After taking a break from acting after the birth of her daughter in 1976, Kidder sought to return to making films in the late 1970s. After a script reading of Lois Lane for the 1978 superhero film Superman: The Movie, Kidder was flown to England by Richard Donner for screen-tests. Donner ultimately cast Kidder in the role, which would become her most iconic. Filming took over a year, and the film was released during Christmas 1978, to major commercial success. Kidder won a Saturn Award for best actress for her performance in the film. Kidder publicly disagreed with the decision of producers Alexander Salkind and Ilya Salkind to replace Richard Donner as director for Superman II (1980), though she maintained a close friendship with her Superman co-star Christopher Reeve, which lasted from 1978 until his death in 2004: "When you're strapped to someone hanging from the ceiling for months and months, you get pretty darned close," Kidder told CBS. "He was such a huge part of my life. . . He was complicated, very smart, really smart, and he knew he'd done something meaningful. He was very aware of that and very happy with that role. "