II was the end of Superman). Donner had been relieved of the project and replaced by Richard Lester due to his disagreements with the producers. Kidder shot the new scenes like an automaton. “Basically, for several weeks I sat in my dressing room, listened to music, read the great white shark Hunter S. Thompson, a lot of Orwell and a lot of French literature, I wrote letters, I worked on a screenplay, I went through a divorce, and every once in a while I’d walk onto the set and say a line like: Oh Superman Superman. At one point, I realised: this is sick. I had the feeling of being the most immoral human being that has ever walked the face of the earth. I mean, there I was, earning a ridiculous amount of money for doing absolutely any“Kidder told a legendary interview with rolling stone to during the promotion of Superman II. It’s that same interview where he explained “something in me has made it impossible for me to do anything for money. I think an artist should be paid, but I wasn’t being an artist. Superman it’s one of my favorite movies, but the fact is I don’t get any pleasure out of money. A bulging bank account ultimately means nothing. I could make a fortune being one bitch this year, my price is very high.
“I really like Superman II. It’s definitely [una película] faster and more fun. But it’s hard for me to compare the II with the i, because they are separate movies and they will have a separate appeal. For me, watching a movie never means seeing the plot; I see the characters and their interactions. That is what interests me in fiction and in life. I guess that’s why I’m such a lousy screenwriter and such a terrible judge of scripts,” Kidder said. In that interview, he didn’t discuss the financial disputes between Donner and the Salkinds, or why Lester had accepted the commission for dealing with a film that was already done and needed to be remade.”I think my expectations for myself were higher at the time, and therefore I was more depressed with myself about my work than I could have been… It just didn’t live up to my ideal of what an artist should be doing,” Kidder said. But he soon grew unhappy with the rift between Donner and the Salkinds.
“They were thieves! They were terrible. I was trying to make a really good movie and they just wanted to make it on the cheap. That’s the simple explanation. We were supposed to shoot Superman and Superman II at the same time. They shot just about everything except such a “Three or four scenes. And then the first movie came out and it made a lot of money. The Salkinds didn’t want to pay Richard Donner the percentage they owed him. And they only had to pay him if he finished Superman II.” [de hecho esta fue la misma razón por la que los Salkind eliminaron las escenas de Marlon Brando en la segunda entrega: así no tendrían que pagarle un porcentaje de los beneficios]. So they fired him. And he broke her heart. Then they hired Richard Lester. The reason they hired him is because they had produced The Three Musketeers and they still owed him a lot of money too. They never paid him. So they told him: We’ll put a million in your account and pay you what we owe you if you finish Superman II for us.. She needed the money, so she accepted it. But then the Directors Guild said: No no no. The director has to have shot at least half of the movie before he can get credit. So they rewrote and reshot all the scenes with Christopher and me. Terribly I might add. And they buried the original,” Kidder told a Dutch film magazine during a film convention in Heerlen, the Netherlands, in October 2005, when the family of Marlon Brando, who died in 2004, had not yet agreed to light green to Richard Donner’s cut of Superman II. And we come to the ‘cancellation’ of the headline. Because Lois Lane should have had more weight in Superman III.
“The reason you hardly see me in Superman III is that the magazine time out from London interviewed me and I told them: These producers are despicable. And they put it on the front page. So the producers didn’t want to work with me anymore. That’s why I only had about twelve lines in Superman III. They had to put me in the movie, because I had a contract, but they only gave me twelve lines. And one was: Oh Clark!Kidder said. Why is he then in Superman IV? A new producer, Menahem Golan, brought Kidder back.
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Margot Kidder: the Lois Lane that ‘Superman’ canceled out of spite