The recent release of Justice League has caused DC comic fans to get juiced up. Directed by Zack Snyder and written by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, it also promises to be a lease of life for a whole host of DC superhero spin-offs.
Ever since the ill-fated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) producers have been searching for a comeback. According to some, they may have just found it. Variety called Justice League, “An act of franchise penance. The movie is light and clean and simple with razory repartee and combat duels that make a point of not going on for too long.” (Variety, 2017)
Don’t worry, we’re not going to give too much of the story away here, but we will say this: the film starts with Superman dead. Yes, dead! We didn't know he could do that. Meanwhile Bruce Wayne recruits a team of superheroes to combat an ever increasing danger facing Earth. But: Do Batman and the others save the world? Is Superman resurrected? Go see it yourself!
The film stars Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), and Henry Cavill (Superman), along with a host of others. That spells candy in abundance for addicts across the world in love with high-octane adventure and big names in cool outfits.
But as the glitter from the premiere gets trodden under foot we take a closer look at some of the cast of JL. And we found 15 things they don’t want you to know.
15 The Cast Had A Team Of Trainers And An On-Set Gym
It takes some preparation to be a superhero. Affleck began training in 2010 for his role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice six years later. “Getting ready for this role meant working hard, day in and day out,” he said in an interview with Men’s Journal in 2016. “But it was the kind of work where I felt gains in not only my size, but also my mental and physical health.” And in order to keep the cast of Justice League at a similar peak of physical fitness, the production team laid on an on-set gym for the crew.
According to Jason Momoa (Justice League’s Aquaman), the gym was just big enough for all the prime cast members to work out together. And because they each had specialized powers they were able to concentrate on different parts of their bodies at the same time.
14 Zac Efron Was Passed Up For The Part Of Superman
American actor and singer Zac Efron auditioned for the role of Superman in 2015. Why? Who knows. His rise to fame was thanks mainly to the High School Musical franchise after which he starred in around 15 other films, including Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (2012) and Dirty Grandpa (2016). With zero credits for superheroes or even any sort of action credentials, why was he tempted to audition for the part of someone who is arguably the biggest superhero in history?
As rumors go the audition format for Justice League was simple: the candidate was invited to wear Christopher Reeve's outfit from the 1970s Superman films to give the producers an idea of how well the actor could pull off the look. Obviously Efron’s fairly meagre frame did not impress the judges who rejected him from their shortlist. Eventually British actor Henry Cavill impressed the panel the most and was given the part.
13 Jesse Eisenberg Suffers From OCD
American actor and author Jesse Eisenberg began his acting career when he was 16 in a TV production called Get Real. His breakthrough came around a decade later with his landing of a role in Zombieland: a 2009 American apocalyptic comedy horror film. Since then Eisenberg has acted in over 20 other films including The Social Network (2010) and The End of the Tour (2015).
But little did we realize Eisenberg suffers greatly with OCD, separation and social anxiety and (like many others) depression. What’s more, he has openly admitted to trying to deal with his conditions from a young age. Of his OCD he told Digital Spy in 2015: “I touch the tips of my fingers in a weird way. I don't step on cracks and I'll often hesitate before walking into a new room.”
12 Billy Crudup Dumped His Pregnant Girlfriend
Billy Crudup is an American actor best known for films such as Big Fish (2003), Eat, Pray, Love (2010), and Youth in Oregon (2016). He has also voiced characters in animations and appeared numerous times on stage (his theatre performances have earned him three Tony Award nominations in 2002, 2005 and 2011). In Justice League he plays Dr. Henry Allen.
Crudup had a relationship with actress Mary-Louise Parker years ago. She's also the mother of his son, William Atticus Parker. Crudup attracted negative press in 2003 when he left Parker, while she pregnant with their son, for his co-star Claire Danes with whom he was working on the Princess Mononoke animation. Although Crudup remained in contact with Parker, his choice of new partner and the way of his leaving did not go down well. In any case, Crudup and Danes only lasted three years.
