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‘EXCLUSIVE’: A Zack Snyder Interview

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Mission Accomplished

It what feels like a long time coming, Zack Snyder finally joined The Reel In Motion Podcast. And in it, we learned quite a bit of new information. Of course, you can listen to it below, in our Special-Edition Podcast. I pulled interesting quotes but there’s more in the Show as well. But for those wanting to get some tid-bits the old fashioned way, this is for you. I’ve written about this journey I’ve been on and it’s amazing the amount of work that all went in to make this a realization.

Here we go:
Scott: Because Hallelujah plays throughout the entire trailer and at the end is the one time we get to actually hear dialogue. I noticed that the one line of dialogue that’s included does happen to be the quote on the back of the Zack Snyder’s Justice League T-Shirt & Hoodie. I’m just wondering, how intentional was that?

100 Percent and completely intentional. Ya know, my timeline is a lot different than yours. I have a longer look so I knew that trailer would have that scene and that moment. And by the way, it’s a big moment in the movie, so it’s kind of important for the sweatshirt and the whole [meaning of everything] I thought. The Snyder Cut movement and the fan movement kinda pays off with the trailer in some ways.

Speaking about the trailer, one of the many things we learned was that The Snyder Cut Trailer was actually something cut over two years ago. It’s why we’ve seen many stills from it in black and white from Snyder over the years. ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen was always attached to the trailer. Also, it lasted the full length of the song in its entirety. But looking past the thematic meaning to the overall release, we learned that it meant a lot to his family as well. 

Shane: So how early did you know that you wanted to use the Hallelujah song?

Oh, it was on [the trailer] two-years ago.

Chris: Wow, what were your thoughts on that? Why did you want to use the Hallelujah song?

I mean…I don’t want to get too much [into it]…[…] It’s a real personal song for the family and for us, too. It’s something that I felt was right for this. That song in particular, for all of us, it has significance beyond just the movie. I think we all love the song and it just felt like [it captured] this whole thing into the ‘why’ of it. I just felt like that song was the right way to do it.

The Opening

We also learned some information that confirmed my original article about how Zack Snyder was changing the post-credit scene fad.

John: That shot of Superman from the trailer, in the 214 Cut that you have, would that have been in [the 214 version]?

In the 214 cut, [that shot] is in the Pre-Viz (Pre visualization) form but it’s a pretty clean shot. It’s just Pre-viz but it’s super complicated…I won’t give it away 100 percent. It’s literally the opening shot of the movie. It’s part of the way the credits are rendered so you go through when you see the DC logo. And I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but there’s a movie called Batman versus Superman and it’s on HBOMax. There’s a part in it where Clark pushes the Kryptonite [through Doomsday], and in that moment, there’s a lot of this weird energy coming off Doomsday. So that’s what that moment is because you can see there’s that weird lightning and he’s like ‘ahhhhhhh‘.

That kind of frame rate, weird super slow-motion is kind of where we are when we find that moment. So it’s kind of a retelling in some ways of a certain perspective of [Superman dying].

John: I swear I wrote an article [about that]

Yes, you did. And what did it say?

John: It was talking about how you were continuing each film into itself so that each time we saw the new film, we saw the ending of the previous one but from a different perspective. And so Justice League, and I may be incorrect in saying this, was supposed to open from Lois’ perspective of seeing Superman dying.

There is a sort of….there’s a moment Lois…like, her reaction inside of all of that. Because that’s what we didn’t see because you’re kind of in that moment of ‘ahhhhhh‘.  But also, I think, in a lot of ways, it reflects on what Lois’ trajectory through Justice League as far as from what she’s feeling and all that stuff.

[…] And then you’ll see, at the beginning of Justice League. There’s another moment where you see Batman lowering that grenade launcher he used to fire his last kryptonite [bullet] on [Doomsday]. He’s lowering it and you see him [witnessing] the sacrifice that Superman has just done. And I think it’s full circle, weirdly, if you think about it. The First moment he saw Superman, he was like ‘That motherf***er!‘ And now, in this moment, he’s going ‘That guy just gave his life to save all of us‘.

John: That would make sense why Bruce is so adamant on trying to get the league going because he realizes how important Superman’s sacrifice was.

Absolutely 100 percent. Because he’s [just a human]. The thing about Bruce that’s interesting is that he’s a guy that’s gotten stuff done in his life. Regardless of his dark episode, he does brood in a cave. He does a lot of cave brooding. But of that, he’s a guy that actually is capable of making change or getting stuff done. And I think that, for him, this notion that he kind of ‘f***ed up a little bit and read it wrong is a problem. And he has to fix it and I think that’s cool. A motivated Bruce Wayne is a cool thing. I mean we saw when he was motivated by hate and anger. So what does that same guy do when he’s motivated to make it right?

