Superman Star Christopher Reeve Saw Character as Calculated Risk

Christopher Reeve knows playing Superman could be a blow to his longstanding stage career, but he’s confident in the gamble – even if his friends aren’t.

The deeply loved and humanitarian actor was born on this day in 1952. His name was trending on social media on Saturday as fans paid tribute to the actor, who has died in 2004 at the age of 52. Google also honored Reeve with a Doodle on its homepage.

Speaking to Dick Cavett in 1981, Reeve said he had some difficulty from friends and colleagues when he agreed to play Superman in the 1978 blockbuster, but he knew what they weren’t.

“There are friends of mine who have the same bias as me on this part,” Reeve said afterward. “There was a bunch of us, all auditioning for the same things, all going to school together and moving up the ranks.” He noted that the group included his closest friends such as Robin Williams, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, James Woods, Steve Collins and Treat Williams.

“Many of them say, ‘That’s it, boy. Under the drain. Bye. It is boots forever. Get it while you can. ‘ But they didn’t read the document. And I bet the material was actually straight enough and classy enough that I could just ignore it,” says Reeve. “So it was a calculated risk that really accelerated my career. If I haven’t done that part – it’s like the difference between taking Route 1 and I-95, Connecticut’s turn. I got here faster. It doesn’t mean I’m better any time. I’m still the actor I always have been. I just got a little more attention.”

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Reeve will play Superman in four films over the course of a decade. He has noted in other interviews that he never feels misled by the role and makes sure to take on multiple projects as he is a serious, versatile actor.

See the full interview below.

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