Sarah Douglas as Ursa
If nothing else, a re-release of Superman II was great because I got to interview Sarah Douglas, the actress who plays Kryptonian villain Ursa. While many of the film's actors relish "The Richard Donner Cut" for their original director's original vision, Douglas was not particularly attached to either version.
Interview: Sarah Douglas on Superman II Donner Cut
"I was an English actor in London," she explained. "I was not on location. In other words, I went home every night to my husband. I didn't have that relationship with Donner that the others had because they'd all come over, they were all on location together, they all hung out together. Though I obviously adored him, it was a different sort of relationship. So when it came to the change, I just thought they had gotten Richard Lester. And also, you know what? I was 27-28. I was just thrilled to get more work out of it. I was ecstatic. 'Hey, this is great.' So that's about it."
More so than any differences between the two version, Douglas was just happy to see the film again at all. "I can't imagine what I'm going to see. It's going to be really interesting because I've seen the film probably two years ago. I might have looked at the whole thing. I think one Thanksgiving it was one. But on the whole, it comes on and I watch a little clip and I move on. In fact, I will sit down after tonight and watch the whole thing. I'm most excited to see it on a big screen again. That's brilliant. So I think 10 minutes, 15 minutes of the opening sequence and then 15 minutes that we haven't seen."
Douglas did recall the differences between working with Lester and Donner. "The main thing was they were completely different directors. For a young actress, for any actress actually, but as I was then quite young, to have the experience of working with somebody like Richard Donner who was very relaxed, very loose, had a really easy approach to everything. Whereas Richard Lester, very technical. For instance, I remember there's a sequence when I have to go hit the manhole cover and catch it and throw it at Superman. I remember it was three in the morning, we'd been waiting all day, it was cold and freezing. I came onto the set, onto the back lot actually, and Lester said, 'Right, you come to do do do do do. You hit the manhole cover, you catch it, you throw it, you do this.' It was like mimicking but I did it. That was his, right. I'm pretty certain that if it had been Richard Donner, Donner would have said, 'Look, Sarah. It might take you days. It doesn't matter. We'll give it a go.' He's got a much more relaxed approach and I've got to say I wouldn't have accomplished it but I do think that Lester's approach for me worked very well. Very direct."
More than 25 years later, Douglas still looks like she could wear the tight black suit, but she chooses not to. "They all wanted me to wear something black and I said, 'No.' I've given up on that. I slip into the black so often and tonight I said, 'No, I'm going to wear a color' so here I am."
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut is now available.
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