Interview with Screenwriter R. S. Phillips (SUPERMAN 1983: COLLECTOR OF WORLDS)

1. What is your screenplay about?

It’s a fan fiction piece. A fresh “what if” take on SUPERMAN III that aims to restore the vision of original SUPERMAN THE MOVIE director Richard Donner and writer Tom Mankiewicz had Donner not been let go from the series. The story works with the first two films to complete a trilogy and pits Superman against classic foe Brainiac. It also resolves plot elements in the Superman-Lois Lane love story in the wake of that famous memory-erasing kiss.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?


3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

As a piece of fan fiction, obviously it cannot be made into a commercial film – that is, of course, unless Warner Bros./DC decide to pick this up for their production slate… Crickets? Okay, so the intent is to work within the bounds of fair use to create a digitally animated fan film. The “why” is that there is a modern take of the character that Warner/DC is pursuing, as they should in the 2020s, which works within their ‘expanded universe’ model. At the same time, the 1970s/80s films starring Christopher Reeve remain a gold standard. They’re seminal works that gave rise to the modern superhero film. And I know there is a rabid “Donnerverse” fan base who love this take on the stories. If a fan doesn’t take up that baton, there is no reason to expect we would see this vision for Superman on the screen again.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Fun adventure.

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

The 1978 Superman The Movie or Superman II, not sure which. Hence the desire to undertake this project.

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

It was written between November 2019 and February 2020, give or take.

7. How many stories have you written?

Dozens, I don’t exactly know. Feature spec scripts? Around 15 or so. I have far more ideas than opportunity to write.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

PUSHIT by Tool.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The writing itself was an absolute labor of love and went very smoothly. It seems the best scripts I’ve written were ones that flow easily. With this script, I wanted to be certain I connected all of my plot points as seamlessly as possible back to the first 2 films, SUPERMAN II in particular. Fans of the series know there are several ‘versions’ of SUPERMAN II – the theatrical cut, extended TV cuts, and a very different version called the Richard Donner cut released in 2006. Briefly, Donner was replaced by another director before finishing part 2, so that director reshot a lot of material and altered planned story points. I had to decide which version I was working from, and really, no matter what alternate version a fan might prefer, the one that’s most known & ubiquitous is the released theatrical version. I treat that version as cannon for the purposes of this script. For example, in the theatrical version Superman erases Lois Lane’s memory of his Clark Kent alter ego with a “super kiss”, a controversial but romantic choice made by Donner’s replacement. My script needed to deal with that.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Being a dad to my 3 year old son. Being a husband to my wonderful wife.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

Truly it was easy to do. That’s the sort of thing that you only end up thinking about when things go wrong, lol, so when it’s invisible to the process, it’s all good.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I have a real passion for this material. I don’t only write fan fiction scripts, in fact this is my first. But when the project is finished and it becomes available for people to watch, you don’t want them to have to feel sorry for you that you didn’t have millions of dollars to make it. You just want them to be able to enjoy it as a movie. And the one point of production that doesn’t take millions to get right is the script. It costs me nothing but passion & craft at the keyboard. Once it’s ready to show, you need that distance and perspective you can only get through impartial readers and feedback. So I was really excited to find the Fan Fiction Film & Screenplay Festival and the opportunity to get the script in front of experienced industry readers. Again, extremely gratifying to read such a positive reaction. There were points of criticism to consider in it, too. Valid perspective. You want anything that gives you a tool to make what you’re doing better.

Watch the Screenplay Movie:


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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