Zack Snyder to direct new Superman film
Zack Snyder, the director of Watchmen and 300, is to direct the new Superman movie, it was announced.
The Warner Bros film, due for release next year, will be written by Christopher Nolan, the director of the Dark Knight movie.
Reports have claimed Snyder was one of several filmmakers in negotiations for the job including Darren Aronofsky, Ben Affleck, Matt Reeves and Tony Scott.
Such was demand for the role that Robert Zemeckis, who has retired to the world of performance-capture animation, was said to have also considered returning to live-action filmmaking in order to get the coveted job.
The script is said to similar to "Superman Returns" with a connection to Richard Donner's Superman films more than 30 years ago.
The new film will have a “villain connection” - General Zod, who was played by Terence Stamp in "Superman" (1978) and "Superman II" (1980).
The Superman movie is said to be one of the studio's top priorities.
It not only serves as the linchpin for its line of films based on DC Comics superheros but Warners is required to start production on a new Superman movie by 2011 or risk losing certain copyrights to Joe Shuster and Jerry Seigel, the heirs of creators.
The Hollywood Reporter said the they were still involved in a legal row, but did not offer any other details.
Snyder said he was "psyched" but surprised to have won the role.
"I had always been a huge fan of the character, but this is out of the blue,” he said.
"In the initial meetings, he (Nolan) has been super-amazingly smart and also amazingly kind, filmmaker-to-filmmaker.
“I definitely expressed my love for the character and interest in seeing him treated right. The character deserves to be loved. It's his time."
In reference to Synder, a professed comic book nerd, added to USA Today: “He's the king daddy, no two ways about it.
“But I think the first (Superman) movies were so well done, he kind of got stuck. I think our challenge is to bring him to a modern audience that's still respectful of the character."
Snyder has reportedly become one of Warner Bros' favourite filmmakers since he directed the surprise smash "300," the adaptation of the Frank Miller comic book.
He followed that with "Watchmen," the adaptation of the seminal Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons miniseries.
He is currently finishing his original work "Suckerpunch," which is set to open next spring.
Despite grossing more than $200m (€145m), the 2006 movie about the Man of Steel, "Superman Returns," was considered a disappointment and a hoped-for franchise launch never eventuated.
The first big-screen movie, 1978's Superman, starred Christopher Reeve as the superhero.
The franchise has averaged more than £65m (€75m) per film.