A select few who made it to WonderCon in Anaheim were treated to a rare gift: the cast of Richard Donner’s Superman and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut. The panel was met with loud applause.
Jim Bowers (founder of CapedWonder Superman Imagery) and Jay Towers (morning news anchor for WJBK-FOX 2 News Detroit) moderated the session. Panelists included Margot Kidder (Lois Lane), Valerie Perrine (Eve Teschmacher), Diane Sherry (Lana Lang), Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen), Jack O’Halloran (Nan), Aaron Smolinski (toddler Kal-El) and Executive Producer Ilya Salkind.
Most memories were fond, but Kidder and O’Halloran still dread the flying process of the Superman movies. “It was painful. Those harnesses would make your pelvic area so sore,” said Kidder. “And they had you in these costumes and suspended in the air. … It was very difficult to just use the bathroom.”
“I remember that, Margot,” O’Halloran said. “I remember we were suspended up in the air 70 feet with nothing but concrete below us, and Richard was like ‘Oh. No.’ Next thing, we had some mats down there. We also had these metal bars that held us, and we were assured they wouldn’t break. So I broke one and the guy said, ‘Well, that’s no good.’”
The cast talked about the vision of Richard Donner, and what it was like working with the director.
Kidder said that Donner was not just “an amazing director, but an amazing man.” And O’Halloran was admired by the director’s willingness to let him portray Non in a “more childlike manner to relate to the kids.”
Smolinski played Kal-El as he arrived on Earth. Even though he was very young at the time, he remembered Donner as “very fatherly. And if you’ve ever tried to get a naked three-year old to do anything, you know that it takes patience.”
No Superman reunion is complete with mentioning Christopher Reeve. McClure and Kidder may have worked closest with the late actor. McClure referred to him as “one of the best teachers I ever had.” He said Reeves asked him to stay in character as Olsen as much as possible.
Though there have other film starring the Man of Steel, O’Halloran still thinks the Donner movies are top notch. “We broke the mold with technology with ‘Superman.’ That’s why it’s still as good today as it was back [in 1978],” said O’Halloran.