EXCLUSIVE: Interview With MAN OF STEEL: THE OFFICIAL MOVIE NOVELIZATION Writer Greg Cox

We talk to Man of Steel: The Official Movie Novelization writer Greg Cox about what it was like to adapt the Zack Snyder helmed and Christopher Nolan produced reboot into a novel, as well as getting his thoughts on the movie, his future projects and much more. Check it out!

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By Josh Wilding - 7/1/2013
Greg Cox is a New York Times bestselling author who has written the movie novelizations for everything from Daredevil to The Dark Knight Rises, and most recently Man of Steel. He's also penned books based in comic books like Infinite Crisis and 52, as well as TV shows such as Star Trek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the following interview, Greg talks to us about the process behind writing Man of Steel and much more. You can find out about his work by clicking HERE. Details on the novelization from Titan Books can be found HERE.


Firstly, can you tell our readers about yourself and how your writing career started?

I started out selling short stories to magazines like AMAZING STORIES and MIKE SHAYNE MYSTERY MAGAZINE before getting a full-time job as an editor at Tor Books, where, among other things, I edited tie-in novels based on Zorro, Mortal Kombat, Freddy Krueger, and other franchises, while simultaneously writing for other publishers on the side. Eventually I switched to writing full-time, although I still do some editing and copywriting as well.


Have you always been a Superman fan?

Absolutely! I have dim memories of watching the old George Reeves TV series as a child, and have been reading DC Comics for pretty much as long as I can remember. I was in college when the first Christopher Reeve movie came out and I still remember going to see it on my holiday break that year. And, of course, I watched LOIS & CLARK and SMALLVILLE religiously. (I actually lobbied aggressively to write a SMALLVILLE novel, but, alas, was never able to seal the deal.)


How did you become involved with writing this book?

Well, I had already written the novelization for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, which people seemed to enjoy, so I was invited to write MAN OF STEEL as well. I actually have a long history with DC Comics and Warner Bros. Believe it or not, I sold my first BATMAN story to DC way back in 1992!


Did writing the book mean you got to see the movie or read the script for Man of Steel early?

The movie was still in production while I was writing the book, so I didn't have an opportunity to see the film. What happened was that I flew out to Los Angeles last summer to read the script, check out a gallery of pre-production art, inspect some of the props and costumes, and generally pick the brains of various people involved with the movie. Later on, I would occasionally email Warner Bros. with specific questions about this scene or that.


What were your thoughts on the film?

It's always a little strange watching a movie after you've written the novelization, since part of your brain is inevitably comparing it to the version you wrote (and noticing every minor discrepancy), but I was really impressed by the movie. It was epic and intense and easily the best and most ambitious Superman movie since the first Christopher Reeve film thirty-five years ago! I can't wait to see it again--with the writer part of my brain turned off this time!


What were the biggest challenges you faced when writing a character like Superman?

I've written Superman before, in various DC Comics novelizations, so I felt very comfortable writing him and Lois again. The biggest challenge was trying to visualize the movie's all-new take on the planet Krypton. I couldn't use any of my old Superman comics or encyclopedias for reference, since Krypton has a whole new look in the film, so I was constantly pestering the poor folks at Warner Bros. with questions about what the Codex looked like, how the Genesis Chambers worked, etc.


Which aspects of the film did you most enjoy fleshing out for the novelization?

I had fun researching all the real-life military hardware in the script. At times, I felt like I writing a Tom Clancy novel!


Which characters did you most enjoy writing?

Clark, I suppose, since I got to write him at various different stages in his life: as a child, a teenager, a restless drifter, and, finally, the Man of Steel.


How did your process differ - if at all - writing this novelization compared to the one for The Dark Knight Rises?

The main difference was that the DKR book was the conclusion of a trilogy, so I had already seen the first two movies (several times!) and had a pretty good idea of what a Christopher Nolan BATMAN movie was like. I had already seen Christan Bale play Bruce Wayne, Michael Caine as Alfred, and so on, so it was just a case of trying to recapture the look and feel of the first two movies. With MAN OF STEEL, I had to rely much more on the script itself and my conversations with the folks at the Warner.


What other projects do you have lined up?

Thanks for asking. My latest STAR TREK and LEVERAGE novels (based on the TV shows) are on sale now, as well as RIESE: KINGDOM FALLING, a young-adult novel based on popular science fiction webseries. Meanwhile, I have a few other projects in the pipeline that I can't really talk about just yet.
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MrReese - 7/1/2013, 5:04 AM
Best cbm so far.Just waiting on Wolvie & Thor now.
ninjahulk - 7/1/2013, 5:13 AM
I always had respect for this guy.
Brainiac13 - 7/1/2013, 5:16 AM
Got mine last week from Amazon and waiting for TDK trilogy novels to arrive.

