Before Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill donned the infamous uniform once worn by Christopher Reeve, there was a time when Nicolas Cage might have become the Man of Steel. Yes, you read that right.
Cage and director Tim Burton spent years working on the film ‘Superman Lives’ in the 1990s. The feature that could have been remains one of the most debated lost projects in recent Hollywood history. Cage said in a recent interview that the fact that ‘Superman Lives’ was never made is irrelevant.
“I would offer that the movie that Tim and I would have made, in your imagination, is more powerful than any of the Superman movies. I didn’t even have to make the movie and we all know what that movie would have been in your imagination. That is the Superman. That is the movie. Even though you never saw it — it is the Superman.”
Cage and Burton’s take on the beloved character and story have long been a subject of fan boy speculation, so much so that a documentary called ‘The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?’ was released in 2015. Footage of Cage doing his costume test for the film still recirculates online. Explained Burton of the lost film:
“It was like ‘Batman’ all those years ago; there was always a bit of controversy. Like, ‘Oh, it’s too dark.’ It’s like, well, now it looks like a light-hearted romp. We were trying to explore the more human side of the character and get into that whole thing.”
In 2015, Cage said in an interview that he “had great belief in that movie and in what Tim Burton’s vision was going to be for that movie.” Cage explained:
“I would’ve loved to have seen it, but I feel that in many ways, it was sort of a win-win because of the power of the imagination. I think people can actually see the movie in their minds now and imagine it and in many ways that might resonate more deeply than the finished project.”
In the years since his movie that never was, Cage has secured his position as one of the most recognizable actors of our time. He appears in numerous films each year. His latest project, ‘Mom and Dad’, reunites the Oscar-winner with director Brian Taylor who co-directed his film ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ in 2011.
Speaking of the film, Cage said:
“Brian and I are — can I be very bold? I’m his [Toshiro] Mifune, he’s my [Akira] Kurosawa. That’s how I feel about him. I trust him and he lets me go. He knows exactly how to use me. Brian knows how to let me loose and he knows how to bring me back in.”
Said Taylor of directing Cage:
“Directing Nic is like directing the weather — he’s like Hurricane Jose. You can’t change it, you can only wear the right clothing and hope you don’t get destroyed by it.”