Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and several other celebrities have mourned the death of legendary filmmaker Richard Donner. In a statement shared on the official Marvel Studios Twitter account, Feige acknowledged the creative debt he owes to Donner, for making him “believe that comic characters could be brought to life on the big screen.” Tributes also came in from directors Zack Snyder, Patty Jenkins, and Scott Derrickson, and actors Sean Astin and Mark Hamill.
Donner died on Monday, according to his wife, producer Lauren Shuler Donner. He was 91. The director inspired several filmmakers and producers like Feige, and with his pathbreaking Superman film pushed the boundaries of superhero storytelling on the big screen.
Donner through his filmography proved that he was skilled at a variety of genres. In addition to the Christopher Reeve Superman film, he also directed the horror classic The Omen (1976), breathed new life into the buddy comedy genre with the Lethal Weapon series (1987-1998), and brought a youthful spirit to The Goonies (1985).
The Goonies star Sean Astin paid tribute to Donner in a tweet, and wrote, “Richard Donner had the biggest, boomiest voice you could imagine. He commanded attention and he laughed like no man has ever laughed before. Dick was so much fun. What I perceived in him, as a 12 year old kid, is that he cared. I love how much he cared.” He also quoted the famous line from the film: “Goonies Never Say Die.” Likewise, Goonies story writer, Steven Spielberg, sent a statement to Variety where he called Donner “the greatest Goonie of all.”
Donner was an executive producer on the first X-Men film in 2000, which, incidentally, also served as Feige’s first credit. The future Marvel boss was an associate producer on that film. As Feige said in his statement, a direct connection can be drawn between Donner’s work and the global domination of superhero filmmaking that we’ve been witnessing for close to two decades. Under Feige’s leadership, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become the highest-grossing film franchise of all time, with over $22 billion at the worldwide box office.
Donner’s influence also bridged the divide between Marvel and its longtime rival DC. Snyder, who put his own spin on Superman in Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and Justice League (both the 2017 theatrical cut and 2021’s director’s cut), also paid tribute to Donner. Sharing a poster of the original Superman film, he wrote in a tweet, “Thank you, Richard Donner. You made me believe.”
Richard Donner had the biggest, boomiest voice you could imagine.
He commanded attention and he laughed like no man has ever laughed before. Dick was so much fun. What I perceived in him, as a 12 year old kid, is that he cared. I love how much he cared.
– Goonies Never Say Die
— Sean Astin (@SeanAstin) July 5, 2021
For this last shot of The Omen, Richard Donner told his child actor to look back at the camera like he was angry, and when he did, Donner started joking “Don’t you smile! Don’t you smile!”
— N O S ⋊ Ɔ I ᴚ ᴚ Ǝ ᗡ ⊥ ⊥ O Ɔ S (@scottderrickson) July 5, 2021
I loved Richard Donner as person, and massively admired him as a director. To think he made The Omen, Superman, The Goonies and Lethal Weapon in just over 10 years time, and many more. Stunning. Truly one of the greatest American filmmakers of all time. He will be sorely missed. pic.twitter.com/6BWIkrvfuN
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) July 6, 2021
Meet the man behind Iceman and Batman, who also played Jim Morrison and Doc Holliday.
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