What We Don’t See

How does Shazam! being added to the mix sound? Asher Angel, during their DC FanDome Shazam Panel, asked if they could be digitally inserted into The Snyder Cut. So when I asked Zack about Shazam appearing in the sequel, he said “Ya know what….God Bless those guys”. And when I pointed out that he didn’t say “No“, he responded “I didn’t say anything. You guys are talking about the sequel and that’s hilarious. It’s a good time…that’s all I’m saying.”

If there was a word to describe Zack when he’s not able to speak on details of the film, it would be “Coy“. He knew EXACTLY what I was talking about when I mentioned if ‘Ryan’ was joining (a Green Lantern reference). Since there’s currently no modern day Green Lantern in the 214 version, that part would need to be filmed in the additional photography. But I also wanted to find out if Deathstroke and Lex played a bigger role than what we originally see in the theatrical cut. 

John: Can you talk about Lex or Deathstroke or anything with them in the film?

I mean, listen, ya know…the truth is: Yes, that Lex scene is in the movie and it’s much different than apparently what was in the theatrical version. But it also has its own very particular purpose and root. Which is what everyone needs to keep in mind. When I made the movie, the design of [Justice League], literally, I just thought that we would do this movie and I would be setting up a bunch of stuff for what would come after it, right? And it is what it is, I’m not like expecting to [continue], I don’t know what’s going to happen. But my expectations are not like “Oh, Warner Bros. is going to ask me to make another movie“.

The Round Table: Oh we’ll do that for you.

It’s like any film I’ve ever made that [a sequel might not happen]. We always talk about the uptown problem is like “You shoot all your bullets. Don’t save any bullets“. That’s what the advice I would give to a filmmaker or anyone doing some kind of [film] where they think “Maybe I’ll make a sequel so let’s not put this cool idea in the movie because I’m going to save it for later“. Never do that. Shoot all your bullets. The uptown problem is trying to make more bullets. That’s a better problem to have than no one ever seeing this cool idea I had. That problem of like “Oh S***, I F***ed up because no one ever saw it“.

But the Lex Luthor, sort of, Arc… because there is a whole Lex Luthor Concept I had. It would unfold over a longer narrative trajectory that…that’s a thing, I don’t know, we’ll see.

Ben: So, in that same vein, you shot everything, all your bullets that you wanted to shoot [for Justice League]?

Well, a lot of bullets got shot. But not all of them. 

Stephen: Let’s continue the analogy a little bit. You’re talking about the making of more bullets, but in this scenario, you did have an opportunity to make a little more bullets at the tail end here, right? Are you able to talk about the few changes you were able to make beyond what it would’ve been if you just polished up what you already had?

Oh, 100 percent! I mean it’s a whole different experience being able to be out in the ‘not me just at the house kind of f***ing around‘ than having a massive machine [to use]. Behind me (points to his newly constructed office) I can do anything…well, not anything and also Covid-19 isn’t [fun]. 

Zack Snyder’s Justice League Series

If you’re familiar with our site/podcast/live streams, you’d know that we’ve often spoken about how Justice League would be serialized for HBOMax. But Warner Bros. wasn’t thinking about that back in 2016. It’s why they gave Zack Snyder a two-hour mandate to fit a story with three new league members in it. What we found out, however, is that Zack always envisioned Justice League to be a long-form narrative.

I’ll be honest, I always thought of [Justice League]…. that that [long-form narrative] was the potential of the film. The way I shot [the film], I knew it was like…[the studio] kept telling me two-hours. I really thought it was a joke, like “Two-hours? Ha ha. Good one.” The Script is over 400 pages long. In what world is that a two-hour long movie? And I shoot notoriously long. It’s not a shock, right? I mean, BvS is a full 3 hours and that’s two characters! And Superman already has an origin story.

He also spoke in more detail about how the Series would be handled on HBOMax. It has over 2,000 VFX shots that are being worked on but was unsure of when it would be released or how it would open. Zack knew that what he was creating would be told better in a different style than a traditional movie format.

Zack on his Justice League Vision

There’s a lot of things that I definitely wanted to do, that I envisioned to do but that, now as I go through the movie I can go “Alright, let’s just do that then”. The version of [Justice League] that you’re going to get, is way even more completed and got a bit longer than 214. It is a full 4-hours. But basically you’ll get, and this I don’t know what the release schedule is. But it will be one hour [parts]. And I imagine, I don’t know this for sure, but the next time whatever the second part would be would be like ‘previously on Justice League‘. Then a ‘next week on Justice League‘. But I can be totally 100 percent wrong. But that’s sort of the structure of the four-hours over four-episodes.

Must There Be A Superman?

The original marketing for Justice League made sure to remind us that Superman was dead. That’s why he was missing from every trailer and every poster before November 17th, 2017. And maybe WB’s marketing team was being cautious this time because Zack revealed Doomsday for Batman v Superman. I never had a problem with it, but I digress. Zack understood that we would obviously know Superman would be coming back.

John: Why did you show Superman in the trailer?

Ya know, I feel like the cat’s out of the bag with Superman. It’s not like you guys would’ve been like “Wait, maybe Superman doesn’t show up in the movie“. The early marketing of Justice League…{laughs} years ago. Remember the first poster didn’t have Superman in it. [The marketing] was kinda going like “I don’t know, maybe he doesn’t show [up in the film]“. 

