Grant Meets…

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SUPERMANIA is proud to present an exclusive interview with a man who, as a boy, was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time and wearing the right outfit.

The short but sweet clip above very recently uploaded to YouTube after 28 years is a segment from the UK’s BBC1 children’s breakfast show ‘Saturday Superstore’ presented by DJ Mike Read.  1987 would be the final season of the show where most celebrities of the day would appear and be subjected to all manner of questions from a kids phone-in, with often hilarious results.

In town shooting the final scenes for Superman IV: The Quest For Peace was Christopher Reeve, who, spotting a youngster wearing a Superman costume, selected young Grant Curran to accompany him during his interview.  Grant himself takes up the story from here…

Grant, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to SUPERMANIA. Your video is superb and you were so lucky to meet the man himself but when and where did this occur and how did you come to appear on television…?

It was on Saturday 17th January 1987 when I went to the BBC Studio in London as I had heard Superman was being interviewed live on Saturday Superstore. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of him and get his autograph if I was very lucky. I just went up to him to and the next minute he walked onto the set taking me with him. The rest is as you will see in the video.

How old were you at the time and were you as big a Superman fan as you appeared? Had you seen all the films up to that point and what was it about them you liked most?

I was 7 years old and Superman mad ever since I can remember. I had seen all the films lots of times. My favourite was Superman II. I knew them all off by heart. I think my favourite scene is where Zod screams after having his hand crushed and also when Clark spins Rocky around in the chair at the restaurant at the end of Superman II.

You are stood with Christopher Reeve in a Superman costume and he seems to take to you very well – had you met backstage before that moment or was it live as seen?

I was already wearing my Superman costume when I arrived. No we had not met backstage before. It was Christopher Reeve that took me with him and as you can see from the look on my face I am overwhelmed and stunned to say the least. I don’t think I realised quite what was happening until I saw Mike Read.  After the show when Christopher Reeve came out backstage I thanked him and he posed for a photo with me.

You appear remarkably composed for meeting somebody so world-famous at the time – what do you remember about Chris himself and did he say anything else to you off-camera? Did he have interaction with any of the other kids?

I think that was because he was such a genuinely nice guy. I always remembered that he said ‘he would take me flying sometime’. He chatted to the other kids on the show as they were asking him questions.

The footage is remarkably clear for a vintage video recording if that is indeed the source – if not where did it come from and and was it difficult to obtain?

All I can say is that it is a professional copy which I tracked down relatively easy recently as my original video recording back in 1987 was damaged.

Today you are a father yourself – are you still a Superman fan and did meeting Chris back in the day influence your life in any way?

I am still as big a fan as I ever was and have passed this onto my daughter. We both have Superman t-shirts and watch all the films together.

I have never forgotten the experience of meeting Christopher Reeve. He made me feel so special and by him calling me ‘superman’ I thought I could do anything. It still remains the most amazing memory and I consider myself to be very lucky indeed.

Grant, thank you so much for talking to us..!

NECA Delivers…

NECA-7-Inch-Superman-001NECA-7-Inch-Superman-012NECA-7-Inch-Superman-015NECA-7-Inch-Superman-018Despite repeated denials on the subject when the question of the possibility of a smaller scale Reeve Superman figure was posed by SUPERMANIA on Twitter, NECA have surpassed expectations by not only producing this all-new 7″ figure but having in the shelves already.

Part of an exclusive promotion (similar to their Keaton Batman figure DVD tie-in a few years back) by Warner Bros. to boost DVD sales, this limited-edition figure is one of three (Adam West Batman and Heath Ledger Joker scaled down from their respective 1/4 scale versions) available online and selected branches of TRU.

Famed for their constant interaction with fans it would appear NECA have heeded some criticism from fans regarding some of the inaccuracies of their recent quarter-scale release (especially the headsculpt) and have delivered a superb package worthy of any collectors inventory.

While the likeness is improved beyond measure by the flattening of the hair and broader face, the figure appears skinny overall and the chest shield (bottom pic) is still an embarrassing afterthought.  Minor quibbles with what is the most elegantly presented figure in any scale to date with a beautiful box (top pic) and sporting a fabulous cloth cape (third pic) this is a serious contender for the best Superman action figure to date.

Due to restrictions of the promotion this figure is frustratingly limited to the USA at present with no word from NECA on whether or not the run will be extended or indeed make it overseas.  The apparent indifference from NECA regarding availability paired with QC issues reportedly arising from the first batch (breakable limbs and poor paint apps) may have left a poor first impression but overall this release should be cause for celebration for fans of the classic Superman Movies…

Thanks to TOYARK for the quality pics – read their review here

If You Build It Pt.2…

Scan-140606-0005Scan-140606-0006Scan-140606-00076053562256With street-level and two to three storeys in height complete, the set of Metropolis Tower and surrounding buildings are shown above at various stages during filming for key sequences in Superman IV: The Quest For Peace at Elstree Studios in 1986.

As the entire film was to be made on location in the UK, The illusion of The Big Apricot would be achieved by a combination of live action and background plates shot by the second unit of New York City with matte paintings to extend the sets above into an appropriate skyline.

Due to budget cuts, however, few paintings would be completed and make the final cut resulting in much of the undressed studio exteriors being exposed in some scenes, most notably in the Nuclearman I confrontation, which, with the exception of a neon sign, was shot against an unaltered studio wall opposite the set shown above.

Littering the road in front of the set are the remains of the car shunt between Nuclearman and Superman, where the hydraulic cable device (second pic) is clearly visible having pulled and compacted a number of vehicles into a pile (third pic) for a scene that famously ended upon the cutting room floor.

As previewed in the last post, the large awning is the marker for the entrance to Metropolis Tower, where Superman confronts the second Nuclear Man (bottom pic) after he creates a series of explosions and levitates a group of pedestrians to intimidate the Man Of Steel. This is the most infamous of the unfinished FX shots as the studio roof is visible in the background rather than the intended skyscrapers…

Thanks again to Superfan Alexei Lambley-Steel for use of his incredible set pics..!

If You Build It…

Scan-140606-0001Scan-140606-0002Scan-140606-0003Scan-140606-0004…They will come.  Courtesy of Superfan Alexei Lambley-Steel come these fascinating rare pictures taken of the construction of the Metropolis street for Superman IV: The Quest For Peace at London’s Elstree Studios.

As detailed in the production paperwork highlighted in this post, these elaborate NYC style fascia’s were erected at an apparent cost of £1.3 Million against existing studio buildings (see the exact location on the studio plan circa 1986 here) for the battles between Superman & Nuclearman I and II.

At the early stage shown above it may not be immediately apparent what role this backdrop plays in the film but all we be revealed in the next post – meantime the large awning framework in the last two pics may provide a clue…