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LOS ANGELES — Zack Snyder, the director of the edgy comic-book films “300” and “Watchmen,” will direct the Warner Bros. revival of Superman, the first and most famous costumed superhero of them all.


The 44-year-old Snyder will work side-by-side with producers Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas, the tandem that pulled the Batman character back toward cinematic credibility with the films “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” the latter grossing more than $1 billion at theaters worldwide. David S. Goyer (“Batman Begins”) is writing the script and shares the story credit with Nolan.


Snyder has shown a flair for kinetic hyper-reality and, in an interview Monday, he said that in recent days he finds that he “lays awake at night” thinking about the ways to present a Man of Steel who flies.


He declined to talk about story or casting — “He has to be a man ... that’s as far as I’ve gotten” — but did say the film will target a holiday 2012 release.


“I have a fondness for the character and a real desire to understand him and present him to a new audience,” Snyder said. “The challenge is huge ... it is a hard character to crack.”


The perception that the character may have a bigger past than future may have been reinforced by the solid but unspectacular performance of Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns” in 2006.


Snyder, though, said the concept can still fly. “I think he is viable, yes,” the filmmaker said. “He endures. We all want to know, ‘How will he come to us now?’”

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