Superman was faster than a speeding bullet, could leap tall buildings in a single bound and if pushed, could even make the earth spin in the wrong direction, but when it came to falling in love, he was as open and vulnerable as the rest of us. When Superman arrived in cinemas in 1978, we believed a man could fly®. Thanks to Margot Kidder and Christopher Reeve, we believed he could fall in love too.
Kidder was an unconventional but perfect choice. The more traditionally beautiful Anne Archer was all set to play Lois Lane, but something about Kidder swayed director Richard Donner’s mind. “She was charming and very funny. When I met her in the casting office, she tripped coming in and I just fell in love with her.”
Lois’s first meeting with her becaped intended, caught in mid-air after falling from a helicopter is one of the great introductions in cinema – ‘You’ve got me? Who’s got you?!!’ Their flight across the Metropolis skyline, hand-in-hand, was a sublime moment of pure Hollywood romance. “If you need to be loved, here I am. Read my mind.”
Kidder’s mix of New York, city-beat street sass and sweet, wide-eyed innocence was a complete one-off. Clark Kent’s wistful looks across the typist’s pens of the Daily Planet were completely understandable. There was only one Margot Kidder.
She had made a name for herself in cult horror movies like Black Christmas and De Palma’s Sisters. In fact, her biggest non-Caped Crusader movie was another chiller, The Amityville Horror in which she and her husband James Brolin make one of the worst real estate acquisitions of the 1970s.
Other notable parts were in George Roy Hill’s follow up to The Sting, The Great Waldo Pepper with Robert Redford, and Some Kind of Hero with her one-time boyfriend Richard Pryor.
Lois Lane became her iconic role, which she would reprise in all three sequels, though her relegation to a walk-on part in III was an imbecilic decision on the part of the writers (and Superman IV was simply an imbecilic decision). She was never really allowed to capitalise on her early success, but she’ll never be forgotten for taking one of the most famous ‘girlfriend’ roles of them all and making something unique and extraordinary out of it.