Actress Antje Traue was plucked from relative obscurity to play one of the main villains in Zack Snyder's Superman update "Man of Steel" (2013), which vaulted her to worldwide attention. Raised in Eas...
Somewhere along the timeline of his formative years, Kansas-raised Clark Kent comes to the realization that he can take a punch like nobody's business. He determines on one fateful afternoon that he has the ability — and as his internal makeup commands, the duty — to save a sinking school bus filled with his horrified classmates after it careens off a delicate bridge into one of the Sunflower State's many proud bodies of water. It is this journey, told exclusively through flashbacks, that comprises the very best of Man of Steel.
A young Clark has no understanding of himself, his origins, his powers, or his place in the world. And the boy's soft-spoken, earnest adoptive father Jonathan has nothing but compassion to offer his struggling son. He muddles pieces of conflicting advice, telling Clark simultaneously that he needs to hide his abilities in order to safeguard himself from the intolerant planet Earth, all the while prophesying the day when the Krypton-born navel gazer will have to decide, once and for all, what sort of man he wants to be. But no amount of the senior Kent's empathy and wisdom can foster our young hero through his turmoil. "Man," we think during the movie's earliest childhood scenes. "All this groundwork is going to pay off big time when he finally gets that suit."
But like the preteen Clark, Zack Snyder's Man of Steel has an identity crisis. While an early adulthood Superman should still be struggling with the issues presented in his extensive maudlin memories, the second half of the movie seems to suppress these ideas. Instead of the probing "Who am I?” and "Who am I supposed to be?" questions that make Superman (despite scathing criticisms) a genuinely interesting character, the film opts for a warfare between Clark and Zod that represents the war between Earth and Krypton — both for claim to the planet and for claim to Clark's psyche.
Of course, the themes interweave. Zod invades Earth in hopes of retrieving the grown Kal-El (who holds the genetic code for a populace of unborn Kryptonians) and using the planet as a new breeding ground for his people. As such, the decision is posed to Clark: live among the Earthlings, a race from which you've been forced to hide your true identity, or among your own kind. It seems like it should translate effectively to the sort of gripping questions introduced vaguely by the powerful boyhood material. But the whole ordeal — which plays out with an hour long mêlée between Superman (that's what they're calling him, so says a humble military man) and Zod through the war-torn streets of Metropolis — feels far less personal than what was promised.
Man of Steel sets itself up as close to the heart of the Kryptonian immigrant as possible. While the legacy undertaken from birth father Jor-El is vast and imbued with intergalactic consequence, what separates Man of Steel (or what is meant to) is the earthbound backstory. But the conflict planted by a sobbing Jonathan Kent, played tear-inspiringly by Kevin Costner, calls for more than it eventually pays off to be.
The Clark Kent we see in the vivid, hard-to-choke-down flashback scenes deserves more than the us-or-them breathless battle that the film's third act takes. This chapter isn't without its appeals: the action is unprecedented. The acting — that of Michael Shannon and Russell Crowe's Prometheus-like ghost — is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, the conclusive arc's biggest enemy is how good the early parts of the movie are. With so much to live up to, so much to deliver, Superman's face-off with General Zod seems to fall in the territory of the DC character's older, less substantial material. Thus, the film on the whole — even its near perfect days in somber small town Kansas — suffers. While Man of Steel does tinker with the idea that Superman's greatest enemy is himself, I don't think this is how they meant that.
As far as an effort to reconstruct Superman might go, Man of Steel is a noble one. If anything, Zack Snyder tried to inject too much into his project: the vast array of identity issues that Clark might face, a melding of DC past with the sophistication of the present pop culture psyche, and — of course — the sort of action that you can't avoid in a superhero flick like this. Each, individually, is a success. But together, the components start stepping all over one another, leaving little room for the sort of expansion that the most valuable facets deserve. As a result, Man of Steel isn't fun enough or deep enough to satisfy either end of the superhero movie spectrum. It's got a little of both, but not enough of either. Some might call it the nature of the beast. But sweeping accusations aside, Superman can be an interesting character. We just have to decide what it is that is interesting about him.
