British actor Terence Stamp was seeking spiritual enlightenment in an ashram in India when he learned he was the frontrunner to play a Superman villain.
The actor abandoned London as his career began to wind down in the 1970s, and embarked on a spiritual journey in India.
He tells Britain's Seven magazine, “In the back of my head, I never completely gave up on acting. But after a while I thought it was never going to happen. And that was fine; I was really very happy in the ashram. I felt I’d enriched myself in a way that I could never have done elsewhere."
But the producers of the 1978 film tracked him down and invited him to play evil leader General Zod in the movie, prompting Stamp to rush back to England.
He adds, "By now, I had a beard and I hadn’t cut my hair in God knows how long. The concierge says, 'Mr Terence, we’ve got a cable for you.' And he drags out this grimy, dog-eared envelope addressed to 'Clarence Stamp'. I remember opening the envelope, and there was a tremor in my hand. I think I knew that my life was about to change...
"I didn’t even have any chance to buy any clothes and I was still in my orange robes from the ashram. Almost the first thing that happened was (Superman co-star) Marlon Brando came up to me, took hold of my robe and said, 'What have you been up to then?'"