Lee to help
‘Superman’ soar

The film producer joins
the franchise's fifth installment

Movie producer Chris Lee, who saw his vision of creating a film school at the University of Hawaii become a reality last year, now wants to help revitalize the classic "Superman" movie series.

Lee said he will be an executive producer for a new $100 million-plus movie for Warner Bros. Studio. Filming in Australia begins in March, he said.

Lee, former president of production for Columbia/TriStar Pictures and founder of Chris Lee Productions Inc., will take a leave of absence from his UH post at the Academy for Creative Media. Associate Chairman Tom Brislin will take over Lee's duties at least until August, when the fifth installment of "Superman" completes filming. Lee leaves for Sydney tomorrow to assist in pre-production.

Lee and director Bryan Singer plan to bring some UH film school students onto the production this summer as interns in a "a sort of study-abroad thing," Lee said.

The new film is being called "Superman" after the 1978 original by Dick Donner. That version has become the new movie's "bible," Lee said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. Director Bryan Singer and Warner Bros. chief Jeff Robinov asked Lee to executive produce the film.

The 107-day shoot will be primarily shot at Fox Studios in Sydney, where "Star Wars" was filmed.

The title character will be played by Brandon James Routh, 25, a relatively unknown actor. The Superman role brought fame to the late Christopher Reeve. Routh will appear in this year's film "Deadly" and the TV series "One Life to Live" and "Undressed."

"He's a new guy, just like Chris Reeve was in the original," Lee said.

Oscar winner Kevin Spacey will play villain Lex Luthor. Producers are negotiating with Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane. Bosworth starred in the John Stockwell film "Blue Crush," filmed on Oahu. The Jimmy Olsen character has not been cast.

Australia was selected as the location mainly for the financial incentives the country offers for film and TV productions, and the favorable exchange rates for the U.S. dollar, Lee said. The film is scheduled for release in June 2006.

During his tenure at Columbia/TriStar Pictures, Lee was responsible for the films "Jerry Maguire," "As Good as It Gets," "Philadelphia" and "Legends of the Fall."

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