Today is a special day, as it is Zack Snyder’s 50th birthday, and just 24 days away from the release of his biggest film yet: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
For a director that has lived half a century now, you’d think his tastes would become more subdued and refined; but as Bloomberg Business explains in their feature story (published today) Zack is still very much the big buff child at heart we know and love.
The piece starts off with Snyder playing an intense round of badminton as writer Devin Leonard interviews him and begins to describe just how the man works:
The shot he’s working on is known as a kill. “Technically, with a kill, your opponent shouldn’t have a chance,” he explains. His trainer, Alistair Casey, who also coaches Olympic contenders in the sport, starts hitting birdies across the net. Snyder leaps into the air and whacks them back, groaning with agony when his shots hit the net. “Don’t put so much testosterone into it,” Casey advises. Soon the floor is littered with birdies, some of them in tatters. Snyder has had quite a workout. “I get 3 miles of running out of this,” he says, smiling through his sweat.
We all know how physically demanding Snyder is, so should that really surprise anyone?
The piece then goes into detail recounting Snyder’s expansive filmography as well as Justice League which is currently being worked on in the U.K. much to the ire of various mud-slinging tabloid reporters.
Snyder then goes on to make a very profound statement on just what separates Warner Brothers’ superhero films from the rest of the pack, and it’s something we’ve all been saying for a while now: their freedom they give to directors.
He argues that Warner’s decision to turn its DC characters over to visionary directors such as Christopher Nolan, the auteur responsible for the popular Dark Knight trilogy, and, well, himself, results in better products. “When you go see any Martin Scorsese movie or Quentin Tarantino movie, you don’t know what the f— is going to happen,” he says. “You just don’t know, because that individual is capable of anything. There’s a madman driving the boat. And I mean that in the best possible way.”
It’s hard to argue that when you have a cinematic family like Patty Jenkins, David Ayer, Zack Snyder, and Seth Grahame-Smith who all range from seasoned and ready to strike to almost completely wet behind the ears.
There is a refreshing sense of wonder and the thrill of the unknown when you consider the repertoire of films these men and women have behind them either in writing or directing that makes you go “How will the woman who directed Monster do with a fantasy film like Wonder Woman?” or “Really, David Ayer is doing Suicide Squad?” and then, when you see the footage, your jaw hits the floor and your realize…yeah, WB knows how to pick them.
The article makes sure to note that Snyder is as stylish outside the studio as he is behind the camera- and no we’re not talking about his trademark “directing” attire such as sweatpants, green Nikes, and a GYM JONES T-Shirt, we’re talking about $1400 suits and Aston Martin cars…the same one James Bond himself drove in the 007 adventure Goldfinger as a matter of fact, and the same one Ben Affleck himself will be driving in Batman v Superman.
When the interview finally takes them to Cruel and Unusual Films’ production house is when things get very “Zack Snyder” though:
SNYDER WORKS IN an old warehouselike space on the Warner lot in Burbank that once housed teams of artists who painted backdrops of cities, forests, and deserts. With the advent of computer-generated imagery, their numbers dwindled. The studio was getting ready to gut the space last year when Snyder claimed it for his own production company, Cruel & Unusual Films, which he runs with his wife, Deborah. “They were just going to turn it into office space and destroy it,” Snyder says. “I was, like, ‘No, no, no, no, no. Do not destroy it. Guys, this is the most awesome place in the world!’ ”
The warehouse holds a weight set in the center for Snyder to keep up his figure, and features various props and weapons, as well as toys, from Snyder’s career such as Sucker Punch and Batman v Superman.
The lofty base of operations, which has been dubbed Snyder’s own “Fortress of Solitude”, has a wall-sized white board which was reportedly stained with the freshly erased residue of various storyboards for Justice League…wow!
We then get to delve a bit into Snyder’s past and his personal life, as well as his struggles with Dyslexia when he was in school; but by the time he had gotten that far he was already making elaborate cinematic adventures with his classmates, where he would even call the Greenwhich Police Department to use a squad car in one instance, or rent a crane to get the perfect overhead shot.
Larry Fong, Zack’s frequent collaborator and cinematographer, went on to describe one such instance of being Snyder’s classmate:
[Larry] recalls how the budding director made a World War I movie, digging trenches behind the house he was living in, renting uniforms for his actors, and simulating rain with a garden hose. “That was my first time working with him,” Fong says. “I realized he goes above and beyond.” Snyder’s landlord had a fit when he discovered what the students had done to his property. By then the film was done. Snyder’s professor loved it.
Moving forward, when Snyder’s 300 was a huge hit for WB, the Studio even ponied up and bought him a $350,000 Aston Martin Vanquish as a reward, along with a rather lucrative production deal which is where Snyder would be making his home for the foreseeable future.
The wonderful article, which you can read in it’s entirety here then goes on to drop an interesting tidbit at the end about Snyder’s cinematic future:
One of these days, he’d like to make one about George Washington in the style of 300. He has a picture in his office of the Revolutionary War hero crossing the icy Delaware on his way to decimate the British in the Battle of Trenton. “We were talking about it,” Snyder says. “The first thing we asked was, well, how are we going to make it look? I pointed at this painting. It looks like 300. It’s not that hard.”
Ironic, since the Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” TV series Robot Chicken actually went on to parody that very concept shortly after 300 was released with their mock-Washington epic 1776.
All humor aside, a historical epic about George Washington would be right up Snyder’s alley, especially seeing the Revolutionary War through Zack’s incredibly stylish lens.
What do you think, would you like to see 1776 brought to life? Maybe Gerard Butler can re-team with Zack after all these long years…
If you’re interested in reading more about Snyder’s possible future directing gigs, take a look at our article for “What’s Next”, and if you’d like to read more about Snyder’s life and the films that influenced him, you can check those here and here!
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