Clothes make the (super)man

Last week I wrote about how to prepare for a Story Safari™. Today, I thought I’d let you climb into the metaphorical Jeep and watch me hunt.

A couple of weeks ago, the British actor Jude Law was a guest on Stephen Colbert’s talk show. He told a story about how the producers of one of the recent Superman reboots had approached him to play the Man of Steel. Law said no, for many reasons. But here’s the moment his story stopped being typical celebrity talk show blather and turned into something I thought I might be able to use for a client sometime:

Making one final push to win him over, the producer said, “We’ve redesigned the costume. Let us bring it over and you can try it on and see what you think.” And I guess Jude Law was thinking, I’m not doing anything today; I might as well play dress-up. So they brought the costume over to his hotel room and he took it in the bathroom and put it on. And as he zipped it up he looked in the mirror and…he stopped being Jude Law and he was Superman. Just in putting on the suit transformed him.

Then he unzipped the costume and turned down the role again.

I don’t have any concrete plans for this story at the moment. But I often write about authenticity—this could set up a discussion of the roles we play or the costumes we wear that don’t necessarily reflect our inner selves. It could be about knowing your core competencies and sticking with them. Or, more straightforwardly, it could be about finding the best “fit” for the job you have to fill.

In any case, I’ve bagged a story with good prospects. And no actors (or speechwriters) were harmed in the course of this safari.

  • storytelling