No one really comes to a superhero movie—especially not one starring Superman—expecting reality, right? But that's what the filmmakers behind Man of Steel want. So, they'll be blowing up a Sears and 7-Eleven.
The "real world" of Man of Steel is one of the consistent talking points among the cast and the crew in a new behind-the-scenes featurette. They imply that the film will have an allegorical thread. "We wanted to have real places, we didn't want Superman to crash into a fictitious location, we wanted everything to feel as real as possible," producer Deborah Snyder (wife of director Zack Snyder) says in the video, as images of the blown up stores play in the background.
Those stores were fake, according to a set report from HitFix's Daniel Fienberg, who was on the scene in Plano, Illinois, when Snyder and Co. were filming in August of 2011. But don't call it product placement. "We have products in here not because of product placement, but because he wanted to make it feel like it’s a real place," Deborah Snyder told Fienberg. "You know? Because it was bugging me when it’s like, 'Yeah, we want some mom and pop shops, but we want it to also feel real.' That means having real brands and things like that."
How this "real" Superman plays out on the big screen is one of the many questions hanging over Man of Steel as it makes its way to the big screen in mid-June. This promotional chatter about how Superman exists in our world doesn't come out of the blue, of course. Early talk and trailers made it seem like we were in for a movie about Superman's feelings. As recently as this past Sunday's New York Times, Zack Snyder was talking about the movie's sci-fi elements, which while not "pure, unalloyed realism," in the words of the Times' Dave Itzkoff, do imply that the fantastical Superman we know and love might be grounded in a reality... of sorts. The trailers look fabulous, and we're very much anticipating the movie, but we'd like to caution everyone to remember that while this Superman may be real, he's still, you know, a guy with a cape who can fly.