Richard Donner, who may have gotten his start directing television in the 1950s and ‘60s, truly made his name with such films as Superman: The Movie and the Lethal Weapon film series.
The Academy Of Arts And Sciences (the people behind the Academy Awards) honored Donner’s work, bringing together a wide variety of people who have worked with him over the years. Perhaps one of the most surprising, and welcome, speakers was the duo of Geoff Johns and Kevin Feige. Johns is the guy in charge of DC’s films, Feige of Marvel’s. Naturally the two of them were both heavily influenced by the 1978 production of Superman, with Feige noting that it’s still required viewing before he begins any of his green lit films.
The two-hour event paid tribute to the films that follow as well as Inside Moves (1980), Scrooged (1988) and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006). Among those participating were Lethal Weapon stars Danny Glover, Mel Gibson and Rene Russo, Inside Moves’ John Savage, and The Goonies’ Corey Feldman, Ke Huy-Quan and Jeff Gohen. Donner himself touchingly noted, “From the heart, I love everyone who was up here. This industry is my friend. I love it. I never thought I’d say this, but I want to thank the Academy.”
Our own tribute to the films of Richard Donner follows.
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The Anti-Christ is born in the form of Damien Thorne, a child destined to grow up and lead the world into armageddon. The film inspired the sequels Damien: Omen II (1978), Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981), Omen IV: The Awakening (1991 TV movie), a remake of The Omen (2006) and the TV series Damien (2016). But Donner only directed the original, and it stands as the best and the most genuinely frightening. “The script got turned down by most of the studios,” Donner told Filmtalk.org, “and when the idea of taking it from a horror film and—in my mind—turning it into a mystery suspense thriller, that all of a sudden gave it a moment of class… We were lucky enough to get Gregory Peck and Lee Remick to play the leading roles, which validated the story.”
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