Superman’s New ‘Man of Steel’ Costume Inspires Giggles and Grandeur

Bryan Enk
Movie Talk

Over the decades and through its wearer's many incarnations, Superman's costume –with its red cape, blue bodysuit and big 'ol 'S' – has inspired many things: wonder, pride, and, perhaps most of all, hope. But now, upon the release of "Man of Steel," we have a new addition to that list: laughter.

"I think I just giggled. That's what I do when I'm nervous," Amy Adams, who plays Daily Planet reporter Lois, told Yahoo! Movies recently at the "Man of Steel" press junket. After giggling at Henry Cavill in his entire Superman get-up, Adam's second reaction was breathlessness: "He just sort of embodied Superman to me, and it takes your breath away."

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We caught up with Cavill, as well as some of his other colleagues as well. All were impressed by the "physical force" of the suit, even one of Superman's enemies.

"He's just Superman," said Antje Traue, who plays Kryptonian villainess Faora-Ul. "We worked out together and did all the rehearsals for stunts in sweat pants and T-shirts so it was quite an impressive moment to see him [in full costume]."

The director's pretty happy, too, which is probably the surest sign that we have a winner.

"I thought it was pretty epic," said Zack Snyder. "When I saw the costume for the first time I thought, 'That's going to be our legacy, putting this new costume into the ether for all time.'"

So Henry Cavill looks good in the suit. But getting that suit just right was a pretty tricky endeavor for costume designers James Acheson and Michael Wilkinson, who found that creating a Superman costume for 2013 meant re-imagining some Kryptonian mythology.

“Rather than the traditional explanation that the suit was made from the cloth his parents wrapped him in when he was sent off from Krypton, we establish it as a foundation, the under garment all Kryptonians wear as a protective layer," said Wilkinson. "On Krypton, therefore, when we see Jor-El or the council members or the soldiers, they all have the same type of suit under various layers of robes and armor, and each bearing the glyph of his or her own family line."

It is established early on in "Man of Steel" that Krypton is a cape-wearing society, though the remainder of Krypton's vestments are not as colorful as Superman's will be: Jor-El (Russell Crowe) wears a dark gray-blue and the villainous Zod (Michael Shannon) wears black, subtle hints at the darkness their home has plunged into at the hands of its people. The planet's grand council, Wilkinson continued, is "weighed down by history, holding on to cultural restraints that prevent looking at new solutions to problems."

It's not all doom and gloom for the actors, though, as Russell Crowe shared Amy Adams' sense of humor when he first put on his Kryptonian garments.

"There was a lot of comedy going on," Crowe told us. "I never expected to be wearing four layers of unitard for a job. But however, I have to say ... it makes you feel powerful!"

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Cavill himself agreed. "It's a very special thing, it really is ... I can't really find words for it," said the actor, who is now referred to in the pop culture zeitgeist as 'the new Superman.' "It was a like a physical force – you put it on and you're wearing this thing and it's got an energy to it. And people behave differently around it as well."

Probably because they're in the presence of a superhero.

"Man of Steel" opens June 14.