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Everyone who has been cast in Warner Bros. anticipated Superman reboot has more or less been around the block. From parental figures Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha (Diane Lane) Kent to Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and main antagonist Zod (Michael Shannon), there are plenty of Oscar wins and nominations littered throughout the careers of these performers. To be frank, the most inexperienced actor in the cast (but no less capable) is the Man of Steel himself, Henry Cavill (though as a star of Showtime's The Tudors and a veteran of films like The Count of Monte Cristo and Whatever Works, he's not exactly new blood either). That is, until today.
Deadline is reporting that the studio has landed its female villain. Though the character is still unconfirmed (it could be Ursa, Zod's accomplice from the first Superman film and its sequel, or another Kryptonian lady named Faora who serves Zod loyally), it looks like German thesp Antje Traue may have the role in her hand. Not sure who that is? No worries, neither do we. All we can tell you is that she appeared opposite Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid in 2009's sci-fi/horror hybrid Pandorum and will star this year in the Renny Harlin-directed thriller 5 Days in August. Warner Bros. has been questionably silent on this rumor that's spread like wildfire over the interwebs for the last few hours, so I'm not entirely sure of the merit of the scoop. But she does bear a slight resemblance to Sarah Douglas, who played Ursa in the late '70s so I can see where this may be going.
We'll report back with confirmation as soon as we can.
Source: Deadline, Variety
First screen appearance in German TV-movie "Verlorene Kinder"
Motion picture debut in "Kleinruppin Forever"
Appeared as Faora-Ul in "Man of Steel"
English language film debut in "Pandorum"
Actress Antje Traue was plucked from relative obscurity to play one of the main villains in Zack Snyder's Superman update "Man of Steel" (2013), which vaulted her to worldwide attention. Raised in East Germany by an artistically inclined mother, Traue was initially interested in athletics, but injury forced to seek another outlet. She found it in music, which led to performing with a Munich theater group throughout the world. But Traue's attempts to parlay her new passion into a screen acting career were met with rejection for several years until she landed a role in the American science-fiction thriller "Pandorum" (2009). Its failure to find an audience once again left her outside the industry, but persistence paid off three years later when she was cast as the pitiless super-soldier Faora-Ul in "Man of Steel." The film's success thrust Traue into the global spotlight, where she soon found herself in demand for roles. Traue's formidable nature, both on and off screen, preserved her status as a star on the rise on the international film scene. <p>Born January 18, 1981 in Mittweida, East Germany, Antje Traue was encouraged at an early age to pursue the arts and athletics by her mother, a musician and dancer who also raised her daughter to speak Russian. Traue trained as a gymnast until a series of injuries forced her to turn her attention elsewhere. She soon took up music, which led to an interest in musical theater. When her inability to speak German forced her to drop out of school at the age of 16, Traue joined the International Munich Art Lab company and toured Europe and America as part of a hip-hop opera production. She then returned to formal schooling after the death of her mother, eventually learning both German and English, while auditioning for roles in German-language features and television. She made her screen-acting debut in a German made-for-television film, but subsequent roles proved difficult to find. After nearly a decade of obscurity, Traue was cast as the survivor of an alien assault on a spaceship in "Pandorum" (2009), co-starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster. The picture proved a failure at the box office, though it afforded Traue an American agent. </p><p>However, she continued to find little luck in the Hollywood market, and for a period, Traue supported herself through a variety of day jobs. Endless rounds of rejection made her reluctant to submit an audition tape for "Man of Steel," but with her 30th birthday rapidly approaching, Traue decided to take a leap of faith. Her gambit proved successful: Traue's turn as the emotionless Kryptonian super-soldier Faora-Ul was received with near-universal praise, especially for her intense hand-to-hand combat scenes with Henry Cavill's Superman. The exposure afforded to Traue by her "Man of Steel" performance led to more roles in major Hollywood pictures. </p><p> </p>
Initially trained to be a gymnast, but injuries forced her to try music, which led to stage acting.
Auditioned for "The Hobbit" trilogy and "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" after her role in "Pandorum" earned her an American agent.
Trained for four months to prepare for "Man of Steel."
Reduced her water intake during filming of "Man of Steel" to avoid the lengthy process of removing her character's armor for a bathroom break.