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COMIC LEGEND: Marlon Brando wanted to play Jor-El as either a green suitcase or as a bagel.
STATUS: Kind of True but Also a Bit False
One of the biggest casting coups for the first Superman film was getting Marlon Brando, then one of the most famous actors in the world (he still is, even in death, but obviously during the 1970s he was even bigger), to play Superman’s father, Jor-El, for the introduction of the film.
However, while they were able to cast Brando, that didn’t mean that Brando was thrilled with doing the movie. Far from it. He just really liked the large salary he was receiving for very little work. But initially, Brando wanted to make it even LESS work. When Richard Donner was getting ready to meet with Brando for the first time, Brando’s agent warned him that Brando was going to suggest that he play Jor-El as a green suitcase, with Brando just doing a voiceover.
Donner prepared for that when he met Brando, but when they finally did meet, Brando surprised him by suggesting that he play Jor-El as a BAGEL, with Brando just doing a voiceover.
Now here is the “sort of false” part, as while yes, Brando did say specifically “bagel,” but when he explained further, he essentially just meant that he didn’t see why Jor-El would have to be humanoid. Why couldn’t he be alien-looking? This likely WAS just so that Brando didn’t actually have to show up for filming, but it was not as stupid as him saying he actually wanted to be filmed as a bagel. That was just a placeholder for “alien looking.”
When Donner explained that Jor-El had already been well-established in the Superman canon as a humanoid, Brando relented.
The behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of Superman has the whole story…
Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed at Spinoff Online: Did Luke and Leia nearly have a SECOND kiss in Empire Strikes Back?
On the next page, how did the Metropolis Daily Planet help out the New York Daily News in 1977?
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