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And Now . . . Mighty 'Superman Iv' To The Rescue

January 02, 1987|BART MILLS

Of "Street Smart," he says, "I was attracted to playing someone who wasn't dressed up nice, morally speaking. It's another chance to do something different. If I've made any mistakes in my career, it's been in taking too many of those chances. I may have strayed further than I'm able, but I prefer not to stay where I am."

Reeve aspires to direct. He typically cuts himself down to size by quoting the cartoon in which a performing dog says to his agent, "But what I really want is to direct."

"Superman IV" is the third film in which Reeve will receive a credit for second-unit direction, and he has directed in the theater.

"The 'Superman' movies were my film school," says Reeve, who studied Fine Arts at Cornell and acting at Juilliard. "And I didn't even have to write any papers on 'Citizen Kane.' I'm like the kid learning to fly (Reeve is a licensed pilot): You know it's time to solo when you feel that if the instructor stays with you one more minute, you'll kill him: Let me at it."

In the meantime, though, Reeve would even make a fifth "Superman." He says, "Superman is permanently 30. That's the way everyone sees him. I don't want to be playing the part when they have to tape my wrinkles up over my scalp." As it is, he already uses a wig to enhance the character's youthful hairline.

He says, "A fifth 'Superman' is not at all impossible, though it would probably be re-cast because I'd be too old. Look, there have been four James Bonds--nobody is indispensable. I'm 34 now. I'll be 36 or 37 if and when they make 'Superman V.'

"Here's what'll happen," Reeve jokes: "They'll get this 18-year-old. I'll teach him to fly in the first reel. I'll take good cameo money and then I'll split."

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