Superman’s journey back to the big screen, following the initially thrilling Christopher Reeve movies– which flamed out with the embarrassing last two movies in the series– has been a rocky one, littered with false starts, followed by a disappointing take starring Brandon Routh, which failed to reignite the franchise. Finally came Zack Snyder’s ‘Man of Steel’ starring Henry Cavill, which, while divisive, made a ton of money and is being used as the cornerstone for building an entire DC cinematic universe.
But one of the most infamous chapters in Superman’s cinematic struggle was the Tim Burton-directed version entitled ‘Superman Live’, which would have starred Nicolas Cage in the leading role. Warner Brothers actually spent millions on this version and the film got extremely far into development only to be scrapped just before filming was to begin.
The movie has taken on an almost mythic quality among fans, simply because it’s so rare for a comic book movie project to get that far along only to be snuffed. Unlike a film that never gets past the script process, there exists a ton of material from this movie’s development from a script to production drawings and photos like the one to the left and the ones below.
There is so much evidence of what this movie may have been, that one documentary film maker wants to make a movie about it. You can view his “trailer” meant to drum up funds in a Kickstarter campaign HERE.
Now Cage has finally spoken publicly about the film, saying:
“Look, I’m not going to be one of these guys that’s going to be, like, lamenting things. But is Tim Burton one of my favorite directors? Yes. Did I see some of the drawings of where he wanted to go? Yes. And I will tell you, they were fantastic and it would have been a mind-blowing experience. Did I have a concept of how to play the character? Yes, and I can tell you it would have been gutsy. So maybe Warner Brothers got scared because they had two artists that weren’t afraid to take chances.”
So… vague. ‘Superman Lives’ would have pitted the Man of Steel against Brainiac and Lex Luthor, but would also have contained elements from ‘The Death of Superman’ comic book story. (Prior to this take, Warner Brothers had developed an entire movie that would have been based on that story– which at the time sold in the millions and drew mainstream media attention– which it also scrapped.)
Would you have liked to have seen a vastly different take on Superman? Or are you glad WB waited for a more traditional approach? Comment below!