Epic movie!
Brainiac13 - 7/1/2013, 5:17 AM
Can't wait for Thor2 & Wolverine as well!

Brainiac13 - 7/1/2013, 5:18 AM
Jim Kelly R.I.P
patrat18 - 7/1/2013, 5:19 AM
brainiac3000 don't hold your breath it will be a joke fest
MrReese - 7/1/2013, 5:25 AM
ninjahulk - 7/1/2013, 5:26 AM
@supercat that was my boy yeah r.i.p jim k.
ManofSteel23 - 7/1/2013, 5:36 AM
so the novelization is different from the movie? or the same?
ninjahulk - 7/1/2013, 5:58 AM
so true yes he have cool afro right along with Steve james :-).They both my icon.
HugoStrange87 - 7/1/2013, 6:02 AM
Why is everyone so down on Thor? The first was my favorite of the whole avengers team.
MightyZeus - 7/1/2013, 6:08 AM
My girlfriend bought the novelization of this and found the description of the satellite that Zod and Superman destroyed but it didn't describe that the satellite had the 'Wayne Enterprises' logo.
HugoStrange87 - 7/1/2013, 6:10 AM
^kind of expected since it was an Easter egg. Something you had to look for and if you didn't you miss it.
fettastic - 7/1/2013, 6:13 AM
Iron Man $585M (after 4 months of release)

The Incredible Hulk $263M

Captain America $368M

Thor $449M

All hailed as STUNNING SUCCESSES by Marvelites


Man of Steel $520M (after 17 days)

Marvelites can't shut up about how bad it's bombing.
HugoStrange87 - 7/1/2013, 6:16 AM
MOS will be above $700 million by the time it's out of theaters, I'm calling it now. By no means a bust.
Brainiac13 - 7/1/2013, 6:18 AM
@patrat18

We can hope!
Brainiac13 - 7/1/2013, 6:23 AM
@fettastic

Yeah...I don't understand the hate!

@HugoStrange87

I predicted 600m when IM3 came out! Now looks like it will hit 700 +

fettastic - 7/1/2013, 6:28 AM
I predicted between $600M-$700M.

I think it may end up at $725M, so better than I expected.
dinkinflicka - 7/1/2013, 6:30 AM
For Warner Bros. 700 million or more is a huge success. They have now got a new Franchise to work with and not only that to build other franchises off if. They were definitely gunshy after the failure of Green Lantern. Me I want a MOS sequel that introduces another Bruce Wayne teaming Lex Luthor and him rebuilding Metropolis. Also I want a Flash movie before a Justice League movie. Ironically I always thought Ryan Reynolds should have played that part.
HugoStrange87 - 7/1/2013, 6:31 AM
I hope flash or aquaman.
EpitomeofAwesome - 7/1/2013, 6:32 AM
@feattastic You realize you're profile pic is of a marvel character, right????.........
fettastic - 7/1/2013, 6:39 AM
@Batmaniac and HugoStrange87,

According to this article, it's Aquaman!

http://moviepilot.com/stories/1015647-henry-cavill-spits-in-gillette-s-smooth-face-by-talking-about-man-of-steel-s-hairy-chest
fettastic - 7/1/2013, 6:44 AM
@EpitomeofAwesome, there's a difference between being a Marvel fan and a Marvel troll.

I'm a fan of SUPERHEROES. It just pisses me off when I see a good movie slagged off for no other reason than the brand logo in the opening credits. Likewise I hate seeing a movie praised endlessly for the same reason.

It's bad enough to see people bend over backwards to defend ridiculous plotpoints in both The Dark Knight Rises and Iron Man 3, but then tear down the "oppositions" next film to get payback.
HugoStrange87 - 7/1/2013, 6:48 AM
We already got aquaman, doesn't anyone watch entourage?

fettastic - 7/1/2013, 6:54 AM
A Wonder Woman film could be really epic, but much like Marvel's issue with a Black Panther film, it would be too expensive and draw from too few quadrants to be as successful as they would need it to be.

For this reason I am predicting that Black Panther will debut as a B character in another superhero film a la Silver Surfer. Wonder Woman will most likely debut in Justice League.

Is that the way I would like it? [frick] no. They are both great characters and deserve their own films to tell both of their fantastic origin stories.

