Superman-The Movie‘s Director Speaks…
Richard Donner was interviewed for nearly three-and-a-half hours in Beverly Hills, CA by Stephen J. Abramson on June 22, 2006.
Donner talked about his start as an actor in New York and the career-changing moment when director Martin Ritt told him that he should work behind-the-camera and hired him as his assistant. Donner described his start as a director, working in commercials and documentaries initially for George Blake, then for his own company. He talked about his transition to Los Angeles where he directed commercials with the cast of I Love Lucy.
He talked about his work for several studios as a television director in the 1960s on such series as Wanted: Dead or Alive (with Steve McQueen), Wagon Train (in an episode guest-starring Bette Davis), The Loretta Young Show, The Hathaways (a series featuring three chimpanzees), Gilligan’s Island, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Fugitive, and, most notably, The Twilight Zone. Donner described the challenges of directing the memorable Twilight Zone episode ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’, in which William Shatner sees a gremlin on the wing of an airplane.
Donner described his early forays into feature filmmaking and his return to television each time, feeling that he was not ready to make the transition. He talked about working on such 70s projects as The Banana Splits Hour and the acclaimed television movie Sarah T.— Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic, before his breakthrough success in movies with The Omen. Donner then chronicled the development and casting of some of his most notable feature film successes, including Superman, Lethal Weapon, and The Goonies. He also spoke about his later work in television as a producer-director of the television series Tales From the Crypt.
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