Once described by Newsweek columnist Jack Kroll as having a face ‘as sharp & strong as an axe blade’ Christopher Reeve’s features were ideally suited for the transition of Superman from the comic-book page to Silver Screen.
Pictured from top is the very latest addition to my collection both echoing this sentiment and representing the end of a personal crusade to locate and obtain this rarest of ‘lifecasts’ of the man himself. This indisputably genuine cast taken from Reeve’s face during the production of the Superman films is the work of make-up guru Stuart Freeborn (bottom pic, Far left). Freeborn (who turned 97 this past week!) is a bona-fide legend in the industry and remained makeup Supervisor for all four Reeve pictures.
Besides famously serving as the face model for Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back, Freeborn was responsible for the differentiation in appearance between Clark & Superman as well as the vile demeanour for his Evil persona in Superman III. As illustrated in the last pic, Freeborn made multiple casts of the principals mainly for infrequently-used stand-in dummies (e.g. The Fire & Ice scene in Superman: The Movie) and other effects sequences but despite this, few were thought to exist beyond the end of production. Indeed, the only evidence of a surviving example was featured in a lot offered some years ago from the Freeborn estate by the Propstore Of London and was snapped up for a handsome price even in its battered state, making this newly-discovered sharper example all the more desirable…
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