11 Ezra Miller Was Busted
Playing the part of Flash in Justice League is a culmination of several years of hard graft Ezra Miller dedicated to other films such as We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) and Suicide Squad (2016). Miller plays the dual roles of Barry Allen, a Central City University student and his alter-ego Flash, a paid-up member of the Justice League who can move at superhuman speeds because of an ability to tap into the Speed Force.
Back in 2011 Miller was travelling in a car with friends when it was pulled over by a police officer in a random car check. He was found with 20 grams of pot and charged with drug possession. Speaking later about the bust, he told New York Magazine in 2011: “I don't feel like there's any need to hide the fact that I smoke pot. It's a harmless herbal substance that increases sensory appreciation.”
10 WB Held A Secret Test Screening Two Months Before Release
As is sometimes the case, film production companies hold a test screening before the release of a film in order to gauge a select audience’s reaction. Usually, this is a move initiated by some serious misfires within the original shoot that have required re-working. As we shall later see it was some of the action sequences in the original cut that were deemed not worthy of general release and were re-shot.
The audience of the Warner Brothers test screening was instructed to sign a Non-Disclose Agreement that prevented them from publicizing their true feelings about the film. The rest of us had to wait until now to see the picture (although the press was able to see it a few weeks back). Although frustrating for eager die-hard fans of DC’s productions it was at least proof that the film had reached the final stages of post-production.
9 Ezra Miller Was A Joker
In a 2017 interview with E! News Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, and Ray Fisher were asked who on set stood out as the entertainer. The three were unanimous in their pointing to Ezra Miller as the joker. And it would seem that Miller’s sense of humor rubbed off on his character of Flash. Talking of one of the first scenes of the movie, Director Zack Snyder says of Miller’s Flash: “You know, Batman's Batman. I think Bruce Wayne has this kind of Batman humor that's not the same as -- you could say he's the straight guy, you know? It's what he's good at. When I saw the scene -- we just cut it together the other day -- I was like, "Oh God, this is fun.” (IGN.com, 2017)
Miller recently revealed to CBR.com that the film could have been even funnier had some of the comedy he injected into the role been kept in the final cut.
8 Jason Momoa Vows To Find Out Who Leaked Info About His "Secret" Wedding
Jason Momoa, best known for his roles as Ronon Dex in Stargate Atlantis (2004–2009) and Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones (2011–2012) seems a natural to play the part of Aquaman in Justice League.
Momoa met his future wife Lisa Bonet ( Enemy of the State (1998), Road to Paloma (2013)) in 2005 and they had their first child two years later. The couple were married in October 2017 and Momoa had hoped their wedding could have been a secretive and quiet ceremony. But some time prior to it the date was leaked by someone close to the actor. As a consequence the wedding was swamped by the media and general public.
At a press conference for Justice League Momoa was asked about his ruined plans for the private affair. He replied: “I thought it would have stayed that way, but some a**hole leaked it and I will find you.”
7 Amber Heard's Bitter Divorce
American actress Amber Heard began her career when she landed the part of Angie Anderson in David Gordon Green’s Pineapple Express (2008). She was then just 22 and although this was the part for which she is best known, the actress has amassed credited roles in over 20 other blockbusting films including Zombieland (2009) and The Rum Diary (2011). It was on the set of The Rum Diary that Heard met her future husband Johnny Depp.
The pair was married in 2015 but their marriage lasted just one year. Heard filed for divorce and stated in her plea that Depp was “verbally and physically abusive” (Variety, 2016). Over the next few months Depp’s lawyers countered Heard’s claim by suggesting she was elaborating on truth in order to secure a financial resolution, but in the end the case was settled by an undisclosed amount. The restraining order she’d had imposed on Depp was also lifted.
6 Connie Nielsen Flashes New Yorkers
We’ve seen a little more of Connie Nielsen (mother of Diana Prince, Queen Hippolyta) than perhaps we ought to have. During some promotional work for the film Wonder Woman (2017) - in which she plays the same character as she does in Justice League - her dress was caught in a firm breeze and revealed her backside to the world. She seems not to have minded the outpouring of images after the event.
