Superhero Movie The Creative Team

Superhero Movie reunites writer-director Craig Mazin with producers Bob Weiss and David Zucker. “I'm fortunate to be able to work with Craig Mazin and David Zucker again,” Weiss says. “I did Scary Movie 3 and Scary Movie 4 with them and it's great to be able to work with guys that are also your friends. You develop professional shorthand.” Mazin co-wrote Scary Movie 3 and Scary Movie 4, which were both directed by Zucker and produced by Weiss.

Mazin also had the purest of motivations at heart: “I like making audiences laugh. That's really the only reason to do these movies. These movies are about going into a theater and laughing consistently through eighty or ninety minutes.”

There is, of course, an art to spoofing a genre. David Zucker, who directed Airplane, The Naked Gun, The Naket Gun ½ and Scary Movie 3 and 4, notes that audiences react in an interesting way to the very specific type of humor offered by a spoof movie. “Audiences share a general reference. Everybody goes to superhero movies, and they enjoy them,” Zucker says of this specific genre. “I enjoyed all the Airport movies back in the `70s. Even though I enjoyed them, when those characters like Robert Stack or Peter Graves or Charlton Heston would say serious lines, as an audience you're filling in the jokes.”

What's more, the producers found a genre that had not yet been spoofed. “A few years ago we talked about what unexplored areas there we that we could parody,” producer Bob Weiss recalls of the initial impetus to put Superhero Movie together. “We realized that a good scouring of the superhero genre hadn't really happened.”

“I love superhero movies, always have,” Mazin says. “I've been a comic book reader since I was a kid. The genre lends itself to this because it tends to feature very similar elements. Many of these films follow a social outcast who is struck by a bolt out of the blue, struggles and wrestles with his powers and what they mean for his identity. Somebody that he loves dies because he either took the wrong action or didn't act at all. There's a girl. His secret identity comes between him and the girl. These things keep repeating over and over again.”

As Mazin delved further into the research and writing process, he began to recognize additional motifs that were present in most superhero films: “I think all good superhero movies are about a character learning how to be a successful superhero. At first you have to struggle with how to use your powers and about who you are. That's always a bit of a trick. In the end, you're not really a successful superhero until you conquer your greatest enemy, and that's not always a super villain: sometimes it's yourself and whatever is holding you back from being a real hero. That's the journey Rick has to take here.”

Rick, portrayed by Drake Bell, is at the center of the storyline of Superhero Movie, as is his alter ego, Dragonfly. Mazin describes the character, as well as his comedic opportunities: “He has super strength and super agility. He can climb walls. He's pretty good at street fighting. His skin is armored. He is impervious to just about anything except titanium blades. He has a great green costume like every good superhero should have.”

“It's just that when the Dragonfly tries to save people, he tends to end up killing them accidentally,” Mazin continues. “He's got a good heart but it just doesn't always work out.”

Zucker believes that in order to have a successful spoof, the joke must be on the characters. “The characters can't realize they're in a spoof. But one thing that we have learned is, to a certain extent that the audience wants to take the characters seriously. In Airplane, Robert Hayes is flying the plane down and we didn't realize, even at the time, that people really wanted him to land the plane safely. Originally, we did a lot of silly, stupid jokes as he was flying the plane down. We had to take them out because it took you out of the movie and audiences really wanted to see the character succeed.”

Though the filmmakers enjoy the ribbing this forum offers them, Mazin points out that their jokes are all in good fun. “You can't really spoof something unless you love it. We loved all the movies that we spoofed in the Scary Movie series. We certainly we love the movies that we spoof here: Spiderman, Batman and the whole genre.”

The whole genre includes also includes a good needling to superhero favorites Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Superman. Regina Hall, who is personally responsible for many of the laughs in the Scary Movie franchise, notes that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Hall comments: “It's all in good fun. If we're spoofing it, it just means that it's already a success. We can't spoof something unless we figure the audience knows it. By the time we get to it, it's already a hit. It's kind of an honor.”

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