However, Aquaman, though he is poo-poo'ed by general audiences, has never really been shown to them in all his potential. That TV pilot was cancelled so only us resourceful geeks have seen it. Some people remember his character from Smallville, but he wasn't given much depth there either and was only in a couple of episodes.

Aquaman has tremendous potential to be an enthralling, almost Avatar-like film. Picture Man of Steel's opening on Krypton, but under water. Imagine Atlantean warriors riding great white sharks into battle. It could be completely [frick]ing epic and like nothing anyone has ever seen onscreen before!
rbfn04 - 7/1/2013, 7:01 AM
I finally got around to seeing MoS yesterday. Not sure how I feel about it yet.
SWelch - 7/1/2013, 7:10 AM
@superman2013

They are mostly the same with some differences. The script the writer sees is usually not the final shooting script.

For example if oyu read the novelization for Rami's first Spider-Man movie the books open up in the cemetary were Uncle Ben is buried. Spidey is visiting the grave and telling Uncle Ben how it all began. That is were the opening dialouge came from in the movie. But for whatever reason that scene wasn't filmed or at least I don't think it was.

In the first Iron Man movie novelization he has aparty to cover up when he first goes up against the terrorists.

I would say that they 98% the same as the movie.
fettastic - 7/1/2013, 7:26 AM
I read all the Star Wars prequel novelizations and they were very enlightening.

In The Phantom Menace, there was a whole deal with young Anakin and the Tusken Raiders which explained why they were shooting at the podracers, although i can't remember what that was now.

The novelization of Revenge of the Sith had the biggest bombshell that tied the whole trilogy together and it was one of those things you can't unread.

Palpatine CREATED Anakin Skywalker. THAT's the special power over life and death he was talking about at the opera. He impregnated Shmi with the force. The internet was on fire over that shit let me tell you! Thankfully it was cut for the film and Shmi's immaculate conception is left a mystery.
DVonShakari - 7/1/2013, 7:29 AM
this movie made $$$$$
DVonShakari - 7/1/2013, 7:36 AM
Aquaman coming....then a 300-like Wonder Woman, Flash. The new Batman should be introduced in MOS 2 and new GL in the Flash movie...Oh and lets not forget Martian Manhunter
ALegendaryPanda - 7/1/2013, 7:37 AM
MAN OF SHITZ XD LOLOLOLOLOL FLOP!!!

I just got 90% of the trolling out of the way.
THEDARKKNIGHT1939 - 7/1/2013, 7:44 AM
ALegendaryPanda
It is too early for the trolls. Still their nap time.
TheManWithBigEars - 7/1/2013, 7:44 AM
Best CBM of the summer! Deserves all the love and support it gets! Might not have been quite what I wanted in a Superman film but for a film about a Superman who's still learning the ropes it did wonders, bring on the sequel!
thewolfx - 7/1/2013, 7:45 AM
Mos making superman haters eat shit









Lovit :)
SUPERSHADOWBAT - 7/1/2013, 7:48 AM
MOS is in no way a bust, a big success for WB/DC. I loved it. If you didn't like MOS then that's your opinion, that in itself doesn't make it a bust. Should make 700 mil. MOS ftw.
ALegendaryPanda - 7/1/2013, 7:51 AM
@THEDARKKNIGHT1939

Lol you should've seen those fools last night. They were like a pack of bloodthirsty animals!
HugoStrange87 - 7/1/2013, 8:08 AM
Green lantern should also go with John Stewart so it gives it an excuse to be rebooted so quickly.
ElDarkside - 7/1/2013, 8:53 AM
I just saw this movie on Friday night and although it was filled with lots of exposition and probably too much krypton I felt like all the fun was zapped out of it. Now I loved batman begins and the dark knight trilogy immensely, but I feel like Bruce Wayne is a tragic character and maybe Nolan/goyer/Snyder tried to insert tragedy into superman but with ultimately mixed results.

I guess superman has to become superman, but I wish there wasn't so much unnecessary destruction and killing. Especially in the epic conclusion. And yeah it was epic and exhilarating and wonderful to watch, but as I left the theatre I felt like I didn't really get thatuch enjoyment out of the movie as I was expecting...

DVonShakari - 7/1/2013, 8:56 AM
@69..its still getting a sequel .....must have done something right
ElDarkside - 7/1/2013, 8:57 AM
That much*

And maybe I've seen so many comic origin stories and I felt like this was sort of a retread of some of the others with way too much sadness and sulking from the hero...

There was no joy in this movie. Hell, the only time I heard anything from the nearly packed house was the last line where the military girl says she thinks superman is hot. There could have been some joy
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