Born in 1965 Nielsen is a highly acclaimed actress having starred in a variety of movies such as Gladiator (2000), 3 Days to Kill (2014) and The Confessions (2016). Danish by birth, she travelled around Europe in her late teens and gained film experience and commendations from those whom she worked with. Her US breakthrough performance however came with her portrayal of the daughter of Satan in the 1997 film The Devil's Advocate (1997).
5 Josh Holloway Didn’t Get Aquaman
American actor and model Josh Holloway was, in his early 20s, a model appearing in print and on catwalks at fashion shows. Turning 30 he turned his attention to acting and found his break playing the character James "Sawyer" Ford in the TV series Lost. On the face of things Holloway would have been an ideal candidate for Justice League’s Aquaman but DC instead gave the part to Jason Momoa.
It turns out however that Holloway’s gazump was not caused by production preference. The suggestion is that he had already over-committed himself to other productions. But in any case DC’s choice of Momoa seems to have worked out. Movie zine io9 says: “Where previous versions of Aquaman’s have ranged between clean-cut, fish whispering boy scout and beleaguered king beneath the sea, Momoa’s skews more towards the bad boy/loner type who comes to discover that he actually enjoys slaying parademons alongside his fellow heroes.”
4 Jason Momoa Courts Controversy
At a news conference in 2011 Jason Momoa was asked about his recent roles in fantasy films. He replied by saying of the fantasy realm: “There’s so many things you can do like rip someone’s tongue out of their throat and rape beautiful women” (ComicCon, 2011). And while his comments seemed only to induce a slight gasp and chuckles from his audience, the video resurfaced recently in light of the scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein.
The actor, who had played Kahl Drogo in Game of Thrones to great effect, was as a result bombarded with criticism for the remarks, which some saw as disrespectful to women that had been violated in real-life. He was forced to make a public apology and wrote on Instagram this year: “Rape and sexual harassment can reach anyone and I have seen first-hand its painful torment among members of my own family and friends”.
3 $25 Million To Erase Henry Cavill’s Moustache
British actor Henry Cavill began his career with roles in The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) and I Capture the Castle (2003). In his recent filming for Mission Impossible 6 (out in 2018) he was asked by producers to grow a moustache. But this meant that during the filming of Justice League he portrayed Superman with a moustache. While this was initially OK’d by Director Zack Snyder it was later considered a step too far by the production team.
The decision was thus taken to re-shoot huge sequences and digital master the resulting edit, a move that cost the production millions of dollars. The months of extra filming ended up also causing scheduling problems for the remainder of the cast who had other productions to work on. It seems a shame the brains behind MI6 couldn’t come up with an alternative, such as a realistic stick-on ‘tache.
2 The Film Was Meant To Have A Cliffhanger Ending
Zack Snyder’s original concept was to tempt fans of the Justice League into watching a sequel which would be released around a year later. One of the best ways of doing this is to end the first film with a cliffhanger. So, he had filmed the impending arrival of Darkseid to Earth and with it the possible destruction of humanity. But as the film reached its post-production stage, Snyder was hit with personal tragedy and stepped down.
The result was that Joss Whedon, well-known mastermind behind Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) and a handful of others, was called in to complete the production. However, after several meetings it was decided that Justice League should be a standalone film; as such the cliff-hanger would not be needed. In Snyder’s absence Whedon abandoned the cliff-hanger and instead rounded the film off.
1 The First Cut Didn’t Include Enough Battle Scenes
Joss Whedon was also tasked with adding more action to the film which in the test screening was thought to be lacking a degree of energy and dynamism. It was because of his work on The Avengers that Whedon was best placed to add this intensity. According to Variety in 2017, Whedon was focused on, “fixing some connective tissue, and punching up the dialogue to be a little pithier”.
The re-shoots in total cost the production around $25m; over twice the standard cost. Yet despite the obvious inconveniences to cast and crew the resulting battle sequences and stronger dialogue make the Justice League film a standout sensation. Having been promoted to the public as the beginning of a new age of DC re-imaginings, it sets an example of what is possible when an extended universe is sculpted by the right people.