A lot of ink has been spilled about Nicolas Cage and Tim Burton’s canceled Superman movie, not to mention, it got its own fascinating documentary The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? But further details have come to light from other individuals that worked on the movie. And it’s once again proving to be even crazier than we could have ever imaged, leaving us all to salivate about the alternate universe were this thing actually exists.
Interest in Superman Lives has piqued today, because it has been revealed that Nicolas Cage will finally get to see his dream come true. He will be playing Superman in the animated comedy Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.
Superman Lives was a passion project for lifelong comic book fan Nicolas Cage (who eventually got to play Marvel anti-hero Ghost Rider). And because he did such a bang up job with the first two Batman movies, Tim Burton was brought into resurrect the Superman franchise for Warner Bros. and DC. Oh, but it was never meant to be, as we’ve heard and seen so often throughout the years. But this saga just got a little weirder than it was before. And that’s really saying something, as this journey all started with a giant robot spider to begin with.
Though he posted his comments awhile ago, some words from concept artist Rolf Mohr have started to kick up some dust. He identifies Jim Carrey and Gary Oldman as two actors who were in the running to play Braniac. Both eventually went onto appear in the Batman movies, with Carrey playing The Riddler, and Oldman playing Commissioner Gordon. Rolf Mohr offered this strange take on what Braniac was going to be.
“For Superman Lives I was working mostly in the dark based on vague descriptions without seeing a script. At the time it all sounded rather crazy and confusing, with Brainiac’s Skull Ship that could absorb anything it came across, Brainiac himself inside some sort of alien shape-shifting ‘hybrid technology’ which would open up and engulf people and grow ever larger, more limbs, etc, then Superman also had alien tech in the form of the Eradicator, which could become a suit as well as transform into an ‘Interceptor’ ship… A giant biomechanical alien spider thing which had a body that could open up and smaller ones came out, etc, etc…”
Mohr went onto say that he knew very little about the actual ins and outs of the production, or that director Tim Burton was even part of the whole thing. He did give props to Kevin Smith for his work on the script. He goes onto say this.
“At the time I had no idea who had written it or that Tim Burton was on board to direct, but they told me Jim Carrey and Gary Oldman were being considered for Brainiac. It was interesting to read the script years later and see that Kevin Smith had actually done a pretty impressive job by introducing the Eradicator as a transforming suit in order to weave together all the requirements the producer wanted: “No Superman suit, no flying… and a giant spider in the 3rd act.” He even managed to include 2 polar bears.”
Back when Nightcrawler was coming out, writer and director Dan Gilroy had some interesting things to say about the movie that a lot of fans have missed or seemingly passed over. He was hired to do a final pass on the screenplay. He says this about the strange movie that never came to be.
“I was very much taken by Tim’s approach, which was that Kal-El was not told by Jor-El, before he got put in the little spaceship, who he was or where he came from. So poor little Kal-El, when he winds up on earth, he has no freaking idea where he came from. His biggest fear is that he’s an alien. Our Superman was in therapy at the beginning of the film. He’s in a relationship with Lois Lane and he can’t commit. Or he was maybe in couple’s therapy. But he can’t commit because he doesn’t know who he is or what is going on with him. He’s hoping that he has some physiological condition that gives him these powers but that he’s still human. It becomes very apparent, though, early in the script, when Lex Luthor uncovers the remnants of the spacecraft, he suddenly realizes, “Oh my god, I’m an alien.” It was all about the psychological trauma of it. I loved it.”
Superman and Lois Lane in couples therapy sounds almost worse than what happened in Superman 4: The Quest for Peace. It’s said that Courtney Cox was being eyed as this version of Lois Lane, and Chris Rock was in the running to play Jimmy Olsen, which would have been a better fate for him than what eventually happened in Batman V Superman. Dan Gilroy says this about why the movie ultimately collapsed.
“Unfortunately, while we were working on the script, Warner Bros was hemorrhaging. Every big movie that was coming out was bombing and failing and when it came time to step up and bankroll our script, they didn’t have the financial wherewithal or desire. Which is a shame because Tim would have knocked it out of the park. And Nic Cage, oh my god! I was so ready for that. … They pulled the plug right when we were doing camera tests. We were doing camera tests. It was very far along.”
Superman Lives is something of legend now. It it’s pretty cool that we finally get to see Nicolas Cage live out his Clark Kent dreams, if it is only in a family friendly cartoon movie that isn’t taking itself at all seriously. It will be fun to see if the movie pokes any fun at Superman Lives. There as to be a good joke in there somewhere. We first saw these quotes coupled on io9.