Monday, March 19, 2012

"Boys of Steel: The Movie"

No, I have no big announcement. But this 1/18/12 USA Today article boosted my hope that, before long, I might be able to say "They are (finally) making a movie about Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the co-creators of Superman":

The article points out the recent flood of period pieces from Hollywood. Since 2008, I have pitched Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman (which, incidentally, also made it into USA Today) to select movie producers. Some were intrigued but none made offers. The two most recurring reasons:

  1. It would be difficult to obtain the needed permissions from DC Comics.
  2. Period films are expensive to make and are not likely to be mainstream hits.

I understand the first concern (though certain Hollywood heavyweights have the clout to get it done), but this article deflates the second. Period films based on true stories nominated for 2012 Oscars included The Iron Lady, My Week with Marilyn, War Horse, J. Edgar, and A Dangerous Method, not to mention fictional period films including The Artist, The Help, Hugo, and Alfred Nobbs.

So why not My Week with Jerry and Joe? Red Capes? The Geek’s Speech? It doesn't get much more mainstream than Superman.

Realistically speaking, potential complications involve more than DC Comics. In March 2012, a friend who works in Los Angeles reported the following:

I recently met Ilya Salkind [a producer on the Christopher Reeve Superman movies] at a comic convention. When I asked the status of his Siegel/Shuster film, it took him a full minute to register what I was asking. He then rolled his eyes and said it's dead due to all the legal troubles with the families.

Still, nothing seems insurmountable considering people have already overcome challenges to make biopics of other innovative and/or literary types, some obscure; to name but a few: Flash of Genius, Finding Neverland, Miss Potter, Shadowlands, A Beautiful Mind, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

I remain convinced that we will one day see Siegel and Shuster on the big screen. Their story is at once inspirational and heartbreaking and resonates even with people who have never read a comic book. I've seen it time and again at presentations I've given about them nationwide.

Plus Jerry and Joe changed the game for Hollywood so the least Hollywood could do in return is give them their time in the spotlight.

Calling Ron Howard...


Anonymous said...

A Biographical film can be made without permission of Jerry & Joe's estates - they are public figures. (and honestly, some of the fall out of Jerry's first marrage and the son he practaily abandoned would NEVER get into a film approved by the estate!)

The "Superman" aspect may have to be changed, but just enough so it is not "Superman" but clearly is.

The really story isn't about "Superman", but how Jerry & Joe created a fantastic character and were taken advantage of.

Anonymous said...

any one who attempts to sell a screenplay or make a movie about the life of Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel and continues to "pitch" their book or story to movie producers without legal permission of the appropriate parties will soon find themselves facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit! Screenplays about the life of these two are already federally registered and infringers will be sued! Ilya Salkind does not own the rights to their life story--those rights have reverted back to the family. Your actions to sell Boys of Steel The Movie is being closely monitored keep going and you'll receive a Cease and Desist letter which is the first stage of an impending lawsuit.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

I appreciate your comments. If you've seen BOYS OF STEEL, you know how respectful and careful I was in telling Jerry and Joe's story, and I'm taking the same approach in trying to get a movie made:

- I am in touch with one of the families.
- I know a film can't be made without the life rights to both men.
- "infringers will be sued"/"cease and desist" - There are no grounds for this. Pitching is legal and multiple screenplays on the same topic have been written and produced since the dawn of movies. In fact, sometimes two movies on the same historical figure come out at the same time (Truman Capote, Prefontaine, here's a list of many more:

Re: "monitoring" - I'm obviously open about this so if you'd like to further discuss this, I ask you to be open as well. My email is at top right of the blog. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #2 above seems to be nothing more than a troll. :)

It Would be interesting to do not only a copyright search on these so-called screenplays on the lives of Jerry & Joe,but to see if anything has been registered with the WGA.

While an "authorized" bio-pix would be the most desiered, there is nothing stoping someone from doing an "unauthorized" bio-pix, it's done ALL the time. MAGIC BEYOND WORDS : THE J.K. ROWLING STORY , was the unauthorized bio-pic TV Movie made for lifetime,for example.

You know, BOYS OF STEEL would make a great TV Movie.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks Anonymous #3!