John: Oh, that wasn’t your choice?

I was kinda confident that you guys felt [Superman] would know that he probably was going to be in [Justice League]. So I didn’t understand why they did[n’t have him in Justice League Marketing].

Shane: In terms of Superman, and I know you follow comics so if you had the possibility: Would you have included the Mullet and the Beard with the Black Suit?

It’s a good question. I think that the beard is a possibility. The mullet?…Ya know it’s just a tough one. It’s just a bad…it’s a hard thing to make look badass. […] I just think that, like there’s an argument for when Superman is in the grave that the hair grew and the beard grew. I don’t know if it grew into a mullet, per se, when you just kind of do the work. But I also feel like the way we kind of approached it was that his body wouldn’t rot, per se [as us].

Dave: [Maybe] because of [the Codec] inside of him?

Well I think his Kryptonian biology would prevent him from decaying at the same rate, say, that we would. So you could say that, he might decay over like 1,000 years but it wouldn’t be at the same rate as a normal person. And so that’s why I feel like, in my mind, he kind of looks very similar [to] sort of his [living] hair cut and his beard. Although, that’s not to say that in an ideal world he wouldn’t have a beard…but.

Matt: Or Mustache?

Wow! Too Soon!

Must There Be A Batfleck?

When it comes to Ben Affleck returning to the Cowl, many of us were shocked to learn he signed to return one last time. It was obvious that this news was a new revelation and one surely not talked about to the public until the moment he signed the deal. Even Zack was completely caught by surprise by the entire situation.

John: Did you know about [Ben returning]?

I didn’t! I was like “That’s amazing!” And I think that’s good. 

John: For me, that means technically, that’s his commitment to your second season. So, I would use [joining The Flash Film] against him.

Well…I’m gonna *knocks on wood*.

Zack: Did you guys see that new Batman Trailer?

Oh yeah. It was amazing

John: The Batman looks Rated R after that trailer.

I don’t know what the rating’s going to be, but I was like “What the hell?” I just texted Matt [Reeves] after and I was like “What the F***! This is cool!

 John: What were your thoughts on The Batman Trailer?

Oh I loved it! I thought it was like the right direction and everything about it as far as a fan of a movie? It’s the kind of movie I want to see. 

Hallelujah

When we sent the invitation to Zack to join us after DC FanDome, we were prepared to experience it, but knew it wasn’t a guarantee. The fact Zack came on and answered our questions without anything being Pre-Screened was not only phenomenal, but also next level. It truly shows just how smart and quick-on-his-feet-thinking Zack is capable of. Before the conversation ended, The Round Table wanted to show our appreciation for him.

Ben: I want to say Thank you so much for spending the time with us. You have made our dreams come true as fans. We adore everything that you do and we cannot wait for this movie. We’ve been fighting for it for over two and a half years and you brought tears [to us].
Shane: Thank you.
Dave: And we hope you get your [Zack Snyder’s Justice League] title. We want Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

I think it’s alright. I’m just doing some small negotiating but yeah [I got it]. 

Shane: Hallelujah

Thanks guys. I appreciate everything YOU guys do. Just pounding the drum all the time. I think it makes a huge difference and I don’t know…I doubt I’d be [getting to release Justice League and] sitting here talking about the trailer for Justice League. Or whatever this is, years later. Without you guys everyday, getting on and like “F*** it, let’s get some Justice League up in this S***“, so yeah! And everyone saying [things] like, “Really?? I don’t understand you guys.

Ben: And we wouldn’t have stopped. We would’ve kept going
Dave: For Years!

By the way, I thought it would be more like 5 years [before getting to talk about releasing it], I’ll be honest. I thought there was a chance but I thought it would be more like 5 years. Like, after 5 years, people would kind of like, they wouldn’t really understand or remember or what, but they would go like “Oh, ok. Yeah. I guess [we can release it]”?

Thank You

Being able to speak with one of my favorite Directors was an honor and privilege not many people get to have. I’ve been a Snyder fan since 2007 when I first saw 300. Ever since, he’s changed how I view cinema. I’m excited to see what he has in store for us in the next few years. And I’m even more excited to see him do some follow-up appearances on our guest’s individual shows. 

Unfortunately, my computer acted up and cut me out JUST before Zack left. I wasn’t able to tell him myself but truly, Zack, Thank you. Not only because of being able to have a conversation with you, but also, for me personally, it meant a lot more than just the interview. It’s not everyday I get to tell my daughter, Avery, that I talked to her favorite director of all-time, Zack Snyder. But because of the date, specifically, it meant being able to tell my other daughter, Madison, on what would have been her 7th Birthday, that I talked to mine. Thank you, Zack. For everything.

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Father // Senior Editor // Co-Host for The Reel in Motion Podcast @TheReelinMotion // Male Feminist // Unapologetic Snyder Enthusiast // Xbox X

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