Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey: Jennifer Graylock/AP
January 07, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

Superman Returns

Current Status
In Season
157 minutes
Wide Release Date
Kate Bosworth, Brandon Routh, Kevin Spacey, James Marsden, Sam Huntington
Bryan Singer
Warner Bros.
Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris
Action Adventure

The casting difficulties that had plagued Warner Bros.’ Superman movie are suddenly over. On Thursday night, the studio confirmed to Variety and the Hollywood Reporter that Superman-to-be Brandon Routh finally has a Lois Lane and a Lex Luthor. Kate Bosworth is in talks to play Clark Kent’s love interest, and Kevin Spacey will play his nemesis. Their casting was the last major hurdle that X-Men director Bryan Singer needed to clear before filming begins March 3 in Sydney.

The casting of Spacey and Bosworth (who currently share the screen in Beyond the Sea as Bobby Darin and wife Sandra Dee) had been rumored for at least a week, but as recently as Thursday afternoon, Warner Bros. declined to confirm or deny the rumors in response to a query from EW.com. According to the Reporter, however, Bosworth won the part over several other prominent actresses — including Claire Danes, Scooby-Doo‘s Linda Cardellini, and Boston Public‘s Michelle Monaghan — through a long series of auditions that involved what the trade paper calls a ”chemistry test” seeking sparks between relative unknown Routh and his more seasoned potential leading ladies.

As for Spacey, Singer had long sought to cast the actor, who in turn was eager to reunite with the director who guided his first Oscar-winning performance a decade ago in The Usual Suspects. ”The huge attraction for me was the chance to work with Bryan again,” Spacey told Variety. ”Lex Luthor is a wonderful role.” The obstacle was Spacey’s commitment to London’s Old Vic Theatre, where he is the artistic director, and where he is scheduled to perform in two plays this spring. But Singer was able to schedule the shoot so that Spacey doesn’t have to appear on the set until summer.

Describing the plot, Singer told Variety that the movie wouldn’t retell the familiar origins of Superman but would take place during a period in Clark Kent’s life that neither the Christopher Reeve movies nor the current TV series Smallville have touched on. ”It’s a little like X-Men, where the mutants existed when the movie began,” Singer said. ”It’s not an origin story; I didn’t want to remake what Richard Donner [director of Reeve’s first two Superman movies] did so well in the original, and didn’t want to tread on the great work they’re doing on Smallville. He’s already part of the culture; he has left the planet. This is the story of his return.”

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