Ilya Salkind

Ilya Salkind

Ilya Salkind (born Ilya Juan Salkind Dominguez, July 27, 1947 in Mexico City) is a film and television producer, well known for his contributions to the live-action Superman films of the 1970s and 80s alongside his father, Alexander.

Early life and career

At the age of one, Ilya was photographed sitting on the lap of Zsa Zsa Gabor. His grandfather, Michael Salkind, was one of the pioneers of silent films and produced "Joyless Street" (1925), featuring then-relatively-unknown Greta Garbo in her first major role. Afterwards, his grandfather Mikhail and his own father Alexander Salkind joined their forces to supervise many successful films, from Orson Welles' "The Trial" (1962) to Abel Gance's "Austerlitz" (1959). Soon, beginning in 1969, Ilya became the third generation of this movie-making family.

Ilya Salkind and his father made numerous films, starting with "The Three Musketeers" (1973) and its 1974 follow-up, "The Four Musketeers" — marking one of the first instances of which a major motion picture and its immediate sequel were shot simultaneously.

uperman film series

Alexander Salkind, his son Ilya and producing partner Pierre Spengler purchased the film rights of Superman as far back as August 1974.cite video | title = You Will Believe: The Cinematic Saga of Superman | format = DVD | publisher = Warner Brothers | year = 2006] It was agreed to produce and film "Superman" and "Superman II" simultaneously, a previous (and what they believed to be a successful) attempt they made on "The Three Musketeers" and "The Four Musketeers". Securing the film rights from DC Comics was an unbearable experience for the producers, whom Spengler had to spend two weeks in meeting with the company specifically on a "Integrity of the character" clause. However, the producers did make sure DC approve over every aspect of the film (including dialogue).cite video | title = Superman (1978) Audio Commentary by Producers Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler | format = DVD | publisher = Warner Brothers | year = 2006] At this point in time Muhammad Ali, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, James Caan, Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen were being considered for the leading role of Superman.

William Goldman was approached to write the script though Ilya personally cited creative differences, and eventually hired Mario Puzo. The desperate search for a director then took place. Steven Spielberg expressed high interest and Salkind felt comfortable in hiring him upon being impressed with his work on "Duel" and "The Sugarland Express", though Alexander was skeptical, feeling that Spielberg wasn't famous enough and claimed they needed to wait until "that fish movie of his" was released. "Jaws" was released with unanimous success, though by this time it was far too late as Spielberg opted to do "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" instead.

Peter Yates was interested in directing and was involved in negotiations though for unknown reasons the deal collapsed. Both William Friedkin and Sam Peckinpah were offered the chance to direct. Friedkin turned down the offer outright while Peckinpah dropped out of the running when he produced a gun during a meeting with Ilya. Richard Lester, Guy Hamilton, George Lucas, John Guillermin and Ronald Neame were then considered though Lucas was dropped as Ilya found out he was too committed on "". It was decided to go with Hamilton as Ilya was impressed with his work on "Goldfinger" and "Battle of Britain".

Ilya Salkind originally recommended Mario Puzo to write the script as a serious science fiction epic. Although Puzo did impress Ilya with certain aspects, Ilya felt the script remained intact with being overall campy, as did Guy Hamilton. In addition they cited too much "Greek tragedy and Shakespearean" elements. A fourth villain sentenced to the Phantom Zone named Zak-Ur appeared as a comedic henchman. By this time, Puzo felt he "could do all he could," turning in two drafts, and David Newman and Robert Benton were hired for rewrite work, as a means to delete objectionable material concerning an excessive amount of comedic scenes. Leslie Newman was brought in once Benton left to direct "The Late Show".

Casting started to take place, as Alexander Salkind personally wanted a famous actor in the role of Superman. Dustin Hoffman was once again highly considered though the idea was dropped. Robert Redford was offered the part, though he personally felt he was too famous, feeling he wasn't right for the role, as did Burt Reynolds. After the success of "Rocky", Sylvester Stallone lobbied hard for the role but was ignored. Paul Newman was offered all three roles of Superman, Jor-El and Lex Luthor to his choosing though he didn't accept either one, for a salary of $4 million. Nick Noltecite video | title = Taking Flight: The Development of Superman | format = DVD | publisher = Warner Brothers | year = 2001] and Rex Harrison would both turn it down. It was decided to focus on casting Jor-El and Lex Luthor and save Superman for later. Hoffman was then offered the role of Luthor, and although he was interested, he turned it down. Marlon Brando would eventually be cast as Jor-El, causing Gene Hackman to be cast as Luthor he wanted to desperately work with Brando. Impressed by the producers' ability to cast famous actors in respective roles, Warner Brothers decided to distribute the film foreign, rather than simply domestically.

Sets were then being initiated in Rome, Italy as well as having flying tests being experimented. However, Brando couldn't arrive in Rome as there was still a warrant out for his arrest in "Last Tango in Paris" due to sexual obscenity. It was decided to move the production to England but Hamilton himself was a tax exile from his native country, which only allowed him to spend no more than 60 days a year. The director was forced to drop out because of Brando's actions and by this time six million dollars had already been spent on the production. Mark Robson was then in negotiations to direct after Ilya was impressed with his work on "Earthquake". However, after viewing Richard Donner's "The Omen" it was decided otherwise.

Post-Superman career

Team Salkind's last journey into film fantasy was 1985's "".

The Salkinds returned to the Superman mythology again in 1988, this time as a TV series, with "Superboy", starring John Haymes Newton in the title role during its first year, Gerard Christopher as the Boy of Steel for the remainder of the show's existence, and Stacy Haiduk as Lana Lang, lasted four seasons, running for 100 episodes. Following the Team's last film, "" (1992), Ilya and his then wife, Jane Chaplin (daughter of Geraldine and grand-niece of Charlie Chaplin) settled in Orlando, Florida, where much of the Superboy series had been filmed. There, Ilya and Jane took a sabbatical and devoted their time to raising their two sons. In 1999, the couple amicably separated.

Ilya Salkind Company

Returning to Los Angeles in 2003, the producer launched the Ilya Salkind Company in the late summer of that year. The company's first project, "Young Alexander the Great", was shot on location in Greece and Egypt and is scheduled for release in 2008. Ilya has several major motion pictures slated for the coming years. The Ilya Salkind Company is fast tracking the film "The Director" from award winning writer/director Stephen David Brooks as well as "The Winner Is" also written and directed by Stephen David Brooks.

uperman retrospectives

On the DVD release of Superboy: The Complete First Season in 2006, Salkind appeared as himself on the documentary featurette "Superboy: Getting Off the Ground" and provided audio commentary with series star John Haymes Newton on two episodes. He also recently appeared as himself on the 2006 television documentary talking about his time producing the Superman movies. He also provided audio commentary along with producer Pierre Spengler for the 2006 DVD releases of Superman: The Movie (Four-Disc Collector's Edition), Superman II (Two-Disc Special Edition), and Superman III (Deluxe Edition).


External links

* [ The Ilya Salkind Company]
* []
*imdb name|id=0007163|name=Ilya Salkind

Ilya and his then wife, Jane Chaplin CORRECTION: (youngest daughter of Charlie Chaplin and sister of Geraldine)

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