Nicolas Cage set the record straight about Tim Burton’s Superman Lives, the canceled 1998 flick that would’ve starred Cage as Kal-El.
With the success of Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns, Hollywood felt it was prime time for a darker Superman movie. Titled Superman Lives, the script was penned by Kevin Smith and included three arguably lesser-known Superman villains: Braniac, Doomsday, and the Eradicator. Tim Burton, hot off directing Batman, was set to helm the film. However, Warner Bros. put the film on an indefinite hold just three weeks before filming was set to begin.
In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine (opens in new tab), Cage revealed that it was he who chose Burton to direct – and not the other way around.
“What I want to go on record with is: Tim Burton did not cast me. I cast Tim Burton. They wanted Renny Harlin, and he’s a nice guy and perfectly capable,” Cage explained. “But for me, the vision I had for Kal-El was more of a Tim Burton-style presentation universe.”
The movie, an intended reboot of the 1980s Superman film series, was ultimately canceled due to the the poor box office performance of Tim Burton’s sci-fi comedy Mars Attacks!
“I was a big fan of ‘Mars Attacks!.’ The studio was worried about ‘Mars Attacks!’ But they hired Tim per my request, and then they shut the whole thing down. That’s always been both a positive and a negative to me. It’s a positive in that it left the character, and what Tim and I might have gotten up to, in the realm of imagination — which is always more powerful than that is concrete. And a negative in that I think it would have been special. Is there a chance [to do this movie one day]? Who knows. I don’t know. [Laughs.] To answer your question, I don’t know.”
A 2015 documentary, The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? details the behind-the-scenes events that led up to the film’s cancellation.
Michael Keaton is set to reprise his 1990s Batman role in the upcoming DCEU flick, The Flash – so we’re still holding out hope for a Nicolas Cage-led Superman movie.
Cage plays himself in The Unbearable Weight of Massive talent, which hits theaters in the US on April 22. For more, check out our list of upcoming movies in 2022.